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review 2017-03-23 23:04
Fabulous ending!
Uncanny Inhumans (2015-) #20 - Charles Soule,Ario Anindito,Frazer Irving,Scott Wilson,Lee Garbett

I can see how and why this might tie into Royals and Black Bolt, even.   This has been a fabulous series, and this wrap up was as funny as I could have hoped, while tying up all the lose ends, some more seriously than others. 

 

And somehow, this feels appropriate to end with Maximus the Mad.   From the Inhumans to All-New Inhumans to Uncanny Inhumans: it started with and ends with Maximus. 

 

Gorgeous, gorgeous run.   This will mean nothing if you haven't read at least this series, and it will mean more if you read Inhumans and then All-New Inhumans and then Uncanny Inhumans in my opinion.   They all add up to one much longer story arc - and I hope the people who pick up the reigns with royals, Black Bolt and Secret Warriors keep telling a much larger story that is just as well drawn as this one was.   

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review 2017-03-23 00:46
Loving this again!
Uncanny Avengers (2015-) #21 - Gerry Duggan,Kevin Libranda,Adam Kubert

So the thing is that I keep going 'eh' about this series, then loving it again.   I'm not sure why; I love Duggan's writing in general.   Not only that, this happened in Deadpool, but I understand why.  Deadpool, as a character, can be overwhelming, not only to the audience, but, I suspect, to the writers as well.   It explains why Way's run felt like it was treading water, and why Duggan's run could have been that - if he hadn't found the balance of the outrageousness, the social commentary allowed by breaking the fourth wall constantly, and the emotional aspect of Deadpool's new family. 

 

So I ended up loving this series, a Deadpool-centric Avengers, but.... it felt like it was losing it's way again.   And then it wasn't.  Now it isn't.  

 

It's got a strong emotionally resonant storyline with the Red Skull, and him fighting the X-Men and mutants once again.  But especially the X-Men who were trained by Xavier.   Even Deadpool is trying to save Rogue from killing the Red Skull. 

 

But that ending was so... logical.   Of course Rogue would do that instead.   After all, if Xavier's power is living in his brain, perhaps she think Xavier lives there still?   And even if not, simply having the Skull using Xavier's power itself was an insult to the man, a misuse of his power he would never have allowed if he were capable of fighting back at all. 

 

Even if they can't literally save Xavier, they can save his power from the dreadful corruption it's been put through, and well, Xavier was a father to many of the unwanted and cast out mutant children whom he sheltered, taught, and, yes, even loved as if they were his own children.   He is beloved - and of course the X-Men would never let this stand. 

 

The question is will anyone find them - and if they do, will they help, hinder, or even consider what Rogue is doing immoral or illegal.   Also, there's a question in my mind of if Cap will show up given that recent fuckery which makes me rage all over the place, because why, Marvel?

 

Still, I'm so super excited about this series again right now.

 

 

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review 2017-03-23 00:34
Love!
Zombies vs. Robots (2015-) Vol. 2: War! 'Bots! - Chris Ryall,Lucy Ryall,Paul Davidson,Ashley Wood,Antonio Fuso,James McDonald,Valentin Ramon,James Kochalka,Nico Peña

This is a series that I read mostly for the robots, although people tend to call them 'warbots.'   And they are just that, meant to fight off the zombie invasion.   I forgot that I was reading out of order, and that this was volume two, but the story was cohesive on it's own, although I'm sure I missed specific incidents they referred to: the editor's notes told me which issues I missed them in, after all!

 

Other than being fine as a stand alone, this was a lot of fun.   The series doesn't take itself too seriously, for one thing, although it does focus on telling a fun story with solid characters while poking fun at itself in how ridiculous this whole thing gets. 

 

The art is lush in its painterly scope, although not color wise: muted colors reflect the horror of the world that's been created, adding to the creepy sense of this whole thing, adding a sense of gravitas that was, on occasion, missing in the writing.   Not to say that 'missing in the writing' was a bad thing; I liked how flippant this could get despite the desperate situations.   Not only that, a more serious art style - like the toned down color scheme - and the outrageous elements in the writing ended up matching up perfectly, one keeping the other in check. 

 

It felt neither too serious, nor too silly, but ended up a balance of both that simply appeals to me.   I'm looking forward to catching up on volume one, since I ended up getting both on sale along with the Undercity volume and simply ended up reading out of order...

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url 2017-03-21 15:14
The Soundtrack of a Novel

 

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music” 


Walter Pater’s said that. It’s a famous quote of his, more famous than he is. When I first heard it, I checked him out, to find he was a nineteenth-century art critic and literary theorist who was born in the East End of London.

 

Some think that this quote is bunkum, and that art doesn’t move towards being music, but the idea resonates with me. Why else would Leonard Cohen have moved his writing sideways from prose and poetry to lyrics (oh! the money, maybe…).  Music often enhances reading; I played Bob Marley all the time when I was consumed by A Brief History of Seven Killings 

 

When I write, I’m always aware that certain scenes make a sort of music in my head. My characters, right from before I had anything published, always listened to music, often (this is possibly why these stories weren't published!) for long, closely-described scenes.

 

Then I read the critically acclaimed Teddy Wayne, and heard about how he created a ‘soundtrack’ to his most recent novel Loneran unsettling story of obsessive desire. In his article, Wayne says…A great deal of pop songs are also about romantic obsession and loneliness (often in the same breath), and many ostensible love songs, when you examine the lyrics, are really avowals of stalker-like pursuit or thoughts of the object of desire; the British seem to have a particular fondness for this kind of ballad

 

Wayne chose ten tracks that informed his portrayal of his protagonist. I’m writing book four of the Shaman Mysteries, Flood Gate, and I'm doing the same thing. My chosen tracks each represent a character, and I’m finding wonderful inspiration from listening to these songs. Follow the links to hear the music.

 

In order of appearance:

 

Larry Waish is a small-time poultry farmer who recently lost all his hens in one of the many floods that plague the Somerset Levels. What he’s discovered, is that his neighbour is to blame for his loss, and he’s hopping mad. Larry really loves Country and Western and plays The Eagles Heartache Tonight  a lot, while he’s trying to cope with what happened between him and Jack Spicer at Harper’s Coombe 

 

Jack Spicer, who’s real name is John, farms 200 acres of Somerset land, as his family has for generations. He's recently lost his daughter, and is helping bring up her daughter, baby Olivia. He knows he's been driven to do wrong, and t’s tormenting him. He's a bit of a classical buff, and listening to the slightly sinister tones of Shostakovich’s first piano concerto helped me build his character. By the end of chapter one, Jack is dead.

 

Sabbie Dare is a young shamanic practitioner and therapist who knows it is her destiny to be of service to people on the very edge of life. The victims of evil…the perpetrators of it.  Sabbie’s mad about Pet Shop Boys and pagan music which can vary from folksy to rocking, and includes groups like IncubuSucubus, Dahm the Bard and The Dolmen 

 

Kelly King was 28 when she threw herself off the Clifton Suspension Bridge. She’d never really recovered from her life in The Willows, a local authority children’s home where Kelly, Sabbie and Debs Hitchings all lived when they were children. Kelly was depressed, directionless, and addicted to chocolate cookies. In her last days, she plugged into the music of her childhood, such as Pink’s There you go.

 

Debs Hitchings is a beautician who wanders from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Debs turned up at the very end of In the Moors, (Book One) where she cuts Sabbie’s tortured hair, and has a small part in Unraveled Visions. In this book Debs, and the story of her past, takes centre stage. She’s known for cracking out Beyoncés Crazy in Love 

at the top of her voice as her heels skittered across nighttime pavements.

 

https://www.milesdavis.com

 

Quentin Lachapelle is a thirty-five year old photographer with a nice studio, a pretty wife, and a flourishing career. He meets Sabbie and Debs at Kelly King's funeral, where he offers to take some glamour shots of Debs, although he finds Sabbie’s dark skin tones and angled face interesting. There is more to Quentin that meets the eye…or the lens of his cameras. Quentin is a Miles Davis fan, of course. 

 

DI Reynard Buckely. Fans of the Shaman Mysteries will be delighted to hear that and Rey and Sabbie are still an item. In fact, things hot up between them considerably! Rey made his musical preferences clear in In the Moors, so there’s only one group I could play, and that’s the Stones

 

Fenella Waish is Larry’s sister. Now in her forties, but still living in their childhood home, Fen seeks help from Sabbie for longterm Ornithophobia, her paralysing fear of birds which prevents her going anywhere near Larry’s poultry shed. Fenella loves her laptop, which is her window on the world. Scared to be Lonely might bring tears to her eyes, but she plays it again and again.

 

Tara Yorkman. Before she died, Kelly was fruitlessly searching for her friend Tara, who lived at The Willows from when she was little. Kelly, in need of someone to care for, always looked out for Tara, until she was a teenager. Then she disappeared. When Kelly’s spirit comes to Sabbie in a dream, she feels indebted to continue the quest for the missing girl. I listen to Taylor Swift and other noughties music to get in touch with Tara.

 

Victor Doyle is a successful Bristol business man, a builder of local housing. Now 55, he's loaded, charming and still handsome in a chiselled way, although he’s put on a bit of weight. In the community, he’s a well-loved philanthropist, but underneath, the man is pure, unadulterated evil. I think he’d be rivitted by Pretty Women from Sweeny Todd.

 

If you're writing a novel, or a series of short stories, try finding and playing the soundtrack that perfectly accompanies the story and the characters. It can make a tremendous difference to the outcome. 

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review 2017-03-19 02:26
Last Black Bolt issue
Squadron Supreme (2015-2017) #8 - James Robinson,Leonard Kirk,Paul Neary,Paolo Villanelli,Alex Garner

And I probably won't bother to fill in what happens in between what I read in this, or continue.  I didn't care about Warrior Woman or Power Princess or whatever he name was, and I didn't care about the nighthawks.  I didn't care about the betrayals of the team.  

 

Only one storyline caught my eye, and that was Doctor Spectrum and Black Bolt. 

 

Spectrum gets her answers, and while they weren't what she wanted, I don't know what she expected.   The possibility that her power source comes from her version of the Kree and thus called to Black Bolt, connected them, is intriguing and I hope it's followed through at some point. 

 

The other possibility - that he saved her because he could and because he needed to save someone because he'd been the cause of too much death, seen too much death, is far less interesting on a narrative level.   However, it says a lot about Black Bolt himself and I'm glad we're left with him saying he's not quite sure why he saved her.   There's no definite answer, no real conclusion, but it feels real: sometimes life doesn't hand us easy answers like that, no matter how much we want them.   Furthermore, it allows for Marvel to play with both the idea of the Kree connection and Black Bolt's own sense of guilt.  HIs need to save someone. 

 

Here's hoping he shows up again in Squadron Supreme.   Otherwise, I feel like me and this series might be done with.  I got so much enjoyment from the Black Bolt storyline - which was the biggest part of these three issues - that I'd gladly come back if he does.   

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