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Ongoing Investigations: Case #139

September 23, 2011

I finished the last 4 episodes (9-12) of Sacred Seven today and I feel pretty good about the series. There are some series you watch that make you want to run out and tell everyone how wonderful they are. Then there are series that you enjoy and would recommend but are not that earth shattering. Sacred Seven is distinctly in that second category. But I had a fun time and that is always the most important thing for me. The fights were always vibrant, energetic, and well choreographed. We got a love story, a save my sister in a coma story, and a revenge turned to redemption story. We defeated a bad guy and there were some sad deaths but most everyone made it through. There was even a nice bit of falling action. In refection a bit of the mythology of the Sacred Seven world goes totally unexplained but it is mostly there to set up the story and the fights scenes. It is not like it leaves you with all these unanswered mysteries. It is just that it concentrates more on telling the current story than giving you all the mechanics of how the powers in this world work. With a 12 episode show that is probably for the best. I enjoyed my time with Alma and Ruri and would recommend the show to anyone who wants a bit of light self-contained fun that does not do anything original but does it in an entertaining fashion.

I read one of CMX’s last releases, Stolen Hearts vol. 2, which just made me miss them a lot and lament that this cute series will never be finished. Here we continue the story of Shinobu and Koguma as they further their relationship. Shinobu meets the rest of his family including three handsome brothers with less crazy hair. I really enjoyed her getting to know everyone more and there is a lot of humor thanks to it (the grandmother cracks me up!). I wasn’t crazy about the oldest brother crushing on her and messing with Koguma. But all is made well again when they go on a trip together and experience their first kiss. Stays fun and cute, plus it is nice to see a pair in a relationship.

To fill in some holes in Narutaki’s coverage of the new DC 52 line up I checked out Detective Comics # 1. This is easily recommended as it is pretty hard to mess up a solo Batman adventure especially if you have the Joker in it. The mood is that of  a dark and gritty Batman from the modern comics and not the Batman from Brave and the Bold. It is clearly shown by the fact that the Joker is murdering people and taking parts of their faces to create a flesh mask. So it is darker than Batman: The Animated Series. (Although Batman: The Animated Series was not always happy puppies and kittens. Just watch The Forgotten)  I am not sure if I am just completely desensitized but the end scene was not that shocking to me. I know that there was a bit of buzz on the Internet about the last panel. I am not saying it was boring. I was distinctly interested to see where the story was going with this development but I did not think it was anything that would upset me. Maybe Berserk has just made it so if you are not an evil blood soaked fetus baby born of demon rape I can’t get to crazy about things.  Still a good opening comic that is setting itself up for a macabre Batman story. I look forward to seeing how this version of Batman distinguishes itself from the rest of the Batman comics in the line.

Batman: The Long Halloween is one of those seminal stories featuring a serial killer who strikes on holidays stalking Gotham. And “Holiday” is picking off members of the crime families. It also has a ton of familiar faces including a fistful of iconic villains this sort of overwhelms things when reading it in one go. However, the murder mystery proper is a puzzler with a great ending. The art is by amazing Tim Sale who paints a perfect picture of Gotham. Long Halloween once again makes me think I only like Jeph Loeb when he writes Batman.

I also decided to check out Superboy #1 if for nothing else to contrast him to the character I have seen in the new Young Justice TV show. In both versions he is a clone of Superman made by a shady organization for less than noble reasons. But in Young Justice Superboy seems like an abandoned and angry young man. In this version he seems incredibly intelligent but almost autistic. I will go on the record to say I am not sure how close either of these two are to the comic version of Superboy before the reboot. Most of the comic seemed to be setting up Superboy’s situation and showing his very alien view of the world (as can be expected of a vat grown alien clone). Superboy is being sent out on his first real mission from the Shadowy agency to kill the Teen Titans so it is a good hook for the audience. I was totally unaware that Caitlin Fairchild and Rose Wilson were pre-established characters before the reboot but they come off as having some established relationship. Enough of a history that you are curious how they know each other but not in a way that makes you assume you have been left out of a previous conversation everyone else already had about them. Seems like a solid title if for nothing else how odd this version of Superboy is even if I like the Young Justice version of Superboy more.

Starting to catch up with Twin Spica and read vols. 7 and 8. Training at school is getting tougher, but it isn’t as much of the focus for these volumes with the exception of the prison escape exercise. Instead interpersonal relationships are at the forefront. We learn Marika’s true nature and we see her really start to break her shell in understand herself nicely. Kamogawa has a bittersweet (like the entire series isn’t?) arc in these books with missed opportunity. Most notable though is how much we learn about aloof Suzuki which rounds him out. Their junior year is about to begin by the end of volume 8 and with that comes the realization that each person is being pulled in different directions for their dreams cementing the coming of age feel for the series. This is also where Vertical starts to bundle tankubons happily so double the story!

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