Monday, March 17, 2014


The Boy With The Porcelain Blade


by Den Patrick


The Boy With The Porcelain Blade is a successful adventurous addition to Fantasy cannon, carving out its own niche. Written at a breezy pace, alternating between past and present(but not quite successfully as Mark Lawrence did with his Broken Empire series), following the self-centered protagonist, Lucien de Fontein, the novel tells the story of the people of Landfall. An origin myth is recounted, ripe with science fictional elements, of travelers landing on Landfall Island after a long cryo-sleep. The people of Landfall apparently use English to communicate but also Italian/Latin names and phrases, so it appears they must be from our Earth. Quite a few untranslated Italian phrases are liberally sprinkled throughout. Mentions of Greek/Roman myths reinforce this Earthly origin.

The folk of Landfall Island are split between humans and a handful of Orfani the Witchlings. The humans universally detest Orfani, somewhat monstrous creatures that are given a special class above humans, greatly at odds with their privileges and gilded imprisionment. We learn little about Landfall, other than its main feature, the Castle of Demesne. A castle divided into competitive Houses that specialize in farming, soldiering, etc. quite like in the Harry Potter books.
Much about Landfall and Demesne remains untold, perhaps fodder for future installments. What is this Old Tongue, if English/Italian are the main languages? What lies beyond the borders of Demesne and Landfall Island? Are there native creatures to this land? Why is there a military force if Landfall is the only Kingdom? Why are the Orfani called Witchlings? Why are they forbidden to use steel weapons?

The cover blurb mentions Locke Lamora and Gormenghast but I found it like neither book. The arrogant, yet still likable, Lucien is far from the charms of Locke Lamora and the novel lacks the filigreed prose of Peake. If comparable to any book, I'd call out again Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire or better yet, the mad scientistishness of H.G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau. While The Boy With the Porcelain Blade does not quite reach the same heights as Lawrence does, it is a fun, entertaining read with a smashing finale and I look forward to its sequel, The Boy Who Wept Blood, due out next January.  This book clocks in at a reasonable 300 pages. I wish more Fantasy novels employed the same economy. Highly recommended.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Year In Books: 2013 


70 Novels

12 Audio Dramas

10 Non-fiction

167 Collected Editions  =  260 Books Total


BEST NOVELS


FANTASY:  (in no particular order)

  • The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Eric and
  • The Long War (with Stephen Baxter) by Terry Pratchett
  • Darkness Weaves by Karl Edward Wagner
  • The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
  • Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne
  • Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
  • Riyria Revelations series by Michael J Sullivan
  • Shadow Ops: Control Point &
    Shadow Ops: Frontier Fortress by Myke Cole
  • The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
  • The Way Of Shadows by Brent Weeks



SCIENCE FICTION:

  • The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
  • Prelude to Foundation and Forward The Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  • Great North Road by Peter F Hamilton
  • Heaven's Fall by David Goyer
  • The Darwin Elevator by Jason Hough



HORROR:

  • 14 by Peter Clines
  • Witch House by Evangeline Walton
  • Nod by Adrian Barnes
  • Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz
  • This House Is Haunted by John Boyne
  • Saxon's Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion



NON-FICTION:

  • 100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels by Stephen Andrews
  • Doctor Who: The Complete Guide by Mark Campbell
  • 100 Must Read Fantasy Novels by Nicholas Rennison
  • Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
  • Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion... So Far by Terry Pratchett
  • The Compleat Ankh-Morpork: City Guide (Discworld Maps)  by Terry Pratchett



COLLECTED EDITIONS: 

(Listed by title, not volume)

  • Captain America by Rick Remender
  • Uncanny Avengers by Rick Remender
  • Avengers by Jonathan Hickman
  • Thor, God Of Thunder by Jason Aaron
  • Nova by Jeph Loeb
  • Templar by Jordan Merchner
  • Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Bendis
  • Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, New Guardians by Geoff Johns +
  • Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello
  • Justice League by Geoff Johns
  • Shazam by Geoff Johns
  • X-Treme X-men/X-termination by Greg Pak
  • Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman
  • Secret Avengers by Rick Remender
  • Battle Pug by Mike Norton
  • All-New X-men by Brian Bendis
  • Superman and Batman Inc by Grant Morrison
  • Avengers vs X-men by Brian Bendis
  • Aquaman by Geoff Johns
  • Earth 2 by James Robinson
  • Deadpool by Brian Posehn
  • The Flash by Francis Manapul
  • The Metal Men Archives vol 2
  • Justice League Dark by Jeff Lemire
  • New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman
  • Uncanny X-Men by Brian Bendis
  • The Spider-Man titles by various
  • Wolverine and the X-men by Jason Aaron

Marvel Masterworks:

  • Marvel Two-In-One, vol 1
  • The Fantastic Four vol 15
  • The Incredible Hulk vol 7
  • The Avengers vol 13

Sunday, September 1, 2013

WONDER WOMAN Vol. 3 IRON

by

"Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality" which was also illustrated to perfection by Cliff Chaing. The Doctor 13 volume is a brilliant post-modern take on super-hero comics. I strongly advise readers to check it out. 

This run of theirs on Wonder Woman is significant. Certainly in the top few title of DCU's New 52, along with Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Supergirl, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Batgirl and Shazam.  Wonder Woman's record over the past ten years has been a bit spotty.  A couple of restarts beginning strong and quickly veering off course. (See the very pleasing "Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman?" by Dodson & Heinberg and the splendid "Wonder Woman: Odyssey" Vol. 1 & 2 by J. Michael Staczynski. 


The material so far in this series has been terrific. It's something that should delight Wonder Woman fans of all types, as well as comic book fans usually turned off of super-hero stuff. It will easily appeal to those indy comic fans. It's a meaty comic strip that often nears fine art statue. Highly recommended to everyone but start at the beginning of this current run with the first volume as it's all one continuing epic story.

Much thanks to DC Entertainment and NetGalley for the borrowed ebook.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SHAZAM!  Vol. 1

by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are at it again, making old heroes into something fresh. Their SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES is one of the great collections of the new century. I'm a big fan of writer Johns and I have been following his work since STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. I'm also somewhat of a fan of Captain Marvel. I honestly had a rather negative expectations for this book. I was disheartened to learn that DC had actually given up Capt. Marvel's real name. The one he's been known for since his debut in 1939. He's known as Shazam now. I still prefer his real name but I am clearly not going to win this fight.

This book is restart for Shazam and his origin story. It's been tweaked a bit, mostly in minor ways. The end product is top-notch material, and it is among the best the New 52 has to offer. Johns and Frank have certainly made me change my mind. I completely enjoyed the book. It's a class act. I can not wait for the next volume.

Thanks to NetGalley and DC Entertainment for the free ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Strongly Recommended to all DC Universe Fans.

ARROW Vol. 1

by Marc Guggenheim & various

Pitch perfect comic book spin-off from the hit show, ARROW. Guggenheim and team come up with a professional strip that nearly matches the high quality of the TV series. Make for a nice supplemental until the new episodes premiere in Autumn. Not the best of DC's current crop but a solid edition to the line up in print. I'm a huge fan of the show and this was a nice treat. 

Thanks to NetGalley and DC Entertainment for the free ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THE DARWIN ELEVATOR

by Jason M. Hough

A very strong fist novel. Page-turner SF. It is hard to believe that this is Mr. Hough's first book. This is pretty much exactly everything I want in a SF title. Near future setting. High stakes. Great characters. Imaginative setting. High concept adventure. If this one is not nominated for a bunch of genre awards I will be very surprised. If the following two books live up to the promise of this one I would think we have an instant classic. 

★★★★★

Friday, August 16, 2013

HELLBOY: THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS 

By Mignola, Fegredo and Stewart

I love Kid Hellboy stories and it's been years since I've read one.  This is a very fine entry for the young hero. As you can guess from the title there are indeed scary clowns. You also get a variety of evil-doers, murderous ghost hobos and assorted demons. It is however only 58 pages so there's not much bang for your buck. I did enjoy reading it but for the price and content it's really only for the die-hard fanatics.

B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH, VOL. 6. THE RETURN OF THE MASTER

It's been a couple of years since I've read either a Hellboy or a BPRD book. I tend to read those title in a binge reading marathon once a few TPB collections are printed.

Are for the newer BPRD: HELL ON EARTH series I very much enjoyed the first two volumes. And here I am reading them out of order. Following Vol. 2 with Vol. 6. The Hell On Earth series is one long continuing story. So I'd strongly recommend reading them in order.

Even without reading Vol.s 3,4,5, I found much to enjoy in this collection. BPRD is perhaps the most consistently terrific title in comic books, pretty much since the inception of Hellboy back in 1993. That's 20 years of top-notch material. Impressive to say the least. The writing is superb, Arcudi's artwork looks like Mignola's style crossed with Herge, color by comicdom's reigning color Master which all adds up to a Premium title in the field. It's the Jaguar of comics.

I've got the bug again. I've got to catch up with my BPRD and Hellboy reading.
Strongly Recommend this series.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 THE EXPLORER by JAMES SMYTHE


It's been getting rave reviews every where so I picked this up. It's definitely not what I though I was going to get. The blurb set up sounds like the move, ALIEN. It's not. This is a very talky book that tells the story quickly to begin with, detailing the deaths of all the crew members. Once that's done we go back to the beginning and the story is retold a second time. It's quite repetitive. And talky. I did want to find out the ending. Once I got there I'd wished I'd put the book down early as my instincts had told me. I really did not care for this book.






I SAW ZOMBIES EATING SANTA CLAUS by S.G. BROWNE

I loved Browne's Breathers. LOVED IT. I wasn't so satisfied with this sequel. Much of the humor is repeated from the first volume. I've already been there. There's not much need for the recycling job.











 ODD INTERLUDE by DEAN KOONTZ

Loved this book. If you like Koontz and his greatest creation Odd Thomas you'll love this book too. If you've not read him start with the first book in the series, Odd Thomas.
I've burned through another stack of comic book collected editions and here's what I thought.

 PROPHET - I noticed this science fiction comic from Image ending up on several best of the year lists but it wasn't for me. Quite a few bits were too grotesque for my taste.

 GREEN LANTERN VOL 2 REVENGE OF THE BLACK HAND
Seems a bit premature to bring back Black Hand so soon and I didn't enjoy this book as much as Johns others in the series. I really don't buy the Guardians turning so horribly evil so suddenly. Still it's my favorite title so I'll bear with Johns to see where all this is headed.

NEW 52 ZERO OMNIBUS
First time I've bought one of these 1000+ page Omnibus and it was a bit of a struggle to read physically. The content is wonderful. It's DC at it's best. I didn't care for the Image heroes of Jim Lee's being included so that was a big chuck of under cooked material. Where it features DC heroes it is top notch and I loved the new Green Lantern introduction.
CONAN VOL 13 QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST
Very lovely art especially the final two chapters by James Harren, but it was Becky Cloonan that drew me to the book. Can't wait for the next volume!
 INCREDIBLE HULK VOL 2 BY JASON AARON
Great cover, eh? Utter mess and failure inside. Do not bother. Go back and read the Greg Pak issues instead.

 FANTASTIC FOUR BY HICKMAN VOL. 5 AND 6
Genius work by Hickman. He's completely revolutionized the FF in ways no one else has ever. Start this series from the beginning and be prepared for some astonishing science fiction. I sure hope Marvel issues an Omnibus of the Hickman era because I've sold this books after reading them and I'd love to go back and read them again and again.
 SPIDERMAN ENDS OF THE EARTH
A tad over long and over blown. Spider-man has been improving of late with terrific collection such as BIG TIME, SPIDER ISLAND and TROUBLE ON THE HORIZON but this one here feels like a minor effort.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I wasn't quite sure I like the first volume but I get what Azzarello is doing now. He's remade the classic Roman Gods into something like Gaiman's Sandman cast of eternals. This title is very refreshingly different. Was thrown for a loop when Diana says she's only 23 years old. Guess they've dropped her previous decades of history? Not a complete story yet but love the direction it's going. Can't wait for the next book! Love it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


GREAT NORTH ROAD 

by Peter F. Hamilton


I'm currently reading several books but am focusing on Peter F. Hamilton's GREAT NORTH ROAD. It's my first book by the author and I'm loving it. Wondering which of his books to read next.

UPDATE: I've finished reading GREAT NORTH ROAD and I've got to say it's the best science fiction novel I've read in a very long time. It's going on my all time favorite novels shelf. It's a page turner, which is saying a lot for a 950 page novel. But there's not one page I would have cut. It's utter perfection. I loved every moment. I cried at the end.

Now I'm wondering if I should go with Mr. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy next or the series that begins with Pandora's Star.

But next I think I'll take a rare step away from genre and read Ken Follett's Fall of Giants which I just began reading. I'm also set to read the second Walking Dead novel before the TV show starts up again. 
Continuing my favorites of 2012

MOVIES:
  • JOHN CARTER
  • THE HOBBIT
  • ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER
  • WRATH OF THE TITANS
  • THE AVENGERS
  • CABIN IN THE WOODS
  • LOCKOUT
  • CHRONICLE
  • INNKEEPERS
  • MEN IN BLACK 3
  • SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
  • PROMETHEUS
  • THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
  • FRANKENWEENIE
  • DETENTION
  • THE CALLER
  • REAL STEEL
  • RED RIDING HOOD
  • DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
Haven't yet watched:
ARGO
THE MASTER
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS
ZERO DARK THIRTY
HOLY MOTORS
LIFE OF PI
CLOUD ATLAS
SILVER LINGINGS PLAYBOOK
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE
LES MISERABLES


TV SHOWS:
  • GOING POSTAL
  • UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS
  • TRUE BLOOD
  • WALKING DEAD
  • EUREKA
  • FRINGE
  • ARROW
  • 666 PARK AVENUE
  • BEING HUMAN (NORTH AMERICAN VERSION)
  • SHERLOCK
  • SPARTACUS
  • DOCTOR WHO
  • THE RIVER
  • GAME OF THRONES
  • DOWNTON ABBEY

Monday, January 14, 2013

Best Books of 2012

Thanks to Goodreads I was able to track my reading during 2012. I finished up 346 books.
These are my favorites broken up a bit by categories. Listed in no particular order.

BOOKS SCIENCE FICTION:
  • STAR WARS: ANNIHILATION by Drew Karpyshyn
  • BITTER SEEDS by Ian Tregillis
  • RED SHIRTS by John Scalzi
  • EX-COP  by Warren Hammond
  • THE SPACE MERCHANTS by Frederik Pohl
  • RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA by Arthur C. Clarke
  • THE LONG EARTH by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  • DOCTOR WHO: SHADA by Gareth Roberts
  • HEAVEN'S SHADOW by David Goyer and Michael Cassutt
  • HEAVEN'S WAR by David Goyer and Michael Cassutt
  • READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
  • EXISTENCE by David Brin (it's a brilliant mess and a difficult read. didn't finish but think I need to go back to.)


BOOKS HORROR FICTION:
  • BETWEEN TWO FIRES by Christopher Buehlman
  • THOSE ACROSS THE RIVER by Christopher Buehlman
  • WALKING DEAD: RISE OF THE GOVERNOR by Robert Kirkman
  • HOLLOW CITY by Dan Wells
  • MONSTER by Dave Zeltserman
  • THE CARETAKER OF LORNE FIELD by Dave Zeltserman
  • SOMETHING RED by Douglas Nicholas
  • BREED by Chase Novak
  • MICRO by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston
  • AMERICAN GOTHIC by Robert Bloch
  • THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan
  • FRANKENSTEIN: THE DEAD TOWN by Dean Koontz
  • FRANKENSTEIN: LOST SOULS by Dean Koontz
  • ODD APOCALYPSE by Dean Koontz
  • 77 SHADOW STREET by Dean Koontz

BOOKS FANTASY FICTION:
(I'm seriously behind on my Fantasty reading.
Something I want to correct in 2013.)
  • LIBROMANCER by Jim C. Hines


SHORT STORY:
  • EXTRACTION by Preston and Child
  • IN THE TALL GRASS by Stephen King


NONFICTION:
  • DARK SHADOWS: RETURN TO COLLINWOOD by Kathryn Leigh Scott
  • THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY by Joseph E. Stiglitz
  • SCIENCE FICTION THE 101 BEST NOVELS by Damien Broderick
  • 100 CHARACTERS FROM CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY by Malcolm Day
  • DARK SHADOWS COMPANION by Kathryn Leigh Scott
  • DOCTOR WHO: THE DALEK HANDBOOK
  • DOCTOR WHO: THE TARDIS HANDBOOK
  • 100 ENGLISH ROSES FOR THE AMERICAN GARDEN by Clair Martin
  • VICTORIAN PAINTING by Lionel Lambourne
  • FULL SERVICE MY ADVENTURES IN HOLLYWOOD by Scotty Bowers
  • SHAZAM! THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE WORLD'S MIGHTIEST MORTAL by Chip Kidd
  • DOCTOR WHO THE ENCYCLOPEDIA by Gary Russell
  • BEST OF THE LEGION OUTPOST by Glen Cadigan

COMIC BOOK COLLECTED EDITIONS- NEW MATERIAL/CURRENT ON-GOING:
  • FF and Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman
  • SECRET AVENGERS by Rick Remender
  • FLASH by Francis Manapul
  • GREEN LANTERN: NEW GUARDIANS by Tony Bedard
  • BATMAN: ODYSSEY by Neal Adams
  • GREEN LANTERN CORPS by Peter J. Tomasi
  • AQUAMAN by Geoff Johns
  • OMAC by Dan Didio
  • BATGIRL by Gail Simone
  • MOON KNIGHT by Bendis
  • WONDER WOMAN  by Brian Azzarello
  • GREEN LANTERN by Geoff Johns
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE by Geoff Johns
  • FEAR AGENT Vol. 6 by Rick Remender
  • BATMAN INCORP. by Grant Morrison
  • SLAINE THE HORNED GOD by Pat Mills
  • THE TWELVE Vol. 1 by J. Michael Straczynski
  • WONDER WOMAN: ODYSSEY Vol. 2 by J. Michael Straczynski
  • LEGION OF MONSTERS by Denis Hopeless
  • DARK SHADOWS Vol. 1 by Stuart Manning
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE GENERATION LOST Vol. 1 & 2
  • LOCKE AND KEY by Joe Hill
  • AVENGERS THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE by Heinberg
  • SUPERMAN REIGN OF DOOMSDAY by Paul Cornell
  • SUPERMAN GROUNDED by J. Michael Straczynski
  • SILVER STAR by Jack Kirby
  • WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS AFTERMATH by Tony Bedard
  • ORBITAL Vols. 1-4 by Sylvain Runberg
  • SPIDERMAN SPIDER ISLAND by  Dan Slott
  • MARVEL'S ANNIHILATION & REALM OF KINGS series


COMIC BOOK COLLECTED EDITIONS- REPRINTS
  • MARVEL MASTERWORKS CAPTAIN MARVEL Vol. 4 by Steve Englehart
  • MARVEL MASTERWORKS MARVEL TEAM-UP Vol. 2
  • MARVEL MASTERWORKS TALES TO ASTONISH Vol. 4
  • MARVEL MASTERWORKS AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Vol. 14
  • MARVEL MASTERWORKS FANTASTIC FOUR vol.  14
  • DC ARCHIVES LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES Vol. 13
  • DC ARCHIVES JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol. 10
  • DC ARCHIVES CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN Vol. 2 by Jack Kirby
  • DC ARCHIVES SUPERMAN'S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE Vol. 1
  • DC ARCHIVES THE FLASH Vol. 6
  • DC ARCHIVES GREEN LANTERN Vol. 7
  • LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: 1,050 YEARS OF THE FUTURE by Otto Binder
  • FANTASTIC FOUR: THE OVERTHROW OF DOCTOR DOOM by Len Wein
  • DC UNIVERSE SECRET ORIGINS 
  • X-9 SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN Vol. 1 by Archie Goodwin
  • LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT BY JIM APARO Vol. 1
  • DARK SHADOWS THE COMIC STRIP BOOK by Kenneth Bruce Bald
  • THE INCAL CLASSIC COLLECTION by Moebius
  • BLACK PANTHER by Jack Kirby
  • X-MEN THE HIDDEN YEARS by John Byrne 
  • DOCTOR WHO CLASSICS OMNIBUS  Vol. 1 
  • EC ARCHIVES THE HAUNT OF FEAR Vol. 1
  • MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER: THE STEVE DITKO ARCHIVES Vol. 3
  • AVENGERS: THE PRIVATE WAR OF DOCTOR DOOM
  • WONDER WOMAN: THE TWELVE LABORS
  • AVENGERS: BRIDE OF ULTRON
  • FEAR AGENT LIBRARY Vol. 1 by Rick Remender

Monday, July 14, 2008

Etc.

As you may have noticed, I'm taking an extended hiatus as real life curve balls have left me scant time to read, review and post. Hopefully I'll be back when the time is right. Cheers, David.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Essential Batman Encyclopedia by Robert Greenberger - A handy and good looking reference for Batman fanatics that delves pretty deep into the characters populating the Bat-books through the decades. While I've read DC comics off and on since the 60s, I'm just a casual Batman reader, but much of the content here was just over my head.

This volume is written from the contemporary DC continuity perspective, i.e. everything printed in DC comics in the Golden Age of the 40's actually happened on Earth-2; not on our Earth. I found that to be rather jarring as Earth-2 was a 1960s invention. So much of the content here is twisty revisionist. I'd prefer reading historical entries in historical context.

For example, the entry under "Supergirl" starts off talking about Kara Zor-el (Power Girl) of Earth-2 and states (mistakenly) she was introduced in All-Star Comics #57 (1951). That would be before Supergirl was introduced. As far as I know, Power Girl was introduced
in All Star Comics #58 in 1976, a couple of decades after Supergirl debuted. I looked at a few other example entries and found other similar contextual (and perhaps typographical) errors, and other entries are fine if you can get past the revisionist writing.

Maybe it's just me, but it's weird to read that the Earth-2 Catwoman debuted in 1940. There was no Earth-2 in 1940! If I can get beyond that weirdness I guess It's OK.

Short Book Reviews

Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 1 by Various - I haven't gotten much reading done with the cross country move happening, but I did take this first volume of black and white reprints from the old Conan magazine with me on the flight to Portland, OR. It was a good travel companion, though I enjoyed it more to start with than toward the end. I wouldn't exactly say if you've read one of these stories, you've read them all... but maybe if you've read a dozen or so. There's some great art here from Smith, Buscema and Acala. Good enuf for Good Fun!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Update

Whew! Moving 2,300 miles is costly and exhausting work! But I'm done with it. I didn't miss the last couple of weeks of comics and am ready to write my reviews... but I've misplaced that stack somewhere in 14 long boxes. As I like to have the books I'm reviewing in hand when I'm writing, and searching through 14 long boxes sounds quite dreadful... I'll be back to reviewing comics next time I hit the comic shop.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Metal Men 8 of 8 - This beautiful and complex Science Fiction tale comes to an end in a satisfying conclusion. The Metal Men have never been better. Much thanks to artist/writer Duncan Rouleau. This week's lot of books had quite a few endearing moments, but this successful mini-series just makes me want to read it again. (And I very rarely re-read comics) Cheers, Best of the Week!

Tor 1 of 6 - Joe Kuberts got a new comic out! Wee-dogie! Blissed out cave man goodness. Joe Kuberts got a new comic out! I'm dizzy with happiness. Excellent!

The War that Time Forgot 1 of 12 - Woot! Yet another kick off to a new mini-series that seems to be a lot of fun so far. Neal Adams cover to boot. Tanks vs. Dinosaurs? What more do you want in a comic? Excellent!

Madman 8 - Seems to be something of a transitional issues between story lines. There's 2 stories in this issue. The first is less successful; something of a college-aged existential plot. The back up story is much more fun and very silly. Good Fun!

The All New Atom 23 - I wasn't quiet sure what to make of the first couple of issues of Remenders story, but it hits its stride in this issue where the plot lines come together in a very action packed issue. Excellent!

Supergirl 29 - I'm enjoying this storyline. It keeps getting better. The art in this issue mostly looks pretty rushed and sloppy. This book could use a new artist. It's OK.

Secret Invasion 2 of 8 - Lots of fighting in this issue. Apparently the current Hawkeye is wearing a horrible god-awful costume and calling himself Ronin. The big moment of this issue is Hawkeye's wife is back from the dead. Umm. Don't know who she is. Didn't know he was married. So that emotional impact didn't resonate for me. I'm just hoping the jolly Avengers era Beast is the real deal. They should get rid of the brooding cat-man Beast that is running around.
I still don't get how all these Skrulls have super-powers on top of shape-shifting. But maybe that will be explained at some point. It's OK.

Countdown to Mystery 7 of 8 - It seems like it's been a long time since the last issue. This one's pretty fun and I enjoyed the new artist on the Spectre segment. Good Fun!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Action Comics 864 - A nice epilogue to the Legion/Superman crossover and as a prologue for the upcoming Legion of Three Worlds mini series. It also ties up a couple of loose ends from the apparently awful Countdown series. There's a fill in artist here that just awful. (Any artist that gives Batman the pointy under the cape shoulder pads rates as awful in my book.) Much more successful than the DC Universe 0 from this week at tidying up the DC storylines and teasing for what's to come. Cheers, Best of Week!

DC Universe 0 - Ummm. Totally not what I expected from this book. There's no story and no jumping on place for new readers, so in that sense this book's a great disaster. It's basically a series of ads for several mini-series from DC. Marvel did a much better job with something like this with the freebie intro to the Secret Invasion. I must admit however that most of the mini's advertised here look pretty good. The last few pages seem to imply that Barry Allen is making a return, which pleases me. It's taken way to long for that to happen, and I for one will be glad to have him back. But paying for ads? Really? That pretty much Stinks!

Legion of Super Heroes 41 - Another solid issue in the continuing storyline. Tho, already I'm getting pretty sick of the silly made up future language slang. It's overdone. C'mon Jim Shooter, you're old enough to use your grown up words. That minor complaint aside, it's still Good Fun!

JSA Classified 37 - OK maybe this should be my pick of the week. It's certainly got the best art/story/color/inking combo of this weeks lot. And is certainly one of my favorite little storylines of this year so far. I'm a fan of the Golden Age homage style story and this here's been a beautiful example featuring Wildcat. This 3 parter is a lovely example of super hero storytelling at it's very best. Beyond Highly Recommended.

Green Lantern 30 -
So I was pretty unimpressed with the previous issue of the Secret Origin, but this issue more than makes up for it. More great story from Johns and artist Reis seems to be getting better and better. Looks like this is going to be a great arc. Excellent!

Teen Titans Year One 4 - The fun continues in this nifty mini. I sure think it would be cool if these Teen Titans had their own regular series. Perhaps I'm stuck in the past but I'd sure like to see the whole Titans franchise get reset. Why is it this is the only DC property that's never been reset? Good Fun!

Thor Ages of Thunder One Shot - Looks pretty but is filled with stuffy staid narration. Eh, It's OK.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Marvel Masterworks - The Incredible Hulk Vol. 4 - I picked this up on sale and I'm REALLY glad I did. I'd forgotten how much I loved the Marie and John Severin and Herb Trimpe's art work on the Hulk. When I think of the Hulk it's those artists that own him for me. (Much like John Buscema on the Avengers.) The stories here are a bit rudimentary but that still works the HULK SMASH gusto. I totally loved this volume. Sublime and Highly Recommended!

Short Book Reviews

The All New Atom Vol 1 by Byrne, Simone and various - OK I freely admit I'm a Johnny Come Lately to this title. I've only started picking it up because I'm a fan of Rick Remender, the current writer of the monthly. So I decided to go back and read this to see how the series got started. I found this to be a fairly enjoyable read, but was not blown away by it. I'm happy to stick with the Remender issues. It's just OK.

Short Book Reviews

Legion of Super-Heroes - Tomorrow's Heroes - Vol One by Various - I've much enjoyed the few episodes of the TV cartoon this collection is based upon. A nice introduction to a new and younger audience, this collection of the monthly comic is a solid companion piece for the TV show. As a Legion fan I'm sad that the cartoon has been canceled but perhaps this series will continue. Great for kids. Good Fun!

Short Book Reviews

Excavation by James Rollins - This here was the 2nd book published under the Rollins moniker. It's a fun pager-turning science fiction adventure thriller. While not one of my favorite Rollins, I still enjoyed it from start to finish. I'm looking forward to getting back to the Sigma Force series, which I like a lot more. Mostly Good Fun!

Short Book Reviews

The Plutonium Blonde by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem - Continuing on with my reading of cross-genre hybrids, this hard-boiled SciFi mystery is most notable for it's humor. While some of the jokes are a bit juvenile, they come and go so swiftly there's enough jokes of a wide variety to please just about anyone. I laughed out loud at this book more than anything I've read since that last David Sedaris book I picked up. Packaged with a neat plot and great characters, this books a winner. Really great cover art by Michael Koelsch too. Highly Recommended!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

X-men First Class 11 - It's been a while since I've read this title, but I thumbed through at the store and couldn't put it down again. I was totally grabbed by the very charming art by Nick (sign me up for the Fan Club) Dragotta, whose style is quite his own but lies in the same neighborhood of Mike Allred and Cliff Chiang. Coupled with Jeff Walker's tight witty alternative universe story, this single issue just might be the best comic I've read this year. Highly Recommended and Cheers, Best of the Week!

Batman 675 - Continuing the long prelude to the Batman R.I.P., Grant Morrison's run here just seems to be getting better, deeper and more complex, even tho this issue seemed a bit sparse and brief; it's still an interesting story. The fill in artist's very angular and hard lines didn't really appeal to me, but I'm sure to be back next month. Good Fun!

Wolverine First Class 2
- Another slight but enjoyable caper from Van Lente for Kitty Pride and Wolverine which has a nice pay off chuckle at the end. I like this book, but I'm betting it's going to be collected in one of those little digest sized (Marvel Adventures style) paperback at a better price, so I'm not going to pick it up again. I'll just wait for a cheaper edition. Good Fun!

Hulk Vs Hercules -
w00t! A double shot of Van Lente this week as the scribe teams up with Pak for this awesome slug fest that's a necessity for Herc and Hulk readers. Nothing huge happens but this is a lot of fun for the fans. Excellent!

Justice League of America 20 - Bugger me! I'd thought I'd left this back at the store but it wormed it's way into my pile. Sneaky bastard! It's an awful issue. I totally hate Van Scivers art and do my best to avoid it. (Just look at Queen Bee's head on the cover... it's like 3 sizes too large for her body.) Stupid story to boot. Guess I should drop this title, I just keep complaining about it. Pee-U! Stinks like Limberger!

Thor 8 - A pretty solid issue here with a title that sure seems to be growing me for the most part. Good art again and improving storyline. Wraps up a 2 parter Odin dialog, and reintroduces Lady Sif and Jane Foster. I'd just love to see an issue of this where a lot happens swiftly. Pacing is still a bit of a chore, as can the sometime stilted dialog. There's a few good ideas floated in this title with a lot of fluff surrounding them.This book needs to cut the fluff and kick up the pace, but for now it's Good Fun!



Here's a small sample of Nick Dragotta's X-men art I liked so much.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

The Flash 239 - For a title I started buying on a whim a few months ago I keep finding more and more to enjoy here. I'm loving the story arc with the creepy villain. This weeks releases have a couple of my favorite titles with Fear Agent and The Brave and the Bold, but somehow The Flash comes out on top here and again gets my Cheers! Best of the Week!

The Brave and the Bold 12 - A solid conclusion to this really enjoyable 12 parter. Definitely will have to keep it in mind for the year end best of list. The story seems to want a epiloge but maybe that's coming somewhere down the pipeline. Recommended!

Fear Agent 20 - I love me some Fear Agent and this Hatchet Job storyline is outstandingly dramatic and angsty, with more surprising twists and turns. This storyline's getting pretty dark and heavy, I hope Heath Hudson gets a bit more adventure and a few laughs at some point. Recommended!

Superman 675 - Really great Ross cover on this one, and it's a pretty good story inside to boot. I really enjoyed the villain Paragon who's a great character with some really funny lines. I'd sure like to see more of him. Still don't get who the child is that is living with Lois and Clark but he's apparently another Kryptonian. Good Fun!

The Incredible Hercules 116 - Bah! Crossovers! Since Hercules took over this title it's been one of my favorites. So far it's been speeding along with great art and slambang storytelling. We've got a new artist here (who's actually quite good) but the story seems to be taking a detour for the Skrull crossover event and momentum is seems a bit off track from the previous issues. Still it's Good Fun!

Hey... good stack of comics this week. I actually liked all of them!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Comic Book Reviews from Last Week

Green Arrow and Black Canary 7 - Holy Smoke! I'm a full week late getting these posted. I've been busy house hunting and otherwise occupied. This issue provided me with several laugh out loud moment, more great art from Chiang, a swell guest appearance from Hal Jordan and nice developments in the continuing storyline. Easily wins my Cheers! Best of the Week!

The Amazing Spider-Man 556 - Coming in a close 2nd, I quiet enjoyed this second chapter of a Bachalo illustrated Spidey story. I'm not sure I'll follow this title when the artist changes, but for now I'm on board and digging it. Excellent!

Wonder Woman 19 - I thought I'd drop this when the Dodson's left the art chores, but it seems I'm enjoying the new artist and the Gail Simone story so far. Nice ending to a 2 part story and I'll be back next month for more. Good Fun!

Fantastic Four 556 - Horrible colors doom the art here. It's so muddy, it's impossible to tell what's going on action-wise. Miller and Hitch have done some great work in the past. But whatever it is they're aiming for here just isn't working. This one's a mess best to be avoided. Didn't an editor proof this? Stinks!

Justice Society of America 14 - Guess the most striking thing about this issue is the weird thigh garters Hawkman is wearing on the cover. Guess he's got droopy hose. Then there's the unflatteringly strange pointy cape on shoulders that Sandman and Dr. Mid-nite sport. Johns is writing some great stories these days, but this one's not one of them. There's too much and not enough going on. This storyline is going on way too long with too little momentum. The previous title JSA was much better than this one.
Again Disappointing!

Titans 1 - What a horrible issue for a first one. The majority of the pages are one panel and for $3.50 it feels like a gyp. I really hate Churchill's art and am glad there's a different artist starting next issue. Tho, I must confess Beast Boy looks pretty cute with the long sideburns. Not much of a story here, but I am enjoying Winicks Green Arrow and Black Canary so I'll give this one a chance to improve. I've never been much of a fan of the whole Nightwing concept (it might be the sucky costume) and hope Dick Grayson gets an evolution here of some kind. Like why can't he be Red Robin? Also, some nobody Titans have survived the aftermath of the Titans East Special that was part one of this story. That's too bad; I'd have liked them to stay dead. Very Disappointing.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Donovan's Brain by Curt Siodmak - It's easy to see why this novel from 1942 has it's cult status and is still a fairly entertaining read. Siodmak was a screenwriter (as well as a novelist) most notably for The Wolfman and I Walked with a Zombie. Equal parts SciFi and Horror, Donovan's Brain certainly has nice plotting, tho I didn't quite buy the ending which seemed a wee bit out of tune with the rest of the story. If you're a fan of classic monster movies, you'll enjoy this novel. Stephen King is on record as a fan of this one. I thought it was fairly Good Fun!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Action Comics 863 - This landmark story arc comes to a great conclusion! And we get a nice teaser for Final Crisis Legion of Three Worlds, which I assume is a mini-series and is coming in August. It will be from Geoff Johns and George Perez. That's pretty neat. I don't recall Perez ever doing a Legion series, but he seem perfect for this project. Guess I'm not so mad that he left Brave and the Bold now. Cheers! Best of the Week!

Metal Men 7 - I still think this is like reading a Charles Stross SciFi novel. It's complex, heartfelt, intensely creative and beautiful to look at. Plus it's got a couple of chuckles. Perfection and Recommended!

Secret Invasion 1 - While the dialog was mostly off-character, the plotting here was suprisingly enjoyable. I really liked seeing the standard issue Marvel heroes getting off the crashed Skrull ship, but I have a feeling that this series will ultimately disappoint me. The Marvel Universe direly needs to be reset and seeing these classic heroes again, including the Avengers-era Beast (woo-hoo!) just reinforces that opinion. I sure am rooting for Skrull ship castaways. Death to the New Avengers! It's OK.

Supergirl 28 - Ah, finally. I'm glad I stuck to this title as this issues is the best yet from this recent creative team. Looks like we're going to get a decent story arc out of them. Improving and pretty Good!

Amazing Spider-man 555 - I have not read this title for a really long time, but picked it up cuz I like Bachalo's artwork. Pretty good story so far and I, for one, am glad at least Spider-man's part of the Marvel Universe has been reset to the roots. Just wish they'd do the same for the Avengers and the X-men. Good!

Young Avengers Presents Wiccan and Speed - I have not been reading this mini, but picked it up cuz I like these young gay heroes a bunch and quite enjoyed the searching for the Scarlet Witch plotline. Excellent!

Wolverine First Class 1 - This came out last week but went back to pick it up cuz the writer is part of the Hercules team, and that's been very good. This is a nice throw back to the classic new X-men era and a pretty decent story. Not sure if I'll follow this title, but... I just might. Wolverine and Kitty Pride are a pretty good duo. Very Good!

The All New Atom 22 - More SciFi adventure from Remender! I'm liking this so far and look forward to the next issue. Very Good!

Green Lantern 29 - Ummm. This one's kind of a retread of stuff old Green Lantern fans already know. I'm not happy artist McKone is gone and that Reis is back. I'm not a Reis fan and would much rather see just about ANY other artist on here. The storyline will prolly improve... but this ones Disappointing.

Project Superpowers 2 - This one's OK. It's kind of weird that The Flame is featured on the cover and is barely in the issue which has more Samson either him or the Devil. Plotting is a bit slow, but it's OK... I think. Might drop this next issue if it doesn't improve.