Category: series


I’m cutting it close on this one too, but I’ve been really excited to do my review of this issue. It might be my favorite yet. So, without further ado, here’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue 3. Enjoy!

Issue 3 What Dreams May Come cover

Knowing they would lose, the Ghostbusters fought the Schrechgespenst. They measured everything they had against him to try and save their city and the world. They fell short, were trapped in their own worst nightmares. When he’d had enough of their fear, he let them go. They weren’t even enough of a threat to keep trapped.

Three comics in and we’ve hit the point where our heroines start building back to fight the monster. It starts at as close to rock bottom as we’ve seen the team. They lost so completely that the bad guy just turned them loose and they’re still shaken from their personal nightmares. It’s expected at this point in the arc, but there’s a brilliance to the fact that it’s Erin trying to rally the other Ghostbusters. Erin, who’s terrified of being not enough, of being judged and found wanting, of so many things, is the one trying to get the rest of the team back into the fight. Likewise it works fantastically that Holtzmann, the one who couldn’t be kept down by putting a guy in a coma or her only prototype being run over by a train, is the most flattened by this.

I’m really enjoying the character work here. It feels like a good continuation of the characters from the movie without leaving them stagnant feeling.  They also don’t just get broken down to the nervous one, the mad scientist, the everywoman, and the true believer, which I appreciate greatly. Even Kevin is entertaining here.

Things of course are quickly worked out because it is way too soon to give up and the team gets back to it. Holtzmann has a gadget to work on. Abby, Patty, and Erin go back to researching Dr. Kreuger. It makes for really good set up as the What Dreams May Come arc heads into its second half. And it does that without ditching the humor that the last two comics have had.

The art has, of course stayed fantastic. Valentina Pinto’s work on the colors is especially good. Her work boosts the feel of both the action scenes and the creepy bits. Even if I wasn’t as into the story as I am, it would be worth the cover cost for the art.

So, yeah, volume three maintains the good bits of the arc so far while also promising more to come. I’m excited and super ready for the next issue. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue three earns a five out of five. If you haven’t read it yet, this one’s worth tracking down.

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I am cutting it so, so close here. As it turns out I might not be as over being sick as I’d thought and I’ve been more than kind of exhausted all day. It’s all good though. I really want to talk about spoiler-y bits for this one, but this isn’t the place for it. So, here’s Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones. Enjoy!

FNaF The Twisted Ones cover

It’s been a year since they went back to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. It’s been a year since a serial killer in a rabbit suit nearly killed them all. Time has passed and Charlie’s friends have moved on with their lives. Her friends have, but recently a body has been found with disturbingly familiar injuries. Sometimes the past doesn’t want to stay buried. The restaurant has been closed for years but evil is open for business.

Starting out a year after The Silver Eyes, Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones gives us a lot of possibilities but has a tendency towards not following through on them. There’s some really cool set up for character study with Charlie taking robotics courses and working towards building what seems like a learning artificial intelligence. There were threads that could have easily taken that to showing our heroine as a mirror to both her father and also William Afton, the villain.  Or more could have been done with the connection she felt with her long lost, most likely long dead, twin Sammy. The murder plot could have done with more focus as long as the authors focused in on one thread for any length of time.

The Twisted Ones did a number of things that I had wanted from the first book. It maintains the cheesy horror movie feel of the first book while also feeling much less anchored to the games, both good things. The cast not knowing just what is causing these new animatronics to hunt people and needing to figure that out was a cool concept.  The cast is a lot smaller, so everyone gets more screen time. It’s a lot of possibilities that were improvements but could have been more.

More page time doesn’t necessarily mean more development. That might have actually taken a slide. We still focus mostly on Charlie and what’s going on with her now that she’s been back to Freddy’s and remembered her twin. She’s into robotics, which worries her friend and roommate Jessica, because she doesn’t want Charlie to fall down the same rabbit hole her father or Afton did. She might be into returning love interest John, but there’s also a missing twin and killer robots, so maybe not. John is definitely into her, but also there’s killer robots and she might be more interested in what’s going on with them than dating. Or class. Or really anything else at the moment. What I’m saying is that Charlie wound up a bit flat and, as a consequence, so did a lot of The Twisted Ones’ run time. I did appreciate the other characters’ reactions to Charlie’s actions throughout, those rang a lot more true.

The thing is, I didn’t dislike The Twisted Ones. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read recently and it was really easy to get tired of due to feeling really padded and monotonous. But the cheese was so real, it was like a B-movie when it’s all over. I’m left more interested in the third book in the series due to having ideas about how Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley are going to make it work. Plus, it had a really excellent final line.

So, all told, this isn’t a good book, but it was also entertaining enough that I’m interested in the next one. The characters are a little flat, particularly our heroine, but I’m invested enough to want to see what happens to them. So I’m giving Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones a three out of five.

Posting this later than I’d like, both in the day and in the month. But hey, January’s the door to a new year so it totally makes sense to post this as it closes. Right? Right. This one’s thanks to the folks at Tor.com, here’s Beneath the Sugar Sky. Enjoy!

Beneath the Sugar Sky cover

An impossible girl landed in the turtle pond outside of Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Rini came to Earth to find her mother, Sumi, and take her back home. The problem is, Sumi was killed long before she could have had Rini and logic is quick to realize that an impossible girl shouldn’t exist. With a world to save and her existence on the line, Rini will have to find a way to put her mother back together. Luckily for her the students of the Home for Wayward Children are used to quests and ready to help.

Seanan McGuire is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers and Beneath the Sugar Sky is a really good example of why. This is a solidly written story with great character work and really interesting stakes. It is something I enjoyed so much that it’s actually really hard to write about because I just want to fangirl about how much fun I had with it.

So let’s start with the characters. Unlike Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which focused on two particular wayward children and their trip through a door, Beneath the Sugar Sky widens that focus to a number of students both new and old. This was a thing that I wasn’t sure on before I started reading, because I haven’t gotten to read the first book yet, I didn’t know Kade or Christopher or Nadya. But McGuire does a fantastic job of introducing them here through Cora’s perspective. There’s a sort of easy familiarity here that works really well.

The setting is interesting on a number of levels. Baseline, I like the idea of so many disparate worlds that can be accessed by the right people. The storytelling potential of that is awesome and those same people winding up back on Earth looking for a way home is a fantastic story hook. McGuire uses both amazingly here, both showing us a couple of the worlds and the sheer longing the cast has when faced with something close to theirs. It makes for some really good moments and some really great world building exposition.

The flipside to that potential and the possibility of characters going back to their world is that I’m very used to protagonists being fairly set.  It took a little adjusting to this new cast and the idea that characters might drop in and out of the story because of the doors. I like it, but it did feel weird for a good chunk of the book. It also left me wanting to see similar stories done for other characters though, which is a definite plus.

I knew less than half way through Beneath the Sugar Sky that it was a five out of five book. It made me want to jump to the first book and read the series again as soon as I finished it, so that I could see what came first and then re-see the second book and this one in that context. So, yeah, I had a lot of fun and really look forward to the next book in the series.

I had this written last week I was ahead, and then I opened the file and wasn’t really happy with what I’d written. I did a rewrite and still feel like I could do better if only I’d ever seen the original Ghostbusters movie, but that’s a thing for later. Anyway, here’s the trade paperback of Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call. Enjoy!

Ghostbusters 101 Everyone Answers the Call cover

The Ghostbusters are kicking off an internship program and, in addition to that, a day camp program. Why not, it’ll help them make a little money and find promising new recruits? It seems like a perfectly reasonable plan until their interns cause an accident that starts merging their New York with the New York of another universe. With another universe come more Ghostbusters ready to answer the call and help prevent reality from collapsing in on itself.

In concept I really like Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call. I like the idea of the Answer the Call Ghostbusters and the classic Ghostbusters meeting up and working together. I like the idea of the contrast between the teams and seeing how their tech compares. This mini-series wasn’t exactly that though. While there was some fun interactions and nifty ideas this felt more interested in the classic Ghostbusters and setting up later comics in the shared universe than in the Answer the Call Ghostbusters. I don’t think this was something the team planned on so much as they were more used to and comfortable with the classic Ghostbusters and so tended to use them more out of habit. That isn’t a knock against the comic in and of itself, I just have no attachment to the classic Ghostbusters and that effected my enjoyment of the comic.

The stage is set when an intern sticks his hand through a dimension door and gets grabbed by a ghost leading to that ghost trying and pull itself back together, thus merging the dimensions. The effects of that dimensional merge aren’t really felt until the third chapter/issue and then the cast gets to know each other. In a longer graphic novel this approach could have worked well and built to the teams working together and learning from each other. This was six issues though, so we get some bits of the teams working together but fast tracked. Classic Ghostbusters have been at this longer and so have more of a grasp on busting ghosts, Answer the Call Ghostbusters are by turns interested in this and bothered by it.

This is where the thing I mentioned earlier comes in. I feel like the team on Ghostbusters 101 wasn’t much interested in the Answer the Call Ghostbusters or didn’t know much about them while writing this. So the Answer the Call Ghostbusters have a tendency towards feeling really flat, kind of like the writer was given a two sentence description of each and just went with that. I know that isn’t entirely fair to Erik Burnam, since he was juggling a pretty huge cast and these are fairly new characters. It still stands that the Answer the Call Ghostbusters can feel like parodies of themselves while the classic Ghostbusters feel a lot more rounded. Holtzmann, I think, probably gets it the worst with teasing from the movie having become a tendency towards out right rudeness and needling people until they’re desperate to get rid of her. Conversely, Patty had her historian aspect ramped up and gets a couple of nice moments related to knowing about the places they visit, so that was pretty cool.

The art here is interesting, it’s very stylized. There’s a level of cartoony-ness here that works in some places, like with the more monstrous ghosts, but then not in others, a lot of the expression work is strange. The character design as a whole is a little odd. There’s a fantastic array of different body types even in crowd clusters, but then there’s something about the faces that I can’t quite put my finger on. The backgrounds tend to be pretty awesome, with really cool detail work. The backgrounds add a lot to the feel of a scene, which is something I’m not entirely used to but appreciate.

There was a bit at the end that was pretty great, showing different possible worlds and iterations of events. I would have liked more stuff like that. Over all though, I’m a little cool on Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call as a finished series. It isn’t bad, just not what I was looking for. It gets a three out of five, mostly for being one of those things that I would have probably enjoyed more if I had just happened across it rather than having spent a few months looking forward to it.

I’m back! A little down to the wire tonight but doing good and very reminded that I adore the Answer the Call Ghostbusters. Going to have to give that a rewatch sometime soon. Anyway, comic review, I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Enjoy!

Issue 2 What Dreams May Come cover

Everything is awful. Dr. Kruger has escaped his house, escaped the Ghostbusters, and is drawing ever more power from the people of New York. Things have never looked this grim. The Ghostbusters need a plan or, better yet, a weapon capable of stopping a rampaging class 7. All they have to fear is a spirit wielding fear itself. Sometimes though, sometimes, fear is enough.

Issue two of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come is a fantastic follow up to issue one while still mostly being build up. That’s kind of to be expected though, this is the second of five issues so we’re going to see our characters hit a wall so that they can build to the triumphant finally. It works really well because this is where we’re shown just how powerful Dr. Kruger is.

This issue is the moment where we get the impact of how big a threat the villain, but it also gives us insight into our heroines. I have so, so many words about how much I love the nightmare sequences here. The sheer fact that we get these bits of how the Ghostbusters react to their fears and is a great thing for me, this is made even better by how the fears themselves are handled within the nightmares.

The art and colors here are expressive and fantastic, Corin Howell and Valentina Pinto do a great job. There’s this quality of not quite cartoony-ness to the art that results in a lot of nifty reactions without making the characters feel off model, for lack of a better term. Things are exaggerated when it fits the tone of a scene, most notably the nightmares, but otherwise is kept in the realm of regular human facial expressions. Dr. Kruger is a notable exception to this, being as he is a ghost and doesn’t have to follow physical rules. Even then though, the art for him does a great job of making him that much more threatening and other worldly while still maintaining a set form.

I am really excited to see where we go from here and how the rest of the What Dreams May Come storyline unfolds. I’ve read this comic something like seven times since picking it up earlier today and I’m still bouncing. This has been one of those reading experiences that I’ve enjoyed on all levels and am super ready for the next part, we’re getting into the meat of the story and I am ready. So, yeah, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue two gets a five out of five. It was worth the wait.

So, this was meant to go up yesterday, unfortunately I was dead and did not manage to be up for much longer than it took to drink some tea. On happier notes, I do have the review. This one’s thanks to the nice folks at First Second here’s Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869. Enjoy!

Castle in the Stars The Space Race of 1869 cover

In search of the fifth element, aether, Claire Dulac flew to the very edge of the stratosphere. She promised her son and her husband that she would return.  But she never did, her hot air balloon disappeared leaving no trace of her behind. A year passed. Her husband, Archibald, was certain she was lost forever, going on with his life as an engineer as best he could. Her son though, Seraphin is certain that there’s still hope. A letter summoning them to Bavaria offers hope, someone’s found her logbook, a king who wants to fly. But with hope comes danger, someone else in the castle is after the secret of aether powered flight.

I’m not a hundred percent sure of how I feel about Alex Alice’s Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869. It is beautifully illustrated and the story has a lot of potential, but then that potential feels a bit mishandled in a lot of spots. It really needed to be slowed down and expanded on to let things feel less rushed.

That’s actually my big issue with the story. There’s a lot of ground to cover here and not enough space for it to be covered in. We get the introduction, Claire takes off on her fateful voyage, Seraphim hasn’t moved past it and is obsessed with aether a year later, then the letter arrives. We get introduced to the main plot and the other two young characters, Hans and Sophie, and the villain. But then the villain’s plot is revealed and we sort of zip from that to the climax of the story and the lead in for the next book.

I feel like that’s definitely to the book’s detriment. The story was interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of pretty well everything from it. This applies especially to the intrigue plot and the parts with Seraphin and the other kids regarding the aether ship. I liked the characters and would have liked to see more of them, but they’re left as mostly sketches instead of being fully realized.

Again though, I feel like the hands down best part of the book is the art. It’s got a soft almost watercolor feel to it. What’s interesting to me is that the art can be either very emotive or super cartoony without either feeling out of place. This is fantastic and not something I’m entirely used to, but I like it and would like to see more art like this in the future.

So, I’m left a bit cool on the actual plot of the story but like the ideas and really like the art. This leaves me in an interesting place where I’m interested in knowing what happens in the next book, but if I miss it then I wouldn’t be too terribly bothered. I want to know the rest, but I’m also a bit concerned that it would feel rushed again. That’s leading me to give this one a three out of five. The story is alright, the ideas are interesting, the art is good, but Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 needs a little more.

Nanoshock

I’m back! This one’s given me a lot to chew on and I’m hoping to work on that in the near future. Courtesy of the awesome folks at Angry Robot, this is Nanoshock. Enjoy!

Nanoshock cover

Riko’s got no clue what she did wrong or what happened to her six months ago. She’s got no clue if she actually sold out Nanji like everyone says she did. Worse, that’s killed her cred and her reputation. With leads colder than diamond steel and nowhere to turn she’s going to have to break every rule she knows to get to the bottom of this. Riko’s in a tight spot. People are after her. Feel sorry for them.

K. C. Alexander’s Nanoshock is the follow up to Necrotech, a violent profane thrill ride of a book that I enjoyed quite a bit. Does it stand up to the previous book? Yes, very much yes. Nanoshock, being a second book, doesn’t have to take its time in the beginning to set up its world. This is very much to its benefit because it lets the story hit the ground running and flow a lot more naturally.

There’s this great sort of interplay of characters in this one. Riko’s not quite back with her old team, but some of them will work with her for Indigo’s sake. A new character, Muerte, plays off of Riko and the other Saints super well. She’s brightly cheerful, nearly playful, which helps lighten up the feel of the book. Indigo is still pretty dour, but we get to see this great dance of trust and distrust and friendship between him and Riko. Even Riko’s pet detective gets built into a more dynamic character. The character work here is awesome. While there are moments where Riko’s actions are impulsive to the point of actively hurting her chances at getting anywhere, those still kind of work. Riko isn’t really working at a hundred percent and has a habit of acting in a very shoot first, let someone else do the thinking way.

I am leaving Malik Reed out of the awesome character work. He isn’t poorly written, though I’m much less inclined to give him slack on his mistakes. He’s still very much my least favorite part of the story. This is a character who is set up as very in control of his world and his situation. He expects perfection from his people and obedience, both of which are things that he should have known better than to expect from Riko. He also seems to make a point of trying to keep Riko out of the loop while she’s working for him. That leads to what can feel like forced conflict between the two. Plus, I got tired of reading about how attractive he is.

Repetition is something of a mixed bag here. More often than not, it works really well to emphasize what’s going on with Riko’s emotions. She’s angry and scared and running on fumes. So a repetition of themes and phrases works really well to keep her human and to keep her actions in context. It can also get clunky though. Certain phrases get used that feel just a little too long for what’s going on. Referring to every “Tom, Dick, and Blow” works well in the context of keeping an eye out for trouble in a club, but less so in the middle of an active fight.

The action scenes were really well done, tense and drawn out where they needed to be and then fast and hard when that fit. The tense scenes contain chunks of character work. That play of feelings and expectations really works to feed into the situation without feeling over done. The scenes that are fast are razor sharp and hit like a punch to the gut. They feel dangerous, not just for side characters but also to Riko herself.

Nanoshock is violent and profane and super fun and I want more.  There’s a lot of stuff here that usually bothers me in books, but it works. Things are seeded very well and pay off in a way that’s super satisfying. Nanoshock gets a five out of five from me. If you can find it and Necrotech, read them.

Ahhhhh, I got this thing read and reviewed in less than a day. I feel wired. So this is the first book in The Essential World of Darkness and seems to be one of the few to have received a print run prior to the omnibus. We’re starting Halloween off with vampires. Enjoy!

Vampire Diary The Embrace cover

Auston Jacobson is many things. A runaway, a pastor’s son, a bartender, but he’s no monster. Not even with the horrible dreams he’s been having lately. The hunting dreams that he remembers so clearly. The ones where he wakes up sweating and aching. He only started the diary because Danya, the cute girl who comes to the bar a lot, suggested it. It gives them something to talk about. But it’s scaring him more and more.

Vampire Diary: The Embrace was written by Robert Weinberg and Mark Rein-Hagen with art by Daniel Thron and Chris Elliott. This book was hard to read, literally difficult to make out what the words on the page said, hard to read. Vampire Diary: The Embrace is the story of a young man coming into his own and then losing it all to something far more dangerous than he could have imagined. The concept and story are both pretty simple and interesting in their own right. I like the idea of a diary style book from the view point of someone being stalked by a vampire, it’s interesting.

Interesting is really the only thing this book really has going for it. The story has a lot of potential, but the writing is really basic and can get super overblown. It gets so bad that it’s funny at points. The concept is solid and it is definitely the kind of thing I would keep in character for a Vampire game, but it doesn’t totally work here because of the protagonist. He’s too much, nothing is just a thing, everything is big and probably leads back to his dad and how bad his dad treated him. The parts with Danya were pretty solid though, mostly because those bits were love song overblown rather than teenage sad poetry overblown.

My big issue with this book is its presentation. The combination of art and text is reminiscent of the blurbs in the World of Darkness source books. It’s super messy though, with art overlaid with text and pages where the lay out breaks the flow and really should have been done better. More thought to how this would affect the reader’s ability to enjoy the story would have been fantastic. Though, part of the layout issues might be that I’m reading a later reprinting rather than the original printing of the book. There are pages here that hurt my eyes to try and decipher with the art and text laid over each other.

I feel like this book would have been a lot better if the art had been more separated from the text. The pages where art covered the text itself hurt my eyes to try and read, thought those pages were also some of the most overblown bits so they may have been meant to be skipped. I’m not entirely sure. I’ve said it a lot but, while there’s a lot of potential to this, the book isn’t good. I’m giving it a two out of five.

I am in fact posting this a couple days late. The comic shop didn’t get their delivery until yesterday and then my car died and I kind of couldn’t write because stress. But that’s all cleared up now and I’ve got words for you all. Not a ton, because I’m still getting used to writing about comics, but words. This is part one of What Dreams May Come. Enjoy!

Issue 1 What Dreams May Come pt 1. cover

The ladies have saved the world, been to another dimension, and now they’re finally back home and ready to get back down to business. Unfortunately, while out on a routine bust something comes home with them. Something hungry and dangerous.

I’ve been waiting for this comic for literal months. This is the comic that I got a pull list again for. Does it stand up to my excitement? Yes, yes it does. But that is hardly a review and I really want to talk about this comic. So, here’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call issue one.

Monthly comic books have always been somewhat difficult for me to review. Given that, by nature, they tend to be short and light on story content. That’s one of the points that issue one does really well for me, Kelly Thompson’s writing does a really good job of both capturing the characters and playing them off each other, something that a new reader or someone who hadn’t seen the movie would need. She also does a fantastic job of setting up the story, giving us plenty of build for our antagonist and an awesome lead in to the rest of the “What Dreams May Come” arc.

The writing is bolstered by Corin Howell’s art, which is emotive and fits the characters really well. There’s also some seriously great atmospheric bits that are improved greatly by Valentina Pinto’s work on the colors. This is seriously one of my favorite comics in a long time for visuals.

This comic leaves me bouncing with excitement, seriously literally bouncing. If you’re a fan of the 2016 movie, you’re going to enjoy this. If you aren’t a fan but enjoy comics, it’s definitely worth checking out. I’m giving it a five out of five, let’s see what next month brings.

So, I’m late again. We didn’t have water for most of the day today, old pipes and all, so most of the day was spend out and about to avoid dealing with that. That aside, I’ve got a review for you all. It’s a fun little comic courtesy of First Second, here’s the first volume of Cucumber Quest. Enjoy!

Cucumber Quest The Doughnut Kingdom

The peaceful Doughnut Kingdom has been conquered by the wicked Queen Cordelia and her minions as part of her plot to resurrect the Nightmare Knight. If she succeeds then the world will be helpless before her. The world needs a hero, a legendary hero at that. Luckily(?) nerdy wizard in training Cucumber’s weird pushy dad has decided that his son will be just the legendary hero that the world needs. So, teamed up with his much more heroic younger sister, Cucumber’s stuck on an epic quest to stop a tyrant and save the day.

Gigi D.C.’s Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom, is an utterly cute comic that gets very tongue in cheek about standard fantasy conventions. Cucumber is told repeatedly that he has to be the legendary hero instead of his sister, because younger sisters are never the hero. The Oracle protector of Dreamside had to look through the window while Cucumber read a letter from his dad to know that he was the right guy. What I’m saying is that it’s great fun to read.

Cucumber Quest reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons in a lot of ways, not a specific one mind but that nostalgic concept. The art is, as previously mentioned, cute as well as being very emotive. Color gets used a lot for impact. I feel like that might be overdone in some places, but it’s also something that didn’t really bother me until I’d already read the comic several times, so there’s that.

The villains manage to walk the line between feeling like an actual threat with Queen Cordelia and being bumbling morons with the BLT Trio. That matches our reluctant hero and the Saturday morning cartoon feel. As does the younger sister character, Almond, the knight in training. She who totally wants to do this adventure thing and fight the villain and be the hero. Part of me wants to compare her to Scrappy Doo, dragging Cucumber along on his adventure because she wants to be there. But she’s more than that. While she does do some bone headed stuff, Almond is basically the driving force of the story because Cucumber wouldn’t do the quest if he was left to his own devices.

Really all I’m left with now is scoring it. Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom gets a five. It’s a quick read and a fun one and I very much look forward to volume two when it comes out.