The Darkness: Darkness/ Batman & Darkness/ Superman 20th Anniversary Collection – Book Review

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The Darkness: Darkness/Batman & Darkness/ Superman

20th Anniversary Collection

by Garth Ennis, Jeph Loeb, Ron Marz, Scott Lobdell, Marc Silvestri

★★★★

Expectation

I read the first three volumes of The Darkness graphic novel about six years ago and I remember loving it! This edition was an impulse buy from the trip to Essen Spiel last year. I was very happy with the purchase and the cover art is very catchy and pleasing to me. The cover is hinting at some DC universe crossovers I’m looking forward to. The whole concept of the main character Jackie Estacado as The Darkness is very appealing to me.

Summary

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This is the 20th Anniversary Collection with an origin story of the character and some extra issues that crossover with Batman and Superman. As I started reading it I was a bit unnerved by having to read the crossovers first instead of the origin story since the opposite would be much more practical for me even though I’ve already read it before. I think any new reader would be left confused as well. Why could’t have they just followed the timeline?

The Darkness is a part of the DC universe along with two others who are essential part of his storyline – The Angelus and The Witchblade. The Witchblade does not appear in this book but The Angelus does. The Darkness and The Angelus are portrayed as two opposite powers – light and dark, female and male. Sexuality is a big part of these characters and the mature audiences warning apply here.

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The readers learn about The Darkness trough the character Jackie Estacado – a relatively young mafia enforcer and hitman, who becomes the new wielder of The Darkness. The Darkness is in its nature chaotic and possibly limitless power depending solely on the abilities and imagination of its wielder. The wielder is always a male and moral issues are a part of the gig.

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Darkness/ Batman

I love how snugly Darkness melted into Gotham. At first the mafia angle was a bit weird in the same story as Batman but it was worth it. The comparison of two characters and their similarities was intriguing. What I loved about this story and how it was written is that both characters have stayed true to their persona – Batman with his deducing detective play and Darkness with his antihero routine.

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Darkness/ Superman

This story was cut into two issues with a cliffhanger. I did not even notice they were two parts while I read since the story was very engaging. Again both characters have stayed true to themselves which is kinda hard to pull of due to differences in Superman lawful behavior and Darkness’s chaotic nature. At first I was a bit sceptic on how will these two face of since they are both instruments of great power and possible destruction but there were some really cool scenes with expected plot twist and ending.

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The Darkness: Origins Volume 1

I had to look up the rest of The Darkenss editions to indentify this part as a volume one out of four from The Darkness Origins series. I realized that I’ve read first three volumes before. I liked the cheesy early nineties feel of the series. Main character start as a manwhore and a mafia hitman. It has some great entertinment value. I did find myself interested in the Artifacts series again – The Artifacts series is all about The Darkness, The Angelus and The Witchblade.

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Conclusion

Once again I was left with adding not a few new books to my TBR and wishlist but fifteen of them! And those were only The Darkness related. There is The Artifacts series that is a name for all three entites – The Darkness, The Angelus and the Witchblade and also there is The Witchblade series as well. At this point I would probably settle to get a chance to read them all since my budget is very low.

I enjoy the cheesy mafia angle and the the tone of the stories which is set trough lots of sex and violence. Both can be graphic and some readers might be bothered by that. There is also a specific type of humor that Jackie Estacade brings in trough his little demon helpers that remind me of Deadpool and his inner monologues.

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I loved reading this edition though I was a bit disappointed at the amount of Origin volumes it contains. I will probably try to get some of my friends interested in it as well! It’s definitely intended for mature audiences and those are the readers I recommend this graphic novel to as well!

Wayward Vol 1-3 – Book Review

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Finished reading

String Theory (Wayward volume 1)  ★★★★

Ties That Bind (Wayward volume 2) ★★★★

Out From the Shadows (Wayward volume 3) ★★★★

by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all

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Expectation

Almost three years ago I’ve read the first volume of Wayward graphic novel series String Theory. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Last year I had the opportunity to buy first volume and I went for it. As it goes with book series I managed to get next two earlier this year and decided to binge on reading all three volumes. I am not that familiar with Japanese mythology and liked how it was portrayed in the first volume. You can read my impressions from few years back HERE.

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Summary

I am so glad I went and read the String Theory again since it ended on a cliffhanger and it was fun to get back into the suspense. As it turned out each new chapter of the Ties That Bind and Out From the Shadows brought out new twists to the story and introduced exciting new characters. Since I have read it first few years ago I had most of the characters from String Theory in fond memory. This proved to be an issue with the influx of many new characters and some terrible decisions on the part of my fond characters. Plot moved on rapidly and I had to adapt to the pace it set. This had me in a spin for a while.

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What I loved the most in all of these were essays at the end of each volume. They were very informative on the traditions and mythology of historical Japan. They explained a lot on the origin of different Yokai – fantastic creatures from Japan. They also provided for a context and information on some of the sites and areas the plot of the story is revolving around.

I was displeased with some issues being jumped over and then being bombarded with some new plot twists. It all kinda felt chaotic and only trough some hints in Out From the Shadows I started to notice a pattern and connect some things together.

I kept admiring the artwork and design of the books. I really enjoyed the bright coloring and the art style from the cover of each chapter to the TP covers of the paperback editions I have. I can see how much care was put into making these and I can appreciate that as well.

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Conclusion

Story is for mature audiences because of violence and debatable moral issues. There is no character that can claim moral high ground and after reading all three volumes I still have trouble with picking a character to root for. I will have to find time and see if the author has a blog where I can read more of the essays that came with each volume since I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The reason I decided to make a review on all three volumes together is that my reading experience with them was connected to the fast pace with which I read all three together and since I already did a review on the first one few years ago.

 

String Theory – Book Reveiw

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Finished reading:

String Theory (Wayward volume 1) by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings ★★★★

Expectation

First of all I really like the creepy cats on the cover.  This is one of the newer titles from Image comics and it came out this year. I heard some positive reviews and decided to give it a go.

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Summary

After I read the introduction I liked this graphic novel even more. It is a story about a girl moving to Japan to live with her mother who is Japanese. Shes never been there and the readers can see much of it trough her eyes. New and intriguing country, people and culture.

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We come across a lot of creatures from Japanese mythology. The group of heroes starts forming and what I really like about the story is a the part where it woke up some Buffy feels. Monsters and dangers are many. There are even more questions and mysteries including the main characters themselves. But the ease at which they are all put together reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.

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At first I was rethinking doing the review but when I saw how little is known about it I decided it needs some attention. The lack of images online almost made me want to snap some pictures from the copy I was reading.

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Conclusion

I would like to continue reading Wayward graphic novel. It is cool and story wise intriguing. The Japanese letters trough the artwork made me regret not finishing lessons in Japanese I used to learn. Who knows I might still make it one day!

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Artwork is cool and I like the additions at the end of the volume 1. Monster explanation and extra graphics. What irked me is the fact that it ended all too soon and ended at a major cliffhanger. It made me mad and in want of a next volume!

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Sass & Sorcery – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Sass & Sorcery (Rat Queens vol 1) by Kurtis J. Wiebe and illustrator Roc Upchurch ★★★★★

Expectation:

This graphic novel has been on my reading list since Easter. A friend read it in chapters as it came out and she was very positive about it. It has been a while since I read a good graphic novel and I was really looking forward to this one. I haven’t played DnD for a while now and I’m really interested in this story of all female DnD butt kicking party!

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Summary

Here we’ve got four quirky women who have banded together and make a living by supporting local city and get things done accepting quests from locals. They call themselves The Rat Queens. The story is set in a classic DnD manner. Local city captain passes out quests to questing groups willing to work as mercenaries. They are almost like police units only a lot more colorful and wild.

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One of the authors has explained the story as: Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids. The heroines of the story each have a intriguing background: Betty is a halfling rogue who considers packing drugs and candy as food on a quest nutrient sufficient; Dee is a human cleric of a giant floating squid deity in search for her own self; Hannah is an elf wizard with an attitude and a black arts dabbling family; Violet is a dwarf fighter that stopped shaving her beard long before it was a thing with the young today.

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What I love about these characters is their energy. They are living in an imagined world but their lives, their troubles and hurts are unbelievably real and urban. They are no damsels that need rescuing – they do their own battles and will not shy from a good bar fight. They will probably be the ones starting it…

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The first volume has been nominated for a prestigious Eisner award – which is like an Oscar for graphic novels and comics. It has been nominated for a Hugo this year as well.

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This graphic novel has recieved GLAAD Media Award and many praises by the LGBT community for a positive portrayal of characters.

Before it was going to be launched as a Kickstarter project editor for Image Comics picked it up and decided to start with publishing a chapter per month which makes two volumes a year.

Last year Heavy Metal Magazine and Pukeko Pictures have announced an animated series to be made based on the story.

Conclusion

I loved the story and the characters. They make for some good cosplay material already. I recommend you to read this graphic novel and get on the fan bandwagon before this stuff gets more popular!

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I’m looking forward to read the next volume and I’m very eager to see how the animated series turn out!