Death Sentence: London continues the phenomenal critical and sales hit rampant with sex, drugs and superpowers! Making this perfect jumping-on point, awesome all-new rising star artist Martin Simmonds joins co-creator Montynero (X-Men Annual, Verigo CMYK) for a wild ride!
I Kill Giants, the critically-acclaimed graphic novel by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura, is headed to the big screen! Major gasp! Have you read I Kill Giants? HAVE YOU? If not then what are you doing with your life? Go read it.
It features Barbara Thorson, a girl struggling with life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters. There’s a twist, which to be honest I couldn’t see coming, but like all twists perhaps you will. It also made me cry, with all its real, visceral gutsiness.
The artwork has an intensity to it that threatens to splinter apart at any moment, and which is beautiful to look at. This is a book to be returned to again and again, and we have high hopes for the film here at Girls Like Comics.
Accel World – Story by Reki Kawahara, Art by Hiroyuki Aigamo
From the creator of Sword Art Online, that fictional equivalent to reading a twelve-year-old boy’s ‘Top Secret!!’ notebook while having your blood transfused with spiders, comes Accel World. Yes, my deep, all-consuming hatred for SAO put a prejudiced film over my judgement when I picked up the first volume of Reki Kawahara’s other story. It was a nice surprise, therefore, to find Accel World a great deal less horrible than Sword Art Online. There is hope in the darkest of places.
Accel World follows Haruyuki, a young boy viciously bullied for being overweight. It is the late 2040s, and virtual reality is as accepted and normal as your morning cup of tea. Used mostly as a recreational ‘other world’, the virtual reality serves as a place for Haruyuki to escape his tormentors. After smashing the high score for virtual squash, he is approached by the brilliant and beautiful student vice-president, Kuroyukihime. She invites him to experience the ‘Accelerated World’ through the ‘Brain Burst’ program. Haruyuki is plunged into a world parallel to reality where avatars battle each other to rise in rank. But why does Kuroyukihime want Haruyuki to participate in these brawls? And how dark is Kuroyukihime’s past in this world?
Kawahara’s characters are much, much better than the arrogant stick-wielding dollops of SAO. The revelation of Kuroyukihime’s past made me question the extent to which I could trust her. She is clearly in control of the whole situation, whether for good purposes or evil. He does not set her up as strong only to make her a victim as he did Asuna. I admired her personality all the more for my insecurity over her true motive. Haruyuki, too, has obvious room for character development. Much of my enjoyment in reading this was down to Hiroyuki Aigamo’s art, I think. He makes use of every inch of the page, but manages to balance the visual overload with an incredible skill for pacing. Kuroyukihime’s confession was gripping to read, and the expressions Aigamo creates are completely responsible for my ensuing suspicion. Ultimately, though, this story is still a rather boyish fantasy. The plot’s foundation has a rather stock feel to it and the story contains rather a lot of bizarre technological exposition I only vaguely understood. It’s probably not something I would choose to read for myself, but my main point here is that it is in a totally different league to the eye-watering mishap of Kawahara’s other work. I don’t hate it, everyone.
The Yen Press release includes a glossy full-colour insert and afterwords from Aigamo and Kawahara. I know a lot of people wanted to enjoy Sword Art Online but could not find it within themselves to look past the problem mountain. If you enjoyed the concept, the technology, the world, but were disappointed in the characterisation and plot, Accel World will heal those wounds.