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Showing posts from November, 2010

261. The Circle Series Graphic Novel by Ted Dekker

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The Circle Series: The Visual Edition of Black, Red, and White by Ted Dekker (Canada) - (USA)
The Circles Series

Pages: 416
Ages: 14+
Finished: Nov. 22, 2010
First Published: Dec. 29 2009
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: YA, fantasy, urban fantasy, christian fiction, graphic novel
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:


One of the benefits of the last shift at the Java Hut: free caffeine ...
Acquired: Received a review copy from Thomas Nelson.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.


Ted Dekker is one of my favourite authors and I was very excited to read this as I haven't read any of his fantasy yet, meaning I hadn't read the original novels this graphic novel was based on either. Absolutely amazing story. Part fantasy and part urban fantasy. Thomas Hunter is nicked in the head with a bullet and starting from that point on whenever he falls asleep he travels between two realities. One a medieval sort of world where evil is fast encr…

260. Hope for Hard Times by Scott Hahn

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Hope for Hard Times (30-Minute Read) by Scott Hahn
Available at The Catholic Company

Pages: 63
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 20, 2010
First Published: Sept. 8, 2009
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Genre: non-fiction, inspirational, Catholic, Christian
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

All St. Teresa of Avila wanted to do was to live a life of simple poverty and prayer.
Acquired: Received a review copy from The Catholic Book Company.

Reason for Reading: I picked this book up simply because it was by Scott Hahn, not because I was going through any particular "Hard Time", though I was/am dealing with an ongoing health issues. However just as I had started to read this book I put it down for a short while as it hit too close to home as a health issue became more serious and I was (am) experiencing what the book calls hard times. Then, when I was ready, I picked it up again.

This is a brief little book; small enough to fit in your purse or a coat pocket and believe me it is one you will want to carry ar…

Monday: Books in the Mail

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A busy mailbox last week brought me a variety of books though still mostly graphic novels.


From publishers for Cybils consideration:

Adventure, Romance, Mad Science! Agatha has finally made it to her ancestral castle, but so has a whole crowd of her friends - and enemies! Worse, the lives of two them are in danger, unless she can get the Castle's power source back up and running-quick!









Chocolate or Vanilla? This simple choice is all it takes to get started with Meanwhile, the wildly inventive creation of comics mastermind Jason Shiga, of whom Scott McCloud said “Crazy + Genius = Shiga.” Jimmy, whose every move is under your control, finds himself in a mad scientist’s lab, where he’s given a choice between three amazing objects: a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (which is as ominous as it sounds). Down each of these paths there are puzzles, mysterious clues, and shocking revelations. It’s up to the reader to lead Jimmy to success or disaster.

Meanwh…

259. Lucy Unstrung by Carole Lazar

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Lucy Unstrung by Carole Lazar (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 235
Ages: 12+
Finished: Nov. 19, 2010
First Published: Aug. 10, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: YA, realistic fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

When my mom finally walks in the door at nine-fifteen, she acts like nothing's wrong at all.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: I was intrigued by the Catholic nature of the main character and whether it truly would be a positive portrayal. Not something often found in YA literature.

An astounding novel of an authentic Catholic family dealing with real life issues. Lucy's mom was 14 when she became pregnant with her and now she is 28 and feeling that she needs "a life". As she takes evening classes and such she meets a new worldly friend and it isn't much longer until she separates from her husband and plans a new life for herself for the next four years while she goes back to school. Lucy is 13 and has a solid Catholic upbringing hav…

258. Nola's Worlds #1: Changing Moon

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Changing Moon by Mathieu Mariolle. Art by Minikim. Translated from the French by Erica Olsen Jeffrey & Carol Klio Burrell (Canada) - (USA)
Nola's Worlds trilogy, #1


Pages: 136
Ages: 12+
Finished: Nov. 18, 2010
First Published: 2009 France (Aug, 2010 English trans.)
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Genre: Graphic novel, manga, YA, science fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Welcome to Alta Donna.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Lerner Publishing Group.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

Nola is a typical middle schooler, not popular, a daydreamer, who is consistently late for school. She's a latch key kid who lives with her mom, who is career driven and hardly ever at home with Nola; while her dad is busy with a new family and brings her gifts to make up for never seeing her. Nola's town, Alta Donna, is a slow boring place where nothing happens and Nola's life is mostly spent alone when not w…

257. Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks

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Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks. Illustrated by Tony Ross (Canada) - (US)
First Modern Classics
Harry the Poisonous Centipede trilogy

Pages: 176
Ages: 7+
Finished: Nov. 18, 2010
First Published: 1996 (FMC Jul. 30, 2010)
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Genre: children, animal fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:
Harry was a poisonous centipede.Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Specifically I am collecting this publisher's list under the title of "First Modern Classics" aimed at younger readers originating from the UK house. The titles on this list, which started in 2009, all by British authors, are a unique selection for North American readers, though a few international classics are included. Lynne Reid Banks is mostly known in NA for her Indian in the Cupboard series. I had heard of this book but never actually seen it.

Harry, his best friend George and his mother Belinda have got to be the only bugs in this world that I…

253-256. The Adventures of Daniel Boom Vol. 1 - 4

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The Adventures of Daniel Boom aka Loud Boy series by D.J. Steinburg. Illustrated by Brian Smith.

Age: 8+

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Reason for Reading: Book #4 is a Cybils '10 nominee and as a panelist for Graphic Novels this is required reading for me. Whenever we get a series volume nominated that I haven't read the previous ones, I like to go back and read them so I can get a feel for the series as a whole. This is only if we are talking about the first 4 or less.

253. #1. Sound Off! 2008. 96 pgs. When Daniel was born he and the three other babies who were in the hospital nursery were the recipients of an evil scientist's ray gun designed to make babies not cry. It backfired and we follow Daniel as he goes through life with a super sonic voice that causes disaster and destruction. By age ten he has learned to keep his voice to the correct decibels of an indoor voice but it is hard for him to maintain. Then when the evil scientist returns, this time to make the entire …

252. The Witch's Tears by Jenny Nimmo

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The Witch's Tears by Jenny Nimmo. Illustrated by Thierry Elfezanni (Canada) - (US)
First Modern Classics

Pages: 112
Ages: 6-10
Finished: Nov. 17, 2010
First Published: 1996 (FCM Jul. 30, 2010)
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:
It was an icy day.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Specifically I am collecting this publisher's list under the title of "First Modern Classics" aimed at younger readers originating from the UK house. The titles on this list, which started in 2009, all by British authors, are a unique selection for North American readers, though a few international classics are included. I knew nothing of this author or title.

This book is certainly aimed at the younger ages, though it may prove frightening or tense for some as the father is the one in peril from a real life situation, being lost on the roads on the way home in a snow storm. We never experience this from the…

251. Lila & Ecco's Do-It-Yourself Comics Club by Willow Dawson

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Lila & Ecco's Do-It-Yourself Comics Club by Willow Dawson (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 112
Ages: 9+
Finished: Nov. 17, 2010
First Published: Sep. 1, 2010
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: children, graphic novel, how-to, non-fiction
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:
Summer vacation, week three...Acquired: Received a review copy from Kids Can Press.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

This book is mostly a non-fiction guide on how to make your own comic book thinly guised within the framework of a fictional story. Lila and Ecco go to a Comic Con but they have to keep Lila's little sister with them. She runs off and they chase her into a room where a panel is discussing comics/graphic novels and how they are made. At the end of the presentation little how-to booklets are distributed. Once home, Lila and Ecco one day sit down and read the booklet cover to cover as they follow the instructions to make their own comics.

The info…

250. The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan

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The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan. Illustrated by Peter Sis (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 372
Ages: 9+
Finished: Nov. 16, 2010
First Published: Apr. 1, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: fictional biography, children, poetry
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

On a continent of many songs, in a country shaped like the arm of a tall guitarrista, the rain drummed down on the town of Temuco.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Scholastic Canada.

Reason for Reading: I wouldn't have read this if I hadn't received a review copy but Ryan is the author of one of my son's favourite books that he has had read to him multiple times, Riding Freedom, and I love Peter Sis' artwork. Besides, I always enjoy a good biography, even children's fictional biographies. The poetry angle did worry me though as I am not a fan of poetry in general (except for the silly, rhyming kind ala Shel Silverstien and specific epic poems).

This tells the story of Neftali Reyes' childhood, better known by his pen name …

Monday: Books in the Mail

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Cybils books are trickling in and last week I received a couple from the respective publishers plus I also received a couple other books which turned out to be graphic novels as well. So we'll call it A Very Merry Graphic Novel Week:

Cybils Books:

Book already reviewed here.












Five stories featuring Tinker Bell and the rest of the Fairies of Pixie Hollow! In "The Lost Fairy" Tinker Bell and Prilla search for one of their missing friends while "The Wings of Rani" sees the only wingless fairy, Rani, strive to save her friend Beck from a huge waterfall. "The Most Beautiful Dress" pits Beck, Vidia and Prilla against each other in a dress contest, leaving Tinker Bell to keep the competition from getting out of hand. Beck learns the true value of friends in "The Color of Friendship", and lastly all of the Fairies find themselves looking a bit silly when Queen Clarion accidentally looses her shoes, leading all the Fairies to do the same, thinking it’…

248-249. Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye Vol. 1 & 2

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Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series by Colleen AF Venable. Illustrated by Stephanie Yue.

Age: 7-11

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Reason for Reading: Both books 1 & 2 are Cybils '10 nominees and as a panelist for Graphic Novels they are required reading for me.

248. #1. Hamster and Cheese. Apr 2010. 48 pgs. This is absolutely adorable! The artwork is so cute and the animals have such personalities it was a joy to read. Elementaries are going to love this series. Sasspants PI inadvertently gets mistaken for a detective and the hamsters call on him to solve the case of the missing sandwiches. Every day the owner puts a sandwich near the hamster cage for his lunch and every day it disappears. He has said if it happens one more time he is going to get rid of them once and for all. Only the hamsters don't know what is happening as they can't stay awake and Sasspants takes the case to get the annoying hamster off his back. The owner is somewhat addlepated, having labeled the a…

247. Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen

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Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 229
Ages: 10+
Finished: Nov. 16, 2010
First Published: Aug. 10, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, realistic fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

For the record: I did not mean to send my two half sisters to the emergency room.
Acquired: Won a review copy from Library Thing's Early Reviewer Program.

Reason for Reading: I am fond of the publisher, the cover caught my attention and the summary sounded original. It didn't hurt that the word "George Clooney" was in the title either!

What an amazing little gem of a book! I absolutely giggled with delight as I read about Violet's dilemma and what lengths she goes to. Converse-wearing 12 yo Violet's parents have been divorced for two years. Her TV producer father left them for a trophy wife, who was expecting twins and off they moved to LA. Violet's mom took it hard and spent the first 6 mos. going through a change, pierced navel, dr…

246. The Drained Brains Caper by Trina Robbins

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The Drained Brains Caper by Trina Robbins. Illustrated by Tyler Page (Canada) - (USA)
Chicagoland Detective Agency, #1

Pages: 62
Ages: 9+
Finished: Nov. 14, 2010
First Published: Aug, 2010
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Genre: Graphic novel, children, mystery, science fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Of all the pet supply stores in Chicagoland, she had to come walking into this one.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Lerner Publishing Group.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

Honestly from the cover and title I was expecting corny and campy but what I got was an entertaining old-style private eye detective story involving a mad scientist. The plot is similar to that of Brain Camp, though this time it is a summer prep school where the students seem to all be brain washed into achieving. Add our main character, Megan Yamamura. The new kid in town, a vegan, manga reading, haiku writing girl with gusto and this book is a su…

DNF. Coppermine by Keith Ross Leckie

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Coppermine by Keith Ross Leckie (Canada) only

Pages: 383
Ages: 18+
Finished: 131/383
First Published: Oct. 5, 2010
Publisher: Viking Canada
Genre: historical fiction, Canadian North, true crime
Rating: DNF

First sentence:


The young priest stood on the rough planks of the Hudson's Bay Company dock at Fort Norman feeling the thousand-mile thrum of the Mackenzie River against the haphazard structure of spruce logs, nails, and ropes under his boots.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group (Canada).

Reason for Reading: I used to live in Edmonton and the based on a true story aspect had me as soon as I heard about the book.

It took me four days to read 131 pages (my usual reading speed is 100 pgs/day) and while I found the story interesting it was just very slow going for me. I felt like I was traipsing through the snow too. Then I just got uncomfortable with the anti-Christian bias the author put into play that I really didn't want to slog through the rest of the book. Whenever the…

245. Binky to the Rescue by Ashley Spires

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Binky to the Rescue by Ashley Spires (Canada) - (US)

A Binky Adventure, Book 2

Pages: 64
Ages: 7-10
Finished: Nov. 13, 2010
First Published: Sep. 1, 2010
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: children, graphic novel, humour
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Another one got in.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Kids Can Press.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.


I absolutely *loved* Binky's first adventure, and while, this, his second adventure wasn't quite as stupendous as the first it didn't fall far. My main issue would be that "Space Cat" had such a rich, full plot while "To the Rescue" is a fairly basic plot comparatively. However, it still has all the wonderful qualities I loved the first time around. Binky is such the quintessential cat and this time he is busy ridding the house of aliens (which happen to be wasps who have a warship nearby). Binky is so involved in his duties that he doesn'…

xx. It's Not About the Apple! by Veronika Martenova Charles

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It's Not About the Apple! by Veronika Martenova Charles. Illustrated by David Parkins (Canada) - (USA)
Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales

Pages: 64
Ages: 5+
Finished: Nov. 12, 2010
First Published: Oct. 12. 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, easy reader, fairy tales
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

"Look!" said Lily to Ben and Jake.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.

Reason for Reading: My son read this as his reader while I was away on vacation and I didn't want to miss out so read it myself.

Three children, who appear to be 9 or 10 year olds find a lunchbox with an apple in it then one of them mentions a few elements from a popular fairy tale, in this case Snow White. Then another says that's not the version I've heard and they proceed to tell an ethnic version of the Snow White story. The rest of the book follows this pattern until all three children have told a fairy/folk tale from around the globe that is similar in some way to the previous one. Then …

244. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 335
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 10, 2010
First Published: Oct. 5, 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: southern fiction, psychological suspense, Gothic
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:


The Rutherford girl had been missing for eight days when Larry Ott returned home and found a monster waiting in his house.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: I love southern fiction and am always intrigued with stories where the past comes back to haunt the lives of those living in the present.

It's the late 1970's, rural Mississippi and white Larry Ott from a lower middle class home and black Silas Jones son of a poor working single mother, make for strange friends. But friends they are, though they have to keep it secret because of their colour, everyone, including their parents would cause a fuss, but as the years go by they drift apart. Silas becomes a jock baseball player eventually moving away…

243. Maps and Shadows by Krysia Jopek

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Maps and Shadows by Krysia Jopek (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 151
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 8, 2010
First Published: Dec. 16, 2010
Publisher: Aquila Polonica
Genre: fictional memoir, WWII, Polish deportation
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Everyone has a story.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Aquila Polonica.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy memoirs of the war (even fictionalized) and I particularly like WWII books which introduce me to new information that is not so widely known.

This is a novel but is based on the true story of the author's father's family (his siblings and their parents). I also think there is a fuzzy line between where the truth ends and the fiction begins. It truly seems that the author used the novel format simply so she could write her family's story from all sides, giving voice to all four members old enough to tell their own story.

This story tells one Polish family's experience as Russia invades and sends all Poles to labour camps in two places in the frozen Arcti…

242. Adam by Ted Dekker

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Adam by Ted Dekker (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 402
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 7, 2010
First Published: 2008 (Jul. 2010 reprint)
Publisher: Center Street

Genre: thriller, serial killer, horror, christian fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

A hot, sticky evening in Los Angeles.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Hachette Book Group.

Reason for Reading: I'm reading all of Ted Dekker's books.

This book can be read two ways, depending on whether you are a believer or not. For believer's this is a thriller, typical serial killer plot, that involves spiritual warfare, evil vs. good and Catholic Christians. For the non-Christian reader, this is read as a horror story involving the supernatural/paranormal. Either way, this is one fast-paced, scary, read and now one of my favourite Dekker books up there beside "The Bride Collector".

The story of a serial killer who has murdered sixteen women when we meet him. He has been dubbed "Eve" as he leaves the word scrawled on a wall or o…

241. Gossip Girl Vol. 1: For Your Eyes Only

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Gossip Girl Vol. 1: For Your Eyes Only by HyeKyung Baek. Based on Cecily von Ziegesar

Pages: 245
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 6, 2010
First Published: Aug. 2010
Publisher: Yen Press
Genre: manga, YA, chick lit
Rating: 0/5

First sentence:

Hey people! Ever wondered what the lives of the chosen ones are really like?
Acquired: Borrowed a copy from the Calgary library while on vacation.

Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

I'm not writing one of my usual reviews for this manga because, I'm sorry to say, I've never said this about a book before, but this was simply "trash". Follow the lives of rich high school students with no adult supervision who party, drink, smoke and sleep with each other as they plan devious revenge against anyone who ticks them off, whether it's their BFF or not. The publisher recommends for Older Teens; in my estimation that would be adult (18,19 and up). If it weren't for the Cy…

Flying Up, Up and Away

not in a balloon but on a plane back home to my lovely little Niagara Falls this morning. My days of being a city person are so over! No book review for today, but they shall resume as regularly scheduled tomorrow. DH says I have about 15 parcels waiting for me. [goody, goody] and I have ILL cybils books waiting for me as well that I put on hold from here so I'd be ready to jump right back into required graphic novel writing. Can't wait to see my loved ones back home! Or start reading my fav. blogs again and talking to my blogger friends once more. Signing out from Calgary, Alberta

231. Green Books Campaign: Making the Grade, Plucky Schoolmarms of Kittitas Country

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Making the Grade: Plucky Schoolmarms of Kittitas Country by Barb Owens

This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

Making the Grade: Plucky Schoolmarms of Kittitas Country by Barb Owens


Pages: 224
Ages: 18+
Finished: Oct. 28, 2010
First Published: 2008
Publisher: Washington State Universit…

240. Jack of Fables: The Big Book of War

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The Big Book of War by Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges. Art by Tony Akins & Russ Braun (Canada) - (USA)
Jack of Fables, #6

Pages: 128
Ages: 18+
Finished: Nov. 5, 2010
First Published: Oct. 20, 2009
Publisher: Vertigo
Genre: graphic novel, humour, fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

So, here it is -- one for the ages.
Acquired: Borrowed from the Calgary Library while on vacation.

Reason for Reading: next in the series.

I have to say I have really been looking forward to reading this volume simply because it means I can get back to the original Fables series now with the big crossover issue that continues on with the storyline started here. I've enjoyed Jack and will continue to read the series especially since I've inadvertently found out how the plot line changes in the next volume. I still do prefer Fables as a whole though to Jack of...

This Volume finally brings closure to the inevitable showdown that has been looming nearer and nearer in the last few volumes between Mr. Rev…