The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Color Edition

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Rating: ★★★★★

If I could go back in time to when I was in elementary school, I would slap some sense into my younger self and tell him to read this book because it is absolutely hilarious, ridiculous, and it deals with a superhero nonetheless. Dav Pilkey is brilliant at crafting this book for kids of all ages and clever enough that it feels like you are reading a graphic novel instead of an actual book. I do not understand why this book is constantly being challenged or banned in public schools because the ridiculousness of it all is apparent enough for a child to understand that they shouldn’t cause havoc and disruption in school.

We are introduced to George Beard and Harold Hutchins who are best friends and the class clowns at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. In their spare time when they are not pulling practical jokes, George and Harold love creating comic books and one in particular called Captain Underpants is their all-time favorite superhero. When they finish writing a new issue, they sneak into the main office making photocopies of the comic and then sell it to their fellow peers for 50 cents. Their principal, Principal Krupp despises children, laughter, and most of all George and Harold with their stupid comic book and decides it is his life mission to put an end to these little twerps.

Principal Krupp succeeds in his pursuit when he caught on film the two tricksters pulling a practical stunt on the football team and uses the footage for blackmail against George and Harold. After a few days of performing chores for Krupp, George and Harold sees an ad in the paper for this special hypnotic ring and uses it to hypnotize Principal Krupp to retrieve the tape and make him forget about the whole dilemma. For the most part they accomplish that task but George and Harold tells Krupp to become Captain Underpants and he decides to leave school and pursue justice for all. Now George and Harold are following him, making sure he doesn’t get killed, and they want to avoid getting into anymore trouble.

The entire story is extremely whimsical and I love the illustrations. I believe having this book in color makes the whole experience captivating because I am not a big fan of illustrations in black and white. I can tolerate it when it comes to Mangas because I have no choice but when it deals with children books they have to be in color. The colors make the story pop out and dealing with Captain Underpants, it makes the adventure mind-blowing as he tries to save the day and the boys trying to save him from harm.

I believe this book is perfect for kids who do not like to read because it doesn’t feel like you are reading at all during the whole time. I tend to have a habit of counting how many pages I read regardless if I love or hate a book and with this children’s book I lost count of the time and when I looked down I was already 80 pages into the book so I can just imagine a kid picking up this book thinking it is a comic and wanting more adventures of George and Harold by the time its over.Do I want read more Captain Underpants after finishing this novel? HELL YES. Overall this series is fun and a quick refreshment after a long day or when I want to read a book that doesn’t require much just an open mind and a sense of humor.

Star Wars, Omnibus: Vol. 2

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Rating: ★★★★

This could have been a perfect 5 Stars graphic novel if it weren’t for one major f@*ked up moment that ruin it for me in terms of introducing characters and transition to the next major story arc. I will definitely get into details later in my review but I was furious after finishing this volume that I had to dock it a full star! This omnibus starts right after where Vader Down with our gang kidnapping Doctor Aphra. They make the connection that she is close to Vader and they believe that with enough pressure they can make her crack and spill the beans but Doctor Aphra is smarter and weighs her options when it comes to helping them or feel the wrath of Vader and possible death. Princess Leia puts her into a secret prison thinking that everything will be fine and dandy except a squad of what look like rogue storm troopers break in and seek control of the prison. The leader of the group somehow personally knows Princess Leia and wants to teach her a lesson on the tactics of war and what she must do in order for her to destroy the Empire. Since Doctor Aphra is technically a prisoner that means she is a target and together with Leia, they must work together in order to succeed and put an end to this terror.

What is interesting about that segment is even though the leader of this squads ideologies and methods are a bit horrific when it comes to the human rights department but in the end he is able to become tough, strong, and eliminate any room of error and even though I believe if Leia had followed this storm troopers beliefs, the Empire would still succeed at the end of the day leading up to Force Awakens but I believe Leia would still have a stronger foothold in the galaxy instead of being a fragment of who she used to be when we see her in Episode VII

The last half of the volume is chaos and nonsense spread around. It deals with stealing a Star Destroyer, helping some rebel allies who are suffering a planet blockade by the Imperials, and some familiar faces that are forgettable. It has only been a few days since I have finished this omnibus and yet it took me a moment to remember what was the ending of this volume. What ruin the flow of the whole story was the transition between what is considered Vol. 3 & Vol. 4 in the TPB edition. The 4th volume begins with a bunch of unrecognizable characters who would later become the villains of the story but for the longest time I had no clue who these people were and they are instantly thrown into a major gun fight and boom we meet Leia and the rest of the gang on a Star Destroyer.

I was a bit disappointed in Jason Aaron because for the first 20 issues of Star Wars have been perfect without any flaws and then this story felt like the creators had no clue what to do with the storyline and created this nonsense. I believe what comes next is a major Yoda story that takes place before Episode I which is exciting to hear because I worship Yoda and always want more information about this iconic character. I remember George Lucas mentioning that Yoda is essentially God and there is no backstory about him which I partially agree but in the end it would be cool to see him young, extremely powerful, and dealing with the Sith when he thought they were completely wiped out. Hopefully Jason Aaron seeks redemption and when the next Omnibus comes out he will get back to what makes this series spectacular.

Darth Vader, Omnibus: Vol. 2

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Rating: ★★★★★

Originally I was sad to say goodbye to this series but now that I have been able to distance myself I can understand why and I believe in the future there is major potential to create a show, film, or a book dealing with a whole other adventure with Vader as he progresses to the events of Episode V: Empire Strikes Back. This graphic novel begins with the first major Star Warscrossover called Vader Down One reason why I suggest that everyone should check out the Star Wars comic by Jason Aaron is if you do not read it then you will have no clue what the hell is going on and why Vader is destroying everything in his sight. From the aftermath of the first volume, Vader has made the connection that Luke Skywalker is his biological son and everything that the Emperor has told him is one big fat lie meaning the Emperor cannot be trusted (Gee what a shocker on that one! 😛 ). Vader in his anger state makes the connection if he is able to find Skywalker, he can train him to become his apprentice and together they can overthrow the Empire and destroy the rebels once and for all.

Doctor Aphra who has become his mini assistant finds the details of Skywalker’s location in Vrogas Vas. Unfortunately Vader finds out that yes the information is accurate but the planet is completely bombarded by rebels and quickly it becomes World War III up in here. Every rebel ship is off to races to destroy Vader but they haven’t made the connection that Vader and his use of the force makes him quite unbeatable until Luke comes into battle and crashes his ship with Vader. Both of them land on Vrogas Vas and now the pursuit is on for Vader and Luke. Luke came to Vrogas Vas because he found information about a Jedi Temple and he found it when he crashed landed into the planet but Kenobi through his ghost witchcraft told him its too soon to be here which makes no sense because if Luke cannot get the information he needs he is basically screwed since I have a hunch that Vader will destroy any last remnants of the Jedi Order.

Besides that ordeal the other plot sequence of the narrative deals with Vader and the Emperor’s apprentices. In the Sith Order, only two people (master and his apprentice) can gear control of the Sith. After his failure of the Death Star, Vader is the sole survivor of the incident and the Emperor wants him to sweat for wasting 20 years of building the Death Star only for it to crash and burn 3 seconds after completion. The Emperor has hired this scientist named Cylo who has created abominations of force users. By using robotics and other technological advances, he has created human cyborgs programmed to be the best lightsaber users but lacking the skills of the force. Vader is outraged by it all because they are no match for him and seeks every opportunity to kill each one separately.

Cylo believes he’s major hot sh@t and can manipulate both Vader and Palpatine but he makes the grand mistake of how powerful Vader truly is under that suit and it leads to a major war between the two which concludes the whole series. I do not want to give anymore information because it spoils the whole comic book experience and trust me I am only touching the tip of the surface. This omnibus is massive and by the time you reach the end it feels like I’ve just sat through 3 separate Star Wars films. The continuous motion of drama and war that engulfs this omnibus makes it incredible how all of this happened in a span of two years before Empire Strikes Back.

The illustrations are phenomenal and consistent throughout this epic saga and I have to congrats Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca, and Edgar Delgado for their contribution to this series and making it feel like I was watching a movie instead of reading a graphic novel. I believe throughout this series there was definitely room for improvement and parts that could have ended quickly or eliminated all together like Doctor Aphra. I have no issues of introducing a major new character who clearly is getting her own spin-off but for her to take away a good 40% of the drama made the flow of the story feel awkward at times. I kid you not there was certain moments where I thought to myself, is this a Vader comic or Doctor Aphra? Overall this is not the end for our characters because I have no double Vader will make another appearance in Star Wars and Doctor Aphra after the events that took place between these two lovable characters.

Darth Vader, Omnibus: Vol. 1

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Rating: ★★★★★

This is my first omnibus I have ever read and own in my life and it is hard to conceptualized two volumes worth of plot and dialogue to be contain in a single review so I will try my best to provide enough details to satisfy those who are curious about the Star Wars comics and the expanded universe. I am grateful that the day that I wanted to start on the Expanded Universe, Disney announced that everything that has been published up to now will no longer be canon. I have no doubts there are plenty of comics and novels that are phenomenal and I will definitely check it out but when it comes to the comics I believe it is necessary for a restart button.

Darth Vader has always been one of my favorite villains as a child because of the iconic voice, suit, and the sheer fact that there is a level of mystery to his character. If you are one of the few who live on a rock and have never seen the prequels, theres not much information about Vader except he used to be good, became evil, is Luke and Leia’s biological father, and seeks redemption in Return of the Jedi. And if you have seen the Prequels, Clone Wars, and Rebels, you learn about the man who became Darth Vader but I guarantee you there are plenty of questions that have left audience wondering who is Darth Vader and what are the conflicting thoughts that surface on a daily basis as he deals with the pain of the past and succumbing to the dark side. What I love about this series is it takes place between Episode IV & V and we learn the struggles that Vader faces with the destruction of the Death Star and how that effects his relationship with Palpatine.

Kieron Gillen was able to get into the mindset of the character because there are countless moments where the dialogue sucked me into the story and made it feel like I was watching a Darth Vader animated show and having James Earl Jones voice pumping in my ear in full blast instead of reading a graphic novel.

The general plot for this series is Darth Vader is trying to track down Luke Skywalker because he cannot conceive that a boy was able to destroy the Death Star and crippling the Empire. He knows the force is strong in Luke but he cannot place his finger as to why or how it is possible. Meanwhile he learns that Palpatine is doing some shady business and refuses to tell Vader about it so now he has to jump through hoops and ladders to make the secret connection without causing suspicion from the Emperor. I have always been curious about Vader’s relationship with Palpatine because if you really think about it Vader at his greatest could have killed Palpatine without batting an eye and yet he obeys and worships Palpatine as Master. If you really think about it, Vader is an excellent chess player calculating his opponents move and how to strike them at the proper time. By the end of this graphic novel series I have a certain feeling that Vader will be on the course of trying to overthrow his master with the help of his son which changes the tones of the films if you think about it.

In order for Vader to maintain his cover and his clandestine missions, he finds a girl called Doctor Aphra who is an archaeologist and techno wizard who is able to create droids and other mechanical objects into lethal weapons. At first she pledges allegiance to no one except those who are willing to commission her services but she is a fond admirer of Vader and feels a great honor to work under his wing. Somehow Aphra is able to connect with Vader and probably is the only woman who has spent countless hours in his presence in decades without getting killed after every mission she accomplishes for Vader.

The only downside about Aphra is the creators of this comic focused on her for 70% of time during the last half of the book. At a certain point I felt is this a Vader series or Doctor Aphra? Which I am not shocked at all now that she is getting her own comic book series! There is a revelation in the Star Wars comics about Aphra that could suggest that Vader may have picked up those undertones and learn that she would never stray from him.

This is my 3rd reading of this graphic novel series and it still holds up. I do not have patience for waiting on the next issue of a comic book so I would download all the comics that would be packaged in a TPB and then read it on my tablet but then I’ve learned that I forget all about the plot by the time the next issue comes out so I have learned that it is easier to wait for the Omnibus so that way all the intricate details can be gathered together in a concise manner and I can retain a better knowledge about what is happening in the Expanding Universe.

I cannot rave enough about this graphic novel series! I suggest if you fall in love with Vader you should check out Jason Aaron’s Star Wars series because they are connected in the same timeline and have a major crossover that is unforgettable called Vader Down. It is sad to see that Kieron Gillen ended Darth Vader after issue #25 but I believe it is better to end a series on a high note than drag out a certain storyline that leaves no room for growth later on in life.

One issue I believe these creators tackle on creatively is how do you write a comic series dealing with characters where the vast majority of the audience know the ultimate fate for the characters especially for Vader. Regardless of the situation that Vader is placed in, he will either escape or succeed because he does not die until Episode VI: Return of the Jedi so with that knowledge certain events can feel boring or dull and yet I am completely captivated by everything from the illustrations, coloring, to the plot and how Kieron Gillen is able to get into the mind of Vader.

Star Wars, Omnibus: Vol. 1

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Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve read this series multiple times and somehow I never can get enough of it. Between the illustrations, storyline, and how Jason Aaron is able to get the accurate depictions of our classic rebels is remarkable and enjoyable. Whenever I am reading the scenes between Han Solo and Princess Leia it feels like I am watching Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher on screen and the annoying voice of Luke in the background. By far this is my favorite Star Wars comic series out of the entire franchise in terms of storyline and the behind-the-scenes revelations about our beloved characters. Star Wars takes place between Episode IV: A New Hope & Episode V: Empire Strikes Back.

The rebel alliance is celebrating their victory over destroying the Death Star but that cause of celebration is put on hold as the rebels are trying to secure a new secret rebel base to avoid detection from the Empire and to strengthen their cause. Luke, Leia, Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 are tackling on a new mission into a weapons factory on Cymoon 1. The task is to destroy the factory and everything goes according to plan until Vader shows up and wreaks havoc. Luckily for our main characters, they succeed in destroying the factory and staying alive.

Sadly for Luke dealing with Vader again triggered his anger of seeing Obi-Wan Kenobi getting “killed” and wants to seek revenge. Luke is lost in terms of dealing with his destiny because technically he is not a Jedi because he lacks the proper training and yet he is the hero that everyone looks up to and has to carry the torch of the rebellion on his shoulders so the pressure of having people sacrifice their life for him makes it a bit unbearable for him now that he does not have his master to train him. Luke temporary discharges himself from his solo missions and decides to tap into the force and see where it guides him.

What I love about this series is we get a bit of insight into Kenobi and Luke during his years in Tatooine. Luke finds Kenobi’s diary and gets to read tales of how Kenobi had to learn how to protect Luke from evil forces and yet act clever about not revealing to the world that he is a Jedi. No lightsaber, no communication of the outside world, and practically eat sand all day. It must have been difficult dealing with the guilt and pain of losing Anakin and having to place all his faith in Luke for the hope that one day he can eliminate the Empire once and for all.

Another major moment that Disney showcased a major divide from George Lucas theories is the lightsaber. When the original Star Wars came out, Lucas hadn’t fully conceived the idea of who can possess the lightsaber and later on decided that only force wielders could hold one. If a human or non-force wielder got hold of one it either wouldn’t work or potentially kill them. So it was weird for a moment to see characters like Han Solo and Chewbacca holding a lightsaber like a piece of cake and kind of giving the middle finger to George Lucas. Plus the whole last half of the volume felt like we were back in Episode II: Attack of the Clones which is my least favorite Star Wars film. I’m glad they didn’t follow the same formula but its still too soon for me to see that awful film again.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

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Rating: ★★★

When I originally read this children’s book, I wanted to make this an extravagant post about the former President during this chaotic transition of power and how I will deeply miss him and how he brought honor and respect to the role of President even though a good percentage of the country wanted to see him burn at the stake or worst. But as time has gone by and the laziness that has kicked in because of school I’ve decided to simply stick to the book and not the author. I was disappointed with this children’s book for the simple fact that it is misleading and does not feel like the author actually wrote it or rather gave the idea but did not execute it well. Of Thee I Sing is a book that Barack Obama wrote in dedication to his daughters and teaching them about women empowerment and how these countless icons have helped paved the way for women especially women of color and how the roadblocks that were presented in their life did not stop them from pursuing their true potential as human beings.

Obviously I am an adult so I knew plenty of details of the women that the author illustrated for this book but if I were a kid I still would not have a clue about half of these women and why are they so significant in the 21st century. I could be completely wrong but I did not feel the passion of how this book was put together and I do believe it is important for kids to read it because there is tons of individuals from all walks of life who has changed the world in one shape or form and do not get the recognition because people want to erase them from history or they do not want these individuals planting the necessary seeds in our subconscious to let us know that we can accomplish anything if we set our minds to it regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.

I wish I could have given it 5 stars especially since I miss Barack Obama and despise how our current leader has brought nothing but disrespect to the Oval, to its constituents, and our country across the globe. I try to stay away from being political on my reading blog because I believe this site is the ideal place where we can share ideas and not judge those who may have contrasting ideas so I will end my review here for now.

March: Book Two

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Rating: ★★★★★

In the previous volume we got a small glimpse of America in the 1950s through early 1960s. We get major insight into John Lewis upbringing and his journey towards working with Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement. For the most part the first volume was an introduction and setting up the groundwork for this graphic novel. We as the readers get to see the sad reality of how our country was reacting towards these nonviolent protests. African-Americans were brilliant during these protests as they learned how to accept the reactions of others and yet not back down in the face of adversity. These nonviolence protest were effective in the sense of bringing attention to the millions of Americans who were in denial that segregation exist or rather choose to be in denial that racism exist in modern society. When people start to act like animals it becomes easier in our choices to fight back without reason.

Now that African-Americans around the south began this movement, it became a struggle for white supremacist to deal with this outbreak of resilience. Protestors are not fighting with their hands instead with their brains and it allowed the dialogue to change and showcase that the white supremacists are the true ruthless animals that are causing havoc. Segregation and racism was buried deep in our society and now thanks to Dr. King efforts it was bringing the darkness towards the light.

Change is a difficult process to accept and imagining that its possible for black people to be accepted as equals in their society makes it confusing, chaotic, and frightening for those who are not ready for change or has the misconception that segregation is the true way for our society to strive and survive.

John Lewis does not hold back to the atrocities that were committed by the police and civilians towards black people during the movement and it breaks my heart to witness how countless people were either murdered, and beaten to the point where their face was unrecognizable. The intention was to break peoples souls because if they feel pain then they will realize what are people capable of in terms of remaining segregated.

The courageous part that I noticed throughout this volume that we as Americans are lacking is not giving up in your beliefs and principals. There are moments that keep surfacing for John Lewis and Dr. King in the sense of quitting and yet they realized if they surrendered towards bigotry then that means they will never be free. I don’t know how long this has been happening in the 21st century but lately whenever people get outraged about something they use Facebook and other social media outlets to explain their outrage and then 5 mins later they move on towards something else and believe that will cause effective change.

People don’t know how to protest anymore or rather too afraid to stand up towards their belief and be willing to sacrifice themselves in order to tackle the awful dilemmas at hand. Just looking at the results of this election and the outrage reaction is a huge indicator that people need to learn how to effectively protest and not let anyone in power manipulate and abused us. The Civil Rights movement happen over 50 years ago and yet it struck a cord that is still relevant today and it has shown me that while we as Americans have overcome a lot we still have room for improvement and having our new President isn’t a big enough sign then I don’t know what is…

There are not enough words to describe the brilliance of this graphic novel series and I hope everyone grabs a copy and reads it. Educate yourself and know about your country’s history or we are doomed to repeat it. John Lewis graphic novel is my beacon of hope right now in January 2017.