Lenni Reviews: “Orochi: The Perfect Edition” Vol. 3, by Kazuo Umezz

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

This volume contains two stories:

  • Stage: A young boy named Yuichi whose father is tragically killed in a hit and run spends his life looking for the culprit he calls The Morning Man.
  • Combat: Orochi encounters Tadashi Okabe who has a very nice father with a horrifically dark past.

This one is not as good as the others. Instead of feeling unease or creeped out, I was just angry at the injustice of it all. The first one is so convoluted and the second (while better) could have been tighter so it didn’t end on a cliffhanger. I still get a little of that creepy feeling but not nearly as much as the previous volumes. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Golem of Venice Beach” by Chanan Beizer, Vanessa Cardinali, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jae Lee, Clem Robbins, Ferran Delgado, Michael Allred, Stephen R. Bissette, Paul Pope & Nick Pitarra

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

Jake is coasting through life without much direction when he meets a woman named Erica with some shady connections that actually lead to a crazy cult. He’s in danger but Jake is the last of a bloodlike that is protected by Adam, a golem from the 1500’s.

It’s interesting seeing Kabbalah mysticism and Erica’s… Whatever she’s doing. And I like that Adam isn’t mindless; he has some agency of his own and rights and wrongs that don’t concern Jakes around Venice Beach. I didn’t expect this to be only the first half. I feel this is a disservice to the overall experience given the setup we have and how well it builds up the tension and conflict. It feels less like a cliffhanger and more of an interruption if that makes sense. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Joe Hill’s Rain” by Joe Hill, David M. Booher & Zoe Thorogood

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

Honeysuckle is finally moving in with her girlfriend but on the day of, the sky opens up and starts raining crystal spikes. 

This is an interesting sort of apocalypse but Joe pulls it off well with all the sad, scary, and touching notes a story like this needs to hit. Other than the method of near extinction, this isn’t much different from the standard world-ending type stories. The art has a roughness to it that makes the violence gritty but it can still be soft when the story calls for it. This is a quick read but not bad. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Black Paradox” by Junji Ito

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

Four people meetup from a website called Black Paradox in order to commit suicide together. But when they reach their chosen location, strange events occur.

This one is strange even for Ito. The art is creepy, gloppy, drippy perfection as usual but the story went off in ways that were unexpected to say the least. I found myself feeling less creeped out and more baffled. And it just kinda… Stops? It turns into a creepy fetch quest and just ends. I love Ito’s work but this lacks direction as it goes. It started strong then spun out. It’s ok but I’ve read much better from him. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Island in a Puddle” Vol. 2, by Kei Sanbe

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Minato is still trapped inside a criminal’s body but some memories are starting to bleed through, giving him knowledge and skills he can use to defend himself.

We are also introduced to a blind woman named Rumi who is helping Minato and she is a precious bean who must be protected at all costs. If Minato is going to be stuck living this fugitive’s life, he might as well have one person who isn’t awful

This is all really interesting but I wonder how long this can go, how will they switch back, and how messed up Minato will be after all this. This kid is dumped into the body of a guy who has no problem killing people so Minato is forced to do things his kid brain shouldn’t need to deal with. I can’t wait to see what happens. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Liminal Zone” by Junji Ito

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

This manga is a collection of four short stories that are not connected to one another: Weeping Woman Way, Madonna,The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara, and Slumber. These are Ito in his classic, creepy, bonkers form. The art is haunting and I did find a chill running up my spine at some points yet baffled in others. Definitely an example for Ito fans to appreciate and much better than the last collection of his I read. The last two stories are the weakest out of the collection in my opinion but I still enjoyed this book. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mieruko-chan” Vol. 5, by Tomoki Izumi

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The old woman, Mitsue (also known as Godmother) has been helping Miko with her powers so she can help keep her best friend, Hana, safe. Yuria also wants to become as strong as Miko and find out what it is about Hana that attracts so many frightening spirits. But a former disciple of Godmother, Rom, wants to use Miko for his own plans.

Rom has some odd designs on some shrine and is really pushing Miko to get involved despite Mitsue’s warnings so, we’re getting into a larger plot here. I’m excited to learn more about how all of this works and why Rom is so keen on getting Miko to this shrine. The pacing has been pretty constant, slowly moving forward to what I hope will be some ghost fighting shenanigans. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Orochi: The Perfect Edition” Vol. 2, by Kazuo Umezz

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

This volume contains three stories:

  1. Prodigy: Orochi follows a baby through his life to see how things will turn out and try to help him.
  2. Home: Orochi goes with a man who left his home village and returns after many years.
  3. Key: Orochi gets a new apartment to observe the people who live there.

While these premises seem simple, Umezz makes each one disturbing. This has such a Tales from the Crypt vibe and I love it. The second story has to be based on that Twilight Zone episode with the evil boy with powers and the third is a play on The Boy Who Cried Wolf. These are not criticisms, they’re cool retellings with their own style. This collection is good even though there’s some clunky dialog here and there. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Gideon Falls Deluxe Edition Book 1: The Legend of the Black Barn” by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino & Dave Stewart

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

Wilfred is a pastor with a rough past who is sent to Gideon Falls due to the previous pastor’s death. When he arrives, he meets Norton, who believes the town is evil and is obsessed with collecting proof. There is a legend of a mysterious Black Barn that appears and disappears, heralding misfortune but Wilfred is unconvinced. Until a series of mysterious murders take place and there are less and less logical explanations.

This is a time and reality bending horror that I thought Ice Cream Man was going to be. The art really drives home the fear and mystery, using shadow and panel placement effectively and the writing is really good. It ends on a cliffhanger but there is plenty here to satisfy your needs for a mind-bending horror if you’re looking for one. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Crueler Than Dead” Vol 2, by Tsukasa Saimura & Kozo Takahashi

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Maki along with Miura, Yugo, and Shota bring the last of a vaccine against the zombie virus to a supposed sanctuary called The Dome. When they arrive, they find it corrupt and disgusting, a place where the elite live in luxury and the rest life a desperate life of starvation and squalor. The leader, Colonel Shimamoto, believes the vaccine will save humanity but only in the way he deems fit.

If you’ve ever read any zombie story ever where the main crew goes to where they believe there is hope and shelter, you know how this plays out. Corruption, exploitation, and sorrow. It’s almost comical how poorly things go so fast to the point where you wonder how those rich assholes managed to have any control in the first place. There’s plenty of gore and character growth but this felt very shallow. Maybe using The Walking Dead as an inspiration wasn’t such a good idea. Maki is the most interesting thing about this series and if there is more, I hope they stick with her. 3 out of 5.

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