This arc was largely are tying up loose ends. Get agent Preston out of Deadpool's brain, figure out what to do with Agent Gorman, get Deadpool to move...moreThis arc was largely are tying up loose ends. Get agent Preston out of Deadpool's brain, figure out what to do with Agent Gorman, get Deadpool to move on from the revelation in the previous arc, and so on. It struggles a bit more than previous Deadpool arcs in that it's got so much cleaning up to do that it rarely has time for any fun.
This arc does do a better job than previous arcs of showing "badass assassin Deadpool", when he takes on an entire SHIELD helicarrier worth of troops all by himself. It also doesn't really tie-in to other Marvel characters, it's very Deadpool-centric, which is nice.
I think one problem is that, the writing seems to be moving on from the stuff that made Deadpool super serious in the last arc, but Deadpool himself doesn't seem to be. That makes sense, it's still effecting him, but I'd like to see the Deadpool humor upped just a little bit from this point on.
Still a good arc, but occasionally struggling to find a voice, and a bit too concerned with tying up loose plot threads from previous arcs.(less)
Been on a real Deadpool kick lately, really enjoying this run. This time around, Deadpool realizes he's been having his organs harvested, and tracks d...moreBeen on a real Deadpool kick lately, really enjoying this run. This time around, Deadpool realizes he's been having his organs harvested, and tracks down the cause. I won't spoil anything, but the big reveal of what's been going on is pretty awesome as an idea, it's almost a shame that whole subplot is resolved relatively quickly.
As a downside, the story heavily involves Wolverine and Captain America. It never veers away from focusing on Deadpool, but I find the two of them somewhat grating, and Wolverine's lines are often extremely corny, without being intentionally funny.
One really neat thing is that Wade actually gets pretty serious. He spends long stretches being uninterested in talking because he's depressed, and there are actually stakes for him this time (again, won't spoil). For a guy who is basically invincible and always funny, making him vulnerable and serious was an interesting change. Lots of insight into his character.
Overall, a good run, lots of good character building.(less)
Soul Hunter starts with a crack about having to run an old comic issue from the past, and proceeds to present an entire comic book from the 60's, comp...moreSoul Hunter starts with a crack about having to run an old comic issue from the past, and proceeds to present an entire comic book from the 60's, complete with the bad coloring, the cheesy dialogue, and everything. It absolutely looks like an old comic book, but with Deadpool making modern references occasionally.
Here, he's tasked with a very Ghost-Rider-esque job of hunting down some folks who sold their soul to the devil in order for special powers. The special powers each make it difficult for Deadpool to assassinate his target, which is where the fun comes from. One thing that's really neat is just how much insight you get into the Deadpool character, with another character whose soul has been transplanted into his brain (he's trying to find a way to get her out). You really see how crazy Deadpool is, and he also has lots of moments where he's a complete bastard as well as moments where he's a kind-hearted person deep down. It perfectly captures the essence of the character.
Funny and engaging throughout, this may well be one of the best deadpool arcs out there. I only knocked a star off because Deadpool temporarily teams up with Spider-man, and it's the Superior version where it's actually Dr. Octopus in Peter Parker's body. I completely hate that shit, so I can't rate any book that cameos him as pefect.(less)
Really awesome. This is a great introduction to deadpool, lots of great humor, good action, and a really funny/interesting/bizarre plot about a sorcer...moreReally awesome. This is a great introduction to deadpool, lots of great humor, good action, and a really funny/interesting/bizarre plot about a sorcerer reviving all of the dead presidents of the United States, who go haywire and try to destroy the country. Tons of panels of Deadpool murdering presidential Zombies, it's great fun.
You get a lot of insight into Deadpool, and there's just a bit of 4th-wall-breaking without it being too annoying. Really enjoyable, if you're interested in Deadpool, this is the book to pick up.(less)
I was never really a big fan of Captain America, but I loved the second movie so I decided to check out the same-titled book. It's good, not great, an...moreI was never really a big fan of Captain America, but I loved the second movie so I decided to check out the same-titled book. It's good, not great, and honestly I think the movie added a lot of stuff that was missing, namely strong character beats and an intriguing plot. The comic book itself shares only a bit with the movie, namely the title and the title character.
I honestly think Captain America is kind of an unlikable character. He's way too serious and stern, kind of has a "holier than thou" vibe to him about everything. It's hard to explain, but even in Brubaker's arc, I disliked the guy. Even when he's confronted with The Winter Soldier and finds out the truth about him, I never really felt any sympathy for his character, he never seemed to be truly wrestling with how to proceed.
This book made me really appreciate how good the movie is, and how great of a casting decision Chris Evans is for Cap. He has moments where he acts like his comic book counterpart, but he's also likable and charming. I realize it's weird to talk about a decade-old comic book by comparing it to a movie loosely based on it, but I'm simply amazed at how much the movie improves on the flaws of the source material. It's a good story, lots of action, and pretty strong for a comic book overall, but it really falls short in a lot of ways, all of which are fixed by the film version. It's worth a read, but frankly the movie is better.(less)
Neat little independent comic book. It's an Old-West-meets-Zombie-Horror story, in which a Dr-Strange-Esque character tries to track down magical reli...moreNeat little independent comic book. It's an Old-West-meets-Zombie-Horror story, in which a Dr-Strange-Esque character tries to track down magical relics in the west. Drake, the main character, is trying to locate 6 magic guns that each have a special power granted to the owner, and which can only be transferred to another owner when the previous owner is killed. Unfortunately, the old owner of one of the guns, an undead zombie named Hume, has amassed a posse of evildoers who possess the other guns, and is hell-bent on tracking his down. The gun is in the hands of Becky, who Drake has to protect in order to keep her alive and prevent the gun from falling back into the Hume's hands.
It's a cute little story, well set-up, well-told. It takes an issue to get going, the first issue kind of meanders a bit, but once it gets going it definitely sucks you into the story.
One complaint I had was the lack of a credible threat. Basically all of the bad guy's henchman have these guns, and Drake is able to kill them and take their guns near-effortlessly. It's hard to take the bad guy seriously when the battle for any given gun lasts only a few panels. It was also a bit strange to have the hero character looking to acquire all of the guns, it had a very Infinity War vibe to it, except that were supposed to be rooting for the guy accumulating what, in other comics, would be acknowledged as too much power for one man.
I also didn't love how Becky was handled. She alternates between being a capable woman who can handle herself and her magic gun, and being a helpless damsel in distress that needs Drake to save her. I kind of felt like the writers needed to pick an angle for her, I had a hard time understanding her character.
Overall, a good read. I'm not sure if I'm sucked in enough to continue reading, I liked that everything was wrapped on up in a nice little bow at the end of the collected issues, but it makes me feel like the story is "done."(less)
Really good Deadpool short. Deadpool is snarky and funny without being grating and obnoxious (which happens). There's some minor fourth-wall-breaking...moreReally good Deadpool short. Deadpool is snarky and funny without being grating and obnoxious (which happens). There's some minor fourth-wall-breaking without being irritating (which happens). And overall Deadpool gets to be both the hero and villain of the story in different places, which is really what you want.
I'm not sure if this takes place as part of the infamous "Marvel Zombies" arc, I should look that up. Basically all of the superheroes are gone (which makes me think it is) and everyone is a zombie. Deadpool is immune because of his healing factor, so he goes around being the only "superhero" to fight the zombie hordes. It's a good time, lots of killing, some strong character moments, especially later on.
One thing I really liked was the way that zombies were portrayed. Their bodies are out of their control, so they still have normal human thoughts, and hate the fact that they are eating people. The dialogue bubbles are completely disturbing in a lot of places, I liked it.
Overall, a good Deadpool comic, a good story for the character without falling victim to some of the stuff that makes Deadpool occasionally unbearable.(less)
A book like this is teflon from a critical standpoint. If I say I didn't like it because of the way it used comic book tropes, you'll accuse me of not...moreA book like this is teflon from a critical standpoint. If I say I didn't like it because of the way it used comic book tropes, you'll accuse me of not understanding that it's a satire of those tropes. If I say I didn't find it funny, you'll say it's because I was to offended by it's edgy content.
But I did understand the satire, and I wasn't offended in the slightest. And yet, I intensely disliked The Pro, not because it was satire, but because it was lazy satire. And I didn't find it funny, not because I was offended, but because I found it offensively bland.
You ever watch some of the stuff that's on Adult Swim these days? They had some success with "omg so random" shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and now they're desperately trying to recapture the same lightning in a bottle with a slew of "super edgy and offensive off the wall comedy" cartoons. But none of them are really funny. They're like "Trying Too Hard: The TV Show". Well this is Trying Too Hard: The Comic Book.
The basic idea here is that an alien grants a prostitute super powers to prove that anyone can be heroic. So we have our main character, who is a foul-mouthed, generally craptastic person, and she gets super powers and is recruited by The Super Satirical Justice League. They have the Superman-like character, who is strong and powerful but dumb. We have Batman and Robin, who are super gay because those characters are gay lol. We have Wonder Woman, who has huge tits because woman. We've got a black Green Lantern who talks stereotypical jive (or at least, what it sounds like when white people try to impersonate jive). And we've got a cross between Flash and Aquaman who is gay because holy shit have I mentioned how funny I think gay people are?
The Pro doesn't really fit in, she gets The League into some trouble, generally embarrasses them, but ultimately saves the way. But not without lazy attempts at offensive comedy, as well as a 5-page long soliloquy which may as well have been Garth Ennis's personal essay about the state of comic books and how they oversimplify good vs bad. There's even a little bit of right wing fascism thrown in, when referencing how real problems are solved by the people willing to bomb hospitals and schools because there are sometimes bad guys in there, I almost felt like I was reading a Frank Miller book for a minute.
There are a few minor chuckles throughout the book, some clever situations that the characters find themselves in. But most of the humor is derived from the main character calling people twats and cunts, which is funny because she's a lady and ladies don't talk like that.
I don't know, it's not BAD really, but there's nothing particularly good about it. Not a single aspect of the "satire" is a new observation or keen insight, it's just the same jokes at the expense of comic book cliches that have been around for decades, wrapped in a faux-offensive candy shell to make it seem edgy. It's like the comic book version of a kid throwing a tantrum in the corner to get more attention. Nobody cares, kid, you're not impressing anyone.(less)
Sex Criminals may be the funniest comic book I've ever read. The premise is cute on its own, but really the genuinely awesome writing is what keeps th...moreSex Criminals may be the funniest comic book I've ever read. The premise is cute on its own, but really the genuinely awesome writing is what keeps this series fun to read. I don't think I've ever laughed out loud at a comic book before, but I laughed a lot reading this. Make absolutely certain you get a digital version and zoom in any time there's writing in the background. The posters and video names in the porn store had me rolling.
Don't be put off by the name, it's just another joke by the writers. That's the kind of humor to expect here, so if you don't think it's funny to title a book "sex criminals" when it's about a couple who discovers that when they have sex, they can freeze time, and decide to start robbing banks, the humor may not be for you. Even the letters in the back of each issue, which I normally skip, are worth reading here. Seriously, super-entertaining stuff.
I don't know why people keep describing the book as "sexy" or "erotic". Yeah it has sex (obviously) and nudity, but I never found any of erotic. In fact, it's not erotic, nor is it crass or exploitative. People are just sometimes naked because you have to be naked to have sex. It's very matter of fact. You know how you might be doing something on your laptop and your SO changes clothes in the room, so for a brief moment they are naked? And you don't make a big deal of it or immediately ravage them overcome by their sexuality, it's just a thing that's happening in the room, where it's nudity but it's weirdly non-sexual? That's how the sex is handled in this book, it's just a thing that everyone has and we're not going to be babies about it. I thought it was refreshing and mature, but not particularly erotic.
My chief complaint is it falls victim to the same trope that lots of high-concept "what if someone could do X?" fiction: after our main character(s) discover their super awesome power and we're ready to explore the possibilities of having those powers, the writers realize they need an antagonist, and decide that there's actually an underground faction of people with the exact same power, and their job is to police the people who discover their powers so they aren't abused. If you've ever seen the movie Jumper, it's like that.
Not a lot happens in Volume 1 to be honest. We get the backstory, it really seems to take its time to "really get going", and I think volume 1 ends just as it's getting interesting. Normally based on how little actually occurs, I'd recommend passing on a book like this. But the truth is, it's so funny, and such a blast to read, that it's worth reading even if very little is actually happening character or story-wise. I highly recommend Sex Criminals, and I'm eager to see where the series goes.(less)
I'm probably not the best judge of a Daredevil comic, since I've never read one before. This was my first, so keep that in mind as I discuss it.
I was...moreI'm probably not the best judge of a Daredevil comic, since I've never read one before. This was my first, so keep that in mind as I discuss it.
I was familiar with the basic story of Daredevil, and obviously I've seen the Ben Affleck movie (which I didn't actually hate, by the way), but I'd never actually read a Daredevil comic, and thought Season 1, which covers Daredevil's origins, would be a good intro.
To an extent, it was a good intro, covers the basics, and it gets you into Murdock's head quite a bit. One thing I liked was how much I felt what a disadvantage Daredevil has due to his blindness. I mean, I know the guy is blind, but I always had the impression that his other senses made up for his blindness and then some, effectively balancing out his blindness so it wasn't really too much of a problem. But in Season One, it's a real handicap to the guy, and it really gives the reader a sense of how brave he is that he still puts himself out there.
Murdock lost most of the battles he engaged in, which was an interesting touch but it did get a little old. Then he became obsessed with "proving" himself to be a "hero" which seemed weirdly narcissistic. The story jumps all over the place, kind of a hodgepodge of different story elements, random bad guys, and mini-tales, which I didn't particularly like. In fact, the "main arc" ends with a few issues left in the book, which are then a completely different story, a completely different artist, and a huge tonal shift. I'm not sure if it's fair to criticize a trade for this, but when I get a trade paperback I expect a certain level of cohesion - why draw the lines where they were drawn if there were just going to be two totally random issues tacked on at the end?
Another thing that irked me in the book was the EXTREMELY sudden change in costume. I mean, I'm reading an origin story here, I expect a little more reasoning behind completely changing the costume other than, literally, "this new costume should distract him!". I'm not kidding, that's the only mention of why Murdock suddenly shows up looking completely different than he did on the page before. He was in the middle of chasing down bad guys too, did he go home and change? Did he already have the red suit, ready to go? So weird.
The most engaging parts of the book were actually outside of the costume, when he was just being a lawyer. I'd have actually liked some courtroom scenes or something, the closest it gets is a couple panels of a trial that gets delayed.
Overall, this is not a great introduction to the character. The book showed me that a Daredevil story actually *COULD* be good, but this one isn't it.(less)
This is a neat little book. It's basically about a group of kids who find out that their parents all belong to a group of super-villains, and they run...moreThis is a neat little book. It's basically about a group of kids who find out that their parents all belong to a group of super-villains, and they run away from home. It's a very small story, very focused on the characters. All of the kids range in age and they all have very distinct personalities. The dialogue is usually focused on them coming to terms with their situation, and otherwise think about their place in the world. It's very teenager-y, this book would be really good for a young adult I think.
The book isn't perfect. Sometimes the dialogue seems a bit corny or unrealistic, especially the extreme speed at which the kids all completely abandon their parents. There's very little "there's no way they're all super-villains, we must have misinterpreted" or even "I don't care what they did, they're my parents" kind of moments. It's just, eavesdrop on evil-looking thing, immediately run away from home and talk about turning them into the police.
Great effort is also taken to explain why the runaways all stay in L.A., and why they are unable to get the assistance of any real superheroes (yeah, it takes place inside the Marvel universe, so Captain America and crew are real). Things also come off the rails a bit when the kids discover their own superpowers (of course), but at least each kid's powers come from their parents so there's a nice poetic element to things. Stuff gets completely insane when we find out about the evil plan of the parents, why they are doing what they're doing, and who they are working for. I won't spoil it here but it's pretty far afield. Hey, it's a comic book.
Overall, this was a really well-written little isolated story. It doesn't suffer from the usual Marvel problem of involving a shitload of complex backstory, and works well on its own. The characters are engaging and fun, and the whole thing is a quick read. There's a central mystery that's extremely easy to predict, but I think the entire thing would work well for the age group interested in stuff like Hunger Games and similar YA fiction, but for comic book fans.(less)
Not bad. I think I seem to like the idea of Deadpool more than anything I actually read with him in it. I love the idea of a comic book character who...moreNot bad. I think I seem to like the idea of Deadpool more than anything I actually read with him in it. I love the idea of a comic book character who has the unique superpower of knowing he's in a comic book, but this particular book didn't actually delve into that all that much. It's a pretty abbreviated origin story and a quick read, with the Deadpool-style comedy hook being that Wade recruits a screenwriter to tell his origin story properly as a film, but then most of the comic book is watching the film be insanely inaccurate. It comedically avoids actually telling the origin story, though you do get a bit of background and plenty of humor.
It's not the greatest comic book I've ever read, but it's extremely short and it's fun enough to be worthy of a quick read.(less)
This was my fourth attempt at reading Breaking the Spell. Back when I first got interested in nonbelief, it was one of four books I purchased physical...moreThis was my fourth attempt at reading Breaking the Spell. Back when I first got interested in nonbelief, it was one of four books I purchased physical copies of at the bookstore, along with The God Delusion, God is Not Great, and The End of Faith. In fact, it was the first of those four books I decided to read, because I was struggling with my own dwindling faith, and the title seemed the least confrontational so I figured it would be the best to ease myself into things. I quickly got tired of the book and abandoned it. In fact, I abandoned the whole effort, and it wasn't until a few years later that I resumed my journey by reading The End of Faith, which I really enjoyed and then plowed through the other two books.
I felt guilty that I had skipped over this book, the only one of the "Four Horsemen" books I hadn't read. I wondered if I had perhaps been unfair, and disliked it only because of where I was, and not what the book was. So I picked up the same paperback copy I had purchased years earlier, and again tried to read it. Again, I quickly found myself losing interest, and it was never a book that I "stopped reading", it was just one that I never reached for when I felt like reading.
The third time was shortly after I'd gotten an ebook reader. I figured, with a huge library of books at my fingertips, I'd be more likely to read this one, so I tried once again. I got the ebook version of Breaking the Spell, and for the third time found myself losing interest. I had officially moved this book to my 'will-never-read' shelf on Goodreads, and had resigned myself to simply never bother reading this book. I was bummed about it, and I couldn't quite figure out why I disliked it so much, but there are so many great books out there, I decided I couldn't bother caring any more.
Then, out of nowhere, I was logging into Audible.com one day and noticed that Breaking the Spell had been released on audiobook format. Audiobook! This was the key! I could listen at the gym, on the bus, in the car, and walking around downtown. This was how I was going to get this book read, I thought.
Well, I'm happy to say, I did actually manage to get all the way through Breaking the Spell this time. I am, however, unhappy to say I still hated it, and largely forced myself to complete it out of a weird sense of obligation and completion. Less because I enjoyed the book, and more because I knew this was my last chance.
After getting all the way through it, I finally figured out what it was I hated so much about it, and sharing that will be the entirety of my review of it, aside from the personal historical lesson above.
I've read a lot of these "atheist screed" type books in the past few years. What is interesting is that the background of the authors of each of these books is directly reflected in the content and style of the book itself. Richard Dawkins is a world-renowned scientist and professor, so it's no surprise that "The God Delusion" is written very scientifically, citing as many studies as possible and outlying arguments in a clear, logical way. Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, but also has a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, so The End of Faith is a little less scientific than Dawkins's work, and a bit more meandering. Carl Sagan was a scientist and educator, so The Demon-Haunted World is extremely scientific, but also very approachable and friendly. Christopher Hitchens was a debator, a journalist, so God is Not Great draws upon a lot of current events and political angles, and reads like a very long OpEd piece.
So what's Daniel Dennett? He's a philosopher. If this fact doesn't give you pause, you probably haven't read a lot written by philosophers, or you are one. Philosophers have a tendency to ramble forever, carefully mapping out their argument in excruciating detail. There's a point in the argument where a normal reader might say "alright, I get it" only to discover they are approximately 40% through the entire argument, and must now eye-roll their way through the remaining 60%. Philosopher's seem to like questions more than answers, and like to pose tons and tons of questions, and consider every possible angle about a particular point, including purely hypothetical ones with little to no basis in reality. The short way of saying this is: a lot of philosophers love the sound of their own voices. This is obviously a mean generalization, but I have to admit I've found it to hold true surprisingly often.
Dennett's Breaking the Spell is no exception to this. It is exactly what one might expect from a philosopher, illustrating every negative aspect of stereotypical philosopher writings. Case in point: the first third of the book is spent merely justifying the existence of the rest of the book. What would be a normal author's introductory chapter is, instead, nearly 100 pages of droning about the need for his book. Can science study religion? SHOULD science study religion? Ugh.
In fact, the TITLE of the book, "Breaking the Spell" seems to indicate that the book will be about what we can do to break society free of the cycle of religiosity. The only chapter that even remotely deals with that, "Now What Do We Do?" is the final chapter, a mere 32 pages of the book's 340 (non-appendix) pages. Another (mild) irritation is Dennett's constant citations of his own previous work. I understand if an author wants to point readers to his previous work because it might be interesting, or help articulate a point, but it seems almost comically frequent in Breaking the Spell. There's a palpable sense of pretentiousness.
I don't want to give the wrong impression. It's not that the book contains nothing of value. On the contrary, there are some really enjoyable bits to the book, some really interesting points, and a lot of food for thought. The problem is that of padding: an interesting point that should take up a merel paragraph to be accurately conveyed to a reader might instead consist of a few dozen pages instead. Every moment reading the book feels like wading through haystack after haystack looking for needles. They are nice needles, but you can't help but ask why Dennett couldn't be bothered to simply edit the haystacks out.
There are lots of similar books that are more informative, or more interesting out there, so it's tough to recommend this book. I know a lot of people love it, so I think a big part of the issue is my own general distaste for this particular kind of writing. (less)