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Showing posts from October, 2009

The Week In Awesome! Daybreakers & more

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Here are five things that got me excited this past week! . 1. Polly and Her Pals - IDW will be publishing Polly and Her Pals: The Complete Sundays, 1925-1927 in a massive $75 hardcover through their excellent Library of American Comics imprint. The classic strip by Cliff Sterrett will be in stores August 2010. . 2. The Comics Journal restructures - The Comics Journal is changing their publishing up a bit to make it as vital as it's been in the past, which is difficult for a magazine with the internet around. So, after the next issue, the magazine will only be published twice a year in print form (but extra big), and will now have a much heavier on-line presence. . 3. Astro Boy in theaters - The CGI animated film of Astro Boy has hit theaters (with less than stellar box office receipts), prompting plenty of kids to come into my store, excited to see books based on the character. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm looking forward to it despite some mixed reviews. . 4. Daybreaker…

Necrosha One-Shot

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The Necrosha one-shot is the beginning of a new X-Men crossover that will carry through three specific X-titles: X-Force, New Mutants and X-Men: Legacy. The story is of psychic vampire Selene, formerly Black Queen of The Hellfire Club and one of my favorite villains of the Marvel Universe, and her attempted rise to godhood. In this crossover, she makes use of a techno-organic virus that raises the dead and, with the aid of her inner circle, gets revenge for past transgressions and establishes Necrosha, her army of the dead. In this one-shot, there are three chapters by different creative teams that continue in each of the three titles this crossover effects.
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Necrosha: Chapter One
Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost & Clayton Crain
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This chapter carries the main story of Necrosha (continuing in X-Force) and centers around Selene and her big plans. Selene establishes the members of her inner circle, appropriate evil mutants like Wither and Mortis, lays out her plans to ascend to godhood,…

The John Stanley Library: Melvin Monster

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John Stanley. With Halloween fast approaching, I couldn't think of anything better to read than this classic. The first book in Drawn & Quarterly's line celebrating a cartooning legend, The John Stanley Library, features a little green monster named Melvin who lives in Monsterville with his Mummy and Baddy. To be honest, it took a few comics to grow on me, but once it did, it wasn't too hard to see why people have enjoyed these stories for decades. Melvin Monster is a charming naive little guy who wants more than anything to be a good boy, but Monsterville (and certainly his Baddy) won't have it. It's a Bizarro World of sorts, with morals flipped around so that anything he does that's not destructive or cruel or painful is considered bad behavior. And since he's grown up in such a foul environment, when he visits a city in the human world and is treated horribly, he thinks nothing of it. This really is a cute comic, with obvious echoes of Casper th…

Amulet (Book 2): The Stonekeeper's Curse

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Kazu Kibuishi
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The second book in Kazu Kibuishi's all ages Amulet series continues the story of siblings Emily and Navin as they journey to a fantastic world. Many may be familiar with Kibuishi's work in the Flight anthologies, but I think that the first book in this series is some of the best work the artist has come out with as of yet, complete with some spellbinding cartooning. Unfortunately, with this second book, he doesn't continue that trend. The first book established a dark realm for the characters of this world to traverse, and introduced a great supporting cast like the robots that man a house that walks like a giant man. Emily has inherited the mantle of stonekeeper, an honor formerly held by her grandfather, and unfortunately she must take up the honor - and curse - of that magical stone, using it for good instead of being overcome by its power. My biggest problem with the latest book in this series is that the originality that was sparked initially is com…

Yay!

Comics-and-More made the cut to be included in Online School's "100 Best Book Blogs for Kids, Tweens and Teens." This honor is shared with fourteen other comic/graphic novel blogs including some of my favorites like Jog and Comics Comics.

In Stores 10/28

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Here are the highlights of books that you can buy from your local comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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Red Snow HC - A new Gekiga hardcover collection from Drawn & Quarterly featuring short stories by legendary artist Susumu Katsumata. Red Snow won the 35th Japanese Cartoonists Association Award Grand Prize in 2006, a year before his death.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Ape Sapien One-Shot
Aria (Volume 5)
Arkham Reborn #1 (of 3)
Batman Monsters TP
Blackest Night #4 (of 8)
Dark Avengers: Ares #1 (of 3)
Dark Reign: The List - Punisher
Dark Reign: The List - Wolverine
Fairy Tail (Volume 8)
Fat Freddy's Cat Omnibus
Freakangels (Volume 3) HC
Groo: Hogs of Horder #1 (of 4)
Invincible Presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #1 (of 3)
Key Moments From the History of Comics SC
Map of My Heart GN
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Menace (Volume 1) HC
Negima (Volume 24)
New Avengers (Volume 10): Power TP
Papillon (Volume 4)
Phantom Dream (Volume 4)
Pinocchio Vampire Slayer GN
POP Wonderland (Volume 2): Little Red Ridin…

Manga Monday: Thieves & Assassins

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10 Beautiful Assassins (Volume 1)
Thomas R. Hart & Elmer Damaso
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10 Beautiful Assassins is an OEL manga from Seven Seas featuring a smooth cat burglar whose cunning always allows him to get what he wants. But Bernard Black (or The Black Rose) has one weakness that turns him into a gibbering idiot: beautiful women. On the particular case we find Bernard working on at the beginning of this volume, he attempts to steal a necklace from the daughter of billionaire John Maiden. When the necklace is stolen out from under his nose by a rival thief, he is hunted for the prize's whereabouts by the billionaire, who hires M.A.D.A.M. (Mistress of Assassination, Destruction, And Mayhem) to track down and kill Black. John Maiden's daughter, who has been largely ignored by her father up until now, helps Black escape, and assists him in outmaneuvering the ten beautiful assassins that M.A.D.A.M. has dispatched to track him down. Obviously, this book has a James Bond-spy type of feel to i…

25 Best Horror Movies (Updated)

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I devote the entire month of October to watching horror movies, culminating in a day-long marathon event (complete with Halloween cookies and the like). I grew up on horror movies, from cheesy Full Moon films like Puppet Master to slasher franchises like Friday the 13th to random direct-to-video creature features like Pumpkinhead. There's a lot of crap out there, but there's a lot of junk in every medium in every genre. Horror just gets a bad wrap, hindered more by the fact that professional critics usually seem dismissive of horror films, overlooking good film making because of their distaste for its content. I'm always looking for a good horror film, and I usually get pretty excited when one comes out with a lot of buzz around it. I just have a special place in my heart for them, and I pride myself that I'm widely versed in them. Anyways, between this year and last, I've seen some more great horror films that deserve a spot on my favorites of all time, and with H…

In Stores 10/21

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Here are the highlights of books hitting comic shops today! . Pick of the Week . Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - It's Been in bookstores for over a week now, but the fourth volume in Jeff Kinney's phenomenally-selling series trickles into comic shops today. . Other Noteworthy Releases . 20th Century Boys (Volume 5) Angel vs. Frankenstein Azrael #1 Book About Moomin, Mymble & Little My HC Captain America: Road To Reborn HC Dark Reign: The List - Hulk Dark Wolverine (Volume 1) HC Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip (Volume 1) HC Echo (Volume 3): Desert Run TP Family Circus Library (Volume 1) HC Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds HC Garth Ennis' Battlefields (Volume 1) HC Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers HC Marvel Masterworks: Inhumans (Volume 1) HC Maximum Ride (Volume 2) Noir (Volume 1) TP Real (Volume 6) Robotika: For a Few Rubles More Double-Sized #3/4 Showcase Presents: House of Secrets (Volume 2) TP Spike Omnibus TP The Stand: Sould Survivors #1 (of 5) Star Trek: Mission…

Manga Monday: What a Wonderful World!

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What a Wonderful World! (Volume 1)
Inio Asano . I really enjoyedSolanin, an earlier work by riveting creator Inio Asano, released by Viz last year. What a Wonderful World!, also by Viz, showcases Asano's talents in a group of short stories that are loosely connected by characters or location or even by a dragonfly flying from one character's nose to another. All of the characters in this book are also going through tough times, whether they're looking to get out of an aimless existence, are being bullied, or are being sought by the mob. The characters are mostly pretty desperate too. The highlights of stories include "Quick Like a Bunny," where a college drop-out hopes to recapture happier times by returning to a club, only to find that it's closed, and that while she'd inspired people to slough off conformity while among them, without her, her friends have moved on, leaving her behind. In "A Town of Many Hills," a little girl confronts her bullys&…

The Week In Awesome! Mouse Guard & More

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Here are five things that got me excited this week!
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1. Where the Wild Things Are in theaters - The adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic picture book by Spike Jonez is getting stellar reviews, so I'm really excited to watch the movie, which debuts in theaters this Friday. At work, I'm pushing a lot of Where the Wild Things Are merchandise, including stuffed wild things, the Gregory Maguire appreciation of Maurice Sendak book, and Wild Things by Dave Eggers. And of course the picture book itself.
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2. Paranormal Activity - Not only did the low budget horror film come in at #5 over the weekend box office, with a very limited release, but the movie finally gets a wide release this weekend due to its success.
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3. Toy Story 3 theatrical trailer - The third Pixar movie based around the lovable toys comes out next year in 3-D, and the official trailer looks fantastic. Watch it here.
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4. Mouse Guard: Legend of the Guard - A four-issue anthology series taking place in David Peters…

X-Men vs. Agents of Atlas #1 (of 2)

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Jeff Parker & Carlo Pagulayan
. I was really surprised by just how good this comic was. Usually these little spin-off mini-series are just throw-away issues, assigned to any average artist that Marvel decides to throw on the book since the titles usually feature popular characters that avid readers will read no matter who writes or draws it. But in this case, Agents of Atlas creator Jeff Parker takes on writing this issue himself, which probably makes all of the difference, as he's really got the Atlas characters down, and he certainly was able to take the X-Men and make them something special too. In fact, most of the issue is seen through the eyes of the X-Men, characters less familiar to him (although he has done a few X-Men mini-series, now that I think about it). But Parker is able to capture the essence of both teams and make them both look noble and fully-realized, not shorting either their due, as both teams consist of heroes and readers will be rooting for one side …

In Stores 10/14

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Here are the highlights of books that are coming to comic shops tomorrow! . Pick of the Week . The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga HC - Helen McCarthy's major biography (and the first authorized biography) on the remarkable Osamu Tezuka contains over 300 full-color pages, a 45-minute DVD documentary, as well as a forward by Katsuhiro Otomo. This is one of the (if not the) biggest books about comics this year. . Other Noteworthy Releases . Absolute Death HC Air (Volume 2): Flying Machine TP Akira (Volume 1) GN - New Printing Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Complete Edition HC Batman Chronicles (Volume 8) TP Blood & Water TP Daredevil: Return of the King TP Deadpool #900 The Epic Chronicles of Hagar the Horrible 1973-1974 HC The Fixer & Other Stories GN Gantz (Volume 7) Ghost In the Shell (Volume 1) GN - New Printing Hollow Fields Omnibus GN House of Mystery: Halloween Annual #1 Kull (Volume 1): Shadow Kingdom TP Marvel Zombies 4 HC Mephisto vs. TP Mister X Condemned TP Mome (Volume …

Manga Monday: Dragon Ball

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Dragon Ball (Volume 1)
Akira Toriyama
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Since there was so much media circulating about the title this past week, I thought I would take a look at the controversial book in question. Apparently, an elementary and middle school library in Maryland had this book on its shelf available for kids to check out until a mother made a big stink about her nine-year-old getting his/her hands on it, since the book contains some sexually suggestive scenes and cartoon nudity. Calling it "disgusting" as councilman Holloway said was going a bit far. Perhaps they should not have put a book labeled "ages 13 and up" on the shelves of a library where no student was within its age restrictions. The blame here is completely on the school board who, in an attempt not to look completely embarrassed by what is entirely their fault, focused feigned outrage on how terribly offensive the images in this book are.
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Admittedly, I was a little surprised at how far this manga pushed the envelope. …

Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #1

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Rick Remender & Jefte Palo. I really, really enjoyed the recent New Avengers arc that surrounded Doctor Strange and the Eye of Agamotto's search for a new sorcerer supreme, although the choice of Brother Voodoo left me a little disappointed. Brother Voodoo is such a D-List character to follow in Dr. Strange's shoes. I was personally hoping for Son of Satan, but I'll have to be content with a guest appearance in the second issue of this book. Anyways, going by this debut issue of the new Doctor Voodoo title, with the word "Avenger" thrown into it to half-heartedly link it to the "Avengers" brand, I can see why they picked this character. He's pretty indistinct, and thus, can be molded into whatever kind of character the creators choose. They can make another no-name character into a franchise! I still think it would have been more fun to have given the title of sorcerer supreme to Son of Satan or Selene, but here we have an everyman type of charac…

Previews HYPE: December '09

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Beginning with books coming to comic shops in frosty December, I will wade through the phone book that is Previews Catalogue to sift out some goodies for the month that I think may get overlooked, or that I'm just plain excited about. And to make a leaner, better, healthier selection, I'm limiting myself to a top ten books. There may be other good stuff - I'm sure that some months will prove to be difficult as hell to narrow down - but to keep things interesting, I'm cutting the fat to a nice even ten to throw my hype behind. . 1. The Complete Milt Gross Comic Books and Life Story HC Milt Gross, Edited by Craig Yoe IDW Publishing This beast of a collection is a part of IDW's new "Yoe Studio" imprint featuring collected materials that the talented Craig Yoe (Modern Arf) sees fit to put his energies toward. Clocking in at 368 pages, this book collects all of Milt Gross's comic books in full color, restored. . 2. Hulk: Winter Guard David Gallaher, Steve Ellis, …

The Week In Awesome! Fire and More

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Here are five things that I geeked out over this past week. . 1. The Maze Runner - This teen novel by James Dashner (author of The 13th Reality series) came out this week, and the buzz has been building around this title for months. The book follows a group of boys who wake up in a maze with no memory. It's an action-packed survivalist mystery that could be compared to last year's teen sleeper hit The Hunger Games. . 2. Fire - Another teen book! This book by Kristin Cashore is a companion to her previous excellent fantasy novel Graceling, starring a female protagonist. It's called a companion as opposed to a sequel because it takes place prior to the events of Graceling, and while it has a few crossover characters, each book can be read completely independent of the other. . 3. "Give Up the Ghost" by Brandi Carlile - Brandi Carlile's "The Story" from a few years back was one of my favorite albums in awhile, boasting great country-folk songs set to a …

Refresh, Refresh GN

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Danica Novgorodoff, James Ponsoldt & Benjamin Percy
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Refresh, Refresh began as a prose book of short stories by Benjamin Percy. James Ponsoldt then based a screenplay around the book. Now, two times removed, Danica Novgorodoff bases her new graphic novel on that screenplay, so it's gotten away from the source material a bit. Which may be one of the reasons why I didn't really care for it. It just didn't translate very well to comics. The one thing I can say that I really enjoyed from this book is the art. I love Novgorodoff's simple, beautiful drawings, especially that awesome cover. It reads very fluidly, very cinematically, which may be due to its origins from a screenplay. Refresh, Refresh is about a small group of guys who live in a small town where they wait to hear news from their fathers, who are fighting in the war, to know if they are alright. The book is named after the idea that they are constantly refreshing their e-mail accounts in hopes of a new messa…

Underground #1 (of 5)

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Jeff Parker & Steve Lieber. I really enjoyed the debut issue of this new mini-series by Jeff Parker (Agents of Atlas) and Steve Lieber (Whiteout), even if it was mostly set-up. So far, there's a nice small cast of characters (even if the villain is a little two-dimensional), with a nice lead into the greater adventure that will take place underground in a cave system. The small town politics of profit for a struggling town vs. the delicate ecosystem of a thousands-of-years-in-the-making cave environment is really fascinating, and gives believable motives for the players involved. And while it was a little dialogue heavy this issue, I really didn't mind it, as it was very natural and informative for the story at hand. The plucky heroine Ranger Wes seems like just the character to lead this comic, which certainly has survivalist-criminal-female-lead echoes of Steve Lieber's collaboration with Greg Rucka on Whiteout and its sequel, while exploring new territory in the …

In Stores 10/7

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Here are the highlights of books hitting comic shops tomorrow!
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Pick of the Week
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A Distant Neighborhood (Volume 1) - Leading a pretty big release day for manga, A Distant Neighborhood is a beautiful book from Jiro Taniguchi that follows a man who turns back into a kid when he visits his old stomping grounds. This is the first of just two volumes of the award-winning work.
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Other Noteworthy Releases
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Angel: Not Fade Away TP
Batman: The Unseen #1 (of 5)
Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter TP
Bloom Country: The Complete Library (Volume 1) HC
Criminal: Sinners #1
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four TP
Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #1
EC Archives: Frontline Combat (Volume 1) HC
Gentlemen's Alliance (Volume 10)
The Good Neighbors (Book 1): Kin TP
The Good Neighbors (Book 2): Kith HC
Happy Happy Clover (Volume 3)
Haunt #1
Jack of Fables (Volume 6): The Big Book of War TP
Kimi ni Todoke (Volume 2)
La Corda Doro (Volume 11)
Leave It To Pet! (Volume 3)
The Legend of Zelda (Volume…

Manga Monday: Meanwhile...

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I don't review every manga I read. In fact, I usually only review the first manga of a series and if I have something that I really want to say about later volumes, I'll voice it. Here are just some thoughts on various manga series that I'm currently following... . 20th Century Boys - This is a series that you really have to keep up on, as it's pretty complicated and there's a large cast of characters, some of whom you don't see in every volume. Thank goodness for the recap page in front of each book. This book's complexity reminds me quite a bit of Naoki Urasawa's Monster, another one you couldn't really stop reading for six months and pick up where you left off without losing the thread. . Astral Project - I still have the fourth and final volume to go, but what began as an intriguing mystery kind of meandered and lost some of its steam as it went along. . Happy Happy Clover - This is just a charming kids' title. After the first volume, Clover and …

The Week In Awesome! Elm Street & More!

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Here are five things from the past week that got me excited!
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1. Dollhouse premiere - Joss Whedon's Dollhouse entered its second season with a roar last Friday with "Vows," continuing its streak of great episodes. Eliza Dushku is great at Echo, and I love the other dolls Victor and Sierra. Dichen Lachman, who plays Sierra, is an absolutely phenomenal actress who is always a treat to watch, and I hope she gets more screen time this season than her brief appearance in this first episode.
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2. A Nightmare On Elm Street theatrical trailer - The remake of the classic horror film by Wes Craven has a trailer that looks pretty fun. Jackie Earle Haley steps into the shoes of Freddy for the reboot, scheduled for release next year. Watch it here.
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3. Paranormal Activity in theaters - The thread-bare budget of this horror movie, and its mockumentary style, invites comparisons to The Blair Witch Project, and like that film, this story of a haunting is getting rave reviews and is supposed…

The Good Neighbors (Book 2): Kith

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Holly Black & Ted Naifeh. While I was utterly enchanted with the first book in The Good Neighbors series, the spell seems to have worn off a bit with the second graphic novel. The story follows Rue, who has discovered that she is half-fairy. And while she has declined joining her mother's magical family, she must fight her evil uncle, who schemes to remove Rue's entire town from the human world, and claim it as a refuge for fairy folk. In order to carry out his plan, he has a timeline to follow involving turning people into trees as a perimeter for his spell, a timeline that Rue seeks to disrupt. Meanwhile, her boyfriend is being seduced by merwomen, another friend is being tempted by a witch to use a love potion, and another friend, Ann, was changed into a tree and now seems to be something else. There's a lot going on, but it doesn't have the same impact of Rue's initial discovery of the fairy world that she belongs to, and her initial introductions to th…

Ball Peen Hammer

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Adam Rapp & George O'Connor
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Ball Peen Hammer is a new graphic novel from First Second Books that marks the graphic novel debut of both creators involved. George O'Connor is a New York Times bestselling author of picture books, while Adam Rapp has written several young adult novels and plays. This book takes place in a city that's ravaged by poverty and disease. In fact, the plague that runs rampant through this city is pretty nasty, infecting a person with unsightly sores, blindness, loss of feeling in limbs, etc. Not very pretty. But the entire city is being eaten away much the same way, as people will steal food from others without a thought, feral dogs eat humans for survival, and people will pull gold teeth from a corpse in exchange for a buck. This world is brutal. It's full of violence and blood, especially when it comes to The Fellowship's creepy recruitment of people to steal children, kill them with ball peen hammers, and stuff them in bags to b…