Akira (film)
Akira (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m re-watching Akira again, for the first time after having seen the first part of Megazone 23. It’s interesting to compare Megazone 23 Part 1 and Akira. Both came out within 3 years of each other – Megazone 23 in 1985, the year I was born, and Akira in 1988. Both have similar leads – biker punks who get in over their heads with sinister government conspiracies. Both series have hawkish military figures who overthrow the elected government in a coup, and both figures are certainly antagonists. However, it’s interesting to see how in Megazone 23, the military figures are clearly evil, while in Akira, the Colonel’s actions are given a stronger justification.

 

This is kind of a spoiler for Megazone 23, so don’t read further if you’re worried about having the story spoiled:
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I have a manga review that’s actually topical for Valentine’s Day next week.

Hayate the Combat Butler, Vol. 7

Hayate the Combat Butler, Vol. 7 by Kenjiro Hata

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whenever I’ve had a rough day, and I feel like I can’t remember the last time I laughed, one of the manga or anime I turn to, in order to lighten my spirits is Hayate the Combat Butler. The blend of oddball comedy and reverentially referential humor, along with a willingness to just chip away at that fourth wall blends together well to make an enjoyable comic, and the fact that the characters are incredibly likable really helps to keep me coming back in a way that TV shows like Family Guy, which also relies on referential humor, fails to do. (more…)

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Volume 2The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Volume 2 by Eiji Otsuka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery service is a very interesting manga to describe, in terms of being a horror manga that contains elements of the supernatural, but is ultimately bases its horror out of what people do to each other, then it does with the actions of the restless dead – though those elements are there. (more…)

(Originally Published on Goodreads)

King of Thorn, Volume 2King of Thorn, Volume 2 by Yuji Iwahara

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This volume is causing the series to risk becoming cluttered, from a plot standpoint. Coming into this volume, the plot had the main driving conflict of “How do these characters, which are almost all infected with a disease that could kill them, survive in this post-apocalyptic world with massive thorny plants that have consumed everything, and freaking dinosaurs?” (more…)

Red Hot Chili Samurai Vol. 1Red Hot Chili Samurai is a manga that feels like it’s not sure what it wants to be. The manga follows samurai Kokaku Sento as he fights various criminals in rural Japan during the Shogunate. Kokaku’s strength and weakness is his dependance on hot peppers, which he eats regularly, and which strengthen him, like Popeye.

Like Kenshin, Kokaku and his comrades, bespectacled Ento, ninja manservant Shou, and girly-girl of action (if that makes any sense) Ran refrain from killing at all times, even if by all rights it doesn’t make sense for them to do so. However, like Samurai Champloo, the series is filled with anachronisms. Ran is introduced wearing spike-heeled knee-high leather boots with stockings and garters under her kimono. Kokaku is also introduced to a young kid who invents the Polaroid camera, the squirt-gun (modeled after the Colt M1911A), and aerosol pepper spray. Additionally, Kokaku wears a distinctive tattoo, something that would have been taboo for a historical samurai.

With the various chapters in this volume, they all have a comedic tone. Even when Kokaku is infiltrating a brothel which is drugging the women with opium (and occasionally over-dosing them), and whose owners are responsible for several murders, the tone of the story tries to stay incredibly light. This leads to a cognitive dissonance, particularly when it comes to more serious subject matter. Hopefully later volumes will take things slightly more seriously, but this volume is simply average. It’s not great, not terrible, just average.

Get Ultimate Spider-Man: Carnage at Amazon.com

So, it’s now time to review the Ultimate Universe’s take on the member of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery I hate the most. I’m going to say this right now. I hate Carnage. The character is completely unoriginal. He was created to be a darker-and-edgier version of Venom, who was in turn meant to be a darker and edgier version of Spider-Man. The character has essentially no depth. He kills people for no reason. That’s it. He breaks out of where he’s held, kills people until he’s stopped, and wash, rinse, repeat.

Thus, when I picked up this volume, I had my doubts about how they could make this story interesting. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised by how they did succeed. Basically, they managed to pull it off by not directly attaching the character to Venom, but instead to Curt Connors, aka The Lizard. Connors has been, in my opinion, one of the better members of Spider-Man’s supporting cast. This is, for a large part, because he’s a tragic figure. He experiments on himself  in an attempt to develop a way for amputees to re-grow limbs, and ends up turning himself into a lizard-man. Everything the character does is meant with the best intentions, as opposed to villainous figures like Doc Ock and the Green Goblin. (more…)

Punisher: War Zone movie poster.
Get The Punisher: War Zone from Amazon.com

I have a love-hate relationship with Frank Castle. As someone who got into the pulps, especially characters like The Shadow, before he really got into comics, I never really had a problem with a comic book character who killed criminals. Thus, the Punisher appealed to me a little, as the character had a lot in common with characters like The Shadow, in terms of being a grim or mostly silent vigilante who gunned down gangsters. While I recognized that he had to coexist with various Marvel Super Heroes, I’d kind of figured out the sort of “rule of tiers” that the Marvel U operated on, and I figured that Spidey was generally more occupied with the more dangerous super-villains that Frank couldn’t go up against.

The hate part of the relationship comes from the writer whose currently in charge of writing the Punisher in the Marvel Max books-which is when they’re keeping the character at his street-level feel (sort of). I’m referring to Garth Ennis. Garth Ennis writing style feels like he goes for the shock value too often, and he goes for the low brow too often. His writing style also gives me the impression that he hates super heroes. No work shows this better than his run on The Punisher before he went to the Marvel Max version. After the first arc of the Punisher (Welcome Back Frank, which I almost liked), he proceeded to take a dump on every Marvel character he could get away with. He had Frank use Spider-Man as a human shield for The Resurrected Russian when Spidey could have pretty easily taken him. Frank blew Wolverine’s face off and ran him over with a bulldozer. (more…)

The Cover art for Issue 1 of Ultimate Six
Get Ultimate Six from Amazon.com

I’ve been catching up on my Ultimate Spider-Man, for reasons various and sundry. The volumes that haven’t been reviewed at Bureau42, I’ve reviewed here. However, this storyline – the introduction of the Ultimate Universe’s version of the Sinister Six, has been reviewed there. Thus, I’m taking my review of this storyline to my blog here, so I can kind of review it in my own little way, with a bit of an aside about the state of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. This review contains some spoilers.

First off, I enjoy the Ultimate Spider-Man part of the Ultimate Universe, but it’s the only part of the Ultimate Universe that I like. Mark Millar’s work rubs me wrong in almost every respect. Ultimate X-Men turned me off the moment they decided that Ultimate Cable was future Wolverine (as if Wolverine wasn’t over-used enough). However, Ultimate Spider-Man has managed to balance Peter Parker’s angst with the more light-hearted face that Peter puts forward as Spider-Man in a way that the comics in the main Marvel U haven’t, for reasons that I can best tell are related to Editorial fiat. (more…)

Renee Montoya IS The Question
Renee Montoya IS The Question

So, recently, I’ve been catching up on my podcasts, particuarly iFanboy, and particularly their episode on Final Crisis. I read comic books, and I like Superhero comics, but often times it’s the lower tier characters who capture my attention. The Green Arrows, the Deadpools, the Booster Golds of the world. For a moderate part, because it’s a little tricky to get into the big heroes and also around the time I was getting back into comics I wasn’t too into the direction the Bat-titles were going at the moment, I never quite got into Superman, and Wonder Woman never really was my thing. I like the Marvel stuff too, but also around the time I started getting back into comics (and getting a pull box started and so forth), Civil War had begun, and I wanted to see how it turned out before I anted back in – consequently, after the Iron Fascist won, I decided not to delve too deeply into the Marvel U (sticking with just Deadpool), and I went more deeply into the DC universe. However, I went with the smaller characters – Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold. I had JLA on my pull list, but it didn’t come out regularly enough that I could follow an arc – it seemed to be coming out quarterly, so I dropped it.

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