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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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TONY'S ONLINE TIPS
for Thursday, August 12, 2004

Cheeky Angel

Hiroyuki Nishimori's CHEEKY ANGEL VOL. 1 [Viz; $9.95] gets the TOT spotlight today. The back cover copy calls it "one of the most popular titles in Japan today" and adds that the series is "full of enough gender-rending comedy and inappropriate slapstick silliness to please the most seasoned manga fan."

I think they may be selling it short.

The rough-and-tumble Megumi is a nine-year-old martial arts enthusiast who saves a sorcerer from the local bullies and is given a one-wish genie as a reward. Megumi wants to be the "manliest of men," but the dishonest genie instead transforms him into a girl who will grow up to be the most womanly of women. On the outside, at least.

Megumi refuses to trade ten years of his life to the genie to be changed back. The story moves forward six years and Megumi is now the most beautiful girl in school, one who clearly takes an interest in some "girlish" things but who remains, at heart, the tough, two-fisted young man she should have been.

This first volume pulled me into Megumi's ongoing story. She is as admirable and feisty a young woman as she was a young boy. Her struggles with her two natures are sometimes played humorously and sometimes seriously. She's clearly attracted to Miki, her best friend, but may also be developing feelings for Genzo, a "bad boy" whose romantic feelings for Megumi are, in turn, changing him for the better.

Viz rates this manga for older teens, which is a good call. There is sexual humor and often brutal slapstick violence. While these are fairly common in Japanese manga, even that featuring teen characters, it portrays social behavior and values different than those held by most Americans.

For those older readers, CHEEKY ANGEL offers great characters and character development, a nice balance of comedy and drama, terrific storytelling, and beautiful art. I'm looking forward to the next volume. This series is a keeper.

CHEEKY ANGEL gets the full five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony Tony

******

TONY'S MAILBOX

From DON MARKSTEIN:
Concerning your 8/4 column, where you said you were going to vote for the candidate least likely to get your son killed:

I certainly do appreciate the sentiment. In fact, I'm already starting to think in those terms regarding my grandson, who isn't even three years old yet. But if you ask me, the candidate least likely to get young people killed is Michael Badnarik, who, in the very likely event you never heard of him, is the Libertarian Party candidate. Second-least likely is probably Nader. And the main reason they're not likely to get anybody killed is, neither of them is ever likely to be president.

Both Bush and Kerry stand for continuing the wars in the Middle East. In fact, both have promised to send MORE young people there to die. Neither has gone so far to endorse the reinstatement of the draft, but wait 'til after the election. It doesn't matter which of them wins, the draft is coming back.

I do, however, see a difference between them. A difference only a whacked-out nutcase like me would see. If you're interested, you can find my preference at:

www.uncadonald.com/antichrist.html
I confess I don't know much about the Libertarian candidate. For the most part, and this is a shortcoming I will correct, I shy away from anything involving Libertarians.

This is for personal reasons. Two of the biggest jerks I know (and one of them keeps following me around the Internet) profess to be Libertarians. Based on their various comments over the years, I had the doubtless erroneous impression their vaunted dislike of government was mostly about their not wanting to contribute to the well-being of others, a kind of "I've got mine, Jack, so screw the rest of you" attitude.

Recently, though, I have learned one of the best folks I know, a fine man who has been supportive of my work through the years, is also a Libertarian. One good citizen beats a pair of jerks any day of the year, so I plan to explore his party a bit more in the weeks to come.

However, having said that, I'll also say that the Libertarians could run a ticket of Jesus Christ and Gandhi and I would still be voting for John Kerry in November. Because I think he has the best chance of beating Bush and because I think Bush and his mob are the biggest threat to my children.

Will Kerry keep our troops in Iraq? Probably. Will he send more troops? Possibly. But I think Kerry and his team will craft the exit strategy left unplanned by the current administration and also do more to protect our soldiers in Iraq, especially given that most American deaths and serious injuries occur when our troops are used to safeguard Haliburton convoys and profits.

You and I do agree on Bush's religious fanaticism. I wish I had the option of voting for candidates that did not feel compelled to wear their religion on their sleeves. I don't really care what their faith or lack thereof is; I just don't want it to be a factor in their decisions of state.

That's all for this edition of TOT.

Thanks to my readers for spending a part of their day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

<< 08/11/2004 | 08/12/2004 | 08/13/2004 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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THE "TONY" SCALE

Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

Tony
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TonyTony
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

TonyTonyTony
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

TonyTonyTonyTony
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

TonyTonyTonyTonyTony
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.



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