The Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King Nimona by Noelle Stevenson The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3-4by Kieron Gillen (what, like I could pick one?) Lumberjanes, Vol. 2-4 by Noelle Stevenson Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani Jughead, Vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky Steven Universe: Too Cool for School by Jeremy Sorese and Ian Quarterly-Jones SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
After a car accident claims Marco’s life and leaves Jean with a traumatic head injury, from which he mostly recovers, Jean is just trying to pick up the shattered pieces of his life. But on top of having to deal with the loss of his husband, Jean begins to gradually lose his sight: a late onset symptom of the cortical damage he’d suffered from the crash. As his vision of the world around him steadily fades, Jean begins to see that there’s more lurking in the shadows of our periphery than we know.
In a shadow realm of otherworldly entities and lost souls, Jean is manages to reunite with the love he lost, while learning that nothing everything in the shadows is friendly.
For all its shortcomings towards the end of its run, xxxHOLiC still holds a special place in my heart.
If you’re not familiar with it, xxxHOLiC is a manga series written
and illustrated by CLAMP, a prolific, all-female group of Japanese manga
artists who have been creating since the mid-eighties. (Their body of work
includes classics such as Magic Knight Rayearth, Angelic Layer, Cardcaptor
Sakura, and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.)
The story follows Watanuki Kimihiro, a high school student
who strikes a deal with a witch. If he becomes her assistant, she’ll take away
the power that leaves him plagued with visions of ghosts and monsters. But
because it’s such a big wish, he’ll have to work for her for…a while. Maybe
forever. So he becomes the witch’s cook, maid, and errand-boy, all wrapped up
Although it runs parallel to and intersects with other CLAMP stories, xxxHOLiC stands fully on its own as a horror story about desire and
addiction. The series consists of short arcs and one-shots, each centering on a particular customer – both average humans and fantastic spirits. Like Watanuki, each
has a wish. Like Watanuki, each must pay a price. Sometimes the cost is as simple as a lock of hair, but other times it wreaks catastrophe on the rest of their life. Thus each customer’s story
becomes an exploration of different aspects of desire – addiction to social
media, academic ambitions, the desire to see a loved one again – and the
effects it can have on one’s life.
There are many lovely
things about this manga: the gorgeous art style, Watanuki’s temper tantrums,
the pervasive creepiness. But the
best part is the witch, Yuuko. Not only is she a total troll with a wicked
sense of style, she is constantly dropping truth bombs:
Plot: The reader has the greensight as well, and she sees a rather disturbing vision, which saves Jojen, but puts her in danger (with fluff)
It was a vision. That much you were sure of, seeing as you had the greensight, just like Bran, just like Jojen, the boy you secretly loved. You felt your muscles lock into place, and you were frozen in time. This was what always happened in your visions; unlike Jojen, you didn’t have seizures. You simply immobilized. You were a ghost in your own vision; you couldn’t alter them, or even take part in them. This time, you were in a snowy valley-esk place. And directly before you, on top of a hill, stood a Godswood; the biggest one you’ve ever seen. But it was what happened next that would haunt you for the rest of your days.
“Jojen! Jojen, look! We’ve made it!” You heard a familiar voice call. You spun around in place, to see Bran in his sleigh, being pulled by Hodor, and Meera supporting a very sick-looking Jojen. You gasped, your heart being struck with a flash of pain at the thought of Jojen being that sick. He was already in a very bad condition, so you could only imagine what would happen if he got any worse. That’s when you got a bad feeling about this particular vision. You saw Bran, Hodor, Meera, and Jojen walking towards a cave of sorts directly underneath the huge tree, when suddenly, a rotting hand burst out of the snow, before grabbing Jojen’s ankles, tripping him, and dragging him backwards. “JOJEN!” You heard Meera scream as she ran towards him. Your heart dropped to your stomach as you witnessed them fighting off wights that popped up and out of the snow. You witnessed Bran warging into Hodor, and then Jojen getting pushed away by Meera. He tried to get up, and that’s when the wight stabbed him the first time. You let out a scream, as your heart got ripped into a thousand pieces. You saw Meera run over, cradling her brother in her arms, as the wights burst into flames. “He is lost! Come with me, of die with him!” A little girl yelled. A child of the Woods, no doubt. “Go with them,” you heard Jojen say to Meera, and you spun around in him to see her plant a gentle kiss on his forehead, before placing the knife she had found at his throat. “NO!” You closed you eyes tightly shut, before falling to the ground, screaming in agony.
“(Y/N)! (Y/N)! Wake up, please! Come on!” You heard somebody calling you from a distance. You jolted awake, your heart beating a thousand beats per second. You felt sweat dripping down your brow, and you looked around to see your arm was bleeding from five little crescent-shaped wounds you had no doubt created during your nightmare of a vision. You were shaking violently, and you looked up to see Jojen holding you in his arms carefully, his eyes worriedly scanning your face. “W-What happened?” You stammered, as he brushed away a single lock of your hair, which was clearly drenched in sweat, before stroking your cheek gently with his thumb. “Seven Hells, (Y/N), you were screaming bloody murder!” He said, clearly wanting an explanation. You just sighed, before sitting up slowly, your head spinning and your heart hurting, “It’s nothing. Just a nightmare.” You felt bad lying to him, but how could you possibly look at the person you loved most in the world, even if they didn’t know it, and tell them you just watched them die?
You saw in his eyes that he didn’t believe you, but you plastered a fake smile on your face, before getting up and helping Meera pack up. “I have a feeling that we’re getting close to the Three-Eyed Raven,” said Bran, smiling. You saw Jojen and Meera smiling as well, so you forced yourself to copy them, to make sure they didn’t suspect anything. On the inside, you felt your heart dying piece by piece.
After a couple hours, the group had scaled a rather large, snowy hill, and suddenly, when you reached the top, the sight you saw stopped you in your tracks, your blood frozen in your veins; it was the valley from you vision, along with the Godswood, and the cave beneath it.
“Jojen! Jojen, look! We’ve made it!” You heard Bran shout to the boy trailing behind you. You saw him, and Meera supporting him. You felt the blood leave your face, you heart going numb. You couldn’t say anything, not yet. But the ending of the vision you had came to mind, and in that moment, you decided that you weren’t going to let Jojen die. Not today, not for as long as you lived.
About halfway through the valley, you heard the ice cracking. Suddenly, you heard Jojen yelp, and Meera scream, “JOJEN!” You quickly drew your dagger, and started fighting off the wights as best you could. The one you were currently fighting had a longsword, and it had managed to cut your arm badly. You gave out a scream, before stabbing it through the ribcage, and separating it head from the rest of its skeletal body. It fell limp, and you felt the adrenaline rushing through your veins. Suddenly, you saw Meera about to push Jojen out of the way, but you started running FAST. “MEERA, DON’T!” You screamed, just as Meera made contact with Jojen. You dove underneath him, and he landed on you, and you quickly rolled him off you, just as you felt a sharp, agonizing pain in your stomach. Then another, then another.
Yet, the agonizing scream that pierced the air wasn’t yours. It was Jojen’s. He quickly dispatched the wight that stabbed you, before cradling you in his lap, tears spilling down his face shamelessly. ‘God, (Y/N), why did you do that?! Why?!” He cried, trying to keep you awake. “I saw…..y-you died, Jojen……my vision….” you couldn’t say more, since the pain in your the stomach was agonizing, and it was sapping your life force. He just let out a pitiful sob, before hugging you closer to him, his lips resting by your hairline, “Don’t give up, (YN), d-don’t give up!”. You felt his tears on your skin, and you took the moment t say what you needed to before you went, “Jojen…..I-I lo-love you….” You managed to mumble, your energy sapping more than before, your eyes closing. You heard the boy’s breathing hitch, before you felt something soft brush over your lips; Jojen was kissing you. As much as you wanted to respond, you couldn’t find the energy to. But you were glad that you got to tell him you loved him. As everything was fading away, you suddenly heard, “She can be saved! Get her to safety now, or die with her!” It was the voice of the Child of the Woods. And it was the last thing you heard.
But it wasn’t. You could feel, you could hear people talking. So there was no way you were dead. You heard a soft female voice, and a weak male voice reply. You became a bit more conscious, and you could hear their conversation. “…She’s very weak, Jojen. Chances are that she will die, so don’t get your hopes up,” you heard Meera’s distinguishable voice, but she sounded sad. “You don’t get it, Meera. I love her, and she loved me too. It was the last thing she said to me. She wasn’t supposed to die in my place! She changed both her fate and mine….” You heard Jojen reply, his voice quivering. There was a silence, and in that moment, you decided to stop being rude, “I wish people would wait until I was actually dead before burying me six feet under.” You opened our eyes slowly to see Jojen and Meera standing in stunned silence, Jojen’s eyes filled with tears. ”(Y-Y/N)?” Jojen said disbelievingly, before approaching you slowly. You smiled, before trying to sit up. Only problem; you had half a dozen stab wounds in your stomach, so it was practically impossible to do that. You hissed in pain, and Jojen caught you as you fell backwards. He hugged you tightly, burying his face in your hair, and you heard him mumbling, “I love you, I love you, seven hells, I love you.” You smiled, before pushing him away a bit, only to kiss him. For real this time, “I love you too.”