Review: Bunny Mask: The Chipping of the Teeth

Author: Paul Tobin
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Andrea Mutti
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Released: February 23, 2022
Received: Edelweiss

Do you ever see a trade cover and just know that you have to read it? That’s what happened to me when I saw Bunny Mask: The Chipping of the Teeth. This is a cover that screams to be read. At least, it is for those that enjoy horror and weirdness. Written by Paul Tobin, with artwork by Andrea Mutti (art/colors) and Taylor Esposito (letters), Bunny Mask: The Chipping of the Teeth is a twisted tale of man and the things of nightmares.

There’s unlucky, and then there’s accidentally falling into a horror trope levels of unlucky. You can probably guess which category our unwilling hero falls into. It all started with a wellness check, but that fateful moment cost his partner her life and changed the course of his life forever.

Bee Foster was an unlucky girl with an abusive father. Now she’s a brilliant artist with a particular obsession: Bunny Mask. The woman in a Bunny Mask appears in all of her artwork, as she essentially lives rent-free in Bee’s mind. But what ties these two characters together?

Writing

Okay, wow. Bunny Mask: The Chipping of the Teeth does not hesitate to throw readers right into the deep end. Paul Tobin’s tale is as terrifying as compelling, which is saying something. This is one of those stories that sucks readers in as they try and puzzle through the mystery presented to us.

Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself here. I dunno. What I do know is that this Bunny Mask tale is oddly enchanting while being utterly unafraid to delve into the darker side of humanity (and beyond).

This first volume is a strong start to the series. I have so many questions about the connections between the main character, Bee, and Bunny Mask. These questions have yet to be resolved, but I’m sure that they will be in due time. Unfortunately, that means being patient and waiting for the next installment, which sounds like a painful prospect at the moment.

Artwork

The artwork inside Bunny Mask: The Chipping of the Teeth is quite perfect for the story. All credit goes to Andrea Mutti (art and colors) and Taylor Esposito (letters) for that feat. I imagine it is challenging to find the right balance when it comes to portraying graphic elements, of which there are plenty in this volume.

I personally liked the artistic license Mutti took from time to time. The colors aren’t solid, but that adds an ethereal sense to the story, which is highly appropriate. Esposito’s lettering really tied it all together, as there is so much happening both in plain sight and behind the scenes.

Conclusion

Bunny Mask: The Chipping of the Teeth is a haunting and worthwhile read. I can see many readers either loving or hating it, depending on their mood or preferences. And that’s okay. Personally, I enjoyed the mystery laid out before me, and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds in future volumes.

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

Manga Monday: Getting Closer to You Volume 1

Author/Artist: Ruri Kamino
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: March 22, 2022
Received: NetGalley

Getting Closer to You Volume 1 has got to have one of the cutest covers I’ve seen in a long time (okay, not that long, but still!). It may or may not have factored into my reasoning for picking it up, but I’m okay with that.

Kaho has always been a girl utterly obsessed with muscles – and we do mean obsessed. She spends her spare time watching her school sports teams work out. She’s even gone so far as to keep a journal detailing all of their muscle.

That last bit caught the attention of Natsume-sempai, who is now convinced that she is what the basketball team needs to turn a corner. With her appreciation of muscles, maybe she can help get the team into shape?

Getting Closer to You Volume 1 is a fun and quick read. Some moments made me laugh, and admittedly moments that made me cringe (Kaho’s obsession with muscles goes a bit far at times, okay?).

In truth, her obsession is the excuse for the romantic plot of this series. Natsume-sempai’s muscles are too tempting for her to resist, and he finds her utterly charming. Their interactions bounce from comical to endearing, sometimes finding that perfect balance between the two.

I enjoyed Getting Closer to You Volume 1 enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the second volume if it was offered to me or if I spotted it while browsing a bookstore. Hopefully, others will find enjoy the personality this one has to offer.

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

Review: Miles to Go

Author: B. Clay Moore
Artist: Stephen Molnar
Colorist: Stephen Molnar
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Released: December 2021
Received: Edelweiss

Miles to Go is the latest graphic novel to come from the mind of B. Clay Moore, Stephen Molnar, and Thomas Mauer. It is impossible to run from one’s past forever in this story. Eventually, there’s nowhere else to run.

Amira Bishop is a woman with many secrets. She is a single mother with a tragic backstory. But there’s one major twist. She wasn’t raised as most kids were. No, her past is much darker, with a ledger running red.

Unfortunately for those that chose to mess with Amira, she’s willing to come out of her retired state to keep her family safe. Enacting revenge for the death of her mentor will just be a bonus at this point.

Miles to Go blends together many familiar tropes and stories, turning them into something new and unexpected. We have a secret past, hidden ties, a need for rescuing, and revenge wrapped up all into one neat little bundle. Actually, it isn’t quite so neat. Murder hardly ever is, right?

Amira’s story is interesting, as it slowly unravels before the reader’s eyes. She was trained to be an assassin, but the birth of her daughter helped her change her ways for a time. But we all know that there’s one thing that can get a mama bear’s blood boiling – threatening her daughter.

There were some twists in here that I truly didn’t see coming, and I appreciate that. It took the story to a new level, leaving me looking forward to the next volume in this tale as I have no doubt that it is far from over.

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

Manga Monday: Island in a Puddle Volume 1

Author/Artist: Kei Sanbe
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: March 15, 2022
Received: NetGalley

It’s been a few months since I read some manga that had more of a crime element mixed in, so I decided to give Island in a Puddle Volume 1 by Kei Sanbe a try. However, the cover may throw you off here – as it looks super sweet.

Minato and her sister, Nagisa, may only be children, but they’re pretty good at being on their own. Their mother is out a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t come home for weeks at a time. But so far, she has always come home eventually.

On the most recent return of their mother, she took them to the local amusement park for some fun. Only to abandon them shortly after. This is the tragic backstory for what is about to happen – and Minato’s life is about to change with the strike of lightning.

Wow. I feel like Island in a Puddle Volume 1 is two stories in one. There’s a whole plot before the lightning strikes and then an entirely different one after that point. Each one is a pretty solid story, the sort of thing I would have been happy to read as a standalone.

But together? They had me reeling. The transition was admittedly a little jarring, but I think that’s the point. It raised so many questions, alongside my anxiety. Once again, readers will find themselves rooting for Mintao, but with whole new stakes on the line this time.

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

Review: Out of Body

Author: Peter Milligan
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Colorist: Eva de la Cruz
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Released: 2022
Received: Edelweiss

For those looking for a new murder mystery, there’s always Out of Body. This particular graphic novel feels like Dorian Gray crossed with the earliest scenes of The Walking Dead, with a dash of thriller/mystery for good measure.

Dan Collins may be in a coma, but he isn’t going to let that stop him from solving the mystery of what happened to him. Thankfully, astral projection makes going about and investigating a whole lot easier, even if he still has limited interactions with the world. It’s more than he would have had.

There are forces working on either side of Dan’s quest. Some want to help him, while others actively seek to hinder him.

So, I’m going to be upfront in saying that I went into Out of Body wanting to like it. I loved the core concept, as well as the artwork and overall vibes it was giving off. My biggest problem with this volume is that I had a lot of trouble reading it. At first, I thought it was my copy of it, but the more I read, the less convinced I became of that.

Overall I’d say that this was a decent read, one that had many ups and downs. Some twists readers probably could have predicted, while others helped to liven up the story once again. However, I do feel like it would have been nice to get to know Dan before he got beaten so badly. Maybe that’s just me.

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

Manga Monday: Nighttime for Just Us Two Volume 1

Author/Artist: Maki Miyoshi
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: April 12, 2022
Received: NetGalley

I’ve been in the mood for a cute and charming manga lately, so I decided to dive into Nighttime for Just Us Two Volume 1 by Maki Miyoshi. If you’re dealing with a similar craving, it hits the spot.

Koga is one of those students who fades into the background. She does it so well that most of her classmates don’t know her name. It’s a life that Koga has been mostly content to live, as it allows her to enjoy the world at night with nobody to bother her.

However, her life is in for a rude awakening when the most popular boy in school finds her favorite relaxing spot. Only…he’s not really that boy. According to him, he’s an alien that inhabits his body while he’s asleep. Yeah, it’s a lot. What’s more, he wants to be Koga’s friend.

I’ll be the first to admit that Nighttime for Just Us Two Volume 1 has a bit of a convoluted concept. An alien inhabiting a teenage boy’s body, but only while he sleeps? One that just so happens to desire nothing more than Koga’s friendship?

Despite that, it was quite a bit of fun to read. Once you overlook the lack of consent issue (walking around in somebody’s body is creepy). Koga’s character takes a bit of time to shine (unlike her counterpart), but it is pretty tough to turn away from once it does.

I’ll admit that I’m curious to see where this one goes. Is there a compromise that will make all three characters happy? Or are they doomed for some horrible ending? I honestly have no clue.

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

Review: Silver City

Author: Olivia Cuartero-Briggs
Artists: Luca Merli and Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Released: January 22, 2022
Received: Edelweiss
Warnings: Gun violence, mass causalities, suicide, rape (attempted)

Have you ever wondered what the ever after would look like? Well, the creators (Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, Luca Merli, and Dave Sharpe) behind Silver City have, and this is what they’ve come up with. To be upfront and clear: Silver City is probably not suited for all readers. It covers dark and heavy subjects, including death (obviously), gun violence, suicide, rape, and mass causalities.

Silver City is essentially purgatory. It’s gritty and not the paradise or blank slate that many people expect. This is where people go when they need to be sorted out. It’s also where people just get…stuck sometimes.

This is where our leading character ends up following her sudden and untimely demise. Now she’s got a whole lot to learn and an eternity to deal with it all.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Silver City if I’m being honest. The artwork and core concept are what drew me in, and honestly, they are what kept me invested the whole way through. I love the idea of an 80s/90s punk exploration of the afterlife.

On that note, Luca Merli and Dave Sharpe did a fantastic job of portraying this world and artistic style. Even if I hadn’t ended up enjoying the plot, I know I would have finished it for the artwork alone.

I think I would have liked to see Silver City at a slower pace. More time to get to know the main characters initially, and overall more time to understand the city/purgatory and everything else before the main plot kicks off.

That rushed feeling made me feel like I was constantly fighting to catch up to the plot. This isn’t a bad thing, but it did leave me in constant fear of missing something. A second read-through is probably needed in this case, which I will do as soon as I have a spare moment.

Overall, I really enjoyed the tone and vibes that Silver City gave off. A lot of that was enhanced by the artwork, naturally. But I love it when a story and its art can work hand in hand.

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

Manga Monday: Blackguard Volume 1

Author/Artist: Ryo Hanada
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: February 8, 2022
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Suicidal talk

Who’s in the mood for some science fiction with a helping of monsters and gore? If so, then check out Blackguard Volume 1 by Ryo Hanada.

The world is falling apart. Monsters by the name of Shojo roam the land with the ability to make more with a single infectious bite. It isn’t a good time to wander the countryside or do anything other than desperately try to survive.

That’s where the Guards come into play. They protect the aerial cities that humanity has turned towards. It is their job to step between the people and the Shojo. Minami is one such Guard. He’s not like the others. While his presence gives much hope, in truth, Minami has what others would call a death wish.

Wow. I went into Blackguard Volume 1 and got something entirely different. I knew that it would be heavy (the very nature of the plot makes that much evident). But I was unprepared for the depths this graphic novel takes.

If suicidal talk is something you find triggering or uncomfortable, I strongly urge you to seek out another series to dive into. Blackguard Volume 1 doesn’t pull punches, which means it addresses Minami’s death wish.

I’ll give credit to Blackguard Volume 1. It tackles a lot of heavy subjects. While I wasn’t a massive fan of everything done in this volume, I can see why others have enjoyed it.

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

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