Thursday, February 28, 2008

Comic Book Review This Week

Action Comics 862 - Brilliantly continuing the Superman/Legion of Super-Heroes team-up Frank and Johns provide more great entertainment. This version of the Legion seems more like the real deal than the one that's in the current reboot of their own titled monthly (which I'm also enjoying greatly). I'm wondering what's next for this Legion. I certainly hope it's not the last we'll see of them. For me it was a big week in comics and there was a lot to admire, so the competition was very strong. Nonetheless this one grabs, Cheers! Best of the Week.

JSA Classified 35 - This first of a three part story featuring Wildcat was an unexpected and lovely gem. A solid start to the story by B. Clay Moore; sublime art by Ramon Perez exceptionally colored by Dave McCaig. I totally loved this one and it reminded me of the sublime Batgirl: Year One mini-series. Excellent!

Legion of Super-Heroes 39 - Another great issue from the new creative team. It's certainly a good time for Legion fans like myself. Excellent!

The Engineer 2 of 3 - Another title I'm really loving. It reminds me of the "Leave it to Chance" series from a few years ago that I still miss. I certainly hope Archaia Studios gives the Engineer another series. Excellent!

RASL 1 - Yay! Jeff Smith's got a new on-going title that's not Bone. Pretty exciting news for Jeff Smith's fans. Is it good? You bet. Just wish it was in color. And the next issue isn't due for another 3 months. You'd think with all that time between issues they could spare a bit of time for a colorist. Excellent!

Project Superpowers 1 - While I was disappointed with the issue 0 of this title, I like this one pretty well. I think I'll stick around and will be picking up the next issue. Good Fun!

Batman 674 - As a guy that's not much of a Batman fan for the last couple of decades, I'm really liking this Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel storyline. Bat-mite rocks! And so does this title. Excellent!

Thor 6 - It's still really pretty to look at and 6 months into this title Thor is still rebuilding Asgard. When's he going to fight some villian? Glacial beauty and pacing. It's OK.

Justice Society of America 13 - Really great Alex Ross cover. Inside there's finally some acknowledgment of how crazily large the Society has grown. Plot moves a bit, but is still seeming rather unwieldy. Still on the fence with the storyline. It's OK.

X-men Legacy 208 - Ummm. Not sure what to think about this one. Guess my first impression was it's better than the Messiah Complex event. I'm just not sure what it's all about. Like why tack on Legacy to the title? Is this going to be an monthly recap of past X-men plotlines? What's the point of that? I'm guessing it's going to ultimately lead up to another big X-men event or just fizzle into silly dream-logic nonsense. So, I guess It's OK.

Kick-Ass 1 - I'm pretty indifferent to this issue. It didn't really grab me and I doubt if I'll pick it up again. Maybe I'll change my mind. It's almost OK.

JLA Classified 53 - I'm stilling enjoying the Stern and Byrne run more than the regular Justice League title. I'd love to see these fellas produce some more League storylines. Excellent!

Warbound 3 of 5 - I guess I missed picking this one up last week, and I'm glad I grabbed it yesterday. Pak and Kirk are an awesome team and I'm enjoying this mini quite a bit. I like Pak's Hercules a whole lot more, but he's doing a great job here as well. Excellent!

Nexus 100 -

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson - (unrevised edition) Much has been written about this fantasy classic from 1954. Notably from Michael Moorcock at the Guardian and the SFSite has posted an interesting review as well. I found this novel to be a brutally operatic folktale of faerie set in the Dane invaded England, which made it a great companion piece for reading along side Bernard Cornwell's on-going Saxon Chronicles. At times the archaic prose was a wee bit awkward but it usually enhances an authentic vibe to the bloody tale. If you are a fan of Norse myth, Vikings or Steven Erickson's Malazan novels, you will want to read this timeless classic. Highly Recommended!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Etc.

In case you are running short of things to worry about, you may now add KILLER ROBOTS to your list. And here I am still waiting for my ray gun and jet pack.

Short Book Reviews

Fantastic Four Visionaries - John Byrne, Vol. 1 - By 1981 when John Bryne started this five year run on FF, I was in high school and had mostly stopped reading comic books, so this collection was all new to me. I had a real good time reading it. It's not nearly as monumental as the original run of Lee and Kirby of course, but it is solidly entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading more of these collections. Good Fun!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Short Book Reviews

A Fate Worse Than Dragons by John Moore - This novel was billed as a fairy tale parody. It's not a parody, it's a uninspired situation comedy. It's mostly good natured, yet I found it to be subtlety offensive when it relied on tired gay stereotypes from 100 years ago. If this novel had made jokes out of another minority stereotype (for example African-Americans, Jews or Asians) it would have never seen print. I think it would be fun to read a parody of Erikson's Malazan Books of the Fallen or Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice or even Robert Jordan or Terry Goodkind. There's plenty of current fantasy that could be a ripe field for humorous material. Unfortunately this writer totally misses the boat. Pretty lame and it Stinks!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Children of the Night by John Blackburn - This science fiction/horror novel was published in 1966 and later broadly adapted in film with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as The Devil's Undead (aka Nothing But the Night) in 1972. Charmingly British and somewhat dated, I found this to be quite a page-turning read even though I was let down a wee bit in the third act. Billed as a horror novel, it's more of a science fiction thriller involving Middle-Age cults, mind control and mutants and a forerunner of The Hills Have Eyes. Dated but nearly Good Fun!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison - This here thrifty nugget of charm and adventure is nearly 50 years old, and is still a totally entertaining story about an intergalactic con-man turned space cop. Older science fiction can all to easily read as a dated artifact with a all too short expiration date. That's just not the case here. What you get here is a fun, inventive, pulpy space romp. I've never read Harrison before, and I'm glad I did. I'll definitely be reading more of his work. Much thanks to Carl V. for the suggestion. Highly Recommended!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Fortnight

Incredible Hercules 114 - Writer Pak and his art team continue to entertain and intrigue. Pak really knows how to tell a great story and I really need to search out what other work he's done aside from the World War Hulk stuff. While I haven't been too keen on much from Marvel lately. I sure do dig this one. Cheers, Best of the Fortnight!

Brave and the Bold 10 - Damn I love this book which is every bit as good as the Hercules. I read the other day that Perez has been taken off this title for another project which is a real shame. For my money, it's his best work in years. Hopefully he'll return to Brave and Bold in short order. Excellent!

Justice League of America 18 - While I've been disappointed with the last couple of issues of this title, it seems to have regained its footing and I enjoyed this one. Good Fun!

Perhapanauts Annual 1 - I've noticed this title in the past but never picked it up. The Mike Allred cover got me to buy it and I'm very glad it did. I quite enjoyed the story and the artwork, and I intend to pick up the collected Dark Horse volumes. I'll be checking out the new on-going as well. Excellent!

World of Warcraft 4 - It's a pretty solid issue but my interest seems to be wanning a bit on this title. It's nearly tempting me to restart my WoW account, but I'm resisting. Must... fight.... WoW.... addiction.... It's OK.

Atomic Robo 5 - Ummm. I think I've decided I like this title even tho I've only read a couple of issues. I sort of wish I hadn't bought single issues. Think this would be read better as a collection. Totally didn't get the back up story this time. Takes like 2 mins to read the whole thing. It's OK.

JLA Classified 52 - I'm stilling digging this multi-part Bryne and Stern creation more than the regular Justice League of America current arc. Double shot of Justice League a month works fine for me tho. Excellent!

Green Arrow and Black Canary 5 - Ah! Finally some back story for the Green Arrow's son that I didn't know. A good chapter in the story arc with a decent fill in artist. I am still enjoying this title quite a bit. Good Fun!

Wonder Woman 17 - The Finale of the Circle story arc was decent. Think it started stronger than it finished. Guess the Dodson's are leaving the title and I suppose I will as well. It's OK.

Fantastic Four 554 - I've enjoyed Miller/Hitch/Neary's work in the past and while I haven't read the FF in years I wanted to check this out. After reading this and hearing about what's going on with Spiderman, it's seems to me that Marvel is Ultimate-izing their regular line. This seemed more like a Ultimate title. It's pretty good. The colors got the usual Marvel drab palette, but I'll stick around to see what happens next. Good Fun!

Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure - I didn't realize I'd spent $5 on this til I got home and I rather regret my purchase. Not really enuf new here to justify the expense. Most of the story has been printed before. Stinks!

Ultimates 3.3 and Hulk 2 - Hahahahaha. Thumbed thru them at the store. Wouldn't even waste my money. What Major Crapola.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The JSA All Stars by Various - Collecting Golden Age solo stories of B-listers Johnny Thunder, the Hour-Man, Wildcat, the Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, Mr. Terrific and Red Tornado, this volume is a swell companion to the All Star Comics Archive Editions. All these stories were new to me and some were surprisingly enjoyable while others had me laughing or cringing, sometimes at the same time. The Atoms' butt cheek baring leather thong/girdle is disturbingly seared into memory. Altogether light fun and an interesting glimpse into comic book history. Recommended.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez - This SciFi mystery staring robot Mack Megaton is a witty, clever, fast moving and stylish romp. I quite enjoyed Martinezs' Gil's All Fright Diner, but this novel is a great improvement on his previous books. Tweaking stereotypes into interesting characters, some great action and funny one-liners had me loving this book. I can easily see this one becoming a classic in years to come, and surely earns a spot on my years best list. Great Robert McGinnis homage cover by Glen Orbik as well. Did I mention I loved this book? Highly Recommended!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1 by Various - While I've enjoyed the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl over the years I wasn't sure about reading this silver age collection. I figured it would mostly be pretty sucky and better left to nostalgic memory. I didn't expect to find such an throughly entertaining read. Highlighted by Gil Kane and Curt Swan's artwork these groovy age stories include Batgirl finding a pot of pot, Batgirl giving Batman a hot pink Batmobile for his birthday; Barbara Gordon running for Congress; riffs on "Midnight Cowboy" and "The Godfather" and plenty of guest stars and mysteries. Highly Recommended!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes - Flashy and sometimes witty prose illuminate this dream-logic imbued Victorian fantasy adventure. With tones of Susanna Clarke, David Lynch and Tim Burton distilled with London history, I mostly enjoyed this intoxicating mystery but at times was left in the dust of the nonsensical dream-logic plot turns, particularly towards the end. Nonetheless I found it to be compulsively readable and Good Fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Damn! Iced-in. No new comic books today... maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer - Continuing onward in my reading of classic SciFi, I picked up this Laumer novel on a whim at the used book store. It's apparently considered Laumer's best in some circles. Convolutedly time tripy, I found it to be heavily techno-babbled and repeatedly required too much suspension of disbelief for me to enjoy. I'm not a huge fan of time travel, so I'm probably biased. While I didn't enjoy this one I'll still give Laumer another shot. Cool cover, tho. Disappointing!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg - A SF Masterworks selection as well as included in Stephen Jones and Kim Newman's Horror: Another 100 Best Books this novel from 1971 has aged very well. Part a product of it's counter culture times and part timeless youthful exploration of life, it has more in common with Kerouac's On the Road than with other science fiction or horror. Having stumbled upon an ancient text, four college roommates (a jock, a Jew, a fag and a Wasp) take off on a road trip to the American southwest in search of eternal life with the knowledge that two must die. It's a invigorating and chilling read and one I'll remember for a long time. Highly Recommended!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Duma Key by Stephen King - King channels John Farris in his latest and somewhat Southern Gothic novel. I think Farris does Southern Gothic better, but King's created a couple of his best and most memorable characters in Wireman and Freemantle, and it's this pair that carry the novel. I had some minor quibbles. It's often exposition heavy, particularly toward the last 100 pages. Horror novels resolutions should be more about atmosphere and action, and heavy exposition endings should be left for dapper dandy detectives resolving drawing room mysteries. Nonetheless, it's altogether a solid, inventive and entertaining read that sees King successfully exploring new territory. Good Fun!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Comic Book Review This Week

Teen Titans Year One 2 - The eye-popping cartoony artwork by Kerschl and crew continue to please as the story progresses nicely. Shaping up to be a great addition to the original Teen Titans cannon and should please folks who've never read the original Titans before. Cheers! Best of the Week!

The All New Atom 20 - Fill in team Simone and Norton give us a solid single issues story that's got me thinking I gotta pick up the back issues of this title. I've only read a couple of these, but it's quite entertaining. Love the Ladronn covers and am cranked up for the Rick Remender storyline. Good Fun!

Metal Men 6 of 8 - I'm still loving this book. It's going to be one of very few comics I'll actually go back and re-read. Wish I knew what DC has planned next for the Metal Men. This title will prolly be on my year end best list for 2008. Excellent!

Uncanny X-men 495 - I'd had in mind to keep reading this title leading up to the big 500th issue, but this one isn't really sparking much interest. Skimpy story for a 22-page book and the art mostly looked like that airbrushed and shellacked stuff you saw on vans in the 70s (and not in a cool way). Think I'll drop this title. Stinks!

Clandestine 1 of 5 - I'm a big fan of Davis and Farmer, but I've never read these characters before. While the book looked great, there's just too much back history that I don't know for me to be engaged. It's OK I guess if you're a Clandestine fan.

Justice Society of America 12 - The story is improving, and it's Johns so I'll stick around to see what happens. But I'm getting the feeling he's introducing a butt-load of new characters so a mess of them can be killed off fighting Gog. Way too many characters in this title. It's OK.

Supergirl 26 - Another title showing slight improvement over the past couple of issues. It's got a neat ending and I'll stick around to see what happens next. It's OK.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Short Book Reviews

Why Not You and I? by Karl Edward Wagner - Cult favorite Wagner is best remembered for his sword-wielding Kane, but he also authored three long out of print horror collections. While I think I enjoyed the first, In a Lonely Place, a bit more than this one, it's still a solidly entertaining and written in nice clear prose. With stories widely ranging from supernatural detective pulp homage, to Emma Peel Avengers fanatics going over the top, to a devil in a psychiatric unit, this is one short story collection I enjoyed from start to finish. Night Shade Books reprinted his Kane novels and short stories in handsome volumes a few years ago, but I'd sure love to Wagner's horror shorts collected in new editions, especially rare and expensive Exorcisms and Ecstasies. Good Fun!