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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spera: Ascension of the Starless Vol 1

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 8:00 AM

The Starless Queen is plotting an invasion of Spera, and has sent the merciless General Zeal to secure its capital. Unfortunately for the Queen, her daughter—the exiled adventurer Princess Pira—and Pira’s best friend Princess Lono have discovered her plot…and will go to any lengths to stop her. Along with their friends—the fire spirit, Yonder, and the ruthless cat Chobo—Pira and Lono must set off on a perilous journey to warn the Speran King, up monster-infested mountains, through villages full of crazed warriors, and down dark tunnels walled with madness itself.

More often than not, I jump straight into a fantasy adventure with great anticipation.  There are so many directions that it can go in and I love seeing new heroes and heroines embark on a journey.  The epic stories within Spera were unfortunately new to me until now.  Given that fact, I was curious to see how the first volume of Spera: Ascension of the Starless would turn out.

Admittedly, this took me a bit to gain any traction and really start moving along with the story.  I’m sure it didn’t help having no knowledge of princesses Lono and Pira beforehand.  Regardless, this time we see them taking on the challenge of stopping the hostile intentions of the evil Starless Queen.  As it turns out, she also happens to be Pira’s mother.  *queue dramatic music* Although it was a bit slow for me at first, once the ball got rolling it’s a great story.

The plot as a whole is split up into different chapters showing us various sections of their trek.  What’s really neat is that they all feature a separate artist taking on the responsibility of illustrating the adventure.  Each one definitely comes at it with a completely new style, yet they all maintain enough familiar aspects to keep the story glued together visually.  As varied as they were, all of them were really well done and did a great job piecing the book together.

Current Spera readers will likely have no problem at all reading this fun book.  Even with the difficulties I had for a short time, I ended up really enjoying this book.  I can’t say for sure how well this stands on its own, but I can confidently say it’s a good read either way.  New or old to these kingdoms, this is a book worth checking out.

For more on Spera: Ascension of the Starless Vol 1 or other Boom titles, check out Boom! Studios.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Satoshi Kon’s Opus

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 9:00 AM

Brilliant anime director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Paranoia Agent, Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue) died tragically young in 2010 at the age of forty-six. But before he became a director, he was a manga artist, and Dark Horse is honored to remember Kon with the release of Satoshi Kon’s OPUS,an omnibus collection of a two-volume manga from 1996, created by Kon on the eve of his first film. OPUS contains the mastery of both realism and surrealism that would make Kon famous in Perfect Blue,as a manga artist planning a shocking surprise ending to his story gets literally pulled into his own work—to face for himself what he had planned for his characters!

There is no question that above all else, anime and manga are my biggest love within the geek spectrum.  To have the absolute honor of reading a book like this is a serious treat for me.  It’s been a while since I power read a manga from start to finish.  Being able to do that with Satoshi Kon’s Opus was one well worth doing just that.

This brilliant story sees Chikara, a manga artist on a tight deadline in a rush to finish the last pages of his popular series.  In what he thought at first to be a bizarre dream from lack of sleep, he is transported into the very world he is drawing.  When he realizes it’s not a dream at all, he is caught trying to take responsibility for the lives of the characters he now finds himself interacting with.  The ending is very much in the nature of this kind of fiction, completely throwing readers for a loop.

Anyone who has had any experience with manga should feel very comfortable with the artwork here.  As with virtually all manga, it’s 99.9% in black and white, with a special treatment of the first few in color as they do sometimes.  Even being monochrome though, this in no way takes away from the fantastic art whose powerful illustrations tell the story wonderfully.

I absolutely loved reading this book.  The concept was unique and fascinating, the art was consistently excellent and all of it came from a top mind in the genre.  One thing I particularly appreciated was that we got to see the final chapter that Kon wrote before his untimely death, still in its raw but effective form.  Whether or not you’re a manga fan, this is a magnificent book that everyone should go out and buy.  Manga noobs - don’t worry, there’s instructions inside on how to read it properly.

For more on Satoshi Kon’s Opus or other Dark Horse books, check out Dark Horse Comics.

Satoshi Kon’s Opus will be available 11/26

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Protocol Orphans Vol 1

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 11:00 AM

Grabbed up by the United States government and thrown into training camps, orphans around the country have been raised to become America’s next generation of super-spies. Now, as adults, they live among us, ready for “the family” to call them back into action.

Let’s be honest, the world of spycraft is just really fun.  The clandestine missions, the cover identities, the danger at ever y turn.  Most of the time, this is something we see with hardened, often British adult men.  What if this is the life you led from early childhood no matter your gender or place of origin?  That’s the possibility we explore with Protocol Orphans.

As you might gather from the title, this company of highly skilled agents is created from that of orphans trained in the art of espionage.  As often shown, there is no mercy, no second chances.  You learn, you do, or you die.  After an unfortunate incident on a recent training mission, one team in this “family” and their “dad” find themselves in a bit of family drama so to speak.  Like any good spy thriller, it involves backstabbing and a thirst for revenge to right things in the end.

With an endless amount of high speed, guns blazing, explosive action, there was an equal amount of great artwork.  It was right in your face, leap off the page art with really impressive illustrations and gorgeous colors.  The story was intense and all of the visuals kept right with it, delivering a strong book.  You need to really feel the rush in something like this and that was successful here.

The only disappointment that comes to mind with this book is that it was a limited series run.  The premise was fun, and both the writing and art were solid.  I won’t keep my hopes up, but maybe they’ll decide to do more with it.  If not, we at least have this to enjoy and I think it should definitely be picked up.

For more on Protocol Orphans or other Boom titles, check out Boom! Studios.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

Quantum Conditioning - "Litter Box"

Posted by Geek-o-Rama Admin on 8:00 AM

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