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review 2017-08-12 22:28
YAAAAASSSSS!
Inhumans: Once And Future Kings (2017) #1 (of 5) - Christopher Priest,Ryan North,Phil Noto,Gustavo Duarte,Nick Bradshaw

I just can't even tell you how happy I am about this title.   I'm five-starring it despite the retcon, by the way.   It's a pretty big plot-hole/retcon.   See, Maximus Boltagon's sanity was destroyed when Black Bolt (aka Blackagar Boltagon) used his voice to stop some Kree enemies, and he accidentally killed some Attilan muckety-mucks - including his parents.   (And Maximus' parents, which probably didn't help him going mad there.)

 

In this, Maximus seems pretty sane, but their parents are dead.   Now maybe I'm wrong.   Maybe this will show that he isn't quite sane, but no one's realized yet, but I doubt it because they talk about his genius powers - powers that were supposedly stunted after the death of the Boltagon parents.   So far this is either a pretty massive plothole or a retcon.   I'm okay calling it a retcon and just accepting that, mostly because this story is amazing.   The writing is fun, the characterizations are not only solid but move these characters - as children - forward in a way that makes sense with their adult counterparts, and there's plenty of action, although some of is political maneuvering.   (Some of it is not; some of it is some pretty old school comic fights, which I love.)

 

Top it off with Phil Noto as an artist, and I'm all in.   Young Black Bolt, young Maximus, young Medusa, young Lockjaw?    Aw, yeah.  I do hope they get in the other royals - we see a bit of Crystal, but just in the background, but I want to see what young Triton, Karnak and Gorgon look like.   I want to see them, to have them interact, although I doubt they will. 

 

As far as plot, someone is using the Alphas, the created race that work as the Inhumans' slaves in Attilan.   Someone wants The Living Terrigenesis, the ruler until Black Bolt comes into his own power and matures enough to be king, dead.   He seems to be working for his own good rather than the good of the young royals, or of Attilan, much less for the good of the general population in Attilan.  

 

Someone is determined to kill him, and to see Black Bolt and Maximus safe - but who?   Maybe it's just me being paranoid, but I'm not sure I trust him as much as I think I'm supposed to in this issue.    Maybe it's because I know the Living Terrigenesis will become The Unspoken, so reviled that his name is stricken from memory.   Elisha is working against The Unspoken, true, but that doesn't mean he's truly got the best in mind for Black Bolt and Maximus.   And the ending makes it clear that the two young boys are in over their head, and stranded in a place they know very little about - a place Elisha describes as Wonderland to them.   

 

If Elisha should abandon them, they might not be as able to fend for themselves as they undoubtedly think they are.   

 

Meanwhile, Medusa has been mentioned to The Unspoken by Maximus.   He's trying to coerce her into becoming his wife, and she's angry at both boys.   While she cuts them with her sharp tongue, and holds them aloft with her glorious, living, weaponized hair, she's also drawn into the danger her future husband and his brother find themselves in now.   

 

Still, this is a gorgeously lush comic, full of intrigue.  It gives a little background to Medusa, and it makes it more clear why Black Bolt holds her so dear.   She rebels against all injustice, even when she knows it can undo her and her family: it's still unjust.   And while everyone is willing to keep their head down, Medusa is not.   

 

I'm sad this is only a five issue mini-series, while I'm also thrilled it exists at all.   Still, I would buy this on a monthly basis for years.   

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review 2017-08-08 20:00
Romeo and/or Juliet / Ryan North
Romeo and/or Juliet - Ryan North

Shakespeare’s plays weren’t meant to be read. They were meant…to be played.

What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits? This choose-your-own-path version of Romeo and Juliet—packed with fun puzzles, secrets, and quadrillions of possible storylines—lets you decide where the plot goes every time you read. You might play as Romeo, or as Juliet, or as both of them at the same time.

 

This was a fun idea and I really wanted to love it. It reminded me of many of the books that I bought from Scholastic Books during grades 6 and 7, puzzle books, mystery books, that a child could go through multiple times and still find new treats by taking different turns.

I don’t know how many times I started through this choose-your-own-adventure book, trying to actually follow the Bard’s version of the story, only to get distracted by goofy story lines that I just couldn’t pass by. Unfortunately, goofy was the general standard of the various branchings and the writing was a great disappointment. Less silliness and more depth would have been welcome.

I still don’t know if it was even possible to get to the traditional ending of the play. I lost interest in trying after about a dozen attempts.

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review 2017-06-22 01:34
Eeeeh
Adventure Time Vol. 1 - Branden Lamb,Shelli Paroline,Ryan North

I just have this perverse need to read this since 1, I have it, and 2, I have to prove to myself that Adventure Time is not for me.   Sorry!

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text 2017-06-17 00:40
Reading progress update: I've read 91 out of 130 pages.
Adventure Time Vol. 1 - Branden Lamb,Shelli Paroline,Ryan North

I guess I'll just finish this tomorrow, or on Sunday?  

 

I'm just not in the mood for more Adventure Time.  I'm liking this more than the show or even Candy Caper.   Ryan North manages to make this slightly more entertaining for me, but I can still only take so much at any one time...

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review 2017-04-11 14:26
Still loving this
Jughead (2015-) Vol. 2 - Chip Zdarsky,Ryan North,Jack Morelli,Derek Charm

When Jughead mistakenly ends up on a date with Sabrina - yeah, the teenage witch, it would be an easy way out of writing him as asexual - and I half-suspected that the comics would go this way.    But the thing is that Sabrina was originally hired as a talking burger - she dressed up as a huge burger - which sent Jughead into fits: he loves burgers in an almost sexual way, but ladies, meh.   At first he just wants to talk to a giant burger, so when he asks Sabrina to do something, it's completely innocent.   When she assumes it's a date, everyone gets excited: Jughead on a date!   I think, on some level, they believe the magical properties of a vagina - any vag that gets all up into a burger costume - will 'fix' Jughead.   Although I suspect this is shaded by me basically being told to just have sex, because I'll like it, and people assuming there's something wrong with me.   

 

To be fair to the comic itself, it never comes out and says this with most of the characters.  And it could be that they're simply excited that Jughead is showing interest of some kind of romantic sort towards anyone - or anything.   (Again, he likes her best in her burger costume.  In an elaborate fantasy in which they get married and have a child, she never takes off her costume and their baby is a baby burger.)

 

Jughead, afraid of insulting Sabrina, doesn't correct her - which means she assumes he has romantic, or at least sexual, interest in her and when he's nervous and has his friends crash his date to help him out, Sabrina gets angrier and angrier.   And you really don't want to anger a witch.   Archie, oblivious to the fact that Jughead is still asexual, but trying to help the only way he knows how tries to get them to kiss.

 

Still, Jughead works through his confusion and eventually apologies to Sabrina.   Basically, he figures out he's not so much into ladies as talking burgers.   It's pretty awesome that they stuck to this, and somehow found a way to explore alternatives to the asexual aspect without undermining him as a character, or saying there was something wrong with him.  I personally really appreciated this because I know I've done the same thing: explored, hell, even denied, and it didn't make me any less wrong or different.   It just meant I needed to try.   (And I have a friend who saw Paula Poundstone, who is openly asexual and a comedian.   Apparently she made a joke about trying sex every ten years to see if she changed and likes sex, and nope.   My point just because you are something, there can be confusing times, times that you question, but only you can decide what you are.   And because of that, I found this storyline realistic, honest, and I love that it didn't retract Jughead asexuality or change him to try and make him more palatable to the mainstream.)

 

I'm loving this so, so much.

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