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review 2017-09-03 23:01
Better than Force Awakens
Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Vol. 1: Black Squadron - Charles Soule,Phil Noto

Poe Dameron was the only thing I liked about Force Awakens, outside of Leia. BB8 was nice, but (he's R2, right? Finn was interesting but confusing, and Rey was a Mary Sue (not surprising since Luke was a Marty). But Poe was fun.

There is not much back story about Poe, and there are some actions that make me question certain plot points. Look, I know all the myth points about SW, but honesty, there are so many plot holes in the movies that you ride a dragon carrying a train though them. And yes, I love SW, but I also can't turn off English lit brain. Sorry.

It's a fun series, not deep, but entertaining enough. Nice addition of two women in Squadron which made me happy.

 

Poe's sexuality isn't discussed here.  I understand the need for representation, but considering Quinn was crushing on Rey during the movie, I'm not entirely sure it's a love match for Poe and Quinn.  

 

Personally, I think Poe is husband to his droid.

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review 2017-09-02 12:31
All-Star Superman Volume 1 by Grant Morrison
All-Star Superman, Vol. 1 - Grant Morrison,Frank Quitely

Genre:  Superhero / Drama / Humor / Romance / Family / Action / Adventure


Year Published: 2007


Year Read:  7/15/2017

Publisher: DC Comics 

Series: All-Star Superman #1

Source:  Library

 

 

Superman

5.5 stars!!! 

Introduction: 

Now, I have a little confession to make (I seem to be making so many book confessions lately, right)? I had only read a few “Superman” comics over the years, which included “Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” and “Superman: Secret Identity.” The reason why I have not read that many “Superman” comics was not because I hate Superman (I actually really like his character), but it was hard for me to look for some recommendations for good “Superman” stories while recommendations for good “Batman” stories came much more readily. One of the “Superman” stories that was always highly recommended to me was Grant Morrison’s run on “Superman” called “All-Star Superman.” At first, I was a bit hesitant about checking this series out because from what I had heard from some comic book fans, Grant Morrison’s works tend to jump off the deep end at a certain point in his stories and I had experienced that with his work on “Batman R.I.P.” However, after I finally decided to dive into this graphic novel, I now see why this particular graphic novel was so highly recommended to me and I have to say that “All-Star Superman Volume One” is one of the best “Superman” stories I had ever read!

What is this story about? 

The story starts off with Superman going to the sun to rescue a space crew who were on a mission to take fire from the sun and it turns out that because Superman went too near the sun, he contracted apoptosis, death of the body cells, which means that he will soon die. When Superman finds this out, he decides that he must do some things on Earth before he dies, such as temporarily giving his love interest Lois Lane superpowers for her birthday and trying to confess his secret identity to her, getting in a fight with Jimmy Olsen due to being affected by Black Kryptonite, meeting up with his nemesis Lex Luthor, and saying his goodbyes to his father Jonathan Kent.

Will Superman have time to do all of these things before he dies?

Read this graphic novel to find out!
 


What I loved about this story: 

Grant Morrison’s writing: I really enjoyed Grant Morrison’s writing in this graphic novel as the story has a nice mixture of drama and humor thrown in and I often found myself laughing at some of the situations in this volume, such as Superman and Lois’ encounter with the comical superhero duo Samson and Atlas. I also like the fact that this story tackles the subject about what would happen if Superman is about to die and how he would spend his last days on Earth (although, the concept about Superman dying is nothing new at this point). This gives Grant Morrison a chance to explore Superman’s life from his arrival to Earth and being adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent to working in the Daily Planet and meeting Lois Lane and there is a great love to the character as not only do older readers get to see Superman’s life be presented again in this volume, but new readers will be able to understand more about Superman’s origins through a modern interpretation. I also enjoyed the way that Grant Morrison portrayed Superman in this volume as Superman is not shown as being a flat character, but has many dimensions to his personality as we get to see Superman become sad, happy, angry and humorous all at once in this volume; it was fantastic seeing the various emotions that Superman displays in this volume contribute to the story at hand.

Frank Quitely’s artwork: While there are some parts of Frank Quitely’s artwork that annoyed me a bit, which I will discuss more about in the cons section, overall, the artwork is extremely detailed and gorgeous to look at. Probably my most favorite image in this graphic novel was the image of Superman and Lois Lane kissing each other on the moon and you can see the gorgeous detail being done to Lois’ wavy hair as it is waving around in space.

Superman


What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

The only problem I have with this graphic novel is that there are so many things happening in the story that it would make it pretty confusing for anyone who is not used to reading “Superman” comics. Even though I found this graphic novel to be pretty entertaining, the narrative can get overcrowded at times because there are so many events going on and you have to read each issue a bit carefully to get the full details of each of the stories. Also, some of the artwork can be a bit off at times, especially with the way that Superman’s face seems to look like dough in some panels and I felt that he was drawn a bit too bulky in this volume, despite the fact that Superman is naturally muscular.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “All-Star Superman Volume One” is seriously one fantastic and hilarious volume that I would love to read over and over again if I get the chance to and I cannot wait to read the second volume of this series!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-08-30 05:34
Far-fetched but fun
The Undercover Rock Star (Bulletproof) (Volume 1) - Jenna Galicki

Brandon and Cam pose the question of two alpha males making a relationship work. These two had their moments where I wasn't sure, but they were certainly hot together. This is a fast-paced, steamy read that takes place, for the most part, over a couple of days. While it's certainly far-fetched, it is fiction, so I just went with it and quite enjoyed the story. The characters are likable and have good chemistry. The only drawback was that the author uses the play for dominance a bit much, but overall, it's an entertaining read with a happy for now ending and loads of sexy fun. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-25 19:13
Star Trek Reboot Comics Series
Star Trek: Ongoing, Vol. 1 - Mike Johnson,Steve Molnar,Tim Bradstreet
Star Trek: Manifest Destiny - Mike Johns... Star Trek: Manifest Destiny - Mike Johnson,Ryan Parrott,Angel Hernandez
Star Trek: Boldly Go #1 - Mike Johnson,Tony Shasteen,George Caltsoldas

Recently, I read my way through the Collected On-going Star Trek, its follow up series, and two special limited runs.  I think it was a reaction to the Orange One’s comments about Charlottesville. 

 

                The comics take place in the Kelvin Timeline.  For those of you who are slightly clueless, this is the timeline of the three most recent Star Trek movies (the ones with Pine, Quinto, Saldana, Pegg, Urban, Cho, and Yelchin).  What I loosely call Star Trek Moviedom vs Star Trek Tvdom.  Yes, I know there were Star Trek movies with the originals, but they were television series first.  I actually like the Kelvin timeline for a few reasons, besides the fact that Pine, Urban, Cho, and Saldana star in it.  (And Quinto, but I hadn’t really seen anything he had been in before.  I didn’t like Heroes).  The fact that the supporting characters are given expanded roles makes me so happy for in the original series my two favorite characters were Uhura and Sulu (did anyone else ship them?).  I’m perfectly fine and actually like the Spock/Uhura relationship.  While I understand the whole idea and belief system behind the gay couple of Spock/Kirk or Spock/McCoy or McCoy/Kirk aka the gay threesome and reading stories where it occurs does not bug me, lately I’ve wondered if the homosexual takes on it isn’t simply an outgrowth of the idea that men cannot have close relationships with other men (who are not related by blood) unless there is a homosexual undercurrent.  This reasoning seems to be a bit sexist too me.  Sulu being married to a man and having a daughter didn’t annoy more, though I think I understand why Takei was a bit put off by it.  By having Sulu gay in an alternate universe, it appears to be one is gay because of nurture as opposed to nature, which would dismiss the genetic truth.  Also, why not simply create a fresh homosexual new character?  But okay.  The only thing about the new version of Trek I didn’t enjoy was in the first two movies where we had women stripping down to bra and panties because J J wanted to see Uhura and Carol naked.  Funny how that stopped when Pegg and Lin took over.  Additionally, I wasn’t too thrilled about the problems of the Spock/Uhura relationship in the second and third movies.   Why both plot arcs make sense considering what happened to Vulcan, the third movie felt it happening somewhat late, and quite frankly, please don’t make that the only reason why she is there.  To be fair, Pegg and Lin didn’t do this as much, and the inverse of McCoy/Spock discussing Spock’s relationship (twice) instead of Uhura doing with her girlfriends was nice.

 

                But I do like the Kelvin timeline.

 

                Star Trek Vols 1-13 is the first series, starting roughly around the time of the first movie and leading up to the third.  The first volume occurs right after the first movie.  Countdown to Darkness take place before the second, Manifest Destiny after the second, and Boldly Go occurs after the third.

 

                Mike Thompson is a good Star Trek writer, and there is much to love about his exploration of both the series and characters.  In Vols 1-13, there are some drawbacks.  At times, as in most comics, the artwork can be a bit uneven.  At some points, one has the feeling that the story arcs would have been better if given one or two additional issues, and sometimes the alternate takes on the original series plots doesn’t match the original in terms of storytelling.

 

                However, these flaws are outweighed by the good.  One of Johnson’s strengths is his use of minor/background characters from the film.  We see Darwin (the black women at the helm at some points), we get Keenser’s story, we get a story from Cupcake (you know the red shirt with the beard) about redshirts.  There is a recurring head of security who is a kick ass woman, perhaps a nod to the tragic mistake of TNG killing of Yar.  The background characters are far more racially mixed than those of the series or even the movies. It’s pretty clue.  There also isn’t much underwear showing or Kirk having sex with aliens.  Women characters are active and not damsels in distress.  Damsels in distress save themselves in this series. (Uhura saves Spock twice!).

 

                For me, the test of any Star Trek story is the amount of time that the supporting crew is given, largely because they were my favorite characters.  Johnson does give Sulu, Uhura, Scotty, and Chekov more time in the spotlight (Chekhov gets the least).  We are even given their “origins” or their Academy stories – and McCoy’s as well.  At first glance, it looks like Uhura’s story is simply going to be that of her relationship to Spock, but Johnson uses this to go into Uhura’s past, and even refers to this past Boldly Go #9.  It’s cool.  Both Chekhov’s and Sulu are given pasts that show them at the Academy – Chekhov in the desire to fit in, and Sulu as a principled and ambitious character he is.  They also get larger roles in general story lines, with both Sulu and Uhura getting the command chair, and in Sulu’s case leading an away mission.  Sulu’s husband and daughter are also referred to in the Boldly Go series more than once. 

 

                What I really love is how wonderful Uhura is shown here.  While in some of the stories, she plays a supporting role for Spock, in more she comes into her own.  Johnson also shows repeatedly why linguistics and language are important.  The one flaw is that she is still the only primary female character.  It’s true that in a few issues Carol Marcus appears, but she and Uhura have no interaction, and after a few issues, Marcus disappears.  Galia, Uhura’s roommate from the first movie, pops up again, and the panels that show the friendship she has with Uhura are immensely well done.  Additionally, there is a reference to slut shaming/victim blaming that Galia handles extremely well.  Galia, and her brother Kai, who was working on the Enterprise, get their own storyline.  I wish that they had kept Galia because too often it feels that Uhura is the only woman in a man’s world.

 

                And this idea does seem to find its way into the Manifest Destiny miniseries where the crew does battle with Klingons – including one of the greatest speeches about Klingons I have ever read.

 

                Thompson’s favorite playground seems to be alternate realities.  There is a Mirror, Mirror arc that shows the reader the Mirror verse of Kelvin, but also a couple alternate timelines – one where Spock arrives in an almost Mirror, Mirror world, one with a sex shift crew (i.e. Captain Jane Kirk), and finally, one involving Q.  The Q storyline is actually dam good, and while Picard makes an appearance, a cameo of sorts, the major guests stars are the characters from the best Trek to ever appear on the tube – DS9.  Honestly, the volume of this arc – the Q Gambit – is a stand out.  It’s worth reading if nothing else.  There is also a special story to celebrate the anniversary.  This story features all the doctors from TV Star Treks in one story.  There is even the best doc ever – Dr. Pulaski.

 

                The last collection 13 contains an Old Spock story as well as cross over with the original Trek.  In the crossover Thompson plays with not only the different situations that the characters are in, but also why they look different.  It was a nice nod to the differences, not only in a fitter McCoy say, but also differences in design.

 

                Boldly Go is the follow up to the On-Going.  I found it to be a bit weaker, though this seems to be a result of the temporary diversion of the Enterprise crew while they await the completion of the new Enterprise.  Kirk’s temporary command includes a first officer who is a woman, a strong and capable woman whose decision eventually leads to Sulu taking over the first officer slot.  The characters are good, and Jaylah returns with a bunch of cadets, including a few women who talk to each other.  The stand out issues for me are 9 and 10.  9 features Spock and Uhura on New Vulcan.  It looks at their relationship but the primary story is a mystery only Uhura can solve because of her humanity and her language skills.  Issue 10 concerns Scotty, the cadets, Keenser, and Kevin.  It is really funny.

 

                What the writers, artists, and the rest of the crew have managed to do is to capture the power of Star Trek that Gene Rodenberry had – the togetherness, the crew coming together, the better world idea that feels so reassuring after recent events.  Rodenberry’s vision of what we could be was so powerful that it stands the test of time.

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text 2017-08-07 19:20
Light Space Opera Marred by Sexual Violence
Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1 - Lindsay Buroker

Lots of shitty sff tropes hitched to the specific kind of ugly sexual politics one finds in romance novels overwhelm what should (and occassionally is) a quipping romp through the universe. Rape threats and straight up sexual assault continue regularly from the first scenes to,the end of the novel. Before I get the "but that's realistic" chorus, I would like us to all take a minute and consider that this is clearly supposed to be a comic space fantasy with romantic elements, and the introduction of "rape as realism" is unnecessary, thematically jarring, and fucking stupid. And that's not even getting into a 45 minute diatribe about the very equation of rape with realism. 

 

Which is disappointing because there are some nice comic moments and a gift for the absurd in Star Nomad, hidden in under bad world building and rape threats. Sure, a lot of it was derivative -- Firefly has its fingerprints everywhere, from setup to character types -- but I'm not looking to some romp through a pirate-infested asteroid belt to blow my mind or anything. (Unless it's Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit, and that shit was amazing.) The Paradox series by Rachel Bach, starting with Fortune's Pawn, contains many of the same elements found here, but is much more expertly done. Start there for your lighter space opera. 

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