Monday, October 21, 2019

Star Wars: Tie Fighter (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars: Tie Fighter
Writer: Jody Houser
Artists: Roge Antonio, Joshua Cassara, Geraldo Borges, & Ig Guara
Recent Release Date: October 15, 2019

Synopsis: Enter Shadow Wing! The Empire's salvation - the Rebellion's doom! As the war between the rebels and the Galactic Empire stretches on, it is the innocent people of the galaxy who are most at risk. An elite squadron of TIE fighter pilots is assembled to help protect Imperial interests - and hammer the Emperor's fury down upon the treasonous and violent Rebel Alliance. But how far is this untested team willing to go to preserve law and order? And are the pilots of Shadow Wing as loyal to the Empire as they seem?


Review: This Star Wars comic follows the Shadow Wing Squadron of the Empire from the Battle of Hoth to the destruction of the second Death Star. This is part of a cross-media tie-in with Alpha Squadron. This book is full of references to other stories and characters, almost to its own detriment. 

There are a lot of interesting characters and a decent enough story, but there isn't enough focus. Too many peaks at other characters that aren't relevant to this story are given too much spotlight. There's even an asterick referencing the Solo tie-in comic Imperial Cadet. I wasn't sure which characters were new to this story and which ones were just references. 

I did enjoy the pacing, though. We really got to see the Shadow Squadron experience some stuff. It's an unusual style having every issue end with a flashback though. I'd love to see these characters reappear. What do they do after the Emperor is gone?

I give this book a 3.5/5. It's not enough of a story on its own. It relies too much on references and doesn't do enough on its own.   


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Saban's Power Rangers: The Psycho Path (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

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Saban's Power Rangers: The Psycho Path
Writer: Paul Allor
Illustrators: Giuseppe Cafaro & Marcelo Costa
Recent Release Date: October 15, 2019

Synopsis: The Psycho Rangers are back! Created by Karone when she was still the evil Astronema, the Psycho Rangers were programmed with overwhelming hate for all things Power Rangers. They were defeated at great personal cost, but now someone has brought them back and they are more murderous than ever before. Who brought them back, and why? And can Former Lost Galaxy Pink Ranger Karone and her brother, Red In Space Ranger Andros, stop them before they bring the universe to its knees? From writer Paul Allor (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Clue) and the fan-favorite artist Giuseppe Cafaro (Suicide Squad, Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon)!


Review: This is the first of the BOOM! Studios Power Rangers comics that doesn't focus on at least one of the rangers from the original Mighty Morphin series. Karone/Astromena is the protagonist. The Psycho Rangers first appeared in In Space and returned in Lost Galaxy. The Green Psycho Ranger was previously introduced in the main comic series. Keeping all that in mind, this graphic novel may seem like it has the most barriers to entry than any other of the current comics but I think there's enough given context and a self contained story that you don't have to be too familiar with all the characters. You just need to know the basics of Power Rangers or be willing to do some RangerWiki searches. 

I absolutely loved this book. You're dropped into the middle of the action with little exposition. The necessary information is given in a natural way. I'm hoping for more books like this that follow more obscure characters to come in the future. I'd even be up for a follow-up to this book. 

Karone/Astronema is the star of this book. The moral grayness is a welcome change for Power Rangers. Boom! Studios is taking the stories from a campy, fun children's show and giving it more depth. The depth is there in the show, but it isn't delved into like these comics. This book is about finding your own identity. Your own community. Your own family. Names are also a big part of this story. The idea that contradictions create personalities. My favorite quote that really sums up the story is "Learning about other people's stories helps us take control of our own."

This is a modern story about empathy, identity and moral complexity. I would love to see a continuation of this story, whether in a direct sequel or having these characters appear in one of the main series comics. 

At the end of the book is a short comic story featuring the Supersonic Power Rangers and the origin of the Green Psycho Ranger. I was so happy to finally read this story. It was originally printed in the Year Two Deluxe Edition collection.

I give this book a 5/5. This is what Boom! Studios is doing so well with the Power Rangers franchise. Adding interesting stories that give a different perspective while adding to and inhancing the expansive Ranger mythology.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Steven Universe: The Tale of Steven (picture book) - Paul's REVIEW

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Steven Universe: The Tale of Steven
Author: Rebecca Sugar
Illustrators: Elle Michalka & Angie Wang 
Recent Release Date: October 8, 2019

Synopsis: The official picture-book adaptation of “Change Your Mind” by series creator Rebecca Sugar!

In 2019, Cartoon Network aired a pivotal episode in its Emmy- and Annie-award nominated series Steven Universe: The hour-long special “Change Your Mind” revealed the highly anticipated culmination of Pink Diamond’s storyline.

A companion book to the series, The Tale of Steven tells the story of “Change Your Mind” in the same style as the New York Times bestselling The Answer.

Featuring an unusual and thought-provoking interactive format, readers will follow the story of Pink Diamond’s escape from Homeworld, Rose Quartz’s life on Earth, and the creation of Steven Universe, from multiple conflicting perspectives.

The Tale of Steven will be an irresistible keepsake for Steven Universe fans of all ages.


Review: I recently caught up to the tv series, but I haven't yet watched the movie. This children's picture book adapts Steven's story as revealed in the finale to the tv series. The artwork is simple and beautiful. The design is so creative, having the reader physically move the book to read the different narrator's stories. Just like the tv show, this book gives young readers great things to think about when it comes to perspective and identity.

I give this book a 5/5. If you are a fan of the show, you will enjoy this book. If you know a young person who is obsessed with this show, this would make a great gift. For ALL ages!


Friday, October 11, 2019

Robots vs. Princesses Volume 1 (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Dynamite Entertainment via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Robots vs. Princesses Volume 1
Author: Todd Matthy
Artist: Nicolas Chapuis
Upcoming Release Date: October 15, 2019

Synopsis: When plucky Princess Zara stumbles upon the Decimator defector Wheeler, she sets in motion events that will pit the spritely cleverness of fairy tale princesses against the raw power of giant robots!
The dream match you never thought you'd see begins here.


Review: This book is bizarre. Robots versus princesses? It's ridiculous, but also a lot of fun. The story starts with a princess not prepared for her recitial. She needs a song and an animal. She decides to go into the forbidden forest in search of a dragon. In that forest, which is full of robots, is a robot who doesn't want to fight and decides to leave the forest for a better life. The two find eachother and begin a new era in which both worlds learn of the other's existence. 

This is a really fun concept, but it fell flat on me. I think I would prefer it in a different media format. A movie or tv show would fit this story better, I think. Especially with how many songs are sung. I give this book a 2.5/5. I wanted a deeper take on this and more unique and different character designs for the humans. 


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fairlady, Vol. 1 (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comcis via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Fairlady, Vol.1
Author: Brian Schirmer, 
Artists: Claudia Balboni, Marissa Louise, & Shari Chankhamma
Recent Release Date: September 24, 2019

Synopsis: Every fantasy epic ends with a war. But what happens when the war is over?

Writer Brian Schirmer, artist Claudia Balboni (Star Trek), and colorist Marissa Louise team up for volume one of Fairlady-the first book in an all-new series featuring the procedural case-solving of Magnum P.I., The Dresden Files, and Fables, but set in a vibrant, Rat Queens-like high fantasy world.

After posing as a man to join the army, Jenner Faulds returns home to The Feld for a new start as a "Fairman"-a specially licensed private investigator. But sexism didn't end on the battlefield, and as the only "Fairlady," Jenner gets stuck with the cases nobody else wants. Hitting the streets to solve The Feld's overlooked mysteries, Jenner finds that the smallest cases hide the biggest secrets.

Collects FAIRLADY #1-5.


Review: I love the concept of this book. What happens after the epic battle ends in a fantasy war? What do the fighters do? Jenner Faulds goes into private investigating. Her job is a combination of bounty hunting and being a sheriff. This series has a police procedural feel. Each issue seems to solve one investigation. The world is expansive and really feels lived in. I enjoyed the details in the background of many of the panels. 

I want to see more of this world and its history, but to be honest I did not really enjoy the actual story. I give this book a 3.5/5. The world is great, the characters are interesting, and the art is on point. But, I just could not get into the story itself. I like the world more than the story.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Ophiuchus (graphic novel) - Paul's REVIEW

*I received this book as an eARC from Image Comics via Edelweiss. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Creators: Alexis Leriger de la Plante & Natasha Tara Petrovic
Recent Release Date: August 27, 2019

Synopsis: OPHIUCHUS follows the story of the lone sentry of an ancient, inactive gate, until one day, a strange being breaks through and infects her with a virus. Shortly after, she is approached by two machines, who implore her to follow them to the center of the universe to put an end to the virus, a malevolent being which rots all worlds.


Review: This graphic novel has a very unique art style. The shapes and colors used really contribute to a totally fantastical world. The world is vast and the characters that inhabit it are original and unique. This was a quick read, but a  little info dumpy. I think there was a twist ending, but I'm not even sure. This book was pretty ambiguous at times unless I just wasn't paying enough attention.

I give this book a 3.5/5. It is definitely super original with stunning artwork, but I didn't quite follow the story fully and there was a lot of info dumping.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 9: Beyond the Grid (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 9: Beyond the Grid
Writer: Marguerite Bennett & Ryan Ferrier
Artists: Simone Di Meo, French Carlomagno, Francesco Mortarino, Bachan, Jeremy Lawson, & Walter Baiamonte
Recent Release Date: September 24, 2019

Synopsis: Join the Power Rangers as they’re drawn across time and space to combat a great evil in a place BEYOND THE GRID.

After the stunning conclusion to the hit comic book event Power Rangers: Shattered Grid, an all-new, all-star team of Power Rangers is drawn together from across time and space to combat a never-before-seen evil. As they fight to prove to themselves and each other that they have what it takes to survive in a dangerous new environment, these iconic Power Rangers must defeat the onslaught of an unfamiliar, terrifying new villain. Featuring an all new team of Rangers from across the Power Rangers universe comes an all new adventure! 

Join Marguerite Bennett (DC Bombshells) and artist Simone di Meo (Old Man Logan), along with Francesco Mortarino and French Carlomagno, as the Power Rangers discover what it means to be a team without their powers!

Collects issues #31-34 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.


Review: I have anxiously been awaiting this volume. Shattered Grid is over, but the multiverse must now deal with the repercussions of that. I constantly reconsider waiting until the collected volumes release to read these comics. I get spoiled for major plot points months in advance, but it's fun to finally see them play out. 

This team of rangers is a completely new one comprised of rangers from various seasons of the show. Thankfully, I have watched all the seasons with these characters but I am not as familiar with some of them as I am the original gang. The visuals of these rangers fighting side by side are awesome. I like the different dynamics and friendships that are forming within the group. I'm especially excited to learn more about Heckyl's past.

The art is great in this volume. This different universe without the morphing grid feels so alien. The zords are beautiful! There are a lot of full pages that were difficult to read for me. With the crease in the middle of the book, I felt like I didn't get the full effect. 

There's plenty of new elements that are introduced in this volume that I'm super excited to see where they go. Obviously, the Solar Ranger. Praetor. The Solarix. Zords!!!

I really enjoyed this volume, but I felt like it wasn't as pack full as previous volume. The storytelling felt less tight, but then again most of the characters were newly introduced. In previous volumes, I'm on the edge of my seat every time I turn the page. I had less of that feeling during this volume. I give this book a 4.5/5. I still consider this ongoing series the best comic series out there right now, but I just wanted more from this volume. 

"The New Adventures of Blue Senturion & Ninjor" has another issue at the end of this volume. It's such a fun story. The pair really complement each other well. There's a pretty great zord battle. And great references in the background of some of the panels.


Monday, October 7, 2019

Star Wars, Vol. 11: The Scourging of Shu-Torun

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Star Wars, Vol. 11: The Scourging of Shu-Torun
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Andrea Broccardo, Angel Unzueta, & GURU-eFX
Release Date: August 13, 2019

Synopsis: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo and the heroic Rebel Alliance have suffered one of their greatest defeats. Separated from their friends and ruthlessly hunted by Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire, Luke and his band of freedom fighters haven't given in. United with new allies and with new purpose, the Rebels are ready to go back on the offensive - and hit the Empire where it hurts the most. A little payback wouldn't hurt either. Queen Trios messed with the wrong princess of Alderaan. It's time for "The Scourging of Shu-Torun." Don't miss writer Kieron Gillen and artists Angel Unzueta and Andrea Broccardo's next blockbuster Star Wars team-up!



Review: This ongoing story continues. This is the eleventh volume and it sounds like theres only a few more to go before this series ends. So I guess I'll continue reading it. If you've seen any of my other reviews for this series, you'll know that I have been enjoying it less and less. Telling stories with the main trio during a set time frame is so limiting. Some great original characters were introduced, but the focus is still on characters we already know too well who can't have big emotional arcs.

In this volume, Leia wants some revenge. Convenient revenge. The clawdite from earlier in the series is back to help. I really enjoyed that character so I was happy to see the shape shifter return. Two Tubes from Rogue One is also heavily featured. I like how this series has pretty consistently had tie-ins to minor characters. 

One of my favorite tropes is featured in the beginning of this volume: when a play is being put on about the events of the story within the story. Luc Swordswinger!

This volume is essentially a heist story. It's self-contained, but still features characters from the ongoing story. I liked some character moments, but I am so ready for this series to be brought to a good conclusion. Let's get to Hoth! I give this volume a 3/5


Friday, October 4, 2019

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Heroes
Writers: Greg Pek & Marc Guggenheim
Artists: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Andrea Broccardo, & Matteo Buffagni
Recent Release Date: August 20, 2019

Age of Republic - Villains
Age of Republic - Heroes

Age of Rebellion - Villains

Synopsis: Writer Greg Pak (WEAPON H and WEAPON X) teams up with artists Chris Sprouse (BLACK PANTHER) and more to tell stunning adventures starring the greatest heroes from the original Star Wars film trilogy. What exactly did Han and Chewie do with all that reward money? What harrowing battles did Leia and Lando fight on the way to infiltrate Jabba's palace? STAR WARS: AGE OF REBELLION fills in the gaps between and complements the fan-favorite, iconic Star Wars moments, shedding new light on the films' eternal conflict between the light and the dark, good and evil.



Review: This was the volume I was least looking forward to of these collections. The heroes from the original trilogy era have gotten plenty of stories, especially in the ongoing Star Wars comic taking place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Thankfully these stories are mostly outside of that specific time frame. 

Leia is the focus of the first story, which takes place after The Empire Strikes Back. Boushh is featured and some details of how Leia, Chewie, & Lando's plan for Return of the Jedi came to be are shown. Bossk also shows up. 3/5

Han's story takes place shortly after A New Hope before he has actually committed to being a part of the Rebellion. 3/5

Lando's story shows him trying to be a good leader for his people of Cloud City. He has some business problems and has to figure out his priorities. Lando shows some moral high ground while he also tries his luck. 4/5

Luke's story is the most unique (other than the final story) story, showing how the Emperor was trying to get into Luke's head. This story takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. 4/5

Yoda's story is a fun one. It shows the old jedi master living his life on Dagobah before Luke arrives, remembering the downfall of the jedi. 4/5

This final story is weird. Like really strange. Porkins and Biggs are the focus and the vibe of the story is different than most Marvel Star Wars comic books. It's all about self care and going on vacation, while being haunted by the extreme things that one does during war like killing people. This story pretty much brings the hypocrisy of war and especially the war in the stars to the forefront. This story is either a 1/5 or a 5/5. I seriously can't decide; it's such a strange Star Wars story. I would be intrigued to see more stories from this perspective.

Overall, this book gets a 4/5 from me. I liked seeing the stories that don't take place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. I do wish other minor heroes would have been featured instead of the main trio. They get so many stories already.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Villains
Writers: Greg Pek & Simon Spurrier
Artists: Marc Laming, Emilio Laiso, Roland Boschi, Marco Turini, Ramon Bachs, & Caspar Wijngaard
Recent Release Date: August 27, 2019

Age of Republic - Villains
Age of Republic - Heroes

Synopsis: Writer Greg Pak (WEAPON H and WEAPON X) teams up with artists Chris Sprouse (BLACK PANTHER) and more to tell stunning adventures starring the most dangerous villains from the original Star Wars film trilogy. What other schemes did Grand Moff Tarkin hatch aboard the Death Star? STAR WARS: AGE OF REBELLION fills-in the gaps between and complements the fan favorite, iconic Star Wars moments, shedding new light on the films' eternal conflict between the light and the dark, good and evil.



Review: This collection of stories focuses on the villains during the original trilogy era. I like that some of these characters aren't always featured as the point-of-view. 

The first story follows Tarkin during the events of A New Hope. He is absolutely ruthless. The past that made him is shown. 4/5

The next story is my favorite from this volume. Boba Fett! The colorful artwork beautifully captures the mostly mute bounty hunter. I especially liked the art style in this story. This story most feels like Boba Fett. This short comic story is the perfect medium for this story. 5/5

Jabba the Hutt is well known as a villain, but this story shows how crafty he can be. On Tatooine, there are many different factions. Jawas. Tuskens. Other Scoundrels. I also liked the Canto Bight reference, bringing the sequel trilogy era to the original trilogy era. 5/5

Darth Vader has probably had the most comics about him since the new canon comics began. I thought this story was probably unnecessary, but it portrayed how much of an outsider Vader was even within the Empire. 4/5

IG-88 is the focus of the last story featured in this volume. This is a story about bounties and how unusual of a droid IG-88 really is. 3/5

Overall, I give this volume a 4/5. I enjoyed the stories from lesser known characters more. The Boba Fett story was excellent.  


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 5: Worst Among Equals (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 4: Worst Among Equals
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artists: Caspar Wijngaard, Emilio Laiso, & Rachelle Rosenberg
Recent Release Date: June 25, 2019

Vol.1: Aphra
Screaming Citadel
Vol.2: The Enormous Profit
Vol.3: Remastered
Vol.4: The Catastrophe Con

Synopsis: Doctor Aphra - worst among equals! On the run from the law in a massive alien metropolis, Aphra has ten hours to cross the hostile megacity before the bomb implanted in her throat explodes. And don't forget the pack of bounty hunters and crazed cops that are on her tail. No big deal, right? But there's one more wrinkle - Aphra can't stray more than a few paces from her companion without activating the bomb's proximity alert and blowing both of them up. And that companion is Triple-Zero, a sadistic murderous droid who's more interested in Aphra's death than in playing nice... Tune in for a brand-new manic misadventure starring the galaxy's foremost amoral archaeologist! COLLECTING: STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA 26-31


Review: This is my favorite ongoing Star Wars comic series. This volume starts out with the Annual #2 story. It's a fun, little story about some animal wranglers hired by Aphra. The non-lethal Trandoshan is one of my new favorite characters. I'd love to see more stories about Winloss and Nokk.

Doctor Aphra and Triple Zero have to stick together because bombs inside of them will go off if they're too far apart. Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba are also featured in this volume. I like seeing background characters getting more fledged out stories. 

You get to see the PR side of the Empire in this volume! The Imperial Propaganda Flagship!

This series has so many great original characters that come back into play when it makes sense. They utilize them so well. 

This volume could be a satisfying conclusion, but I know there's at least a little more to come. I give this volume a 5/5. This series has excellent original characters in original stories. With growth. And still staying connected to the overall Star Wars story.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Star Wars: Age of Republic - Heroes
Writer: Jody Houser & Marc Guggenheim
Artists: Cory Smith, Wilton Santos, Walden Wong, Paolo Villanelli, & Caspar Wijngaard
Recent Release Date: May 28, 2019

Age of Republic - Villains

Synopsis: This is the Age of Star Wars - an epic series of adventures that unite your favorite characters from all three trilogies! Join the greatest heroes of the waning days of the Old Republic. Witness the never-before-seen moments that define them, the incredible battles that shaped them - and their eternal conflict between light and darkness! Considered one of the greatest Jedi Knights - or the one who led them to their doom - maverick Qui-Gon Jinn is known to bend the rules, and it's gotten him into plenty of trouble with the Council. Now, in the face of a mission gone awry, he's forced to confront his confl icting beliefs. Plus, Anakin Skywalker! Obi-Wan Kenobi! Padme Amidala! And Master Yoda!



Review: It seems like we're coming to a new era of Marvel Star Wars comics. The ongoing series is ending soon and these volumes focusing on either heroes or villains from each of the trilogies are giving us new stories from different eras. This volume is all about the heroes from the prequel trilogy. I got into Star Wars comics during this era with the Dark Horse Clone Wars books. There are six different stories in this collection.

Qui-Gon Jiin is the focus of the first story. We need more stories about him. I really need to read the new Claudia Gray book featuring Qui-Gon and Obi-wan. In this story, though, Qui-Gon is questioning the Jedi ways, wondering what their real purpose really is. I really liked the bold colors in this story. 4/5

Obi-wan Kenobi gets the highlight in the second story. He's training Anakin. I give this story a 3/5. I did really enjoy seeing alien species I only knew from a Legends guide to aliens though.

Anakin Skywalker gets the third story. This one takes place during the Clone War and goes into the impossible choices of war. 3/5

Padme's story is my favorite from this volume. I give it a 5/5. This story also takes place during the Clone Wars. These stories always make me think about how much I dislike her story in Episode 3. She's such a badass senator. I really liked seeing the handmaidens discussing Anakin and Padme's relationship.

The next story is about Mace Windu. It goes into the complexities of the Jedi even before the Clone Wars began. There's a Master Huyang reference that I really enjoyed. I would love to see more of him in future stories! 4/5

Captain Rex and Jar Jar Binks are in the last story. I wish this story was longer. I would read a whole volume about these two. I would love to see an ethically complex take on Jar Jar's role in the Clone Wars. 4/5

Overall, it was really fun to read new stories set in the prequel era, but I was disappointed with how many took place during the Clone Wars. It's one of the times with the most story already in existence. I want more stories that take place before Episode 1. That's it for the Age of Republic. Next, the Age of Rebellion!. I give this volume a 4/5