Wow, this collection of stories about Four was surprisingly moving and thought-provoking. Four has always been an amazing character, and now I know wh...moreWow, this collection of stories about Four was surprisingly moving and thought-provoking. Four has always been an amazing character, and now I know why: he was originally supposed to be the main character of the story. Usually I think more main characters should be female, and more female authors should have female main characters (although I know this will make boys less likely to read the book, and girls will read books regardless). I do take note of whether books pass or fail the Bechdel test, and it's exceedingly rare for a book with a male POV character to pass. And this book does it only in the extra scenes from Divergent, when Four is listening to Tris and Christina talk, very briefly, about food. But I really don't mind, in this case, that there are no women with depth as defined purely by this test. First of all, this is definitely a universe with strong women in it, I know that both from the books where Tris is the POV character and from this book, in which Four talks about women as being strong, even if what they do to show him that is off-screen (off-page?). And second of all, shockingly, I don't mind because Four himself is such a deep complex HUMAN character (yes, men are humans too ;) ), that the feminist in me finds that to really be enough. As it should be.
Or maybe I just have another crush on a fictional impossibly good teenaged boy. Thanks, Divergent. Although he's no Peeta--but he is sexy, which Peeta isn't...and now I've brought the level of discourse down and lost character depth. Oh well, I was taking about a guy anyway.(less)
This volume is several short stories in the Emma-universe. The first story, about Ms. Stowner and her husband as a young couple, was a delight to read...moreThis volume is several short stories in the Emma-universe. The first story, about Ms. Stowner and her husband as a young couple, was a delight to read. It was great to see her as a young woman and to see what her life (like the lives of others in the Victorian age) was like, as well as to see how much she and Douglas loved each other.
The second story was about Eleanor after the events of Emma Volume 7. I can't say that I cared much, as I found her character not very likable, but it was still good to get to see her dealing with the issue.
The third story was a wonderful story of Victorian times, showing the uses and values--and lifespan--of the newspaper in that culture. The characters were not from any previous Emma volumes, but we got to know them in brief glimpses of their lives. I think this would be an excellent (if short) story all on its own.
The final story was about Tasha, Emma's roommate and fellow maid in the Meredith household, and her family and her dreams. It's another nice story that was fun to read.(less)
This is an amazing book. I have no reservations about saying that I love it.
I was skimming the graphic novels shelf in the bookstore and this book, mi...moreThis is an amazing book. I have no reservations about saying that I love it.
I was skimming the graphic novels shelf in the bookstore and this book, mis-shelved and separated from its fellow House of Mystery volumes caught my eye because of its excellent title. Honestly, the title is worth a star all on its own. Thinking it was a standalone book, I read a bit before I realized it must be part of a series, and I wasn't lost or confused at all. I was really enjoying every aspect of it, the overarching adventure/mystery, the shorter stories within, the writing, the various styles of art...as I said, I was enjoying pretty much everything.
After reading the first volume, House of Mystery Room and Boredom, I went back to this one and I appreciated what I'd already read even more and loved the rest. The story "The War" was especially good, and I made a note that I really loved page 30. The result of the exploration of the basement was wonderfully creepy and surprising, and the little revelations either made me more anxious to get the full story or sometimes created more mystery to solve.(less)
Rather than one long story arc, this short volume (with a long title) tells a number of short stories, each about a different character, which all tak...moreRather than one long story arc, this short volume (with a long title) tells a number of short stories, each about a different character, which all take place surrounding the same event: L.A. going to Hell. Warning: This means the stories take place chronologically before the events of Angel:After the Fall Volume 1 and do NOT continue that story. 2nd warning (or bonus, for some): Angel is not one of those characters. He's not in this book.
I'm really please that they decided to go ahead with this idea. I thought it was great to see how different characters reacted/behaved/melted down/etc and to see what happened to them. First, though, was the hilarious recap on the Groosablog, which I thought was another great idea, to help people figure out the chronological context of what they're about to read.
As for the stories, some were better than others (possibly because I'm more interested in some characters than others). They were illustrated by different artists in very different styles, which made for an interesting variety.
I loved Spike's story, both because of the story itself and the writing (it was funny and it definitely sounded like Spike), and also because the art for Spike was excellent. I also loved Lorne's story, for the inventiveness of it being in verse (of course Lorne would sing) and for the story, which was wonderful, hilarious, and satisfying. Some aspects of the art weren't to my taste, but it certainly got the job done and was interesting. Another favorite story of mine wasn't about a main character, but about an "End is Near" prophesier. It was both funny and also quite poignant, and the art was very different.
The rest of the stories I didn't love, but there was nothing wrong with them whatsoever, and other people might count them amongst their favorites. I'm just not particularly interested in Gwen or Connor or even Wesley. I'm not sure that I will buy this volume, since I'd rather try to get the individual comics with the stories that I love.
As usual, Brian Lynch's notes at the end are interesting and funny.(less)
This is the story, as the title suggests, about the disappearance of a woman. It's not a mystery; the characters aren't trying to find her. It's simpl...moreThis is the story, as the title suggests, about the disappearance of a woman. It's not a mystery; the characters aren't trying to find her. It's simply the facts. The journey towards that end has a lot of interesting scenery, and the end is interesting. Nothing is explained, of course, and the reader and the characters both are left confused. But it's a good kind of confused.
Interesting story--but since it's adapted from a short story by Neil Gaiman, that's to be expected. Also since it's Neil Gaiman, I wonder if reading the short story isn't better than seeing it. I think I'll prefer the prose form.
I didn't like the art, aesthetically. That was my first thought when I opened the book--I felt that the beautiful cover was a cruel tease. After reading the book, however, I admit that the art sort of suited the setting of the circus--although it was strange that where the narration said that the costumes were bad, the art depicted them as looking pretty amazing.(less)
What a disappointment this was, especially compared with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 1. In this volume, the stories were weak and mostly com...moreWhat a disappointment this was, especially compared with Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus Vol. 1. In this volume, the stories were weak and mostly completely uninteresting, the humor was almost nonexistent, and the characters were sometimes written out of character. Plus, some of the art was odd, some was kinda ugly, and some was just terrible. I wasn't confused by the jumping around--or skipping ahead--in the timeline, since it was explained in the introduction by Scott Allie, but I can't say it helped matters.
The first story, "Angels We Have Seen On High", although very different, seems, in comparison to others in this volume, to be one of the best stories. It's a very short (and kinda cute?) story about Dawn and Buffy from when they still in LA. The art is very different from the other stories, more like a cartoon than a comic book, but it's interesting to see some variety once in a while.
The next story is "A Stake to the Heart", which for me was the biggest disappointment of the whole collection, mostly because it actually seemed to be trying to be something interesting and deep, but it failed so miserably. In this story, Buffy has to fight the Summers family's inner demons that have been accidentally manifested. The reason for and means of the accident are stupid, and the efforts to undo it are both stupid and pointless. Although the threat seems big at first, these demons' powers and the consequences of them winning are confusing, and the culmination of each fight is honestly boring. On the other hand, the art in this story is the best in this entire volume.
After that we get another short story, "MacGuffins", which may have been amusing, but could have starred any original character--there was nothing really of Buffy's personality or life. It added nothing to the Buffyverse, it wasn't meaningful, it wasn't anything special at all. To top it off, Buffy is drawn with a Barbie doll-like body.
The next story, "Queen of Hearts", managed to be pretty uninteresting despite starring Spike, as he and Dru run into some trouble--or go looking for it--on a casino boat. I was one of the fans of the show mentioned in Scott Allie's introduction who didn't like (he said "hated") the art--I felt everything looked ugly except for ladies and their clothing--but at least it was interesting.
"Ring of Fire" is the next story, and the best in this volume, for what that's worth. It takes place during the second season of the show, and in it Buffy and the gang (plus or minus a few) face off against Spike, Dru, and Angelus. It's the most interesting and most like the show. Again, all males and most of the backgrounds look ugly, but the ladies look lovely.
Another Spike story, "Paint the Town Red", is next. This one is much more interesting than the first one about him and Dru, and focuses more on him, as he decides to become lord of a small town in Turkey. The art is the same as the last two.
Finally, there's "The Dust Waltz", the worst story of the collection (which is different from being the most disappointing). This takes place sometime during the run of the show, but I'm not sure when, because at some points it seems like Xander and Cordelia are going out, and at others they despise each other--and I couldn't even tell if it was pre-going out together despising, or post-going out together despising. Even worse, I couldn't tell if it was Cordelia or Willow without going back and checking what each girl was wearing. Buffy looks different from them only because she's blonde, and the special guest character has differently shaped hair (the other females in the story are supernatural, and distinct in their extreme sexiness or ugliness). Nobody looks the way they should, or acts the way they should, the story is pretty stupid, and the continuity in both story and art is a mess.(less)
In volume 4, the House of Mystery has been transported to to the ruins of the city of dimensional travelers, both the residents and the bar's patrons-...moreIn volume 4, the House of Mystery has been transported to to the ruins of the city of dimensional travelers, both the residents and the bar's patrons--and Fig's father--are worried that they may be trapped there, and the bad guys are on their way. We learn a lot more about the race of people that can travel between worlds, we finally learn the backstory and the name of the final inhabitant of the House, and we see some action as enemies converge upon our heroes. At the end of the volume in the first special annual issue, with a Halloween theme, containing a bunch of stories surrounding a mysterious and creepy mask, guest starring characters from other comics.
Sadly, this volume did not seem as great as the first three. Here, the overarching story--while still interesting--was sped up, almost as if we're now racing toward a finish that we thought we had plenty of time to get to. Characters are being killed off left and right, mysteries and questions are being answered, and things seem to be being set into place for the story to end--or, at least, to change rather dramatically.
Other than the rapid pacing, I have no real complaints about this volume: the art in the main storyline was great and the story was good, the side stories were interesting, and I really liked the Halloween special issue. But none of it blew me away, the way the first three volumes had. It was definitely worth reading. It was good, it just wasn't great.(less)
I loved this book. Pretty much every aspect of it appealed to me.
I like the setup: one main continuing storyline with continuing characters, which is...moreI loved this book. Pretty much every aspect of it appealed to me.
I like the setup: one main continuing storyline with continuing characters, which is periodically interrupted by other shorter stories told by the characters, which are illustrated by different artists. I like the main story: a group of interesting and very different people are trapped in a somewhat sentient house at a crossroads between many worlds--although other people from those various worlds are free to come and go (and share their stories)--and they're trying to figure out why they're trapped and how to get out. I like the writing, the dialogue, and the humor. I like the art for the main story. I like the fact that the art is different for the side stories. I really love a lot of the side stories. As I said, I like pretty much everything.
What I loved in particular in this volume was: the look of the creepy couple chasing Fig, the interesting way in which some of the stories were told where the art tells a kind of different story from the narration, what we could see of the House, and of course Jordan's story at the end, which had me laughing out loud in the bookstore ("&*@%ing VAMPIRE cats!"). But really, as I said, I loved the whole thing, and I know I'll read this again and again and force my friends to also read it.(less)
I have had a fascination with Empress Elisabeth--or Sisi, or, indeed, Erszebet, as I first heard her called--since I traveled to Budapest and found th...moreI have had a fascination with Empress Elisabeth--or Sisi, or, indeed, Erszebet, as I first heard her called--since I traveled to Budapest and found the hotel, street, bridge, et cetera all named after her. And when I found her omnipresent in Vienna as well, I needed to know about the woman who had inspired such adoration. What a fascinating and incredible woman she was, and what a tragic story she had!
The "diary" part of this book is short and not at all deep--but this is a young adult, or possibly children's book, so that is to be expected, I suppose. The epilogue, historical notes, family tree, and pictures are where the value of this book lies, but they do not tell us nearly enough about this fascinating woman.
In her life she was famous and admired mostly for her incredible beauty (which caused her eating disorder and her perfectionism regarding her appearance), but she had so many more important and valuable qualities. Most notable is that she was and is adored as a champion of the people and the country of Hungary. She was a self-studied anti-monarchist, pro-republic liberal, a poet, and an animal lover. After being pushed into marriage and the responsibilities of being an empress at the age of sixteen, she survived a very difficult, pressure-filled, and lonely life in the Viennese Habsburg court for many years with little support until she was finally able to stand up for herself and take a modicum of control over her own life. Although she left Vienna, she remained unhappy, and she endured further tragedy in the Mayerling Affair, which she never got over.
The story of her death is not told in great detail here, but it is fascinating: presumably due to her tight-laced corset and layers of black clothing, she was not aware of having been stabbed until much later; she felt pain but thought she'd merely been punched, and there was no gushing blood to tell her otherwise. After the attack she had boarded a boat and it was there on the water that she found she'd been stabbed, and there she died.
She was a modern woman trapped in an old-fashioned and stifling world, and she and her story are worth your time.(less)
This volume of Sandman almost seems like a second attempt at a beginning for the series. We meet the Endless and learn a lot about them, and Dream in...moreThis volume of Sandman almost seems like a second attempt at a beginning for the series. We meet the Endless and learn a lot about them, and Dream in particular. We get to see another battle of sorts with Lucifer. We're introduced to a whole bunch of characters and ideas, the stories of which aren't completely played out yet. And of course the ending sets the stage for more stories to come.
Since I wasn't a huge fan of the actual beginning, I think this is a great new jumping off point. Plus, I loved seeing all the various pantheons and the interesting ways they were depicted.(less)
I LOVED the geek talk that Andrew submits Buffy to to an unheard of (and unheard--I think my squeals of delight were in too high a register for human...moreI LOVED the geek talk that Andrew submits Buffy to to an unheard of (and unheard--I think my squeals of delight were in too high a register for human auditory reception) degree. And I got all of the references, to my simultaneous embarrassment and pride. The Harmony stories weren't as interesting, but the geek page more than made up for any lows this collection may have had.(less)
This is a short and (truly) sweet--but also evil genius-y--episode in the story of the the young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl and his interactions...moreThis is a short and (truly) sweet--but also evil genius-y--episode in the story of the the young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl and his interactions with the Fairies and the Lower Elements Police. It takes place shortly after their first adventure together in Artemis Fowl.
I have to admit, the ending warmed my heart. I'm smiling now just thinking about it.(less)
I am absolutely LOVING this series, and this volume is no exception.
In the main mystery storyline, a lot of questions get answered--but it's ok, becau...moreI am absolutely LOVING this series, and this volume is no exception.
In the main mystery storyline, a lot of questions get answered--but it's ok, because new themes and directions, with questions of their own, are introduced. "Fig's Adventure in Stuffytown" (is that what it was called?) opened up and hinted at interesting possibilities. And once again, the smaller stories were interesting and varied.(less)
This reminded me a bit of Hellboy, except it didn't have what I really love about Hellboy. But that's ok. Plus, Hellboy took a while to grow on me, so...moreThis reminded me a bit of Hellboy, except it didn't have what I really love about Hellboy. But that's ok. Plus, Hellboy took a while to grow on me, so I would give this a couple more volumes (I should probably try reading Volume 1, if I can find it).(less)