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review 2017-06-20 22:31
Well, that was surprising
Suicide Squad (2016-) #19 - Rob Williams,Tomeu Morey,Tony Daniel,Sandu Florea,Neil Edwards

I'm never sure what's going to happen with this, and, damn, it keeps surprising me.   Waller should have known better than to mess around with a Kryptonian like Zod, but, well...   She didn't.   She thought she could control people that she couldn't, and what surprises me most is her reaction to her abject failure. 

 

I actually suspected Flag would do what he would, and I'd considered Harley's reaction if he did.   (Her reaction may be the least surprising thing about this issue.)

 

I'm loving these characters, this team, and the stories that are being told.  I'm loving the stories that are being told.   

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review 2017-06-10 18:44
No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai, translated by Donald Keene
No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai,Donald Keene

I’ll start this off with some content warnings. This book includes several suicide attempts (one successful), a main (POV) character who becomes an alcoholic and a drug addict and who is probably depressed, and several mentions of rape and child molestation. Most of these things aren’t described in much detail, but they’re there.

Almost all of this book is written as though it was the notebook of a man named Oba Yozo (I’m pretty sure that’s the original name order, with family name first, although I could be wrong). Yozo writes about his life from his early childhood days to what I’m assuming is near the end of his life. The book ends and begins with a chapter written from the perspective of someone who did not personally know Yozo but read his notebooks and met someone who did know him.

When Yozo was a very young child, he became convinced that he did not qualify as human. The thought that someone else might realize he wasn’t human so terrified him that he began to behave like a clown. If others were laughing at his antics and jokes, then they weren’t looking at him too closely. Unfortunately for him, he occasionally met individuals who seemed able to see beneath his clownish mask. Beginning in his college years, he was also taken aback by how attractive women seemed to find him.

Yozo seemed incapable of empathizing with others and could only view their words and actions in terms of how they directly related to him. This was especially driven home by the last few pages of the book, written from the perspective of a man who didn’t know Yozo. For the first time since the book began, a POV character was writing about people who weren’t Yozo as though they had thoughts and feelings of their own, and about the wider world and what was going on in it. It was like a breath of fresh air and really emphasized how isolated Yozo had been, even though he spoke to and interacted with more people in his portion of the book than the man at the end.

The beginning of the book worked best for me. Yozo was essentially trapped by his fears, worried about how others perceived him and what they might have been able to see in him. Because he couldn’t understand the thoughts and behaviors of those around him, he doubted the correctness of his own opinions and feelings - after all, if everyone else was human and he was not, who was he to contradict what others said or did? This was especially tragic when it led to him not telling anyone that one of the servants (or several) had molested him. Or at least I think that’s what happened - the author/translator was very vague, saying that he had been “corrupted” and that “to perpetrate such a thing on a small child is the ugliest, vilest, cruelest crime a human being can commit” (35).

Things started to fall apart during Yozo’s college years. Yozo’s father wanted him to become a civil servant, while Yozo wanted to study art. This devolved into Yozo skipping classes, drinking, hiring prostitutes, hanging out with Marxists, and occasionally working on his art. My patience with Yozo pretty much ran out, and it didn’t help that the book developed a very clear misogynistic thread. An example of one of this section's more off-putting quotes: at one point, Yozo said “I never could think of prostitutes as human or even as women” (63). Women, in particular, seemed drawn to his self-destructive orbit, and the result was misery for everyone involved.

Yozo continued his habit of believing others’ assessment of him. Sometimes this had a positive effect on Yozo, such as his brief period of contentment with his wife, a girl (really a girl - she was only 17 when he married her) who genuinely believed that he was a good person and that he would never lie to her. However, since Yozo seemed to gravitate towards people who looked down on him, his habit of accepting and believing whatever people said about him usually drew him further into his downward spiral. I’d say it was depressing, except Yozo was generally so detached from everything that the word seems too strong to be appropriate.

There’s a manga adaptation of this that I might read, just to get a different interpretation of the story. That said, I suspect the manga won’t work for me much more than this did. No Longer Human was well-written, but not my sort of book at all.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-06-02 02:04
Loving this so much!
Suicide Squad (2016-) #18 - Rob Williams,Tomeu Morey,Tony Daniel,Sandu Florea

I'm going to admit that I don't even come close to understanding the Harley Quinn/Flag fling, but I'm also not-so-secretly kinda digging it.  I can see all the ways this can go sideways.   Also, since June Moon and Killer Croc seem to be in a somewhat-relationship, this is not close to the most mind-boggling relationship in this series.   I mean, it makes sense in some ways: June, not the Enchantress but June, is kind to Croc, and is the only one he sees as pure.   He's been shown to want to protect that in his backstory, and if she doesn't rebuff him, I can easily see him both falling for that, but not outwardly acknowledging that. 

 

Still, mind-boggling because he's so unstably violent, that I can't really see a sustained relationship, which is what this seems to be turning out to be, even if behind the scenes.   (His first concern is for her.)

 

I feel like Williams is leading up to Flag/Quinn hijinks, and while I was itching for them to start, I understand why they didn't.   It should be a slow buildup.   

 

At the same time, Zod is really super pissed off that someone is trying to control him, to the point where he's willing to preform brain surgery on himself with the help of a mirror and laser vision.   All I'm going to say about that is I will never, ever trust a Dr. Zod.   Never.   Never ever ever. 

 

I knew this was going to be bad as soon as I realized what Waller planned to do - and unsurprisingly, I am not wrong.   Still, I wasn't quite sure how Zod's plans would come together and I'm starting to see now - and it looks like a bunch of fun.   Can't wait for the next issue!

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review 2017-05-12 19:49
Toni FGMAMTC's Reviews > Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

I was really bored while reading this. I wanted to stop early on, but it has so much hype that I figured it got better. It's definitely aimed at younger readers than me so that may be why it didn't click for me. I've seen a lot online lately about teens or people with mental illness recommended not to read it. I think I get that the author is saying to step in, speak up, your actions have consequences, etc., but I agree some with the ones against it also. It's weird because you hear from the girl constantly and she doesn't seem like someone mentally ill or at the end of her rope. It seems more like a prank to get even, like you expect her not to have really went through with it and be playing a joke or something. I can't make the jump. Also, some of the kids deserved to get into trouble. One at least deserves major consequences, but some were just plain being teenagery and didn't deserve feeling like they caused her death. Seems like a lot of lives ruined just for some drama.

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review 2017-05-12 00:51
Loving this new team
Suicide Squad (2016-) #17 - Rob Williams,Tomeu Morey,Tony Daniel,Sandu Florea

And when I say 'new team' I mean they added a new team member, and boy, does he change the dynamics.   Not so much between the already established characters, but the dynamics of the team itself.   It doesn't just change it for the characters themselves, but for the reader as well: General Zod is not only a massive power player, but he brings a little bit of that 'fuck you' attitude as well.   The question is not if he will escape the Suicide Squad, but rather when.   Until then, Harley Quinn will most likely remain impressed by not only his willingness to jump into dangerous situations, and his instability, but his gusto.   He's not just willing to dive into a suicidal situation, but he relishes the chance - at least for his people.   It doesn't matter that everyone keeps telling him Kryptonians are dead, because he seems to be deluded into thinking they are not, or will somehow make a resurgence. 

 

And how can he help them if the Kryptonian bomb implanted in his head goes off?  Knowing this, he very reluctantly complies with Waller and her team, all the while letting everyone know just how reluctant he is.   

 

And I don't know why, but Tony Daniel's artwork is speaking to me more than Jim Lee's at least on this book.   Don't get me wrong, Lee is a true master of this art form, but I'm enjoying Daniel's artwork more, possibly because it feels less busy to me.   As intricate as Lee can go, it can distract me from the way the words and art work together.   This is something that I read hoping for a lot of action, and this feels  more streamlined artistically to me.   And that works better in this series.  I had no complaints while Lee was illustrating, and I would have none if he continued most likely.   It's only in retrospect that I see that this works better for me. 

 

As always, I'm looking forward to the next issue. 

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