THE FLASH, VOL. 7: SAVAGE WORLD

guest-post2Today, I’m happy to have my son, Connor, return to the blog for yet another of his graphic novel reviews.  Thankfully, this is becoming something of a regular occasion, and I personally will be enjoying it for as long as it lasts.

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flash-7-savage-worldThe Flash: Savage World by Robert Venditti

Genre: Superhero Comics

Series: The Flash #7 

Publisher: DC Comics (January 19, 2016)

Author Information:  Website | Twitter

Length: 144 pages

Connor’s Rating:   connor-capconnor-capconnor-capconnor-cap

After the last book disappointed me (You can read Connor’s review of Vol. 6 here.), I wasn’t in to big of a hurry to open this one up.  But it was holiday break, and I was bored.  (Plus, the Flash is my favorite superhero, so that might have something to do with it too.)  Once I started Savage World I really liked it though.  Have to warn everyone that you really need to read the book before this one to understand what is going on though.

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Okay, so this story is about the Flash being trapped in some weird place in the Speed Force.  A place which looks an awful lot like the Savage Lands in Marvel Comics, filled with dinobots and Paleo-Indians.

While Barry is gone, a crazy future version of the Flash shown up in Central City.  This blue suit impostor determined to fix all the mistakes he made in his past (which is Barry’s future).  His method to just take out the baddies before they can do anything wrong.  This new attitude reminding me a lot of the Punisher from Marvel Comics.

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Quickly, Barry’s Rogues, Patty, and Iris become shocked by the new Barry’s methods.  The two women in our heroes life conspiring to bring him down.  (I’m going to go ahead and admit here that I have never liked Patty at all, and she finally earns my hate by so easily turning on Barry.)

But Barry — the real Barry — is still busy trying to get back home.  Eventually, he does, and a big fight happens!

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Sure, I’ve liked other Flash stories better than this one, but for the kind of book it was, Savage World was pretty amazing. It had a cool story, good character, interesting villains, and amazing drawing. For me, this book was just all around awesome!

Well, I hope you liked this review, and if you are on Goodreads, friend me any time to talk about my reviews or comic books.

batman-V-superman-logoAbout Connor (In his dad’s words):

Connor is a preteen who enjoys graphic novels (DC Comics are preferred), superhero movies (Captain America is his favorite), watching episodes of The Flash, Arrow, and The Walking Dead as well as the NFL, NCAA football, and the NBA on t.v., will happily accept any and all caps (because you just can’t have too many caps), and whose favorite music right now revolves around old rock favorites of the past (Sammy Hagar’s Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy seems to be playing a lot.)  And, no, Connor did not have any input into my paragraph about him.  Being a dad does have it’s privileges.

Purchase the book at Amazon.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Graphic Novels | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

GUEST POST: OLIVER LANGMEAD, AUTHOR OF METRONOME

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Today, I’m excited to welcome Oliver Langmead, author of the Metronome, back to Bookwraiths.  Many of you might recall my fondness for his iambic pentameter scifi tale Dark Star from 2015.  Well, the author is back with his newest novel, which takes readers to the land of dreams and stars a musician.  Since Oliver Langmead has a musical background, it should come as no surprise that he is serious when writing about the subject.

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Writing Music in Fiction

by

Oliver Langmead

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Half way through 2016, one of my greatest mentors sadly passed away. Jim Stewart taught me about poetry, and art, and teaching, and to call him irreplaceable is no understatement. I don’t think I’ll ever meet another Jim Stewart.

When I first went to one of his classes in 2012, he spoke a little about music. Mostly, he seemed in awe of it. Jim was a brilliant poet, and his understanding of poetry went beyond simple academic knowledge of nuance – he was an artist, and he taught me to see the art in it. But that day, I remember him considering music (seriously pondering it, in his usual manner), and he said that music could do things that he, as a poet, could not. That musicians almost had a mystical power; a means of transmitting meaning that transcended words.

About a year after graduating, I sat down to begin writing a book filled with music. And while I still remembered Jim’s comments on music, it wasn’t until then that I really appreciated what he meant.

Writing about music in fiction is difficult. When it’s still in the form of an idea, it seems really easy: the songs and sounds are in your head, and those songs inform the mood of the scenes you’re trying to write. Only… when you sit down to actually write songs being played, the best you can do is write about how the music makes your characters feel. You can’t transmit sounds to inform mood through the page. I know it seems simple, the way I’m writing it down here – as if it’s an obvious stumbling block I should have thought about before deciding on making my protagonist a musician, and filling the book with his music – but I honestly didn’t believe it would be as difficult as it turned out to be.

One classic example of music turning up in fiction is in the form of lyrics (think: the bardic ballad), usually accompanied by a description of an instrument being played, and perhaps things like the tone of the song, or the singer’s voice. The problem is that I never felt very satisfied by the songs in books like George MacDonald’s Phantastes, in which I found myself just skipping them to get back to the plot. Maybe it’s personal taste, but I never got a sense of, well… music out of those lyrical presentations. I think the closest to being great are those in the Lord of the Rings, which Tolkien surrounded by enough atmosphere to give a fair idea – a means of conjuring a distant note in the mind. And say what you will about the Hobbit films but, to me, one of the most successful moments is the misty mountains song in the first of them, which felt as if it brought what Tolkien had meant by his lyrical interludes to life.

I ended up making a compromise. I could never achieve the note-by-note transmission of songs through the page (at least, not yet – maybe technology will catch up!). Instead, I relied on metaphor. I relied on the idea of attaching songs to certain characters, and in that way giving the reader a sense of mood. And, most important of all to the story, I attached songs to places.

In Metronome, songs are used as maps. Each of my protagonist’s songs belongs to a place, and it is by travelling to those places with him that the reader might begin to get a sense of how the songs might sound. Perhaps a song is a storm, or maybe it’s tattooed across the face of a fierce captain, or maybe it’s a song sung by the memory of a long-lost loved one. Music permeates Metronome. It’s even in the name. And while I know now exactly what Jim Stuart meant – that music has a certain magic which other forms of art struggle to capture – I think I’ve done my best. I’ve left room for the reader to decide on the music for his or her self.

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metronomeAbout Metronome 

The Sleepwalkers hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. They traverse the connected dreamworlds where reason is banished and the imagination holds sway.

But tonight, one Sleepwalker has gone rogue. Abandoning her oath to protect the dreamscapes, she devotes herself to another cause, threatening to unleash a nightmare older than man

Once a feted musician, Manderlay lives in an Edinburgh care home, riddled with arthritis. He longs for his youth and the open seas, to regain the use of his hands and play the violin again.

For too long, Manderlay’s nights have been host to dark, corrupted dreams. His comrades in the retirement home fear Manderlay is giving in to age and senility – but the truth is much worse. The dreamworld is mapped with music – and one of Manderlay’s forgotten compositions holds the key to an ancient secret. The Sleepwalkers are closing in on him. He might be their saviour, or his music might be their damnation…

Purchase the novel at Amazon.

Posted in Author Spotlights, Guest Post | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: BOOK TRENDS YOU’RE TIRED OF

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Today, the guys in the Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday group have an interesting topic: BOOK TRENDS YOU’RE TIRED OF!  This is a topic about things you are tired of seeing that are trending in publishing today.  Maybe, something that pops up on a lot of covers these days, or the popularity of certain tropes in a particular genre.  There is something out there you are tired of seeing.  This is the time to LET IT OUT!

Life is all about trends.  I’m old enough now to recall loads of trends from fashion to fiction.  Certain aspects of each changing under the pressure of the prevailing whims of the society they are tailored to satisfy.  Some trends I’ve liked and hated to see end, while others could not have vanished fast enough to suit my tastes.  And that also applies to the prevailing trends in the SFF fiction I am currently seeing.

Since this topic is focusing on what trends I don’t like, I want to go ahead and say there are many things being done in the SFF circles that I do greatly enjoy.  More female protagonists, more female writers, more diversity in societies, and many other areas have made SFF a more exciting genre to read.  So before anyone says I’m a “hater” of some kind, please note we are only dealing with the trends I’ve grown tired of.

chosen-one5. CHOSEN ONE TROPE

Long ago, it was always an orphan boy.  Then we changed to an average boy.  Then authors included girls in the mix.  Now, we have used this trope to the point where everyone including the family house cat has been the Chosen One.  I, for one, am sick to death of it.  No one is the damn Chosen One alright.  Our life is our own to make of it what we will.  We become something great through hard work, dedication, and innate ability (a little luck, as well), not a damn prophecy.  Let’s move on from this already.

red-sonja-chainmail-bikini4. UNREALISTIC FIGHTING  

I’m not trying to pick on Red Sonja by any means, but chain mail bikinis are the easiest illustration of the problem I am talking about, specifically the fighting in many fantasy stories is unrealistic.  Other, easy identified examples of this in most fantasy stories are young heroes becoming skilled warriors in days/weeks/months; a single hero killing five, six or more enemies all by his self; terrible wounds miraculously healing between chapters without any lasting problems; the weight and protection of armor being disregarded in favor of stylish elements (like the chainmail bikini); ridiculous battle tactics working perfectly against veteran enemies.  The list goes on and on and on.  Many times the fighting is so ridiculous in some books that it really ruins the story.  I mean, fantasy is almost synonymous with sword fighting and such, so let’s try harder to make it realistic everyone.

spanish-inquisition3. ALL RELIGIONS ARE EVIL

Whenever I see organized religion in fantasy stories, I immediately know it is going to be presented as a persecutor of magic, science, a particular race of people, or others.  It seems organized religion is the go to trope for societal persecution.  And it just isn’t clever or subversive for authors to do this in this day and age.  Rather, it is lazy writing.  I mean, nothing is absolutely good or bad — including organized religion or its adherents.  Let’s start focusing on the individuals instead of acting like the Spanish Inquisition and declaring that all people of faith are biased, insensitive, haters, or whatever.

asian-message2. PHILOSOPHICAL MUSING

Decades ago, it was the wise, old wizard showing up to give good advice to the young, orphan boy.  Now, it is the scarred, cynical warrior/soldier giving advice to the young, naive warrior/soldier about the way the world really is.  Either way, every other page in many fantasy stories is filled with philosophical statements about the meaning of life, how shitty life is, how bad people really are, or other nuggets of wisdom.  Quite frankly I’m tired of all the Confusius-esque sayings.  They feel forced most of the time and distract from the actual narrative.  I mean, can we focus on the plot already, not be worried about giving our fans quotes to posts on Goodreads.

social-commentary1.  SOCIAL COMMENTARY  

Art has always been used to illustrate a view of the state of politics and society. Animal Farm and To Kill a Mockingbird are two of the most easily recognized examples.  And, yes, every book will have social commentary of one sort or another due to a human being having written it and intentionally (or unintentionally) including their personal views in the narrative.   (I myself did this in #5 The Chosen One with my belief that no one is born “special” but make themselves special through hard work.) That isn’t what I am talking about here.  I am talking about reading a book and coming away with nothing but an idea that the author supports “x” or “y” or believes the people who support “a” or “b” are idiots.  I’m referring to a book which reads less like a work of fiction and more like a work of political philosophy.  Perhaps it is just me, but I read to get away from the bitter, divisive issues in our real world, and I’d rather not pick up a SFF story which offers nothing but more of the same.  If an author can provide social commentary while also telling a compelling fictional story, then I will be happy to read it (and, hopefully, enjoy it).  But if it is all proselytizing, I’ll pass, thank you.

I know you either agree or disagree with my points, so go ahead and tell me. (I promise not to use all CAPS in my response as long as you don’t.)  And be sure to add your own picks if I did not include them.  🙂

Posted in Top Five Wednesday | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

TO CATCH A KILLER: BOOK SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY

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Since I am always looking for ways to bring books to my readers, I jumped at the chance to participate in the Release Day Blitz for Sheryl Scarborough’s new novel, To Catch a Killer. Thanks to the good people over at Tor Teen we are not only spotlighting the novel but giving away one copy of the book to a winner in the US or Canada.  More about that a little later.  First, let us take a closer look at To Catch a Killer and its author.

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to-catch-a-killerTo Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Tor Teen (February 7, 2017)

Author Information: Website | Twitter 

Length: 320 pages

In this contemporary mystery by debut author Sheryl Scarborough, a teenage girl uses forensic science to solve the cold-case murder of her mother.

Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father’s identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother’s best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother’s killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she’s secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she’s close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it’s too late.

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scarboroughSheryl Scarborough worked as a story writer and series developer in children’s television before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College, where she studied under Rita Williams-Garcia, Tom Birdseye, and Susan Fletcher, among others.

She currently lives and works in Kalama, Washington. To Catch a Killer is her debut.

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With thanks to Tor Teen, this giveaway will be for one copy of To Catch a Killer. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and CANADA. To enter, check out the Rafflecopter giveaway.  The winner will be randomly selected, then be notified by email of the great victory!

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FUNDAY MONDAY, OR THE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP ME SURVIVE THE WEEK AHEAD (FEBRUARY 6, 2017)

funday-monday

It might be 2016 instead of 2017, but the same old routine continues.  And so I quickly slip into my business suit and head back into the office to save a few innocent people. But while I try to fool myself into being excited about the promise of a new year and the continuation of the regular grind, deep down, I’m not, so I’m going to escape dreary reality by reading some great books.

This week I’m returning to a series which I lost my way with, but would love to finish.

rise-of-empireRise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Riyria Revelations #3-4

Publisher:  Orbit (December 14, 2011)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length:  786 pages

A PUPPET IS CROWNED. THE TRUE HEIR REMAINS HIDDEN. A ROGUE’S SECRET COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING.

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists whom are fighting the Imperialists in the south. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own grab for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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BOOK TRAVELING THURSDAY: A BOOK WITH CHARACTERS I LOVE TO HATE

booktravelingthursdays5Book Traveling Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Catia and Danielle.  Each week everyone picks a book related to that week’s theme, then you write a blog post explaining explain why you choose that book and spotlight all the different covers from different countries. To find out more check out about BTT go to the Goodreads group!

This week’s theme is: A Book with Characters I Love to Hate!

There were more than a few books which immediately came to mind when I read this topic.  Thomas Covenant.  Prince of Thorns.  But why settle for a book where I don’t like one or a few characters when there is a volume out there with dozens of characters I despise: A Game of Thrones.

ORIGINAL COVER

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The book cover I recall when I first purchased this at my local store long, LONG ago.  (Never would have dreamed this series would still not be finished.)

FAVORITE COVERS

I like these covers for different reasons.  Left: Sure, it is a homage to the first season of the television show, but I like seeing a Stark on the throne.  Middle: Black and white, classic, uncluttered look that appeals to me.  Right: I’m a sucker for paintings of dramatic scenes, and you can’t get much more dramatic than walking toward the Iron Throne of Westeros.

LEAST FAVORITE COVERS

A few of these covers are terribly to me.  Not only do they exhibit sub-par artwork, but they are so generic they fail to capture anything of the essence of A Game of Thrones.  Several others are very minimalist, featuring only a sword, dragon head, throne, or wolf head.  Nothing inherently wrong with any of them, but they are just fairly MEH to me.

So what do you think?  Agree or disagree?

Posted in Book Traveling Thursday, Cover Lover, Fantasy | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

BLOOD OF AENARION

blood-of-aenarionBlood of Aenarion by William King

Genre: Fantasy — Warhammer

Series: Tyrion & Teclis #1

Publisher: Games Workshop (November 29, 2011)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Length:  320 pages

My Rating:  4 stars

Sometimes, I find myself craving pure old-fashioned sword and sorcery escapism.  You know, tales of action, adventure, and intrigue with vile villains and jaded heroes.  Books where the exploits of legendary figures are chronicled, as they stride across a world, meting out death and destruction to their enemies, even while they carry around their own personal crosses upon their back.  And Warhammer novels are tailor made for these moments.

The best part of these sugar-coated fantasy stories are the characters.  Every Warhammer fan has their personal favorite.  But few of them are as interesting or as ill-fated as Aenarion, the first Phoenix King of the Elves; the warrior who braves death by godly flames and the Curse of Khaine (when he draws the vile sword of the God of War and Murder) not for personal glory but to obtain the power to defend his people from the endless hordes of Chaos.  So, naturally, when I saw this book, realized it was all about Aenarion’s descendants and promised to reveal, at least, a sliver of lore about the legendary Phoenix King, I had to read it.

Blood starts things off with a mesmerizing tale of Aenarion’s final battle.  This too brief introduction to the Phoenix King taking a reader into the head of the doomed legend, revealing his true feelings about his life’s choices, exploring his complicated relationship with Caledor Dragontamer and Morathi, and, ultimately, setting the stage for the stories main villain, N’Kari the immortal Daemon prince.

Shifting from the ancient past, the story finally comes to rest on a pair of Aenarion’s ancestors: Tyrion and Teclis.  These twins reared in the wilds of the continent of Ulthuan by their widowed father, who is more obsessed with repairing the ancient battle armor of Aenarion than spending time with his children. Tyrion is the athletic twin, endowed with amazing physical ability and with a mind for strategy; Teclis is a sickly youth, whose mind is better suited for magic.  The two of them content with their current life, shielded by their father from the truth of what it means to be of the blood of Aenarion.

But peace never lasts.  Things changing abruptly for the twins when their aunt arrives unexpectedly.  The current Phoenix King having decreed that Tyrion and Teclis must be examined for the taint of Khaine’s curse.  The fear of the elves that Aenarion’s ancestors will be born with the taint of the Bloody-Handed God of War and Murder, causing them to slip into some form of madness and bring untold misery to their race.  And, thus, are our ill-starred twins ripped from their isolated childhood home and immersed in a world of power and intrigue they are not prepared to handle.

While I usually do not warm to coming-of-age stories anymore (too old and grumpy, I think), I enjoyed this one.  William King doing a wonderful job of fleshing out the twins (especially Tyrion here), creating real individuals who lived up to their legendary Warhammer status but also were more complex.  The pair exhibiting moments of confusion, sadness, weakness, and actual mistakes!  Not Chosen Ones in the usual sense (though the twins are definitely gifted in different ways and viewed as having potential by those who wish to be their benefactors) but youths who have much to learn and seemingly not enough time to do so before doom befalls them.  This personal portrait of the real Tyrion and Teclis, not the legends, a huge reason I enjoyed the narrative from start to finish.

The other element I thoroughly enjoyed throughout Blood was William King’s simple yet perfect observations regarding the differences (or lack of differences) between the Elves of Ulthuan and their Druuchi cousins.  Specifically, I am referring to how the author deftly and subtly shows the High Elves and their demented cousins to not be so terribly different after all; each people merely a different side of the same coin.  The Druuchi of Naggaroth and the Elves both flawed races, overflowing with intense passions and hopeless hubris.  This seemingly simple and insignificant observation clarifying the eternal conflict for me better than any multi-page info dump ever could have.

The only problem I had with this story was the lack of suspense.  Anyone who is the least bit familiar with Warhammer knows Tyrion and Teclis are important figures in the lore, legendary figures even, so the possibility of their tale ending here was basically zero.  Certainly, all stories have a tendency to never ask more of their heroes than they are able to overcome, but with specific details of Tyrion and Teclis’s lives already set down in stone, William King had his hands tied to a certain extent as to what he could actually do with and to these characters.  Unfortunately, that did hold back the narrative from reaching its full potential.

Blood of Aenarion had its grip on me from the first page of Aenarion’s story, building in me a deep desire to know who and what his ancestors would be.  Tyrion and Teclis definitely lived up to my expectations, providing me with a nice action and adventure story in a world which I found comfortable yet intriguing.  And, yes, I did like it enough to immediately move on to book two of the series.

Purchase the book at Amazon

Posted in 4 Stars, Fantasy, Warhammer | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TOP TEN TUESDAY

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

This week our topic is …

TOP TEN FAVORITE GRAPHIC NOVELS/COMICS

 

quiver10. GREEN ARROW: Quiver/Sounds of Violence

As a long suffering Green Arrow fan, I was always a little disappointed in the treatment Oliver Queen received back in the day.  All that changed when writer/director Kevin Smith of Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Dogma fame took the helm with this title and brought GA back to life in more than one way.

 

 

xmen-days-of-future-past9. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

I arrived on the comic scene just a little too late to enjoy the famous Claremont/Byrne run on Uncanny X-Men, so I picked this title up to see what all the gushing was about.  Needless to say, I was amazed by this story, which introduced me to the world of the X-Men and turned me into a fan for years to come.

 

 

league-of-extraordinary-gentlemen8. THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

Okay, I am only talking about the graphic novels here, not the Hollywood movie of the same name.  Loved the concept.  Dug the story.  Thought the time period was cool.  Even the art (which would not normally be my favorite) worked with this tale, penned by Alan Moore.

 

 

authority7. THE AUTHORITY: Relentless/Under New Management

After having been away from comics for a number of years, I picked this one up on a whim one day and was blown away by Warren Ellis’ amazing writing and Bryan Hitch’s artwork.  Sure, it was a superhero team book with stories about superhero clones and alternate reality villains, but the subtle satire added a nice touch that made the story even more entertaining.

 

 

the-walking-dead6. THE WALKING DEAD

What can you say about this comic that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over?  Not much.  Honestly, I still recall picking this up at a Barnes & Nobles to see what this zombie comic was that had spawned the tv show.  I actually read it before ever watching the show.  Blew me away.  Still think it is a great story — at least the first several years before things became rather repetitive.

 

the-ultimates5. THE ULTIMATES   

As an Avengers fan from the time I first picked up a comic in the late 1970s, I adored these characters.  Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and all the rest among my favorite heroes.  As I got older though, I wanted a more mature, realistic version of their adventures.  With The Ultimates, I got my wish.  Sure, the characters and their issues were a little bit different; the world more gray than black and white; but it was still superhero fun — just for the older me.

 

kingdom-come4. KINGDOM COME

Writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross created an instant classic in my opinion when they put the final touches on this story of the DC Universe decades in the future.  Seeing Superman and everyone else as old, past their prime heroes struggling to deal with a future they cannot allow to stand was a reading experience I won’t ever forget.

 

 

planetary3. PLANETARY

Writer Warren Ellis and artist John Cassaday turned this story about mystery archaeologists of the late 20th Century into a must read for me.  All the exciting adventures of the team — from uncovering unknown paranormal secrets to hidden historical events to lost island of dying monsters — were simple and entertaining yet mesmerized in how they mimicked comic history itself.

 

 

watchmen2. WATCHMEN

A legendary graphic novel which deserves every bit of praise which is heaped upon it, in my opinion anyway.  It was especially mesmerizing when it was first published back in the 1980s, turning the superhero genre on its head and showing what supers in the real world might be like.  Having read it back upon initial release and several times since, it still is a dramatic story — even if it isn’t quite as shocking as when I first encountered it.

 

THE MIGHTY THOR OMNIBUS1. THOR: Walter Simonson

Hands down the greatest comic run of any writer ever!  At least, in my eyes it is, but I am far from an impartial judge, because this is the comic which made me fall in love with the medium during those awkward preteen years when I wondered if I could continue to read comics.  Yeah, Walt Simonson put a stop to me wandering away, trying to act like I was “too cool for comics.”  Nope, he showed me I had to keep reading, because, otherwise, I’d be missing out on these epic adventures like the ones he dazzled me with during his time on Thor.  Was the best comic then, still is!   ( I did warn you I wasn’t at all impartial.)

 

Posted in Graphic Novels, Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

FUNDAY MONDAY, OR THE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP ME SURVIVE THE WEEK AHEAD (JANUARY 30, 2017)

funday-monday

It might be 2016 instead of 2017, but the same old routine continues.  And so I quickly slip into my business suit and head back into the office to save a few innocent people. But while I try to fool myself into being excited about the promise of a new year and the continuation of the regular grind, deep down, I’m not, so I’m going to escape dreary reality by reading some great books.

This week I’m spending my time with the upcoming release by Mark Lawrence.

red-sisterRed Sister by Mark Lawrence 

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book of the Ancestor #1

Publisher:  Ace (April 4, 2017)

Author Information: Website | Twitter 

Length: 432 pages

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

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Posted in Fantasy, Funday Monday | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA:SIX

bsg-6Battlestar Galactica: Six by J.T. Krul

Genre: Science fiction

Series: Battlestar Galactica

Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment (December 27, 2016)

Author Information: Twitter

Length: 120 pages

My Rating: 2 stars

 

As I’ve admitted several times in reviews, I am a Battlestar Galactica fan.  It all started back in the 1970s when, as a little kid, I sat in front of my family’s television set every week watching the original.  Sure, it had its share of corny and ridiculous moments, but I loved every minute of it.

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Certainly, my fandom went into hibernation for many years before Richard Hatch’s BSG novels in the late 1990s and early 2000s rekindled it somewhat.  But, really, the love of all things BSG was taken to new heights by the SciFi series.  The new, modern, and more serious tone of this show really pulled me in, making me anxious every week to see what was going to happen next with all my favorite characters (and, honestly, I found myself loving them all).  Hell, I still binge watch the complete show every couple of years.

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So, when I saw this graphic novel promising to take a closer look at Number 6’s early years in the Twelve Colonies I had to grab it.

As the story begins, Number 6 has no real memory.  She recalls being a miner before tragedy strikes her group, leaving her the lone survivor.  But her memories of this event are jaded, coming back to her in fits and starts, because she seems to be recalling multiple lives at the same time.  Each one attempting to crowd out the life she is currently leading.  The chaotic nature of her thoughts leading her into a mental health hospital to get help controlling her outbursts.  The story progressing from there, as she slowly discovers who and what she really is.

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For those unfamiliar with BSG, Number 6 is a complicated character, but throughout the tv series, her unique nature is slowly revealed with scenes of emotional feelings, near irresistible sexual seduction, and methodical Cylon brutality.  Her evolving role a fascinating amalgamation to witness play out in her ongoing story.  And that complexity is exactly what I was hoping this comic series would capture and explore.

Sadly, my hopes were dashed.  The story dreamed up by Krul a huge letdown.  The choppy storytelling horribly confusing.  Number 6’s confusion and motives not very well detailed or explained.  The whole story line more like a hodgepodge of memories, scenes, and reveals rather than a coherent start-to-finish narrative.

But the book has great art, right?

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Well, the covers are amazing.  I loved every one of them.  Problem being that the interior art is not close to the same quality.  Key characters are barely recognizable from page to page.  The action scenes do not convey any sense of movement at all.  The layout of most pages are disorganized and make you second guess whether you are following along correctly.   At best, the art was serviceable, and that is the kindest description you can give it.

As a BSG fan, I really wanted to like this graphic novel, and it was nice to see Number 6 get her own story, even if it was a jumbled, chaotic mess, but this book was a disappointment on every level.  From J.T. Krul’s story to the uneven artwork, Six disappoints — though I honestly hate to type that.  Perhaps as a nostalgia read, this one is worth the time investment, but don’t pick it up expecting a great story or dazzling artwork, because you are not going to find either here.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

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Posted in 2 Stars, Battlestar Galactica, Battlestar Galactica, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment