Lenni Reviews: “Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows “by Nathan Carson, Algernon Blackwood & Sam Ford

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Despite the warnings of the locals, two friends embark on a canoe trip down the Danube River only to find unfathomable creatures.

Not only does the art remind me of Junji Ito but the story – a short story by Algernon Blackwood (that I will read at some point) – has some major Lovecraftian themes with the unknowable, incomprehensible evil that is ancient beyond measure and cannot be defeated. I love how the art accentuates how otherworldly everything is and the disturbing events taking place.

I can’s speak to the accuracy to the original story but I liked this. A short and to the point horror story. 4 out of 5. 

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Lenni Reviews: “Mirka Andolfo’s Mercy” Vol. 1, by Mirka Andolfo

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and recommended for mature readers.

Due to a horrific mining accident in the small town of Woodsburgh, Lady Swanson is haunted by the tragic event, leaving her with debilitating flashbacks and visions. But when Lady Hellaine and Mr. Goodwill arrive in the town, Swanson’s fears of the creatures in the mine are once again brought to life.

If you liked The Thing, you’ll enjoy this Victorian era equivalent. In fact, from what I’ve read of the comic follow ups to that movie, this may be a better option if you’re looking for that type of story. It’s really cool with fun twists and turns, great characters, and some great detail in the art to really sell the strangeness of these creatures. If there’s a volume 2, I am totally down. I give it a solid 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Old Geezers” Volume 1 by Wilfrid Lupano & Paul Cauuet

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Antoine, Emile, and Pierrot reunite for a funeral and reflect on how their lives have unfolded in such different ways after their revolutionary days are over; leading them to wonder how they make a difference now.

I really enjoyed this! The art is perfect for the story, giving enough detail to the older faces without going overboard. I love seeing how people in their 70’s refuse to give up the fight for justice in whatever way they can. Everyone has such personality that the few points were the story dragged didn’t feel long. Worth checking out! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ice Cream Man: Hopscotch Melange” Vol 3 by W. Maxwell Prince, Martín Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran

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This volume gives us some background to where The Ice Cream Man came from before we get into the more vignette style the pervious volumes had. One story is set in Mexico on The Day of the Dead and is completely in Spanish with a translation later in the volume; which was interesting. Even having to bounce between the translation and the story, I was still eft with a more authentic feeling than if they just used carrots or asterisks to visually tell us it’s another language.

But the big deal here is getting some info on our demonic Rick and why Caleb is hunting him. They’re really going off the wall with this one and I’m interested to see where it goes. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Aggretsuko: Metal to the Max” by Daniel Barnes, Brenda Hickey; Jarrett Williams, D.J. Kirkland, CJ Cannon, Sarah Stern

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

This is a collection of three stories:

  1. Down With the Sickness – in which everyone comes down with a cold in the office.
  2. Mall Madness – where Retsuko is forced to go shopping with Tsunoda
  3. The Visitor – when Karen from Canada comes to the office to evaluate the team.

To address something I see people saying as a criticism of the first story being tactless due to COVID, I have to disagree with those people. The title is a play on Disturbed’s song, the story has a zombie theme, so naming the virus in the story the C-Virus seems to me like a play from Resident Evil (called Biohazard in Japan) where the first virus used to make the zombies was called the T-virus. It’s very likely the name was picked without knowing about COVID and it became too late to change it but, sorry. Can’t jump on that bandwagon, guys. I believe this is an unfortunate coincidence. And coming from a person who works in an office setting where people get sick and refuse to stay home (or can’t stay home), I get how it feels to watch a cold/flu go around the staff.

That being said, this is a cute volume that is likely useless to anyone not familiar with the original show. The second story had a massive upgrade in art and the third had the most depth story wise. If I were to rate them in order, it would be 3, 2, then 1. The third story gives Retsuko an ally that I feel she really needed. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Little Mama” by Halim Mahmouidi

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Brenda is a young lady living with her abusive mother. Her mother had her at 15 but Brenda is the real caregiver in their home. When her mother has another baby, Brenda is more of a mother to her younger brother, Kevin; whose father is her mother’s abusive new boyfriend. 

Obviously, there is a trigger warning here for child abuse and it is truly heartbreaking to see Brenda go through all of this horrible treatment. However, it does go in a more positive direction as Brenda wants to end the cycle of abuse with her when later in life, she has her own son. It’s hard to get through but ends on a hopeful note. It jumps around some parts and the dream scenes seem tossed in there randomly. There should have either been more of them or maybe removed completely. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Moon Lake” by Dan Fogler, Tim Seeley, R.H. Stavis, Nick Tapalansky, Stefan Hutchinson, Brian Holguin, et al.

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

This is a horror anthology centering around a cursed area called Moon Lake.

With a Crypt Creeper like narrator called “Man in the Moon,” these stories are chock full of gore but not so much with the horror. I almost feel bad comparing it to Tales from the Crypt because while the campy nostalgia of that show is a reflection of it’s time and kinda predictable in a way, this collection is trying WAY too hard. It keeps reaching to appeal to the ‘farts are funny’ crowd and as that is not me, I was mostly bored and just flipping through the pages. I can’t give this a 1 out of 5 because clear effort went into the art. I’ll be generous and give this a 2 out of 5 because the last story in the collection saved me from complete boredom. 

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Lenni Reviews: “Fangs” by Sarah Andersen

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the collected strips from the webseries of the same name on Tapas featuring a vampire and a werewolf falling in love.

These who are almost unfairly adorable. As this is a collection of single strips, there is no overarching story other than their general relationship. It’s just Elise and Jimmy being cute and loving in their own twisted and special way. I found it very sweet and I can see reading it multiple times to justify the cover price. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Koimonogatari: Love Stories” Vol. 2 by Tohru Tagura

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

As Yoshinaga and Hasegawa become better friends, we get some more insight into what other LGBT kids go through in Japan when we meet Sakura, who got outed by his cousin; who continues to bully him and in this humble reviewer’s opinion, needs his throat punched for what he puts Sakura through.

This volume is an emotional rollercoaster. We have fake boyfriends, fake girlfriends, bullies, love confessions, and my main takeaway from it is that high school sucks ass and I don’t miss it one bit. I got called a dyke then being bi (and still now by guys who are salty I won’t mess with them) and it sucks to deal with when you barely know who you are and don’t have many friends.

It also sucks that Yoshinaga has to lie to protect himself but I give this book props for giving him a bunch of people who love and support him. That’s a relief. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia E. Butler, Damian Duffy, John Jennings

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Lauren Olamina, a young woman with the power of hyper empathy (feeling the pain and pleasure of others) lives in a gated community safe for now from the apocalyptic hellscape outside the walls. A preacher’s daughter, she is raised to believe in strict Baptist teachings, she rejects them in favor of creating her own religion called Earthseed. But when her community falls and her family is killed; she is cast into the wilderness and forced to survive on her own.

For a world basically burning itself out, the color palette is perfect. Lauren is a practical character, very aware of the dangers surrounding her but at the same time, she is so deadpan. When the action amps up, she shows plenty of emotion but in the downtime, she is very reserved. Understandable given she feels other’s pain, she would want to keep in control but it’s not fun to look at for pages on end. In a novel that hits different but when you get art involved, it’s boring to the eye.

Overall, I like the story. I’d actually like to great the novel since the graphic novel does such a good job bringing the world to life. Also, I picked a crappy time to read more dystopian fiction. 3.9 out of 5.

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