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review 2019-01-20 01:37
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes
Watchmen - Alan Moore,Dave Gibbons

I gave this four stars, but my feelings about this book are difficult to coalesce down to a simple numeric rating. I read this with my Readings in the Graphic Novel course, and I agree that it is seminal graphic novel/comic reading. However, there are some things about this book that I didn't care for. Ultimately, I would say that like and dislike are not the best terms to apply to it.

"Watchmen" started a whole ripple through comic book/superhero fiction that is still profoundly influential in the many years since it was published. The dark and aheroic/antiheroic superhero/crimefighter motif that subsumed what we know about comic books in the 21st Century can largely be attributed to this book, although Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is also essential. I like darker superhero stories, but some aspects of this one made it hard to sympathize or care for many of the characters. I had to write essays for my class on our readings, and I have some longer opinions on this book that I intend to post on my Goodreads profile under my writings. 

This book is very thought-provoking and my class had some very interesting discussions on it. I have to also say that I thought about it for a long time after I finished it. My viewpoint evolved on a few of the characters as well. However, some, I hated to the very end. I could actually write about 20 pages about this book, but I won't. I'll try to coalesce it into a reasonably short review.

"Watchmen" is essentially a murder mystery with masked crimefighters/superheroes. The narrator is extremely atypical, the very questionable person of Rorschach, who is a violent vigilante that wears a hood that changes its expression, much like the Rorschach Test his mask resembles. He is determined to find out who killed Eddie Blake aka The Comedian, an original member of the Minutemen, who later became part of the Crimebusters. He goes to visit other former members: Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl II), Jonathan Osterman (Dr. Manhattan) and Laurie Juspescyk (Silk Spectre II), and Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) to warn them that they might be next. Along the way, the reader gets to experience how conflicted the life of a masked crimefighter and/or superhero/villain is. The story is set in an alternate history where Nixon was never caught in the Watergate scandal, the US won the Vietnam War, and in the 1980s, America and the Soviet Union are on the brink of war (the Doomsday Clock frighteningly close to midnight).

Each character has a slightly different perspective of how the passage of the Keene Act made their crimefighting work illegal. Dan and Laurie bond over missing the excitement of it all. Veidt has gone on to build an huge business empire and is a celebrity for his incredible level of fitness. Dr. Manhattan is mostly interested in his research and has become disconnected from human concerns, an issue in his relationship with Laurie, who has been his girlfriend for about twenty years (since she was sixteen).

Intertwined with the overarching story is a subplot about a kid reading a pirate comic. The adventures of the comic protagonist mirror the overall story themes. A huge part of this story is how heroism is not what its cracked up to be. Also, becoming strong enough to achieve a goal can be a path paved with destruction, and in some instances leading to the 'hero' becoming a 'villain'. And really, what is heroism? That's a question posed for every lead character. Since this is a dark, and in some ways, nihilistic-toned work, the answers aren't encouraging. The Comedian is one of the most wretched examples of someone having abilities and using them for bad purposes. The Comedian is an incredibly adept fighter and soldier, but is also very corrupt, acting as a bully, knowing right and wrong but not doing it. He makes excuses for the evil things he does because the world is bad and it's going to burn anyway, essentially. Dr. Manhattan, Jon Osterman is a physicist whose body was obliterated in an accident at the science testing facility where he worked in 1959. When he comes back, it is as a being with seemingly godlike powers that separates him from the rest of the humans he once interacted with, eventually leading to his breakup with his girlfriend. The US government exploits his powers to exercise dominance over other nations (in fact, he's part of the reason that Vietnam surrendered). He's seen and done some of the worst things to other humans, which doesn't help his cynicism about the better parts of humanity. At the point that this story begins, his only tendril of contact is through Laurie. Eventually, that's gone as well when Laurie breaks up with him. 
But when it's clear that the world is on the brink of obliteration, Laurie has to convince him to care again. 

The more I ruminated about this story, Osterman/Manhattan became more of a sympathetic character to me. He seems the less empathetic, but in some way, he strikes me as feeling more deeply than anyone else. I can completely understand his decision to retreat to a self-built crystal castle on Mars. Sometimes I wouldn't mind having me own, but probably in the mountains in some undiscovered cold part of the world with plenty of snow and ice. People are exhausting. It hurts to care, especially when others aren't all in with you. The circumstances of the accident that gave him his powers were heartbreaking, and he was abandoned to his fate. That's soul-destroying right there. Having said that, he's not off the hook for the questionable things he did and how he treats Laurie. 

Ugh, Rorschach. Where do I start? That dude is a bucket of crazy. I feel for what he went through as a child, but it twisted him until he was so broken. All of us are f*&%$! up, but there's no fixing him. He represents the worst of self-righteousness. He's so rigid in his sense of right and wrong that he won't compromise, but then he is bigoted, racist, has poor hygiene and litters in Antarctica. His contempt and mean treatment of his landlady because she has six kids by different men. And he's extremely violent. It's a huge Glass Houses kind of scenario. To me, he is not a hero. He is an antihero, and he's the narrator, but other than the horrors of his childhood, it's really hard to feel sympathetic. While there are parallels between him and other vigilante crimefighters I admire like Batman and Daredevil, his core feels rotten to me. I can't get past that.

Laurie is just plain underwritten. She is interpreted through her relations with the male characters. I am grateful that graphic novels have matured and evolved past this kind of writing, frankly. Laurie could have been a lot more interesting a character if deeper layers to her persona were made available. Just delving into how her stint as Silk Spectre differs from her mother's tenure. How interacting with and in a world of violence has changed from the 30s to the 60s and 70s. Maybe just not stopping at her relationships with men and why her mother and her don't get along.

Dan is honestly a bit on the underwritten side as well. He's written a good-natured guy with a facility with gadgets and a desire for action. His mid-life crisis has to do with missing that sense of purpose and it translates to feelings of inadequacy about not being Nite Owl anymore. Maybe because Moore didn't really know what to do with a guy who is more or less 'normal'.

Veidt is such a sneeringly superior person in his own mind. I can't say too much because I'd reveal some things better left to be read. Suffice it to say that he reminds me of the so-called polite white supremacy that is increasingly in vogue (especially since the 2016 presidential election).

Another issue is the treatment of the GLBTQ characters. Many meet unfortunate ends and their peccadillos are looked at as being unforgivable in a way that being a violent sociopath, bully or rapist are not. 

I think a psychology doctoral student could write a hell of a thesis on this book. 

There is so much cynicism in this book. It's hard to take in. Some ugliness not easily forgotten. I feel like the psychiatrist who interviews Rorschach in that sense. While I'm not necessarily into the sugary sweet kind of fiction writing, I think it can definitely go the wrong way with the dark and dreary. I'd be a hypocrite to disavow this book. I think it had some insights to give me, and something to offer as far as story and artwork. I gave it four stars because to give less didn't seem fair to me. I couldn't say it was life-changing or a graphic novel that would make the top of my list. I can understand why it would for some though.

So much for a concise review.

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review 2017-09-11 17:39
One Sentence Review – Hearing Voices by Axel Cruise #AxelCruise
Hearing Voices: An Isaac Blaze Thriller - Axel Cruise

I won a signed copy of Hearing Voices by Axel Cruise.

 

Love the cover, vigilantes and all the thrills and chills.

 

See the Book Trailer here.

 

Hearing Voices: An Isaac Blaze Thriller

Goodreads  /  Amazon  US  /  Amazon UK Amazon CA

 

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

 

I love Isaac Blaze, a take no prisoner, do the right thing kind of guy, in this action packed, thrills and chills, vigilante tale that takes us worldwide to cleanse the world of those who feel it was created as their very own toybox.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

GOODREADS BLURB

“The cool character jackpot” – Readers’ Favourite     

 

“You’re a dead man,” he yelled.
“That’s great. Now answer the question.”
                                            – Isaac Blaze

 

Isaac Blaze.

 

A quick wit, zero allegiances, and every major government agency after him. He’s also got two voices in his head. Neither of which is particularly helpful. Or care to be.

 

But at least he’s never been caught.

 

Hell, he’s barely even come close.

 

So when finally a SWAT team does actually manage to take him in – and with such ease at that – they probably should’ve been asking themselves: why?

Too bad they didn’t.

 

A lot of people got killed.

 

(Only for fans of Deadpool, Jack Reacher, Derrick Storm, Jason Bourne, Ben Hope, Harry Bosch, Gabe Quin, Lee Child, The Punisher, Elmore Leonard, Wolverine, and Richard Castle.)

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
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Source: www.fundinmental.com/one-sentence-review-hearing-voices-by-axel-cruise-axelcruise
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review 2017-08-14 17:33
Vigilante Justice – Sinful Deeds by Kristine Mason @KristineMason7
Sinful Deeds: Book 1 Sinful C.O.R.E. - Kristine Mason

Kristine Mason has outdone herself in this thriller about four women who can’t get over their past and band together to create their own form of justice.

 

BUT…how far is too far?

 

 

Amazon US l Amazon UK l iBooks | Kobo | Google | Nook 

Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

WHOA! Right out of the gate the horror begins and I feel for Lena, the terror she must feel as she crouches, hidden in her parents closet, praying the police will arrive.

OH NO! Please tell me it isn’t so. Kristine, WTF are you doing to me?

 

Now….we are into present day…

 

Vigilante justice. I know we can’t have everyone running out killing willy nilly in the name of justice, but DAMMIT, sometimes scum needs to be cleaned off the face of the earth.

 

Four women whose lives had been forever changed by tragedy, haunted by their past, unable to move on…found their answer….Retribution. The characters could be you or I, pushed beyond our limits.

 

When Poppy was dealing with Melissa at the PTA meeting, I loved it. Melissa was totally oblivious to Poppy’s true thoughts. LOL

“A badass PTA mom with a vendetta.”

 

A farmer with a bone to pick. A waitress serving justice. The characters are flawed with issues and secrets. Makes for some fantastic reading and my emotions are all over the place as I worry about what will happen to them in the end.

 

I see some ‘rocky’ times ahead for Jagger and Kenna. Jagger is a cop, working the Homicide Unit and Kenna is called in from CORE to help.  Both have issues with intimacy and relationships, but Kenna’s secret may be a bit bigger.  I do have a problem with Jag and his choice of the Ohio Buckeyes. Wolverines don’t care for nuts. LOL

 

The sexual tension, and playful teasing has been clean and light…so far, but I think all bets are off on Date #3. I do believe it will turn into a smoldering, sizzling hot romance.

 

I know they all have to ‘come together’ and I wonder at the ending. I am super curious to see how Kristine will handle Jag and Kenna as the story takes a drastic turn. I am worried because I love happy ever after, but how can it be possible? With CORE involved, anything is possible, isn’t it? CORE is a living, growing organism, making room for new characters through each story.

 

 Man oh man, Kristine how much longer you gonna drag me through the fire…I can’t believe where are you are taking this, but it sure tells me why vigilantism is a big NO!

 

Kristine definitely captured the meaning of romantic suspense. I love her ability to write humor and love into murder and monsters of the human kind. She can take something I know is coming, and twist and turn it to an even more grisly and jawdropping end, yet invoke a smile or two along the way. My expectations for her work is of the highest levels and she continually surpasses them.

 

I was right about my thoughts from the very beginning. I’m in your head Kristine. LOL

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Sinful Deeds by Kristine Mason.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
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  • Thanks for visiting!
Source: www.fundinmental.com/vigilante-justice-sinful-deeds-by-kristine-mason-kristinemason7
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review 2017-02-15 17:55
You WILL Want To Ride This Crazy Train – Vigilante Dead by DV Berkom @dvberkom
Vigilante Dead - D.V. Berkom

DV Berkom’s characters are strong women who face dark and dangerous situations, and Kate Jones is put to the test in Vigilante Dead.

 

I love this amazing cover done by Deranged Doctor Designs.

There are definitely turbulent waters inside.

 

Vigilante Dead (Kate Jones Thriller, #8)

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

OMG, D! You have outdone yourself! Best one yet!

 

If you are looking for a strong female protagonist and a high octane thriller, look no further!

 

Every time I think DV Berkom can’t make a Kate Jones Thriller even more thrilling, she puts out a story like Vigilante Dead.

 

Kate has been running from her past for a long time, but now she has settled down. She is a private investigator and has a gorgeous man, Sam, at her side. He is a super guy who gives her space and time when she needs it and some lovin’ when she needs that.

 

When her sister ODs, the hunt is on…

 

Drugs, murder, vengeance…

 

I love books that make me think of our life choices. We all march to our own drummer and who knows what will work if we don’t explore our options. BUT, sometimes we get off course and the road we walk takes us down a dark and dangerous path. So does Kate.

 

Kate grows more complex with each story told, but danger follows her through each and every one. This time, D took her somewhere that totally blew my mind. Sometimes the character demands that you go there, go where the bad guy goes to get your answers.

 

DV Berkom’s characters are strong and bold, and sometimes I think they need to have a little more fear. I worry for them. Every time Kate went creeping around, staking out  places, I waited for the hammer to fall. I do love that she does things I only think about.

 

Kate fights the lows that wash over her when she thinks of all she has been through and lost by making mistakes in her youth. They left her with nightmares. Her rash actions and decisions can get her in difficult and dangerous situations.

 

Kate’s family pisses me off! and her wimpy dad is a huge disappointment to me. Am I being too harsh? You will need to decide.

 

And Angie, a badass assassin, you are a woman after my own heart, until…

 

You make a deal with the devil and you get burned.

 

I cannot quit reading, not for a second. I cannot wait to learn the ending of Vigilante Dead…thoughts are running through my mind, fed by the title. I am loving and hating what I am thinking.

 

The twists and turns DV Berkom has supplied in Vigilante Dead has ratcheted the suspense and my anticipation to a white knuckled, nail biting level. With all that is happening I am wondering where DV Berkom will leave Kate.

 

I am mentally yelling at her…DON’T DO IT!!!!!

 

Yet the little devil whispering on my shoulder says…

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars

 

Read more HERE.

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gif
    • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • Thanks for visiting!
Source: www.fundinmental.com/you-will-want-to-ride-this-crazy-train-vigilante-dead-by-dv-berkom-dvberkom
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review 2017-01-29 04:47
Is This The End?
The Punisher Vol. 3: Last Days - Mitch Gerads,Nathan Edmondson

Definitely the darkest book in this series. Very violent and bloody but also with a sense of futility. The Punisher has to ask himself what he's doing and why, and he's placed in the situation of being seen as Public Enemy Number One, when he's just doing what he can to protect society from violent criminals who want to kill and destroy others. The conclusion is a segway that feels odd and not strictly harmonious with the overall story arc of this series. The ending makes me question if this is truly the end for the Punisher. Of course, I'll keep reading these if they make more.

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