Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

The creator of Beserk, Kentaro Miura, weaves a new tale whose engine is run by just enough exposition so that something can fight something else. For me, this falls into the Dragon Ball Z-style anime/manga, the subgenre of Shounen – created for boys eight to eighteen years of age. This would also include episodics like Bleach and Naruto. Some of these series are certainly better than others. I’m not a huge fan of DBZ but find Naruto to be enjoyable.

Prison story in an animal kennel is the premise behind Kennel Block Blues. Our hero dog finds himself wrongfully incarcerated in one of the worst maximum security kennels around. He’s also a little nutters, as anytime anything remotely stressful happens, he breaks into song and imagines the world around him as roses and daisies.

Basically this is Santa: Year One with some Siberian lore and shamanism mixed in – which is a pretty cool premise. A village has been under the iron fist of a man wearing a black cloak and hood. No toys, no celebrating, no joy – and, apparently, he’s working upon the whims of another greater, darker power that whispers from the shadows. Who? We don’t know yet. Meanwhile, Klaus, a very buff, Viking-like pre-Santa, is working as a vigilante in town, spreading toys to all the children and being chased around by city guards because of it. He has a white wolf at his side. Even though he’s shown a bit of reluctance, the forest spirits encourage him to continue his self-appointed quest.

An intellectual game of cat and mouse. Chess played by two masters. An unheard of skill, Trine is able to solve all mysteries just by knowing them, versus an assassin with skills and obsessive tendencies that make him very dangerous. How do you trick a person who knows what’s happening just because she knows and how do you use your mystery solving power to outsmart a killer who is freaking clever? This is the story in issue three of Mystery Girl.

Eric Heisserer, the man who will bring the Valiant universe to the silver screen, is a good writer. I like his work, but Lone Wolf 2100’s premise is a mix between an overtly complicated story and a series of ideas that I have seen before. It doesn’t surprise and it only provides brief moments of entertainment.

It feels like it’s been forever since I read Spire #5. This last month has been a long one. As I started to read Issue #6, I found that probably important details in this Miyazaki-inspired, political, fantasy thriller have slipped away. I remember how the previous issue began but not how it ended. It makes me wish there was a bit of a recap on the first page as there’s a lot of stuff happening in this story.

There’s something magical that happens when a story’s heart and talent is in the right place. A certain kind of synchronicity occurs that makes a reader exclaim things out loud as if they were part of the events themselves. I read the first issue of Venus on a whim and enjoyed it. That enjoyment has been enhanced tenfold in the second issue. The story concerns the first group of scientists going to Venus to try and inhabit it, but something goes wrong and they are left stranded and fighting to stay alive every second on their new home planet.

I’ve loved following the twists and turns of Matt Kindt and Scott Kolins’ Past Aways. Matt Kindt is an incredible writer. His Mind MGMT is genuinely superb. Past Aways is smaller scale but has just as many big ideas at play. This, the eighth issue, is one issue away from the end, and I feel disconnected from the now-central action of the story. This could be because the emotional center has suddenly shifted.

When you’re a politician and a demon hands you a gun at the beginning of Issue 3, you can bet it’s going to be put to use . . . but not necessarily in the way you think.

There’s a casual charm to Caitlin R. Kiernan and Daniel Warren Johnson’s Alabastar: the Good, the Bad, and the Bird, and maybe that’s because our hero, Maisie, is very laid back. Her closest friend is a bird with not only a sharp beak but a sharp tongue. Yes, it speaks – and not just in cryptic, “nevermore” phrases. It carries on full conversations with her that only she can hear. I have not read the first Alabastar series, but Maisie has been in mourning the past year, something she may just be getting over, but she carries that malaise around with her. She surrounds herself with death by passing herself off as a medium to the dead with the help of the bird. How this plays out . . . well, you’ll have to read the issue.

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