Lenni Reviews: “Fragments of Horror” by Junji Ito

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Another collection of Ito’s short stories and it’s much better than the last one I read. One of them is more sad than scary but overall, this is Ito’s signature terrifying style with some great body horror. I’m usually all good with body horror but there was one splash page that was so gross, I physically leaned away from the book and tensed up in my entire body. Great stuff. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ice Cream Man Vol. 6: Just Desserts” by W. Maxwell Prince, Martín Morazzo & Chris O’Halloran

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This volume is another series of dark short stories with the Ice Cream Man being featured.

These stories are hit or miss. I’m still wishing for an overarching story in these anthologies. I thought this would lead to knowing more about the entity and why it’s so malevolent; maybe what the overall point is. I’m not seeing that and while that is ok since some of the shorts are good, it’s just okay. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mieruko-chan” Vol. 3, by Tomoki Izumi

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Mieruko has a new teacher, Zen, who is plagued by a particularly horrible and threatening spirit that Mieruko believes is affecting her best friend Hanna in addition to taking a tole on herself. Wanting to protect her friend, Mieruko decides she can’t just ignore this thing any longer.

While this continues to be fucking terrifying in terms of creature design, I am impressed with the character development in this volume. I’m hoping to see more communication between Mieruko and Yuria (who can also see spirits) because not only do they share this secret, it’s getting clearer Mieruko won’t be able to handle much more of this. She’s going to need a better strategy. 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Witch’s House: The Diary of Ellen” Vol. 1, by Fummy & Yuna Kagesaki

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Ellen has been sick her whole life. Her mother and father are poor and desperate, leading to Ellen being all alone.  When a talking cat offers her a new life in a mysterious house, she jumps at the chance only to discover the home is filled with horrible secrets. 

I knew about the game but I had no idea it had been turned into a manga. It does capture the general unease the game had and the art style is perfect. However, it is surprisingly light on the gore. It’s dark, violent, and creepy but not nearly as graphic as I thought it would be considering the source material. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Something is Killing the Children” Vol. 3, by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera

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Archer’s Peak is in lockdown and while Erica is desperately trying to keep the situation contained, a video is leaked that exposes the existence of these creatures. Now, The Order of St. George wants to take more extreme measures.

I really love this art style in the battle scenes. Very dynamic and flows well so you understand what’s happening. 

Other than that, this is a pretty standard evil creature, secret organization, brooding hero type story. It’s the main characters that keep me interested and I am hopeful there will be more of Erica and her journey. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Something is Killing the Children” Vol. 2, by James Tynion IV & Werther Dell’Edera

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While Erica vanquished one monster, the threat is far from over as the monster’s offspring set their sights on the remaining residents of Archer’s Peak.

While I like this series and the broader world this volume introduces, I’m getting annoyed with how sloppy this sooper seekret organization is. I know a story like this needs a body count but I’m starting to feel less fear of these people and more frustration. Guys, killing these monsters is your THING, how are so many of your people dead?! Why is Erica the only one who can take them? Get it together, Super Secret Monster Hunting Organization.

Otherwise, I’m hooked and I hope there will be more of this series. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sensor” by Junji Ito

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

Kyoko Byakuya comes across a strange village almost as if it was calling to her. The Kiyokami village is covered in what they call heavenly hair or Amagami; which seems to have mystical properties. Made from volcanic glass, these hairs allow the villagers a type of cosmic sight but also herald dark and terrible events.

This was… Strange. Usually, I’m on board with Ito’s signature weirdness – which this is chock full of – but something about this story feels unfocused and incomplete. This is one of the first offerings from this author that I will say I would pass on it if you’re not a huge fan of the creator. It’s ok but nowhere near other Ito works I’ve read. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Something is Killing the Children” Vol. 1, by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera & Miguel Muerto

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In Archer’s Peak children are going missing; never to be seen again. One boy who escaped tells tales of horrible monsters living in the shadows. A mysterious woman covered in blood seems to know these creatures and is prepared to do battle with them despite the adults believing the children are lying.

The main character, Erica Slaughter, could easily slip into the mysterious tough gal stereotype but she’s got enough personality to set her apart – even if her name is a little on the nose. This is a gory, action packed story with all the great trappings a series like this needs: badass hunter, evil creatures, and a shadow organization lurking about with their own agenda. This was cool to read and I look forward to the next one. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ice Cream Man Volume 5: Other Confections” by W. Maxwell Prince, Martín Morazzo & Chris O’Halloran

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This volume dips it’s toes into a range of stories from a parody of superheroes, how to be a ghost, and features the Ice Cream Man reading a bedtime story to children.

The series is still suitably creepy and twisted but where previously we were getting hints of what the Ice Cream Man is, that just stops in favor of these short scary stories. I was excited for that reveal but I suppose keeping us in the dark is part of the suspense and fear. I still would like more of a follow through instead of just continuing with the short story format. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Plunge” by Joe Hill & Stuart Immonen

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In 1983, The Derleth vanished near the Arctic Circle. Decades later it sends out a distress call and the Carpenter brothers – along with their salvage crew – are hired to find it.

While this is a cool little story, there are a bunch of references that will go right over your head if you haven’t seen The Thing or read a bunch of Stephen King’s prior work. For example, the director Carpenter being the name of the brothers and one of the crew being named Gage; the kid from Pet Sematary. I got a chuckle out of it but I’m a huge King fan.

Other than that, this is an entertaining journey into some Lovecraftian horrors that is paced too fast to get involved in. Shoutout to the artist because these creatures are horrid nightmare fuel. Worthwhile if you’re looking for a quick horror read. 3.7 out of 5.

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