I really don't understand a single thing in this volume, as we, the reader, are dropped into what feels like the middle of a story that is already cur I really don't understand a single thing in this volume, as we, the reader, are dropped into what feels like the middle of a story that is already currently being told, but part of me likes that. Ten years ago, an alien race landed on Earth. The ships (or whatever they are), are huge and resemble trees that reach into the heavens. These Trees have been here so long now that they have become just a part of the landscape in many ways, and in others, they are a source of great intrigue or discontent. No one knows a thing about them. And by the end of this first volume, that doesn't really change.
While on the surface this should be an alien invasion story, it really is more about the people of Earth and how their lives have changed because of the Trees, specifically the three main protagonists: a young Chinese boy who is trying to find his way in the world; a young Italian woman who finds herself at a crossroads with the local mafia; and a scientist who desperately wants the ten years he's been studying the Trees to actually mean something. These three stories never intertwine, but they are all equally fascinating. Ellis truly gets to the heart of each character, and while that may not always be a good heart, it's there.
Jason Howard's art fits the story well; having not experienced his art before, I don't have a frame of reference for what his art can be like on other titles, but here it works, and works well. Between the engaging story and Howard's art, this is a title that I'll definitely be picking up in the future....more
A surprisingly enjoyable little book, Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is fundamentally a book about books and the power that they can have over ourA surprisingly enjoyable little book, Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader is fundamentally a book about books and the power that they can have over our lives.
When the Queen's dogs accidentally wander by way of a mobile library near Buckingham Palace, she feels obligated to check out a book. From there, she is enthralled by books and soon begins to become obsessed with reading, feeling that she has discovered something important to her that she has missed out on over the years. We get to see her journey as she grows as a reader to a most surprising conclusion to the story.
This is the second time that I've read this story, and I loved it just as much as I did the first. Bennett has constructed a great little story, and the ending is perfect. I love his portrayal of the Queen, and both how she deals with her subjects and how she is handled by those around her in her household and government positions. If you've never read this before, I'd highly recommend it. It is a very quick read and worth it. You won't be disappointed....more
I was a little disappointed in this Prelude volume. Usually the prelude volumes offer both full issues and important snippets from various other issueI was a little disappointed in this Prelude volume. Usually the prelude volumes offer both full issues and important snippets from various other issues to bring readers up to speed and be able to jump into a large crossover event. Collecting New Avengers 1-3, Secret Wars (1984) 10-12, Fantastic Four 611, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man 1, Ultimate Comics Ultimates 4, I didn't really see how a lot of these issues had anything to do with the upcoming Secret Wars storyline (such as the Fantastic Four and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man issues); maybe it will become more clear as the story unfolds, but to me, that doesn't really make this volume all that helpful. Unless you really, really like to buy all the graphic novels, there's nothing here that is necessarily all that important to leading up to Secret Wars....more
**spoiler alert** It would seem there is a lot of dislike for this series out there, and I even thought it seemed a little blasé at first, but as the**spoiler alert** It would seem there is a lot of dislike for this series out there, and I even thought it seemed a little blasé at first, but as the series progressed I found I was enjoying it more and more (which to me seems fitting, as most liked the opening acts and then found the closing act to be tedious, while I'm on the other end of the spectrum, much like the theme of the storyline itself). There was quite a bit that I found off and very forced with how the story starts (you can read my thoughts on the prelude here), so I was happy to see how much all of that actually came together to create a story that I liked.
Basically, the Red Skull has fused part the brain of the deceased Charles Xavier to his own brain, because he really dislikes mutants, so he's going to use a mutant's power to make everybody else hate mutants too. Magneto has had enough of his shenanigans and drops a brick on Red Skull's head, killing him. Except this doesn't kill him, it causes the birth of the Red Onslaught, a mash-up of Red Skull and Onslaught. It turns out, tho, that Xavier is still in there fighting to keep Red Onslaught in check, so the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange think if they can reverse the good/evil polarity of Red Onslaught they can suppress the Red Skull and let Xavier take over, thus ending the fight. This would make for a very short story if that actually happened, and of course things go wrong, so instead of just switching the axis of the good/bad for Red Onslaught, it also happens to several of the heroes and villains present, so that basically all the good guys are now bad, and the bad guys good. I think this is where a lot of people didn't like where things went, but this is actually what saved the series for me; I found it wildly interesting to see how Remender played on how each of the characters would behave if their roles in the Marvel Universe were suddenly reversed, and how those that weren't affected by the axis shift would deal with the situation. Of course, everything works its way back to normal for our cast of characters (or does it?!) and everybody continues then to move forward to the Time Runs Out storyline and the impending Secret Wars.
Fairly solid story from Remender, and the art is good, if seeming a little rushed. This has been something that I've noticed lately: when there was only one big event per year, the art was fantastic. You can tell that there was some time taken on all aspects of the art to really make it stand out (House of M is usually my go-to source for this example - I really think the art is gorgeous in that story and an example of using extraordinarily art to really amplify a great story.). Yet, largely when we've seen more and more Event type stories piled on one another, I think the art is being rushed and it's beginning to show. For example, here we have four artists working on this one series (Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Terry Dodson, & Jim Cheung), and while their work is good and fairly consistent with their normal style, to me, it doesn't seem nearly as clean or refined as I know these artists can be. (Dodson being the exception here, as I didn't feel his style lent anything to this story at all - it's a little too cartoonish for my liking, especially when it does feel like he was rushed a little.) Personally, I'd like to see the big Events being handled by one artist, who is given enough time to truly let their talent shine through. I'm curious to see how the main Secret Wars series will look when all is said and done.
Overall, not necessarily a story that has to be read for the bigger picture of the Marvel Universe, but one that I still enjoyed all the same....more
A cute addition to the Art of Racing in the Rain family of books from Garth Stein, Enzo Races in the Rain! tells the story of Enzo's coming into DennyA cute addition to the Art of Racing in the Rain family of books from Garth Stein, Enzo Races in the Rain! tells the story of Enzo's coming into Denny's life, but told for a much younger audience, this time as a picture book. The Art of the Racing in the Rain is one of my favorite books, and with this picture book, Stein introduces Enzo to an entirely new audience, yet he stills keeps Enzo's basic character and sense of self intact. Here, Enzo discovers his love of speed (a theme that continues throughout the original book), and learns just how big the world can be, and how important it is to find and keep your family.
The art in the book is adorable, and while the story is short (as are any picture book), it moves fast and really shows how big and scary a change in your life can be (such as Enzo going from the country to the city), but that if you've got your family with you, things will generally work out in the end.
There are going to be following volumes in the picture book series (one for Christmas this year, and another for Halloween next year), and I'd like to think that possibly Stein will continue Enzo's story for years to come thru these editions for younger kids.
Highly recommended for anybody with children, anybody that loves dogs, and fans of The Art of Racing in the Rain....more
Oh, look! Another X-Men story that involves time travel. How original...
This started off as a really strong read with the problem of how to deal withOh, look! Another X-Men story that involves time travel. How original...
This started off as a really strong read with the problem of how to deal with the Omega Mutant and how Cyclops decides he wants to handle the situation. However, from there the book more or less falls apart. Bendis clearly has no idea anymore how to deal with the larger-than-life situations he puts his characters in, so jumps yet again to his deus ex machina, time travel, to fix the problem and it's not even handled all that well here.
Bachalo's art is not very consistent in the issues he handles, and I hate to say it, but I'm not impressed with Anka's art at all on the issue's he handles. Overall, not one of the books in a series that has definitely had its ups and downs....more
This lead up to the AXIS crossover event does a fair enough job of laying the groundwork for the subsequent story, but there are still things about thThis lead up to the AXIS crossover event does a fair enough job of laying the groundwork for the subsequent story, but there are still things about the overall story that bug me: Why does the Red Skull hate mutants so much (other than needing him to in order for the AXIS storyline to work...)? If he hates mutants so much, why fuse the brain of a mutant to his own? Why have mutants as part of his S-Men if he hates them so much? Why does it take "killing" him to release Red Onslaught? There is quite a bit of suspension of disbelief and just accepting things as they are written required for this storyline to work, and I feel that's a bit of sloppy writing and planning, right there.
The other thing that really bugged me about this collection is if you are going to have parts of the story branch off into other series (part of the overall story plays out in Magneto, make sure that everybody is on the same page with how the characters look and how the story is working in the other issues. When the story transitions from Magneto back to Uncanny Avengers, and the story picks up right from one issue to the next, it's incredibly tacky that the characters are not wearing the same costumes, nor to the stories line up with the action that takes place from the last pages of Magneto to the first pages of Uncanny Avengers. Continuity may not seem that important, but it is.
Overall, I'm hoping that the AXIS storyline is actually handled a little better than the setup was. ...more
A short but poignant story that reads more like an old folk tale (and for all I know, it could be based on one), The Ice Bear is gorgeously illustrateA short but poignant story that reads more like an old folk tale (and for all I know, it could be based on one), The Ice Bear is gorgeously illustrated and beautifully told. A mother bear gives birth to twins, but a raven steals one away and gives it to a human family who are without children. When the child and his bear brother meet again, it is the choice of the child that will determine the course of all their lives. I really enjoyed this story and accompanying illustrations, and think this would be ideal for both children and adults alike....more
Well, for fans of the Tenth Doctor, this is going to be a pleasant surprise. I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into a comic book adventure forWell, for fans of the Tenth Doctor, this is going to be a pleasant surprise. I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into a comic book adventure for 10, but I've got to tell you, Nick Abadzis captured 10's quirks and characteristics perfectly; his turns of phrases and catchphrases that we're all familiar with are there. I could here David Tennant's voice the entire time. Gabby makes for a decent companion, although I don't know how she would have come across on screen; I think she may have been a little too annoying if acted out, but in the pages of the graphic novel, she works well as a companion for 10.
There are two stories collected in this volume. The first, "Revolutions of Terror", about a psychic horror that is infesting New York City, I could easily see working as an episode in the series. The monsters are great, 10 is as clever as always, and Gabriella really steps up and becomes the companion that 10 could use after Donna (this all takes place after the end of Series 4, after episodes "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End". The second story, "The Arts in Space", where 10 takes Gabriella on her fist outing in the TARDIS, lands them in an adventure that is told more from her point of view; the Doctor and Gabriella visit an art museum and when the Doctor goes to visit one of his artist friends, they discover that her apprentice thinks that Gabriella is trying to become the new apprentice, and tries to kill them. This story didn't seem to work nearly as well; I know this was to establish Gabriella as a character and to see things from her perspective, but it just didn't click for me.
I'll be picking up the subsequent collected editions, as it's nice to see 10 having adventures again. Off to look for the other collections of 9, 11, & 12 now!...more
Celeste wants too give her mother the perfect gift, but as hard as she thinks about it, she can't seem to come up with the perfect gift. When she liesCeleste wants too give her mother the perfect gift, but as hard as she thinks about it, she can't seem to come up with the perfect gift. When she lies down to think about it some more, the winds come and pick her up and take her on an adventure into the sky, where she meets the stars, the moon, and the sun, and through these adventures, she realizes what it is she wants to give her mother as the perfect gift.
This book is beautiful. The story is charming, but the real strength in this volume lay in the art; Claire Keane's paintings are, in a word, stunning. I read through the volume once, and then have gone back about a half dozen times in the last week to just look at the artwork. It really is simply stunning. I'd highly recommend this to anyone, with or without children, who enjoy a lovely, whimsical tale....more
The second volume in Jonathan Hickman's big lead up to Secret Wars left me wanting a little. The entire volume leads up to one big battle between theThe second volume in Jonathan Hickman's big lead up to Secret Wars left me wanting a little. The entire volume leads up to one big battle between the three groups all trying to figure out how to stop the Final Incursion: the Illuminati, the Cabal, and SHIELD. I didn't really feel like a whole lot was going on in this volume leading up to the battle (or maybe it's just that I'm a little burnt out on this story at this point, as it really has been going on for years now), but when each of the groups kept throwing a larger, more surprising and shocking group at each other, I really began to roll my eyes. It's getting old, and I'm not really sure that I care about what happens at this point getting to Secret Wars. There's just been way too much lead up; get to the point already, Marvel!...more