I’ve only read 4 comics this month but I also started a Manga series that I’ve been rage reading. This should be fun. I apologize for the length in advance. Beware for mild raging.
1. Batman: A Death In the Family by Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo Mike DeCarlo
Date Read: March 3
Synopsis from Goodreads: Batman readers were allowed to vote on the outcome of the story and they decided that Robin should die! As the second person to assume the role of Batman’s sidekick, Jason Todd had a completely different personality than the original Robin. Rash and prone to ignore Batman’s instructions, Jason was always quick to act without regard to consequences. In this fatal instance, Robin ignores his mentor’s warnings when he attempts to take on the Joker by himself and pays the ultimate price. Driven by anger with Superman by his side, Batman seeks his vengeance as he looks to end the Joker’s threat forever.
I think the fact that I’m not a fan of Robin at all (no matter which Robin it is, can’t stand him), I just didn’t enjoy this as much as I wanted to. The artwork was great and I always love a Batman/Joker story but I didn’t feel anything for Jason Todd. He was annoying and just kept getting himself into stupid situations. I understand that he was just a kid, but damn. There’s a limit to how much I can let that excuse slide. He didn’t feel all that developed as a character and it was more telling us about him (from Batman) than actually showing us who he is as a person. Overall, it’s not a terrible story but definitely not a favorite. The ending also leaves a lot to be desired.
2. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli Richmond Lewis
Date Read: March 6
Synopsis from Goodreads: Lieutenant James Gordon takes up a new post in the crime-ridden and corrupt city of Gotham, while billionaire Bruce Wayne returns to the scene of his parents’ deaths, intent on punishing the criminal element. Collects BATMAN #404-407.
Really good origin story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The artwork was really great and the story was really gritty. I seem to always forget how much I love Commissioner Gordon but this graphic novel definitely reminded me why. Though he did something I wholeheartedly disagreed with, he is such a great character. I especially enjoyed him here because he just felt so raw and human and he was an absolute badass. The beginning of Batman was great but I felt like the whole Selina becoming Catwoman arc could’ve been fleshed out more. It felt completely out of nowhere but I did like Selina and Holly a lot. Overall, this was a really great story where James Gordon totally steals the show from Batman and I have no problem with that at all. This is a must read for Batman fans!
3. Batman: Harley & Ivy by Paul Dini, Judd Winick, Bruce Timm Joe Chiodo
Date Read: March 11
Synopsis from Goodreads: The sexy, madcap super-villain duo of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy plan to take down Batman once and for all in this uproariously funny volume. But first, Harley has to convince Ivy that she has what it takes to be a villain in Gotham City! This volume features a fantastic 3-chapter story written by Paul Dini and illustrated by Bruce Timm, the award-winning producers of Batman: The Animated Series, plus a story by superstars talents Judd Winick and Joe Chiodo. Collects Batman: Harley and Ivy #1-3
I love Harley and Ivy’s friendship. They’re so weird and adorable. The artwork for the most part was really good but the plot was kind of juvenile. I didn’t really care for Harley’s characterization (she really isn’t that damn ditzy, people!) and Ivy felt inconsistent. I liked the Love on the Lam issue in this because the artwork was stunning and Harley felt more like herself. The rest were just okay. Not a horrible comic by any means, but I definitely don’t think it’s that necessary even if you are a huge Harley Quinn fan like myself. It won’t hurt you to skip this one, trust me.
4. Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 1 by Yoko Kamio
Date Read: March 11
Synopsis from Goodreads: When her only friend, Makiko, accidentally offends F4 leader Tsukasa, Tsukushi boldly defends her. Enraged, Tsukasa puts the dreaded red tag in Tsukushi’s locker — a sign that she is now a target for the abuse of the F4 gang and the entire school. But when Tsukushi fights the gang with their own weapon, Tsukasa finds himself falling for her!
All I can think of is Lee Minho in fur with awful curls. Help. Anyways, I’m so familiar with this story that it’s not even funny. I’ve watched the anime and the Korean adaptation multiple times so I decided to finally read the manga. I adore the artwork but I just can’t give it more than 3 stars because good grief the start of this story makes me so freaking angry every single time. The F4 and a good chunk of the students at Eitoku Academy are dicks. I love Tsukushi though. I’m excited to continue on with the series to see how much the adaptations differ from the manga. So far so good.
5. Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 2 by Yoko Kamio
Date Read: March 11
Synopsis from Goodreads: Tsukushi Makino has been accepted into the snobbish Eitoku academy. From a middle-class background and poor compared to her classmates, Tsukushi is determined to get her diploma. Standing in her way is the gang known as F4 — four handsome but vicious rich boys who rule the school and attack anyone who gets in their way This popular series features drama, romance, humor, strong girls, and cute boys. Because she stood up to the F4 gang, Tsukushi is now a celebrity But not everyone has joined her fan club. A boy playing a violin is rude to her. A trio of girls tricks her at a party. And she gets kidnapped and taken to Tsukasa’s mansion, where she and her sometimes enemy have a fight and he spreads cruel gossip about her around the school Tsukushi’s resourceful, but how will she handle this one?
Ehhh, this might’ve been a mistake. Reading the manga doesn’t have the same emotional impact. There is a really terrible scene of pretty much the entire student body bullying these two kids and it gets looked over and treated like nothing. No one has a reaction to anything and it’s unsettling. This whole volume just rubbed me the wrong way and damn Tsukushi’s parents. What a couple of dimwits. I’m going to read on because I know how it wraps up in the end but it’s making me feel a little bit different towards this series. Not sure how I feel about that.
6. Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 3 by Yoko Kamio
Date Read: March 12
Synopsis from Goodreads: Romantic complications occur when Kazuya, furious about the kiss between Domyoji and Tsukushi, challenges Domyoji to a squid fishing competition. Domyoji starts spreading rumors that Tsukushi is in love with him. When he discovers she’s in love with Rui, he goes on a rampage – a rampage that turns into an attack on Tsukushi. This volume also reveals the future plans of the beautiful Shizuka.
Oh dear God, no. This was terrible. Sexual assault is a very serious topic and no one treats it like it is in this series. That is not okay at all with me. Domyoji is a psychopath and is absolutely terrifying. This is making me like this series less and less with each volume. The thing with the anime and K-Drama adaptations at the very least is that there were those emotions there. You felt the pain and the intensity because they gave you those moments and reactions to, but here everything is treated as if it’s not something that can damage a person’s psyche.and.that’s.not.o-fucking.kay. I’ve always felt that the B.o.F series was problematic but this manga series is really shining light on just how much so. This series gets a big side-eye from me now because good Lord, no!
7. Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Vol. 4 by Yoko Kamio
Date Read: March 12
Synopsis from Goodreads: Tsukushi realizes that she would have Rui to herself if Shizuka left for France as planned, but she doesn’t want to be like the other scheming girls at her school. So she begs Shizuka to stay in Japan for Rui’s sake. Domyoji asks Tsukushi for a date at the airport that Shizuka is leaving from, but his sweet words are drowned out by the sound of jets passing by.
I’m still really rocky with this series and the way it deals with the subject matter but this one was a bit better than the last two. That’s not saying much to be honest, but it’s a start. I still think this series has a ton of issues, but I’m gonna see just how long I can stick with it. I’m sure I’ll throw in the towel before I reach the end, but we’ll see.
8. Batman: Harley Quinn by Paul Dini
Date Read: March 23
Synopsis from Goodreads: Head over heels in her devotion to the Joker, Arkham psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel gave up her career (and her sanity) to transform herself into the ultimate companion for crime’s clown prince – the mad moll Harley Quinn.
Of course, Harley’s romance with the Joker hasn’t been easy. The two are at each other throats as often as in each other’s arms, and that buzzkill Batman is always sticking his nose in just when things are starting to get fun. But what great love story is without the occasional incarceration and life-threatening peril?
The Joker’s main squeeze takes center stage in these stories from top creators Paul Dini, Yvel Guichet, Don Dramer, Joe Quinones, Neil Googe and more! Collects stories from: BATMAN: HARLEY QUINN #1, BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #14, #30, DETECTIVE COMICS #831, #837, JOKER’S ASYLUM II: HARLEY QUINN #1, BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE #1, #3, LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR #1 and DETECTIVE COMICS #23.2.
I’m so biased when it comes to Harley and I have no shame. I adore her and all of her insanity. This was a lot of fun and I always love a good Harley/Joker origin so I really enjoyed that. Also, the friendship of Harley and Ivy is my absolute favorite so that was a plus as well. I think the only thing about this comic that didn’t work for me was that the pacing was a bit off and the ending was rushed and anti-climatic. Though I did love Harley and Joker’s fight, it was resolved quickly in a goofy manner. Not a bad read if you’re a Harley Quinn fan.
That’s all for this month! Hope you enjoyed. Any comic or manga recommendations would be greatly appreciated.