Book Review: Archie, Volume 6 by Mark Waid

Archie, Volume 6
By: Mark Waid & Audrey Mok (Illustrator)

archie vol.6

After the events of Volume 5, this next volume sees the last book that is written by Mark Waid in this revamp of the Archie’s comics as a more graphic novel style. Volume 6 sees everyone trying to sort themselves out in time for homecoming whether its Archie trying to find a date, Veronica and Betty finding a friendship together or the Blossom siblings dealing with their family issues, things all coincide into the homecoming having a major event that shakes everyone up.

The art style and the change in its direction of the Archie comics has definitely been the highlight of this revamped story. It works on many levels and for fans like myself, who grew up with the much more comic-looking version, these books have been a joy to have matured with my own tastes. Suffice to say that this volume takes a much more drastic and dramatic end game with homecoming having a lock-down with a gun man ready with his own family issues to do some pay back. Its a much darker turn of events that somehow has its space because this version is more of a graphic novel and allows for something with that sort of flair and danger elements and changes the game from the more lighthearted and somehow binds the tone of Archie and the series Riverdale into the darker area.

However, this volume did bring in a lot of other elements. Somehow, its focus on Archie seems to have faded a little in the midst of the set-up of the whole situation making it fall a little short of the normal good pacing that it would have but giving it more on the other characters as well. It is nice to see that all the characters have their spotlight in the midst of this story as everyone scrambles to do what they need to do for the dance. In the world of high school students, it does feel like the little things like finding a date that will come through while letting the characters remain true to their nature. This time, all the characters do have their individuality especially as Betty and Veronica find themselves and their friendship while getting over Archie and as Archie tries to find a date, his usual clumsiness gets in the way with everything. There’s still a lightheartedness to the story throughout up until the big final dramatic bit.

There’s a lot to love with what Mark Waid has achieved in this volume (and the previous 5) which does have so much of a different feeling while still managing to use these wonderful characters from the original Archie comics and breathing new life to them. Of course, Archie by Mark Waid may be done but the revitalization continues in Archie by Nick Spencer and its all up in the air how that will be as the art style seems to also have changed.

What’s Up 2020: Week 3

Week 3 of 2020 has come to an end and its been something of a weather bomb. Luckily, we didn’t lose any power so things proceeded as it should..mostly. I’m having some other issues that is somewhat hindering some writing and whatnot so its been a slower week than usual. Not to mention, the desire to sit in front of the computer has been a little less as Chinese New Year preparations started as well. Let’s see what’s going on!

READING

archie vol.6

  • Archie, Vol.6

Currently reading: Buried In My Past

After a few reading rushes, I decided to take a little break and read a graphic novel. The reboot Archie comics set like a graphic novel and with a somewhat darker story (still not quite as dark as the TV series) has been one that feels like a refreshing update to the characters, making the more modernized. There’s a lot to like about it as it is helmed by Mark Waid. Volume 6 is the last one that will be helmed by Mark Wait for these Archic comics but will be handed over to someone else for the next one. Review for this one coming up!

PLAYING

glass masquerade

Currently playing: Overcooked 2, The Pedestrian

Wrapped up the base game of Glass Masquerade on the weekend and have been debating getting the DLCs but its been kind of getting in the way of the actual gaming that I need to do to record the next Game Warp podcast. You can check out the review for Glass Masquerade as that’s already done. Its a bit short but the game isn’t too complex either.

The husband and I are still working on Overcooked 2. We usually stretch it out quite a bit as we only play on the weekends. I think we’re more than halfway done at this point. At the same time, I started up The Pedestrian which is an indie puzzle game that I had backed on Kickstarter 2 or 3 years ago which is finally getting released on January 29. As backers, we got the game in advance, which is great. I’ll be playing that and hopefully getting a review out for next week or something.

WATCHING

godzilla king of the monsters

  • Short Term 12 (2013)
  • Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes (2017)
  • Leslie Jones: Time Machine (2020)
  • Deep Blue Sea 2 (2018)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Its been a tad stressful at work so I’ve been honestly just busy with that and not watching a ton of movies as they don’t work in companion to work as much, especially first time viewings. With that said, I like to watch/listen to stand-up comedies. I can’t say the two I chose were really my cup of tea but they had some good bits. While Short Term 12 got added into viewing list as it left Netflix Canada and that review is coming up in a double feature. Other than that, Deep Blue Sea 2 literally just got added to Netflix and of course, I had to see how bad it was. I’m not being negative but the original is one of my favorites so its best to keep the expectations low and it became as a monstrous weekend as we also caught up with Godzilla: King of the Monsters which is a kick-ass movie. It was so awesome!

BINGING

The Circle

  • The Circle (Season 1, 2019)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, Ashes of Love

The Circle’s 3 week competition finally ended. I’m working on the TV binge for it as its an interesting little social media competition to talk about, both as a structure, the contestant choices as well as the mechancis as well as the concept of this being a social experiment which all has elements to talk about. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t be opposed to another season of these. TV is fairly calm right now as I’m trying to do some wrapping up on different things and Who’s the Murderer 5 is currently ongoing so only updating an episode a week and Ashes of Love is over 60 episodes and I’m pretty much halfway and things are getting really good, so I’m focusing on that.

However, focus will be cut short when Eternal Love’s sequel, Three Lives Three Worlds: Pillow Book (also titled recently Eternal Love of Dream), starts up next week and well, Handsome Siblings got acquired by Netflix and is releasing new episodes on weekly basis. All very exciting things!!

That’s it for this What’s Up for Week 3!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

Blog Tour:The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars by C.S. Johnson (Review/Giveaway)

Blog Tour

The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars
By: C.S. Johnson

The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars

Publication Date: November 7, 2018
Genre: Manga Style/Graphic Novel
Length: 30 pages

SYNOPSIS

A tiresome task.

A deceptive dragon.

A prince that changes everything.

Ophiuchus is a celebrated warrior of the Celestial Kingdom and a warrior among the Stars. He has been always been a dutiful servant of the Prince of Stars. So when the prince asks him to watch over the crafty serpent, Naga, Ophiuchus agrees. But as time passes and discouragement—both from Naga and others—Ophiuchus wonders if the Prince of Stars was right in asking him to take on the burdens of his task.

Will Ophiuchus honor his duty, or give into his heart’s weariness?

Add to Goodreads

REVIEW

The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars is a fantasy graphic novel set in the world of the zodiacs. This story is about Ophiuchus who doesn’t only have the feud of the rest of the zodiacs against him for one reason or another but also the Prince of Stars has burdened him with the task of monitoring Naga, a deceptive serpent who constantly is in disagreement with him. Naga is representative of the evil in the world or perhaps on a lesser note, simply a disapproving negative thoughts that become a burden over time. Through the 30 pages or so of this graphic novel, the story brings together the obvious comparison of the story’s literal burden to the heavier mental burdens surrounding a person and whether and how to let it go. That message alone is the worthy of a lot of value as it instills the positives and has Ophiuchus, struggling to let go of the burden and even embrace the positives and freedom.

With that said, to be able to deliver fairly engaging characters, especially Ophiuchus and Naga as well as The Prince of Stars all give this fantasy a nice depth and development. Its only 30 pages so both the pacing and the execution are tight. It has a lot of other characters, the rest of the zodiac notably, but they only pop in with their random thoughts and opinions. Its gives their character context and all it really does need to do.

Simple as it is, quick as the story flows by, the animation is nice but not quite at its full potential. The writing style also still has a bit of improvement to flow some dialogue better. Its not exactly manga but the fantasy elements do give it that extra perk. It also lacks a little to be a full-on graphic novel, perhaps its the art style or the story style itself. It sits in the middle. It would be nice to see C.S. Johnson take on more of these while trying to commit to either or of the styles. Still, the ideas and creative aren’t to be dismissed and it will be interesting to see what works are in the horizon.

Score: 3.5 (3 on Goodreads)

Purchase Link
Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

C.S. Johnson

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

Website
Twitter
Facebook
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GIVEAWAY

Win a Print Copy of The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars
Follow the link HERE

Blog Tour Organized by:

What’s Up – Week 28: Fantasia Films Take Over!

Fantasia Festival has started at the tail end of the week. Other than the TV binge, everything else will progress slowly for the next three weeks as movies flourish. With that said, let’s see whats up!!

READING

The serpent-Bearer

  • The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars by C.S. Johnson

Currently reading: Within by Clare C. Marshall

Light reading is definitely in the picture. As I finished up The Serpent-Bearer graphic novel, the review only goes up later with the blog tour. After Montreal Comiccon, I decided its high time to get around to last year’s book purchases and make it to this year’s sometime this year preferably. Within is the first one to read, mostly because its a lighter book to carry around as I venture around long treks to the festival with my Chromebook.

PLAYING

Linelight

Currently playing: Linelight

Currently hooked on Linelight, a minimalist indie puzzle game that I picked up during the Steam Summer sale. It definitely lives up to expectations and has an amazing soundtrack. I’m still in the first world of puzzles so its going to be a while until I finish it but its a nice gaming dose everyday.

WATCHING

little monsters

  • The Hate U Give
  • Creed 2

Fantasia Festival movies

With Fantasia about, its hard to not pick one of the movies that I’ve seen at the festival and hope that it circulates soon to a big screen or digital or something or another. I can’t say that I’ve seen anything too horrible this week however my first movie at Fantasia definitely had the best balance, execution and pacing out of the all the movies in the first 4 days of the festival. Almost all the reviews should be up so you can check out the links above in case you missed any of them. I can’t not give a mention to The Hate U Give which was an amazing movie (and makes me want to read the book) while Creed 2 was a disappointment. As for Fantasia, other than Little Monsters winning my heart, Paradise Hills was also pretty neat with some fantastic ideas especially for the sci-fi fantasy fans out there.

BINGING

Your Highness Class Monitor

  • “Your Highness” The Class Monitor

Currently binging: Love Signal 2, River Flows to You, Go Go Squid!, The Coming One III

Your Highness Class Monitor ended early in the week. I have some thoughts about this one and it had a lot to do with a change in perspective in how I felt about the characters and a bit of disjointedness in the series. I have a huge delay in TV binge right now that I’m working hard to catch up on but I might get this one done before, if I find time. However, in the currently binging is mostly new shows as I start River Flows to You and Go Go Squid!, the latter definitely winning my heart so far.

That’s it for this week’s What’s Up!
What’s are you reading/watching/playing/binging?

Fables, Vol. 2 Animal Farm by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham & Steve Leialoha

Check out the Fables, Volume 1 review HERE.

Fables, Volume 2: Animal Farm
by: Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham (artist) & Steve Leialoha (artist)

fables vol. 2

Ever since they were driven from their homelands by the Adversary, the non-human Fables have been living on the Farm—a vast property in upstate New York that keeps them hidden from the prying eyes of the mundane world. But now, after hundreds of years of isolation, the Farm is seething with revolution, fanned by the inflammatory rhetoric of Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs. And when Snow White and her sister Rose Red stumble upon their plan to liberate the Homelands, the commissars of the Farm are ready to silence them—by any means necessary! – Goodreads

Its been almost exactly 2 years since I reviewed Fables Volume 1. Volume 2 takes place a little while after the first volume’s events as Red Rose gets her community service sentence for the previous book’s events to go on a trip with her sister Snow White to the Farm to check on what’s going on there. Its when the revolution happens and Snow White gets caught up in the situation as things go from bad to worse. The story here is a lot of fun. It reminisces a twist on not only further fairy tale characters from Goldilocks and the Three Bears to Three Little Pigs and makes them more vulgar than innocent but also a take on Animal Farm, hence the title of volume 2 with the revolution of the animals to want more and to overturn the Adversary which looms over them. It dives deeper into the Fables world with just this revolution alone.

Retaining much of its art style and story writing, Volume 2 still has a lot of its charm. I can’t say that its quite as fun as the first dive into Volume 1. I can’t quite grasp what felt like it didn’t live up to it. Maybe its because I really like the Bigsby Wolf character and this volume mostly revolved around Snow White. However, to be fair, it gave us a better look at this female protagonist and she is much different from other Snow Whites that has been brought to life in fairy tale spinoffs and movies and TV series. It always fascinates me how these fairy tale characters can have so many faces and how Snow White is always used. Regardless, she is a decent choice. In some ways though, the goal here was to give a backstory on the bond between the sisters, Snow White and Red Rose while also giving a little deeper look at Red Rose.

There’s not a whole lot to say about Volume 2. I still think the best part is the art style and the dialogue and the story that it tells. Pity that The Wolf Among Us Season 2 won’t be happening on video games but at least there’s still more volumes of Fables to read (hopefully) soon, once I get a chance to pick up the next one.

Archie, Vol 4 by Mark Waid & Pete Woods (illustration)

You can see the reviews for previous volumes:

Archie Vol. 1
Archie, Vol. 2
Archie, Vol. 3

Archie, Vol. 4
by: Mark Waid & Pete Woods (illustration)

Archie Vol.4

The fourth volume of the Archie series features the headline-making comic event ‘Over The Edge,’ where the lives of Archie and his friends are forever changed. – Goodreads

The foreword of this volume starts about this book having a pivotal moment that happens. With that said, it seems to be something to look forward. At this point, its already done a lot right. Every volume has crafted these characters that we love but modernized them and given it the graphic novel treatment. The art has been fantastic and each issue also brings out a different story for each of the characters.

Volume 4 is a pretty solid volume. We go through Veronica coming back from boarding school and having to find back her rhythm with Archie in their relationship while still having resistance from her father. Betty tries to move on and starts to have a bond with Dilton. At the same time, Archie and Reggie’s feud gets worse. Archie and Jughead both are really quirky characters and still inject humor but there is a more than usual switch of tone here as we barrel to the ending which gives us a rather heartbreaking moment. The way the story sets up about how each character finds out about the situation is a really clever move. Its gives this life to Riverdale. There is a real change in pace also because there is essentially more drama going on as well. At the same time, the different issues here have focus on a wider range of characters and not just the four main ones like for Dilton for example. Its a nice way to change the angle every once in a while.

Up to this point and building from the first three volumes, it was time to give the story a real push in a new direction for its characters. Something really life-changing and I appreciated every bit of it. It captures a lot of those spontaneous decisions a teenager (or honestly possibly anyone) can make that end up having unexpected consequences outside of your own realm of control. That sets up the stage for some growing up for everyone in Volume 5 and I am looking forward to see how it moves from this ending.

I have Volume 5 so I’ll be jumping into that right away!
Have you read any of the Archie Comics?

Road to Riverdale, Volume 2

If you missed the Volume 1 review, check it out HERE.

Road to Riverdale, Volume 2

Road to Riverdale

In the past two years, the little town of Riverdale has changed in a number of amazing ways. The entire Archie universe has been given a fresh coat of paint and it’s only getting bigger and better from here. Road to Riverdale presents to readers all of the second issues of each of our new series so far, including Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Josie and the Pussycats and Reggie & Me, timed to the Season One Finale of the brand new CW series Riverdale. This volume also contains a new story based in the show’s universe as a bonus for viewers! – Goodreads

Its surprising to see the there is a volume 2 of Road of Riverdale. I had talked about it when I first bought this that I had gotten it online without looking carefully and realized that its just a snippet of the different volumes in the Archie comics universe. If you want to follow through just snippets of their lives, these ones give you a good idea of the stories of each of the characters with their own graphic novels in the revamped Riverdale. This one does acknowledge the link of the revamp to the CW series, Riverdale so they added in an extra story for it, which is pretty neat. I’m a fan of the TV show (although I am currently behind on Season 2), so it was a touch that I appreciated.

The purpose as it stands with the review of the first one is to really get an idea of the stylings of each of these characters and their own stories. What is nice is that while we get the focus on different characters, like Archie is different from the tone in Jughead, as Betty and Veronica is different from Josie and the Pussycats. These diverse characters give us a hint of a different version of high school lives of these teenagers living in Riverdale. That is the charm of reading Road to Riverdale. For myself, I already try to catch up mostly with Archie however I am planning on getting the volumes from Betty and Veronica and Josie and the Pussycats as well because of Road to Riverdale because those tones work for me. However, it keeps me in the loop with say the Reggie & Me and Jughead stories also, which I feel less invested in.

With that said, I had already reviewed the full volumes of Josie and the Pussycat snippet and the Archie snippet. You can find them below:

Archie, Volume 2
Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1

There honestly isn’t much to review here for Road to Riverdale. If you want a snapshot of Riverdale, these books are easier than having to follow 5 different series and still get the enjoyment as they pick the most standout story of the book (I would assume for the two that I didn’t read). Its a fun little trip to Riverdale. I still maintain that the revamped graphic novels are a modernized and stylistic version of the old comics as it retains the characters and their natures. While the TV series takes the characters but essentially changes them up quite a bit along with their back story and character arc. My best example always is that The Vampire Diaries did that and it worked out for an 8 season run so no reason that the TV series can’t do that. Putting aside the TV series (as this isn’t the discussion, that is coming up in a future TV binge post), Road to Riverdale has its benefits and charms for those looking for a quick visit to Riverdale.