Sidekicks is a graphic novel about an aging superhero, Captain Amazing, who’s feeling the endless creep of years sneaking up on him. He decides it’s tSidekicks is a graphic novel about an aging superhero, Captain Amazing, who’s feeling the endless creep of years sneaking up on him. He decides it’s time to get a sidekick, and that’s when we learn that his pets, the real protagonists of the story, have been yearning to team up with him forever. There’s an indestructible dog, a static-energy cat, and a hamster with no appreciable superpowers. And an iguana. A few thoughts:
- This comic has a really positive message — it encourages us to think about all our gifts, and the way that understanding them as part of our whole selves gives us an advantage far exceeding that of the person who excels at one thing alone. - The hamster/iguana team-up is fantastic. They’re both brave and eminently vulnerable, fighting in a world fraught with danger. - Captain Amazing’s tale of aging and teamwork cuts strikingly close to the bone for me, a father watching his children grow up and acquire their own interests that diverge from mine, and at the same time, want to do all the things I do.
It’s a cute and fulfilling comic. Well worth the twenty five minutes it will take you to read. According to the school librarian’s notes in the inside cover, you will also earn “4 points” for reading it. So there’s that....more
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larsen; narrated by Scott Brick
When the Lusitania steamed into the waters off Britain in 1915, evDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larsen; narrated by Scott Brick
When the Lusitania steamed into the waters off Britain in 1915, everyone on board knew the Germans had threatened the ship. But the convergence of politics, military action, timing, and fate made the attack on the ship a startling and gripping event, one that would draw the United States into war–albeit a full two years later. A few thoughts:
Erik Larsen weaves his usual trick here, building the narrative from three primary tracks — the people aboard the ship, the people aboard the U-Boat, and the British government, The resulting network of elements and ideas works very well, creating an intense, moving story. Larson rather nonchalantly shares the fact that the Lusitania was carrying thousands of rounds of rifle ammunition and some other key munitions components. Apparently, this wasn’t a violation of neutrality. He doesn’t even touch on the common ideas of “conspiracy” that the Lusitania was carrying huge stockpiles of weapons. The sinking scenes in the book are among the most harrowing sea tales I’ve read. All those Titanic films I’ve seen gave me lots of visual imagery to accompany the tale Larsen tells. Of course, his accounts of what happened are all based on accounts from survivors of the wreck. Amazing. There’s plenty of blame for the sinking to go around — particularly for the British government, which knew about the u-boat and let the Lusitania sail blithely on anyway. Larsen doesn’t come out and say it, but he strongly implies that certain forces in the Admiralty saw the sinking of the Lusitania as a way to draw the U.S. in to help the British cause. And it turned out to be.
Overall, an excellent book. On par with In the the Garden of the Beast. The audio book was narrated by my favorite golden-voiced reader, the incomparable Scott Brick. He’s the best.
Sir Maurice Newbury and Valerie Hobbes are back in another rollicking steampunk adventure in George Mann's The Osiris Ritual. Like the previous book,Sir Maurice Newbury and Valerie Hobbes are back in another rollicking steampunk adventure in George Mann's The Osiris Ritual. Like the previous book, The Affinity Bridge, there's plenty of great action and adventure and nobility and constrained behavior and running around London. The characters of the two protagonists develop a bit more thoroughly in this one, though they end up spending much of the novel investigating two separate cases and worrying about the other. A few more thoughts:
Mann really excels at gruesome description. In the first book, it was automata -- in this one it's a rotting cyborg. Gross and awesome. The fight scenes in the novel are where it's at. Great action! Alas, the relationship tension feels a bit tacked on to me. But I don't generally enjoy that part of these kinds of stories anyway. Thoughts about feelings? GROSS.
A nice romp. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. If you didn't read The Affinity Bridge, I think you could enjoy this just fine as well....more