Manga Monday: Ciguatera Vol. 1

Series: Ciguatera
Author/Artist: Minoru Furuya
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Released: September 7, 2021
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Bullying

Do you know how sometimes a cover will make you stop browsing books and take a minute to read the description? Well, that is what happened to me with Ciguatera Vol. 1. The realism and colors of the cover instantly got me curious, and the description sucked me in.

Yusike Ogino is your ordinary teenager. He has dreams, ambitions, and of course, bullies. That dream of his is to get his license and a motorcycle and catch the eye of Yumi. Yet when Yumi approaches him, he can’t quite bring himself to believe the truth or his luck. Is this a trap, or is his dream coming true – out of order!?

I want to advise some reader discretion for Ciguatera Vol. 1, as the bullying portrayed within these pages goes far beyond what the description prepared me for (and I was expecting a fair amount). I understand the purpose of this betrayal, but it felt heavy-handed at times, and I’m sure, very triggering at others. So please do consider yourself warned.

To make my point nice and clear: I seriously struggled with finishing Ciguatera Vol. Normally I can happily read a volume in a single sitting, but with this one, I had to keep putting it down and walking away. It’s a lot, guys.

To be fair, I can see the point Minoru Furuva was trying to make here – that everyone faces suffering in their lives. Or at least, that was the point as I interpreted it. To contrast, all of those darker points would be the romance itself…which is okay?

It’s neither here nor there, though perhaps it would be something developed further in later volumes. I’m not certain. All I know is that there wasn’t as much as I had hoped, keeping me invested in this story.

Thanks to Vertical Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review – Captain Marvel #13 (Marvel Comics)

A Secret Revealed in Captain Marvel #13

Captain Marvel’s ‘The Last Avenger’ plot arc has been getting a whole lot of ink. Ever since the first cover was revealed, fans have been talking about it non-stop. And now Captain Marvel #13 has added more fuel to the fire.

Carol Danvers has been going through some stuff in her latest series. She’s been outed to the public as being part Kree. She’s been forced to watch a friend turn into an enemy, and so much more. But this plot has turned the tables on Carol, and suddenly she’s looking out at the world from a different perspective.

Any fan of Captain Marvel’s has likely had several theories about what is happening in this plot (feel free to share yours below). And I can safely tell you that Captain Marvel #13 will either confirm or deny a lot of those theories. So buckle up and get ready for one heck of a read.


Captain Marvel #13 brings us a Carol that will surprise fans, but in many ways, she’s also the Carol we’ve come to love so much. It’s an exciting and delicate balance, one that Thompson finely wrought.

There are plenty of iconic moments to be had in this issue alone. As with Captain Marvel #12, Carol is going up against a member of the Avengers (if you read the description, then you know who it is). As a fan of that character, let me tell you that this fight was surprisingly respectful. That isn’t an easy task, especially not when pitting two fan-loved characters against each other. But I think that this issue did the best it could with the situation, and it made for a compelling and dramatic fight to boot. I know I personally enjoyed reading every moment of it.

This issue also went a long way in explaining the situation at hand. And it fits with both Carol’s recent plot arcs and with what we’ve been shown so far. The tension is still palpable, but being handed the understanding of the situation changed it in a tangible way. Now the threat feels different – but still very much real.


The cover of Captain Marvel #13 may very well be one of my favorites from recent times. It’s dramatic and edgy while showing off how amazingly fierce Carol can be. And in that sense, it’s truly perfect for her fans.

As for the artwork within? That was also excellent. The fight scenes alone were dramatic, though they started off with a humorous edge – one that was desperately needed. The fight itself lasts for eleven pages (twelve if you count the page building up to it), and it is not one you’ll want to miss.

The powers and tech portrayed are also noteworthy, as is the delightful little cameo that occurs (I love the way they drew her!). And there’s one full-page panel, in particular, that should really be made into a print.

There’s a bit of a change on the creative team this time around. Lee Garbett stepped in to be the lead artist for this issue. Meanwhile, Tamra Bonvillain (colors) and VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters) stayed on board. The result, as you can tell from my gushing, is brilliant.


Captain Marvel #13 had big shoes to fill, thanks to the dramatic and alarming previous issue. And yet, it held up to fans’ expectations while also keeping to the promise made. It was intense and brilliant and full of action. And it’s going to make for a very memorable issue.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Fairlady #2 (Image Comics)

Fairlady #2 Brings Us Dragons, Danger, and Widows, Oh My!

Fairlady is a unique series in that every issue has a fully contained plot. What ties the issues together, of course, are the characters involved. Each issue has taught us a bit more about Jenner Faulds – the only Fairlady around.

Fairlady #2 had a great setup. There were rumored dragons, a murder, a mystery, and a widow. What more could you possibly ask for? But in all seriousness, this issue did a better job, in my opinion, of showing Jenner’s investigative strengths, as well as her moral compass.


Brian Schirmer is the brains behind Fairlady, and his distinctive style lends well to the series. In the first issue, we were introduced to Jenner Faulds’ new life, and around that, a mystery for her to solve. In Fairlady #2, Jenner is once again dealing with a mystery.

This issue excelled in a lot of ways. The storytelling technique used to introduce us to the plot was eye-catching and gave us room to immediately doubt the truth of what was said. (Right alongside our characters). From there, we were gradually fed information as we watched Jenner piece everything together. It was fascinating watching her work, as she had allies and those who looked down upon her for what she is (a female Fairman).

The methods of telling us information changed on a case-by-case basis, and it was very effective. It kept away the feeling of repetition and the appearance of info-dumping (which can be a real problem with shorter series).

I love that this series was designed to keep each issue compact and separate. While they can be read together, Schirmer also ensured that they all fully encase their plot, making them decent standalone issues.


The artwork in Fairlady #2 was vibrant and full of life. Marissa Louise and Claudia Balboni brought the world of Fairlady to life with their artwork. I’ve loved their brighter style from the beginning, but this issue impressed me even further.

For me, the most impressive page was the second page of the issue. Which sounds a bit strange, but bear with me. It isn’t easy to draw fire believably, especially not with so many changing elements about it. Yet, that is what we see on this page. Combine that with several different creatures being presented, and it really was amazing. And it did a brilliant job of setting the scene.


Fairlady #2 lived up to both my expectations as well as the promise of the series. In many ways, I think that the second issue surpassed the first. Which, of course, has resulted in my expectations being raised for the next issue.

Jenner has been a fascinating character to follow. Not only is she exceptionally talented at getting into situations, but she’s brilliant when it comes to using the resources she has available. She does a pretty good job of giving us the tough guy impression when in truth, there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. In short, she’s the perfect character to carry this series.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review: Darkhawk (2021) #3

Series: Darkhawk (2021)
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Juan Ramirez
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Released: November 3, 2021
Received: Own

The bright side to being incredibly behind on the times is that I get to binge (almost) an entire series at once. Given how much I love Darkhawk, this is pretty awesome. Also, given the cliffhanger from the last issue, I’m extra happy that I didn’t have to wait to see how things turned out.

Darkhawk #3 continues the tale of Conner Young, the new Darkhawk. For a brief moment there, it looked like his life was perfect. Now readers know the truth. His life has taken an especially dark turn lately, and it’s hard not feeling for the guy. Hopefully, things will take a turn before the series comes to an end.

As a huge Darkhawk fan, I am extremely grateful that we’re getting a new series here. So thank you, Marvel Comics, Kyle Higgins (writer), Juan Ramirez (artist), Erick Arciniega (colorist), and VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer) for bringing this series to life.


Wow. So Darkhawk #3 is rough, I’m not going to lie. And no, I don’t mean rough as in ‘poorly written.’ It’s more of a ‘this issue is going to hit you like an emotional train wreck, so prepare your soul now.’

Once again, Kyle Higgins has done it. He’s created an emotionally compelling origin story. And better yet, it has a little bit of everything. Action, drama, remorse, coming-of-age confusion, and even a superhero/villain fight. Yes, please!

This issue also raises many interesting questions about how the suit works and what it is (or isn’t) doing to Conner. I hope these questions will someday be answered. Though I understand that many of them are too complex to tackle in the two issues we have left. Maybe that means we’ll get another series someday soon? One can hope.

While I love everything on the Conner side of the story, I wish there was more going on with the antagonists. I understand they are a threat (clearly), but something feels lacking in their presence. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.


I’m noticing a trend here: each issue, I spend whole paragraphs gushing about the artwork in Darkhawk. Well, I’ve got news for you: Darkhawk #3 is no different. I loved every detail that made it onto the pages here.

Juan Ramirez’s lines are brilliant, and his characters are so passionate. It breaks my heart at times if I’m being completely honest here. Given that emotions are the driving force of this issue, that’s a pretty big deal. Ramirez’s sense of motion enhances the impact of battle sequences, leaving me eager to see the next scene.

As per usual, the colors are divine. Erick Arciniega’s colors flawlessly support the story and characters here. I feel the colors particularly stand out during fight scenes, but that might just be my bias showing.

VC’s Travis Lanham’s lettering is perfect, as always. It’s easy to underestimate the value of lettering, but it is critical. Especially here.


Darkhawk #3 is arguably the most emotional issue of the series, which is saying something. It’s clear that this is not a series willing to pull punches, and oh wow, is it a lot. Yet that also makes for one of the better origin stories I’ve read in quite some time, so no complaints here!

Review: Werewoofs by Joelle Sellner and Val Wise

Author/Artist: Joelle Sellner and Val Wise
Publisher: New Paradigm Studios
Released: December 1, 2021
Received: NetGalley

Werewoofs is a new graphic novel written and illustrated by Joelle Sellner and Vale Wise. Since I’ve been craving a good werewolf story (ideally one with a sense of humor), I couldn’t resist nabbing this one for a quick read.

High school can be tough – nobody is going to argue that point. But one group of friends in the Midwest is going through more changes than the average teen, for they all have begun turning into weredogs.

No, they don’t know why this is happening. But they’re hoping to find out. In the meantime, they’re going to help their new friend, Mara, find her missing father. Who also happens to be a werewolf, naturally.

Werewoofs is somehow very odd and cute – in almostperfectly equal proportions. There are elements to enjoy from this graphic novel, that much is certain. I personally really enjoyed learning about each of the characters. In fact, I would have loved it if more time had been spent on this element.

I’m going to give bonus points for having cute weredog forms (I love it), a solid sense of humor, fantastic friendships (we could all use a friend group that loyal), and LGBT representation. On that note, I will give props for the art style. Not only was it a ton of fun, but it was the perfect complement to this plot.

Thanks to New Paradigm Studios and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Manga Monday: Cells at Work! White Brigade Vol. 1

Series: Cells at Work!, Cells at Work! White Brigade
Author/Artist: Tetsuji Kanie
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: November 9, 2021
Received: NetGalley

Cells at Work! White Brigade Vol. 1 is part of a larger series, Cells at Work! This is the second of the series I have read, and it is such a charming way of teaching people more about their bodies. Thanks to Tetsuji Kanie and all of the others who have participated in its creation.

The white blood cells are the unsung heroes of our bodies. Or rather, they were unsung. But now Cells at Work! White Brigade Vol. 1 is here to lay down the praise these hard-working blood cells deserve.

Dive into a volume that covers all sorts of details surrounding neutrophils and their daily tasks! These charming fellows aren’t afraid to lay down their life for the sake of the group.

Okay, so I’ll admit it: I was utterly charmed by Cells at Work! White Brigade Vol. 1. The neutrophils are, dare I say it, adorable! There is something very endearing about this crew, thanks in part to the addition of a new recruit learning the ropes.

While this crew has a lot of hard work, you can still tell that they have a lot of fun. I think that is the reason why I ended up enjoying this particular volume so much (I enjoyed it so much more than Neo Bacteria! – sorry, not sorry).

I haven’t read the rest of the series available yet, so I can’t comment on how it compares to the larger whole. What I can say is that Cells at Work! White Brigade Vol. 1 was a ton of (informative) fun.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review – Captain Marvel #12 (Marvel Comics)

A Dark Twist in Captain Marvel #12

Captain Marvel #12 starts a whole new plot in Carol’s story, ‘The Last Avenger.‘ This is a plot that has already been getting a ton of ink – and it’s not even officially out yet. And yet, the cover immediately caught our attention – with a darker version of Captain Marvel standing front and center.

This issue marks a darker turn for Carol. We’ve seen her take on many villains in her time as a hero. But now we’re about to see a whole new side of her. And that leaves us wondering – what exactly is happening here? And how far will Carol go?


Kelly Thompson has proven to us time and time again that she’s not afraid to take risks during her run on Captain Marvel. And Captain Marvel #12 just further reinforces that fact. This is a Carol Danvers we’ve never seen before.

The premise of Captain Marvel #12 is one that fans have been talking a lot about lately. Some fans are appalled at the thought of Carol going bad. In contrast, others (not all fans) have been delighted by the idea.

All of that being said – there was no way the fans’ theories were prepared to handle what Thompson handed here. This issue was a perfect example of complex storytelling. There were prominent elements, such as the battle and everything it entailed. But that was only the top layer. Captain Marvel #12 contained a shocking amount of subject with it, leaving fans open to infer plenty about what’s truly going on.

As a fan that wasn’t sure what to expect about this plot, let me assure you that it completely blew me away. I can see why fans were counting down the days to this release (myself included).


Any comic book fan will tell you that there’s little better than getting to see a genuinely exceptional fight. And trust me, Captain Marvel #12 contains precisely that. The creative team behind this issue went above and beyond in showing off two of the strongest Marvel characters and how a battle between them would turn out.

Lee Garbett was the lead artist for this issue. That means that they’re responsible for all of the dynamic scenes found here. There are a few that would be worthy of being made into prints, at the very least.

Then there’s Tamra Bonvillain, who did the coloring for this issue. Her work for Captain Marvel has been exceptional, but this issue highlighted her talent in a whole new way. The scenes were vibrant and alive and oh so dangerous.

Finally, VC’s Clayton Cowles stepped up to provide the lettering, and he had a lot to work with here. The sound effects alone are fabulous. But it’s the running internal monologue where his work really excels.


Captain Marvel #12 was a heavy-hitting issue, one that wasn’t afraid to pull punches. Literally. There’s a whole lot more going on behind the scenes in this plot, as it’s already begun to hint at. And I, for one, cannot wait to see what lies ahead.

Having finally read this issue, I can see why fans have been so eager to get their hands on it. And why it’s been getting so much ink. It has fully lived up to (and surpassed) my expectations.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – b.b. free #2 (Boom! Box)

Music in the Swamp in b.b. free #2

The last issue introduced us to the world that b.b. has grown up into. Living in a swamp, she somehow managed to find music that speaks to her soul. And in b.b. free #2, she’s starting to move towards making that her whole life.

Powers and puberty seem to go hand and hand in the world of comic books. And yet, this is not your ordinary coming-of-age tale. B.b. free is a dynamic and compelling series about a girl who desperately wants to find herself. And she wants to be free to love the music that is her life.

b.b. has only just learned about her powers, and thus she knows less than nothing about them. So far, all she knows is that she once produced a blindingly bright light. And that her father’s anger triggered it for the first time. The rest of the series is set up to explore that power alongside her unique nature and desires.


b.b. free #2 is perhaps the most charming issue I’ve read in quite some time. B.b. is somebody who knew what she wanted in life – she only had to get the courage to seek it out. But this whole power thing has thrown her through a loop.

This combination has made for a compelling series so far. The atmosphere in the series thus far is part of the reason why it is so unique. But we can’t ignore b.b. and Chulita’s vibrant natures either.

Gabby Rivera’s way of writing is so human. B.b. feels like a real person, in spite of her powers. That makes everything that happens around her feel so much more important because it’s impossible not to care for her wellbeing.

This issue does raise and address several questions. All while weaving in even more concerns and subplots. I honestly have no clue where this series is going to lead in the long run, and I couldn’t be more excited about that fact. And there’s no way I’m the only fan feeling that way.


Do you remember all of the vibrant artwork present in the first issue? Well, it’s back again for b.b. free #2! There’s just something so endearing about this whole art style. Everything from the way the characters are drawn to the color palette of the series feels so light and yet so welcoming. It’s really perfect for the plot when you think about it.

Royal Dunlap was the lead artist for this issue. They’re the ones responsible for those characters we love so much and for many of the other details that make the series thus far. Their expressions are endearing, and the sense of movement is engaging.

Then there’s that color palette! The series bounces back and forth between several dominant colors, all of which alter the tone of each panel. Kieran Quigley, Sarah Stern, and Jeremy Lawson all worked on the colors together, and it shows.

Finally, there’s the lettering. Jim Campbell was the letterer for this issue, and you can see his style here. The lettering is a bit smaller, trying to take up as little space as possible. But the sound effects don’t have that fear. The combination is intriguing, but also the right balance.


b.b. free #2 was another unique and fascinating read from this series. It’s a charming read, one that gives us a glimpse into the life of Chulita while also building up other elements along the way. It almost felt like this issue spent most of its time setting up for something else, which should make the next issue fairly dramatic.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review: Darkhawk (2021) #2

Series: Darkhawk (2021)
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Juan Ramirez
Colorist: Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Released: September 29, 2021
Received: Own

Guys, I still can’t believe this is real. Am I reading an all-new Darkhawk series? Yes, yes I am! This latest series had handed the mantle to a new hero, and I am all sorts of here for it. Granted, at this point, I would have been willing to accept almost any change if it meant Darkhawk would grace the pages once again…

Darkhawk #2 is the second issue in Conner Young’s story, and naturally, things are about to start ramping up for the young hero. In the last issue, we got a chance to see his world before his life was changed forever. Now? It’s time to see how he handles that new power.

Thanks again to Marvel, Kyle Higgins (writer), Juan Ramirez (artist), Erick Arciniega (colorist), and VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer) for giving us the chance to read this series. I know I can’t be the only fan out there who is ticked by this.


Once again, there’s a lot to unpack in Darkhawk #2. Given that we’re essentially seeing an entire origin story unfold throughout five issues, that probably shouldn’t be so surprising. But it certainly is impressive.

I love the way that Kyle Higgins has created Conner’s character. More than that, I respect how he’s portraying Conner’s illness. (Minor spoiler warning incoming) I love that Higgins is not romanticizing illness (MS) while being as delicate as possible with how it shows on the pages. I imagine that this is a fine balance.

Also, I’m just going to say it, I always have and will always love it when heroes make surprise appearances in other series. In this case, having another hero show up helps add some legitimacy to the new Darkhawk and his adventures. At least, that is how I’m seeing it.

As for that conclusion? Talk about an emotional gut-punch. I’m both looking dreading and looking forward to finding out the truth of what just happened (hey, a girl can hope, right?).


Unsurprisingly, the artwork in Darkhawk #2 is fantastic. I love Juan Ramirez’s portrayal of the characters (surprise cameo included), the abilities, and the drama. Because yes, there is quite a lot of drama happening within these pages. There’s also no denying the violence of it all, thanks in part to the way Ramirez sets the scene.

Erick Arciniega’s colors also lend a hand in that department while making the issue, so fun to read. The shading in this issue is captivating, especially for certain panels that require the readers to look up. Likewise, I still love how vibrant the panels are whenever Dawkhawk makes an appearance.

Finally, VC’s Travis Lanham’s letters are the icing on the cake. His work is some of my favorites, as he knows how to lead the reader’s eyes around the page. It’s impossible to miss any details.


Darkhawk #2 was an intense addition to this new series. I’ll admit that I hadn’t expected it to get so dark (though I should have). Likewise, I wasn’t expecting the cameo. However, I love that the series already surprises me while working hard to pull readers in.

Review: Geiger Vol. 1

Author: Geoff Johns
Artists: Gary Frank, Brad Anderson
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: December 7, 2021
Received: Edelweiss
Warnings: Graphic injuries, death, imprisonment

Geiger is a new series from Image Comics, perfect for those who love dystopian tales! With artwork from Gary Frank and Brad Anderson written by Geoff John, this chilling series cuts right to the bone.

The world has been torn apart – by humans. The nuclear war we all fear finally happened, and those that survived have been struggling to stay alive ever since. This is the world that allowed for the legend of the Melting Man, the creation of the Organ People, Nightcrawlers, and worse.

This series is not for the faint of heart. Geiger is not afraid to go down dark and brutal paths; that much has been made clear within the first volume – and I doubt it’s going to get any lighter in following arcs.

Geiger Vol. 1 managed to surprise me at several points while I was reading – something that I will always appreciate. While certain elements/twists were easy to predict, many other parts were a breath of fresh air (a bit ironic phrase there, yeah?).

Combining family elements with dystopian levels of horror really hit home. Tariq Geiger is a sympathetic character with one hell of a story. There’s a lot to delve into within these pages, making it easy to stay invested the whole way through.

As for the fight scenes – those are about as graphic as one would expect, if not slightly more so. The villains are dastardly but otherwise kind of…shallow? Though that almost felt intentional, so it actually kinda worked.

I enjoyed Geiger Vol. 1 well enough to be certain that I’ll pick up the second volume, given even half the chance to do so.

Thanks to Image Comics and #Edelweiss for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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