Book Review: Osgoode As Gold (Toronto Comics #5)

Yonge at Heart (Toronto Comics #4)

Osgoode As Gold (Toronto Comics #5)
By: Stephanie Cooke

Osgoode As Gold

In a city of competitive wizard barristas, nervous werewolves and scoundrel Trash Pandas, you’ll find some of the best upcoming comic creators! We’re back again with twenty-four fresh comics from local indie veterans and first-time creators.

From the strange giants that prowl Kensington at midnight, the vengeful Pacific Mall dance mafia, or the dragon-hunting wannabes working Queen Street, we’ve got stories inspired by every part of the city we love. – Goodreads

The 4th comic anthology revolving around Toronto in Toronto Comics is called Osgoode For Gold. If you have read these anthologies before, you already know that while the central focus is set in Toronto, the stories all vary and can be set in fantasy or reality or past, present or future. There are no limits in these stories and yet once again, the creativity and the themes addressed here are truly great to read. They shed light on the people and culture in the city and have stories for everyone. At the same time, the art also changes with each story as well as the color palette. Its what makes them unique.

There are 23 stories while it ends with an additional 4 which are thoughtful one page art. It would be crazy to talk about each of them, however, I will choose a few that I personally like.

They are the following:

  • Catnap Cafe: When a newly immigrated girl moves to Toronto, she goes to Catnap Cafe for the experience where she turns into a cat and befriends another cat who guides her back to apartment in hopes of being able to turn back into human. Lets just say, cat cafes and cat related stories are things that I love so this one also had the perk of the whole details and such that I really liked.
  • Leave it to Leo: More of a comedic offering in a vibrant colors and art set in 1940s, Leave it to Leo talks about comic book artists who want to be compensated for their worth and play a trick on their editor.
  • Mirrored: Nothing like a little imagination of interdimension fantasy, Mirrored tells the story of a subway entrance to another dimension for magical battles with a little twist ending parallel to reality.
  • FinalMIX! Difficulty Expert! : Set in Pacific Mall in Markham and structured around a video game dance battle, this story is about as relatable as they get for me.
  • Cenotaph: Set in a future Toronto, we look at ghosts who are looking back at the city that was when they were alive and how the destroying and building has changed it in the present.
  • The Part-Time Knight: Wrapping up the anthology is this story about a stable kid who hears a dastardly plan to murder the king and finds a way to bring the message as knights would do.

Here are a few that I like and of course, all the stories were pretty great whether it was the different art styles or the time frame they chose to use or the realistic or fantastical angle. It shows off the talent and the stories that any place and experience can inspire. Sometimes they are predictable but the majority times, they aren’t.

Thats it for the review of Osgoode For Gold.
Have you read any comics from Toronto Comics?
Have you read/seen comics inspired by a city?

Archie, Vol. 5 by Mark Waid

Check out the reviews for the previous volumes below:

Archie Vol.1
Archie Vol.2
Archie Vol.3
Archie Vol.4

Archie, Vol. 5
by: Mark Waid & Audrey Mok (Illustrator)

Archie Vol.5

The fallout from OVER THE EDGE is here! One life has been destroyed, another family has been torn apart–and only the kids of Riverdale High can save their town from imploding! – Goodreads

Volume 4 ended with quite the bomb as we realize that Betty has lost the feeling in her legs after the accident. A honest tragic turn in events and a particularly darker moment because Betty is one of the nice girl next door characters and while enduring losing her best friend and having that whole breakup situation, she has lost even more now.

Volume 5 takes a dramatic turn of events. Its not so much comedic in this one even if it tries to inject some moments with the Classic Archie screw-ups and Jughead intervening with Betty’s parents at one point with his clever ways. However, at some point it felt like it was meant to go in this direction and that change of pace continuing from the previous volume really helped continue making this even more thrilling because we can see Betty’s strength and also see Betty and Archie face their feelings between them and have to make some choices. In that sense, all the characters are developing and growing with this one big event that happened. Its a heartbreaking experience but also one that sees her parents putting in extra effort to protect her. It also throws everyone’s life off balance but also appreciate the good that we the readers don’t see especially when the characters take up all the work that Betty is involved in Riverdale.

I’ve always been a fan of Betty because she is a beautiful girl next door that kind of never really follows the norm of how girls are and its especially true with this revamped version. As much as I loved the original Archie Comics, I only read a few volumes in the ton that has been released so its hard to be fully aware of how she was. This modernized Archie Comics makes Betty in a character that I love even more so this volume really hit me a hard especially as she struggles to be positive through this situation. Its nice to see the shift in tone as well in these versions which gives a good focus on each of these characters and giving them their own spotlight. I gave this one full points for being brave enough to take these daring paths into darker and more serious territory while giving the characters a lot of room to develop as they go through their different situations as well as bringing forward some of the more supporting characters and giving them their own story highlight as well. I loved this volume a lot!

Goodreads: 5/5

Archie, Volume 3 by Mark Waid

Next up in the reading adventures is back to the comic/graphic comic world. I still can’t decide which category I should call this one. Regardless, Archie Volume 3 was released just last month and there was a lovely online sale at Indigo so I ordered this one at a pretty awesome price. Its been a fun time reading these and is very cool to check out in between novels as a refresher to cleanse the palette before starting something new. However, this is one of the last new physical books for the year. I have a sizable TBR list and I really need to get cracking on a lot of them.

Let’s check this out! 🙂

Archie, Volume 3
By: Mark Waid
Illustrated by: Joe Eisma

Introducing… Cheryl Blossom! The fiery red-head takes center stage as Archie and Veronica’s worlds are torn apart as the two are living thousands of miles away from each other. What will happen to the rest of Archie’s friends in Riverdale? And just what kind of havoc will Cheryl Blossom wreak? – Goodreads

This renewed Archie world is great so far and this third book is no exception. I haven’t quite managed to get the TV Binge post put together for Riverdale but I love the character of Cheryl Blossom. She is a girl with a lot of motives but it is also with a character like this that has a hidden agenda that brings out the nature of some of our other characters. In this book, I am mostly referring to Veronica. It is always interesting how the book isn’t always about Archie and will turn its focus on the girls or the other feuds or situations with other characters. However, that sometimes still makes Archie the least appealing to watch grow (both in the comics or the show) because he always just literally stumbles clumsily into situations and tries to do everything with the best intentions and ends up with the worst results. It does warrant some funny moments. With that said, one of my fave parts of this one was when Archie wanted to be like Jughead and in turn, being his best friend, Jughead had to hold the fort and be Archie, making Betty point out why Archie wanted to be him and in a roundabout way, let us learn a little more about both of these guys. While there was a lack of Betty in this book, that one part made her presence be felt regardless.

Volume 3 truly picks up where the last volume ended and not only adds a new colorful character to challenge the group but also further develops the main players to make sure they remain interesting in this modernized version of Archie. While Betty is seen less in this book, the main focus was on Archie and Veronica and their fight for their romance. It brought forth changes in their characters that lead them to acknowledge who they are. Along with beautiful illustrations from Joe Eisma, Archie, Volume 3 is a great read.

Have you read this one? Did you read any of the modernized Archie comics?

Titan: An Alternate History by Michael Tymczyszyn & Andy Stanleigh

I have been reading more graphic novels and comics lately. It is a much more relaxing experience and pretty fun to discover or rediscover cool stories. Some of you who saw my Toronto Comiccon haul will know that I got two books from AH Comics.

I remember AH Comics from the year before and remembering that I hadn’t had time to go back the year before. But this year, I just had to pick it up. Lets start with Titan: An Alternate History.

Titan: An Alternate History
By: Michael Tymczyszyn (author) and Andy Stanleigh (illustrations)

titan: an alternate history

Traveling through four distinct periods in history, this graphic novel follows Peter Tytan, an unassuming archaeology professor until a brutal mugging leaves him broken, bloodied, and hallucinating. Through this alternate history he sees a world similar and yet very different from our own—from the Steppes of ancient Russia to the Crusades to the Industrial Revolution. With every hallucination Peter experiences his world spins further and further away from the one he recognized, creating astounding changes that overcome him, transform him, and ultimately make him a titan among men. – Goodreads

First of all, Titan is very unique. The first thing that will catch your eyes is the art. As we travel time and through different scenes, we start seeing a change in the style and yet still incredibly well-drawn. Of course, I’m rather new to the graphic novel world however, the art here appealed to me a lot. It created a different tone for each part. While I’m not very well-versed in history, the book features some characters that are widely known as general knowledge and jumps back into events that are also known to others. The idea here is in the alternate history where it is familiar to the readers and yet, seeks to show something different. The way it is presented, particularly the dialogue works so well here and makes it rather unique.

However, the only thing that I did have some minor issues is was the transition between scenes. Perhaps the novel-reading me takes over in this department but there does seem to be gaps. For sure, these are hallucinations and yet, there’s something that doesn’t always piece together well enough. It may have to do with the fact that this is a short graphic novel. However, there is still an indie charm immediately apparent when reading Titan. There’s heart and some fun ideas thrown together along with no barriers to what can be accomplished and achieved.

While, there were some moments that pulled me out of the story a little, the art and the dialogue and even the characters has me intrigued to see where this continues. The best achievement here is being able to smudge the line of reality and history in terms of Peter Tytan.

Amulet series Books#1-6 by Kazu Kibuishi

I’m no frequent reader of comics or graphic novels but I’m slowly getting into it.  The Amulet series was a completely sporadic find one day when I was looking through the Best Kindle free ebooks section and the entire series was there.  Obviously, I don’t miss out on these things especially when I’m still trying to balance the whole homeowner situation and surviving and attempting to save no matter how much I cut out.  Books is one of those things so free stuff, I love it! 😉 Anyways, so that’s how I found this series which feels like a manga series but has that whole teenage fantasy story going on.  It works for me.  I really don’t mind these things.  Plus, its extremely relaxing to be reading books geared towards younger audiences especially after a whole month of pain with  Mansfield Park.

I read one and a half Amulet books a day so its a really good.  Just to give you an idea of why I’m doing a post for all six books instead of one for each. Plus, I’m really lazy and I have a thousand other posts to get done before the festival season starts in Montreal (well, it kind of did already).

Anyways, done with the rambling! Let’s check this out!!

Amulet Vol.1: The Stonekeeper

Amulet The Stonekeeper

After her father’s death, her mother moves Emily and her younger brother Navin to her family home in a deserted countryside.  However, one night, her mom goes to the basement to check a noise and the kids realize that she is taken away by a mysterious monster.  In the effort to save her, Emily finds an amulet that tells her she’s the stonekeeper that will save Alledia.  With her brother, they attempt to save their parents with the help of a few characters along the way.

Amulet is a quick read and very well paced.  The action starts right away and the journey to Alledia and saving their mother.  Plus, the elements and struggle of being a Stonekeeper is a really good concept.  There’s a lot to like for Book 1 and sets up the perfect stage to look forward to see Emily and her friends and family continue on their journey as they support her role as Stonekeeper, one that they all are learning just as much as she is.

Amulet Vol.2: The Stonekeeper’s Curse

amulet #2 the stonekeeper's curse

 The sequel seems to dive a little deeper into what being a Stonekeeper means.  For Emily, its still about finding the control over the amulet and not letting take control of her.  At the same time, her mom is still in grave danger and needs to be saved.  Navin takes on a bigger role and we get introduced to working with Miskit and Cogsley, the robots created by Silas, the great grandfather of Emily (I think). At the same time, we also start to get introduced to another key player who has his own agenda but joins into Emily’s team.  As they get to Alledia, they learn that a curse has caused humans to gradually turn into animals and this new character is exactly that and with some awesome fighting skills, we have Leon Redbeard.  For me, Leon is a great addition and if anything, this lifted up the book a little more.  Plus, there’s a lot more about the Elves and where everything stands.

Overall, a solid sequel that still works to build on the plot and adds in a few new characters to keep the story moving along.

Amulet Vol. 3: The Cloud Searchers

Amulet The Cloud Searchers

The next mission is about finding how to save Alledia and the only way is to seek help from the vanished city of Cielis that has the mystery council.  While Cielis is believed to have been destroyed many years ago, there are still a few that believe it has become a floating city hidden above the clouds. Emily and her crew seek out the new city to find that its not what they expected because its been corrupted.

The story of Amulet series seems to be a lot of changed motives and unexpected/compromised situations.  I’m not complaining.  These books are directed to a younger audience so my expecting something to happen is perfectly normal. What I liked about this sequel is how Emily and Navin both are developing as characters and we are able to see their strengths along with some of the other characters.

Amulet Vol. 4: The Last Council amulet the last council

Cielis isn’t quite what they expected and something seems to be wrong.  That’s when Emily meets Max, who wants to help her become part of the council.  Except the council and Cielis are separating her crew without her knowing about it.  As the group separates, they each go off to learn more about what has happened by other sources.

The Last Council picks up a little more action than the previous two books where we start seeing a little more back story on the characters we get introduced to help thicken the plot a little more.

Amulet Vol. 5: The Prince of the Elves

Amulet Prince of the Elves

Since the first book, Prince of the Elves is the one that I enjoyed the most and breezed through.  It has a lot more action and sticky situations.  Now we finally get a grasp of what the whole elves against the humans/Alledians are and who is behind all this.  Its a lot more fun with some more creative species into the mix and some battles.  The characters are having a good development and the decisions they make are starting to really shape who they are.

Amulet Vol. 6: Escape From Lucien

amulet escape from lucien

 Escape from Lucien features siblings Emily and Navin going in separate directions.  They both have their own missions to reach the end goal of finding a way to stop the Elf King.  The Amulet series has really turned into something fun.  I can see how kids may enjoy this because they can enjoy both a girl and guy protagonist.  The characters are simple and so are their goals: to save Alledia and get out of all this trouble, maybe even get home one day.  Except being a Stonekeeper isn’t easy for Emily, she has her destiny and she’s starting to see how losing control of the stone can affect her.

Overall, the Amulet series is a fun and quick read.  It has good pacing and even though for the older crowd (like me), its a little simple and predictable, the characters are all very lovable and there’s the little animal based ones which are just downright cute.  The bad guys are villainous but not too scary in their evil ways.  There’s a lot of action to keep things rolling and keep the plot unravelling into whatever sticky situation they get stuck in.  And the best part, the artwork. Especially those full page scenes of where the crew end up, its breathtaking and awesome.  I’m reading this on my tablet but imagine it printed in a book, it would be just wow. I’m sure glad that I ended up surfing on the free reads section on Amazon under this category that day but even if I had to pay for the next one, I probably would.  Its a really neat series! 🙂