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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-04 22:06
What if meets Star Wars
Star Wars Omnibus: Infinities - Chris Warner,Dave Land,Adam Gallardo

This is what if Star Wars.  There are three stories in this omnibus - for New Hope, Empire, and Jedi.  The weakest for me is New Hope, mostly because I doubt that Leia would have given into anger.  I'm sorry.  Look, Luke whines quite a bit and then when things get tough, runs off to some planet.  But Leia puts her nose to the grind stone.  Yes, I know the movies want us to see Leia largely though the lense of Luke and Han (she, who lost her whole world and family, comforts Luke because of Kenobi's death.  She didn't know about his aunt and uncle then).  Honesty, if I wanted one of the Skywalker kids as a Jedi, she's the one you pick.


Which is what happens in Empire in a way.  Jedi changes what happens in Jabba's palace.  These two are stronger and in some ways deeper than the first.  


In fact, all three make note of the idea of everyone fixating on the Skywalker son as opposed to Leia.

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text 2017-08-03 12:00
3rd August 2017
Omnibus: Four Complete Novels: Great Expectations / Hard Times / A Christmas Carol / A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. 


Charles Dickens


August 3, 1861: The last installment of Great Expectations was published 156 years ago today. When Charles Dickens first came up with the premise for the novel, he referred to it as "a very fine, new and grotesque idea."

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text 2017-07-26 16:10
Comic Round Up
World of Warcraft: Legion #1 - Matt Burns,Ludo Lullabi
Ms. Marvel, #1 - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona
Murena - tome 1 - La Pourpre et l'or (French Edition) - Dufaux,Delaby
Tellos #1 - Todd DeZago,Mike Wieringo,Nathan Massengill,Rich Case,Paul Mounts,Ken Wolak
Age of Reptiles Omnibus, Vol. 1 - Ricardo Delgado,Genndy Tartakovsky
FCBD 2015: Tales of Honor - Matt Hawkins,Linda Sejic

In my last comic round up, I started with a series of comics based on a video game, so I figure I will do the same here.  The four issue World of Warcraft Legion series is apparently a set up for the video game (or part of the video game).  The series isn’t as good as Overwatch, in part because it relies a bit more on reader familiarity, but it isn’t bad.  Part of the series focuses on the relationship between fathers and daughters, in one case, a father upset that his daughter isn’t a son.  Each issue is more of a character study with some action.  The first and last issues being the best.


                To be fair to World of Warcraft, the female characters are actually drawn in ways that make sense and not as objectified as many other comic books would have done them.  Take for instance, Tellos, which has had all good markings of a good fantasy story – exciting chases, a tiger man, magic, a female pirate with intelligence – until you realize that said female pirate with the triple DDD bust size constantly spans her own waist with one of her hands.  Every Time She Puts Said Hand On Her Hip.


                I’m done.


                There are exceptions to this trend.  Marvel’s Ms. Marvel being an example.  She is nicely geeky, she tries to be a good daughter, she is nice and insecure.  She’s a Muslim.  In other words, she is everything Donald Trump would hate.  The fact that she is a normal teen and minority is a huge step forward.  She isn’t perfect.  It’s good that Marvel is finally doing something like this.  I wish they would go back and rescue some of their less known woman heroes as well.  I really want Firestar done well. 


                Ms. Marvel, however, does give me hope.  Not only in terms of the future of comics, but also that hype can be correct.


                And she is drawn realistically, and the issue passes the Bechdel test.


                Tiny Titans doesn’t, at least not entirely.  There is jokes about who has a crush on Robin, and while this might be a reference to Nightwing’s butt, it is rather annoying.   Still, the comic is a little cute, though the DC Super Hero Girls was better.


                Tales of Honor (#1 and FCBD issue) is a series based on the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber.  #1 is basically a start of Honor’s story, starting around book 6 or 7.  The FCBD issue is a standalone story.  Both have the info dumps that do tend to populate Weber’s books.  Interesting, Nimitz, Honor’s treecat is drawn differently in each, at one point so large that he would not be a shoulder perching cat, which is what he is supposed to be.  Issue #1 sexualizes Honor a bit, though not as much as some comics would have.  I have to give the edge to FCBD issue, though, the story was complete and straight forward.  It showed Honor at her best.  However, if you like Honor, you might want to check out this series.


                Murena is a graphic novel series that in some ways is the sequel to Claudius the God.  The story focuses on Nero and the bastard son of Claudius, Murena, who are friend despite being, whether they know it or no, on opposite sides.  The art work is fine, the history good, and the storytelling well done.  If you want a I Claudius again, this is the one for you.  What is interesting is the use of Nero, in particular making him an almost sympathetic character.  The first volume seems to be an indication that part of what the series is going to look is the corruptive nature of power. 


                A few years ago, I was in DC and saw the Diaghilev and Ballet Russe exhibit at the National Gallery.  It included footage from a performance of Rite of Spring.  Now, I am of the generation who knows that music thanks to Disney’s Fantasia, which means I hear it and think dinosaurs. 


                There were no dinosaurs.


                Thankfully, there is Age of Reptiles, which is about dinosaurs.  In fact, it is nothing but dinosaurs.  There is no dialogue, just dinosaurs being dinosaurs.  It is absolutely cool and enthralling.  Be warned, there is blood so if you are a parent, you might want to check it out before kiddo reads it.


                Closing note- American McGee’s Grimm #1 is a hilarious take down of the super hero comic book.

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review 2017-07-13 01:16
Chobits Omnibus Edition Book 1 - CLAMP

I keep not picking up volume 2, although I really, really want to own it!   I was intrigued by the description of this manga, and yeah, just picked it up within like fifteen minutes of hearing about it.  No regrets.   I blew through this seven hundred page monster in no time. I just needed to know what happened! 


I was warned about potential squicky parts.   Chi looks like a young girl, and more disturbingly acts like one.   And this is disturbing because she is sexualized in a couple scenes - particularly the one where she's groped to try and turn her on or when she's hired to do a strip show - but her owner, and her potential romantic interest, treats her with respect and is both turned on and horrified when she unknowingly shows her ass or something. 


Because, y'know, it's not respectable and she knows she doesn't know what she's doing. Still, Chi is charming: portrayed as young, but cheerful, optimistic, and curious about the world.   She's a little too subservient in some ways, but has no trouble asserting her rights when push comes to shove, too.   A little bit of a enigma,  and her amnesia is not helping that at all!   Still, amnesia is a favorite trope of mine, because it tends to either lead to hurt/comfort, angst, or humor, or a mixture of those three elements in some form.   And I kinda like all three of those, although it all depends on my mood at the time.   This was humorous and I kind of needed that.   I was anxious and needed something to take my mind of that.  


It's a little uncomfortable, but not so much so that I had to put this down, or not finish.   And that doesn't take away from the fact that there's an intriguing mystery component, or that it's genuinely funny and charming, and that Chi has enough people looking out for her that I'm not as anxious for her as I could be. 


Overall, I was disturbed by some parts of this, but Iv'e come to believe that disturbing fiction can be a way to process those things, even if it's not the main point, or a main plot point.   It was pointed out to me that CLAMP is made of women writers, artists, or writer/artists.   I think that may be why this never felt like it was cheering on the disturbing parts: they were presented as either boys will be boys - with a little frustration thrown in sometimes - or if anything neutrally.   As in, 'look, this is how it is sometimes.'   And it wasn't a full on condemnation, but neither was it approval.   Approval of the sexualization of Chi would have made me stop.   (The stripping scene where she asserts her rights to her own body come the closest to condemnation of those who would abuse her, but it was vague enough for me not to call it a full on condemnation, further muddied by the fact that said scene, and the aftermath, turned into a focus on what Chi was capable of that other persocoms weren't.   In other words, another plot point superseded that.)


I can, however, fully love and even five star problematic art.  This is problematic for me in some ways, but not so much so that I feel uncomfortable five starring this series.   


I will get and read the next volume at some point.   And if anyone wants to do a reread/BR with me in the future, I'd be happy to do so.   I want to wait for at least six months after I finish volume two - in a week or so I'm guessing - and process.  I find that time apart makes me more fully able to see what I missed the first time.   Transformers comics - Barber, Scott, or Roberts - or Vision seem to be the exception to that rule.



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text 2017-07-12 21:22
Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 510 pages.
Wool Omnibus Edition (Silo, #1; Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey

That first story was twisty...


Trying to see if this book lives up to it's hype. So far so good! 

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