My broad experience of Fletch as a character series is previously limited to the two movies and one of the later books that I tried reading roughly 20My broad experience of Fletch as a character series is previously limited to the two movies and one of the later books that I tried reading roughly 20-years-ago and was confused how it was related to said movies since it seemed a strange, poor follow-up. The movies, mainly the first one, were in that broad soup of formative-years-Doug media, and my general take on them was positive and joyous, despite the fact that I watched them much too young to get all the jokes or the nuances. I've had in the back of my head an idea that the movie-version-of-Fletch=good while book-version-of-Fletch=bad for a bit, and I finally wanted to put this to the test by watching the first movie and then reading the first book nearly back to back, and I can clearly say, Space Pilgrims, that I was wrong. Half wrong.
The book version of Fletch's first outing is essentially the version you know if you have only watched the movies. You have a journalist who is investigating drug-trade-on-the-Beach and he is approached by a seemingly happy millionaire with a proposition: Fletch will get paid to kill said millionaire one week down the road, give or take. Fletch agrees to it and begins investigating the millionaire to find out what would drive a man to such things, while navigating the shadow of police corruption and the drug dealing, along the way pretending to be people he is not to get more information. However, the two version are seen through different lenses.
The movie is a somewhat safe-for-life tale of a good natured man who puts on outright physical disguises and rushes headlong into danger against the nefarious establishment where every plot is basically the same plot (outside of a dash of Fletch's ex-wife demanding alimony, which is allowed to be its own thing). Fletch regularly breaks the law and plays at something like a Robin Hood sort, punishing guys who are dicks to folks at a country club and gently chastising drug-addled youth (and stealing a car from a car thief in a scene that can be generally taken as him scaring the boy straight despite it being an accident). Virtually no one hurt by Fletch is a good person, and some are bad people, while everyone that Fletch helps tends to be a good person, though the women are just a bit ditsy and the men are a bit put-upon, with Fletch's superior intelligence less expressed in the plot and more in the script, a subtle but occasionally irksome distinction.
The book, however, has a much more complex character: Fletch is an asshole, but not a villain. He has no real qualms about encouraging a 15-year-old runaway to sell her body on the street as long as he feels he is slightly helping to take care of her. The women in the book tend to be smarter, less ditsy, and less easily shoe-horned into supporting characters. The kill-me-millionaire is not some arch-villain whose dastardly deeds are soon to be outed by our plucky protagonist. Fletch does not resort to outsize disguises, and his wise cracks tend to be strange and offputting. He does imitate folks, but he is also slower and more deliberate with his research and his impersonations. Good people die in this book, which justice is slow for some of the bad people. The ex-wives of Fletch have good reason to leave him behind. The drug trade feels more visceral, and has more of a destructive impact.
In both, the ending is a little bit...fantastic. The movie is neater in its moral implications, while the book is more keen to let Fletch do a bad thing, but they are different sorts of fantasies. The movie is a "keep your chin up and the villains will have their comeuppance and you'll get away with some mild felony offenses while retaining your job" fantasy, a suburbanites glee for a world that allows you to smoke pot in your garage while putting D.A.R.E. stickers on the van you drive your kids to soccer practice in. The book is more of a "overcoming shitty rules that are holding you down" fantasy, a longing for the days where men can be assholes but come out on top as long a they are fast enough to take a chance. For most of the book's gentle shitting on Reagan-era moral duplicity, it is such a strong pre-cursor to the very morality it pushes back against.
In short, the book is slightly superior to the movie, but is answering a different sort of call. ...more
It was only near the end of this collection that I realized it might be the last "new" Terry Pratchett book I would ever read, and I felt a sense of gIt was only near the end of this collection that I realized it might be the last "new" Terry Pratchett book I would ever read, and I felt a sense of glad-sadness: sad that he is gone, glad that he ever existed. This collection, like the previous one of juvenalia, Dragons at Crumbling Castle, is a series of mildly-corrected stories from his days as a teenage journalist where he would write short stories for children for a local paper. I have no idea what corrects he applied, or the initial order of things, so I have no idea if this collection is something like a "complete" chronicle or more or a best-of (I suspect the latter), and it is hard to trace in it the way that some ideas grew up into his novels [the final story, for instance, clearly ties into his Nome trilogy including Truckers, but does Rincemingle set up a name for Rincewind or did he tweak it to be more...Rincewind-esque, and did the footnotes pre-amble his humorous Discworld footnotes or were they added later (which seems likely considering the source)?]. In this, we slightly lose one of the best possible reasons for this book to exist for adult Pratchett-fans, tracing the lineage of his writing, though it still is a delightful little collection of youth-literature with fantasy and humor blended in with good-natured humanism. It probably won't wow new readers in the way that Good Omens might, or make someone a devoted fan in the way that his Discworld novels can, but it is vaguely like sitting on the floor as an uncle tells you silly stories mostly about going out there, having fun, and using your brain. While a score of 3-stars is probably more suited for this collection in the purely technical sense, it would feel, to me, an act of harshness to give such a purely joyous thing less than 5....more
I saw the movie adaptation before I read this, which is probably the second best order, the best order being to read this and skip the movie.
In both,I saw the movie adaptation before I read this, which is probably the second best order, the best order being to read this and skip the movie.
In both, HPL is a young lad who is scarred one Christmas Eve by seeing his father in an insane asylum. Told of a book he is to destroy, HPL is (in a general literary coincidence) later given that book as a gift to help him feel better. Upon reading it, he is sucked into...well, A Frozen Kingdom called (but nothing like the real HPL's) R'lyeh. Here he meets a tentacle-faced winged thing he dubs Spot, and then goes on an adventure to get another dark tome to save the Kingdom on behalf of King Abdul.
This graphic novel is a collection of three comics, and has a sort of neat style that is comical but dark with the plot being "Spunky Young Lad's Adventures" complete with some sass from the hero and a general pluckiness that turns to terror on a semi-regular basis. Spot becomes something of the Jeeves to HPL's Wooster, tending to save him at every turn. Think of it as wish-fulfillment for a boy who wants a magical dog that helps to protect him whenever he gets in over his head. The story is somewhat slight, but fair for three issues, and the Lovecraftania scattered around is largely mis-used (the names are the same but the mask has changed). If you consider Cthulhu plushies to be an abomination, you will probably despair a bit at this book, for though there is a sense of death and dark deeds underneath, the focus on page is mostly on the light-hearted side of things. The puzzling other side of this is that when a particular Lovecraft word pops up near the end, you can't imagine anyone who doesn't know the mythos to get the significance, making the target audience...well, folks like me who has a lot of love for Lovecraft but is able to take a joke about it.
Still, I'd say it's worth reading for an alt-take, just don't go in expecting any strong canon rather than a mish-mash of concepts and syllables from the source.
Back in general to the movie, if you have seen that and are wondering about this one, know that most every word in this graphic novel shows up in the adaptation, though there are a few scenes (such as the "cute" dinner scene with the star spawn family) that are new to the animation. I'd also argue that animated-HPL is maybe a tad more annoyingly plucky while comic-HPL is slightly more beleaguered and most things have an added cute layer added. The strangest change is the creature-in-the-cave is sort of nonsensically turned into a HPL-mythos staple rather than left as a misappropriation of another HPL-staple....more
I will keep this one shortish since I read most of the book about a month ago, and kept putting off finishing it until I had time...then realized I haI will keep this one shortish since I read most of the book about a month ago, and kept putting off finishing it until I had time...then realized I had only one story to go (along with several pages of variant covers and concept art and a preview story from an app that I most likely won't get). Overall, you can kind of review the book in one of three ways.
1. As world building. 2. Meta-world building similar to some partially outre genre collections (think, books that include zombie stories next to stories that redefine the living dead). 3. Tribute.
In mode #1, there are some great moments to flesh out the humanity of a storyline that is so focused on a few POV characters and so give their worldview as the world, however, more recent volumes have so altered the world that this feels strangely out of step with the AoT world as a whole.
In modes #2 and #3, though, there are great moments where one dissects moments of survival horror and the strange humor of the constrained world (AoT distances itself from other survival horror to what degree it can by its own weird set of rules, both internal and external). There is plenty that makes just good story-telling, here. If anything holds this part of the book back, though, it's that outside of those "weird rules", some stories could almost just be set in any other survival-horror genre. Those that aren't trying to be weird - such as the titans being attacked by jokes - lose some of the flavor of the world outside of the aesthetics. The old couple mourning the loss of their son while facing off a threat could have been told with a zombie horde just as well as a titan (in fact, the spiritual take away makes more sense in a zombie world than a titan one). Ditto to the story about a corps group learning to live outside the sanctity of the walls. I mean, the opening story is sort of *meant* to be a zombie/kaiju salute to the Titan world.
Still, if you love those meta-tributes as much as I do, and you have at least a fair grasp of the AoT universe, you'll probably love this portmanteau of AoT and American Comics. This is meant for the Titans fans, though, people with just a cursory knowledge of the world will miss a bit of the jokes and probably get a few things spoiled....more
Oh my god, guys, I finished it. This thing. This collection of...I have no idea how many stories. 600ish pages doesn't sound like a lot, but in this cOh my god, guys, I finished it. This thing. This collection of...I have no idea how many stories. 600ish pages doesn't sound like a lot, but in this case, it has been experience. I'd like to thank my cat, for crawling on top of me while I was trying to concentrate. I'd like to thank my insomnia, for giving a few sleepless nights to get a few more in. I'd like to thank Joe Hill, Phil Rickman, Reggie Oliver, and all the other authors that I read when taking a break. Love to my mom, etc etc etc
Now that that is out of the way, let's talk about how to review this book. There would be, as is true of all collections of short stories no matter the number of authors or years contained within, two broad strokes that can be applied: heterogenic vs monolithic. In the former, there is the general idea that the collection is just that, a basket of fruit and individual fruits may be eaten and the rest left, so that any review in general can only generally talk about the goodness and badness of this or that apple, with maybe some comment on the basket-preparer's general sense of what goes where. Except, to someone thinking of buying this book, hearing that there are "some good stories" and "some poor stories" does not quite fulfill their question. On the other hand, the monolithic approach does not treat the subject as itself. No one is required to eat all the fruit in the basket, and the fruit comes from wholly different seasons. If the middle third of the fruit is too sour for eating, it does not mean that the basket as a whole is a lesser thing, maybe just of lesser overall value. The usual response to a reviewer like me is to try both, give a run down of stories good and bad, and then to sum up feeling as a whole, but that feels wrong, here, so I will try a different tack.
If you were to take the 54 stories here (I went and looked it up after starting the review), my guess would put 27 or so of them as unnecessary. In that 27, you have repetition from better stories - another middle-aged bachelor sees something after playing bridge and finds his friend's new house has an odd past that will be vanquished in the last few paragraphs without proper resolution - and even, in a few cases, truly poor stories without even Benson's generally charming writing to make it feel worthwhile. The other half, the 27 kept, range from the spectacular to the wonderfully mediocre. Benson, as a writer, feels like he builds off of a toolkit. He has a box of spook story creation, and largely uses the same pieces:
* A middle-aged, middle-class man (who is broadly Benson himself, though not always a perfect fit) becomes entangled with someone else's horror story. * A discussion of the nature of haunting, time, spiritualism, evil, and/or fear will develop at some point between characters, often at the beginning or at least by the middle, which will explain the nature of the horror being faced. * There will be a vacation, a trip, or some new real-estate bought to set up the story. * Smoking cigarettes, playing bridge, playing golf, and just walking about (and, to a lesser degree, fishing, hunting, or other outdoor pursuits) will be mentioned. [I would have to go back and count, but I would wager that characters smoke cigarettes in something like 95% of these stories, and play bridge in around 80%.] * There is often some sort of malaise upon a character: a change in life is needed, a tiredness, a need to escape for a short time. * The ghost will generally just be seen as a person, sometimes with a limp, mostly at a distance, and will largely be unterrible except that the text makes sure to tell you the character is terrified by the very thing. * There are often non-specific hints at a certain wickedness at play, people who live sinful lives without a definition of their sin [it a few places, it makes you wonder if Benson is playing at his own homosexuality]. * The final resolution is generally short and incomplete, and not in a good way, mostly in a "darkness cannot overcome light so why did it ever bother" kind of way. * There might be a coda that just wraps everything up in a quick explanation, and more than once (much more than once, even), it starts with something like "You might remember the murder trial at X" and then just tells you what the ghost was.
And here is the rule of Benson stories, the great law I found: the further he deviates from this path, the better his stories often are. Those 27 or so I discarded so rapidly to start, those probably ticked just about every point off on the list. The kept stories play with them to lesser or greater degrees. This is where the meat of the collection is, a man who knew ghost stories, who knew spiritualism, and was willing to play in the toolbox from time to time (when, I suspect, he wasn't merely trying to make money from publishing safe tales to press).
There you have stories like "Caterpillars", where strange, fleshly caterpillars with pincer feet crawl about a house at night and infect their victims with cancer. Here you have "The Face", where a loving wife/mother is haunted by a future vision of her own death and is driven to it by chance. You have the more playful "Spinach" and "Psychical Mallards" and "Mr. Tilly's Seance", where he takes friendly potshots at spiritualists and makes humorous and likeable protagonists. There is "The Man Who Went Too Far" and "The Thing in the Hall" (which is a broadly weaker story, overall) where a proto-Lovecraftian character pushes too far into the realm of knowledge and is punished for it. You have the sluglike elemental that punishes sinners in "Negotium Perambulens" (and a similar one that haunts the woods in "And no bird sings..."). You have the wicked man haunted by his own sins, eventually realized in a faceless but fleshy spectre, in "The Step". The Satanic cult of "The Sanctuary". The slightly saucy ghost of "Thursday Evenings". The experiment upon dead brains in "And the Dead Spake--". The Machen-esque survival of the "Horror Horn". The famous future haunting of "The Bus-Conductor". There is a hint of folk-horror in "The Temple". There is the moral incertitude of "The Hanging of Alfred Wadham". Even in the depths of his toolbox, the melodramatic "How Fear Left the Long Gallery" has heart.
Those stories, and more, are a tribute to the genre. There are others, such as "The Room in the Tower" and "Mrs. Amsworth" that play at the line between ghost and vampire that are well loved (but while the former is interesting in its imagery, the latter is mostly about a lovely woman being evil, something Benson plays around with a bit too much overall). Benson plays at future hauntings, at occasional moral ambiguity, at horror hitting upon somewhat normal folks (if country estates and lots of leisure time is "normal"). His stories have elements that show a foot firmly in the past and the future of the genre. It is phenomenal. BUT, if you read this collection from page 1 to page 600+, you are going to find those stories at best every-other-story and sometimes with several milder or poorer tales in-between. In this way, I think a better curated collection of maybe 15 or so stories would be a much more potent way to learn Benson. Or, use this review as a way to get something of a map of stories to start with, and then bounce around a few of the more "typical" tales like "The Tale of an Empty-House" that are fair in their own right....more
I picked it up to read a short, cozy murder mystery. That's what I got. If I were rating the book entirely on being what it says it is, then I would hI picked it up to read a short, cozy murder mystery. That's what I got. If I were rating the book entirely on being what it says it is, then I would have to give it five stars. It is exactly what is advertised, a couple of hours diversion (give or take) that has pretty much zero twists [if you know the genre then you saw it coming from way back, but it acts like its big reveal was a twist] but some developments that work pretty well. The main characters - computer savvy Sarah and ex-cop Jack - work well enough, with a couple of hooks in them to make them have some flesh, though one can easily point out that Jack's PD skills have a bit more prominence in the story that Sarah's PC skills (yes, I am making a slight pun, there). In the end, it is simply what it is. It has some mild procedural scenes, some mild "non-police interrogating civilian" scenes, some mild "is this possibly a romance?" scenes, and some human drama with a not unbelievable set-up. Go ahead, if you like this sort of thing, read it. Just, you know, maybe not if you have read lots of it, because seriously you will see the ending coming waaaaay back....more
My actual score for the book would be more like 3.5-stars. I quite liked it, but I also quite disliked certain portions of it, and so while the wholeMy actual score for the book would be more like 3.5-stars. I quite liked it, but I also quite disliked certain portions of it, and so while the whole could be seen as something like a 4-star book, it is only with the admittance that certain of its negative qualities tick upon the back of my mind while thinking about it. Though the book ends up more bonkers than expected, in what way I cannot speak of, at all, without encroaching upon spoiler territory, I find the book manages to wear its bonkers content proudly enough to nearly work, an achievement in itself; for, it is often the bits of the book that do not clearly see themselves through that lets the book down. It is aware of the issues it is stirring, but ultimately brings them to life in a half-living state, and ends up feeling crowded while incomplete.
To give some context to my comments, the first third of the book is largely archeological curiosity mixed with "rural village in England and stay off the moors!" horror, dealing with the finding of bog-bodies [look them up, fascinating!] and a weird town full of insular, misshapen folks and sinister gentry. In the second third, we have introduced a few social issues: the wife of the protagonist realizes that she is putting her life on hold, indefinitely, for her family; there are talks of infidelity; we get a hint at child abuse and bullying; what would count as a rape though it is never quite described as such; and a few other bits. Nearly none of these are ever allowed to come to a proper head, so are frustratingly in the way of the final third of the book. The final third is bonkers, and embraces its own kookiness so well that I am obligated to give it a pass and even admit that I enjoyed it.
In the end, had the story been more about the wife instead of the husband, I think the middle third would have worked out much better. Imagine, rather than her being the housewife to a well-published expert drug along on another big find, she had been the person behind the dig, maybe on her first big break, and bringing along a reluctant husband who found her career an impediment to his own. Then the second third would have made more sense, and the finale would have been less a "save the dame!" plot and more a "save yourself!" one. With the husband the undisputed main focus and the wife largely discarded as anything more than a shrill mother/wife hybrid in the final third, it seems like it would best to largely skip the middle third because some of the issues brought up need nuance to work and the book barely gives them such.
In the end, the horror/action stuff is 4-stars, while the social/thinking stuff is lower, but one can imagine a similar story that better balanced the two and succeeding where this one did not, while also succeeding where this one did....more
Man, it shows how long since I have been fully active on Goodreads that I never marked this book as being finished. It has been too long for me to musMan, it shows how long since I have been fully active on Goodreads that I never marked this book as being finished. It has been too long for me to muster a complete review of it, but I posted a review of it on my blog, of sorts, which I will shorten for here.
As I read through Reggie Oliver's The Sea of Blood—a survey anthology of many of his major tales plus a few new ones—I started out with the new stories and posted micro-reviews of them on Twitter, with the hashtag #SeaOfBlood [though obvious, it made for some odd bedfellows since many of the other tweets with that hashtag are either dedicated to the show Hannibal or to real life tragedies]. Then, after finishing those, I went back and read the "older" stories, some of which I have read before, and continued the trend. This worked well up until a dentist appointment gave me a chance to read several stories at once, and my rhythm got off, so I had several backlogged and decided to just get them all out, here, rather than over a week or so on Twitter.
"Beside the Shrill Sea" is, shockingly, a Reggie Oliver story about a sea-side repertory troupe. Characterizations fine. #SeaOfBlood [Doug's Note: actually the fifth or sixth review in post order, hence why it feels a little in media res.]
"The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini", I believe R. Oliver's first, is still an effective take on a non-mythos cult. Worth reading. #SeaOfBlood
R. Oliver's "The Blue Room" is the gentlest comeuppance-for-date-rape tale I have read. Mind-boggingly so. #SeaOfBlood
"Bloody Bill" is interesting as a school yarn, but chief mystery is not the bloody apparition, rather the relationship. #SeaOfBlood
"Among the Tombs" is one of the rare Reggie Oliver stories that chilled my spine. Quite good. Also a bit much at end. #SeaOfBlood
"The Skins" is another repertory actor tale, more disturbing for Peggy's desperation (and the costumes) than the actual spook. #SeaOfBlood
"The Time of Blood" has a great sense of strange with its menstrual revelations, though is perhaps too precise in prophecy. #SeaOfBlood
"The Constant Rake" would have made a perfectly good story about academic processes and betrayal without the tacked on horror. #SeaOfBlood
From the old man's beastly crawling out the window to the infuriating dialogue, "Lapland Nights" is Oliver channelling Cambpell. #SeaOfBlood
Though well written, the only thing remarkable about "Puss Cat" is the vague hint of confession at the end. #SeaOfBlood
The name of "Mr. Poo-Poo" backseats to implications of marital rape. Does not require its vision of hell to chill, but it helps. #SeaOfBlood
"The Old Silence" is better served by its fractured relationships and odd turns than by its haunting, which is serviceable. #SeaOfBlood
"A Donkey at the Mysteries" is one of my favorite of Oliver's, strange in the best of ways (and a nod to Aickman's dark wine). #SeaOfBlood
Hard to see "Baskerville's Midgets", even with scenes of horror added (one effective), as anything but achondroplasiaphobia. #SeaOfBlood
"Mrs. Midnight" continues to be my favorite Oliver, though the conversational tone at the start gives way to narrative, a flaw. #SeaOfBlood
"Minos or Rhadamanthus" is a Twilight Zone of a story about the tediums of eternal punishment, though its twist actually works. #SeaOfBlood
"Flowers of the Sea" perhaps oversteps at the end, but in doing so becomes the premiere story about the horrors of dementia. #SeaOfBlood
"Come Into My Parlour" feels like a story meant to feel like a story (see: cobwebs line). Veg*n librarians make poor villains. #SeaOfBlood
"Holiday from Hell" is quite arch by Reggie Oliver standards, but I kind of like it. Not new to the collection, but first I've read it. [Doug's Note: this is the second one reviewed and like the first, "The Rooms are High", below, lacks the hashtag, I tightened up after this in many ways.]
On another new story from Reggie Oliver's #SeaOfBlood. "Druid's Rest" is like an inverted analog to "The Trains", with a bit of crossover.
"Absalom" is a epistolatory story that, like the best, hides much of its sting in gentle layers. Cloth is a reference I missed. #SeaOfBlood
Reggie Oliver's "The Rooms Are High" is an intriguing cipher. Probably about sex. Probably.
Heh, Reggie Oliver's "Trouble at Botathan" requires homework to fully understand it (have to look up other stories). #SeaOfBlood
If I had to pick five favorites from the collection, it would be "The Dreams of Cardinal Vittrioni", "Among the Tombs", "A Donkey at the Mysteries", "Mrs. Midnight", and "Holiday from Hell". Read those five, and you will see the bits about Reggie Oliver I like the most. Of course, I do not have to pick just five, but life is arbitrary, by and large....more
Hold on to your seats, fellows and ladies, we got more Man-Bat! Bam! Actually, this conclusion to the Man-Bat arc from the previous volume is alright.Hold on to your seats, fellows and ladies, we got more Man-Bat! Bam! Actually, this conclusion to the Man-Bat arc from the previous volume is alright. Nonsense, but alright nonsense. You also get the meat of the volume in a three-part "What if Batman was happy?" storyline, which is a big joke because Layman quickly points out that happiness is delusion in the Batman universe. I kind of like palette-swapped costumes, so the "happy Bat family" (including Catwoman as a new "Robin", Catbird) was a bit of a treat, as was the [mild spoilers], "scarecrow Bat family". Still, like all of the city-wide mega-epics that the New 52 likes to bring up, it feels too unconcerned with the overarching implications of impacting millions of people (in the New 52, Gotham is averaging like one of these a year). I liked the old SF trope it plays with, but the Gotham-wide portion is what made it flounder. The bonus materials, including a retelling of the first Batman story way back when and a "What if Thomas and Martha Wayne lived?" storyline is a treat, though. ...more
From the unnecessary re-origin of [new] Man-Bat to the odd double-cross of She-Bat (compounded by piranha bats in the next one), we get perhaps too muFrom the unnecessary re-origin of [new] Man-Bat to the odd double-cross of She-Bat (compounded by piranha bats in the next one), we get perhaps too much Man-Bat in this volume, since Man-Bat seems to work best as a character when you don't think too deeply about him. You also get the perhaps too on-the-nose villain The Wrath, the anti-Bat, who kills cops and uses personal tragedy as an excuse to be bad and spends money to be bad (even has an anti-Robin). It is an ok issue, but just ok. Has perhaps a technical glitch in that it puts an Annual before an issue that has events discussed in the Annual. Even with Layman's flash-back story-telling, I think this is probably a mistake....more
You know, by the end, Grant Morrison's writing style had started to grow on me: the disjointed cuts, the uneven storyline density, the over-the-top-asYou know, by the end, Grant Morrison's writing style had started to grow on me: the disjointed cuts, the uneven storyline density, the over-the-top-as-a-quirk. I really appreciated this finishing out of the story, and it made the bits I didn't like more or less worth it. I'm mostly glad it's over. This is not quite the Batman for me, but I think, here, I finally "got" it....more
Fits roughly in with the not-quite-complete Batman of Loeb/Sale's Long Halloween/Dark Victory storyline, this time as three stand-alone stories with HFits roughly in with the not-quite-complete Batman of Loeb/Sale's Long Halloween/Dark Victory storyline, this time as three stand-alone stories with Halloween themes (Halloween is mentioned in all of them, but is not essential to really any of them. For the most part, the three short stories are glances into the mind of Batman, but none of them are essential reading, and the Christmas Carol one seems to have missed the mark too wide to be effective. Get this one only if you like Loeb/Sale [which I do], though it's impact on the mythos as a whole is pretty low....more
Once again, I have a small backlog of Batman comics and graphic novels to review. I'm going to mostly limit myself to a single paragraph (or less) forOnce again, I have a small backlog of Batman comics and graphic novels to review. I'm going to mostly limit myself to a single paragraph (or less) for each.
In this one, you get basically a sappy preamble to the events involving Damian in Batman, Inc—no doubt to help increase the harshness of the blow. Two semi-sappy stories about Damian and Bruce finally hitting something like a father/son rhythm, and then two tie-in parts to "Death of the Family". In the first, upside-down-faced Joker covered in face-maggots is probably one of the goriest shots in the entire run-in, but once Joker-Venomed-Batman shows up, it feels burned out. The other "tie-in" part is just the finale from Batman, perhaps something like filler to make up for not being able to go on to the next issue without getting into the next arc. The first half is swell, the last half is kind of skippable. Still, it was a nice volume....more