Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 15)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

 

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Knights of the Old Republic: Destroyer (3963 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller

Artist(s): Brian Ching, Bong Dazo, Ron Chan, et. al.

This is the eighth volume of the KotOR series of graphic novels. It contains “Masks,” “The Reaping” parts 1 and 2, and “Destroyer” parts 1 and 2. “Masks” is short and revolves around Malak, one of the Jedi Zayne and Jarael previously met in their adventures. Now he is recruiting for the war against the Mandalorians, but Zayne won’t go and he will not allow Jarael to go either. They end up discussing her past of being a Slaver and how it affects her in the present. “The Reaping” had Zayne and Jarael searching for the Crucible, a slaver group that Jarael was once a part of, if nothing more than to bring the group down from the inside. When Zayne brings eighty slaves abourd, his hidden motives are revealed to Gryph, and Jarael reveals who she once was to the rest of the group. “Destroyer” features Zayne being purposely taken in the the Crucible group so that he can get an inside glimpse. When one of Jarael’s enemies manipulates him with the Force, Zayne questions Jarael’s character and why she still have the name meaning “Destroyer,” but Jarael tells him the name has a different meaning: “Protector.” With Zayne and Jarael looking to go their separate ways, what will become of the Crucible?

The art is a bit different in this one (different artists do different issues of the comic). The story is interesting in that we get more on the mysterious Jarael, and leads the reader into wanting to find out more and to see what will be come of Jarael…and Zayne.

 

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Star Wars: Darkness (30 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)

Writer: John Ostrander

Artist(s): Jan Duursema, Ray Kryssung, et. al.

This graphic novel consists of issues 32-35 of Star Wars. It features Quinlan Vos and his padawan Aayla Secura after having lost their memories. Quinlan had to be retrained, and when a Guardian from his home planet seeks only him for a mission, the Jedi council is wary, since Quinlan has touched the Dark side and is still very close to darkness. Meanwhile, Aayla hates Quinlan for what he has done in the past, but all Quinlan wants is to find his lost padawan and restore her. When Anzati wreak havoc, and show Quinlan some disturbing memories, he must fight his greatest fear once more, and save his padawan from the darkness!

I was very excited to come across this at a comic book store. I always check the Star Wars selections from the original Dark Horse publications, and I had actually never seen this one before. With the same writer and artists as the Clone Wars, this was a great edition to Quinlan Vos’s character, adding even more detail to an already phenomenally interesting Jedi.

 

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Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War (0 ABY, Flashback to before the Clone Wars)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Jason Aaron, Kelly Thompson

Artist(s): Salvador Larroca, Emilio Laiso, et. al.

This is the fifth compiled volume of the Marvel Star Wars series of comics which contains issues 26-30 as well as Annual #2. “Yoda’s Secret War” begins in the present time of the series with C-3PO having been captured by a special squad of stormtroopers and Luke following R2, who refuses to leave his droid friend behind. In his travels, Luke reads from Obi-Wan’s journal and learns of a mission Yoda once went on to save a planet. Luke feels drawn to the same planet and sees the remains from what Yoda left many years earlier. It is a Force-heavy planet with great stone giants that are like mountains, and the people of the planet fighting each other over Force and terrain. “Annual #2” features a bystander, a female engineer, who ends of helping Leia from a tight spot, despite her not really liking Leia.

Overall, the art is splendid in this compilation, but the story is lacking. The “Annual #2” was an interesting addition to Leia’s adventures, but the arc with Yoda was boring and seemed like a tangent in comparison to the new Marvel Star Wars as a story, which was disappointing. I am hoping the next installment will continue with the main story, rather than a past event that was very lackluster.

 

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Poe Dameron Volume 2: The Gathering Storm (30-34 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist(s): Phil Noto, Joe Caramagna

The second installment in the Poe Dameron graphic novel series features Poe continuing his work for Leia and the Alliance, but knowing that there is a potential spy among his Black Squadron is almost too much to bear. When See-Threepio seeks Poe’s help, he finds himself bringing back a droid that may or may not have vital information on Snoke and the First Order, while being followed and tracked by ex-stormtrooper Terex. Terex has his own plans in mind when he aims to bring the entire Alliance to the First Order!

While I enjoyed the first graphic novel, this one seemed to be lacking; but it wasn’t! It was even more interesting than the first volume, with higher stakes for Poe and his Black Squadron! Phil Noto does not disappoint. As he is both the cover artist and issue artist, you can easily judge this book by the cover, because the art is phenomenal, and Marvel knows what it is doing when contracting for the new canon comics!

 

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 10

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters (Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan, Attila Futaki, and Tamas Gaspar

Genre: Graphic Novel/Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

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When Thalia’s tree protecting the camp is poisoned, Percy finds that he must help the tree to save the camp. When Clarisse goes to the prophet to have gain the quest to save the camp, Percy and Clarisse find that they encounter each other often as they both aim to get the Golden Fleece. Of course, Luke is still a threat, and his goal of reviving Chronos is becoming even more of a reality.

Even better than the first one, this graphic novel adaptation picks up the essence of its original novel counterpart very well. The art, especially the landscapes, is amazing. I was not sure the graphic novels would be too good. The first one was okay, but this one has me ready and eager for the next graphic novel!

 

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Ngyen

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical Fiction

Rating: 3/5

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I was excited to get a graphic novel version of Outlander, and from Jamie’s perspective, nonetheless. While it is meant to be from Jamie’s perspective, we are still given some of Claire’s thoughts. It was interesting to see Jamie’s thoughts and ideas that were unspoken/unheard/unseen in the original novel. This otherwise is the same story of Outlander with some minor twists (such as Geillis Duncan, who has a man after Claire to find if she moved through time too, and perhaps to kill Jamie because of his heritage and threat to Geillis’s son’s legacy to Castle Leoch).

The art is soft but detailed, adding a nice visual reference of the world and characters. The plot did have to be altered somewhat to be a self-contained piece, but this is a wonderful addition to the series and a nice perspective for any Outlander fan.

 

My Neighbor Totoro (the novel) by Hayao Miyazaki and Tsugiko Kubo

Genre: Adolescent Fiction/Ghibli

Rating: 4/5

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This is the novel adaptation of the original Ghibli film by Miyazaki. It follows the story of 4-year-old Mei and 11-year-old Satsuki who move to the countryside to be closer to their hospitalized mother. When they discover a sacred tree in the forest, the girls find that the forest spirits, among them Totoro, strive to help the girls become more knowing of the world by gifting them with acorns to plant their own forest. When Mei goes missing, Satsuki enlists in Totoro’s help!

When transcribing something from screen to page, the effect is similar to that of page to screen. Some things are taken out that flow well visually in the movie, but would sump the flow of the novel, and the organization is slightly different to help the chapters move along. Of course, it is very different reading a description of something over seeing it with carefully chosen background music, but the description adds a whole new element to experiencing My Neighbor Totoro. Well worth the read for any Ghibli or Totoro fan!

 

The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis

Genre: Companion/Guidebook/Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

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This is an informational companion to Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels. It is presented in a similar way to a Dungeons and Dragons book and has chapters and sections for everything in the Shadow World. There are beautiful illustrations by a number of artists, including Cassandra Jean, who does a lot of the special and exclusive art for many of Clare’s works (including the graphic novel adaption of City of Bones). There are also little notations written by Clary, Jace, and occasionally Simon, throughout the text. Some of it is rather comical, such as the section on “Facemelter” demons, the description being “self explanatory.” The two appendixes give interesting information about the vreation of the Shadowhunters as well as some information about The Circle.

Overall, this book was interesting in the extra detailed information on things like Idris, Downworlders, and the Mortal Instruments, as well as various types of demons. While it is a bit of a slow read if you are reading it as an actual book, it is a nice reference to look to when questioning politics and things from the main series, and the images are nice. I wish there were more images (like one for each demon or Downworlder race).

 

Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Miller and Steve McNiven

Genre: Superhero/Graphic Novel

Rating: 4/5

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This graphic novel was slow at first, but it became interesting very quickly and definitely picked up the pace. When the Hulk’s group seeks money from Logan to protect his family, he heads out to get the money with a limited amount of time. When Hawkeye arrives asking for accompaniment on his journey to deliver a special package, Logan offers to be a driver only, and not to get involved with fighting. Along the way, the duo ends up saving Hawkeye’s daughter and fighting off some mole creatures that have dug out the underparts of many major cities. Hawkeye’s shipment turn out to be something that could revolutionize the power of mutants (in an evil way), and Wolverine’s secret to why he chooses not to fight becomes revealed. When he finally gets the money, he is too late, and goes out to seek revenge against the Hulks.

Of course I picked this up after seeing Logan. I was not sure what to expect, and the beginning was slow, but once Wolverine’s past is revealed, along with the fate of the X-men, as well as the images of his bloody vengeance, it is a vastly visually appealing piece. The art is above average for a Marvel superhero work, and I was actually very impressed by this graphic novel overall.

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 14)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

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Knights of the Old Republic: Dueling Ambitions (3963 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (6 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller

Artist(s): Brian Ching, Bong Dazo, Dean Zachary, Michael Atiyeh, et. al.

This volume of KotOR features “Prophet Motive” parts 1 and 2, “Faithful Execution,” and “Dueling Ambitions” Parts 1-3. “Prophet Motive” Gryph, Zayne, and Jarael have a long-running plan to dismantle a shady auctioning syndicate that utilizes slaves. When their plans are found out, Gryph and Jarael must disguise themselves, and their Mandalorian friend finds himself in a bind for refusing to remove his armor. In these issues, Jarael demonstrates a potential to use the Force, and Rohlan pushes her further to utilize these newfound powers. “Faithful Execution” is a short issue featuring unique art by Dean Zachary, art that makes the characters appear softer, rather than having the sharp angles. This issue involves Zayne and crew coming across a ship of suffocated people, with a lone survivor and a droid. When Zayne suspects the droid of the murders, the real murderer comes forth when Jarael is in trouble. In “Dueling Ambitions,” Zayne finds himself face-to-face with one of his childhood icons in a dueling arena, excited to race and be a part of the duels, even though they can be very deadly. When the truth is revealed, that those in the duels are slaves that are forced to fight and race, Zayne makes it his ambition to free them, but he also learns Jarael’s secret of the past!

Having the different artist in one of the issues was an interesting and pleasant twist, and this new arc of Zayne, Gryph, and Jarael’s adventures shows promise. For the first time, I am extremely eager to see what happens next in this series, especially where Jarael is concerned.

 

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Jedi Academy: Leviathan (12 ABY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)

Writer: Kevin J. Anderson

Artist(s): Dario Carrasco Jr., Mike Heike, Ray Murtaugh, et. al.

When a mining planet sends out a distress signal, Leia calls Luke to send out some of his Jedi Trainees to investigate. While Kyp and Dork 82 arrive too late, they find that the planet is inhabited by ancient monsters that seemingly collect the souls of those they devour. While the Jedi are too late, Kyp knows that he must defeat the leviathans and release the souls of the victims and rid make the planet safe for the next settlers who choose to live there.

This is a single volume following Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy (and is preferred to have read I, Jedi and the Callista trilogy as well). It features some of the main Jedi that Luke brought to his new academy on Yavin 4 including Kyp Durron, Kirana Ti, and Streen, and introduces us to Dorks 82, who hopes to have some connection with the Force as his predecessor did. The art is good and the story adds just a bit more to the training of the new Jedi.

 

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Doctor Aphra: Aphra (0 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist(s): Kev Walker, Marc Deering, Antonio Fabela, et. al.

Doctor Aphra is an archaeologist. After faking her death with Darth Vader, she now continues to hunt around the galaxy for rare artifacts that she can sell for a high price. Black Krrsantan still helps her out in hopes of getting what she owes him, but when her Doctorate is disabled by her father, she must comply to his wishes before she can be reinstated. Searching for hints to a lost civilization on Yavin 4 brings the Empire down on them,. but unlocks a great historical mystery.

This is one of the best installments to the new canon with a great character. Aphra is a fantastic edition to the story: her character is interestingly developed with her own unique qualities that make her stand out from other characters in the series. The art is superb, as usual, and I cannot wait for the next one!

 

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The Star Wars (No Timeline)

Publisher: Dark Horse (8 Issues)

Writer: J. W. Rinzler

Artist(s): Randy Stradley, Mike Mayhew

This is Star Wars before it was revised to become the beauty that it actually is, based on the original draft by George Lucas. The story is pretty much completely different, featuring the Jedi-Bendu who once guarded the Emperor before the rise of the Knights of Sith.  Annikin Starkiller is the hero of the story with an older Luke Skywalker as the mentor/master. Annikin and Luke must now protect the princess of Aquilae, Leia, from the Empire. In this version, Han is a Urellian, a race that hunts Wookies on their home planet of Yavin. Darth Vader exists but is off screen most of the time, commanding his Sith from afar.

Despite the original story by George Lucas being awful, they at least got some of the top artists from the Star Wars line of comics. There is some action, but the story itself is so dry compared to its multiply drafted-over counterpart. While this is an interesting piece in the creation history of Star Wars itself, it is not worth the read if you are looking for extended universe qualities about characters you are already familiar with and want to know more about.

 

 

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 9

Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto

Genre: Comedy

Rating: 3.5/5

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This book was decent. It has a lot of exposition and run-on information rather than descriptive story or dialogue, which made this short novel hard to read. Once I made it past page 35 or so, it started to get good.

The story is told from the perspective of a Lolita, Momoko, who describes her move to a new area as well as her love of Lolita. When she finds she needs more money to buy more Lolita stuff, she puts an advertisement in a magazine to sell knockoff Versace clothing and accessories, stating they are fake. When a Yanki girl shows up at her door, she cannot believe it. Interestingly enough, the two become friends and make quite the scene to be stared at, especially when Momoko continuously wins at Pachinko. Who knew a Yanki and a Loli could hit it off so well?

This is a slow-starting, yet fun and comical story about friendship and one of the forms friendship can take. I would recommend it to people interested in female-based novels or Japanese culture, but it is a fairly selective audience, to be sure.

 

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Genre: Comic/Superhero

Rating: 4/5

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Although I liked the animated version a bit more (it was fun to see and hear the action, although the animated version is pretty much word-for-word this comic, with the exception of the added stuff for the first hour or so), the comic was good too. The art is interesting, and so is the Joker’s back story as presented in this comic. The writing itself is a bit fry, but Joker fans will love the exploration of the Joker’s life before he became the insane man who hates Batman.

I would recommend this comic to an older audience (16+) and any Batman/Joker fan. The special edition is nice in that it has a special forward and some extra notes on the comic from the writer and illustrators. All-in-all, fairly interesting, but I wish we could see a bit more of Barbara Gordon, but it isn’t really about here, now, is it?

 

Halfway House by Katherine Noel

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 3/5

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This is a more serious book for a more adult audience. This book is about a girl named Angie who attempts suicide through drowning on multiple occasions. As she becomes more and more manic, she is in and out of psych wards and group homes, and nothing seems to be working for her. This book demonstrates the pull on Angie’s parents as well as her brother, and how her condition is affecting their lives. Her brother, Luke, seems to care about her more than anyone, and becomes a good friend as he fights with Angie through her mental illness.

This book was interesting, but very slow-paced. I enjoyed the main character, Angie, and Luke was interesting too, but there was a lot of back story and details about the parents that I, as a reader, just did not care about that much and did not involve Angie directly, but did lead into where the family ends up in the end. I wouldn’t recommend this book to just anyone, rather, I would suggest this book for people 14-18+ who are either going through a similar experience like Angie, or who have a friend or family member who are experiencing and going through a similar experience, because these kinds of things can often be misunderstood and hard to understand; you never know what is going on in someone’s head, or what their life may be like, but the best thing to do is find a way of accepting and understanding, in the way that this book demonstrates.

 

Kalona’s Fall by P. C. and Kristin Cast

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

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This is a companion novella for the House of Night series. One of the main antagonists (turned protagonist?) in the series is the fallen immortal, Kalona, a being created with his brother, Erebus, to be a warrior and lover to the goddess Nyx. This short novella features the birth of Kalona, his feats with his brother to prove himself to Mother Earth and Nyx, and the anger that grows into darkness that brings itself to the Otherworld. This is an interesting origin story for a likewise interesting character.

One of the things I like about this novella is that is is perfectly short. It is not too long, and not too short. One of the other nice thing about this book is the illustrations; each chapter has its own pencil illustration of some character or event in the following chapter, which adds just a small, extra dynamic to the reading experience.

 

Trojan War by Roy Thomas and Miguel Angel Sepulveda

Genre: Comic/History

Rating: 3.5/5

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This is a part of the Marvel Illustrated line of graphic novels. It is an interesting visual way to learn the story of the Trojan War. It features the cause of the war, Helen of Troy, as well as the rise and fall of Achilles. Odysseus is also a participant in the Trojan War, and you get to see some of the events and things that happen before the events of Homer’s The Odyssey. The involvement of the Gods and Goddesses is portrayed well and gives a good feel for their involvement in war affairs as well.

Overall, this was an interesting graphic novel. It was a bit hard to read in that the Greek names and contexts can be hard to think and work with. The art is good with fine details for both people and backgrounds that really make the setting come to life. A good graphic novel to introduce someone to Greek mythology and history.

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 8

 

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

Genre: Adolescent Fiction

Rating: 3/5

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Perhaps you have heard of the long poem called The Lady of Shalott, by Alfred Lord Tennyson? The Lady of Shalott is a women in old Arthurian myth during the time of Camelot. This book features King Arthur’s younger sister, Elaine, who happens to love Lancelot. When Gwynivere arrives into the camp, Elaine notices that she has a new love rival. When the two girls get mixed up with the Saxons, Elaine puts aside her differences and aims to help Gwynivere share the Saxon’s plans with Arthur, but that means escaping their imprisonment first.

Written in a poetic format gives the novel an interesting structure. Having only read Ellen Hopkins’s contemporary novels in poetic form, those were the only structure I had to compare this contemporary novel to as well. The poetic verse does not actually add much to the story and is rather distracting since there is no real meter or flow to the poetic form. the story itself is a nice historical fiction piece for middle grade and young adult readers in that it features a female heroine who fights for her beliefs and feelings during the time of King Arthur. I would say that this is a great book for the aforementioned age groups and worth a one-time read.

 

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Stacy King

Genre: Literature/Manga

Rating: 4/5

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This adaptation of The Scarlet Letter was fantastic. The art was beautiful and the reader can really read into the deeper feelings of the characters through their facial expressions in a way that cannot be expressed through text alone. Pearl was portrayed as the little evil child she is claimed to be in the original novel, and the art portrays her behaviors in a way that makes the material comprehensive on a whole new level. While the original novel still moved me, this adaptation got me a bit teary-eyes with the visual emphasis (as did the Manga Classics adaptation of Les Miserables, which did have me crying). This is a great adaptation for young readers and anyone who enjoys looking at something from a different artistic medium.
I have read not only this Manga Classics adaptation, but I have read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Les Miserables in the Manga Classics editions as well, and all of them are written in a fantastic way that can help struggling readers or English learners comprehend these more complex texts and students can still fulfill the needs of the Common Core State Standards with these adaptations. Check out the Manga Classics Website for the different titles, a PowerPoint on how they work with the standards, and lesson plans that go with this edition of The Scarlet Letter.

 

Tokyo ESP (Volume 1) by Hajime Segawa

Genre: Action/Manga

Rating: 4/5

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I dived into this series not knowing what to expect, but by the end of the first volume, I must say that the series looks like it has some great potential. This series introduces the reader to Rinka, a regular girl, or was regular until she is touched by a strange glowing fish in the middle of the city. When she wakes up falling through her apartment floor, she knows something is a bit different about her, and she’s not the only one. A bunch of people in Tokyo who have touched the glowing fish have suddenly gained different forms of ESP powers, and not everyone has good intentions. Now Rinka and fellow ESP user, Azuma, must use their ESP powers for good. And what’s up with the penguin? It can take ESP away, problem solved!

This seems like a very action-packed series with great art. The American release versions come as 2-in-1 compilations, which is nice, making up a total of 8 volumes in America, 16 in Japan. I would recommend this for the die-hard anime fans as well as those who are into the super hero genre.

 

Spider Gwen (Volume 0) by Jason Latour

Genre: Young Adult/Comic

Rating: 3/5

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In an alternate universe, Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman. She aims to fight crime, but when Peter Parker becomes the Lizard in hopes of being a powerful hero like Spider-Woman, he goes on a rampage, and Gwen must stop him. With the guilt of Peter’s death looming over her, Gwen aims to do good against the evil Kingpin and his lackey, Matt Murdoch. The problem is, everything she does ends up looking like a crime from the police perspective, making her a wanted criminal.

While this was interesting and the art and color schemes were visually aesthetic, the story feels a bit lacking. It was fun to see Murdoch as a villain and Gwen struggling through her secret of being Spider-Woman, but the over arching story feels plain and used. The other Spiderverse comics are vastly more interesting, but this was a nice switch-up for the girls.

 

Monster Musume: I c39bd2813d999a1ddc360bcba21e4d54_heart-clip-art-free-blue-heart-outline-clipart_298-276.png (298×276) Monster Girls by Okayado, SHAKE-O, et. al

Genre: Comedy/Monster Girls/Short Anthology

Rating: 3/5

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While this book is by no means up to par with the main Monster Musume series, it still had its interesting points and quirks. This volume has 14 short stories drawn in the four-panel comic strip format, including a story (and cover art) by SHAKE-O, the author of Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary, as well as a short, one page blip from Okayado himself. The stories are written and drawn by people from the publisher or who work with Okayado on the main series, not general fan-fiction. Most of the stories are bland, with the occasional very funny or worth-while read.

Do not buy this at full price at the store, because it is not worth that. But it on Amazon for half the cover price. The catch with this series is that each volume comes with….THREE MONSTER MUSUME COLLECTOR’S POST CARDS! These are very beautiful drawings by Okayado and worth the purchase for die-hard collectors, but still not worth 12.99 + tax just for three illustrated cards. I am still debating whether or not to continue to buy these just to have in my collection, but the post cards sure make it tempting!

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 12)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

 

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Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi (Guide(36,453 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (1 Issue)

Writer: John Ostrander

Artist(s): Jan Duursema

This single issue is very unique. Rather than a story arc of any kind, this in a short informational issue with accompanying art work that portrays some of the Dawn of the Jedi era. This single-issue informative comic gives background details about the Je’daii code, temples and the planets they are one, what the temples main affiliation is, ships from the era, and some of the iconic masters.

Despite not having a story, this is an interesting issue to own for any Star Wars fan in that it add some history and context to the early era of the old timeline, not to mention it is a pretty hard to find issue these days.

 

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Knight Errant: Deluge (1032 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller

Artist(s): Ivan Rodriguez, Michael Atiyeh, et. al.

This is the second installment of the Knight Errant series of comics: Deluge. When Kerra returns to her home-world, Aquilaris, she finds that her world is still in havoc. Not only is the Hutt crime lord Zodoh fighting Sith Lord Daiman for the planet, but Zodoh has sent an emissary to smuggle drugs in and out of the planet. The smuggling involves one drug in particular: deluge, a drug that gives people a more blissful feeling and an apathetic manner of looking at life, not giving a care about the circumstances surrounding them. Now Kerra must stop the Hutt and reclaim her world for her citizens.

As always, the art in this series is appealing, and Kerra is a fun female character to follow. This is a nice extension to the Knight Errant series and adds just a bit more flavor to the conflicts in the Old Republic era.

 

Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 8 (20-19 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (6 Issues)

Writer: John Ostrander

Artist(s): Jan Duursema, Dan Parsons, Brad Anderson, Thomas Giorello

This volume contains the Star Wars Republic issues 72-77. “Trackdown Part 1,” and “Trackdown Part 2” Quinlan has gained some vital information that can change the events of the war. The problem is, we as a reader are just as conflicted about his loyalties as his own Jedi brethren are. Many still do not trust him, but Aayla is keen on finding out just what side he is on. When they join together to search for their master, Tholme, it is apparent that many Jedi have already turned to Dooku’s aid. Aayla and Quinlan must save their master and determine who the other Sith Lord is, and Quinlan thinks he knows just who it might be. In “The Siege of Saleucami” Parts 1-4, Quinlan forces the idea that Sora Bulq must be the other Sith and aims to track down the Anzati Jedi. In the mean time, Quinlan is being hunted down by Dooku’s men. The Jedi form a small battalion to face off against Bulq and other turned Jedi in hopes to end the war. When Aayla enter’s Quinlan through the Force, Quinlan must face his Dark Side and conquer it before he can return to the light and fight for the Jedi. An interesting betrayal from someone close to Quinlan adds for an exciting ending, and a lead-in to the final chapter of The Clone Wars.

Being the Quinlan fan that I am, I loved how this volume really revolved around him. We get to see his internal struggles with the choices he has made and the Jedi he has become, as well as see more in-depth connections between him and his fellow Jedi…and his girlfriend!

 

Star Wars Volume 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger (0 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Jason Aaron, Chris Eliopoulos

Artist(s): Chris Eliopoulos, Mike Mayhew, Jorge Molina

The Harbinger is a Star Destroyer, and guess who plans to take control of it? Leia has planned to take the Harbinger to aid a planet in need of help from the Empire, a planet with a blockade of other Star Destroyers surrounding it. To get through, Leia plans on using the Harbinger to get into the planetary orbit and release the planet from the Empire’s blockade. When Sergeant Kreel, a lightsaber-wielding Stormtrooper, is sent to reclaim the Harbinger, Luke must fend off the enemy. In the meantime, Han and Leia fight over the position of captain of the new ship! In this volume as well is included another of Ben Kenobi’s journals. In this issue, the Whookie bounty hunter, Black Karssantan, is sent by Jabba to find out who has been thwarting Jabba’s men. Of course, Kenobi may know a bit about that, as he has been ensuring that Luke and his family do not have problems from others through his interventions.

This volume was not as exciting as some of the previous volumes, but the art is still phenomenal; Mike Mayhew never ceases to amaze in the Star Wars comics. Kreel is an interesting character, so getting to see some background and development of a Stormtrooper as an actual character was fun. While Kreel may not have succeeded in receiving Luke for Vader, we are left with a captured C-3P0…great…

Phases of First Year Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Teaching

A Future First Year of Teaching English

Fictional Journal Entries about the stages of an academic year of teaching as told by Teresa Mullin

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Anticipation: August 24, 2018

I am excited to meet my students on the first day of class. I am teaching three periods of regular freshmen English and two periods of junior honors English. The mix of students is exciting and the different levels will be fun to explore and work with as well. I have all these great project ideas to get students engaged as well as a number of activities and graphic organizers in my arsenal to ensure that all students learn and succeed in my classes. I have taken a day to clean my classroom, have the desks organized in pods of four, and have posters of writers from various cultural backgrounds as well as a multitude of Star Wars and Shakespeare décor in my classroom. From day one, I plan on being assertive and making my expectations clear through behavior contracts and a constructed, developed syllabus. Students will do a “Getting to Know You Bingo” game to build classroom community, as well as a syllabus and class procedure scavenger hunt with partners. Students will also be making “Getting to Know You” index cards that they will be handing in to me so that I can learn a bit about my students as well as use the cards as random name generators for calling on students. They will also be doing a “20 Minute Autobiography” where they respond to a number of questions written on the board. I will use this as a diagnostic way of seeing how they write and organize their thoughts as well as another method to get to know a bit more about my students. I cannot wait for the school year to start next week. It will be perfect, the classroom community will be great, and students will find my English class to be engaging and fun.

“I want 80% of my students to get a B or better,” -Ms. Groves

 

Survival: October 22, 2018

After a long weekend of grading the first string of long essays, I am beat, and it is only Monday. Today gets even better! My class of freshmen read an article independently today and I gave them graphic organizers with sentence starters to help them summarize the main points and determine the author’s perspective. When I observed Anthony’s response, I was baffled. I laughed along with him and said, “I do not think the author’s main point was the invention of Spongebob Squarepants.” He does this all the time; he does not try, and it is absolutely frustrating. While he is being funny about it, I do not know what to do to get him engaged or to get him to try. I have tried talking to him about trying before, but he just shrugs and tells me English is not important to him. He has a failing grade at present, and if I do not do something to make this content important to him, he will not learn and he will continue to not care. To top things off for the day, students in my period 5 English 11 class were not having the much-needed grammar lesson for today. Based on the writing I had previously received and handed back, it appeared that my juniors needed a review on subordinating and coordinating conjunctions, as well as when and how to use them. Ronny, one of my more troublesome students who likes to make snide remarks, said, “Why are we doing this? Do you think we are stupid?” Of course I did not think they were stupid, but finding the words to explain this review was a challenge, especially after being called out in this way in front of the whole class. Other students began to join him and the class period turned into an uncontrollable riot. It reminded me of Entertaining an Elephant by William McBride, and I figure tomorrow I will write an amazing quote on the board and have students discuss and reflect on the quote in their journals to give them a class day to focus on their own writing and ideas, rather than the grammar we were going to do…

“You attack the day or it attacks you,” -Ms. Groves

 

Survival: December 1, 2018

I need to make the final exams and books reports are going to be due on student Goodreads accounts next week. It is going to be a lot of grading before the winter break, but I am very anxious to see what some of my students will produce. There are some I know will not turn in a book review report on Goodreads, and that is a major assessment for the semester (students do a total of 4, 1 each month). Grading, grading, grading…

“Grade big things, not small things,” -Kayla Marley

 

Disillusionment (Winter Break): December 26-30, 2018

The results of the final exam for the semester were a bit disconcerting. I need to rethink my methods to get students engaged with the reading and show them why reading should matter to them personally…

I had  great Christmas with my husband and his family yesterday and I am taking a well-needed break. I get to read my own books, play some video games, and enjoy nice mid-day naps to avoid thinking about my classes for just a few days.

Over the break, I am wondering if I taught well enough, or if I am the one who set them up to fail. What can I do at the beginning of the second semester to get my students motivated?

“Did I set them up to fail?” -Ms. Groves

 

Rejuvenation: February 10, 2019

Over the break and as the second semester began, I reevaluated how I do things. I have students doing more work with graphic organizers in hand-on activities and more jigsaw groups. I also had students write in their journals the percentage grade they want to leave the semester with. Having students set goals had really gotten them determined about succeeding and achieving their own goals. I am also doing a lot more art activities with the students and having them build a poetic journey portfolio project involving poems that students research, write themselves, songs of their interest, and illustrations by the students. This is going to be a semester-long thing with an abundant amount of class time spent on it. So far, the kids love it! Valentine’s Day is coming up and students will be writing “kindness notes” to each other as assigned by numbers (kind of like a white elephant gift exchange, but instead of gifts it is positive, empowered comments to classmates). We have also started doing “celebrations,” where 3-5 students share something positive that happened the day before. We have begun to do this everyday. Unlike last semester, this semester we have really built up the classroom community from the get-go, and students are more open and willing to share than they were the previous semester.

“Build the family atmosphere in the classroom,” -Kayla Marley

 

Reflection: June 20, 2019

Looking back on the whole school year, I have taken away what activities work and do not work with the students. When technology is involved, students seem more interested in the content, such as doing their book reviews on Goodreads or posting their poems on a portfolio-style blog using WordPress. I have tested out Google forms with the students to get their own feedback and input on what they remember the most, what they enjoyed,. and what they did not enjoy as much. I found that a few students would rather have worked independently more often than in groups, so perhaps next school year I will give those students an option. I have also found that giving students multiple options for projects or essay prompts allows student to write about what they want to write about while still demonstrating the main learning goals being assessed. I will be sure to add at least 2-3 more options for all the projects and prompts I will be repeating next year.

“Make use of technology,” -Kayla Marley

 

Anticipation: August 20, 2019

I have already set up my classroom in a similar way, but this year I have all five teaching periods of English 9 CP! It is a good thing I found out what worked and what did not work with the students last school year, but this is a whole new batch of kids. While I may have finally found some decent engagement strategies for my students last year, the same strategies might not appeal to my group of students this year. We will for sure be doing the Goodreads book reviews and the poetry portfolios, since those are major assessments that the students tend to have fun with while demonstrating their knowledge and understanding toward the learning goals. I will ensure students in the classroom have a “family” atmosphere right from the star, as well as having them set their own academic goals so that they have something to look back on when they feel discouraged. Let the academic year for 2019-2020 begin!

“It starts all over again,” -Phases of First Year Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Teaching