Comic Reviews From Too Long Ago

These reviews are from the shipment of comics I got 2 weeks ago, but didn’t have time to review because I was busy with other things.  But here they are now.

Captain Victory 1.
Sterling Gates and Wagner Reis.

Sterling Gates crafts a fine introduction to Captain Victory with this first issue. The bulk of this issue is spent showing the reader exactly who Victory is and what he is fighting for, without sacrificing the immediate action. While it is primarily focused on the title character, Gates still manages to instill personality in several of this crewmen.

The primary action of the book is an assault on a planet by the forces of the evil Blackmass, under the command of one Batteron, with Captain Victory fighting against them. Weaved in with that are scenes from Victory’s youth, being raised by his grandfather’s, Blackmass, men. His lessons are juxtaposed against the current situation to show exactly what he has learned.

If there is a weakness to the issue it lies in Reis’ art. Not that it is particularly bad, but there are some rough spots. The armor worn by many characters never looks right. It seems too small, or their heads too big. Other than that there are some moments that look stiff, using signature Kirby poses that do not gel with the other panels.

All in all a fine first issue. Nothing mind blowing, but a set-up for what promises to be some satisfying superhero tinged space opera.

Mystic 4 of 4
G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez.

What an utter disappointment. Not the art, Lopez does just a phenomenal job as he has done all along on this title. But the story, what a disappointing ending to what began as a wonderful mini-series.

Instead of the climax to the brewing conflict between former friends, it deals with a much more generic and much less interesting calamity involving a magical eclipse. It brings the two friends together, sets the conflict up, then just brushes it aside, seemingly postponing it for a later story that does not seem likely to ever be written. This issue renders much of the previous ones completely useless. All that time spent of Harry Potter-esque hijinks seems completely wasted, as that came to nothing. There is nothing to this story, no central theme or conflict built to a satisfactory resolution. Just many small conflicts quickly forgotten rather than resolved. Please, don’t waste your time on this.

Bonnie Lass 3 of 4
Michael Mayne and Tyler Fluharty

This excellent series is showing no signs of letting up until the last issue ends. I don’t want to give much of it away, but Bonnie and her crew have found their treasure, now they must fight for it. The majority of the issue is taken up by a fight between Bonnie’s crew and a group of mysterious adversaries. The art is wonderful, cartoony and expressive and it is a perfect fit for the story being told. And while some bits of dialogue clank, the villain’s big monologue fell flat for me, the story is well told.

I gushed about the first issue of this series, but I missed reviewing the 2nd. I’ll just say that taking a chance on this was one of the best comic buying decisions I’ve made. It isn’t deep, but it sure is fun. Pure exhilaration until the last page. I can’t recommend this enough. I’ll probably have a review of the whole thing after I get the last issue.

Deathstroke 2 & 3
Kyle Higgins and Joe Bennett

I thought the first issue of this series was decent, but it didn’t really get me interested in continuing to read the title. But I heard good things about the next issue, so I went ahead and picked up both issue 2 and 3.

Both issues are delightful, full of ridiculous, over-the-top ultra-violence. Slade is a crazy anti-hero Clint Eastwood, who kills and maims with wild abandon. He is out to prove that he is not over the hill, as many people seem to believe him. And his method for achieving this is to make his contracted kills as violent and public as possible.

Joe Bennett’s art is crisp and chunky, far enough away from realism that every time Deathstroke chops off someone’s had with his giant sword it comes off as less gruesome gore and more cartoony absurdity. It works well with the very comicy stories that Higgins is writing, like in issue 2, the fight with Road Rage, a hired killer on motorized roller-skates. There is also some underlying mystery with a briefcase that I don’t really care if it is ever revealed. It doesn’t matter what is in the briefcase, only that it pissed Slade off.

As long as it keeps up the level of crazed ludicrous violence, more humorous than gruesome, this is a title worth reading.


NFL Picks Week 11

I’m sick and for behind on NaNoWriMo. So again just lazy picks. Though I do want to note that I am loving Tim Tebow. I won’t try to convince anyone that I picked the Broncos Thurs, I didn’t, but I love what he’s doing. Sure, he’s getting a lot of help from a suddenly competent Defense, but he makes plays in the clutch an doesn’t turn the ball over. I would absolutely love it if they made the playoffs. I want to hear more analysts cry over how “bad” he is. It fills me with joy.

Jets at Broncos: Jets
Jaguars at Browns: Jaguars
Panthers at Lions: Lions
Buccaneers at Packers: Packers
Bills at Dolphins: Bills
Raiders at Vikings: Raiders
Cowboys at Redskins: Cowboys
Bengals at Ravens: Ravens
Seahawks at Rams: Seahawks
Cardinals at 49ers: 49ers
Titans at Falcons: Falcons
Chargers at Bears: Bears
Eagles at Giants: Giants
Chiefs at Patriots: Patriots

Last Week: 7-9
Season: 97-47

NFL Picks Week 10

I went 9-5 last week.  That’s solid.  Still no time for half-baked analysis, just picks.

Will everyone believe that I picked the Raiders on Thursday?  I forgot there was Thursday game, but I totally picked the Raiders over the Chargers.

Raiders at Chargers: Raiders

Saints at Falcons: Falcons
Steelers at Bengals: Steelers
Browns at Rams: Browns
Bills at Cowboys: Bills
Jaguars at Colts: Colts
Broncos at Chiefs: Broncos
Redskins at Dolphins: Dolphins
Cardinals at Eagles: Eagles
Texans at Buccaneers: Texans
Titans at Panthers: Panthers
Ravens at Seahawks: Ravens
Lions at Chicago: Bears
Giants at 49ers: Giants
Patriots at Jets: Jets
Vikings at Packers: Packers

Last Week:  9-5

Season:  90-40

What I Read in October

October was not a good month of reading for me. I was stuck on a book that I’m not sure I like, though I’m not far enough in to make a judgement. (Acacia by David Anthony Durham) I did read three books on my phone, though. Sorry for how quick these reviews are, I’m writing this while taking a short break from NaNoWriMo to do this.

The Beasts of Tarzan.
Edgar Rice Burroughs.

This book is one long chase scene, with Tarzan trying to rescue Jane and their child from some angry Russians. It doesn’t have the same pop of the some of Burroughs best work. It feels contrived and ridiculous. The only interesting part is the introduction of Tarzan’s pet leopard, Sheeta. I have largely been a fan of the Burroughs books that I’ve read, but this is easily the weakest of his I’ve read.

The Prisoner of Zenda
Anthony Hope.

This is a damn fine adventure novel. Rudolf Rassendyll visit’s a country ruled by his supposed cousins (due to illegitimacy long ago.), only to get involved in a conspiracy dealing with that ruling family. Since Rudolf looks exactly like he cousin Rudolf, he impersonates him to try to foil the evil Black Michael’s plot to steal the throne.

Rudolf, along with some of his cousin’s closest friends, manage to fool the people and fight Black Michael at every turn. Along the way, he falls in love with Flavia, the King’s fiance.

The Prisoner of Zenda is a short, brisk read. The action never lets up and while it occasionally melodramatic, it constantly entertaining.

Rupert of Hentzau
Anthony Hope

This is the sequel to Zenda, and Rudolf returns to Ruritania to defend his love against the villainous Rupert of Hentzau and the jealousy of the King.

It ends up with all the old faces playing the old games. Rudolf loves the Queen, but even after (spoilers!) the King dies he can’t bring himself to take his place, even though everyone wants him to.

It is as fine a sequel as possible, and they are both short enough to read together. I’ve seen these two books referred to as minor classics, and I think that is a good way to refer to them. Zenda and Hentzau are fine romantic adventures, but they definitely tend toward melodrama.

You’re Not the Boss of Me Now!

And you’re not so big!

Is there a show with a better theme song than Malcolm in the Middle?  That repeated refrain perfectly encapsulates what the show is about.  It is about never accepting authority, no matter who wields it.  About no letting anybody tell you who you are.

You’re not the boss of me now!

Any character in the show could be intoning that phrase. It could be Malcolm or one of the other kids fighting against the unfair strictures of Lois (and Hal).  It could be Dewey raging against his sadistic elder brothers.  Or Francis thumbing his nose at Commandant Spangler at the military academy.  It could be Lois herself refusing to back down from the realities of the world.

You’re not the boss of me now!

I’ve been watching Malcolm on netflix since I finished Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  I watched it for years in syndication, but I haven’t seen it much over the last couple of years.  In that time I had forgotten just how good it was.  It is a continual struggle between Lois and her children.  But the majority of the problems she has with them are of her own creation.  Her and Hal constantly reinforce in their children the value of standing up for yourself and doing what they believe is right, no matter the cause.  She seems to never realize that they will turn those lessons back at her.  It makes for a very entertaining show.

You’re not the boss of me now!

I’ve only made it through the first 2 seasons, but already the show has shifted from focusing on Malcolm and more on the family as a whole.  A family, nameless as far as I know but netflix calls them the Wilkersons, that is more relatable than any one TV.  They fight constantly among themselves, but as soon as an outside threat presents itself, the band together.  Fighting with family is tolerated, fighting for family is a sacred duty.   Of course, they do not always live up to this ideal, but more often than not it holds true.

And you’re not so big!

Malcolm is a show smart enough to shake it up before the status quo grows too stale, but not to change the heart of the shows relationships. Especially Francis.   Francis stays at the military academy until they run out of stories to tell there.  So they find a new place for him to go.  He goes to Alaska, but that only lasts one season.  There wasn’t much there, so they dropped it, and he left.  But his relationship with Piama was good, so it stayed.  He stopped obsessing over his mother so much.  He didn’t stop, but early on that was the sole focus of his character.  By the end of season 2 it is just a part of it.  It is actual, genuine character growth in a sitcom.  Amazing, I know.  I am excited to watch the rest of the series and see if it all holds up.

Life is unfair.

NFL Picks Week 9

Sorry for the lack of commentary, I’m doing NaNoWriMo and I have little time for blogging. Also, this will be a slow month on the blog in general. Picks:

Jets at Bills: Jets
Chiefs at Dolphins: Chiefs (I so want to pick Dolphins)
Seahawks at Cowboys: Cowboys
Falcons at Colts: Falcons
Buccanneers at Saints: Saints
49ers at Redskins: 49ers
Browns at Texans: Texans
Bengals at Titans: Bengals
Broncos at Raiders: Raiders
Giants at Patriots: Patriots
Rams at Cardinals: Rams
Packers at Chargers: Packers
Ravens at Steelers: Steelers
Bears at Eagles: Eagles

Last Week: 10-3
Season: 81-35