Lenni Reviews: “Heathen” Volume 3 by Natasha Alterici

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Aydis makes the final push in her journey to The Land of the Gods to confront Odin face to face while his army marches on her home village. With the Valkyrie under his control, Aydis must find a way to end Odin’s manipulation and save her village from destruction.

While the conclusion felt rushed, I like how this series ended. It was fitting – as if everything was restored to it’s proper place without resorting to excessive amounts of bloodshed. I’m sad to see Aydis’ story come to an end and perhaps it could have needed an additional volume (or perhaps just more pages in this one). I can see myself re-reading this series just to enjoy the beautiful art and strong characters over and over. 4.7 out of 5. 

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Lenni Reviews: “The Mask of a Thousand Tears” by David Chauvel & Roberto Ali

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

After the death of her fiancée, Sadakyo heads off on a journey for the fabled Mask of a Thousand Tears to bring him back to life. On the way, she encounters Masamura, a peasant who decides to accompany her on this quest.

This is a beautifully illustrated tale but is sadly only a part one. It feels like there are chunks missing; as if those parts would me paragraphs of exposition in a regular novel. This leaves the part one feeling incomplete and not just because it’s without a part two. I want to like this more but it left me feeling very “meh.” 3.6 out of 5.

 

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Lenni Reviews: “Karmen” by Guillem March

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

Karmen comes upon Catalina as she’s cutting herself and takes her on a journey in order to rethink how she is living her life.

Trigger warning for self harm, suicide, and rape.

Karmen, clearly a spirit of some kind, reminds me of Death from the Sandman comics in a way. The difference here is whatever Karmen is, there’s a bunch of them and there’s in implication she’s taking too ling with shepherding Catalina’s soul to wherever she’s supposed to go. I wonder what is so special about Catalina, or perhaps what’s so special about Karmen, that will keep this story going. It’s trippy and cool with some amazing art. I am very curious to see what happens next. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 8 by Paru Itagaki

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

Vowing to protect his friends and fellow students, Legoshi has Gohin train him to control his desire for meat. Meanwhile, Louis wants to cut ties with school and his father and in his mob dealings, he meets an herbivore stripper named Cosmo. The final story features Sheila, a predator who is tired of being used as a social media prop for herbivores wants a real friend.

I keep ending these volumes wanting more. One day, I’m sure the omnibus editions will fly off the shelves. Haru pops in to remind us how adorable she is, Legoshi is on his way to being a cute but badass wolf, and Sheila’s shopping trip with a sheep names Peach is sweet and genuine. I hope the series keeps on getting better in the future. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 7 by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume we get to meet the Council of Living Beings; where the adult representatives talk about how every school has to present a Beastar every year but Cherryton hasn’t presented one in five years. All of the Beastars are supposed to compete to become the next “Valiant Beastar.” Cherryton is usually the one to present this and win by popular demand but Principal Gon has been hesitant to put a kid in this position. The Council overrules him; deciding which ever Cherryton student solves the murder (the one from WAAAAAAYYY bak in the first volume) will be declared Beastar.

I think we need a slow clap for Principle Gon for being the only one to finally remember that these are a bunch of teenagers who probably shouldn’t be saddled with what an adult would have trouble dealing with. Finally, a sensible adult. So, of course he’s overruled…

We also have Legoshi dealing with some issues and needing Gohin to help him out. There are a couple new students, a badass security guard snake named Six Eyes, and finally getting back to the inciting incident of this series. I was wondering when they were going to get back to that because it’s barely been addressed since volume one. I mean, did this kid not have parents what may wanna know? Or are any police involved? Not that I’m not invested in Legoshi and Louis and all that drama but; yeah. There’s a murderer out there. Might wanna get on that. 4.5 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Smokin’ Parade” Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka & Kazuma Kondou

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With the frequent losses the Northern Jackalopes face, Captain Kukuri launches a full-on hunt of the massive spider they have named Lord.

Spoilers but I like how Kukuri and Youkou go to gather data on Lord and have no idea exactly how to get it or what the data means. We see these types of “gather intel” scenes all the time and the characters magically know how all the tech works and what part of what they find is important. It was nice to see that trope played with.

This volume is paced better than previous ones with a fair balance of action and backstory. It’s dark, touching on the implications of gear technology and the advances and consequences of playing with such things. Got some twisted stuff in here, too, so if that’s not your thing, I’d avoid it if I were you. 3.7 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “The Dreaming Vol. 2: Empty Shells” by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely, Abigail Larson, & Tiffany Turrill

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This volume centers around Rose, whose mother is in the hospital and she finds Lucien washed up on a beach. As she ponders how her love came entwined with Dream’s, the remaining inhabitants of The Dreaming struggle to keep it together.

If I were to sum up this volume in one word, it would be sad. Loss, yearning, and death sink you down into this story and don’t leave you with much in the way of hope. I wonder what sort of Dream we’ll get by the end of this story if we even ger him at all.

The stand out in this volume for me is the artificial intelligence currently in charge of The Dreaming. In a cast of highly unique characters, the AI is the one that really stuck with me. I look forward to seeing how it all goes from here. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Stranger Things: Six” by Jody Houser

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This graphic novel tells the tale of another kid trapped in the same lab at Eleven. We meet Francine who was taken into the lab in 1978 and runs into her boyfriend, Ricky.

This is an interesting story. I like that we get to learn more about Dr. Brenner and his testes as well as the various powers of the other kids. I would have liked to learn more about the test subjects. I guess after reading The Institute, I was in the mindset to get much more information but a novel has a lot more pages to play with than a quick graphic novel. In a strange way, I was left both satisfied and unsatisfied. I liked it, the art is good, but I wish there was more. 3.9 out of 5.

 

Lenni Reviews: “Heathen” Vol. 2 by Natasha Alterici

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*This book is recommended for mature readers.

Aydis charters a pirate ship to take her to the land of the gods but Odin has taken notice of her and is hunting her down.

And that’s about all I can say about this without spoiling some delicious plot points that I think you should enjoy for yourselves. There is some fantastic character development in this volume! We get pirate women and some mermaids here and it’s all amazing. Also, I am LOVING how Freyja is depicted in this story. Very confident in her own skin and unflinchingly honest about who she is without being hyper-sexualized as she does it.

And not to spoil too much but holy shit is Odin a dick! I mean, even I want to hunt him down… But this series is awesome! I do have to knock off some points for the borderline cruel cliffhanger. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Heathen” Vol. 1 by Natasha Alterici

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*This book is recommended for mature readers.

Aydis is cast out from her clan after getting caught for kissing another woman. Undaunted, she embarks on a quest to free an imprisoned valkyrie, Brynhild. What she thought would be just one great quest turns out to be an epic adventure filled with gods, spirits, and monsters.

I cannot get enough of this book. This is just an awesome fantasy comic. I love the mythology, the art, all the characters have personalities that bounce realistically off each other, there’s some fantastic representation across race, sexuality, and gender, the adventure is thrilling; it’s just freaking perfect. If you like your fantasy with a kick-ass main heroine, this is the book that serves this up beautifully. Absolutely check this one out! 5 out of 5.

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