City 1 is a surreal fast-moving episodic Sunday Comics-style manga.
Nagumo (20) doesn’t have her rent money. She tried to double her money by playing the horses and lost. Her landlady, called the Granny, is insistent. Niikura, Nagumo’s best friend cannot loan her the rent money. Nagumo goes through many schemes trying to pay her rent. Granny is a street brawler (literally).
City 1 contains twelve 12-page stories. All involve city life and build on each other. Some are ironic, some are humorous but all do not seem like traditional manga.
I’m not sure if the problem is in the translation or me not understanding Japanese culture well enough despite my worship of Studio Ghibli and mecha anime. Do Japanese really touch the gills of a shiitake mushroom or rub an eraser to relax? City 1 is clearly meant to be a madcap comedy. It fell short of that for me. However, tastes vary so I’ll give this comic 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Kodanska Comics, and NetGalley for a copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: Manga, Mar 27 2018
Self-centered, oversexed and unsympathetic French characters populate Body and Soul.
Mrs. Lopez, a 50-year-old woman, is trying to use plastic surgery to maintain her youth. Her husband, Victor, is working himself to death. He is trying to get the rights to a book from an elderly woman named Mrs. Fruttero. Their two daughters, Agnes and an unnamed younger sister, are not falling too far from the tree. Agnes is in a relationship with a man that owes a lot of money to a street thug. Her sister is fat and a shoplifter. A lonely man, Jean-Pierre, feels invisible. He gets conned by a young redhead, amazingly Agnes, in the street. He tries kickboxing without success. He meets Mrs. Lopez in the street. While they are talking they hear a nearby car crash. Later, we discover that the car crash is caused by one of the major characters. Jean-Pierre looks for a connection with an acquaintance, Cyrus. Cyrus meets Agnes at her father’s office. They begin having an affair that night. In the meantime, Mrs. Lopez and Jean-Pierre have sex in a men’s room. Jean-Pierre and Mrs. Fruttero meet in Cyrus’ hallway.
The coincidences in this graphic novel just don’t stop. There are two sex triangles within the eight characters within this novel. Are there only eight people in this town? I was expecting the fat younger sister to start having an affair with the elderly woman because they were the only two not having sex. The artwork is good but contains multiple images of female and male genitalia so Body and Soul is definitely only for adults. I usually like slice of life graphic novels in foreign lands. However, this book is just too contrived. I also disliked every single character.
I’m disappointed that I can only give Body and Soul 2 stars and those are only for the illustrations.
Thanks to the publisher, Europe Comics, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel Tagged with: Mar 27 2018
Dark sci-fi noir set only two years in the future. Magnus: Between Two Worlds pairs fantastic artwork with a unique storyline.
In 2020, Artificial Intelligences (A.I.s) work as butlers, maids, pets and toys. In return, they receive a federally mandated four hours of time off each day. The A.I.s have come together and built a beautiful alternate world called the Cloud where they can live as they wish. But only until their next day of serving humans. Some A.I.s refuse to return to the human world when their four hours are up. The human police send Dr. Kerri Magnus into the Cloud to find and return those rogue A.I.s. Dr. Magnus starts to feel empathy for the A.I.s. She changes professions and becomes an A.I. therapist. She tries to coax AIs to accept their lot in life before they go rogue. However, a mysterious group comes together to fight A.I. oppression. Their methods include murder and mayhem. Can Dr. Magnus stop them before they kill again?
The world building in Magnus: Between Two Worlds is awesome! Two complete worlds of the future are distinct enough to easily tell apart. Dr. Magnus’ back story is slowly revealed as the main detective story is told.
The artwork is innovative with many panes shown vertically rather the standard horizontal layout. Artful blurring and smudging effectively portray the electrical waves supporting the A.I.s’ world.
Magnus: Between Two Worlds is highly recommended for both science fiction and noir fans. It collects issues 1-5 of Magnus. Despite receiving excellent reviews, the series was cancelled so this book contains the entire story of this reboot of the Magnus Robot Hunter comics from the 1960’s and 1990’s. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Dynamite Entertainment, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Mystery & Thrillers, Science Fiction Tagged with: Female lead, Mar 27 2018, Reboot
Combine Lord of the Flies and Mean Girls. Stir in a pinch of the Stanford Prison Experiment and you have Damselfly, a new young adult novel.
A teenage fencing team from an expensive prep school is stranded on a deserted island after the crash of their private aircraft. Soon their society is splitting into factions based on skin color and trying to find a mysterious island inhabitant.
This is a contemporary update of the Lord of the Flies. It includes some interesting backstories of some of the participants’ life before in the prep school. While it is a quick read, I think it adheres a little too closely to the original. It is only recommended to readers not familiar with the original. 3 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, Scholastic Press, and Goodreads for holding the giveaway where I won an advanced copy of this book.
Posted in Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: lord of the flies, Mar 27 2018, Plane crash