Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 6 by Paru Itagaki

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

After rescuing Haru, she has a heart to heart with Legoshi while they’re holed up in a hotel before they can go back to campus. Louis also returns after being missing for two  months only to quit school and we get some back story on Legoshi’s roommate, Jack; a Labrador who was genetically engineered to be less aggressive than wolves in trade for higher intelligence.

While this volume is just as interesting and entertaining as the previous ones, I did do a double take as to the importance of the Beastar title. Having to call a meeting of the leaders of all the animals to put pressure on the school to pick one surprised me. In my mind, Beastar was a sort of Student Counsel President sort of position; giving them authority in the school but not really anywhere else. But it appears to be a bigger deal than I thought, making me wonder why such an important position would be given to a teenager and not an animal who is older and has more life experience. I’m sure we’ll find out, though. 5 out of 5.

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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.

Lenni Reviews: “No Guns Life” Vol 1 by Tasuku Karasuma

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Ex-soldier Juzo Inui, who has no memories of the war or what compelled him to have his body augmented to have a gun for a head, works as a Resolver for other cyborgs like him called the Extended. When another Extended shows up in his office with an unconscious boy, Juzo runs afoul of the Beruhren Corporation who is performing strange experiments in order to control the Extended.

This is a highly creative tech-noir but it throws a LOT at you all at once while it’s building its world. We do have some great characters with interesting designs, our titular evil corporation and conspiracies, a terrorist group, and a hard-boiled protagonist with an unknown past. Couple the great story with some great art for the Extended and you’ve got yourself a great read. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Levius/est” Vol. 3 by Haruhisa Nakata

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

As Levius prepares for his fight with the current champion, his trainer Zack wonders if Levius could ever be prepared for a fight on this level. Meanwhile, Amethyst returns (from way back in volume one) with an unbeatable new fighter named Balthus; the brother of A.J. who claims she no longer remembers him.

I was wondering if and how Amethyst would make his return and manipulating A.J.’s brother after all she did to protect him was just the type of messed up thing I’d expect from Amethyst. This volume is a real page-turner with some interesting character development and again, the fighting is drawn incredibly well. I am super pumped for the final showdown with Amethyst! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television” by Koren Shadmi

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This graphic novel details Rod Serling’s life from his time in war through his writing career before and after The Twilight Zone.

I think this was a very good biography. It highlights enough important parts of his life to get a firm grasp of the overall picture without getting bogged down in boring details, the art is perfect for this subject, and it also comes along with a great framing device. It was cool to see how much Serling put into the show; even some episodes flat out emulating his own issues. I think Mr. Serling himself would be proud. I do have to wonder how much of this is accurate but one never does know that for sure. 4.7 out of 5.

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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: “Beastars” Vol 5 by Paru Itagaki

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

When Haru is kidnapped and Legoshi is ready to run right into the lair of a dangerous mob boss alone until Gohin knocks some sense into him. They have to come up with a plan before Haru is killed and eaten.

We also learn more about Haru’s childhood but the real focus is on the rescue. And MAN, are they really going dark in this manga. I won’t spoil the outcome but this volume has some awesome fight scenes and completely screwed my mind up with a cliffhanger. This series really is a surprisingly addicting read and really takes advantage of the original premise set forth in volume one. I can’t wait for the next one! 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights” by Mikki Kendall & A. D’Amico

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When this book says it’s a graphic history, it absolutely means it. It covers a LOT of people, so many in fact most entries are a single page. The goal of the book is clearly to show these women existed at all; providing the reader a chance to find out more about them if they choose.

While it’s a bit of a massive info-dump, it’s a great primer on what has been achieved in women’s rights and shows the work that still needs to be done. If you want to dip your toes into the history of women’s rights, absolutely hand them this book. 4 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.