Lenni Reviews: “The Unknown” by Anna Sommer

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

This graphic novel tells the story of Helen, who finds a baby in her clothing store dressing room as well as Vicky, who is having an affair with one of her teachers. Their very different lives converge in unexpected ways.

This is a strange little book. It never does quite what you expect and is about as random and twisting as real life can be sometimes. Helen is a bit of a ditz but she’s sweet and Vicky is clearly a young woman with some issues to work through before she really grows up. It’s alright but kind of a spark that fades away fast. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Dollhouse Family” by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Vince Locke & Chris Peter

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Through generations of a family, a dollhouse with mysterious powers manipulates people right up to six year old Alice. She receives the house from an estranged aunt and voices inside help her deal with her rapidly degrading family life. But Alice resists the promises of the house as it is clear even as she grows to adulthood, the house has sinister intentions.

Basically this is a Lovecraftian story of how a curse follows a family for generations until Alice fights to end it. I love the creature designs and I was hooked watching Alice grow up. The backstory with the family is revealed in-between Alice growing up and the time jumps were a little jarring, I’ll admit. But you get used to them as you read.  I hope there’s a sequel to this because it is clearly set up for one. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Crow: Lethe” by Tim Seeley, Ilias Kyriazis, Katrina Mae Hao, Samuel Murray, Meredith Laxton & Will Cook

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In this comic, we get two stories continuing The Crow mythos.  The first is Null Narcos, a sideshow performer with no memory of who he is. The second is the story of Brandi, getting revenge on those who murdered her and her father.

If The Crow was to be continued, I like the idea of showcasing different people in the role. I am one of the few who enjoyed The Crow: City of Angels but the tv show was a disaster. I don’t think anything can capture the magic of the original (which I’d bet money would never get made today… The 90’s were a special time) but the stories in this are good and the art style suits each story and their completely different tones. If you’re curious to see what other writers would do with this property, I’d give it a shot. It’s short but decent. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Daphne Byrne” by Laura Marks & Kelley Jones

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

Still mourning the loss of her father, fourteen year old Daphne Byrne doesn’t get along with her rich classmates and sees things others don’t. While her mother continues to see a charlatan medium in a desperate attempt to contact her deceased husband, Daphne’s visions get stronger and even talk back to her.

While the creature design is fantastically horrifying, some of the panels with the human characters are wonky. I get what the shadows are trying to convey in terms of emotion but the end result is blobby and unfinished. Thankfully, this isn’t a lot of the book. The rest of the art is perfect for a Victorian horror. And Daphne’s story is cool but I wanted more. I want to know where her abilities are coming from and the demon world clearly connected to her. I do hope a sequel is in the works for this one. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Basketful of Heads” by Joe Hill, Leomacs, Riccardo La Bella, Dave Stewart & Deron Bennett

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June Branch has a carefree life with her police officer boyfriend Liam, on Brody Island, just enjoying the last days of summer. But when come escaped convicts come to the small town, she uses a strange Viking axe to defend herself. But the heads severed by the weapon don’t stop talking.

While I thought this was fun and clever and I could totally see this as a Tales From the Crypt episode or horror movie short, I (spoilers, I guess) found it almost comical how many assholes are surrounding June. I liked the plot and June is a badass character that I really rooted for; her journey is what makes this book entertaining rather than the bad guys surrounding her. If you’re looking for a gory horror comedy with a kick ass female lead, I say check this out. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Blood on the Tracks” Vol. 1, by Shūzō Oshimi

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Seiichi seems like a normal teenage boy with nice friends and a girl that likes him. He does well in school and has a good family life. Except for his mother Seiko, who is strangely overprotective of him; culminating in a dark, life changing event.

Even putting aside my familiarity with this manga-ka and the synopsis of the volume, Seiko is creepy from the start. I spent the whole volume waiting for her to snap. I believe it’s Oshimi’s art that – while lovely – telegraphs she’s demented and about to do something terrible. There’s still a terrible tension to it because you really don’t expect the form it takes and it is shocking. You’re left to wonder what the heck is going to happen from here. If you like creeping horror, this is great. 4.7 out of 5.

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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: “Irena: Book Two: Children of the Ghetto” by Jean-David Morvan

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

In a switch up in form, this volume starts with Oliwka, one of the children Irena saved, telling her story to her own daughter before an event where Irena speaks to continue from where the first volume left off. Irena is saved from prison and immediately goes back to helping people escape.

Much like the first, I found this to be beautifully and tastefully done. If you want to introduce someone to Irena’s story and work, I think this is a great primer for further research. The art may be simple but it gets the point across as to the horrors of this point in history. If you like historical graphic novels, this is a great read. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Vampire State Building” by Ange, Patrick Renault & Charlie Adlard

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

Meeting up before he goes to Afghanistan, Terry, his girlfriend Rachael and his cousin Ashley meet up at the Empire State Building. Unfortunately, a horde of vampires overtake the building, cutting everyone off from the outside and leading to a massacre and Terry has to fight to get them out.

I like the premise and this is an interesting read but I didn’t feel much after it was done. It just kinda happened. This is like 30 Days of Night but instead of a small town it’s schmushed into one building. I think I would have liked this more if it had more time and the story didn’t feel crunched down.

But then again, how long would the vampires really be able to hold the entire building before the authorities clean house? I shouldn’t expect something really drawn out. This isn’t isolated Alaska; it’s a major city post 9/11. They’re gonna eliminate the threat ASAP whether they believe its vampires or not.

Anyway, despite leaving me wanting more, I did find it compelling, well drawn, and really creative. If there’s more, I’d check it out. 3.9 out of 5.

 

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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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