Kamen Volume 1 by Gunya Mihara


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Kamen means Mask and in this story, its about an unknown man who woke up in a field with a mask stuck to his face. The mask herself (because somewhere in the chapters, he think its a woman’s voice) told him about how only he could unmask himself and by doing so, it will kill both of them. He let himself being captured along with the prisoner of wars by a travelling group of samurai. At the same time, the samurai army were lead by a noblewoman named Lord Simba who was at the brink of a war between clans.

For an indie manga, the artwork and editing does look professional and less doujinshi-like but one thing for certain, I really like the artwork. Although the mask reminded me of Bleach’s Ichigo Hollow mask and the entirety of the novel somewhat a derivative of other samurai/ronin stories but the manga was enjoyable. Unknown masked stranger coming to save the day with superior fighting skills and all mysterious and tense. I’ll look forward to the next volume to the series.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


Star Trek: Khan by Mike Johnson

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Don’t be cheated by the cover. Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t come up until much later through several volumes of this compilation of the new-ish non-TOS Star Trek canon detailing the past life of Khan Noonien Singh.

I don’t know about you, the Khan we all love was Mexican Khan. He is not Sikh and TOS just gloss it out way more offensive than JJ Abrams did. I don’t know about you, TOS series did use that evil foreigner villain trope and nope that isn’t a good attempt to diversify anything. What this graphic novels did was atleast trying to correct the gross appropriation of the character origins… and eventually explain why he look like Benedict Cumberbatch in the end.

I think the graphic novels did more justice to the movies than Enterprise post-“Into Darkness” graphic sequels. For all I know, “Into Darkness” should be renamed as “Star Trek Khan”. I don’t think there’s a direct impact from Spock’s meddling into the timeline as this origin story was several hundred years before the current canon, you could consider it as well the origin story of the original TOS Khan without the actual TOS Khan episodes.

Moreover, it did explain why Khan was genuinely and deeply angry at Marcus for doing whatever he was doing to him prior to “Into Darkness” events and connect the relationship between him and the rest of his original crew. Also it did explain the canon before the utopian civilization happen and how Khan was directly involved with the future.

If you are a Trekkie or just someone who want to learn more about the character or Cumberbitches, Star Trek : Khan was a good modern novelization of your favourite character if you don’t mind Cumberbatch being Khan since I do think he does a good job with it. I’m Asian, its an antagonist character historically played by non-Asian although the character was 100% Asian. Although now that the graphic novel solve the issue of how MexicanKhan become SikhKhan becoming KhanBatch, if JJ Abrams want to fix what Marcus did to Khan with a real older Sikh actor, I don’t mind Ajay Devgan being him.

This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Viscera: Epic Frail by Nathan Massengill

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This book is an epic failure for trying to portray any sort of female empowerment. Instead, it try to milk out those sentiments by producing this kind of garbage. It was a genuine short read with all sort of misogynistic and BDSM symbolism in black sharpies. There were parts where it was pretty structured, some in long words while the rest was just an artistic expression of someone’s “kaki ayam” scrawl. I have no better english word for that btw.

This novel have a good intention to portray all sorts of the wrong things like women who are deathly conformed into being sexualized creatures functioned only to get laid and procreate. And the main character uses all of this stigma to gain an upper hand to the guy who want to rape and intentionally impregnate her by being seductive at the face of her would-be rapists and sexually tantalizing in all her naked glory because she had this invisible shield that protect her from these would be attacks that the later part of the book was an epic violent altercation involving a speeding subway train, a sewer and a gigantic hammer.

Colour me not pleased. I’m not sure what the author use drug himself to think that this was in anyway educating about violence against women in graphic novel form. I could keep an open mind about the possibility of it but the end product was disappointing. I suppose there was a long lengthy explanation to all of these and symbolism including some fine lines and vague words in the dialogues but this is the part where the ‘show’ contradicted the ‘telling’ part in the most mind-boggling way. I appreciate black and white renderings like Sergio Toppi but there were a lot of potential to the art for this book but when you’re bombarded with all sorts of sexual objectification, female body exoticism and fleshing out the physical fragility of a woman in face of brute force she knowingly place herself into while maintaining a veil of control, it became a complete fluke. There wasn’t even a plot in it and neither was an ounce of realism as it is probably a legit sci-fi as they’re all aliens but apparently common sense and intelligence was lacking. But mistaking female empowerment by consensual sexual abuse and vigilantism? That was a very long shot in the spectrum of awareness in any sexual violence.

I got duped by the promise of a strong female character. Sure, she’s pretty invincible with her sharp nails, stiletto heels and anti-rape force field. But that was just a trope using comic book logic written by men who can’t understand how some grandmothers can be a real strong female character. When depth and intelligence became optional over superficial vague madness, landfill is the appropriate solution. As someone who had experiences with aggressive assault in sexual nature and also a supporter of female’s right, the book is disturbing but its more disturbing when it try to sell you that the idea of achieving sexual independence was to literally dangle yourself into a situation where you purposely became a bait for potential rapists. Whatever message it have or any subtle plot it might trying to portray, it was destructive that no matter how you play it out through these sort of limited perspectives and barren plots, you end up doing the same thing you’re trying to educate your readers against.

The ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.