Detective Inspector James Quill, intelligence analyst Sarah Ross, and undercover officers Kev Sefton and Tony Costain continue their work as London'sDetective Inspector James Quill, intelligence analyst Sarah Ross, and undercover officers Kev Sefton and Tony Costain continue their work as London's elite team of police dealing with matters of the arcane. Tensions are rising in the city as a police strike seems more and more likely, and unruly riots increase. Now, these riots are being followed by murders, and messages left in blood allude to Jack the Ripper. With matters escalating quickly, the detectives must move quickly to prevent full scale chaos or fascist retaliation. I liked this book but I think I didn't like it quite as much as the first one. Cornell's London Falling had a rough start, but escalated with a bang. Severed Streets is more even keeled throughout, never really slow, but not quite reaching the same heights. The first novel had some genuinely scary bits in it; this one has some surprising moments and terrible things *do* happen to its characters (really, really terrible), but it's threat feels a little more mundane. And Sefton in particular isn't given a lot to do. On the other hand, Cornell does a lot of world-building here, creating details clearly meant to be taken up and elaborated elsewhere. There's some great locales, in magic-based auction houses and pubs, not to mention some time spent in a very unpleasant place. And there's a celebrity guest star that Cornell is clearly having a lot of fun getting to include; his inclusion walks the line between twee and really cool, and just manages to pull it off, I think. This series was, as Cornell mentioned last book, originally meant to be a TV show; if we follow that metaphor, the first book was an explosive premiere, and this, in comparison, is a regular episode. A really good regular episode, albeit one that doesn't quite have the same goals as the original. He's already got his audience; now, it's time to build the story a bit, and the book does an excellent job of that. ...more
This is one of those books where a small part of me wonders if I'm grossly misinterpreting the author's argument, but here goes. Paik's From Utopia toThis is one of those books where a small part of me wonders if I'm grossly misinterpreting the author's argument, but here goes. Paik's From Utopia to Apocalypse rejects the fictional utopia, and by extension, any liberal politics that would call for reform yet shy away from the radical transformations necessary to deviate from the modern capitalist society. And at the same time, Paik is also rejecting ruthless pragmatism that would deny any alternatives but nihilism or fascism. Rather, he wants to examine the upheaval that precedes a massive societal shift (the catastrophe of the subtitle in other words) through examine of a series of sci-fi texts. Most of these texts are by Alan Moore; the introduction contains an extended look at Moore's Miracleman, a series which contains the creation of a utopian society, but in a way that also frames it as very ambiguous. The first chapter looks at the Watchmen, contrasting the Ozymandias' moral pragmatism with Rorschach's unflinching refusal to accept peace at that price, or the mass deception it requires. And the final chapter looks at both the Matrix in terms of the tragic tone of its prequels and the comparative failings of its conclusion and at Moore's V for Vendetta, in terms of the comparatively flaccid film and the complicity of the populace in reaching V for Vendetta's state. The middle chapters look at Jang Joon-Hwan's Save the Green Planet, and the decision to become a monstrous subject or complacent tyrant; and Miyazaki's Naussicaa of the Valley of the Wind, in terms of considering Nausicaa as a saintly figure--not one who is naive, but who perseveres despite knowing human nature and terrible truths. Paik's subject matter more or less precludes this book being a "fun" read but it is engrossing. Knowledge of any of the major works he's talking about isn't essential; Paik's great at describing them in sufficient detail that the reader doesn't feel lost. On the other hand, there is a *lot* of political theory here, and knowing a bit of, say, Agamben or Steve Shaviro or Hardt and Negri won't go amiss. I'll admit, even after reading the book, I would hesitate to say that I could sum up Paik's main point--there's a choice aside from annihilation, fascism, and tacitly endorsing either through inaction, I think. But if I was doing work on any of the main texts he used, I'd absolutely recommend the book as a starting point. And at 182 pages, it's one of the more readable 182 pages of theory I've read in a while. ...more
Call it a 3.5. I'm really torn on this book--on the one hand, I'm somewhat annoyed and frustrated with where it ends up, but on the other hand, I can'Call it a 3.5. I'm really torn on this book--on the one hand, I'm somewhat annoyed and frustrated with where it ends up, but on the other hand, I can't deny that it's just shy of 600 pages and I read it in a single sitting, which is an unprecedented level of commitment from me. Plot: Scott McGrath was a rising journalist superstar when he took on the wrong subject--reclusive underground film director/legend Stanislas Cordova. Jumping the gun on the investigation, McGrath's career takes an abrupt nosedive at the same time his marriage comes to an end. Years later, Cordova's daughter is found dead in an abandoned Manhattan warehouse, and McGrath is pulled back into Cordova's strange world. Last time, it ruined his life; this time, he might not get off so easily. While not as overtly postmodern as, say, Infinite Jest or House of Leaves, what Night Film really gets right in a way they did as well is how it captures the scene of underground cult films. Cordova, obviously, is not a real person, but he and his films feel real under Pessl's description. As the investigation deepens and Cordova's past seems to get darker and darker, she does a wonderful job of making it seem like a net's closing around McGrath. McGrath himself is essentially a variant on the world-weary private detective model, and works nicely, as do the two figures who round out his supporting cast. But without getting too many spoilers, the whole wound up being less than the sum of its parts, for me. While I can't really blame Pessl for the ending so chose--she choreographs it rather clearly several times in the book--it still left me feeling disappointed. Still, I can't deny that it was a fun ride while it lasted. Edit: I noticed one of the other reviews praising this aspect of Pessl's book, and I'd be remiss if I didn't do the same. Several times throughout the book (particularly the beginning and middle), it adopts a multimedia-type visual approach--that is, we see newspaper articles and webpages as if they were being shown to us directly, as found objects in her fictional world. It's a simple trick, but extremely effective in establishing Cordova's mystique....more
A farmer finds a boat in his backyard--buried for thousands of years, but in perfect condition. This simple discovery leads to more, and soon the entiA farmer finds a boat in his backyard--buried for thousands of years, but in perfect condition. This simple discovery leads to more, and soon the entire planet is in turmoil over the newly discovered technology. Can humanity handle the change? McDevitt's story is a bit of a bait and switch. It seems like it's setting us up for a first contact story, but it's not that, not really. Really, it's more a story about how humanity handles rapid change, especially rapid technological change. And we see that in a lot of ways: the vignette of a union rep who's concerned about what tech that never wears out will do tire sales; a stock market that drops like a stone when there's even a whiff of credibility to the idea that we'll soon have teleporters that make transportation obsolete; a president who's gone from wondering whether anyone will remember his presidency to wondering whether he's going to be remembered as the one who failed everybody. The way the book focuses on how humanity at large reacts is its strength, and, given the nature of its conclusion, it's clear McDevitt knows that. At the same time, it stumbles a bit in terms of character. McDevitt's pretty good at establishing a secondary character in fairly short order, but rounding out main characters is less of a strong suit. He develops the lead Max a bit--as a hotshot pilot with a tragic past that reveals, to him at least his true colors--but even then, he seems more a piece to move around. The focus on Native Americans is nice--much of the tech that's found is on Sioux land--but considering that our two lead POVs are white outsiders, it's hard to avoid a touch of the "noble savage" syndrome. It's also a book that's heavier on dialogue than action, but the dialogue tends to be kind of pedestrian; there's nothing particularly memorable there. All of that said, the book's climax is great, and worth the price of admission (although it would be a lot more worth it if the price was, say, a little shorter.) McDevitt's got a good grasp on the speed of information, and how difficult it is to control; I can only imagine how much faster everything would have spiralled out of control in the age of phone cameras. It's kind of interesting how the book's got what basically amounts to an anti-government perspective. Even when discussing the merits of not seizing or destroying the tech, no government official actually says that destroying them would be harmful to the future of humanity--the closest to that sentiment is those that warn the president that history would never forgive him. It's a portrayal of government that's concerned with image and short-term solutions--again, necessary, I suppose, given the story's resolution....more
Recently minted detective Eve Coffin seems like she has it made; she's singlehandedly caught a notorious serial killer. But after a near fatal shootinRecently minted detective Eve Coffin seems like she has it made; she's singlehandedly caught a notorious serial killer. But after a near fatal shooting, she resigns from the force, and returns to her home, Coffin Hill. Her family's been in the area a long time, and drawn from the power of the woods for a long time, and now, something in the woods is coming to collect. First: it's nice to see a reasonably high profile, original comic with a female creator. And Miranda's art works well to the unreal nature of Coffin Hill. As for the book itself--well, it's probably the most "Vertigo" Vertigo book I've read in a long time. That is, it's the sort of style Vertigo was originally born in: gothic, moody, with a heavy focus on witchcraft and evil; Thessaly from Sandman would not feel out of place at Coffin Hill. The book feels like a bit of a throwback on that level, though the fact that it's the older character returning to the site of her teenage transgressions helps with that. The first arc is a bit of a set-up story; you don't get much on Coffin's life as a detective, but you do get a lot of Coffin Hill's story, albeit most of it kept deliberately vague. The ratio of revelation to further questions didn't quite work for me, and while the initial flashback to a teenage Eve worked great, there was a sense of diminishing returns on later ones. I think the big problem here is that there are two characters that really jumped out at me: Eve herself, and her grandmother's story at the end set decades ago. I cared about what happens to Eve, but the rest of the town wasn't really interesting. Still, there was enough here to make me think favorably of reading more issues. A good Halloween time read. ...more
This was a nice surprise. I'll apologize in advance; Leckie's book is one that (effectively) thrusts the reader into the sci-fi world, so I may have mThis was a nice surprise. I'll apologize in advance; Leckie's book is one that (effectively) thrusts the reader into the sci-fi world, so I may have misinterpreted some of the finer details. But the thrust of the novel is that the known universe is largely dominated by a culture called the Radch, who are gradually shifting away from the tradition of turning a large portion of their conquered people in ancillaries--basically, zombie people with machine-like reflexes and limited free will who share a group mind with a larger unit and, when in proximity, with AI space stations and ships. The narrative features One Esk, an ancillary that has been separated from its larger whole and, as a consequence, charged itself with a mission poised at disrupting the foundation of the Radch. The novel succeeds on a number of different levels. It does a good job setting up the premise of a sci-fi universe, one with clear influences from other such universes (I don't think you can do space AI right now without drawing Culture comparisons), but still unique in its own right. It sets up interesting broader issues concerning questions of justice and responsibility. And it gives us One Esk, performing the difficult balancing act of presenting the personality of a creature that, if pressed, would try to argue it has no personality. As an example of one of the interesting bits of the novel, I liked that, culturally, the Radch were gender-neutral; specifically, all Radch are referred to as she. While characters from other cultures comment on it, it's so ingrained in Radch culture that they never really do; and I found as a consequence that *I* started regarding the characters differently, that by subtly implying each Radch was female, I'd regard them in certain ways. It's speculative fiction that reveals your own preconceptions without being too obvious about it; I like that. Leckie also does well in demonstrating the multiplicity of Justice's consciousness (Justice being the ship One Esk was once a part of), through simple things like demonstrating it answering multiple conversations in multiple places at once. Again, it's the understated differences that are the most effective. The main story is... well, a little basic. It's more concerned with setting up the universe and One Esk's past, what led it to this point. But it's a really promising start to a new series, and reminded me why I like space opera books to begin with....more
Call it a 3.5. German-born Detective Dietrich has come to the space station known by its inhabitants as The Fuse--an orbital energy platform with halfCall it a 3.5. German-born Detective Dietrich has come to the space station known by its inhabitants as The Fuse--an orbital energy platform with half a million people and its own sets of crime. He's quickly partnered with middle-aged Klem Ristovych, and the pair get their first case: the very public deaths of two cablers, the bottom class people who inhabit the hidden tunnels of the station. And all signs point towards the mayor's office, which is in the middle of an election campaign. Setting up the world of the Fuse alongside the case at hand is a tall order, and Johnston and Greenwood *mostly* pull it off, though not without some hiccups. The story at hand could be transferred to a real-world setting without much difficulty, which is a little disappointing. While we do get a lot of glimpses into the underlying sci-fi culture of the Fuse, you could replace cablers with homeless people pretty easily, and find similar analogies to most of the characters. The art is occasionally a mixed bag--for the most part, Greenwood is very good, but some of the panels seems rushed, and it's sometimes hard to visually tell certain characters apart. But the good outweighs the bad here; first, the mystery itself at the heart is solid as a mystery, which is a key genre element. Likewise, the dynamic between Dietrich and Klem is quickly established. And on that level, it's nice to see a cop pairing that's a black German and an older woman; it's one you'd pretty much never see on television, for example. And what we do see of the Fuse's history, in terms of class and space and race, is intriguing enough that I'd come back for a second volume. So while it's not a grand slam, it's not a strike out either....more
Call it a 2.5. In The One-Eyed Man, we follow our hero/ecologist Paulo Verano. Desperate to escape an unpleasant personal situation, Verano accepts aCall it a 2.5. In The One-Eyed Man, we follow our hero/ecologist Paulo Verano. Desperate to escape an unpleasant personal situation, Verano accepts a job offer to perform an ecological survey of a planet called Stittara. Stittara is a colony world with a small population, known for two things: the seemingly nonsentient skytubes that appear in its upper atmosphere, and the source of ingredients for longevity drugs that are essential to the galaxy's upper class. Verano quickly learns that the local government and multinational corporations in Stittara don't want him to find anything that will disrupt the status quo; he also learns that the planet may not want him to find anything either... The One-Eyed Man is a pretty generic sci-fi plot: unknown, vaguely menacing aliens, multiplanetary corporations bent on maximizing profits, locals who are stand-offish and also somewhat vaguely menacing. This plot could be found anywhere from a H. P. Lovecraft short story to a Mass Effect sidequest. That doesn't mean it has to be bad; classic tropes are classic for a reason. But this doesn't even rise to bad--it's just sort of there. I've read Modesitt books before, so I'm used to a somewhat low key approach to high fantasy and sci-fi stakes. But it's not that nothing happens here, it's that what does happen unfolds in a very "who cares" sort of way. Verano is weirdly politically savvy for an ecological consultant and it seems a bit odd that a Planetary Council would commission a worldwide survey consisting of a team of one. I could put the minor plot things aside, but the larger issue is that Verano is as blankslate a protagonist as you can get without delving into videogames or action movies. Add that lack to a similar lack of personality in most of the native residents, and it's hard to get a sense of stakes. The climax, when it comes, is rather anticlimatic, as it happens far away from Verano. It wasn't offensively bad, or I would have stopped reading, but the fact that I persevered to the end is more a testament to the brevity of the book and chapters than an actual measure of quality. I've read Modesitt stuff I've liked, but this isn't it. ...more
Emily Carroll's Through the Woods presents five short horror story comics, plus a brief coda and prelude. Each story has some sort of emotional core tEmily Carroll's Through the Woods presents five short horror story comics, plus a brief coda and prelude. Each story has some sort of emotional core to it that stands in contrast to the unspeakable evil: the bonds of a family in "Our Neighbor's House"; the bride wed to an unfamiliar husband ala Bluebeard in "A Lady's Hands Are Cold"; a brother's jealousy in "His Face All Red"; the friendship between two women and the fraud of a seance in "My Friend Janna"; and a homecoming gone wrong in "The Nesting Place." Each one is a fabulous use of color and framing and the comic medium in general. Some of these stories are up on Carroll's website (something the frugal among us may wish to know, though personally, I'm glad for the chance to have a version I can lend out and show to friends), and it's interesting to contrast the spacing of the print medium to the digital versions. I recently re-read some H. P. Lovecraft short stories, and a lot of how he portrays horror depends on setting a mood through an excess of description, through describing things so thoroughly that what's left literally can't be seen. Carroll's approach strikes me as the visual opposite; it's what's left unsaid by the images, the gap between spaces that hint towards the narrator's inner selves where the horror resides. Lovecraft creates horror by saying too much; Carroll's stories do it by saying too little, and relying on the reader to fill in the rest. I think these are stories that are going to stick with me, and get more terrifying with re-reading. That, after all, seems to be the moral of the epilogue: sure, you've made it through the woods this time--but you need enough luck to venture through safely every time, and the what lurks only needs be lucky once....more
**spoiler alert** Katie Lavender is having a bad day; her boyfriend is a pain, she just lost her job, and a lawyer just told her that her mother had a**spoiler alert** Katie Lavender is having a bad day; her boyfriend is a pain, she just lost her job, and a lawyer just told her that her mother had an affair thirty years ago producing her, and the father she never met has set up a trust fund for her that contains hundreds of thousands of dollars. All right, that last bit may not be a bad part, but it`s still rather disconcerting. Yes, Katie Lavender has just found out she`s a member of the elite, with her rich father, Stirling Nightingale (I still can`t decide whether that`s an awesome name, ridiculous name, or both). But Stirling is having problems of his own--his wife is understandably not on board with the 30 year old affair, and Katie's half-siblings are taking her side; his brother has just committed suicide, and plunged the family business into scandal. Can Katie find a place in her new family? And gosh, that totally adopted new cousin of hers looks really good.
I read a lot of genre books, but mostly fantasy and sci-fi; I read so much of them, in fact, that their genre conventions often go over my head. Perhaps it's my lack of familiarity with written romances that made the conventions here really stand out--I think it was the moment where Katie, through a comical/eye-rolling series of events finds herself accidentally catering her new grandmother's birthday when I realized we were heavily in rom-com territory. That in itself isn't a bad thing; yes, the book is heavily sentimental, but sometimes, such as Stirling's rock-bottom breakdown, some sentiment doesn't go amiss. Although sometimes, it really, really misses the mark. About half-way through the book, I nearly stopped reading--and I'm not the only one, judging from the reviews. At that point, about half the family is on Katie's side, and the other half are portrayed as supervillains who would be twirling mustaches if they could ever find the time to stop stroking the cats on their laps in menacing manners. There's a lot of tension in the situation James created, but she amps it up to ridiculous melodrama, to the point where you're reasonably sure it'll all work out, but the obstacles are so artificial and the "good guys" so over-the-top saintly that you just don't care. Luckily, the book begins to turn a bit, but even then, some of the "villain" turns are so abrupt that it overplays the book's hand--we see that this isn't really a story about real characters, but a bunch of stock figures that respond to situations as the plot demands them to. Her half-siblings forgive her not because they've done deep soul-searching, but because it's time for them to forgive her, that sort of thing. More damning, Katie, our supposed POV character, never really has a climax--the story's resolution comes about largely through her inaction, which is more than a little disappointing. I'm not going to fault the book for being manipulative, as that sort of manipulation is kind of the point of genre fiction. But I will blame it for being too visible in its manipulation, too obvious in its contrivances. (Also, I kind of felt sorry for Gina at the end, because "evil step-mother" is a horrible typecast, even for a fictional being.)...more
**spoiler alert** I struggled on a score for this one, between my respect for doing something different, and a general sense of good taste. I came dow**spoiler alert** I struggled on a score for this one, between my respect for doing something different, and a general sense of good taste. I came down on a 3, but I'd accept someone else's 2.5 or 2 very readily. The last time I read Chalker was in my undergraduate studies, when I went through something of a binge, reading up on the Wonderland Gambit, the Quintara Marathon, and the some of the Wellworld books. I'm pretty sure I never got to the Changewinds series, so I thought now might be a good time to attempt them. The plot:Sam Buell is a pretty ordinary seventeen year old girl, with no really close friends but her best friend Charley Sharkin. Sam starts having nightmares and being chased by strange storms, to the point where she runs away from home to get away from them. Charley tries to help her, but the two are swept away into a fantasy world where the sexes are much more strictly regulated, potions and demons can brainwash people into sex slaves, and the unpredictable changewinds can turn all of reality inside out. Trying to navigate in this strange new universe while at the same time coming to terms with their own selves, the two attempt to find safety from the factions that would control them. So much so fantasy, really.
You might have noticed the odd element out in that description: sex slaves. Chalker has a preoccupation with looking into how our identity is shaped by bodies, and his stories often feature characters whose bodies and genders change frequently. That, in fact, is generally his selling point, using fantasy and science fiction as a means of interrogating concepts we take for granted. Where it all gets iffy is that, in the case of this book, it means protagonists who accidentally make another character fall helplessly in love with them. Or a protagonist who tries on sex slave as a profession and finds out she enjoys it. Or a protagonist who slips a guy a magic roofie so she can find out what sex with men is like. And there's a lot of rape that gets glossed over in the last act. Now, in theory, any one of those isn't an insurmountable thing to deal with in a plot; my problem is that, after some perfunctory waffling at the beginning, the characters aren't really interested in considering those consequences. And after a while, you have to admit you're following the sexcapades of a pair of nubile seventeen year olds. The book also has more run-of-the-mill problems: the plot is very, very slow to get going, and the characterization of the two girls seems to change inconsistently (which, admittedly, is not helped by the constant shifts in personality caused by the world itself, nor by an early development where Charley is made to look like Sam). At the same time, I do appreciate what the book does well, and it is fascinating to see how a coherent fantasy world based on chaos can come together. I *might* read more of this series, but I do so fully aware that it's got some very questionable gender politics, to the point where it may turn off many modern readers....more
After nine year old Tiffany Aching's grandmother died, people carried on as best they could. But then the Baron's son went missing, and there was thatAfter nine year old Tiffany Aching's grandmother died, people carried on as best they could. But then the Baron's son went missing, and there was that business with the old woman everyone thought was a witch. And now, the fairies are back, and they've kidnapped Tiffany's little brother, and she knows no one would ever believe her. Thus, she has to go get him back herself. Good thing she has the Mac Feegles--the toughest inches-high fighters to ever headbutt the world in the face--on her side.
This is the first book in the Tiffany Aching series, a series set in Pratchett's Discworld, but aimed for a younger audience. The other three books in the series follow a very clear pattern: Tiffany, in a bit of arrogance, overrreaches herself and unleashes an ancient creature that wants to reshape the world in its own image. She confronts it, and learns the secret to beating it is not to see it as the enemy, but understanding it as something alienated but not alien. Add some inch-high hijinx, and you've got a nice metaphor for the process of growing up (which, admittedly, puts it much in the same vein as every YA fantasy ever--the better ones, at least). This book is different--the Queen is an invading force, not one that Tiffany inadvertently calls to her. Still, because of what the Queen represents--childhood never-ending, forcing the world to fit your wishes, isolating yourself from the world--it fits the larger "growing up" metaphor.
Moreover, in a way, this story isn't really about the Queen but about Tiffany defining who she is in the wake of the death of a person very important to her. And on that level, it's near flawless--I read a lot of fantasy, and I'd be hardpressed to name another that hits its emotional beats so well--every Granny Aching scene is heart-wrenchingly well-done. The MacFeegles are great comedy relief, with just enough personality between the various members to distinguish them. I haven't read this story in years, and this time, looking back, I'm reminded of what a girl-friendly story this is. It's a fantasy story with great female characters (protagonists and villain) that doesn't have to go the "strong female character" route.
My go-to description for the book is "Harry Potter with Hermoine as the main character," and Tiffany's brainy side is definitely in the Hermoine cast. But there's also a strong resemblance to the Hobbit and the Bilbo Baggins type--an ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances who copes not by becoming some epic, all-powerful hero, but by thinking things through and trying to do the right thing--and much more than Bilbo, this comes not out of the idea of some inherent Tookness but because of Tiffany's upbringing and the people in her life. The book's not perfect--while the dialogue in the extended encounter with the Queen is spot-on, the actual descriptions of the dreams seems kind of tenuous, and not in a good "dreams are indescribable" sort of way, but in a confusing "what's going on here, again?" sort of way. And Tiffany herself could use a lesson in subtlety every now and then. But for the most part, it's a great start to a great series. This is Pratchett very high on his game....more
It's a threat so big that the New Gods have allied with Darkseid and come to enlist the Justice League's help! The anti-life equation has gained sentiIt's a threat so big that the New Gods have allied with Darkseid and come to enlist the Justice League's help! The anti-life equation has gained sentience, and is aiming to end all of existence. All it needs to do it is to destroy two of four planets, and the universe will fall apart. (They're load-bearing planets, I guess?) A series of team-ups sees different pairings going to each planet to stop the aspect of the anti-life that's trying to put its world-smashing powers in motion. Orion and Superman go to Thanagar; Starfire and Lightray go to Rann; Green Lantern (John Stewart version) and Martian Manhunter go to Xanshi; and Batman and the Forager settle things on Earth, while Jason Blood, the Highfather, and Darkseid prepare a last-ditch plan B. There's betrayals and setbacks aplenty, and, as is traditional, someone pays a devastating cost. It's not a wildly original story--the team-ups and splitting up into groups feel very "this is how crossover stories work," and the plot is a little odd when you think of it--really, the universe hangs together so loosely? And you're going with a team of ten or so when all of existence is at stake? And the Anti-Life itself is a rather abstract enemy. Luckily, Darkseid more than fills that role. But the fun of the story is in Starlin's use of the characters to create some epic moments, and it certainly works in that end. He's great with Superman and Batman, and even Starfire gets a great shining moment. Most of team New Genesis comes off as jerks, but, well, most of New Genesis is jerks. The worst off, however, may be John, who acts a lot different from the current model--although to be fair, I don't really know his 1988 status. Mignola is on art duty, and it's a lot of fun to see him tackle the iconic DC space characters. This story ranks somewhere in the middle of Starlin's overall cosmic stories, but if you're in the right mindset, it's a lot of fun....more