I had been quite prepared to give this book two stars until Jim Butcher provided a better than average entry to conclude Blood Lite. Still, having reaI had been quite prepared to give this book two stars until Jim Butcher provided a better than average entry to conclude Blood Lite. Still, having read five anthologies in quick succession, I'm not sure I'm any better off than I was before.
The book is largely hit or miss, with a couple of notable exceptions to either extreme. If I don't comment on a story, you can conclude that it didn't make much of an impression.
Mr. Bear, by Joe R. Lansdale, is like reading Chuck Palanhiuk. You are thrown off by its premise and the ultimate resolution may not be rewarding, but you'll remember the experience for a long, long time.
Hell in a Handbasket, by Lucien Soulban is the first of four stories in a row that actually manage to do a reasonable job of capturing horror and humor, the best of which being Don D'Ammassa's No Problem, about a re-animator with small complication.
Two horrible stories follow, including the latest shovelfest by, the apparently highly overrated, Charlaine Harris. I've read four of her short stories and liked none of them. This one might fit well in a book when you don't know you're getting horror, or at least could have provided something beyond her usual vampire-werewolf-White Wolvian lovefest. But she, again, fails to rise to the occasion.
Shortly after that is one of the better stories, A Good Psycho Is Hard to Find, by Will Ludwigsen. To put it simply, the consequences of Friday the 13th are never quite what you'd imagine.
Quite possibly the most amusing, if not quite the most horrifying, is Eric James Stone's PR Problems about ghouls and their lack of a good press agent.
Seven more stories, including one by Sherrilyn Kenyon follow which either are too deeply vested in their exterior backstory to be accessible, or just aren't that remarkable because they're unfunny (Love Seat Solitaire), or fizzle out (Bitches of the Night). The latter is particularly disappointing because of its promising premise.
The final story, Day Off, by Jim Butcher, is probably also too laden with Dresden Files metaplot, but I at least was entertained by it. However, I think he misses the horror portion of the concept. It's entertaining, funny, and he avoids the Harry "battle-cry=little girl scream" reference, but it never really hits the horror portion of the mission statement.
Anyway, worth librarying and glancing through, but not worth buying....more
I received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the abilityI received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once said "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." If that is the case, then James Rickards certainly has that intelligence, because his book is constantly at war with itself to the point that this reviewer cannot recommend it.
When Rickards is addresses the specific issues of monetary policy, both in terms of its use in domestic and international matters, he is insightful and direct. He presents a coherent and unsettling picture of the current predicament the U.S. and world are in with an overleveraged system that is not suffering from a lack of liquidity, but a lack of solvency. The threat presented by a collapse of the dollar is both clear and present and the potential outcomes are disturbing. These portions are valuable and educational.
However, when Rickards broadens his scope to other policy issues, things fall apart. Rickards' hard right libertarian worldview interferes with his reasoning, providing nonsensical talking points unsupported by the examples provided. For example, Richards correctly cites the lack of regulation as being a key component to the banking crisis of 2008. Yet he also repeatedly states, without any supporting evidence, that government regulation is a bad thing and harmful to the economy. Towards the end, he even advocates specific banking regulation to avoid a repeat of the crisis of 2008 while simultaneously advocating for smaller government. The cognitive dissonance is astounding.
In another case, Richards notes that the highly inflationary policies of the Fed are destroying the value of the dollar while advocating significantly reduced tax rates. However, taxation without spending is a powerful tool the government can use to reduce the overall money supply, providing a deflationary pressure to offset the inflation.
As a third example, Rickards attempts to refute Keynesian economics by borrowing from Taylor and Cogan's study of the Obama Administration's Stimulus Package having a net negative modifier effect. In essence, Keynes argues that a dollar spent by the government can have a multiplicative effect by that dollar being pushed into the economy and being used again by the original recipient while Taylor & Cogan's study said that the actual benefit was less than the original dollar spent. But, when Taylor & Cogan looked at individual portions of the package, there was a much clearer effect. Direct support programs like food stamps provided a significant positive multiplier benefit to the economy while the significantly negative effects were caused by the tax cuts in the package. Thus the truth of Taylor & Cogan's study is that the package cut taxes too much and directly spent too little.
And that's pretty much enough to say about it. There's valuable information for those who can read critically and see just how absurd some of Rickard's conclusions are, but I wouldn't encourage reading this in hope of finding a better book without the counterproductive ideology.
In a horrendous regression from her recent work in the series, Kathy Reichs reverts back to her procedural roots in a story that is obvious, unsurprisIn a horrendous regression from her recent work in the series, Kathy Reichs reverts back to her procedural roots in a story that is obvious, unsurprising, and, frankly, just unentertaining.
Three sets of bones are found in the basement of a pizza parlour (it's Quebecois, with a u!) and they turn out to belong to missing girls. What these girls have fallen into isn't terribly surprising, nor is there really an opportunity to develop mystery, because it becomes pretty clear who the killer is as soon as the limited necessary information is introduced.
That's the real problem with this volume. It takes up 300 pages because Reichs denies Brennan reasonably determinable information or reasonable conclusions based upon already presented evidence solely to keep the book from ending too soon. Instead we get delayed by the stop-start relationship of Ryan, the addition of a friend in distress, and just "things take time" None of it is particuarly entertaining and I thought we had overcome the hitches with Ryan in the previous volume. I suppose I should be thankful that at least our add-on friend/family member was not actually caught up in the plot like so many previous ones.
If you are a completist, go ahead and read this. Otherwise, I think it's time to drop-out....more
It's another volume that demonstrates that Tite Kubo's strength is in his characterization, not in his plotting. This volume is domninated by Rukia'sIt's another volume that demonstrates that Tite Kubo's strength is in his characterization, not in his plotting. This volume is domninated by Rukia's battle with an Arrancar and it does a good job of developing a character largely neglected by the last story arc.
Otherwise it's fight-fight-fight-fight and demonstrating that the bad guys are even more powerful than the last set of bad guys because the heroes are stronger but not strong enough. Unfortunately, because the villains are continually beating the heroes within an inch of their life, yet not actually killing them, they lose credibility....more
This entry in the ongoing series focuses first on a character development arc for Yorick, trying to explain some behaviors on his part using some basiThis entry in the ongoing series focuses first on a character development arc for Yorick, trying to explain some behaviors on his part using some basic psychoanalyis and extreme intervention techniques, amd then switches the scene to Arizona to take on the classic western American militia type.
The first story is facile and it seems an attempt to break down the virile-yet-chaste archetype that I didn't really see Yorick falling into While it provides some limited backstory for Yorick, I don't feel the series was enhanced for the telling.
The second half, on the subject of a group of Arizona militiawomen taking over I40 is actually very well done and is one of the brighter spots in this series. While I wouldn't say it provides any sympathy for the militia members, it does make them believable characters given their limited page count. It also gives Allison some much deserved focus and provides for some interesting momentum for the next volume.
While the series remains a library, not buy, book, I actually look forward to reading the next one....more
Kylie Chan doesn't give you time to dip your toe in the pool before she throws you in the deep end in her follow-up to the Dark Heavens series. ThingsKylie Chan doesn't give you time to dip your toe in the pool before she throws you in the deep end in her follow-up to the Dark Heavens series. Things move quickly, introductions are only for the completely new characters, and references to the previous work are so oblique as to leave a new reader clueless and experienced ones uncertain.
Ultimately though, Chan's strong characterization and changed dynamic, this book takes place eight years after the end of the previous series, make it a highly enjoyable work. The characters actually have grown since the previous volume and the absence of certain characters from the earlier series allows exploration of new roles. Strongest is probably the Demon King, who appears to be filling the Palpatine role in the Star Wars Prequels except all of this book's protagonists have motivation for their actions.
I do have some other issues though. The final confrontation feels tacked on in a movie-style format to provide extra-closure in a book that is hellbent on continuing to another volume. Regardless, while I would not recommend this book to people new to Kylie Chan, I feel those who have read her original series will be pleased by this entry....more
Shallow, trashy, tawdry, and titillating in a way that appeals to 14 year-old boys (well 14 year old boys inI won this book in a First Read's giveaway
Shallow, trashy, tawdry, and titillating in a way that appeals to 14 year-old boys (well 14 year old boys in the late 80s, I suppose), if you know what Heavy Metal and pulp fiction are then you know exactly what you're going to get in this volume.
Women are objectified, the hero is virile yet chivalrously chaste (in that order), unless the woman in question is a prostitute and then she's clearly begging for it, and cliched dystopian conspiracies abound. As much as I didn't like the book, I can't really bring myself to hate it.
It's like the parable of the scorpion and the frog, Heavy Metal Pulp: Pleasure Model: Netherworld Book One knows what its nature is and I can't really blame it for doing a good job of being itself. Even if the itself in question is something I don't particularly like.
I received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway
Starting in 1990, Afif Safieh spent eighteen years as head of the Palestinian delegatI received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway
Starting in 1990, Afif Safieh spent eighteen years as head of the Palestinian delegation to a number of governments. This collection of speeches and writings spans both his career and the ten years preceding that appointment.
As the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been long underrepresented, this does provide significant insight into the PLO's positions and thoughts with regard to the peace process. As a piece of historical material, it should be a valuable resource for historians studying the period.
But, as it is a collection of independent essays on mostly the same topic, it becomes repetitive for the general reader. As any speaker would, Safieh uses the same quotes, the same anecdotes, and the same turns of phrase throughout the various works. While it does provide, from a historical perspective, a consistency of thought worth acknowledging, it can be tiring to read the same thought on comparing Israelis and Palestinians to two men jumping out of a burning building for the third time.
Still, bringing a new perspective is valuable in and of itself, and those interested in the conflict would be well served by adding this to their library....more
Mark Gatiss' second go at the Lucifer Box character isn't as entertaining as the first, but provides an amusing distraction nonetheless.
Abandoning theMark Gatiss' second go at the Lucifer Box character isn't as entertaining as the first, but provides an amusing distraction nonetheless.
Abandoning the dawn of the 20th century Edwardian trappings of Empire from The Vesuvius Club, this book finds Box in a post Great War funk. Down on his luck, art has moved on, beginning to feel his age, and challenged by a younger rival, Box is tasked by his superiors to investigate the fascist agitator Olympus Mons. But Mons has greater ambitions than the standard purity shtick.
Full of Gatiss' rich reclamation of period appropriate language, the initial foray is disorienting and it takes time for the reader to pick up the rhythm. Once settled, this narrative takes on a life of its own and provides additional benefit.
In retrospect, it's hard not to view Box as a representation of Great Britain herself. In this volume, Box is past his prime and humbled by the events of World War I. Yet he's still got the fighting spirit and can keep up his end in things.
The plot, on the other hand, doesn't hold up as well in this volume. Without revealing spoilers, the twist breaks with the conventions of the form so much as to be suspender snapping. It just doesn't jive as a whole. There may be reasons for it, related to works of the era, but I'm not familiar with the period enough to know what Gatiss might be getting at.
Still, Gatiss' dialogue and narration provide light passing entertainment, despite its flaws....more
Superman:Red Son has a lot of things going for it. A clever conceit, a rich time period to draw up the universe, and strong artwork to give it an ominSuperman:Red Son has a lot of things going for it. A clever conceit, a rich time period to draw up the universe, and strong artwork to give it an ominous feel.
But there's something missing, and that's a strong lead. While Superman himself does have some basic issues as a character, these issues are magnified when he is representing the Soviet Dream instead of the American one.
As a Soviet Superman, he supposedly believes in the ultimate goal of Communist doctrine and is not interested in the political game, but his behavior is inconsistent with that concept.
Still, the other characters around him, especially Lex Luthor, are reliably deep and clever and make for an entertaining, if not completely satisfying read.
As another reviewer noted, the series feels short. Many of Superman's achievements are brushed over or elided entirely and it leaves you wanting more. In an ongoing series, this can be enticing. In a mini-series, it's annoying.
Still, if you enjoy the DC Universe, I'd recommend you at least check this one out for a better than average Elseworlds experiment....more
Thrown into a dark future where the Kingdom of Sacoridia has fallen, Karigan G'ladheon must find a way to overcome not only her ancient foe, but a socThrown into a dark future where the Kingdom of Sacoridia has fallen, Karigan G'ladheon must find a way to overcome not only her ancient foe, but a society that has changed for the worse.
Kristen Britain takes a daring risk in spending the vast majority of a volume in a distant future of what could be. Establishing a whole new cast of characters, only briefly touching on core characters from previous volumes, Britain sets up a patriarchal society in place of what has been her usual fantasy-egalitarian milieu. While it is a clue to the deeper troubles of this future world, it confines her protagonist. Avid fans of the series' heroine will be disappointed with her diminished potency.
Unfortunately, while one would like to take to the new cast, few of them come to life. The new villains are stock. The new heroes fill roles to move the plot along but are mostly forgettable. It's a real shame because, while the characters are flat, the world Britain describes, an industrial revolution style oligarchy, is full of potential and has great flavor. The world itself has flare, even if the characters do not. When we do touch back on the "present" time, the energy picks up and the reader is reminded why they read this series, even though the "future" is lacking.
Without getting too far into real spoilers, one knows Karigan has to make it back to the "present" because the dramatic arc is incomplete, Britain continues to build on her concepts of theology and applying science-fiction style thinking to fantasy time travel. Britain is also due credit for being willing to upset the apple cart as much as she did. She tried something different here and, while it didn't work as well as I'd hoped, she could have just put out a rote sequel instead. This is better, even if not everything worked.
I'll continue to read the series, though I won't be quite as excited about the release of the next volume as I was for this one....more
Every faith needs a guidebook, and to a certain extent, that's what the Prose Edda is. Except instead of being the stories that are the foundation ofEvery faith needs a guidebook, and to a certain extent, that's what the Prose Edda is. Except instead of being the stories that are the foundation of the faith, it's more a collective explanation of basic terms, basic rules, and concrete principles upon which the Norse mythology is based.
It explains the roles of the most important gods, explains how they fit into stories, and explains how one should refer to them. This last portion is arguably the most important. As the translator explains in the valuable appendices, Norse storytelling tradition relies heavily on worldplay and allusion. Indeed, it's sometimes evident that the more obscure your reference to a god is, the better the story is considered.
It's like a giant collection of nerds meeting at a convention and trying to outdo each other on trivia. But this would be a great handbook while reading The Poetic Edda and broadens the scope to include segments of lost works....more
The Doctor on Peri land inside a museum collecting audio files where the staff are reviewing the speeches of a politician who recently committed suiciThe Doctor on Peri land inside a museum collecting audio files where the staff are reviewing the speeches of a politician who recently committed suicide. But when people sneak in to change the content of those speeches and then one of them is killed under mysterious circumstances, can the Doctor and Peri exonerate themselves and solve the deeper mystery?
This is the first adventure to acknowledge the medium of the audio adventures and, given Colin Baker's tendency to expound, there's a certain amount of satire of his performance as the Doctor. Additionally his relationship with Peri is strong in this adventure as Nicola Bryant is given sharper lines than she received as a companion on television. While the relationship remains acrimonious, there's an underlying love and Peri isn't as whiny as she was in the series.
The story, on the other hand, is pretty predictable. Once you're able to confirm the killer's identity, the underlying plot becomes pretty obvious. Regardless though, Baker and Bryant are having a great deal of fun and it carries through to their performance. I look forward to the next volume....more
I received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway
Doug Bremner worked as an expert witness for plaintiffs in lawsuits against pharmaceuI received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway
Doug Bremner worked as an expert witness for plaintiffs in lawsuits against pharmaceutical-giant Roche over the anti-acne medication Accutane. During that time, Roche and its attorneys went to great length to try and sway or discredit him, not only with legitimate criticisms, but with spurious accusations. Meanwhile, Bremner was also coming to terms with his mother's death. She had died while he was very young and Bremner had not addressed the circumstances or emotions related to it. This memoir, though described on the back cover as being the story of that first portion, focuses more heavily on the latter. Consequently, it feels like the reader has been misled.
Furthermore, and admittedly this is the fault of the reader, an expert witness, even one who clinically proves the drug's negative side effects, plays only a small part in the story of said drug's impact. Thus, this memoir leaves much of the story out. It would be better to know the victims beyond a couple of statements, or how the trials proceeded, or what else Roche was doing in response to the threat to their prized goose. Sadly, you don't find that information here.
This book could be useful as a resource for someone wanting to write complete story of Accutane, though Bremner neglects to go into details of the methodology and assessment that led to his conclusions, but, were I a book editor (though I'm absolutely unqualified), I would ask the following question during the writing process.
What book do you want to write? If this is a memoir, then it should be written with that focus, but it means selling the book about you, and just you and what lessons you can impart through your experiences. Memoirs are not only about recounting but, more-importantly, assessing one's life. Yes, you can include Accutane because it's part of your story, but Accutane is clearly not the focus of the story here. If it is about Accutane, then make sure to write about the full story, not just your role. Your participation in events, though significant, is limited.
Ultimately, I cannot recommend this volume. Though it reminds us of the perils of libertarianism and the folly of thinking that bad actors can be corrected through lawsuits, it gets lost in the story of a man who lost his mother and took a long time to come to terms with it....more
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Jonathan Miles sets himself a difficult task in chronicling the life of master Soviet spy, Otto KaI won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Jonathan Miles sets himself a difficult task in chronicling the life of master Soviet spy, Otto Katz. As with any spy, one of his goals is to obscure those relevant facts. Combine that with a career that verges on the success of the fictional Sidney Reilly's accomplishments and you have a real challenge.
Unwisely, in my opinion, Miles starts at the end of Katz's career as he faces the fate of many of Stalin's servants. At first I thought it was an attempt to develop sympathy for the character, but I've come to realize it's more a continuation of the dust jacket. Katz's life, assuming Miles is correct (and I have no reason to disbelieve), is so absurd as to have Miles attempt to further sell the reader on reading the story. This preface is not needed and it, along with the murky early years of Katz's life, delay the reader from getting to the enjoyable substance of the book, which really begins after the Reichstag fire.
From there, it's headlong into the rise of Nazi Germany as Katz attempts to rally anti-facist spirit in Europe and the U.S. while his master secretly negotiates with the Third Reich. Involved in the development of such notorious events as the Cambridge Spy Ring and potentially the assassination of Leon Trotsky, while inspiring such characters as Victor Lazlo in Casablanca, Katz went all over the world in multiple identities, all in service to the Soviet Union, only to find himself yet another one of Papa Stalin's victims.
If you can make your way through the weaker early chapters, then you'll find this an interesting insight into the influence one man with many faces had on the 20th Century.
After putting pedal to the metal in the first few issues of the new arc, Tite Kubo takes it off a bit despite doing an issue almost entirely composedAfter putting pedal to the metal in the first few issues of the new arc, Tite Kubo takes it off a bit despite doing an issue almost entirely composed of fights. After elevating his villains last issue, he reduces them by revealing that some of the protagonists are fighting with limitations. I don't think it serves the story well, but will refrain from full judgment until after I read the follow-on issues.
Still, he does provide a fracture within the evil foe' facade, which promises good things in the future....more
A challenging novel that somehow strikes a common chord across five disparate, yet connected stories, none of which truly come to an end.
Indeed, theA challenging novel that somehow strikes a common chord across five disparate, yet connected stories, none of which truly come to an end.
Indeed, the title 2666, appears to refer to some point of resolution that is not found within. This novel left me pensive, desperately trying to figure out whether I truly understood what Bolano was trying to get across.
In the end, I think I understand his struggles; I can certainly delve into his recurring themes. But the novel leaves you with questions in the same way its characters cannot find answers....more
The final volume of Pokemon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl/Platinum sees the heroes drawn into the Distortion World to face Charon, the rogue member ofThe final volume of Pokemon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl/Platinum sees the heroes drawn into the Distortion World to face Charon, the rogue member of Team Galactic, and Giratina the legendary pokemon who's apparently ...more
Ali Baba, the legendary Prince of Thieves has stumbled upon a treasure trove of unlikely worth when he finds two of the most powerful Fables fallen inAli Baba, the legendary Prince of Thieves has stumbled upon a treasure trove of unlikely worth when he finds two of the most powerful Fables fallen into a magical sleep. But when he wakes them both, with a true love's kiss no less, how much trouble has he bought himself?
Meanwhile, in post WWII LA, the Beast is on the hunt for one of Fabletown's most dangerous, with more on the line than you can realize.
What's missing from both these stories, which are reasonably well told in their own way, is that this series ostensibly focuses on the Fables' fairest (i.e. female) characters. While the female leads of the Ali Baba arc, which takes up the majority of this first collection, do get a significant amount of screen time, Ali Baba and to a lesser extent another male character, share the point of view and the majority influence. This damages the story in a way that's not easy to ignore.
Those who are looking for more female oriented storytelling in this series would be better served by the spy pastiche Cinderella series than what is found in this volume. Still, I'll check out another to see if it improves....more
The Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa, and Turlough land in an English seaside town only to discover that an old judgement is still in effect. As quartz crysThe Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa, and Turlough land in an English seaside town only to discover that an old judgement is still in effect. As quartz crystals infect the wildlife and the very water itself, it is up to the Doctor and his companions to save the Earth from an ages old sentence from a dead world.
As Whovians will know, this calls back to the classic Doctor Who episode, The Hand of Fear. But Marc Platt has taken advantage of the unlimited budget audios provide to really analyze the abilities of his monsters. Unconstrained by the visual nature and limited budget of BBC television, Platt creates a truly frightening scenario where the Earth is almost helpless to defend itself.
As happens with Big Finish audios, the recording volumes can be off and inconsistent, the listener will find themselves adjusting the volume multiple times between straining to hear and then getting their eardrums blasted by a wall of sound. As such, I can't give this adventure five stars. But old school Who fans will find this one very entertaining....more
First he dispenses with the Buffkin storyline, drawing to close a loose threadBill Willingham's latest volume in his ongoing Fables series is a mess.
First he dispenses with the Buffkin storyline, drawing to close a loose thread that he never properly found a way to weave back into his ongoing series. While it's not a bad tale on its own, the telling is perfunctory and it feels like Willingham had nowhere to go with it so he chopped it off here.
The rest of the book deals with three arcs to varying degrees. Bigby sets off to find the missing cubs. Snow is confronted by her original suitor, and Beast has to face off with the Blue Fairy.
Of the three, the Beast arc is the best, with clever twists and entertaining wordplay. A fun gambit of bluff and counterbluff designed to keep everyone alive is a great deal of fun. In the middle is Bigby's pursuit, which suffers from limited page space applied to his search and he doesn't get a lot to do. There are some fun elements with his driver though.
Sadly, the arc dedicated to the star of the volume is the weakest link. While Snow herself comes off as great as ever, her first suitor is boring and just petulant. He doesn't make an interesting adversary and, while the situation presented actually has potential, it doesn't really come off in the page.
By the time you get to the end, you'll feel a number of pages and arcs were somewhat wasted to set up the finale of this one. While I'll continue reading because of previous volumes, I probably would not if this were the first one I had read.
Isolated on the island, Demonreach, infested with a parasite that threatens to destroy him, and controlled by the manipulative Queen of the Winter feyIsolated on the island, Demonreach, infested with a parasite that threatens to destroy him, and controlled by the manipulative Queen of the Winter fey, Mab, Harry Dresden finds himself put into an untenable position, helping the man he hates the most break into one of the most dangerous places in the universe.
Jim Butcher has at least three stories to tell in this volume. The first, surface, tale is that of a heist. Butcher assembles a standard group of people who don't like each other but can work together in the position to obtain untold riches, with the understood complication that greed will be their undoing. But on top of that he layers a story fit into the larger universe of The Dresden Files. Suffice to say, Harry is learning to play the larger game, but powers beyond his understanding play a still greater one. Thirdly, he has a more personal story about family, what it is, what it means, and what familial betrayal does to a person. I'm not going to go into too much detail, clever readers will already pick up more than I should reveal already, but the story is deftly handled and Butcher gain proves himself capable of touching moments in addition to some great comedy and action.
Much like previous reviews, I cannot recommend this volume to those who have not read the previous ones, including all the various short stories in collected anthologies, which are arguably more heavily referenced here than they have been before. That said, long time readers of The Dresden Files will find this volume rewarding.
Kelly Sue DeConnick's second volume brings home a host of familiar faces and provides solid heroics, but a combination of ill-suited art and a lacklusKelly Sue DeConnick's second volume brings home a host of familiar faces and provides solid heroics, but a combination of ill-suited art and a lackluster ending reveal leave me only giving it three stars.
The story begins with Carol visiting the first Captain Marvel I knew, Monica Rambeau, as they team up to discover why some boats have gone missing. This portion, with art by Dexter Soy works well. The interplay between the two characters is entertaining and the application of their power sets is innovative.
The majority of the volume is devoted to the second arc, featuring the return of Deathbird and unfortunately this is where the art, by Filipe Andrade, doesn't work well. While it reminds me of Bill Sienkiewicz's work, it's too exaggerated and line heavy to work with what should be a traditional four-color story. Plus a couple of the perspectives get a bit inappropriate. For an alleged A-lister, mainstream cater to the slightly younger set, hero it doesn't feel like the right choice. Plus, this arc drags a supporting character from the first arc back in and it doesn't really make sense given what we knew about the character in that first arc
The book ends on a cliffhanger and I won't get into the details of it. Having not seriously followed the character's long history, I wasn't really aware of the big reveal but I was able to interpret the meaning. I'll pick-up Avengers: The Enemy Within from the library but that's about it....more
With Yon-Rogg moving in to take his vengeance, Captain Marvel calls upon her friends to help her. Make no mistake, while this feature combines issuesWith Yon-Rogg moving in to take his vengeance, Captain Marvel calls upon her friends to help her. Make no mistake, while this feature combines issues of Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble, the lead here is definitely Carol. With Carol's world crashing down upon her, it would be easy for Kelly Sue DeConnick to let her fall into the background. But instead, DeConnick is able to give each Avenger their requisite character moments while maintaining the proper focus.
There are some nagging issues, in addition to a printing problem where you get pages duplicated. Felipe Andrade's solution for drawing kids is giving them big eyes. (view spoiler)[And the villain's revised costume makes it look like you should get an e-mail notification. (hide spoiler)] This appears to be the end of this run of the series. I've already read, and enjoyed the first volume of the next, but it appears the latter half villain is dropped when we start the next volume. It's a shame, because there could be come potential in her. I'll note we do get a brief shout-out to Carol's successor, and that's an encouraging sign.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A solid adaptation of three of the more familiar tales from the ever changing array of collected Arabian Nights stories.
First is a brief adaptation oA solid adaptation of three of the more familiar tales from the ever changing array of collected Arabian Nights stories.
First is a brief adaptation of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The text is sparse, as one would expect for a tale originally shared orally, but the plot is conveyed well, even if the general narrative is a nice guy gets lucky and doesn't abuse his opportunity.
Second is the tale of Abu Keer and Abu Seer which might parallel a Grasshopper and Ant parable if it weren't more about generosity and hospitality than preparedness. You have one who is willing to succeed and share his success while the other only wants success for himself. One can guess how the tale turns out.
The final is an adaptation, truer to the original stories than the Disney version, of Aladdin. Oddly enough, the reflection I took from this narrative is that being clever and diligent only gets someone so far, one needs a significant advantage (birth or genie) to make it in this world.
All in all, a good light collection of some familiar stories for children to enjoy and parents won't mind reading it too, if only to remind themselves of the changes Disney made to original narratives, or that Ali Baba wasn't a thief......more
Claudette, eldest child of a defeated, but still alive monster hunter, has grown tired of hearing the town's story of driving away the baby feet eatinClaudette, eldest child of a defeated, but still alive monster hunter, has grown tired of hearing the town's story of driving away the baby feet eating giant. Because, if there's a baby feet eating giant, then you should kill it, not just drive it away.
So, as any child does, she elects that she must take on this task in a town full of cowards who are unwilling to deal with this clearly serious threat. Into this endeavor, she inveigles her best friend Marie, daughter of the Marquis and aspiring princess, and her brother Gaston, aspiring pastry chef/weapon smith.
Setting off on her journey though sets the parents, and therefore the town into a panic, but once outside, while some threats are real, there is much more depth to them than what it seems. Those that are threats have reason to behave the way they do. And some are no threats at all.
This sets up a rather biting parable of fear and how people use it to their advantage. (view spoiler)[Indeed, it arguably depicts an interesting parallel between the now disabled monster hunter (the front line military staff), who understands how things really are, and the marquis (the political leader), who uses the fear to his advantage but doesn't really understand the realities outside his village (hide spoiler)]
This book appears to set-up an ongoing series and, at least according to the website, that seems to be the case. I will be on the look-out for the next volume.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Marvel comic hero Hawkeye has a convoluted history. Embracing the best of it while ignoring the more awkward parts, Matt Fraction sets out to tellThe Marvel comic hero Hawkeye has a convoluted history. Embracing the best of it while ignoring the more awkward parts, Matt Fraction sets out to tell us what the archer does when he's not being an Avenger. Set mostly in New York City, Hawkeye is low-powered, high intrigue and full of both ordinary day-to-day activity and the international intrigue you'd expect from a hero who's made so many connections through out the Marvel universe.
Paired with him is Kate Bishop, who also goes by Hawkeye (it's complicated), as a sidekick full of a more modern independence than you usually see from the role. She's clearly the junior partner but is full of wisdom and cleverness when our lead gets himself into trouble, usually not of his own making.
The art style is colored but the palette is kept subdued, giving it a washed out, almost noir, feel where it's not the hypercolor of most modern comics. Instead it feels like action movies of the 1970s and the tone is apt for the low power hijinks you find inside. It's still the Marvel universe, but it's not the epic world saving here, just small fights every day.
Robert Kirkman's ongoing zombie saga remains a harrowing, often unpleasant, read.
After finding a prison at the end of Volume 2, Rick and company atteRobert Kirkman's ongoing zombie saga remains a harrowing, often unpleasant, read.
After finding a prison at the end of Volume 2, Rick and company attempt to set-up shop figuring that the walls and fences will provide security and supplies for them to hold out for an extended period. When they find that not everyone in the prison has died or left, things become complicated. Furthermore, they learn certain things about the zombie plague, resulting in further consequences.
Much like another book I read recently, there are obvious twists to anyone who actually pays attention to the U.S. Justice system and the consequences of lawbreaking, but all-in-all, things make sense, which is due some credit.
That said, while Kirkman is doing a solid job of writing the series, I can't say I actually enjoyed reading it. Things are bleak and, despite the appearance of sanctuary, there isn't much hope or long term progress to be found here. I'll keep reading though....more
Ragnarok has come and gone. The gods of Asgard are dead. But it is not up to gods to decide their fate. If man wants them to exist, then they will. ThRagnarok has come and gone. The gods of Asgard are dead. But it is not up to gods to decide their fate. If man wants them to exist, then they will. Thor, with the help of his alter ego Donald Blake, returns to Earth and he must begin the process of rebuilding. But the Earth he recalls is far different from the one he finds today, and his friends have made choices they will regret.
When J. Michael Straczynski first began writing the rebirth of Thor, I was at the tail end of my comic book collecting period. The issues came out erratically and I stopped collecting. But I do believe I have most of this first volume in my collection somewhere. Straczysnki slow plays Thor and Asgard's reintroduction to the world and does a good job of it. Straczynski wisely puts mankind at the center of the story as much as possible, showing how basic humans, while not as strong as the gods, are frequently just as heroic. Indeed, he goes out of his way to show places where super heroes and gods haven't been, despite their obvious need.
In short, volume one lays a great foundation and I look forward to the next one....more
Osborne chooses her stories carefully, structuring them so they will build off of each other, and her illustrator Troy Howell, first creates a basic Viking-wood-carving style line work over which he draws more colorful and imaginative pictures. It's a clever tool and it brings the spirit of the original art work to life.
Osborne is targeting younger readers here, elementary and the like. For example she omits exactly where Loki ties the rope to himself in the tug of war with a goat, but she still captures the spirit of the important characters, Thor and Loki. She does miss some bits though, probably because of differences in translation and interpretation, that would enrich the work even further.
Still, for young readers who might have seen Thor and Loki in recent movies, it is a worthwhile experience....more