And welcome to Shogun World.  Mata Irasshaimase!  歴史的な詳細のいくつかは間違っているかもしれません。 私たちのホストはあなたを殺すことをうれしく思います。 私はあなたのニーズに応えることを意味します! (All those years of Japanese in college and grad school are finally paying off!)

At its core, Snotgirl is still a book that heavily reads as being about imposter syndrome; while it’s practically the context the whole book makes itself work out of, with Lottie’s literal and figurative delusions, there’s still the greater mystery of some of the people in her life, and what exactly is going on.

This week sees the wrap up of Dark Horse Comics' Giles mini-series (written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon and Concrete Park's Erika Alexander, with the art of Jon Lam of Gotham Academy: Second Semester), concluding the tale of teenage Rupert's return to high school and his noble attempts to stand against the forces of darkness while having fuzzy feelings for a cute and charismatic vampire. (Sound familiar?) While sharing similarities with its "mother series," the Giles mini-series is very much its own beast, revealing not only another side to the Watcher that fans have followed for over two decades, but also shedding light on an unseen corner of the Buffy-verse filled with new characters, new threats, and new challenges.

In his introductory note, David Petersen describes Mouse Guard: The Black Axe as a creator’s quest, a text that challenged him to produce more detailed characters and worlds alongside a standard quest narrative. Two mice, Em and Celanwe, discover that they are distantly related and the last living members of their bloodline, and they go in search of the Black Axe - a prized family artifact. Their quest takes them to distant lands and into the kingdom of dangerous enemies, and it is well balanced with character development and worldbuilding.

I reviewed the original two issues of Joe Golem: Occult Detective - The Outer Dark when they first were released and was pleasantly surprised by how startled the horror elements made me and how uncomfortable I felt. I was left a little lukewarm with some of the other elements, but reading through the issues again as a collection, seeing the arc of this chapter play out to the end, it was like reheating a good dish of pasta and allowing all of those savory flavors to mix and meld, turning it into a great dish. I want seconds!

Issue #2 of Black Hammer: Age of Doom filled me with unadulterated joy. Part of that reason is that I’m starting to feel like I’m a part of this dysfunctional family of ex-superheroes trapped on this strange farm. Over the last 14 issues, Jeff Lemire has done such a solid job of bringing each and every one of them to life that I know them, I understand them, I’m with them. That’s really difficult to do with an ensemble cast. He does it by not focusing on how the characters fight during action scenes, but by studying with a scalpel each of the character's intents and reactions to this place, where they may end up dying…having no idea why - like the first half hour of Oldboy.

Thomas “Awkward” Dante lives a life that very few people would envy. The disgraced fire elemental spends his days drinking alcohol laced with magic and trying to fly under the radar of the mystical powers that be.  A murder covered up with fire at Awkward’s home bar, the Lost and Found, throws him back into the world of supernatural sleuthing, and he’ll have to use every bit of his knowledge of Mystixology (the art of casting spells with booze) to stay out of the clutches of the multiple groups who want to make him person of interest number one.

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?”

The title, Bubba Ho-Tep, probably conjurers images of Bruce Campbell as Elvis who switches places with an Elvis-impersonator named Sebastian Haff and hits the road impersonating Sebastian impersonating himself. He falls and ends up in a rundown retirement home, where he meets Jack (Ossie Davis), a man of color who says he is President John F. Kennedy. The pair encounter an Egyptian mummy in western wear (complete with a shiny belt buckle!) who is sucking the souls of residents via their anuses. If you are not familiar with the cult film from 2002 directed by Don Coscarelli (and based on a 1994 novella of the same name written by renown horror writer Joe R. Lansdale), then definitely check out the film (and my Fanbase Press essay as part of the "Thankful For" series last November). The new IDW Publishing comic book, Bubba Ho-Tep and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers, is a prequel story to the film and novella.

This may be the second volume in a larger story, but it’s important to note that Infinite Loop: Nothing But the Truth is mostly standalone. If you haven’t read the first volume, you won’t be lost trying to keep up. Most of the important information is explained quickly and clearly in the first few pages. Though, of course, the first volume is very good, too, and I highly recommend you check it out, as well.

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