Cat Gamer vol. 1
I like videogames. I like cats. Show me a manga where the two come together and you can be sure that I’ll buy it. “Cat Gamer” comes from mangaka Wataru Nadatani and is about aging (she’s 29, so I’m going by Japanese standards here) office worker Riko who is a mystery to her fellow co-workers. What they don’t know is that she takes off from work each day to enjoy her true passion: videogames. This is until the day she encounters a stray cat at the office parking lot and it decides to move in with her. Now Riko is using her gaming knowledge to adapt to her new life as a cat owner, while the cat tries to figure out what the deal with his new owner is.
“Cat Gamer” is an outlier in the last few years of manga licenses from Dark Horse. This is in the sense that it’s an original title without any ties to existing movie, TV, or videogame franchises. I’d love to know how the company rationalized that they could put out a title without those hooks (maybe those “What’s Michael?” omnibi have been doing the business...), but I’m glad to see Dark Horse publish an original manga title. It lets me know they haven’t fully regressed into focusing solely on their existing manga backlist.
Apache Delivery Service #1 (of 4): “Grass Kings” and “Fear Case” collaborators Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are at it again with this new miniseries about the hunt for missing gold during the Vietnam War. While that’s an interesting premise, whoever wrote the solicitation text went and added a bit too much detail. I say this because after reading it I now know that the gold is likely hidden in a cave system guarded by witches. Oh and that the two servicemen who are hunting for the gold are slowly growing paranoid about each other, and this is while they’re being hunted by a serial killer. I really didn’t need to know all of that. You probably could’ve stopped with Kindt, Jenkins, and hunt for gold during the Vietnam War. Maybe just hint at the existence of the witches if you want to imply a supernatural element to this series.
Sword of Hyperborea #1 (of 4): Do you remember that bitchin’ sword that B.P.R.D. agent Howards picked up which turned him into a near-unkillable badass? If you do, then it probably won’t surprise you to learn that sword has a big story behind it. Here to tell the tale, along with Mike Mignola, is writer Rob Williams, who has done a lot of work for Marvel and DC over the years and makes his Mignolaverse debut here. Joining him is a longtime veteran of this particular fictional universe, Laurence Campbell. While I’m always up for a good Mignolaverse story, the fact that this series is tackling a long-unexplored aspect of it with a writer new to this universe has me more interested in this one.
Pearl vol. 1: Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ series about an albino Asian tattoo artist who finds love, her history, and her employer almost dragged into a gang war. Part of the hype for this series was that the creative team who gave us “Jessica Jones” was back working together and on a creator-owned title. The end result had flashes of the promise that setup implied, but it didn’t feel focused enough to really draw me in. To the point that I wound up being more interested in Pearl’s screw-up rivals The Endo Twins than the title character herself. As Pearl’s story was mostly wrapped up in vol. 2, my hope is that they’ll get their moment in the sun after Dark Horse republishes that volume. So check out both volumes (eventually) so that you can see why that would be a good thing.
Savage Hearts: What happens when a brawny barbarian with a broken heart and a lonely beastman who can talk to dinosaurs team up to fight an evil sorcerer? According to the solicitation text: Action, comedy, and romance. This comes to us from writer Aubrey Sitterson and artist Jed Dougherty. If you’ve been reading these columns for a while, you’ll know that I’ll always bring up “No One Left To Fight” whenever I’m talking about giving something from Sitterson a look. That said, his previous miniseries “The Worst Dudes” is arriving the month before this. So I’m going to check that out first before I see if the writer has anything to offer besides a great take on “Not-Dragonball.”
In the Flood: Ray Fawkes is a writer that I have had limited experience with, but I’ve liked that experience. So I’m at least curious about this print collection of a digital series that sees a husband and wife trying to reconnect after an apocalyptic rainfall. While this seems like a traditional people-versus-the-elements setup, the two find that their predicament is not what it seems and that someone may be playing a trick on them. As to what that trick may be, well, I’m at least curious.
Halo Encyclopedia HC: This is being billed as the definitive guide to all things “Halo.” Which means it should be covering the upcoming “Halo Infinite” which comes out this December. In case you haven’t heard, this latest “Halo” title has had something of a troubled production history. If you don’t believe me, just ask Craig. Given that, it makes me wonder how many revisions the portion of this encyclopedia which relate to that title went through before they got 343 Industries/Microsoft’s approval. Hey, for all I know, they could STILL be going through revisions as I write this. That’s probably why this is coming out in March, as opposed to anytime closer to “Infinite’s” actual release date.
Mob Psycho 100 vol. 8: I’m a little disappointed that this series looks to be back to a once-every-six-months release schedule. Still, I’m glad to see that we’re getting new volumes at all. Better still is that a third season of the anime has just been announced, which will hopefully goose sales and ensure that we get the rest of this great (sixteen-volume) series in due time.