Lenni Reviews: “The Photographer of Mauthausen” by Salva Rubio & Pedro Columbo

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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 is a dramatized story of Francisco Boix, a Spanish press photographer who ended up the confidant of an SS officer at the Mauthausen concentration camp.

This isn’t an easy read but so many stories came out of this time and a man risking everything to expose the truth of the Nazi camps and try to bring justice is a great addition. How much of this is true, I don’t know but I found this to be compelling and respectful. It’s drawn well with enough detail to get the point without being gratuitous. Just have something happy lined up to read after. 4.7 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: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol 9 by Tomohito Oda

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

In this volume, we are treated to:

  • Kimo wanting to continue her friendship with the girls she hung out with on the school trip
  • Learns to play “Eraser War”
  • Makes and gives chocolates to her friends for Valentine’s Day
  • Gets creeped on by Yamai again
  • Goes with her friends to a batting cage
  • Meets a girl, Akako Sato, who has issues being too nice
  • White Day shenanigans
  • Side story of Komi’s parents

The stories felt shorter this time, as there are more of them in this volume. I would have either preferred less stories with more length or a longer volume. Things flashed by at a breakneck pace and this is the first volume where I didn’t feel like I wanted more because it was so adorable (even though it was), I wanted more because it went by too fast. Still good but not as good as the others. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Kusama: The Graphic Novel” by Elisa Macellari

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

This graphic memoir of Yayoi Kusama, an artist who used painting to deal with and express her mental issues. It’s a breezy book, giving broad information at a fast pace. It’s a beautiful introduction to Kusama’s life and art. A longer book would have dived deeper but you understand who she is and why she loves art so much.

Not knowing much about Kusama myself, I felt satisfied by what I learned about her from this book. You can tell a lot of love went into the art and even if you aren’t into is, its worth checking out. 3.9 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: “The Night Witches” by Garth Ennis & Russ Braun

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

This graphic novel presents the story of The Night Witches through the lens of a fictional character, Anna.

At first, I was excited to get a graphic novel about The Night Witches. If you check out that Wikipedia entry, you can see they were awesome. But then, I see the main character is fictional and I felt immediate disappointment. Call me petty but I didn’t want characters based on the real women, I wanted the real women. Irena may have some dramatizations but Irena existed. But I give it the benefit of the doubt and read it.

Oof…

I didn’t even like Anna, everything felt so forced – including all the random sex scenes –  the villains feel over the top, and the art style didn’t click with me at all. I could tell there was an effort but, it all felt sour at the end. If anything, hopefully, this will get people curious enough to do further reading. 2 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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Lenni Reviews: “Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir” by Bishakh Kumar Som

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

This memoir tells the story of a transgender woman Bishakh, who quits her job to write and create graphic novels. We follow her through her typical day interspersed with flashbacks of her parents and life in college.

I wanted to like this. I wanted to be impressed with Bishakh’s life story, chasing her dream of being a graphic artist and making a living off her art but my ARC copy was so small the font chosen for all the text was PAINFUL to read. Nearly impossible in some parts so I wasn’t able to get the full effect of the story. I may have to revisit this book once I can get my hands on a print copy. I doubt the final product will have that quality.

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Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 4 by Tasuku Karasuma

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

Juzo is hired to guard a young girl named Rosa who hates Extended because she believes one is responsible for her parent’s deaths. She believes she is haunted by a ghost but what Juzo and Mary uncover puts them in the cross-hairs of the Spitzbergen – the anti-Extended terrorist organization that currently has Tetsuro in their clutches.

Ok, gonna spoil a bit of plot here but I have to say this: Victor is fucking nightmare fuel. Very creepy character design there. So far, this has been the first volume I had to sit and read in one sitting with no breaks. It’s fast paced and heavy on plot twists while still keeping up the action. I also really enjoy how Juzo isn’t afraid to be silly sometimes. Very cool. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 2 by Tasuku Karasuma

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

With the Beruhren Corp choking his resources, Juzo is running out of ways to protect the boy Tetsuro on his own. The Extended Management Squad comes calling for a favor to bring in the first non-compliant Extended, Gondry; a violent murderer on a rampage.

This volume has a better pace for it’s world-building than the first. Because a rogue soldier is on a killing spree, we get some insight as to how the military used – or perhaps misused – the Extended in the great war and after it. Staying focused on Juzo and his task, we get an action-packed adventure. Also, if you want some cheesecake, Chief Olivia provides it in spades. She may be fan service, but she’s a good character on top of that; very strong and capable so I like her. 4.7 out of 5.