Saga Comic Binge Read

My boyfriend says I’m a monster because I always read his new comics before he does. I say, ya snooze ya lose. lol I’m sorry (no, actually, screw that, I regret NOTHING!) because when there are great comics to be read, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to read them. 😛 In all fairness, he takes forever to actually get around to reading them, and I keep my lips firmly sealed regarding spoilers of any kind. We have a system. It works. ❤

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HIM: “You can’t keep reading my comics before I get to!”            ME: “Bitch, watch me!”

Our local comic book shop had some pretty good sales over the holiday weekend so he went ahead and added to his collection of Saga, picking up volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Needless to say, I descended upon those poor, helpless trades like they were newborn infants left out to the wolves. I read all of them while I was over, one after the other, until I had to stop at volume 7 to go partake in 4th of July festivities because ‘MURICA.

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Oh, I’ll be back for YOU, my pretty! *cackles*

This series is just soooo damn good. It’s one of those gems that really lives up to all the hype surrounding it. In case I didn’t scream my love for this series from the rooftops enough in this “Cute Comic Couple” post or my spoiler-free review regarding Volume 2, let me just say:

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I Dare You Book Tag

Big thanks to the lovely Raven & Beez who tagged me to do the I Dare You Book Tag. 🙂 These bibliophiles run a snazzy blog together, so if you’re a book-lover as well be sure to check them out! 😉

I’m shaking it up a wee bit and doing books AND comics for this because I love to read both. Basically, if it has pages, it counts in my eyes! 😛 So, without further adieu, let’s start this tag! 😀

1.) What book has been on your shelves the longest?

Ooh, interesting question. I’ve still got a few books floating around from when I was but a wee moth. Pretty sure I have a couple of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques floating around. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is another I’ve hung onto for as long as I can remember. (It was actually my mom’s book that she gave to me when I was little.)

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2.) What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Let’s see . . .  for novels: Last read was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, my current read is Soulless by Gail Carriger, and my next read is gonna have to be The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer. Planning on plucking it up from my boyfriend’s library this weekend.

And for comics/graphic novels: Last read was DC Bombshells, vol. 2. Current read is Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, vol. 1. Not sure yet what one I’ll read after that.

3.) What book did everyone like, but you hated?

Oh, jeez. This is a tricky one. I can’t think of any I’ve read and loathed that everyone else was really into off the top of my head. Lame answer, I know, but it’s all I got for now.

4.) What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

I have a mountain of a TBR list and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger thanks to all you wonderful book bloggers. I’m sure there’s plenty I’ll never get to unfortunately.

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5.) Which book are you saving for retirement?

I’m assuming they’re getting at which book has the heftiest word count and thus will take up a lot of free time. Hmm . . . I doubt I’ll wait til retirement to read this one in its entirety, but I have this old encyclopedia of witchcraft and demonology that had belonged to my grandma and I’ve picked at it here and there because it’s so interesting, but that thing is a tome, and the font is very small so it will definitely take me a while to get through it once I finally set out to read it from start to finish.

6.) Last Page: Do you read it first or wait til the end?

Last page is called LAST PAGE for a reason. lol Why would I want to ruin the ending? It would take all the fun out of guessing what was going to happen.

7.) Acknowledgements: Are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?

I think they’re great. They’re often pretty interesting to read.

8.) Which book character would you switch places with?

lol Bad things tend to happen to the characters in books I like, so I’m a little hesitant with answering this question.

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9.) Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Sort of. It’s kind of like how you might associate a certain time with the point in your life when it came out. I mostly remember what stage of my life I was in when I read a certain book. I feel like that is such an utterly boring answer. lol

10.) Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

When I went through a really difficult time emotionally just over 2 years ago, a friend secretly purchased a couple books I had been wanting to read and mailed them to me with a sweet little note. She intended for it to be so secretive but it had her name on one of the papers in there so I figured it out. lol It still makes me smile to think about it because it was such a thoughtful and kind thing to do. The books were Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues and The Lies of Locke Lamora.

11.) Have you ever given away a certain book for a special reason to a special person?

I try to pick books I think people will enjoy (or that I know they’ve been wanting to read). I’ll never just go buy a book I hear is popular in the *hopes* that they might like it. Sometimes I do themes for gifts too, so you might get a couple books with some hidden theme around them because I’m a dork like that. lol

12.) Which book has been with you the most places?

Hmmm . . . I guess any of the books I have on my kindle. I’ve taken that thing with me so many places.

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13.) Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Nope! Chances are if I hated it then, I wouldn’t be too keen on picking it back up again. 😉

14.) Used or brand new?

Either way! I’m just happy to get the book. Especially if it’s a great deal.

15.) Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope.

16.) Have you ever seen a movie that you liked better than the book?

I don’t know if I actually have. I feel like there was one time I told my boyfriend about before, but now it’s not ringing any bells.

17.) A book that’s made you hungry?

None, really. But Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes to mind when I think of scrumptious food in books. The Queen of Heart’s tarts and all the tea time goodies and whatnot. 😛

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18.) Who is the person whose book advise you’ll always take?

Cupcakes and Machetes. She has yet to lead me astray! 🙂

19.) Most read authors?

Well, I’ve read several trilogies by various authors over the years, so authors I’ve read more than just three books by would be: George RR Martin, Leigh Bardugo, and J.K. Rowling.

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20.) Ship from two different books?

Ah, I don’t really have one as far as novels go, but if we’re talking comics I’m gonna do a Marvel/DC mashup here and say Deadpool and Harley Quinn. 😛

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Harleypool anyone?

As for tagging people, you guys know the drill: If it sounds like fun to you, have at it! 😀 If not, no worries. Anyone is more than welcome to join in on the fun!

Review- DC Bombshells, Vol. 2: Allies

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been nearly five months since I finished reading Volume 1 of DC Comics Bombshells! I absolutely loved the first volume so I was pretty excited to finally get around to reading the second volume.

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You know how sometimes you read something and it just really resonates with what is going on in the world around you? I definitely had this feeling while continuing the Bombshells’ saga. Between the current political climate and a particularly frustrating 48 hours where I had not one, not even two or three, but FOUR personal reminders of the importance of feminism, I was more than ready to see these female heroes kick some Nazi and misogynistic asses. 😛

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Volume 2 takes us all over the globe to locations like Berlin, London, and Greece as WWII continues to rage on. Even on the home front in Gotham City, tensions rise and danger looms. One thing I really like about DC Bombshells is that it touches on both soldier and civilian life during the war. No one goes unaffected by the horror going on in the world.

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As if the Axis Powers weren’t enough to contend with, a sinister supernatural influence continues to grow in power, bringing a horde of undead soldiers with it.

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The art continues to stun in this volume and the characters are fantastic. (Batwoman is still, of course, my fave!) Strong female relationships aplenty in these pages, both platonic and romantic alike. Also, just strong, kick ass females in general. The characters are believable with their own motivations, insecurities, weaknesses and strengths.

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The biggest bummer for me was that I was missing my girls, Harley and Ivy in this one. They were nowhere to be seen in volume 2. *Proceeds to pout in the corner.*

But, hey, at least we get more of Zatanna and Bunny Constantine!

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All in all, I really enjoyed volume 2. I think I enjoyed volume 1 a little bit more, but I’m still looking forward to reading the third volume very much.

No Spoiler Review- Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening

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I just love it when a book lives up to all the hype surrounding it, and Monstress delivered this and then some. Hands down, this story has the best worldbuilding I have ever seen in comic form. It’s a beautiful blend of magic and horror from beginning to end.

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“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.” Goodreads

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Between Marjorie M. Liu’s dark and intriguing writing, and Sana Takeda’s consistently gorgeous and impeccably detailed artwork, it’s hard NOT to fall in love with Monstress. The only reasons I can imagine anyone complaining would be if:

A.) They get squeamish over blood and violence.

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B.) They’re offended by cuss words, and when cats are the ones uttering said cuss words.

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Or C.) They don’t like monsters. Or ghosts. Or the ghosts of monstrous gods.

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Another thing I really enjoyed about Monstress were the characters. Maika (the main character) has seen some shit in her seventeen years of life. She had to become tough to live through the things she’s been through. She has scars both mentally and physically that prove her to be a survivor. The world she lives in is not kind, with war, slavery, and murderous and power-hungry witch-nuns only providing a taste of the dangers that has left most of the population wounded and desperate no matter what “side” they are on. Also, if you are seeking a story that represents strong women, this one’s for you. I mean the pages are literally filled with them. Unlike most stories where male characters tend to vastly outnumber the female characters, Monstress actually flips this concept.

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This is the sort of story that slowly unravels with time, but not in a way that ever leaves the reader bored. It simply has layers. Layers upon layers. Like onions. And ogres. (You’re damn right I just made a Shrek reference there.)

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This first volume did a great job at introducing the readers to the world, characters, and story, but it definitely leaves us with questions. Which is honestly just fine with me because I am really looking forward to reading more when volume 2 comes out this summer! 🙂 Definitely a 5/5 star beginning to what will no doubt be an incredibly epic story.

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery- No Spoiler Review

I’ve been hearing such good things about this series and now that I’ve read it I can happily say that I was NOT disappointed! In fact, I loved it!

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The titular “Rat Queens” are a group of potty-mouthed, goblin-slaying, bar-brawling friends and “adventurers for hire”. Each of the characters brings something special to the story. I honestly can’t even pick a favorite.

There’s Hannah, the rockabilly elven mage:

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“I’ve conjured a little Fuck You.” – Hannah

And Dee, the human cleric who also just so happens to be an atheist.

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“My parents worship a giant flying squid. Holidays get weird.” – Dee

And then there’s Betty, the “smidgen” thief.

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“Tequila, vodka, and two magic mushrooms: They call it ‘The Betty’.” – Betty

And last, but not least, Violet, the hipster dwarven warrior who shaved her beard “before it was cool”.

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“I know my sword is designer. I use it ironically.” – Violet

And on top of that, there are plenty of other great characters to enjoy throughout the pages of volume 1. It’s stuffed to the brim with delightfully inappropriate humor, fun fantasy tropes and, of course, wonderful artwork of the highest caliber.

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Though proceed with caution if you’re easily put off by swear words, bloody battle sequences of ass kickery, drug and alcohol references, and talk of smut. If these things bother you, than this series is bound to offend your delicate sensibilities. 😉

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But if you’re like me, and you revel in these things, then carry on bold reader! For there is ale to be guzzled, dungeon monsters to be fought, and merriment of the crassest sort to be had! Huzzah! 5/5 flaming orc skulls!

 

Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted

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Marvel’s Spider-Gwen presents us with the question: what if it had been Gwen Stacy rather than Peter Parker who had been bitten by that fateful radioactive arachnid?

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I was pretty excited by this premise, and had really looked forward to checking it out, but while I liked it, I’m afraid that I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped to.

I really enjoyed the art, and the color scheme was great, with bright colors that really stand out and command attention.

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But while visually, I was digging it, I wasn’t as thrilled with the overall story which just sort of seemed disjointed and cobbled together at points. When we meet this version of Gwen she’s already been bitten, learned to use her abilities, suffered a great loss that inspires her to get her superhero on, and has her costume. And she’s even already public enemy #1 in the eyes of the law. Honestly, I would have rather actually gotten to see that all go on in volume 0. I think it would have been better for kicking off her story and letting us better get to know this version of Gwen. I guess I was hoping for her origin story and just wound up feeling like I was tossed into yet another day in the life of Gwen fighting crime and struggling with drama within her band. Yup, there’s also a big side story involving Gwen being in a band called “The Mary Janes” with who else but Mary Jane Watson as the lead singer. And Mary Jane is such an unlikeable narcissist in this alt universe it isn’t even funny. I suppose this leaves her a lot of room for character growth, but I just couldn’t stand her. I know we’re supposed to root for the band to get over their drama, but I just wanted to see the other girls rise up in a hipster girl band mutiny against Mary Jane and her inflated ego. Heck, I think I disliked MJ more than I did the main bad guy of this volume, the Vulture.

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We encounter several Marvel characters in volume 0 and I know things are supposed to be all topsy turvy in this alt universe, but some of them just felt so very off that it almost made them feel less like a twist and more like a ruthless decapitation and disembowelment.

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C’mon, Felicia Hardy, I’m lookin’ at you on this one. I know you’re a known thief, but what in the hell were they thinking having it look like you’ve been stealing your wardrobe from the closets of Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj?? The girl in the green dress on the right perfectly summed up my reaction to this universe’s Felicia. WTF indeed.

Gwen at least is a likeable enough character. She has flaws that she is trying to work through and has a good sense of humor, but I think I would have liked to have gotten to know her even more by the end of this first volume considering she is the protagonist. I love her costume design though and she has a really nice heart-to-heart with May Parker that I thought was handled very well.

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I haven’t made up my mind yet about this series as a whole, and fortunately I already have volume 1 on hand to help me explore the series further before making a final decision on it. Maybe it just got a rough start on shaky little Bambi legs and will take off bounding through the other volumes. I hope so. Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars, I think.

 

Saga, Volume 2: No Spoiler Review

Volume 1 of Saga had me madly in love at first read, and Volume 2 made me put a ring on it. This series really is something special. The writing. The artwork. The characters. It’s the total package.

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It’s actually been a couple weeks since I finished reading this, but I kept getting sidetracked when it came to writing up a review for it. I think I’m going to have to attribute some of that to the fact that this is a tough series to review and define. It’s such a fresh, exciting, witty, and outrageous series that it can be hard trying to confine all of its awesomeness into a neat and tidy little package of a review. That, and sometimes I can be a total procrastinator. 😉

This volume gives all us Marko/Alana fans some much desired backstory of how they came to be the epic couple we now know and love.

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We get to see Marko way back when he was just a little tyke and get some more insight regarding the friction between his and Alana’s people. We also get to learn more about how much of a book nerd Alana was before she was too busy on the run from bounty hunters to crack open a good book. (As if we needed any more reasons to love this woman!) ❤

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And of course we have adventures aplenty from bounty hunting duo, The Will and Lying Cat, as well as a certain somebody from Marko’s past. Perhaps someone with an old grudge of her own?

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Prince Robot IV is of course still relentless in his hunt of Alana and Marko. The man is willing to do anything to find them, even reading trashy romance novels.

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Plus, you get adorable new characters like this little cutie:

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If you want a comic series that truly lives up to all the hype around it then Saga is for you. A beautiful blend of science fiction and fantasy, action and romance, laughs and thrills. As if you hadn’t guessed by now, this is a solid read and deserves nothing less than 5/5 stars. The only drawback is if you don’t have volume 3 on hand when you finish reading this because there’s a definite cliff hanger!