Monthly Archives: October 2013

My Top 10 Favorite Usagi Yojimbo Horror Issues

Kirin dove for cover as the objects started flying around her room as if a small tornado had blown through. The lights flickered on and off. Faintly, she heard Textbox calling her and sinister laughter over the crashing and breaking objects. Though she didn’t want to admit it to whatever was out there, she was scared. Then as quickly as the insanity began, it stopped. The room was deathly quiet.

Hello, I’m a unicorn. My life has gotten weird, but not as weird as the hero of my all time favorite ongoing series, Usagi Yojimbo. The titular Usagi is an anthropomorphic master-less samurai rabbit who wanders throughout an alternate version of Feudal Japan where everyone is an animal. Adventure just happens to follow him everywhere he goes. When I say it out loud, it sounds like an insane idea, but  these stories are amazing. I could go all day about how wonderful they are or how awesome Stan Sakai, the writer, artist, and researcher is, but that would be a post for another time. In this post, I’ll focus on the weirdness that surrounds everyone’s favorite rabbit eared ronin. After all, if you’ve been on the road as long as Usagi, you’re bound to have strange adventures, especially when monsters are a proven fact.

So, without spoilers and further adieu, these are my top ten favorite Usagi Yojimbo horror issues.

10. The Obakéneko of the Geishu Clan, Dark Horse Issue 12 volume 11Just after thwarting  the Dragon Bellow Conspiracy (also highly recommended) Usagi, Tomoe,(female samurai and faithful retainer to Lord Noriyuki) and Gen (a bounty hunter) need a place to stay. Thankfully, the mysterious Lady Takagi is a wonderful hostess. But she is not what she seems. What is the secret of Lady Takagi? You must read to find out.

9. The Demon Flute, Dark Horse Issue 24, Volume 13: Usagi wanders into a village haunted by a mysterious figure and his lovely flute melody. Every night, when the flute plays, villagers are massacred and it is up to Usagi to end the vengeful demon with the help of another vengeful ghost and his white Tokagé. How is this ghost connected to the demon? You must read to find out.

8. The Inn on Moon Shadow Hill, Dark Horse Issue 31, Volume 14: Welcome to the inn on Moon Shadow hill, where ghost and demons are commonplace. Feel free to sit back, relax and enjoy the haunts in the safety of this inn. Or, if you dare, you can prove your courage by venturing out into the monster infested graveyard and taking the white stone with “truth” engraved in it. Unlike, Usagi though, I wouldn’t bet anything drastic on it. Are you brave enough to discover the secret of this humble inn?

7. Wrath of the Tangled Skein, Volume 10: Usagi stays at an inn at the same time as a woman who has taken ill. Realizing that the illness has to do with the Tangled Skein,  a demon infested forest, he calls a priest who isn’t all that he appears to be and battles against a monster known as a nue and a trickster known as tanuki-bozu .

6. The Entire Volume 24: Every issue in this volume is horror related, and each one is amazing. In “One Dark Stormy Night” Usagi spends the night at the home of a beautiful woman while her husband is away. When he returns, Usagi discovers that history has a tendency to repeat itself. In “The Darkness and the Soul,” we learn the origin of Jei, the pants wettingly creepy Blade of the Gods, and how he came to be the killer of all sinners. In “Sparrows” we get resolution on the fact that a swords woman named Inazuma has been possessed by Jei’s spirit. Though still retains some of her humanity, she often slips back into his thrall. Speaking of Jei…

5. Blade of the Gods, Fantagraphics issue 10, Volume 3: This is the first appearance of Usagi’s arch nemesis. They meet on good terms, but when the gods tell Jei-san that Usagi is a sinner, he believes that when he kills him, he will join the gods as one of them. Jei-san, by the way, is a pun based on the fact that he constantly returns from the dead. Did I mention that? Because he totally does, many times, including this issue, but not without nearly killing Usagi as well. It just goes to show, never trust a samurai with black blades, because, as we all know, the blades are the soul of the samurai. As a bonus, in both the trade and individual issue, there is a crossover where Usagi meets Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they are different stories, so I suggest getting both.

4. Dreams In Darkness, Volume 23: This story isn’t technically a horror comic, but it definitely is a horrifying thought. What if Usagi is possessed by Jei’s spirit? When he is poisoned in a fight against the Neko ninja clan, this question is answered in a horrifying fever dream where he kills the people he cares about. Or was it just a dream? Perhaps it was a premonition of things to come.

3. Yokai Color special: When a woman begs Usagi to find her missing daughter, he ventures into a haunted forest and discovers an amassing group of demons planning a raid on the countryside. Fortunately, Sasuke, the mysterious Demon Queller, offers his assistance. The artwork in this is beautiful, and we learn a little about Sasuke as well.

2. Traitors of the Earth, Volume 26: Usagi and the little theif, Kiyoko fight samurai zombies in order to save their possessed friend, Kitsune. Let me say that again. Samurai versus samurai zombies. Did I mention how much I love this series?

1. A Promise in the Snow, Volume 11:  This story relies heavily on a twist ending that still gives me chills, so I won’t spoil it. Instead, I’ll ask you this : how far would a daughter go to save the life of her father?

These are but a few of the my favorite adventures of the long eared ronin. In nearly every trade volume, there is at least one wonderful supernatural tale, but Usagi’s world isn’t just supernatural. There are plenty of humorous and poignant tales, as well as political intrigue and character drama. Sometimes, all of these are combined. Still not convinced? Well, Usagi Yojimbo is not only my favorite, but is also the series that got me into comics in the first place.  Nearly every issue is a great starting point, so what are you waiting for? Read some Usagi Yojimbo now!

As soon as she finished typing, the chaos started again with a trade of Usagi Yojimbo flying across the room, then another and another. Kirin ducked, but something inside of her hardened. She didn’t know how she was going to stop whatever was out there, but she wasn’t going to go down without a fight. She ran out of her room and to the dining room table where she had left  her broadsword, the destruction following her.

“You think that a puny sword will have an effect against me? You truly are a fool,”  the creature said. She swung her sword wildly, nearly lopping off the creature’s head.

“I don’t know, but I hear creatures like you don’t like iron.” This time, she grazed the creature’s arm. It hissed in pain. “So iron does hurt you. Good to know,” she reckoned and swung blindly again. This time, the creature ducked out of the way. He was done playing.  He ducked under Kirin’s subsequent swing, and grabbed her sword, yanking it out of her hand. He saw the shock give way to fear. Now was the time for the kill. He slashed at her, but she lunged for the sword at the last moment. He attacked her head on, both trying to get at the other’s vital organs. After nearly getting stabbed, the creature realized he needed a distraction.

“Kirin? Where am I? It’s like I’m coming out of a fog,” he let Textbox say. This gave him the right advantage he needed to catch her off guard and throw her against the wall. She crumpled to the ground. Just as he was about to make the kill, the door burst open.

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Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter

“LIAR!”

“Excuse me?”

“You lie. Nothing is safe and nothing will ever be safe again, contrary to whatever you have idiotically convinced yourself. You are trapped, pinned like a rat in the maw of a snake. And there is nothing you can do about it. It’s hopeless for you as well as this putrid place you call home.” Textbox screamed at her.

“Textbox, you’re having another Black Mirror episode. This isn’t you talking,” Kirin said as calmly as she could manage, but there was the slightest hint of unsteadiness in her voice.

You naive fool, this is the true me. You have just been blind to it–it–Kirin, what’s going on? Something strange is happening I–I–I’m now able to say what’s been on my mind for the past two months.”

“Textbox, fight this. You’re in control. This isn’t you,” Kirin said cooly. On the inside, though, fear trickled down her spine.

“Were you not listening? You pretentious teenager, believing you know everything about a medium before you are even able to drive. You’re arrogance will always lead to your downfall. You are a stupid little ant.”

“Are you done?” Kirin asked as calmly as she could. She kept her hands in her lap so that whatever had taken over Textbox couldn’t see them shaking.

“No, you idiot child.  Do you have any idea what it’s like? Day in and day out, all I hear about is comic books, movies and novels. Would you please just shut up for once?”

“You’re the only one talking.”

“Arrgh. And that sarcasm. Do you have any idea how unfunny you are?”

“Mr. Poltergeist, I’m glad you’ve made yourself known and all, but can I have the normal voice in my head back please? Sure, he was annoying, but at least he was pleasant. You really aren’t scaring me. Nice try though.” Kirin asked as nicely as she could.

That’s really cute, pretending that you aren’t afraid. You stink of fear. It emanates from every pore of your body. You try to behave like you’re infallible and unflappable, but there are forces out there that you cannot possibly begin to comprehend.”

“Okay, so I’m a little scared. What do you want?”

“Your weak mind cannot possibly comprehend what I want.” Kirin opened her mouth as though she was about to speak, but changed her mind. Instead, she opened a new post and started writing, and ignoring everything the creature  was yelling at her.

Hello, I’m a unicorn.  I already gave the tiniest smidge of background I could find in my last post, so let’s just jump right in.

You lazy fool. I doubt you even did all that much research in the first place. And your prose is horrible.

Shut up! Can’t you see I’m trying to write?

Can’t you see you’re a talent-less hack?

Can’t you see you’re just an obnoxious parrot on my shoulder? Any way, the movie begins during a dark and stormy night. The thunder is so loud, it just might wake the dead. The people of the town are fleeing except for one couple and their daughter, Juanita, because their son is sick and held prisoner in a local castle. Juanita returns from said castle angry, because they won’t let her see her brother.

We cut to Frankenstein’s castle, where his granddaughter is trying to raise the dead. Wait, granddaughter? I thought the title was Frankenstein’s daughter? Oh well, do you expect any less from Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter? She performs the experiment. And it’s alive, It’s ALIVE, IT’S…dead. But only because her brother (who, by the way, is thirty years older than her) poisons her test subject. Maria, the granddaughter  of Frankenstein realized that she needs a stronger human. And apparently her saying that she and her brother are safest in the old west is enough to elicit a dun..dun..dun!

We cut to a broke Jesse James and his friend, the dim-witted Hank. Hank is involved in a fight and wins, much to the chagrin of the other guy. He refuses to part with his precious money until Hank idiotically blurts out that it’s Jesse James, the wanted outlaw, he’s holding out on. If it isn’t somewhat obvious, Hank isn’t very smart. Jesse, on the other hand, is much more competent than Wimpy the Kid in my last post. He actually comes off as a threatening outlaw. He and Hank team up with a local gang in order to commit a high risk stagecoach robbery.

Unfortunately, there’s a dirty double crosser in the group. He’s a stinkin’ varmint by the name of Lonny who rats out Jesse and Hank to the sheriff. Lonny will be our Inspector Javert for the evening. Jesse and Hank escape, but Hank is shot. They come across Juanita, or Estelita as Wikipedia likes to call her. No, I don’t know why they use her name interchangeably. I’ve heard her be called Juanita, Estelita, and Rosalita. Feel free to call her your favorite name. EsteRosaJuanlita tells them that the only person who can save Hank is Maria Frankenstein, the person she and her family were fleeing from. Wow, Maria must be a great doctor, considering that she gets a glowing recommendation from the family of one of her victims.

They hightail it to Frankenstein’s castle and Maria finds Hank to be the perfect subject for her experiment. Jesse tells her that Hank was shot cleaning his gun, but anyone with a brain, even a synthetic one, would be able to tell how much of a lie that is. Pro-tip if you’re ever in the old west, if you’re don’t know that you shouldn’t point a gun at yourself, don’t use a gun!

I highly doubt you’d have that kind of common sense if you were in that position. You are so useless, you don’t know a sword from a knife.

All I need to know is fist plus face equals pain, so leave me alone.

Oooh, I’m so scared. What are you going to do? Punch something you can’t see?

Just. Shut. Up. Anyway, EsteRosaJuanlita suddenly changes her mind and tells Jesse not to trust Maria.  Both ladies, by the way, have fallen for Jesse. The recovering Hank and EsteRosaJuanlita have a two minute conversation, which mean that Hank is in love with her. After Jesse rejects Maria’s advances, she get super jealous of the woman known by many names and decides to get Jesse caught by the Sheriff. What is her brilliant plan you may ask? Send Jesse for some medicine, but instead of the prescription on the note it’s a note telling the doctor who Jesse really is. And, because Jesse is so dumb he doesn’t think to read the note, even after EsteRosaJuanlita warns him, it works. It’s not like Jesse can’t read either, we see him read it at the end of the scene, he’s just so rock stupid that the thought didn’t even occur to him. Lonny, our inspector Javert, is killed in the ensuing shootout, and the betrayed Jesse heads back to the castle.

Meanwhile, with Hank patched up, it is time for Maria to go through with her dastardly deeds.  She fills the glass jar holding the last of  Victor Frankenstein”s synthetic brain with sugar (at least I hope it’s sugar) and commences the experiment. It’s alive…It’s Alive…IT’S Alive!!! And, for some reason, now called Igor.  Maria finds out that her brother was trying to sabotage her experiments the whole time and has Hankgor kill him. This was all witnessed by EsteRosaJuanlita, who rushes off to warn Jesse.

Jesse, being and idiot, ignores her, and rushes to Maria’s mansion. And, what do you know, gets captured and needs to be rescued by the Sheriff and EsteRosaJuanlita. The Sheriff gets his pistol handed to him by Hankgor, but Jesse gets enough time to escape. After the Sheriff is knocked out, EsteRosaJuanlita and Jesse appeal to the old Hank. Hank remembers the two minute conversation he had with EsteRosaJuanlita and turns on Maria. After Maria is dead, Hankgor turns on the two. Jesse is forced to shoot him.

The movie ends at Hanks grave. I just love his tombstone, by the way. “Here lies Hank. He was Jesse James’s Friend.” When I die, I hope my tombstone reads “Kirin Licorne. She had Deadpool’s voice in her head.”

You won’t though. You’ll die scared and alone. No one would ever shed a tear for you.

SHUT UP! SHUT UP! DON’T YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO? …Ahem… Anyway, EsteRosaJuanlita and Jesse kiss on top of Hank’s grave and Jesse rides off into the sunset with the Sheriff, presumably to fight off the wolf-man together.

There is an expression I like to use for movies like this and Billy the Kid vs Dracula. It’s cheesy, but the cheese is delicious. It’s goofy, campy, and nonsensical, but also lot’s of fun. This one has slightly better performances and a bigger story than Billy the Kid vs Dracula, so I guess one would say that this movie is the better movie. Either way, both are tons of fun to riff with friends or family. So what are you waiting for? Grab some popcorn and watch it now. Yee-Haw!

“You call that a review?”  the possessed Textbox yelled at Kirin. She rolled her eyes. This had gone too far. She wasn’t scared anymore, She was angry.

“What do you want? You must have some sort of life–er–afterlife besides insulting an Internet critic! Have you ever tried knitting?” she yelled back. For once, the creature didn’t reply. He’d gone too far, ending the girl’s fear and turning it into anger. It was time to try a different angle.

“Kirin? Is that you? Where are you? It’s dark here and cold. Help me Kirin! Help me!” the creature allowed Textbox to cry pathetically. This got her attention.

“Textbox?”

I don’t know where I am. It’s so cold here. Kirin, please, help me. I’m trapped,” the pathetic simpleton plead.

“Textbox, I’ll find a way to help you. Just keep talking,” Kirin yelled. As soon as the words left her mouth, her bed began to shake. Posters flew off of the walls and anything that wasn’t bolted down went flying across the room. Kirin took cover. Now was the time for the creature’s grand finale.

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October 20, 2013 · 9:47 pm

Billy The Kid VS Dracula

Hello, I’m a unicorn.  Today, while I’m locked inside my house and trying to think of a way out, (see the end of the last post) I decided to look at something fun. And oh, boy, have got a couple of trick-or-treats.

Really? That’s the joke you’re going with?

What? I thought it cute, especially with Halloween coming up.

Kirin, seriously, that has to be the worst  attempt at a pun I’ve ever heard.

I’d like to see you come up with a better one.

Aren’t you supposed to be coming up with an escape plan?

I’m thinking, okay? Geez. Anyway, this has to be one of the strangest scenarios ever put to film. Billy the Kid VS Dracula was a western/horror hybrid made in 1966 and released along with it’s sister movie Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, which I’ll get to next post.

The movie begins with a very fake looking bat attacking the daughter of a German couple. For the duration of this review I’m calling him not Dracula, because Dracula isn’t mentioned once into the movie. We get our first look at not Dracula when he swoops in and– GAH!

stevesomething.wordpress.com
His eyes stare into your soul.
stevesomething.wordpress.com

 

Geez. Get this guy some Visine. Not Dracula is frightened off when he sees that the daughter is holding a crucifix. He then hitches a ride on a stagecoach and meets the owner of the Double Bar-B Ranch. Her husband recently had died and she brought her brother in from the city to help out. The owner also tells him of her lovely daughter, Betty, who still lives on the Bar-B Ranch.

She’s A Bar-B girl, in a Bar-B ranch. Life’s fantastic, except for vampires.

And you say my jokes are bad. So, anyway, not Drac noms on a white person pretending to be Native American (it was a western from the ’60’s what do you expect?) and they kill all of the stagecoach passengers.

We then cut to Wimpy the Kid and his Bar-B girl.

She’s a Bar-B Girl, in a Bar–

No, Textbox, we are not doing that joke again!

Fine. I know when I’m not wanted!

Textbox, you’re so melodramatic. Anyway, one of Betty’s suitors isn’t so happy with Wimpy muscling in on the ranch. He especially isn’t happy that the two are planning to get hitched.  Not Drac arrives at the saloon and requests a room, taking the name of James Underhill. This saloon also just so happens to have the Germans from earlier. Wimpy comes to meet not Drac, thinking that he is Betty’s uncle. The Germans understandably freak out when they see not Drac, Because, I mean, just look at  him. This guy was born sinister. He tries to sooth their worries by offering them his room and staying with Betty. Yeah I’m sure that will work out just fine and–oh look their daughter is dead. What a shock.

So Wimpy rushes home, worried for his poor little Bar-B girl. But everything’s okay because not Drac hasn’t attacked her yet. We listen to another gooey dialogue about how much Wimpy would be miserable without her and didn’t the real Billy the Kid kill nine people? This is why I call him Wimpy the Kid. He went from a super tough outlaw to a boy-scouting puppy-lover. His wimpiness is further perpetuated by the beating he got from his rival. This, of course, leads us to my second favorite character, deus ex Grandma, who is much tougher than the hardened criminal. She is the only one with the book on vampires and the only one who can tell Wimpy how to test if not Drac is a vampire.

In the mean-time, the German couple was hired and the mother had been working to protect Betty from a blood-sucking fate. She is sent away when she’s caught in not Drac’s room. Not Drac also sends Wimpy away under the pretense of being angry about him being an outlaw. He sends Wimpy’s rival after him and the rival is killed in a shoot out. Wimpy returns to the ranch and finds that not Drac has already partially turned Betty into a vampire.  He takes her to deus ex Grandma who “doesn’t like it one bit.” The Marshall then shows up to arrest Wimpy. While the hardened criminal comes quietly with the Marshall, not Drac shows up to take away his future mate.

Wait, didn’t you say that he was pretending to be her uncle?

Yep.

Ew.

My sentiments exactly. Deus ex Grandma decide to try the mirror test on not Drac and when he’s caught, he makes an extremely dignified exit by hissing and half running, half skulking away with his bride. Deus ex Grandma decided that this won’t do and helps Wimpy break out of prison. Wimpy hurries to the mine where not Drac is completing his ritual to turn Betty into a vampire. He tries shooting at not Drac, but it fails miserably and Wimpy gets his butt kicked again. Deus ex Grandma and the Marshall arrive. The Marshall also empties his gun into not Drac. When that fails, get this, Wimpy throws the gun at not Drac and that knocked him off his feet. The vampire can take ten bullets without blinking, but his only weakness is an empty gun. That scene right there is worth the price of admission. Once not Drac is off of his feet, Billy sticks it to him.

Staked through the heart, and you’re too late. You give blood a bad name.

What is it with you and random song references today?

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately ’cause I’m bored. When are you gonna stop thinking and we can get to the explodey stuff?

As soon as I come up with a plan. Anyway, the movie ends with not Drac aging to a skeleton and Wimpy the Kid riding off into the sunset with his Bar-B girl.

This movie is awesome in its stupidity. After all, what would you expect from a title like Billy the Kid vs Dracula? Billy is wimpy, deus ex Grandma is hilarious, and the whole idea is like a wild fever dream. The most enjoyable part of this movie is not Dracula, played by John Carradine, who actually plays an intimidating vampire, believe it or not. His performance is legitimately creepy. He put way too much effort into a movie about a gunslinger fighting vampires. This movie is one I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good, campy movie, and I hope that Hollywood someday remakes this awesomely stupid idea or it at least gets a comic book adaptation.

“So you’re done with your review?”  Textbox asked.

“Yeah, pretty much. I just have to upload it,” Kirin replied, rereading her work.

“So, does the brilliant and enlightened Kirin have any idea how to get out of this mess?” Kirin rolled her eyes and opened a new tab in her windows.

“No. I got nothing. None of the phones work, the doors and windows are locked tight, and the glass on the windows won’t break. Believe me, it was made that way.”

“Why do you  need bullet proof windows anyway?”

“I have my reasons.”

“So, I”m stuck in the house with a  paranoid nut. Great,” Textbox muttered. Suddenly, there was a crash in the other room. “What was that?!” Textbox exclaimed.

“The poltergeist.”

“The what?”

“Poltergeist, a ghost that manifests itself by moving objects. At least, that’s what I assume it is. He’s trying to scare us,” Kirin explained, feigning her calm demeanor.  “Don’t panic. That’s what it wants us to do.” There was another crash downstairs. “We need to stay calm. Ignore it, and try to find a way out. It’s our best chance.” There was an edge in Kirin’s voice, as though she was reminding herself instead of talking to Textbox.

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We’re Moving

Hello, I’m a unicorn. I’ve now got an official and much better looking website, so from now on I will reside there. Don’t worry, I’ll still update this one every once in a while, but form now on, my main site will be http://www.theunicorncomic.com. Can’t wait to see you there.

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Batman: The Black Mirror Trade Collection

Hello, I’m a unicorn. So, I’m back to reviewing scary stories, and this time, I promise that I’ll stay on topic.

That is, until you read another book you just have to tell the world about.

I’m sorry. Geez, what’s got your metaphorical panties in a twist?

Yeah, that’s right. Make fun of me for being a voice in your head, you pretentious brat.

Well, that was rude. What has gotten into you?

Nothing, just keep doing your stupid little review.

We’ll talk about this later. Anyway, once more unto the breech. And this comic, oh great Krypton, this comic. I’m not going to lie, this has to be the scariest comic I have ever read. I don’t actively seek out horror comics, so there are probably more disturbing stories that this, but, being a person who has only bought one comic in the horror genre on purpose, this has story has frightened me the most. It’s not like I don’t enjoy horror, I like a decent scare as much as the next guy. I just usually enjoy being able to sleep at night more. My point is, I simply stumbled on this trade in Books A Million and bought it out of curiosity. And I didn’t regret the terror I felt in the face of this story.

So here’s the plot: Batman (Dick Grayson) and Commissioner Gordon are fighting the usual evil of Gotham when an all too familiar face returns to the city. It’s Gordon’s son, James Jr. who is the scariest monster I have ever read about. Imagine if Rhoda from The Bad Seed had grown up. That would be J.G.JR. in a nutshell. He knows he’s pure evil and revels in it, believing anyone with morals are weak. While I was  pretty unnerved by him at the beginning, I didn’t realize the scope of his evil until I was explicitly shown. And when I are shown what kind of monster he is, it’s still like a punch to the stomach. This is the first punches of many, because, not only is J.G.JR. a psychopath, but a psychopath with a plan. He has found a way to turn the next generation of destitute Gotham citizens into sociopaths like himself. And here’s the kicker: we don’t know if he succeeded.

James Gordon Jr. is now one of my favorite Batman villains. Not only is he a bigger monster than Killer Croc, but it’s also personal. Dick grew up with J.G.Jr, they were friends. He’s Barbara’s brother and Jim Gordon’s son. The story is primarily focused on Jim Gordon, and his feelings of failure as a parent. As told in pants wettingly scary  flashbacks, there was always something odd about his son, and he feels he could have done something to help him or his victims. The father and son aspect really makes this story stand out and makes J.G.Jr. unique. He isn’t just a monster that needs to be taken out, he’s the son of one of the major heroes in Gotham. You aren’t sure if you wanted him to die because of the devastation it would wreak on his father.

There are other great stories in the trade, like when Dick has to help the daughter of his parent’s murders, Sonia Zucco, the Mirror House, and the villain, Tiger Shark, but the arc with J.G. Jr. is what  really stands out.

To put things in perspective as to how freaky James Gordon Jr. is in the story, he scares off a child serial murderer to a point where the killer decides to leave the family alone. The weekend that I read this story, I had also just read V for Vendetta and the Blackest Night crossover, and he scared me more than emotion zombies and a totalitarian government. For a story about a man who dresses up as a bat, it felt very real. Junior looks as ordinary as you or me. If I were to pass him on the street, I’d never guess what he was capable of. And this scares me even more than a zombie, werewolf, or vampire ever could.

“Textbox, what was that all about?” Kirin almost yelled. She put her sheathed sword around her waist and searched the pantry.

“What’chu talkin’ ’bout Willis?” 

“You know exactly what I’m talking about! Why were you so rude in my review?  Honest, sure, but still,” she asked angrily as she pulled out a large tub of salt used to refill salt shakers.

“Huh? And they say I’m the crazy one. Dames I tell ya, always nuts,” Textbox replied. Kirin unlocked and tried opening the door. It wouldn’t budge.

“Oh, please, if you didn’t insult me, who did? I clearly heard your voice. So, again, what got into you?” she snarled.

“Wow, Kirin smash. Seriously, I really don’t know what you’re talking about. Are you sure you aren’t going nuts?” Textbox asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure. I was tested,” she answered dismissively and took a deep breath. “Look,  I’m kind of on edge right now, so let’s start over. Can you, in all honesty and without a shadow of a doubt, tell me you didn’t insult me during my review?” she asked, calming down a bit. She checked the backdoor and saw that it, too, wouldn’t budge.

“Yeah, I didn’t say anything. I was watching my stories the whole time. By the way, Mara told Mitchel that the baby isn’t his, Donny was finally caught laundering the money from Willy’s company, and Jen and  Kincaid finally got together.”

“Oh really? Good for them. I thought they made a cute couple, and–wait a second, I think we just got off topic. What were we talking about again?”

“You were mad at me because you thought I said something mean, which I didn’t,” Textbox answered.

“Right, gotta focus. I think that whatever is in this house is messing with us. It may be trying to turn us against each other, so be on guard,” Kirin suggested.

“Well, why don’t we just leave, hang out in a motel for a while. I hear Canada is nice this time of year,” Textbox asked. Kirin shook her head.

“Can’t. I tried the doors and they won’t budge. Same with the windows. And I can’t break the windows because the glass is bullet proof. Besides, even if I could leave, you can’t, remember?” she replied as she headed to her bedroom. She poured the salt in a circle around her bed.

“What’cha doin’?” Textbox asked.

“According to mythology, a circle of salt protects anyone within the circle from evil spirits. I don’t know if it works, but It’s worth a shot,” she replied. She heard a crash in the living room.

“What was that?”

“I don’t know.” Kirin sprinted to the source of the noise. When she saw what had happened, all she could say was, “By Odin’s beard.” All of the light bulbs in the room had shattered. The lamps were turned off and unhurt. After a few moments of stunned silence, Kirin resolved herself to get a broom and swept up the broken glass. Once she got everything cleaned up, she silently walked to her room.

“Kirin? You okay?”

“Yeah, just a little freaked out. It’s one thing to read ghost stories and another to experience it first hand. I just need some time to think.”

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The Fault in Our Stars By John Green

Hello, I’m a unicorn. You remember how I said in my last post that I was probably going to review horror themed works for the next month? I lied.

You WHAT?! How dare you be dishonest with your rabid readers!

Look Textbox, I wasn’t planning on deceiving our wonderful readers. It just sort of happened. And, to be fair, this book was worth the accidental deception. The Fault in Our Stars is, in a word, wonderful. This is coming from someone who has been on a steady diet of comic books and hasn’t read a real, non school assignment, novel in about four months. And I devoured this book in a single afternoon, enjoying every word of it.

It’s the story of Hazel Lancaster, a teenage girl with terminal cancer. She’s living on borrowed time when she meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters in a cancer support group. That’s about all I want to say about the plot because I really, really, really, really don’t want to spoil it. The story is just that good.

I don’t quite know where to begin with the praises. In a book about cancer, it was much funnier than I expected. Even though we know from the start that our heroine is dying, there still is an air of hope and joy. Hazel may have cancer, but it’s not going to get the best of her. I laughed out loud at many points and truly rooted for her and Augustus. Of all the young adult romances that I’ve read, theirs was the most believable and sweet. This is coming from someone who usually dislikes romances in books (looking at you Mockingjay).

Not being much of a crier in when I read, I didn’t really tear up, but many other people who’d read it did. And with good reason. This book has found the perfect balance between comedy and tragedy that had me laughing and gasping until the end. I only had one nitpick, and when I say nitpick, I mean nitpick. Hazel said that V for Vendetta was a boys movie and that made me roll my eyes. But that is more about my nuttiness when it comes to comics, especially  classics like V for Vendetta, than anything Mr. Green did. It also made sense for the character, so, like I said, it’s just my comic-loving craziness. I only bring this up because it is literally, not figuratively, literally the only gripe I have with the story. The rest of it is beautifully written, with very real characters, and will stay with me for a long time.

Usually, when I close with “what are your waiting for? Read it now,” I mean that you should read it eventually, but this time I really mean it. You need to go out, buy this book, and read it as soon as possible. The characters are fleshed out and memorable, the story heartrending and funny, and easily one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time. So read it and don’t forget to be awesome!

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