bobquasit: (Grimjack)
Kingdom ComeKingdom Come by Mark Waid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not bad. Another overly-earnest story of a future Superman. The art's pretty good. It's a bit too worshipful of Superman - what wouldn't I give for a "The Man of Steel is an asshole" story line, does he EVER do something as human as fart? And if so, wouldn't the result be a super-fart that would destroy buildings and gas whole cities? I get the feeling that young authors who get to write Superman stories are either so intimidated or browbeaten that they act as if they're genuflecting before something holy. It gets kind of sickening.

But still, not too bad. The characters aren't abused or forced to act out of character, mostly. I'd read it again.


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bobquasit: (Lo Pan)
Annihilation: Book TwoAnnihilation: Book Two by Keith Giffen

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

One star might be a little brutal, but this book was definitely not "okay". It's muddled, bombastic, and almost unreadable, featuring some of the more uninteresting SF characters from the Marvel pantheon. There are one or two mildly interesting moments, but the art is mediocre at best, the dialog limps and is at times painfully juvenile...all in all, not worth the time or effort to read.


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bobquasit: (Omac)
Green Lantern: Circle of FireGreen Lantern: Circle of Fire by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The new Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) must fight a seemingly unbeatable entity: a malevolent being that seems to be identical to one that he himself created for a comic book as a youngster. The League has been trapped and are helpless. Helpers mysteriously appear, but are they what they seem?

All in all, not bad. A bit earnest and simplistic, but I'll give the writers credit for a good, sincere try. Except that the ending is VERY abrupt and incomplete - so much so that I strongly suspect that the copy I read (from the library) is missing one or more of the final pages. The pages aren't numbered, so I can't be sure.


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bobquasit: (Omac Destroys!)
Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom: Doomquest (Marvel Premiere Classic)Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom: Doomquest by David Michelinie

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Unbelievably putrid. Over and over I sat in stunned amazement, asking myself "Did they really publish stuff this bad back in 1981?"

There are two kinds of stories in comics. One tries to say something meaningful, or at least to present some sort of concept that the reader can be entertained by. The other is the visual equivalent of two three-year-olds trying to one-up each other. "My hero is a million times stronger than yours!" "Oh yeah? Well MY hero is a JILLION times stronger!" Over and over and over. There's no sense to it, and no point.

Which pretty much describes this "book".

Oh, and the authors completely abuse the Arthurian legend. In an incredibly lame "future Arthur" sequence, Merlin is "cool", saying things like - and I am NOT making this up - "Okee doke: One 'Return to Sender' spell, comin' right up!"

Merlin as Jar-Jar Binks. It made me want to beat the author with a club.

So to sum up, the only reason to read this thing is if you want to take a look back to see just how incredibly awful some comic books were, even as recently as 1981 (the art is pretty bad, too). And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to do something - anything - to drive the memory of that unbelievably idiotic writing out of my brain.


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bobquasit: (Omac)
Astro City Vol. 1: Life in the Big CityAstro City Vol. 1: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A nice change from the usual ponderous crap that's so often issued by the Big Two. Of course, this isn't from the Big Two, which is probably why it's not crap.

There are a number of thinly-disguised re-takes on classic superhero characters; this has practically become a genre in itself. I almost wonder if DC and Marvel might eventually start publishing their own thinly-disguised re-takes of their big properties, just to get in on the action!*

Anyway, the book consists of a series of mostly-unrelated superhero stories, offering a different and more "realistic" take on the genre. It reminds me very strongly indeed of Common Grounds, but to tell you the truth, I think Common Grounds did it better. In fairness I should note that Common Grounds also came out years after Astro City.

The stories are thought-provoking, but some of them fall a little flat. There's a slight feeling of...I'm not quite sure how to put this. The stories are good, but they're just not as masterfully written as the works of...well, I hate to always be bringing him up, but Alan Moore. They just feel as if they're aimed slightly lower, somehow; they don't dazzle through sheer virtuosity.

But they're fun, and thought-provoking, and the art is good. In a fractional system I'd give Astro City a solid 3.49, and I'm definitely going to look up other books in the series. If I was still subscribing to comic books, I'd doubtless subscribe.

I wish GoodReads would change over to a ten-star or fractional system! Five stars is MUCH too restrictive.

-----------------

* - They probably have - and if they have, I'm sure Steve will tell me.


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bobquasit: (Laszlo Late)
Thor: Ages of ThunderThor: Ages of Thunder by Matt Fraction

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Want my one-word review? Here it is:

"Meh."

This really doesn't deserve two stars. But it's just not quite dreadful enough to rate only one. It almost was, but there was a slightly interesting section towards the end where they did some mildly amusing playing around with different art styles.

But in a fractional system, this one would get 1.51 stars at best. Ponderous, annoying, stupid characters and plots...it really felt like a throwback to the old days, when most comic books were being written for an audience of slightly dim-witted young teens. With a bit of extra confusion thrown in for pseudo "depth".

Meh.

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Marvel 1602 TPB (Quill Award Edition) Marvel 1602 TPB by Neil Gaiman


My review


rating: 2 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman ventures into Alan Moore territory for Marvel. Oddly, it's not a very exciting expedition.

Gaiman may be the victim of expectations. I was a huge fan of Sandman and The Books of Magic. Frankly, nothing he's done since has impressed me half as much.

In 1602, he takes a clever idea - what if all the Marvel superheroes were alive in the time of Queen Elizabeth? - and does less with it than I would have expected.

But I'll admit that in part, that's because Alan Moore has done so much remarkable work with historical comics and heroes that Gaiman suffers by comparison. I'm used to incredibly dense, clever, brilliant stories - books that make you think, references to other works and historical events that are so complex and interwoven that it takes another book (probably by Jess Nevins) to annotate them all.

Gaiman has approached that level of cleverness in the past, with Shakespeare in Sandman. That's universally agreed to be a classic of the genre. But 1602...was just a comic book.

Oh, it's not a bad comic book. It was just surprisingly unimaginative. And oddly enough Gaiman's strongest suit, his sense of mystery and atmosphere, wasn't particularly notable here.

At one point I had to wonder if some editor at Marvel had interfered with the book! Because to my surprise the mystery of the book was killed dead with a somewhat laborious explanation.

Let me see if I can explain.

The book features many classic Marvel characters as they would be if they had been born and grew up in the late 1500s. I'll admit it: this is a neat idea. But it didn't need to be explained. Making the whole point of the story an explanation of why modern characters were somehow re-born in the past (the explanation provided via a certain deus ex machina character) really killed much of the fun out of the story! It took away the atmosphere and mystery.

It was fun the way it was. Why ruin it with a rationalization? Why kill the sense of magic?

There were a few clever and amusing points which I won't spoil, but they certainly didn't make up for the essentially leaden and unmagical tone of the book.

On the plus side, it was well-illustrated. And at nearly 250 pages, it was longer than most graphic novels; a decent way to kill a couple of hours. In a fractional system, I'd have given it a 2.5.

I just expected more from Neil Gaiman, that's all.

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Daredevil Vol. 11: Golden Age Daredevil Vol. 11: Golden Age by Brian Michael Bendis


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars

Expectations.

Sometimes, it's all about expectations. A mediocre book by one of my favorite authors is a greater disappointment than a poor book from a writer who's new to me. And a great book by a new author can be a greater thrill than an equally great book from an author that I know.

Which isn't to say that Daredevil: Golden Age is great, mind you. It's just that Marvel and DC have churned out so many steaming piles of dung in the form of graphic novels, that a relatively good one comes as a positive shock.

As this one was. To my amazement, it was actually well-written, funny, and even pretty intelligent. It managed to avoid the many cliches of the genre. I was - I'll admit it - even a bit impressed! And that's all the more surprising to me because I've never been much of a fan of Daredevil as a character.

To the specifics: the book deals with some of the history of Daredevil and Hell's Kitchen, the area that he...protects, I guess you'd call it. The art style is very reminiscent of the style used in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One; I call it it the prune face school of art, because most characters look like an implosion of wrinkles like the villain Pruneface in the old Dick Tracy comics. The exception is the hero(es) and their romantic interests; they're relatively smooth and cleanly-drawn. As you might guess, I'm not a huge fan of that particular art style.

The storyline itself has been put through what I like to call the Ronco Plot Disjoint-O-Matic. That is, the plot jumps back and forth between relatively ancient history (many years ago), less-ancient history (some years ago), recent history, and "now". The art style changes to reflect the era that's being represented, which is actually a nice touch; I liked it. Ancient history was black and white, and it worked well for me.

But while I understand the use of flashback and telling the story out of chronological sequence, I think that tool was overused here.

That was the bad side of the book from my perspective, neither complaint being particularly damning. The good side? The dialog never insulted my intelligence. The "ancient history" segments were actually refreshing; instead of battling each other, the heroes actually battled crime - organized crime. And yet Bendis was able to make that interesting. The whole thing had more of a "real" feeling to it than 97% of the comics that I've read (leaving out Alan Moore, that is).

Now that I think of it, there was a bit of a hero-vs-hero battle - but it's impressive that I didn't realize it until this moment. Even so, it was very well handled. In fact, it was part of the best sequence in the book: a delightfully terse and convincing explanation of why some people put on tights and fight crime.

It may be worth mentioning that Spiderman make a short appearance, and adds a very nice touch of humor to the book.

All in all, if you're tired of the cliches of the superhero genre (or of poorly handled cliches), I'd say that Daredevil: Golden Age is well worth checking out. It's not utterly self-contained; clearly it's part of a continuing story. But even though I'm relatively ignorant about the character, I found it easy to follow the plot and very enjoyable. I plan to check out other books in the series.

In a fractional system I'd have given this a 3.5. To be honest, it might even deserve a 4.0...but I'm trying not to be swept away in reaction to my original low expectations.

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Origin: The True Story of Wolverine Origin: The True Story of Wolverine by Bill Jemas


My review


rating: 2 of 5 stars

Forgettable.

If you're going to try to create an origin for one of your most iconic characters, that origin had better be (*@#ing memorable. Look at Batman, for example. Or look at what Alan Moore did for the Joker in The Killing Joke. The origin should resonate for the reader.

In Origin, the story kind of lands with a dull thump.

Oh, it's not terrible. The authors clearly tried. They just weren't up to the task, that's all. And so they've created an utterly forgettable, inconsequential, run-of-the-mill...

I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?

Oh yeah. Origin. Sorry, I nodded off.

In a fractional system, Origin would get a 1.8 from me. At best, it was kind of cheesy. I mean, when you've got your character running and howling with wolves, it's a pretty good sign that you're in way over your head...unless you're a really, really good writer. Which these guys aren't. And maybe it was a warning sign that there were three writers on this turkey.

Hmm...if they'd had Wolverine running and gobbling with turkeys...now, that would have been memorable! :D

PS - the claws looked stupid to me. Claws should look like claws, not unicorn horns!

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Eternals Eternals by Neil Gaiman


My review


rating: 2 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman takes on one of Jack Kirby's creations for Marvel.

Despite the fact that these are two very big names, the biggest reaction I can muster is "meh". It was okay, but there was nothing that really grabbed me about it. Gaiman and the artist managed to squeeze the Kirbyishness out of it, without imparting anything particularly great or new.

It was okay, but that's about it. Nothing about it was particularly memorable; it didn't stay in my mind. In a fractional system I guess I'd give it a 2.5.

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Incredible Hulk Vol. 1: Return of the Monster Incredible Hulk Vol. 1: Return of the Monster by Bruce Jones


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars

After plowing through a long string of stinkers from Marvel and DC, I finally found a decent one. And to my surprise it's from Marvel, which I generally consider to be the inferior of the two.

How did they do it? Mainly by giving up the tired old cliches, of course. The writing style is very sparse; there are whole pages with no dialog at all. What dialog there is, is actually handled surprisingly well. It's not aimed at the usual 9-year-old level, but more at the late teens.

Rather than the usual over-explaining (so many comic books seem to be written with the assumption that the readers are morons), there's a nice sense of mystery; you actually have to think a little while reading, which is a remarkably refreshing change from the usual Marvel fare.

The art is different from the usual style, too. There's a touch of manga to it, I think; it works, though.

As for the plot, it's based on Banner-as-fugitive with a fairly interesting admixture of mysterious super-agents and an X-Files-like quality.

The Hulk himself is extremely well-handled; he's seen only fleetingly, no dialog, with a sense of sheer size that's truly impressive. Kudos to the artist; the Hulk reminded me of Godzilla more than anything else, simply in terms of size, power, and danger.

Unfortunately the book leaves off without any sort of resolution. It also gets into an area that could potentially be a problem in the long run; the organization behind the agents chasing the Hulk can apparently bring back the dead with ease, which could deprive the series of a lot of threat potential down the road. If death becomes virtually meaningless, a major motivator has been lost!

This book left me wondering that the hell had happened. How did Marvel end up greenlighting this? Was it their main Hulk book? That seems inconceivable. Perhaps it was a mini-series? That seems more plausible. If this was a regular series (and I had the cash to spare), I'd definitely consider subscribing. Not that I was ever a huge fan of the Hulk, but I DO like decent writing and art.

I'd call this a strong 3.5, and if I liked the character more or if it hadn't ended on a cliffhanger, it could easily have been a 4.

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Common Grounds Common Grounds by Troy Hickman


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ever since I discovered that my library had a good selection of graphic novels, I've been reading lots of them. And I've learned a few things:

Anything from Marvel or DC is likely to be surprisingly bad, unless they're written by Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman. There are a couple of other writers who can turn out decent work too, but the vast majority of stuff published by the Big Two is just awful.

This can't be a coincidence. I can't believe that DC and Marvel simply keep having bad luck finding decent writers. No, the blame must lie with the editorial staff and management; they must want bad writing. Perhaps they've become overprotective of their big-name characters, who are now such huge media properties. It's ironic, because putrid writing is now killing those characters - at least in my own estimation.

Another thing I've learned from the library: there's still good work being done out there, and almost all of it is being published by smaller companies. Common Grounds is an excellent example of this. It's a series of stories based around a chain of coffee shops that cater to superheroes. It's an original world-setting, of course, but many of the heroes are reminiscent of some of the classic major-company characters. In fact, there are a number of references to that very point (for example, one high-speed "Flash"-like character is called "Speeding Bullet", and when asked about his name replies "as in faster than a - "). It's clearly implied (if you were wondering) that the world of Common Grounds includes comic books, the same ones that are published in the real world.

The stories are generally unrelated to each other; this isn't your typical never-ending serial, but rather a series of stand-alone short stories set in a common universe. There's also virtually no overlap of characters between stories. Each one focuses on a different character or set of characters.

And they're incredibly refreshing. There's almost none of the tired old cliches; instead, it takes a more real-world approach to the interaction of the characters, with a nice touch of humor. For example, how often are you going to read a story which takes place almost entirely as conversation between a superhero and supervillain in adjoining stalls of a coffee shop bathroom? There's a love story, stories about...well, I don't want to spoil it. All I'll say is that while every story in the book is related to superheroes (of course), none of them use the cliched plots that have been inflicted on the comic-book-reading public for so many decades.

All in all, the stories are very well-written. There are some slightly awkward spots, I'll admit, and the author gets a tiny bit preachy at times. He also has a small tendency to be cute (particularly with puns), and there's a slightly juvenile feeling to his work when compared to the works of Moore and Gaiman (although it's still far more mature and less insulting to the intelligence than anything that's normally put out by Marvel or DC). But these are very minor flaws indeed.

Just to be clear, I really like this book quite a lot. Enough so that I've now taken it out twice from the library, and I plan to buy a copy as soon as I get the chance. Whoops, almost forgot to mention: the art is very nicely done as well.

It's just a pity that the series didn't continue. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for Troy Hickman in the future.

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Steamboy Ani-Manga: 1 (Steam Boy Ani-Manga) Steamboy Ani-Manga: 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
I've been complaining that a lot of graphic novels are confusing. Usually, that's because they're badly written and poorly illustrated; that is, the drawing themselves are pretty eye candy, but they don't always make a lot of sense.



But what made Steamboy confusing was that it's backwards. It starts with page 181-something, and ends with page 1. The cover is on the back. And you read it back-to-front, right-to-left from panel to panel. The words themselves are read left-to-right, but even within conjoined word ballons phrases are read right-to-left.

That's freaky. It took a while to get used to. And there were times throughout the book that I found myself getting a little confused about which panel came first on a page.

I'll admit that the thought also crossed my mind that this back-to-front reading might mess up my mind somehow. :D

There's a weird system of sound effects ("FX") too, but I am not going to spend all my time flipping from the last (i.e. first) page and back to translate the weird symbols that represent sound effects. Life's too short for that sort of crap.

That said, it's not at all a bad book. The illustrations are nicely done with a sort of old-fashioned steampunk feel (which you'd expect in a book titled Steamboy, of course). The writing is rather sparse but reasonably well-done. Given the size of the book (over 180 extremely thick pages), I was surprised at how relatively little plot there was in it. This is the first installment of a series, but even so it seemed very...well, in 180+ pages I'd expect more to be accomplished.

Will I read the other books in the series? Maybe. They're available free in the library, after all. But I'm not particularly looking forward to it. All in all this was a clever-ish idea, and it has been decently executed, but so far my socks have definitely not been knocked off.

The upcoming movie may work better than the graphic novel(s), I suspect. Unless they filmed that backwards, too.

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Top Ten: The Forty-Niners (Top Ten) Top Ten: The Forty-Niners by Alan Moore


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
Brilliant.

Call him what you like, but there's no denying it; Alan Moore is brilliant. And in Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, he proves once again that he can grip a reader without the usual "big name" comic-book characters.

That's not to say that the characters in TT:TFN are completely original. In fact, that's a large part of the charm; finding and recognizing characters who can't be identified within the text by name for copyright/trademark reasons, but who are identifiable nonetheless. Look carefully, and you'll swear you see Kal-El, or possibly his father...as well as his earthly secret identity. You'll catch a glimpse of a certain Friendly Ghost, if you're sharp. Not to mention a well-known large-forearmed sailor man and his rather enormous nemesis.

I even spotted a rather ghoulish couple who frequently graced the pages of the New Yorker in days gone by, and were later adapted to television.

But that's just the frosting on the cake. The cake itself is a cracking good story; the story of a city after the end of World War II, a new city filled with the various super-powered and otherwise incredible characters who participated in the war (including to my amusement an analog of comic strip adviser Mary Worth).

I won't spoil the book for you. But the characters and plot are up to the usual high standards of Moore at his best. The art is also quite good, with a unique and memorable style that makes the search for familiar characters (on the second or third re-reading) a pleasure. This was a book that I didn't want to return to the library. And when I finished reading it, I wished there was more.

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Here are a few recent book reviews. They pained me.
The Number of the Beast The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein


My review


rating: 3 of 5 stars
I feel very conflicted about this book. It's one of the ones that I've re-read every year or two; it's large, and once you start it it's very hard to put down. Heinlein, whatever his faults, was a storyteller - and a gripping one.


Read more... )
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I've been meaning to write this for a while, now. But Askville has been eating up my time (I'm level 1 in 21 categories now, and am almost half-way to level 2 in several of them).

These aren't going to be long reviews, because let's face it: I don't know if anyone is going to bother taking my advice about this stuff. I'm just doing this for the record, more than anything else.

Onward:

JLA: Tower of Babel - yet another installment of one of those endless 1990s DC story arcs. Batman made a boo-boo with secret data. Whatever will the rest of the JLA do? Apparently act like dumb-ass teenagers. "I don't trust you anymore!" "But he was there for you when you needed him!" Whine, whine, whine.

Okay, it's not absolutely terrible; it's competently written, I guess. But it's boring.

The Flash: Blood Will Run - Sometimes when I finish a book I find myself saying angrily "What the hell was that?!?. Meet The Flash: Blood Will Run. It's the most disjointed so-called graphic novel I've read in quite a while, apart from those dumps DC takes on their fans by putting out huge collections of "bests" which are totally unrelated to each other - half of which are from the 1940s and 50s, with characters who don't look anything like what they're supposed to and spend all their time worrying about pulling "boners".

The Flash maybe had a baby with a dead girl, oh wait, maybe he didn't...yawn. And don't expect any sort of resolution here. It feels as if they left off the beginning AND the end!

No wonder Wikipedia didn't have an entry for this wretched so-called "graphic novel".

Lastly, something very different:

Common Grounds by Troy Hickman

I tend to be suspicious about comics from small publishers (unless they're written by Alan Moore of course). Too often they've turned out to be gross, or lame. But the library doesn't charge anything, and I'm starting to run out of graphic novels. So I gave this one a shot.

It was surprisingly well done! At first I was very impressed; looking back, I did see some flaws, but Common Grounds was still outstanding. It's a set of mostly-unrelated stories set around a chain of coffee shops which cater specifically to superheroes - 13 stories in all. Some of it was a bit cutesy, and there were one or two stories that I thought were a bit weak, but the characters were strong, the writing was funny and imaginative, and the whole thing was refreshingly different.

There was a strong flavor of realism, but not in the angsty way - the characters were much more believable, very much as you'd expect people in the real world to be if they had powers. How many comics have you read in which 90% of a story takes place as a conversation between a superhero and a supervillian in a coffee shop bathroom? Or at a meeting for overweight supers?

If this series were still being published I'd subscribe to it. Unfortunately it was a six-issue limited run.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Steampunk: Manimatron. Unreadable. When you use weird lettering throughout to make your comic book look "cool", you'd better also make sure that it's "legible". A waste of time.

Happy reading, comics fans!
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My library has an excellent selection of graphic novels. So I took out three of them. Here's my take:

World Without A Superman - Actively painful and embarrassing to read. This is why comics in the late 1970s and early 1980s sucked. What's scary is that this lame piece of crap was written in 1993. Was I ever juvenile enough not to cringe at page after page of "plain, everyday Americans" proclaiming (in what I can only imagine is the authors' idea of workingman's patois) that "Sooperman was a real Amurrikin"? Lame, boring, bad. Reminded me of a bad Latin soap opera. I'd call it "World Without An Excuse". Feel free to translate that into Spanish.

It also features a lame representation of (President) Bill and Hillary Clinton. I can't remember a time that that sort of thing has ever worked.

JLA: Syndicate Rules - A big improvement - it's hard to believe that only 12 years separate this from "World Without..." (of course the authors are different). Not great literature, but some interesting ideas and well-written; it didn't insult my intelligence. Plus I have to admit that I get a big kick out of seeing evil versions of Superman, Batman, and the rest. When they're handled right (as here), they're a lot of fun. I'll admit that the knowledge that DC wouldn't get too nasty added to the experience - unlike some, I don't like books or comics where the author vies to see just how vile and shocking they can be.

Not that there's not a place for that sort of thing, but all too often assholes like Jack Chalker or David Wingrove seem to wallow in their dark side out of sheer enjoyment. I consider that torture porn, and absolutely unforgivable.

Oddly enough, there's a little of that "normal Americans love their superheroes and fight to help them" crap in this book too, but at least it's used to comedic effect; still a bit annoying (as it was in Sam Raimi's Spiderman movie), but acceptable.

Batman: Four of A Kind - Written in 1998. Consisting for four separate sections, each focused on a different antagonist (Poison Ivy, the Riddler, the Scarecrow, and Man-Bat), this is clearly attempting to follow in the footsteps of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One (which itself was, I believe, the inspiration for the very good Batman Begins movie). The artwork of the first section is either by the Year One artist, or a well-done imitation. Clearly they were going for high-concept Batman.

Nonetheless, it somehow all falls flat. It's not awful - certainly a better read than "World Without..." - but it never quite jells. And it's just not that much fun to read. I like the Riddler (and thought that the one flashback scene of his alternate-world hero self Quizmaster in Syndicate Rules was great), but they basically just make him a pathetic loser. That sort of storyline can work, of course, but in this case it doesn't. We get it; he's a loser, he's crazy. What's the point? There isn't one, really.

The other sections aren't particularly memorable, although the Poison Ivy one has a huge plot hole: Poison Ivy is supposed to be fairly intelligent, but she misses a totally huge, totally OBVIOUS clue to Batman's identity. I happen to intensely dislike the "stupidity" school of writing, so that's a down-grade in my book.

Also, Alfred is just too annoying. I normally like the character, or at least can stand him, but for some reason the writers seem to have all decided that he'd be better with PMS. If I were Bruce Wayne and he kept bitching at me like that, I'd fire him in about three seconds flat. And then make it clear that if he said ONE WORD about my secret identity, I'd beat the living shit out of him to boot.

So out of the three, JLA: Syndicate Rules is definitely the one to borrow or buy. I've also been reading Alan Moore's Tom Strong collections, and they've reinforced my opinion that it's very hard indeed for Moore to go wrong. They're relatively simple, old-fashioned comics - definitely not Watchmen - but you can tell that they're the product of a master. Interesting, thought-provoking, and fun.
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(This is a review I just wrote at the IMDB.)

Last night I watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on HBO. Big mistake.

Why?

Two reasons: I'd read the graphic novel, and my IQ is over 73.

Just seconds into the film I was already shaking my head. Both in small details and large, they'd managed to completely botch the job. Painful dialog. Embarrassing special effects. Incredibly annoying characters. A script obviously written with dull-witted seven-year-old boys in mind.

I'm trying to envision the Hollywood idiots who sat around a conference table and destroyed Alan Moore's witty and intelligent graphic novel. But then I cringe, because by all accounts Sean Connery was one of them. He must be quite a bit dumber than I had hoped.

I can't remember which scene first made me say "Good lord, that's even worse than I dreamed possible!", but I know I said it more than once.

Oh, and "Venice". I've been to Venice, and Senator, that's no Venice. The one thing EVERYONE in the world knows is that Venice has no streets, only canals! So what do they do? Have a car racing all over huge, completely non-existent streets in Venice.

Why? What were they thinking?

So many other things to insult the viewer. A "graveyard" in Venice. The enormous Nautilus cruising easily though canals that in the real world aren't 1/100th wide or deep enough to fit it. I can't go on. It's just too awful.

Do yourself a huge favor and read the graphic novel instead of seeing this turkey.

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February 2016

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