Here we have the classic tale of an idealist gone astray. Ebenezer Scrooge is a man of conviction, a thrifty and hardworking man who scorns the frivolHere we have the classic tale of an idealist gone astray. Ebenezer Scrooge is a man of conviction, a thrifty and hardworking man who scorns the frivolities of the holiday season, a lone ant in a world of grasshoppers. When his nephew comes by his place of business to coerce him into the fold of this wassail-swilling cult, our hero vows that any man who says "merry Christmas" "should be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart". Dear citizen, can one read such word without a swelling of pride in one's chest? I think not. Then come a pair of bleeding-heart do-gooders to the shop, wanting yet another handout for the poor and unfortunate; in amazement at the naïveté of these fellows, Scrooge wonders aloud "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?", and having thusly put these philanthropists in their place, he sends them packing. Yes, in Scrooge we have an intellectual worthy of our God-Empress Ayn Rand; were he not born with the misfortune of being British, I'd term him a Great American Hero. And no effete bookworm is he; when a nasty caroler comes to cry his noxious siren song through the lock, Scrooge is handy with a ruler with which to chase off this warbling fiend.
But in a moment of weakness, he loses his resolve. His scheming no-good clerk Bob Cratchit conjures up the temerity to ask off on Christmas Day, and Scrooge relents. And as the wheels of industry grind to a halt, and Scrooge repairs to his bedchambers, he is visited by monstrous hallucinations that render his brain into weak, sentimental jelly. When released from this paroxysm of madness, he has become another glad-hearted Christmas-loving pod person. My good comrade, the end of this book will have you in tears....more
Before the finale, the Locke kids go back in time, first to the Revolutionary War, where their ancestors discover the Black Door in the depths of theBefore the finale, the Locke kids go back in time, first to the Revolutionary War, where their ancestors discover the Black Door in the depths of the Drowning Cave, then to the late 80's, when their father was in high school. Age-old mysteries are solved, and as is the case with many prequels, the answers revealed are by and large kind of disappointing. Want more insight into the mind of archvillain Dodge? Well, it turns out that before his episode of demonic possession, he was just kind of an affable dim bulb. What about Rendell's other friends who died in the Drowning Cave? Well, they're actually terrible, selfish bigots, but we're supposed to understand that they have good intentions and that their deaths are tragic largely just because Hill tells us so. Hill has a knack for intricate story structure, but without compelling characters the structure appears all too mechanical....more
After spinning its wheels a bit too much over the course of the last two books, "Keys to the Kingdom" finds the series shifting the plot into overdrivAfter spinning its wheels a bit too much over the course of the last two books, "Keys to the Kingdom" finds the series shifting the plot into overdrive. Hill and Rodriguez also must have felt that the plot was stalling, because they endeavor to condense the material here like never before. The challenge seems to have been paradoxically liberating: new magics are revealed with a jarring lack of fuss, and new threats pop up and are dealt with by the ever-resourceful Locke kids in the space of a single panel. ...more