Meh?

WatchmenWatchmen by Alan Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Chapter 1

Wild colour scheme! So what do we have here? Drop from a high building? Was he pushed? Murder? Burglary? Who knows!

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It‘s colourful. Weirdly so. People are unlikeable and mostly nasty. Rorschach is despicable.
A murder mystery with forcefully retired superheroes?

Chapter 2 next…

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The Empire of Pajan…

The Complete OkkoThe Complete Okko by Hub
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cycle of Water ★★★★☆

Okko the ronin heads a small group of demon hunters… Noburo, a mysterious giant who hides his face behind a red oni mask, and the whimsical monk Noshin, the saké lover with the power to summon and commune with the spirits of nature.

The young fisherman Tikku enlists the group’s help in finding his sister, the geisha Little Carp, who was kidnapped by pirates…

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Pretty cool. The beginning was confusing, but the plot developed quite nicely and I like the very colourful artwork. I was satisfied with the story, including the cliffhanger.

At the end, Tikku joins Okko, Noburo and Noshin on their travels, to hunt (their personal) demons…

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I wonder, what Noburo hides under that mask?

The Cycle of Earth ★★¾☆☆

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Takes a little longer to get going. And there is a lot of traveling from one monastery to the next and the next and the next…. which is actually quite amusing.

The story telling is too wordy and the artwork is sometimes really tiny. I lost interest in the story towards the end. The bad guys were nicely evil, but it was all a bit pointless.

The Cycle of Air Part One ★★★★☆

Ok, that was not confusing at all….

The Cycle of Air Part Two ★★★★½

The boys are not having a good time. Appendages are lost. Ropes are tied. Hm. The plot was good. Nice action, some mystery, some humour, something shocking. Not sure I really got the ending. Why so happy?

The Cycle of Fire Part One ★★★☆☆

Ok. Not sure if it was me or if that story was a little allover the place?

The Cycle of Fire Part Two ★★★½☆

Continuation of the previous issue. The art is still nice, the changing POVs do not make it easy to keep track of what is going on.

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The Cycle of Fire is basically a major conspiracy story. Smartly done actually, once you figure it out.

The Cycle of Emptiness Part One ★★★★☆
The Cycle of Emptiness Part Two ★★★½☆

Backstory! Interesting! And as in the previous issues quite a bit of gratuitous violence.

Finally done. Hm. There was closure to it all, the loose ends were tied up. The artwork was good. Unfortunately the characters were pretty unlikeable and the main character Okko was a pretty horrible person. Did he really want or find redemption? Not sure. What am I to make of that last panel showing his face?

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Comic to book adaptation

Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1 by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Comic adaptation of the first Mercy THompson novel, Moon Called.

After reading Homecoming, I said I wouldn‘t read another of these comic adaptations. Yet here I am. It was free with Kindle Unlimited. I stumbled across it, when getting a new copy of the novel. It does ok, as comic-to-book adaptations go. It‘s pretty true to the story and ticks off all the important plot points.

The art is nothing special. Adam looks odd.

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Here is Bran…

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Anatomic details are often not well done. The hands are too long or to stiff, they all look as if they are wearing eye shadow and are too androgynous for my taste. The coyote and the wolves in motion are just not done very well…

If you‘re a completionist and want to read this, it‘s ok for fans of the series. Or for a quick introduction into the series… Other than that not recommended.

Oh, and the extra story is drawn by another artists and, well…. not very good? However, it gives us an insight into the beginnings of the Alpha & Omega spin-off, as we get to meet Justin.

Time-line for the “Mercyverse”:
http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/t…

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Very cool stuff…

BLAME! Vol. 2BLAME! Vol. 2 by Tsutomu Nihei
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here is my chaotic step by step ramble…

::LOG.10:: THE NETSPHERE
Actual, traditional story telling! We meet Cibo again. Maybe in an earlier timeline? And after a little backstory we come full circle to the end of the previous chapter. A bit difficult to tell the characters apart, they all pretty much have the same face.

The Administration… The ruling level of the Netsphere.

::LOG.11:: SAFEGUARDS
I think I like the artwork better than in the first volume. It‘s probably the same and has just grown on me.

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The city grows… what is with all the phallic, turd-shaped and drippy, goey things? Yuk?

Other than that, pretty cool looking.

::LOG.12:: STORAGE KING
Very Matrix-like, I keep waiting for Mr. Smith to pop out of the woodworks.

And then there is this whole I, Robot-thing…

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… and a litte H. R. Giger…

Well, that was very, very good!

::LOG.13:: ELECTRO FISHERS
An in between chapter, going places…

::LOG.14:: PLANTERS
Meeting new people, finding mysterious passages… eep…

Some great spreads in these last two chapters!

::LOG.15:: AWAKENING
Oh, shoot! Well, that was not good… on the other hand, what is going on with Kyrii?

I like this story! This is a lot more interesting and suspenseful than the first collected edition!

::LOG.16:: THE ATTACK
::LOG.17:: LANGUAGE MATRIX
::LOG.18:: ANNIHILATION
Great action, I like the plot. Exciting! Great panels…

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::LOG.19:: THE BACKUP WORLD
Think of the last part of The Matrix! And Tron. And a reveal that I had half expected already anyway. Still, good stuff. Oh, and colour!

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Wow, what an ending.

::LOG.20:: RESTRICTION LIFTED

Wow, what an ending. Wait, I wrote that already…

Ok, sorry for this weird non-review. I decided to consider the first master edition as set-up. A confusing, mostly plotless set-up. This made totally up for it. Loved it.

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Melancholy Manga

PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 001PLUTO: Urasawa x Tezuka, Volume 001 by Naoki Urasawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Manga, recommended by a friend. Definitely not what I expected. European setting, robots, a murder mystery, a bit of a superhero feel, a bit of crime noir. Interesting.

Act 1 : “Mont Blanc” (モンブラン)

A world were robots are part of everyday life, apparently mostly fulfilling service positions in society. A human is murdered and things unfold from there.

The first few panels are in colour and then we switch to black and white.

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Act 2 : “Gesicht” (ゲジヒト)

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We are exploring what an A.I. might experience, feel, dream… This is not bad.

Act 3 : “Brau 1589” (ブラウ1589)

Gesicht is a very likable character. And tragic—being a robot, but as an A.I. being so sad about the circumstances of his being.

We learn the meaning behind the name of this Manga! Interesting… ominous! Foreboding!

Nice build-up of suspense and tension. Well done.

Act 4 : “North No. 2 (Part 1)” (ノース2号前)

A future world. Robots have evolved. Humans… not so much.

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Pretty tragic plot.

Act 5 : “North No. 2 (Part 2)” (ノース2号中)

Continuation of North‘s storyline in Scotland. I wonder where this is taking us and how it relates to the murder case and Gesicht?

Act 6 : “North No. 2 (Part 3)” (ノース2号後編)

Conclusion to the Norse/North #2 story. Now I know how this relates. Chapter 4 to 6 are another good piece of story telling.

Act 7 : “Brando” (ブランド)

The landscapes in the last three chapters looked a litte wishy-washy. Here we immediately come across some lovely detail…

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Nice little story again, making robots appear human and more accessible. Followed by a little cliffhanger and a rather abrupt ending. Good post scriptum.

Bottom line, good story telling. Quiet introspection alternates with action and noise. Overall it made me feel melancholy.

Still pondering the artwork. It definitely has its moments. I am pretty sure I will continue this at some point.

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Walking Dead behind bars

The Walking Dead Vol. 3: Safety Behind BarsThe Walking Dead Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third volume is set in the prison — I am to lazy to check if the third season of the TV show follows that timeline. And I can‘t really remember the TV show well anyway. Which is good, as everything that happens here is a surprise. Tyreese for example. Oh my bleeding mind! And the two girls! Quite an emotional roller coaster.

I am not enamoured with the artwork. I am still pining for the art of the first volume. But every now and then some very good panels pop up that I really like. I just wish it all looked this good more consistently…

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Some pretty gruesome scenes in this one.

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Manga!

BLAME! Vol. 1BLAME! Vol. 1 by Tsutomu Nihei
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Manga! Black and white! Off to explore new things…

I did not like most of this comic a lot. Mostly, because it lacked a recognizable storyline for me. It seemed to be issue after issue of showing the main character Kyrii climbing up inside some kind of gigantic metallic structure, meeting various of its inhabitants on each new levels and being chased and fired at by equally unrecognizable bad guys. And I couldn‘t even figure out, who or what those bad guys are. Or the good guys. Plus Kyrii was very one-dimensional, with no personality at all. Nothing to relate or to root for.

Good art, sometimes very good art. And sometimes art that was so chaotic that I couldn‘t recognize at all, what I was looking at.

So a very mixed bag at a 2+ star level for most of this edition. This only changed for me in the last two issues. Story telling! Motivation! Human interaction! I liked those two issues a lot and they bumped up my rating to four stars. I might even continue with the next volume!

Here is my blow for blow commentary of each issue. Sorry, it all got away from me somehow, it‘s really long…..:

::LOG.1:: NET TERMINAL GENE
I am confused. I don‘t have experience with Manga, so I guess I will have to get used to the story telling. Luckily I knew that Mangas are read from right to left—at least something.

::LOG.2:: THE MEMORY OF LAND
Yep, still confused. The artwork is manga-ish, I guess. Every now and then a panel is of higher resolution and quite pretty. More often I have a hard figuring out what I am looking at.

::LOG.3:: TECHNOMADS
This set-up reminds me of the Matrix a little. Hiding away from and being chased by creatures that are oddly organic, but with mechanical components. Mentioning of a Net. It‘s all very mysterious.

::EX-LOG::
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::LOG.4:: THE ADMINISTRATION
Our hero (?) Kyrii is wandering through a massive structure, maybe underground? Moving up through „stratas“, meeting other humans, mostly humans, various aggressive creatures of some sort. There has been „a mutation“ and he is searching for genetic material from before that mutation. Not sure, who the good guys are.

::LOG.5:: ESCAPE
::LOG.6:: SILICON LIFE
::LOG.7:: THE BUILDERS
Finally, a little story telling to give context to what the art is showing…

::EX-LOG:: ABANDONED NEST
Coloured artwork, that‘s a nice change!

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::LOG.8:: THE CLUSTER ★★★★★
Now this I liked A LOT! Finally an issue with a proper plot! Build-up, action, an actual storyline I could relate to…

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::LOG.9:: BIO-ELECTRIC, INC. ★★★★★
Also good. Introduction of an interesting new character, who feels as if it might stock around.

So, the first seven issues were not my thing. But this one and the previous one tell a story and actually made me want to continue.

Various other stuff:

Watch this Netflix trailer after reading the comic. It is very cool, but contains spoilers: https://youtu.be/hwy806RC2-Q

Interview: Knights of Sidonia Mangaka Tsutomu Nihei
https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/inte…

Found via the above interview:
An interesting Manga website with free weekly chapters of various Manga series, with links to comiXology, no less! Very cool!
https://kodanshacomics.com/simulpubs/

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