Lenni Reviews: “Remina” by Junji Ito

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

Set in future Japan, a new planet is discovered and the scientist names the planet after his daughter, Remina. While uncomfortable being in the spotlight, Remina slowly accepts her newfound fame. But the tide turns against her when it’s revealed planet Remina is moving closer to Earth.

I remember this story from one of Ito’s previous collections I’ve read. This edition is really nice, though.

Much like the planet bearing her name, Remina just sort of drifts along without much agency of her own. As everyone around her descends into homicidal chaos, one would think she would say or do… Something? Other than crying and apologizing for being a bother?

Anyway, this is a story highlighting the worst of humanity as it’s railing against it’s certain destruction. The art is classic Ito greatness but the story didn’t grab me. Remina is just so blah and everyone around her is either dead or terrible for most of the book. It’s more dull and hopeless than scary. 2.9 out of 5 for me.

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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: “The Prey of Gods” by Nicky Drayden

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

Set in a futuristic South Africa where everyone has a personal robot and designer drugs are a frequent past time; we have a seemingly unconnected cast of characters slowly drawn into what could be a cataclysmic series of events.

I really can’t say too much more about the plot without spoiling the experience of how a young man named Muzi, his layabout friend, Elkin, a nail technician named Sydney, a superstar singer named Riya, a politician named Sydney, and a young girl named Nomvula are all connected to the end of the human race. You just need to read this. It’s ruthlessly creative, character-driven, thrilling, and almost perfect except for some aspects of the ending I didn’t like; which I won’t spoil. I loved it and highly recommend it if you’d like some futuristic sci-fi in a unique setting. 5 out of 5 and I hope there is more to come.

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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: “No Guns Life” Vol. 8, by Tasuku Karasuma

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

While Juzo is still recovering, this volume gives us more information on Tetsuro, Harmony, and The Beruhren via some inside informants. There’s a new Harmony prototype in the works and despite not having his core, Juzo plans to rescue Victor from a weapons vault called Wunder Bender.

In addition to the main story; that gets creepy but I won’t spoil why, there is an extra of Juzo helping his landlord out of a jam and with all the heavy things going on, it was nice to have a bit a levity with that story. I would like to see all these plot threads become more cohesive. I found myself getting a bit lost wondering who’s conspiring against who and why. But still good! 3.9 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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