Review: “Faith, Volume One: Hollywood and Vine” By Jody Houser, Francis Portella, Marguerite Sauvage, Andrew Dalhouse

Review: “Faith, Volume One: Hollywood and Vine

A review by Amanda.

Faith Herbert is a sci-fi nerd, comic book lover, and an all-around geeky girl. She’s also a superhero. Faith is a psiot; a human with supernatural abilities. Orphaned at a young age and raised by her grandmother, Faith’s nerdy dreams came true when her special talents made themselves known. She joined a team of other psiots called the Renegades and created the alter ego Zephyr. She used her telekinetic ability to fly and move objects to help people, and formed close relationships with her teammates.

When the story begins, Faith has left the Renegades for an unknown reason. She has created a new identity as Summer Smith, a journalist at an online magazine, and still uses her Zephyr persona to help people in Van Nuys, California. Bored and looking for superhero action, she stumbles across something dangerous involving missing psiots. Faith is determined to solve the mystery and save the day, but may have gotten in over her head…

Faith is a non-Marvel, non-DC superhero comic from Valiant. It stood out from other comics on a superficial level because the protagonist didn’t fit the standard superhero appearance – she was fat. Readers know this solely because of the art. Her weight was never mentioned by any character, not even in her own thoughts, which was both unexpected and invigorating. Faith, the character, was loveable and goofy. She was a Joss Whedon fan and made several nerd references that felt like nods to beloved franchises. She had a romantic life but it didn’t dominate the plot. The story was a bit slow to start and some aspects were not made entirely clear, such as why she left the Renegades. More background on the supporting characters would also have been beneficial. Perhaps future issues provide more depth. Overall, this was a nice comic – not action-heavy, and light on the details, but still a fun read. Its most attractive features are the humor and relatability of its main character. This volume is comprised of the first four issues.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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Review: “One Piece: Skypiea vol. 28-30” by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece: Skypiea vol. 28-30

A review by Hannah.

One Piece was started in 1997 and is continuing today. There are 81 volumes to date, which is why this series of reviews will be broken up into three volume books. From now on there will be spoilers for what happens in the rest of the series. You have been warned…

The battle for Upper Yard has started. There are 54 warriors (including himself) in the Kami Eneru’s army; there are 20 Shandian warriors and 7 Strawhats. How many will be standing in three hours? According to Eneru, who has the power of Mantra, there will be five warriors.

Luffy, Zoro, Chopper, and Robin are headed for the legendary city of El Dorado, which used to be part of Jaya. Sanji, Usopp, and Nami are sailing the Going Merry out of Upper Yard with the injured Ganfor. Luffy gets swallowed by a giant snake.

After meeting with the Going Merry, Conis learns of Eneru’s ultimate plan for Sky Island. She must warn the citizens and the Shandian to evacuate. No one wants to believe her, but with the help of the White Berets, the people start to leave.

These volumes honestly make a better anime than manga. There is a lot of fighting with a lot of different characters. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who is fighting who and how. It looks amazing, but it can get a little confusing.

My biggest pet peeve with these volumes is that Robin is not as big of a badass as she could be. When she was Ms. All Sunday, she incapacitated the Straw Hat crew single-handedly without moving. She was a partner to Sir Crocodile, a former Shichibukai. She reads a language that has been outlawed for goodness sake. Now, she can’t win a fight without taking a ton of damage. Admittedly that is the Straw Hat way, but I really wish her opponent was more impressive.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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Review: “Mockingbird Volume 1: I Can Explain” by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk

Mockingbird Volume 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk

A review by Courtney.

I bought Volume 1 of Mockingbird when I saw the cover of issue 8 had Mockingbird wearing a shirt proclaiming, “ask me about my feminist agenda.” I decided this was a comic book I needed to start reading and I needed to catch up, because I really wanted to read issue 8. I had previously read and enjoyed the Mockingbird one shot, which was released about a year ago, so I was hopeful this was a comic I was going to enjoy.

Mockingbird (also known as Bobbi Morse, and Agent 19), starts with our heroine in a Shield medical center, going in for her regular exam. We learn Nick Fury injected her with Super Soldier Serum and Infinity formula to save her life.  Bobbi is now considered high risk and the doctors of Shield are taking precautions and keeping a close eye on her. She is given a beeper and must come into the doctor’s office whenever they page her. Bobbi is shown in the doctor’s office in a variety of different clothes and we learn that the progressing issues are her adventures and this explains the different clothes. Bobbi is a multifaceted spy who does excel at kicking butt, but she also loves math and science and is incredibly snarky. Bobbi’s adventures revolve around saving people, and sometimes those people are her exes, whom she still has good relationships with.

This comic is told from Mockingbird’s perspective; which I love and thought was incredibly smart because it allowed me to get in her head. Bobbi is the sarcastic, witty, intelligent, strong woman I want to be when I grow up. It’s not often when I can identify with superheroines, but Bobbi is so confident, that you can’t help but want to be like her. I had also initially underestimated how funny this comic was going to be, but I was literally laughing out loud reading this book. The art was great, with a number of visually awesome action sequences, I have no idea how they were conceived because there is a lot that happens very quickly. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys comics with a strong female lead, because honestly, it doesn’t get any better than this. I was going to add this comic to my pull list, but as of this writing Mockingbird has been cancelled, so go buy all 8 issues while you can!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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Review: “DC Comics: Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted” by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage

DC Comics: Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage

A review by Courtney.

I’m not going to lie, I picked up this comic after I saw all the amazing posters coming out and then Hot Topic released a Bombshells line of clothing but before I jumped completely on the bandwagon, I decided to read the comic first. I try to be a well read fangirl, but that involves the long story of my nosedive into comics in the first place. Long story short, there is a lot of Bombshells merchandise out there, and I wanted to find out if I actually liked the Bombshells before I bought any of it.

Volume 1 of Bombshells covers several introduction stories because there are five main bombshells and then we also have to meet a couple other characters that I’m not entirely sure how to classify at the moment.  Bombshells takes place during World War 2, or definitely sometime in that era (the United States is engaged in war against the Nazis). It starts off with Batwoman, Kate Kane, who is a baseball playing vigilante until she gets recruited by Amanda Waller to be a Bombshell and help win the war. Wonder Woman and the Amazons get tired of their people getting hurt and killed by the bullets and bombs that keep falling on the island during air battles and decide to take matters in their own hands and destroy the planes overhead indiscriminately. Wonder Woman teams up with Mera to rescue a fallen soldier who is sentenced to death because of the crimes of his fellow soldiers. We also meet Super Girl and Star Girl who hail from Russia and are on the run after discovering that their government is lying to them and attempting to trick them into killing their own people who are outspoken against the government. This is barely the tip of the iceberg of the characters and stories that are introduced in this volume.

This volume is hard to digest in terms of the sheer amount of characters and backstory you have to keep track of. I was already familiar-ish with most of the characters so it wasn’t as bad for me because I already had a previous connection with most of the characters. If I hadn’t known anything about any of the characters, it would have been a tough read. Even trying to summarize all of the characters is a struggle because there are just so many. I did enjoy getting to read Zatana’s plotline because she is a character I have never read before and wanted to read and I was given enough to pull me in. At the moment, the characters aren’t interacting with each other very much, but this volume only covers the first six issues and there is a lot in there. I do appreciate where the story has the potential to go and I’m hopeful for the direction it will take. It reads like a novel that someone attempted to put into comic book form.

The art and the costumes are fantastic. I really appreciate the 40’s feel to it that everything has and because it takes the characters in a fresh direction. I get why this book has been so commercialized; the looks that each character has are just very throw back, retro in an oddly empowering way. I am looking forward to reading more of the story to see if the characters do get more depth and to see how they interact with each other in the future. I would recommend this comic to anyone who is curious about what the fuss is about, who has also read at least a couple of comics about any of the main Bombshells because I think a little background character knowledge is helpful in following the storyline.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars.

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Review: “One Piece: Baroque Works 22-24” by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece: Baroque Works 22-24 by Eiichiro Oda

A review by Hannah.

One Piece was started in 1997 and is continuing today. There are 81 volumes to date, which is why this series of reviews will be broken up into three volume books. From now on there will be spoilers for what happens in the rest of the series. You have been warned…

Sir Crocodile is gloating to Princess Vivi over his victory in the royal courtyard. The battle has started, King Cobra is under his control, and just in case the battle stops, he has a bomb hidden near the town square, set to go off in 10 minutes. Koza, the rebel leader, overhears this and attempts to warn all the fighters in the battle below. Baroque Works shoots him before he can get the word out. So it’s up to Princess Vivi and the Strawhat crew to find and defuse the bomb before everybody is killed. Luffy shows up after figuring out Sir Crocodile’s weakness. Ms. All Sunday has King Cobra take her to the Tomb of the Royal Family.

Ms. All Sunday finds what she is looking for and King Cobra figures out that she is really Robin Nico, an archeologist who has been wanted by the Marines since she was eight years old. Luffy defeats Sir Crocodile in less than 10 minutes and Alabasta’s Civil War ends in a cleansing rain. After the dust clears the Marines surround the island nation and are searching for The Going Merry. Princess Vivi says goodbye to the Strawhats and volume 23 ends with the most iconic images of the series.

Volume 24 opens with Robin Nico joining the Strawhats. She earns the acceptance of the crew right before an ancient ship falls on them. Turns out there is an entire ocean in the sky with islands floating on the clouds. Luffy decides that they will go up there, so the crew goes to Jaya, the closest island on the regular sea, to get some answers.

If you do not get at least a little misty eyed during Vivi’s goodbye speech, there is a chance that you might not be human. She went through so much with the Strawhats, became a part of the crew, and all she wants is to know that she will still be their friend if they ever meet again. The crew can’t tell her anything, because the Marines are listening and they don’t want to get Vivi in trouble, so they show her. Princess Vivi of Alabasta is now and forever a member of the Strawhat crew.

This is not the last we’ll see of the Alabasta gang. Starting with chapter 35 (Vol. 4) the chapter titles are also a “where are they now” story for important characters, usually people who show up again later in the series. It starts with Capt. Buggy(vol. 2) and crew, then it’s Kolby and Helmeppo (vol. 1), next is Django (vol. 4) and currently Hachi (vol. 8). This is great, because it shows just how small the world is (many of the characters run into other characters from different story arcs) and it allows characters to return to the main story in a natural way.

Translation wise, it seems like it went stagnant. Zoro is still spelled Zolo, Luffy still says “Gum gum” before their attacks, and a devil’s fruit power that changes a man into a jackal is called the “Mutt Mutt Fruit.” I personally would have gone with “Canine Canine Fruit.”

I really like how the crew reacts to the transition of Vivi to Robin. Princess Vivi is an optimistic, driven, and self sacrificing girl. Robin is an older, disillusioned career criminal. They are opposites in just about every way possible, but both fit in well with the Strawhat crew for practically the same reasons. Sanji fell instantly in love with both of them. Nami was motivated by greed. Ussop, Luffy, and Chopper had a new playmate. Zoro remains aloof.

These are the volumes of One Piece that made me fall madly in love with the series. They show everything wonderful about the series. Action, character development, jokes, and incredibly satisfying sucker punches.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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Review: “Orchid, Volume 1” by Tom Morello, Scott Hepburn and Dan Jackson

A review by Courtney.

I received this comic in a box from Comic Bento during the month that the fabulous Gail Simone curated the box and it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. From the description on the back of the book, it sounded like a comic I would love and I was excited to read it, I just hadn’t. So I finally picked it up to see if Dark Horse comics could produce something other than Firefly and Buffy that I would love.

Orchid is a dark dystopian comic that takes place after global warming has occurred. The ocean levels have risen, animals have evolved into terrifying beasts, the wild is now truly wild and people have to fight to survive. Class is a defining feature in this story; the rich are safe and because technology no longer works, the poor have become slaves because who else is going to do all the brute labor? The story starts with introducing Simon who is a member of the rebellion against the upper class. Simon is in possession of a magical mask that imbues the wearer with strength, however if the person is unworthy of the mask, it makes them implode. The mask was worn by the previous leader of the rebellion and is a symbol of hope. Simon’s group of rebels is captured and the leader of their group, Anzio, is taken prisoner for information and to be killed as a message later. Simon escapes with the mask and is on the run while trying to figure out how to rescue Anzio.

While running, Simon meets a whore named Orchid and her mother and little brother. Orchid is trying to work and steal to help her family survive so her brother can have a better life. Through a turn of events Orchid, Simon, and the little brother end up captured by slavers, which Simon swears is a good thing because it will get them where they need to go and they can help the rebellion. Orchid does not really care about helping the rebellion, only about getting free with her little brother; but since part of Simon’s plan involves escaping from the people who have enslaved them, she helps him. The story sets up a quest, a classic tale of the poor wanting to dethrone the rich so everyone can have a better life and so forth.

I didn’t really like this comic and that bummed me out because I wanted to like it. Orchid has a lot of the elements I generally lean towards when looking for comics or new stories to read; it’s dystopian and there’s a couple cool female characters. However, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and the story wasn’t written in a compelling enough way to keep me interested or wanting more. The story felt like one that has been told, and there just weren’t enough new elements and it wasn’t told in an interesting enough way to keep me reading. The twists that the story tried to keep me interested with were all things I’ve read that have been done better in other comics. The cover to this book looks amazing, and is something I could have easily bought in a store, however the story after it and art inside just fell flat. I would only recommend this book to people over the age of 18 because the material the story covers is dark, violent and graphically sexual.

My rating: 1.5/5 stars.

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Review: “Fight Club 2” by Chuck Palahniuk and David Mack

"Fight Club 2" by Chuck Palahniuk and David Mack

A review by Domoni.

Fight Club 2 picks up 10 years after the original ended. Sebastian, the nameless narrator from the first book, is now married to Marla and they have a son. Living a basic 9 to 5 lifestyle, full of work, family and psychiatric medications, his fight club days are long past. Marla however feels like their love life has gotten a little boring, so she has been switching out some of his meds for placebos. A little bit of Tyler Durden in the night keeps her happy. But crazy slips easily through the cracks. Tyler is back and up to no good.

Many people in the world, not just Marla, were out to bring Tyler back from Sebastian’s subconscious. Tyler Durden is a genetic mental illness that can spread apparently. He is still plotting the end of the world and can control not just Sebastian, but Sebastian and Marla’s son as well. When he kidnaps the boy the parents go separate ways to find him.

Sebastian returns to the club. He infiltrates the group to find out where Tyler is holding his son and what his plans are. Marla goes back to a support group. She connects with a group of kids with Progeria and manipulates them into becoming her own tiny aged army. When the boy is located and Tyler’s plan to create his own sort of Noah’s ark comes out, will they save the planet?

So this sequel is in graphic novel form, which I was excited about. Reading it in the serials will probably be more difficult than the full omnibus edition though, because this book is kind of a mess. I was very let down by the chaos and the poor storyline. The writer injecting himself in such an odd way and addressing his readers dislike of the series was even more odd.

Even discussing the book is difficult as it was all over the place and chaotic to read. I did not enjoy it and doubt I will return for the proposed fight club 3. The last portion of the omnibus edition contains some interesting art and bits from the original as well as conversations about the planning of the books and was somewhat interesting to read through.

The art style was very impressive and my favorite part of the book. I enjoyed the line work and the watercolor dividers. I wish the story had held up as well as the graphics.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

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