Not a spoiler because it's how the volume begins, but what you should know is that Doctor Octopus has put his mind into the body of Peter Parke...more Weird.
Not a spoiler because it's how the volume begins, but what you should know is that Doctor Octopus has put his mind into the body of Peter Parker, Spider-Man.
It's one of those nightmare scenarios, where you're watching Doc Ock (yeah, wer're tight, I call him Ock) ruin Peter Parker's life because he comes at it the way he does his own. The thing is, Ock is really smart and kind of an asshole. Peter Parker is really smart, but absolutely not an asshole.
It's a book that tackles that old question. Haven't you always wondered if your life would be better if you were 10% more of an asshole? If you just cared a little less about what people thought and instead just did things because you felt like it? Because Ock isn't necessarily TRYING to ruin Peter Parker's life. It's not one of these situations where he's impersonating Spider-Man so that people will continue to call him a Menace. Or a Dennis. Or a...well, you can do the math on combining those terms. No, Ock is planning to remain as Peter Parker forever. He's in it for the long haul.
The experiment is interesting. Is there something essential to the characters that made them who they are, or could anyone be Spider-Man given some web shooters and a rad pair of pajamas?
Either way, between this and Brand New Day and Spider Island, for better or worse, I have to admit that I appreciate the people at Marvel being up for experimenting and trying some wild ideas with this character. Most of them, on paper, don't actually work. I mean, mind swap? This is the ultimate soap opera nuttiness. As is having a clone. Or secret agent parents. Hmm...
But really, even though the ideas sound pretty stupid, I end up enjoying where they go with them. Rather than take a big story (X-Men fighting the Avengers!? WHAAAAAT?!!!) and have the one-sentence premise BE the entirety of the story, the spider books do a good job of making the premise nothing more than a platform and letting the story go from there.(less)
You know what every apocalypse has? One big huge asshole who seems dead set on doing whatever the polar opposite of the protagonist is doing. Why? The...moreYou know what every apocalypse has? One big huge asshole who seems dead set on doing whatever the polar opposite of the protagonist is doing. Why? There's always got to be some asshole ruining the fun for everyone.
Apocalypse books are kind of all the rage right now, or maybe that's just starting to die down, but part of me wonders whether those kind of people would really show up? More to the point, who are all these crazy assholes they always get to hang out with them?
"Hey Pete, it's the apocalypse. We could head into the mountains and live in peace. Or we could sign up with the dude wearing a Jason mask and a sash made from bullets. What do you think?"
Well, nameless questioner, I think we'll just go ahead and let bullet crazy man drive towards the abandoned nuclear plant or whatever damnfool plan he's got and wait for him to die. Everybody else seems to be dying without trying, and this guy seems to be ACTIVELY doing things that would have gotten him killed before all this apocalypse business. Sooooo I'll take my chances by not taking my chances, thanks. (less)
There are few kid's books out there that I find legitimately funny. A lot of cute ones, sure. A lot that make me say, "Oh, that's funny." But not that...moreThere are few kid's books out there that I find legitimately funny. A lot of cute ones, sure. A lot that make me say, "Oh, that's funny." But not that many that make me actually laugh. Seriously, chuckling to myself on an outdoor patio.
It made me laugh, and when I read the first few pages to a group of 5th graders, they laughed too. Granted, I have the emotional range of a 5th grader, so it's not a perfect test, but I think it still says SOMETHING.
If you're reading chapter books out loud to your kid, or just A kid, I guess. I mean, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life. Probably not the best idea to go around reading books aloud to strange children, but that's just my opinion. If you ARE reading aloud, though, this is the perfect book. Just try not to make J.Lo's voice TOO hilarious. It's quite the performance to keep up.(less)
Guys, this is so good. Dan Slott, after reading about 50% of the Amazing Spider-Man issues out there, is hands-down my favorite Spider-Man writer. It'...moreGuys, this is so good. Dan Slott, after reading about 50% of the Amazing Spider-Man issues out there, is hands-down my favorite Spider-Man writer. It's SO good.
Let's put it this way.
I'm a man of age and wisdom who has been reading comic books his entire life. I know how these things word. And still, for the briefest moment in this book, I caught myself thinking the world might ACTUALLY end if Spider-Man couldn't save it. With the next three volumes sitting right there, I STILL had a moment.
It's a pretty rare thing to capture in comics, a world where the stakes can't ever be high because people are always coming back from the dead and reversing time and any other number of insane things. But it happened, and I'm grateful for that.(less)
There is not much more joyful in the world of comics than a Spider-Man/Human Torch team-up. And that's what we get. The next-best is probably Spider-M...moreThere is not much more joyful in the world of comics than a Spider-Man/Human Torch team-up. And that's what we get. The next-best is probably Spider-Man/Daredevil, but that might hit my sweet spot solely because I enjoy that Spider-Man will call Daredevil "Magoo." That's mean, insensitive, and great.
It works with the Torch. You know that friend you had where the two of you would get together and the collective intelligence would go down 30%? And it's about the most fun you ever have? That's what we're talking about. IN SPACE!
Spider-Man is the king of Marvel Team-Ups. Whoever they team up, most of the time they get teamed up with Spider-Man. But what about some team-ups that don't sound so hot?
Ah, Deathlok. The Terminator with a weird zombie face and a backpack. What's going on with that goddamn backpack? What could he possibly need in there? I'd like to think he's packin' snacks back there. That he's lost touch with humanity, but he tries to keep it together by offering a granola bar here and there. You could do worse.
Spider-Man and Frankenstein is bad enough. But as we all know, the way these Team-Ups work is that two characters fight a bit, realize there is no earthly reason for them to fight, and then battle a true asshole together.
How great would it be if they had that in a word balloon. "Wait! Stop fighting! Baron Zemo is the TRUE asshole!"
So who's the true asshole in this story? Oh, just a dude called Ludwig Von Shtupf. This is a monster maker, not a pornographic legend whose trademark is a monocle. If you can believe it.
So this one, I approve of the team-up in question. But the cover. It's like they managed to combine the 1990 Captain America movie with the 1970 Spider-Man. I encourage all of you to watch this trailer. This is what comic book fans had until about the early 2000's with the notable exception of about 1/75 good Batman movies. So yeah, we got pretty excited. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYrxQ...
I didn't know what to expect from this one, a collection written and illustrated by a dude who was making his nut drawing pornographic comics, but...moreWow.
I didn't know what to expect from this one, a collection written and illustrated by a dude who was making his nut drawing pornographic comics, but wow.
If you're into punky, Transmetropolitan-type stuff, this is a great read. It's creative, new, and almost every page has something new to offer, whether it be a zombie war in Korea or a cat that can duplicate a key by swallowing it.
With this kind of comic, I often worry that it will just come out like a bunch of nonsense, a bunch of cool ideas jammed into a tiny space. But King City holds it together. The supplementary material at the end of this volume isn't quite so coherent and really did a job showing me how this could have turned out in less careful hands.
This was my biggest surprise of 2012, and it was a great one.(less)
Yeah, I'm as surprised as anyone. But honestly, of the half dozen titles I've read from DC's relaunch, this one has been the best. By quite a margin,...moreYeah, I'm as surprised as anyone. But honestly, of the half dozen titles I've read from DC's relaunch, this one has been the best. By quite a margin, in fact.
For one thing, it's a pretty comprehensive relaunch. You don't have to know much about Aquaman to read it, and what you don't know can be picked up through the information-delivery vehicle the writers found, which is the ignorance of the general population when it comes to all things Aquaman. Which is in full force because, let's face it, no one respects Aquaman.
Perhaps in a world devoid of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman (although it was a little puzzling that people seemed so fixated on Aquaman's orange shirt when Batman and Superman wear underpants outside their pants and Wonder Woman is parading around in what appears to be a woman's one-piece bathing suit) Aquaman would seem more special. But because he is in a world with not only a Superman, a Batman, AND a Wonder Woman, but also a Flash, a Green Lantern, a Captain Boomerang...I could go on.
What makes this a good read is that you still get your comic book elements, your fight against the bad guys and all that, but this book also does a nice job with the human side of things, which is something that I think suffers in a lot of DC's books, if I can make an unfair and sweeping generalization.
The beauty of Marvel, to me, is that the characters are usually somewhat powerful, but for the most part they are still fairly human. Spider-Man is the prime example, of course, because Amazing Spider-Man has always been just as much about a guy being Peter Parker as it has been about a guy with super powers.
I think that feeling gets lost in a lot of DC books. The characters are just too powerful. And the human side is often very weak as a result. Does anyone give a shit about Clark Kent? Is there ever any question about which side is dominant, Barry Allen or the Flash?
Part of the reason that Batman has been such a success, to me anyway, is that he's one of the few characters where the repression of the human side is a part of the story. He's more human than most of the other characters, but he's ACTIVELY pushing that part of himself away. DC managed to turn the flaw in many of their characters to their advantage, and it was a great idea.
Aquaman, from the new 52 books I've read so far, is the only one I cared about as a guy. Deathstroke had a son that I couldn't care less about. The characters in Suicide Squad were flat. Batman, though enjoyable, went on a hallucinogenic trip within the first few issues, which is always a problem for me.
Aquaman is a real guy. He has to deal with idiotic questions all day because people think they're hilarious. His wife gets into a conflict when she goes out to buy dog food. They have a laugh about a childhood picture of Aquaman on skis.
This is what's so great about comics. With some good writing and relieved of the burden of past continuity, just about anything can be a great read. Even Aquaman.(less)
The only thing that concerns me, because I'm a worrier (sometimes misheard as "warrior" which is hilarious becau...moreAnother really good volume in the set.
The only thing that concerns me, because I'm a worrier (sometimes misheard as "warrior" which is hilarious because quite the opposite) is that this series makes a lot of promises, or at least sets up a lot of interesting stuff. Which always worries me because then you have to wonder
A) if the series will ever actually come to a conclusion.
B) does the high level of intricacy mean take us always further from the possibility of a satisfactory ending?
For example, in Marvel's Civil War event we had Spider-Man revealing his secret identity. Which was pretty cool, but because Amazing Spider-Man is an on-going series in which the secret identity business plays such a big part, it's difficult to enjoy the fun of having the reveal when you know that it will be undone sooner rather than later.
Lost is another classic example of a storyline that was so complex that it was nearly impossible to end it in a way that wasn't outright terrible.
However, Locke&Key is pretty awesome so far. And Joe Hill writes some tense novels. So it's not out of the question to assume that the ending will be good. He also, as of 2010 or so, had a definite timeline/plan for where the series would end, which I honestly believe is the hallmark of many a good comic. If the writer has a beginning and doesn't plan to be working on the end for the next 50 years, that says to me that we're dealing with a fully-conceived narrative instead of a premise that has to continue looping and warping in order to put a book on the shelves every month.
I guess I'm just damned to loving comics, which means that it matters to me how they turn out. Which means I worry about it the way a prospective parent worries about the health of an unborn fetus. I end up scouring the internet for rumor the way that parent scours the ultrasound for what may or may not look like the first ever in utero pegleg. (less)
Without reading the reviews, this book is almost certainly compared endlessly to Kick-Ass. With good reason. The ultra-violence feels pretty similar,...moreWithout reading the reviews, this book is almost certainly compared endlessly to Kick-Ass. With good reason. The ultra-violence feels pretty similar, the art isn't too far off, and if you liked Kick-Ass, you'll dig it.
Kick-Ass had its moments. Although I have to say, something about Mark Millar (the writer) rubs me the wrong way now and again. I get the impression that he has somewhat of a distaste for comic book fans.
But, as I learned with Metallica at a young age, you're really only likely to end up liking something less if you spend too much time looking into its creator. Seriously, it's very sad, but the truth is that you like something, you're drawn to it for whatever reason, and then if you look into the creator you're almost certainly going to be upset/disappointed/pissed off.
See: Metallica See: Orson Scott Card See: John Byrne
It's a weird thing. I guess creators should be allowed to have their own opinions. I mean, they ARE absolutely allowed. I just wonder...
Okay, why is it important, for example, that I know Orson Scott Card is not a fan of gay people? I guess for a select few that might enhance the reading experience. But for the most part, I would think him expressing that opinion makes things worse for most people. And how bizarre is it that this dude with such a wild imagination has such a narrow view on that topic?
He's made some wild speculations on the gay lifestyle, so I'll go ahead and wild speculate back:
I'm guessing that any man with a shred of style has told him that he can afford to not do his own haircuts anymore.
And he just assumed that these people were gay. Call it a hunch.
Anyway, reading this was like reading Kick-Ass without going into it thinking the author kind of sort of hated me. In fact, the premise of this book, that Luther Strode becomes an ass-kicker by ordering one of those Charles-Atlas-type of workout books from the back of a comic, feels like a genuine nod to comic book fans. Which is nice. It's not playing to fans to the point of ridiculousness. But it's asking the question, "Wouldn't it be fun to see if one of these ridiculous things actually worked?"
It's a quick read, check it out.
Oh, and when they kidnap a woman, they don't seem to plan on raping her in any way. Just beating her up the same way they would have beat up a male hostage. Which, and this is REALLY pathetic, is a step forward in comics.(less)
This is a pretty damn good modern memoir. Great for fans of Chuck Klosterman who are looking for something a little more personal, maybe.
The intro was...moreThis is a pretty damn good modern memoir. Great for fans of Chuck Klosterman who are looking for something a little more personal, maybe.
The intro was a little rocky for me, to be totally honest, and I'll tell you why. The intro seemed packed full of jokes and references that were used in humor, but it kind of freaked me out because I thought I'd be half way through the book believing comedic references and basically confusing Rabin's life with that of a Simpsons character. But that's because I'm dumb. But fear not, fellow dum-dums. After the intro the book evens out a little and you'll fall right into the natural pacing and humor. If you're still not sure, skip ahead to the chapter where Rabin descirbes the reaction of a focus group to Movie Club> (maybe about pg. 300. Goddamn hilarious.(less)
I'm not going to lie, this is the only David Foster Wallace thing I've ever finished. I loaned Infinite Jest to my sister before I'd ever read it, and...moreI'm not going to lie, this is the only David Foster Wallace thing I've ever finished. I loaned Infinite Jest to my sister before I'd ever read it, and even as I loaned it I knew I'd never see it again. It's been about 5 years now, and so far time has proven me right.
I tried Consider The Lobster. His writing felt very...academic to me. Just a little cold, or maybe like the essays were trying quite hard to convince me of a thesis every time. The footnotes killed me. I feel a little like someone who refuses to watch movies with subtitles, but I don't see myself reading many footnoted texts during the remainder of my life. If you don't have time to incorporate your points into your text, then I won't make the time to read them. You're the writer, do the work. And by the way, I do not buy into the idea behind "Big Red Son" that porn stars hold some sort of true power at porn conventions. Interesting thesis, yes. Good social science, no.
Even though this suffers from some of the same issues, I think he makes good points and does it in a meaningful way. I can relate to what he's saying, how the world is sort of wonderful and terrible when one considers that every person has his or her own demons.
Yesterday I helped troubleshoot a woman's computer. The problem was clear from the get-go. She was paying AOL $15 a month for...I don't know what. AOL isn't her ISP. It's just some sort of software. Paying for a browser, in essence.
Before I could even try to lightly encourage that she consider abandoning AOL and saving a few bucks, she said, "Everyone keeps telling me to get rid of AOL and to use [Chrome]. But my husband has Alzheimer's. He knows how to use AOL because he knew that from before. He can't learn how to use anything else.
What can you do at that point? This frustrated woman, who had bad breath and spent a lot of time almost blaming me for the state of her computer, had a problem that was a lot bigger than just switching over to Chrome. As painful as it was for me, her side of the problem was a lot worse. The only option was to fix the problem within AOL, which took about an hour or so. But we did it.
My point here is Fuck AOL. Fuck you. Seriously, you're just taking advantage of people at this point. It's insane that you are charging a monthly fee for your product. I can't even really understand how that works.
Okay, no. The real point here is that I've always been sure that there was an emotional, heart appeal from David Foster Wallace. It had to be there. I just hadn't found a piece where I managed to battle through to it. This one is short, and it's a nice introduction to the guy if you haven't read anything (or completed anything) by him before. I'm glad I came into it (Thanks to Karen's review) and maybe I'll keep up steam and send my sister a very nasty text regarding a book she borrowed about 100 years ago.
It's probably better to read the .pdf than the book. It's come to my attention that the book version has made an edit.
The original text:
“It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master.”
In the book version, that second sentence is omitted. An interesting choice. I get it, Wallace killed himself and the reference to suicide is hard. What I don't get is why they would take out the second sentence as opposed to the whole section.
I did also read a comment I found a bit disturbing regarding Mr. Wallace's suicide. Along the lines of "I thought he was more enlightened than that."
Suicide is a very strange thing. And I've really come to believe that speculating on suicide in terms other than those meant to dig up ways to help others in the future is extremely pointless and hurtful to a person's memory. Speculating on why is bad. Assigning a value judgment to a person's final act, to me is abhorrent. Saying that if a person only had this or that good quality they'd still be alive? Shame on you. Read this speech and then read it again if that's how you feel.(less)
When I deployed for the first time [my wife] asked her grandmother for advice. Her grandfather served in Africa and Europe in World War II. He...moreExcerpt:
When I deployed for the first time [my wife] asked her grandmother for advice. Her grandfather served in Africa and Europe in World War II. Her grandmother would know what to do.
"How do I live with him being gone? How do I help him when he comes home?" my wife asked.
"He won't come home," her grandmother answered. "The war will kill him one way or the other. I hope for you that he dies while he is there. Otherwise the war will kill him at home. With you."
The story of Brian Castner's Crazy is trim, sad, and a must-read.
What makes this book so different from the other books about the Iraq war?
1. There are no real politics. You can certainly superimpose your own politics on it if you want, as is the case with goddamn EVERYTHING, but the book itself goes a different way. It's highly personal, focusing on the side of things that you don't see so much. The writer talks about what he knows and what he experienced, and he leaves the rest alone.
2. He does a good job making you understand his Crazy. A lot of books about people who are crazy try to make you experience crazy for yourself, see the world as they see it. So they use weird line breaks, broken sentences, bizarre wordplay and other tricks to try and take you somewhere you can't go because, well, you're not crazy. What Castner does is explain what he is thinking about when he's feeling crazy. How it changes him.
3. This is not, like so many other books about people with problems, about redemption. Yes, there is a brief moment when he seems to overcome his crazy, just for a second. But it comes back, of course. And the odds against him are insurmountable. After he describes panicking in an airport and mentally planning who to shoot first and where to go in order to escape, it's hard to imagine that he'll ever be all the way better. After he explains just a touch of the physics behind explosions and why they can destroy a brain without destroying the body around it, it's hard to think that he's ever going to be the way he was before. After he says that his wife wants him to cheat on her just so that she could leave him, you kind of give up on the idea of him having a normal life.
So, in a genre that involves a lot of dates, tactical information, and insider knowledge, someone has written a book that is deeply personal and brave in revealing that something inside someone who made a career out of being tough and mentally calm, that something inside that person has been fundamentally and irrevocably broken. More than that, it does a great job of connecting the past with the present and making a reader understand the problem: there's really IS no difference.
A short little read, this slim book is a reminder of how young a city Denver really is and how close it remains to its past.
Oh, and apparently Denver...moreA short little read, this slim book is a reminder of how young a city Denver really is and how close it remains to its past.
Oh, and apparently Denver was named the Drunkest City in America by Men's Health Magazine in 2004. This was based on a combo of factors including annual deaths due to liver disease, how many drinkers averaged more than 5 drinks in a sitting, drunk driving arrests, number of fatal vehicular accidents involving alcohol, and finally how the driving statistics stacked up compared to efforts made to contain the drunk driving (of which Denver didn't make many).
The main argument against this dubious honor was that Denver could also be a contender for other things like most bike trails or hiking trails or outdoor sporting opportunities and things like that. Oh, and that Las Vegas probably has higher stats in terms of drinks sold per capita.
I guess it all depends on what your definition of a drunk really involves. I mean, to me, the Las Vegas thing is totally bunk. Most of us who, to put it delicately, enjoy a drink, would probably agree that in a vacation setting all rules are off. Not LAWS mind you, but RULES. No drinking before noon? Well, the airport, and the airplane especially, are international waters in my mind. Clock time has no real meaning. Plus, if I've been up for 7 hours, gotten a pat down and had to wait in three separate lines of awful humanity, it's drink time. I don't give a damn if it's 5 AM and I'm on the way to my grandmother's funeral. Any argument you can make against it is probably going to be the same one I make FOR it.
Second, the mistake is thinking that people who ride bikes aren't also loaded when they're not riding bikes. Or people who are hiking. In fact, beer history has been changed by Colorado's unique combination of drinking and being in the great outdoors. Oskar Blues, one of the larger craft brewers, puts their stuff out in cans. The story goes that this came about because the folks there were outdoors-y, and they were tired of having to choose either bottled beer or good beer. Why not both? So they started craft brewing and throwing it in cans.
Now, there are arguments I think one could make against the Denver coronation. For one thing, Denver and Colorado in general are pretty much the worst when it comes to public transportation. So naturally you're going to see a higher rate of drunk driving incidents as more people take to the road. It's bound to happen whereas in a city with a late night train system you'll get fewer. In fact, NYC often ranks amongst the lowest of drunken cities, however I suspect this has to do with the fact that many people there don't even OWN a vehicle.
Like this book points out, there is an ugly side to drinking. The fights. The wasted time and money. And let's face it, there's a difference in seeing a guy passed out on the banks of Cherry Creek next to a cart that contains all of his possessions and a guy enjoying a Sunday brunch mimosa on a restaurant patio. Those two things FEEL very different. They might be more similar than we'd like to admit, but they sure feel different.
The book is a definite reminder that the ugly side of Denver is still alive, and we're not as far from it as we might like to think.