Rurouni Kenshin Volume 8

The series’ new direction begins in earnest with this volume by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Kenshin has left his friends to go to Kyoto to prevent an assassination. They react as suits their temperaments: the fighter Sanosuke with rage, the caring Kaoru with depression. They feel abandoned, although duty prevents Kenshin from doing anything else. He’s trying to protect them, in his way. I was impressed by the author’s confidence in his characterization. Kenshin doesn’t even appear until halfway through the book, […]

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Salamander Dream

Hope Larson’s Salamander Dream is a dream of childhood told in lime green and black ink on cream-colored paper. The book begins with a map of woods and creek that looks like a crayon drawing, reminiscent of the sketch of the 100-Acre Wood that opened the Winnie the Pooh stories. Hailey lives at the edge of the woods, and that’s where she spends her summer, amongst the trees and the birds. She’s exploring the wonders of the world and her […]

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Superman in the Sixties

If it’s classic Silver Age superhero stories you’re looking for, start with Superman in the Sixties. Many elements of the character’s mythology were introduced earlier (see the Superman in the Fifties collection for the first appearances of Krypto and Supergirl, for example), but the 60s was when the Superman Family really came into its own. Readers learned more about the culture Superman left behind, with stories about life on Krypton and its amazing “scientific” inventions. On the flip side, we […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7

This volume marks a major turning point for the wandering samurai. It begins with him having a flashback to the past, before he gave up killing, and ends with a new direction for the series by Nobuhiro Watsuki. Kenshin’s thinking of the past foreshadows the appearance of an enemy with similar history. Fujita Goro was formerly a captain of a military unit of fearsome swordsmen. Now, he’s changed his name and meekly works for the police. He also takes on […]

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Breakfast After Noon

Andi Watson’s Breakfast After Noon tells the slice-of-life story of a British couple trying to deal with becoming unemployed. The Windsor Pottery, the town’s industry, has closed down, throwing Rob and Louise out of work. Not only are they worrying about everyday bills, but before the change, they’d been planning their wedding, adding another source of stress to their relationship. Rob learns some basic economics as he comes to terms with the idea that he’s not getting his job back. […]

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Superman in the Fifties

I didn’t expect to have quite this much fun with the reprints found in Superman in the Fifties, but due to the diverse selection, I enjoyed this book even more than I thought I would. Mark Waid’s introduction taught me some things about Superman I didn’t know (including how tightly tied together the various media appearances used to be), and there’s a lot of significant first appearances (of Krypto, Supergirl, and various villains). I wanted to read the stories behind […]

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Rurouni Kenshin Volume 4

Kenshin, the former assassin who’s vowed never again to kill, sets out to rescue Megumi. She’s a former doctor’s assistant being held hostage by Kanryu because of her knowledge of opium creation. Now, Kenshin has to fight past members of Kanryu’s private army of spies and freaks. Superhero fans who’ve been wondering about manga will find this a great starter volume. For one thing, at $7.95, it’s very reasonably priced, cheaper than even the standard manga price but of high […]

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Queen & Country: Declassified

Queen & Country: Declassified is a stand-alone spinoff of Greg Rucka’s popular spy series. This is a flashback story about Paul Crocker, the boss of Tara Chace, heroine of the regular Queen & Country. It’s 1986, and a younger Paul is doing the kind of job Tara does now. He’s a field agent, previously sent to get a defector through the Berlin Wall, but that effort was a failure. Newly married, he’s sent out again to Prague on a similar […]

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