Hidden Manga Gems: Helen ESP

For my very first review here on Nerd-Base, I wanted to start off with something light and short for the readers out there. Today I will be giving my review of one of my favorite short mangas, Helen ESP.

Written and drawn by Katsuhisa Kigitsu (who also wrote and drew Fraken Fran, another series I’ll be writing a review on) and published in Shounen Champion from 2008 and ending in 2010, this series only ran a total of two volumes. Which, if you’re looking for something short to pass the time, is perfect.  This is a break from Katsuhisa’s normal works which are much more darker and graphic, but keeps to the same “I must do what I can to help no matter the consequences” mentality.

Our main character is Helen Takahara La Guido, a young girl who unfortunately lost her sight, hearing and ability to speak in a horrific car accident that also took the lives of her parents 5 years prior to the start of the first chapter. Helen now lives with her uncle and her guide dog, Victor. We get to see how someone who has such a range of disabilities functions is a day-to-day life, which I found quite interesting. From how she is able to watch a movie, to speaking to her uncle using a machine that produces brail on her fingers so she can ‘hear’ him talking to her. The major difference is how Helen talks to her dog….through telepathy. This should be our first clue that Helen is no ordinary girl.

Her real powers ‘awaken’ in the first chapter, and while the series never fully gives us a breakdown on what all they are, we can gather that she is the Jean Gray of this series. And with these powers, Helen is driven to help others that she comes into contact with, while keeping a youthful innocence and optimism about her. This endears you to her character, making you want to cheer her on and always hope that she can overcome the obstacles ahead of her.
The downside of the series is the stories don’t always ‘flow’ very well. Some can make you feel a bit confused and the continuity can leave you wondering where in the series something was mentioned. But being so short, it is very easy to overlook and doesn’t affect the series as a whole.

These are true tug at the soul stories that make you happy in the end. Even I’ll admit I got a bit of dust in the old eye at the end of a couple of chapters. And since I don’t want to give away spoilers, the end chapter of volume 2 will leave you smiling from ear to ear. Trust me on this.

In all, this is a great series if you want great story telling, some beautiful art, and just need a feel-good pick me up from time to time.

The series can be purchased online ($4.20 on Amazon) or downloaded via any manga reading app available on iTunes or Google Play.

Beauty: The STD You Want

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Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is only one sexual encounter away.

I am in love with “Beauty” by Jeremy Haun. My local comic book shop even knows me by name now because I can no longer wait months for the next trade paperback.

TheBeauty_01-1The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Also, the story is intriguing. The stories center around a new STD known as “The Beauty” – a STD everyone actually wants.

When you go unprotected with someone with the disease,  the next morning you wake up absolutely gorgeous. Your fat burns off, you look more youthful, your skin clears up … let’s just say: you’re drop dead model gorgeous. You do run a bit of a fever but you have a higher metabolism so on top of looking incredible, you can eat whatever you want to. That alone makes me even want to get this.

But within a few pages of the first issue, you realize there is a big drawback to this disease – one that Continue reading

Face It Tiger, You Want These Variants

In anticipation of the upcoming new series, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Comics has released a series of variant covers running across many of it’s top series by some of the best artists the industry has known. I personally want  mini-posters of each and every one of these to have tastefully displayed in my living quarters. Wow.

From Marvel:

“Both the Gwen Stacy Variant Program and this month’s Venomized Variant Program were such runaway successes, we couldn’t help but try to top ourselves,” says Marvel SVP Sales & Marketing David Gabriel. “And with Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert’s new Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man book on the horizon, the timing couldn’t have been better to put the spotlight on fan-favorite Mary Jane Watson.”

What if Mary Jane had been awarded the Eye of Agamotto to become the new Dr. Strange? What if she had taken up the one-woman war on crime as the Punisher? Or became infused with gamma radiation to become the new Incredible Hulk? Well, wonder no longer!

In order to whet your appetite and get you ready for your pull-lists or hunting days, here’s the list of images, issues and artists of what’s been revealed thus far. Continue reading

Beauty, Beast, and the 4DX Theater

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After months of hearing about this new 4DX Theatre experience, I finally got my tickets to see “Beauty & the Beast” hoping that the scene with “Be Our Guest” would include a lot of scents of croissants and freshly baked goodies. Sadly, it didn’t.

At $30 a ticket, the price may seem a bit steep but it is the novelty you are paying for. You are able to reserve your seats ahead of time and there is an option to turn off the water spray (but why bother). The movements of the seats were not jerky but incredibly smooth and flowed great with the film without taking you out of it. Air blew in your face at the right times but the water felt forced. When it was raining, a spritz of water hit your face and then that was it.
Continue reading

Back to the past, Samurai Jack…

As nostalgia rules over the ever-aging Millenials with reboots to pull at their heart strings (Ghostbusters, Duck Tales, I even heard a Matrix rumor today…), the samurai on the noblest of quests is back to finish what he started. Canceled after four seasons on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (2001-2004), Samurai Jack returns to television for one Continue reading

Riverdale: Who Killed Jason Blossom?

Riverdale Cast

For years, people asked, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” Now on the CW, it’s all about “Who killed Jason Blossom?”

The CW has taken the sweet characters from Archie that we all grew up with and added a bit of noir and darkness to it. This is not the Archie cast you once knew.

Jughead is now the brooding narrator of the story with a bit of a love story brewing. Archie is an aspiring musician and seems quite the ladies man. Veronica is actually less bitchy and spoiled while Josie and Cheryl come off as more of the mean queens of Riverdale. Betty has a bit of a dark episode, almost boiling a fellow student to death. Miss Grundy is now a vivacious, young music teacher in the high school with a sexual appetite of her own. Continue reading

Ironheart Gets A Live Action Debut

In case you weren’t aware, last May, Marvel comics inroduced a new hero to the Iron Family (hey, if Bruce Wayne can have a Bat Family, why not Zoidberg?), Riri Williams. Riri is a 15 yr old girl with an advanced genius intellect. She just so happens to have a strong interest in becoming an inventor and engineer.
She’s so smart, in fact, that she is awarded an early scholarship to MIT’s prestigious campus where, in her spare time, she secretly designs and builds her own Iron Suit out of materials acquired from the campus. She does get caught, but manages to escape in her suit, where, while acclimating herself to the operations of her new armor, she travels to New Mexico. While there, she assists in the apprehending a pair of escaped convicts, but damages her suit in the process. Upon her return, Tony Stark, the Iron Man himself, hears of her achievements, and contacts her, offering to take her under his wing jetpack, and train her as Ironheart.

Now, the current rumor mill has Ironheart making her big screen debut in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. However, in an unofficial yet excellently portrayed manner, we get to see her a little earlier than 2019.

Every year, as a part celebration of Pi Day (March 14th/3.14), which also happens to be the day they announce Continue reading

The “Kong: Skull Island” May Be the Greatest Trailer Ever 

ksiThere really are too many movies coming out in the next few months to be excited about, but by all the gods, old and new, the final trailer for Kong: Skull Island has to be one of the most skillfully edited I have ever seen. For such an effects laden movie, the visuals take a back seat here to the sound. The music, effects, the timing…THE TIMING…. It deserves an award. So, without further ado, sit back, put on a pair of headphones or turn up your volume and behold:

Kong: Skull Island releases on Friday, March 10th in theaters nationwide.

Han Solo Begins

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Disney has officially begun production on Han Solo: A Star Wars Story, and released a cast photo for Day One of filming.

A few years ago, when Disney first announced the new trilogy of Star Wars films, they also alluded to a series of standalone films taking place in the universe of the Force.

The first of these, of course, was Rogue One, which we now know was a smashing success. Along the production line, it was also announced that we would be getting a few character-centric solo films. Speculation begun, as it does, on just who these stories would be about. More so, who we, the fans, wanted them to be about. With a rousing, but cautious cheer, we all shouted for Yoda, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan, Bib Fortuna, and of course, Han Solo. That lovable scoundrel himself. The question was raised then, “Who would play him?”. Of course we wanted Harrison Ford. But let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen.

Well, now we know. The Han Solo solo movie has begun principal photography, and we have our cast. Playing Han will be relatively new face, Alden Ehrenreich. Alden has had some pretty high-profile roles as of late, but if you’re a Supernatural fan, you’ll recognize him as the Wendigo from the 2nd episode of the series! He recently had a generous role in the Coen Brother’s film, Hail, Ceasar!.
As Han’s semi-friend, the inimitable Lando Calrissian, we’ll be getting geek-favorite actor Donald Glover. Glover is best known for his role as Troy in Community. Chewbacca will, of course, be joining us again (it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever have canonical closure on the story of how they actually met), now being played by Finnish basketball player and actor, Joonas Suotamo, I haven’t yet heard if Peter Mayhew will be working on the film (last I heard his health is failing, so send our OG Chewie some positive vibes!!).
Emilia Clarke, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Woody Harrelson are also on board as yet-uncomfirmed characters. However, it has been rumored that Harrelson will be playing Garris Shrike, Han’s mentor and a character resurrected from the old Star Wars Expanded Universe now decanonized and rebranded as Star Wars Legends. Particularly, the first book from the Han Solo Trilogy, The Paradise Snare.
As the film takes place before the events of A New Hope, the current rumor-mill has been that the film will be adapted from that book series, lending credence to the rumor that Emilia Clarke will be playing Bria Tharsen, who is a love interest of Han’s, also from The Paradise Snare.