Monday, November 30, 2015

Star Wars, Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon by Jason Aaron

Rating: ★ 

Disclaimer: I read the individual comics.

When I first read the Star Wars comics I was excited because it was the first time that I invested my time towards a particular franchise now that we have the new canon and for the most part it was a great series. I would say awesome but after reading this volume it raised the stakes higher and I believe it was the perfect set up for Vader Down crossover that I couldn't believe this was epic compare to Vader. Even though my online sources tells me that Issue #7 belongs to Vol. 1 supposedly they put it with Vol. 2 which makes it a wonderful grand introduction.

I love Obi-Wan Kenobi both the prequel and original trilogy versions and I believe issue #7 bring the gap between both worlds. Kenobi kept a journal about his life post Revenge of the Sith and left for Luke to read and discover about the Jedi Force and how to connect with it and Luke finally finds it in Ben's abandoned home in Tatooine. Luke has a fight scene with Boba Fett and was able to escape to safety and while he recuperates he reads this journal. We learn that it is very difficult for Kenobi to live in Tatooine because he was a Jedi Knight traveling to different galaxies bringing peace to the world.

Now Kenobi is in hiding unable to use the Force to avoid detection and to protect to Luke from being discovered. After all these wonderful missions and the sad ending of his friendship to Anakin how does he survive in the world full of misery with the Empire in control? I love this idea and concept and I hope they bring more Kenobi adventures in the future.

Luke Skywalker is trying to find himself because he is not a Jedi and the last Jedi to train him is now dead and while everyone needs him like Princess Leia and the rebels, he needs to take time off for himself and follow his destiny to be a Jedi. He remembers that there was a Jedi Temple in Coruscant and he wants to check out without being detected so he travels to Nar Shaddaa to seek travel to Coruscant.

Nar Shaddaa is a planet full of criminals, smuggler's, and everything corrupted in Hutt's space and sure enough Luke gets himself into trouble. He meets Grakkus Hutt who is a huge collector of Jedi antiques. Grakkus makes the connection that Luke is connected to the force and makes him use the force to open Holocrons that contain important Jedi information.

Now that Grakkus has Luke in custody, Grakkus makes him into a slave who have duel to the death which would be a huge sellout since he is technically the last Jedi left in this galaxy. While in training, he meets this slave who trains Luke to be a better fighter and we get to see this interesting bond because we haven't anyone in the original trilogy except Kenobi and Luke who can wield a lightsaber. 

While all that drama is going on, we meet back with Han Solo who apparently his wife Sana is tracking him and Leia is upset because if he has a wife then he must be playing with her feelings and he doesn't love her. They try to escape from an Empire Fleet thanks to Sana and gets information from R2-D2 about Luke and they head off to rescue him. I highly recommend this comic because there is a part in this volume that lives up to my dreams especially dealing with a particular someone holding a particular weapon. I have waited forever to finally witness this scene and I am glad that they finally included it in this comic because I was losing my patience about it.

The old canon aka Legends screwed me over when it comes to Lightsabers because I remember they did this whole thing that regular humans couldn't hold a lightsaber because if you are not force sensitive then when the lightsaber turns on it becomes dangerous and can kill you. I remember how George Lucas and countless others tried to make this point. Then I watch Clone Wars animated show and I've seen countless villains and humans who clearly are not force sensitive easily turn on a lightsaber and use it without any problems. Then in this volume there are many individuals that we get to see holding a lightsaber and I feel like that isn't true to the story or rather believable that they can wield a lightsaber.

In the end I love every aspect of this story from the illustrations to the plot and I cannot get enough of Star Wars. This volume enabled me to be distracted and forget about Force Awakens and simply enjoy Star Wars. I am enthusiastic and fully prepare to begin the next volume with Vader Down.

Star Wars, Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron


May the Force be with You 

I believe this review must be epic to apologize for my lack of reading in these past few months.This GIF pretty sums up my feelings towards this new Star Wars comic series and Star Wars VII: Force Awakens. Whenever I get to watch the films, watch the television show, or read the books and comics, I get to feel like the little four year old I was when I saw Phantom Menace. Purely magical. That is an experience one does not forget for the rest of one's lifetime and I always try to reach the inner child of myself when it comes to fantasy worlds whether it be Harry Potter or Star Wars

When it comes to Marvel's 1st Star Wars comic, it deals with our iconic characters on a mission to destroy the largest weapons factory in the galaxy located in Cymoon 1 on the Corellian Industrial Center. The storyline takes place a few months after A New Hope and way before Empire Strikes Back . In order to destroy the factory, Han Solo disguises himself as a messenger for Jabba the Hutt to negotiate with Overseer and infiltrate the complex. Luke and Leia are disguised as bodyguards while Chewie stands as sniper, and C-3PO is hiding with the Millennium Falcon to not raise any suspicion. 

At first everything is going according to plan and they are able to begin the factory meltdown but are unaware that a surprise lurks in their mist. They thought that the Empire sent normal imperial troops to be the negotiator but in actuality it is Darth Vader who comes and rain on their parade. Believing that the rebel alliance would try to destroy the factory, he brought his reinforces to capture and kill these rebels. For believing it was going to be simple plan now the gang has to deal with all this drama which looks gloomier as every escape plan is detoured by the imperials.

I cannot write anymore because if I do then I will spoiler this first volume for those who are waiting for the traded paperback. I am fortunate enough to own the individual comics because I do not have the patience to wait for months on end to figure out what is happening in the Star Wars universe. But all I got to say is that there are a few surprises that come to mind with these iconic and lovable characters like Han Solo. What I love about this series is that they stay true to the characters and the writers perform an amazing job at transferring our characters from the films to paper. As I was reading this comic, I could not help myself having the characters voices in my head and for a moment it felt like I was watching Star Wars 4.5 then reading a comic book!

The illustrations were on point and the illustrators made it a point to get crucial detail towards making the characters look life-like and having the different battle scenes look creative and mind blowing. The ending on the final volume made my mouth drop in shock. Right after I finished reading this volume, my cravings for Star Wars has multiplied and I am trying to consume all that is available for me because I am at the edge of my seat trying to figure out what Star Wars 7 is about and there are endless possibilities of what it will be and whether it will live up to the fans expectations.

I find it difficult for these writers to create a fascinating story where we already know what happens to the characters but they perform above and beyond to cater to the die-hard fans, and to the beginners who are just getting to know the Star Wars universe. Even though I know these characters are going to survive, I was still swept away from the story and I believe that is the best form of storytelling where you capture your audience on the first page. For those who are wondering whether to read it or not, I highly recommend it not only for the plot but there are tons of details that was never able to be put into the movies and now we get the chance to learn more about Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and more. We get to understand why the characters behave the way they do and especially how Darth Vader figure out Luke Skywalker's name.

I hope everyone will enjoy these brand new series as much as I do!

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets by Kieron Gillen


Disclaimer: I read the individual comics. 

When it comes to Star Wars comics, I believe Vader is by far one of the best that Marvel has produced and while it maintain a level of authenticity and kept my captivation I felt like this volume showcased a wimpy version of this mysterious and evil Vader that we have come to love and appreciate. With the events of the previous volume, we learn that Vader knows that Luke Skywalker is the one who destroyed the Death Star and is his biological son. He had already known from his encounter with Luke in the Star Wars comics but the wonderful Boba Fett confirmed it.

With this huge information Vader has learned that the Emperor lied to him when he told Vader that Padme had died and so was his unborn children which begins the process of how to destroy the Emperor and Vader needs Luke to come to the Dark side in order to succeed his wish of ruling the Galactic Empire. With that ending we get the introduction into this new volume with Vader making a visit to Tatooine to learn more about Luke and Obi-Wan.

What I loved about this part is in a way Vader is retracing his steps of the past with his relations to Tatooine and he learns a lot about Luke with his lack of Jedi training, his anger to the Empire, and practically Vader killed Luke's aunt and uncle. If it weren't for that mistake Luke would have never left home and seek revenge especially after Obi-Wan Kenobi death. Revenge is one hell of a motivator and Vader couldn't agree more.

Vader's crew which consist of Aphra, 0-0-0, and BT-1 are still doing top secret missions for their master and I love the relationship between Vader and his crew particularly with Aphra. I have feeling in the end she is going to be killed by Vader in order to keep Vader's plan a secret. What I love about her character is because she worships Vader and praises him we see that she is practically the first female to be in his constant presence after Padme and we may see his vulnerability the longer she remains by his side.

Since Vader is working with the Hutts and doing illegal missions that the Empire doesn't know it comes to bite him in the ass with Tagge assigning a new lieutenant to monitor Vader's activities, and with the discovery of this abomination crew of robots who yield lightsabers they are hired to attend to missions of these illegal activities that are happening in Outer Rim.

Pretty much with these descriptions the whole volume becomes this whole circus chase of the Empire trying to find Aphra and her crew while Vader has to carefully maneuver everything in order not to get caught and be successful with his secret plans. By having this drama it portrayed Vader being anxious and to me personally Vader should never be anxious especially over pity drama like in this volume. I can understand being anxious over Luke being strong with the Force or Palpatine grooming someone who can replace Vader but not about illegal activities in order to fund his operations.

In the end I know that this is all gearing up to the epic Vader Down crossover and I am excited for all that jazz. I believe this still gets all the stars for the illustrations, the storytelling, and we get prequel reference in the volume which was wonderful and refreshing to remind many people that the prequels did exist and has an influence to everything of Star Wars.

Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol. 1: Vader by Kieron Gillen

Rating: ★ 

**I highly suggest anyone who is interested in reading this series should read the Star Wars comic alongside Darth Vader.**

Darth Vader takes place immediately after the events of Cymoon 1 in the Star Wars comics and we get to see that Darth Vader is pretty much furious after the events of the Death Star and letting the rebels get away in Cymoon 1. The Emperor He is off to Tatooine to meet with Jabba the Hut to make negotiations on behalf of the Emperor meanwhile Darth Vader meets with Boba Fett and Black Krrsantan to seek out information to locate the rebel who destroyed the Death Star and a mysterious agent working for Emperor Palpatine.

In a flashback, Darth Vader meets up with Palpatine and they immediately discuss Vader's failure at capturing the rebels after Cymoon 1 and continues to bicker how reckless Darth Vader has become and a major disappointment for him. The Emperor decides to put Tagge in charge and Darth Vader in 2nd command. For Vader that seems ridiculous and clearly the Emperor thinks of him like a tool rather than a force to be reckoned with plus at the end of the meeting, a mysterious man shows up to discuss secrets plans that Palpatine is hiding from Vader.

Along the way we are introduced to new characters like Aphra who is someone who raids and steals parts to create droids and other favors, 0-0-0 and BT who are essentially C-3P0 and R2-D2 except they love to torture and kill anything. Aphra becomes an employee for Vader when he sees the potential to create his own army and minions to help him and uses her resources to his advantage. Plus what is interesting is we get to meet someone who doesn't work for the Imperials and yet Aphra admonish and worship Lord Vader. Once Black Krrsantan comes back with the agent, we find out that he has an isolated hideout where he has potential successors who are going to replace Vader and he immediately sets course to discover this hideout and learn the truth about the Emperors deceitful actions. 

At the hideout, the major discovery we find out is that this agent of the Emperor has started creating mechanical advance humans and creatures to wield lightsabers and became the next major change in the universe. Darth Vader is appalled and believes it is an abomination this creation and tainted what is it to use the force. Another surprise that we find out is these soldiers have been in training for about 20 years which reveals to Vader that ever since Mustafar, Palpatine has begun finding successors to defeat Vader and at that moment Vader secretly begins his plana to kill the Emperor and rule the Galactic Empire.

I know that there is a universal understanding between the fans and the people who have seen Star Wars that Palpatine and Darth Vader do not get along especially towards the end of the series. Even though Darth Vader obeys his leader it doesn't mean that he is betraying him at the same time and finding his own secret motives. But I believe we never get the reason why they feel that way except the fact that there is a power struggle between the Sith Lord and his apprentice. What is great about this comic is we finally see the climax that started the downfall relationship between the Emperor and Vader which is perfect in terms of showcasing that Palpatine's nature has always been secretive, vindictive, and does not care for anyone except for himself. I never understood how Anakin fell for his tricks because I never liked him to begin with and multiple times he has shown his true colors that he is a weak character who uses others for his own gain.

The illustrations were phenomenal and I love how they portrayed Darth Vader as dark and mysterious like in the original trilogy and in this series you never know what is going to happen with Vader and his secret missions. I recommend people to read the Star Wars comics because all the missions that Vader or Boba Fett are doing shows up in the Star Wars comics. What I really enjoyed in the final few pages goes into more detail that in Star Wars is when Vader discovers Luke Skywalker's name and it brings flashbacks of Padme which after 20 years, he still feels angry and heartbroken about her death and finally makes the connection that Luke is his son. Now that he knows this fact, he believes that bringing his son to the dark side then he can defeat the Emperor and control the world. 

I absolutely have no clue where this series is going but I am definitely onboard towards finding out more. I love Darth Vader and through this series I believe we get to see different personalities of his character whether good or evil. There is not much action in this first volume but I definitely believe by the next volume, we will have plenty to talk about and be fascinated about this series.

Star Wars: Lando by Charles Soule

Rating: ★ 1/2

Disclaimer: I read the individual comics. 

I fall into this category where everything that I read in regard to Star Wars has to deal with The Force Awakens. If I stumble upon something that has nothing to do with the new movie I've notice that I'm disappointed and not focus. I blame the mass marketing behind the new movie and promoting everything too early and now that the film is going to premiere in less than 30 days I am going insane. If I had this comic after Episode VII I would have believe this would get all the stars.

When it comes to Lando Calrissian I am not a big fan because I don't know much about his character, I felt like they just randomly threw in a black guy into a movie without proper introductions and called it a day. So when I heard that they were making a miniseries I was apprehensive reading it.

I will admit that this comic didn't provide much coverage about who is Lando Calrissian and it felt more like an 30 minute episode of Rebels. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone at the current moment but if you love Lando and want something short then gladly pick it up and read. This story takes place before Empire Strikes Back and Lando as a smuggler is trying to pay his debts. He thought by capturing this artifact would solve his problems but he has one final mission before he can run debt free.

His mission is to steal this ship and after completing the task he can sell whatever artifacts inside the ship. This mission sounds too good to be true and sure enough you discover that this special ship belongs to Emperor Palpatine and all hell will break loose. I love the illustrations and the colors that were used in this comic and for once it got my mind off from Force Awakens but overall I was a tad bit disappointed that there weren't any character develop and left us more questions about these people who Lando encounters in this comic who he's known for years but don't explain how they met. 

I believe this comic should have been a series of like 3 volumes and provide tons of details that we don't get answered from the Original Trilogy. I was debating about giving it 4 stars but I believe Lando is a far better comic than Leia so I give the rating of 4.5 stars.

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt


After reading the first book it which I absolutely loved it made me cautious to read the sequel because will it live up to my expectations and will it maintain the uniqueness that makes it special? While it is a completely different book I still love and enjoyed the story and believe it is worth the read!

After we reached a happily ever after with the crayons and Duncan, you might think what now? Did Duncan screw up and abuse the crayons again? The answer is yes and no. The crayons we met in the first book is fine but apparently Duncan has ignored the lesser known or used crayons.

One day he receives a bunch of letters again and discover that some of the crayons he's barely used in years have come to the surface and either A.) Want to leave him or B.) Wants him to take better care of these crayons. I believe since we've already been introduced to this classic story, it doesn't feel as special and captivating since this book is following the same formula as the first one. 

But I will admit that the ending is completely different from what you might expect and it goes to show you that the author doesn't want this book to be predictable and while it may be similar to the first one it is still original and will still captivate Children's and Adults.

The illustrations are marvelous as always and I hope they make a third book because I cannot get enough of the crayons and the humor of this series. Originally I was going to pick the new Dr. Seuss book for Best Picture Book for Goodreads Awards and because this was such a cute and funny story I voted for this book instead.

Would I recommend this book to you? My answer would be yes if you want more stories about these crayons. I applaud the author and illustrator for this fantastic book and I cannot wait to see more Crayon action!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

"Miss Nelson Has a Field Day" (Miss Nelson #3) by Harry Allard

Rating: ★ 

After the horrendous making of Miss Nelson Is Back I was apprehensive about whether I would love and enjoy this book. This book was written years after the first book was published and I believe because Miss Nelson is Missing! is iconic now that the pressure to write this book was less intense compare to the sequel. I believe the author went back to his roots and played a beautiful tribute to this children series. I absolutely loved the twist at the end of the book.

Time has passed since Miss Nelson has been a teacher and for once they actually named the school that she teaches which was a total surprise for me! She is loving the students and everything about school but unfortunately everyone around her is all depressed. Miss Nelson finds out that their football team has lost every single game and that there is no hope of ever winning one especially now that this famous Thanksgiving game is approaching. 

The coach has been trying to train them but all the players act like a bunch of monkeys and fool around. So Miss Nelson takes a chance to improve the team by becoming Miss Viola Swamp. She kicks butt and makes them wish that the coach could come back and train them especially her. People are starting to take notice that Viola Swamp could be Miss Nelson but she was 2 steps ahead of everyone and brought her twin sister to appear at the same time so it can confirm that they are two separate people

Overall I can say that I really enjoyed this series even though it is not one of my top favorite children's classics. I highly suggest if you loved the first book then to check this one out because it is definitely better than the sequel!

"Miss Nelson Is Back" (Miss Nelson #2) by Harry Allard

Rating: ★ 1/2

After reading Miss Nelson is Missing! I was extremely excited to get back into this classic children's story and I found it rather disappointing! I didn't hate the story but I felt meh during the entire time and the story was extremely short without much action compare to the original. Whenever books are meh to me it is very hard to rate it because it is definitely not 5 stars material and yet 3 stars to me means the book was whatever, boring, and leaning toward dislike. 

Miss Nelson in this story is going to get her tonsils out so she will be out for the week. You may think that this the same kids in the first book but based on the narration it is actually a year later because while the kids are having a conversation about the havoc they will create while Miss Nelson is gone, the older kids tell them that beware of Miss Viola Swamp because she is a witch and a horrific substitute teacher who will rain on their parade.

The kids are scared now for Miss Swamp but luckily come Monday, they find out that it is the principal who is in charge of the classroom. Immediately he is a pushover and easily to manipulate and some of the students decide to wear a mask and personate Miss Nelson so that way they can skip school and surprisingly they are successful. Unfortunately for them Miss Nelson saw them walking near her house and she decides to put fear into this children.

The next day Miss Viola Swamp walks in and scares the living daylights out of the kids. They regret their actions and she told them that she knows that disguise them as Miss Nelson and force them to never ever do that because Miss Viola Swamp has eyes everywhere.

The illustrations were exactly the same which wasn't a problem but I thought they were going to bring some characters back to solve who is Miss Viola Swamp and what happens when Miss Nelson disappear which didn't happen in the end. The dialogue was too predictable and even if I were a child I would have disliked it because I didn't feel the fun and passionate side towards the making of this book. I felt like they wrote this classic in order for the authors to make extra cash on being a bestseller.

For the most part I would say that pretend that this book never existed because the final book went back to the root of the story and provided the reasons why countless children and adults love Miss Nelson and Miss Viola Swamp.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Miss Nelson is Missing!" (Miss Nelson #1) by Harry Allard

 Rating: ★ 

I remember when I was a little kid I had a teacher who should us this book and I do not remember what grade this was or if she read us the story or not. Anyway I am on this mission to discover classic children's books to read and fall in love with and for this one I found it adorable and smart. I guarantee you if I was a little kid I wouldn't make the connection till the end but since I am an adult it is quite clear where Miss Nelson went missing. 

I believe teachers should read this book because I will be the first to admit that students can be absolutely cruel to their teacher regardless what age. I was in private school before the 2nd grade and I remember everyone in my grade knew how to behave without any demonstration. The moment I transfer to public school, the students were horrible. They would talk back to the teacher, make loud unnecessary noises, bully other kids, and speak foul language. I remember in my mind going what is this chaos and how do these kids behave with their parents because I guarantee you that my mother would have smacked me if I did half of what these kids were doing in public.

Having all these drama fits into this book and takes me back to memory lane. The kids are misbehaving in Miss Nelson's class and they disrespect her so one day she goes missing and her replacement is Miss Viola Swamp. Miss Nelson is a beautiful person with a similar resemblance to Glinda the Good Witch and Miss Swamp is the total opposite looking like a wicked witch. She is strict with these kids and she makes their life miserable the same way they treat Miss Nelson.

The kids are clearly desperate and want Miss Nelson back in their life so they act like detectives and hoping to find her without any luck. Luckily one day Miss Nelson walks into class and the students are ecstatic to see her again and behave the best students they can be which is great for her and looking back now, Miss Viola Swamp look awfully familiar to Miss Nelson.

This is a classic children's book which I believe every kid should read because its cute, short, and full of lessons that you should respect your teachers and elders. I didn't know there are sequels to the Miss Nelson is Missing book and I am excited to read them all to learn more of Miss Nelson's students and the return of Miss Viola Swamp.

The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure by Jason Fry



After reading Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure my enthusiasm for Star Wars increased and made me enjoy this new series of EU Books. I really enjoy this book but I am afraid that Han Solo raised the bar in terms of storytelling and action compare to this book. I will admit that for including R2-D2 and C-3PO into this story it felt like I was watching an episode of Star Wars.

Since this book is part of Journey to the Force Awakens series, we get a bit of insight into the world of post-Return of the Jedi while at the same time read new adventures of our beloved characters. This is written for children especially middle grade but I will be the first one to defend this book and highly recommend those who want to read new stuff about these iconic characters. The writing is natural and organic and it doesn't feel forced which is highly important when dealing with Star Wars.

Future: It takes places 30 years after Return of the Jedi or the same time frame as The Force Awakens.

Present: Jessika Pava is performing regular maintenance check up with astromechs droids and meets C-3PO who mysterious has a red robotic arm and seeks friendly conversation with Jessika.

Past: For almost the entirety of this book deals with Luke Skywalker on a mission after the events of A New Hope.

With all the new footage and photos of the Force Awakens, everyone is questioning where is Luke and why Luke isn't featured in any of the advertisements? (AND NO LUKE IS NOT FU#$@$@#NG KYLO REN!) Well for this book it is clear that Luke is in hiding and is not featured in the future part of this story. We are introduced to a new character named Jessika Pava who is a fighter pilot and she is practically doing chores while waiting around for a new mission. Her chore is to check up on the astromech droids and make sure they are clean and have all the important information that is needed for the upcoming adventures. 

While Jessika is cleaning one astromech droid, she has an encounter with C-3PO who is looking for friendly chatter. While C-3PO talking to Jessika, he nonchalantly mentions his Master Luke. Jessika has a panic attack and makes the connection that C-3PO & R2-D2 are Luke Skywalker's droids. She immediately wants to know more about their adventures and ask C-3PO to tell her a story that no one knows which he gladly provides.

We are then shifted back into the past after A New Hope with Luke on a dangerous mission on the planet Giju. Since he and Wedge are the only pilots who survived the Battle of Yavin they are reinstated to continue with Red Squadron. As Luke and Wedge are trying to destroy tie fighters, Luke gets this weird vibe from the force giving him a message that he can't decipher. When they finally succeed in their mission they head back to a rebel station, and he meditates with the Force and gets a message from Uncle Ben and a vision of a mysterious planet and how he needs to go where the Force is calling him.

Mon Mothma has a new mission for Luke which he is reluctant to accept but for the Rebel Alliance he cannot argue and accepts the journey. His mission requires R2-D2 and C-3PO to tag along and right from the beginning Luke disobeys the mission to follow the force that leads him to this new planet. Along the way he encounters Imperials and almost gets his ship destroyed. He makes the decision to visit this mysterious planet in order to recuperate and figure out why the Force is calling him to it.

When he arrives to this new planet, Luke finds out that there is a Jedi temple that has been abandoned and prohibited to enter and he wants break in to discover what is inside the temple and if he can improve as a Jedi in training. It is clear that he has the lack of training to use a lightsaber in combat and is conflicted between following his father path and accomplishing it now that Ben Kenobi is dead and the last available Jedi to train him. To get into this temple, Luke needs a guide and hires an alien called Sarco Plank who is mysterious and deceitful especially how all his clients mysteriously disappeared.

This is just a snippet of the book and for the most part I really enjoy the story and how we see Luke Skywalker grow as a Jedi. I never made the connection until now but it makes you wonder how Luke master the force in Empire Strikes Back before the help of Yoda and without anyone to help him train. I know for a fact that you can't just magically train without any experts and clearly Luke has major training to do in order to be the badass that he becomes in the trilogy. With this marvelous book we see Luke really connect to the Force and learn how to be one with it and how marvelous the world was with the Jedi helping the galaxy.

Luke Skywalker is not my favorite character because he is naive in the beginning and I love to see myself relatable in a character and I don't see myself in anyone except for Anakin Skywalker where I can relate to until Revenge of the Sith where he is a completely different and not recognizable person. The major issue I had is this book is only about Luke. 

What I mean is with the Smuggler's Run, it dealt with Han, Chewbacca, and we got major insight into the bad guys. We got to see different point of views and see the drama raveling which left me at the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next whereas I did enjoy all the training and fighting that Luke encounters, we really don't get to see the bad guys point of view and it felt random when the bad guys arrive and try to take down Luke. I felt like they added that sequence because without it then it wouldn't be consider a Star Wars book and we don't get any names of any Imperial officials. I felt as though for the Villains it was really disconnected and I did not like that. I know this book was dedicate for Luke to connect to the Force but I would have loved more danger into the story.

Overall I believe this is a great book and I hope they write a sequel that provides the details of what happens after the events of Luke and this temple. The author was smart with leaving us with loose ties because then we get to look forward for more adventures and more personal stories of Luke Skywalker and those who he encounters in this huge galaxy. For children who have started watching Star Wars this would be a great read for them and to enjoy more the Star Wars Expanded Universe. 

More Star Wars adventures will be coming your way and I hope my love of Star Wars will inspire those to see the new film and read more about the Expanded Universe. Stay tuned for more and may the force be with you.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt


This book is absolutely hilarious and unique! I would never think in my years of living that you could write a creative and funny story about Crayons for Children especially since children destroy crayons by the millions. I have to applaud the author and the illustrations because it was spectacular and I desperately want more! I believe this book is perfect for children and adults which is perfect because I believe Adults should able to learn and be reminded of lessons that we have tried to forget or ignore.

This book deals with a boy named Duncan who clearly abuses his crayons like every other child on this planet. When he opens his crayon box he discovers letters written to him and its by different color crayons. My favorite is Red because if I were Duncan I would get the same letter explaining that I use him the most since he is one of my favorite colors and is a color that is overused in everything.

This review is going to be short because I do not want to ruin the book for anyone and I highly recommend everyone picking it up and reading it. The ending was beautiful and I have to admit that this Duncan kid can definitely draw 100x better than I could at any age! If there is any sequels I desperately need it in my possession. Until next time...

Friday, November 6, 2015

"The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend" by Dan Santat


Can I just say that this is one of the most adorable creature I have ever seen in a children's book!! I absolutely adore this book even though it is extremely short and not much action but nonetheless I have a huge feeling that this will be turn into an animated film which would be phenomenal and get into more details about Beekle and this imaginary world. 

In this imaginary island, these creatures are created into existence so that way when a child comes up with a particular imaginary friend, they are summon and sent to the real world. Who create these particular creatures is a really interesting question but sadly we will never find out unless it becomes a movie. This particular imaginary creature is excited to be picked. This creature imagines all of the endless possibilities of who could be his new friend and what they will do together and day by day as more creatures disappear, he is sadly left alone. So one day he does the unimaginable which is leave this mystical island and head to the real world.

The journey was not easy and when it arrives to New York, the creature is shocked how his imagination differs from reality and heads to the playground hoping he will find a friend. In the end the creature meets a little girl named Alice and she names it Beekle and finally it finds someone who it can love and care about as a friend. Beekle gets to meet Alice's friends and their imaginary friends and they get to spend a splendid time together and then they do the unthinkable which is head to this imaginary place where Beekle is from. 

Clearly I have a feeling this is not the last we will see of Beekle and I believe that if they do the animated film then they will go into details about what the kids and Beekle do when they arrive back to this imaginary place. I love the creative aspects of the book I felt like they put work into this book from everything of the illustrations of the characters to the coloring and the lettering of the book. I really enjoy this and I would definitely recommend it for children especially those who have imaginary friends or love to read about this fictional world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 17: The Cell Game" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) During a battle with Vegeta, Cell finally found Android #18 and was able to absorb her meaning he finally achieved his final form.

(II) Goku & Gohan are now in training inside the Room of Spirit and Time hoping they can successfully be able to achieve Super Saiyan 1 & 2 in order to beat Cell.

(III) Trunks has come to the past in order to save the gang and Goku and now he will have to fight Cell as Vegeta was utterly defeated.

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

This manga leaves right where Trunks is transforming to Super Saiyan 2 and I can remember this vividly because I believe that is the episode that I caught up with in the anime show and its identical to the mangas. That is one of the major reasons why I love mangas is because when they adapted to anime you get to see the characters in color and be able to see these epic scenes animated. 

Even though Trunks is a Super Saiyan 2, his powers means nothing because he is only thinking about brute force and not any martial arts training. While his ass is getting beaten, we get to see Gohan transform into a Saiyan and for Goku to achieve Super Saiyan 2. Since Goku is always two steps forward, he made the connection with Super Saiyan 2 that while it makes you stronger, it diminishes your speed making it purpose to be used as a last resort. With that idea, Goku decides that Gohan and him are going to train extra hard in order to be able to make Super Saiyan the normal form of battle.

As Cell is about to kill Trunks, he wants to figure out how they get stronger which clearly Trunks is not going to reveal and since he is an intelligent evil being, he realizes that if you give these Saiyans some time they are able to get stronger and he wants to be the best fighter in the planet so he gives mercy to Trunks and tells him that in 10 days there will be the Cell Games which is exactly like tournaments we have witness in Dragon Ball except that every player will fight with Cell until they either A.) Give up B.) Die or C.) They step out of bounds.

Trunks spreads the news to the gang and they immediately begin to train for this tournament. Goku on the other hand is taking a break and doing some investigating about something that he is not telling the audience. He wants the Dragon Balls to be created again after Cell destroys an entire army that went and tried to kill him. Piccolo cannot separate with Kami-Sama again so Goku needs to find another Namekian which turns out to be Dende who becomes Kami-Sama. He tells them that he is able to create the same Dragon Balls but unfortunately if you have already died then you cannot be resurrected again.

After all this jumping around, the Cell Games has arrived and everyone heads off to the Tournament including this human named Hercules who is martial arts champion but a total idiot since he hasn't realized that Cell and everyone is not human. He loses within 2 minutes and everyone is grateful for Cell. I reacted exactly like the gang with rolling their eyes and wanted Hercules to finally disappeared because he kept dragging on and on about destroying Cell and everyone knows about the outcome of this battle.

I got really absorbed into this storyline and I felt like throwing my book at the wall because I wanted to know what was going to happen next especially after Hercules. Unfortunately the battle between Goku and Cell will begin in the next volume. The reasoning behind it was they featured a mini-story about Trunks in the future and how he got into the time machine to go into the past. You meet Gohan as a young adult missing a hand which I have never seen before and sadly how he died because of the androids.

It was an interesting story which could have been a little bit longer and it was creative to show how crazy these androids wreak havoc on planet Earth without Goku. Will Goku be able to defeat Cell? Find out until next time on Dragon Ball Z...

"Dragon Ball Z, Vol. 16: The Room of Spirit and Time" by Akira Toriyama


Previously on Dragon Ball Z

(I) This evil creature named Cell has appeared creating havoc in the world as he is trying to absorb Androids #17 & 18.

(II) Trunks who is the son of Vegeta and Bulma come from the future and help Goku in order to guarantee a better future.

(III) Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Trunks head to the Room of Spirit and Time to train and surpass the Super Saiyan level in order to beat Cell.

That is what you missed on Dragon Ball Z!

This volume was fascinating between the epic fighting sequences and how the storyline will develop for the upcoming volumes. I personally did not care much about the androids storyline because it is ridiculous the concept that robots can kill Goku who is practically Superman. The good thing is that for Akira Toriyama's redemption is to kill these androids to serve a greater purpose.

As Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Trunks are training at Kami-Sama's place, the rest of the time has to fight in order to help delay time for their arrival to come and kick ass. Vegeta and Trunks are the first to train inside the chamber and when they come out, Vegeta and his pride has reached a new level as they leave the chambers and head towards the fight. Vegeta surpassed the Super Saiyan level which will later be known as Super Saiyan 2 (Yes I know how original) and a big surprise later on which is Trunks has achieve that same level too but in power he has surpassed his father which he is embarrassed because he doesn't want to hurt his father's pride.

Vegeta takes the first chance to fight Cell and Vegeta is actually whooping some ass which I am extremely glad about but he becomes ignorant halfway into the fight because he wants to fight Cell in his true form. The androids are in hiding for a long period of time but Kuririn blew their cover when he discovered their location. Bulma was able to create a remote control that will disable the androids leaving them available for the attack and when Kuririn finds them he is unable to use the remote because he has fallen in love with Android #18 so he personally sabotages it.

Meanwhile that encounter Cell and Vegeta make the connection of the androids presence and Cell was lucky enough to reach his true potential. With all the countless transformations he has made in these volumes I will abmit that I love him in this final one because he reminds me of Freeza and how polish his character looks. I feel like the more these villains look less hideous, the more deadly and powerful they truly are. Now that the score is even, Vegeta is trying to defeat Cell but he is no match for him and almost dies in the line of battle.

Trunks in the end realizes that he is the only one who can save his father but he needs to transform to Super Saiyan 2 without his father presence. I did not like that before Vegeta was knocked out unconscious, Trunks was a wimp because he didn't want to hurt his father pride and I understand where he is coming from but Vegeta could have easily died and then we would had this long dialogue of Trunks couldn't save his father and etc.

We won't see Trunks potential until the next volume and this storyline is becoming very familiar for me especially with Trunks transformation and the Cell games that will come in the next volume. Other than that I believe that Akira Toriyama is getting better in his storytelling in each volume and while he brings familiar elements in this series, I for one will agree that I love every minute of this series and I cannot get enough of Goku and the gang. Stay tuned for more until next time on Dragon Ball Z...