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text 2017-03-11 23:46
Currently free for kindle (Doctor Who anthology)
Doctor Who: Free Comic Book Day - Arianna Florean,Luis Lobo-Guerrero,Elena Casagrande,Al Ewing,Nick Abadzis,Gary Caldwell,Robbie Morrison,Dave Taylor,Rob Williams,Simon Fraser

 Spotted this one in booklikes daily deals at http://booklikes.com/dailydeals/free 

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review 2017-03-08 07:39
A Stellar Arms Race
Star Trek: Tests of Courage - Howard Weinstein

A part of me wanted to write about how this story deals with the issues of the nuclear arms race and also the conflicting nature of the Hippocratic Oath in the context of war, until I realised that this is basically Star Trek and I have to admit that I am really not a huge fan of Star Trek. Okay, I do watch the odd movie that makes its way to the screen (including the three reboots that have arisen over the last few years), and I have also watched all of Deep Space 9 and quite a few of The Next Generation (and Star Trek Voyager) but in the end it still comes down to the fact that it is Star Trek, which while it is a science-fiction adventure, it is set in this semi-utopian future that basically wants to make me sick.

 

Anyway, I found this comic book (I am not going to dignify this book with the title graphic novel, namely because in my mind graphic novels tend to be much more sophisticated than was is in effect a licensed form of fan fiction with pretty pictures that probably would never find themselves in an art gallery – well, that's probably being a little harsh because the Schirn in Frankfurt did have an exhibition on the beginnings of the comic strip, but then again we are talking about really, really early comics, not something that has appeared in 1994) when I was in Sydney and staying in a hotel across the road from a comic book store that looked like it was trying to clear out all of its stock. Anyway, after a brief scan of its contents the only things that caught my attention were a couple of Star Trek comics and a Judge Dredd annual.

 

This adventure is set sometime between Star Trek V and Star Trek VI and is around the time that Sulu (aka George Takai – the guy that posts all of those funny Twitter and Facebook posts) got his first command. Actually, the writer of the comic in the afterword spent three pages carrying on about how it was unfair that it took Sulu so long to actually become the captain of a star ship and that by the time he did the series had effectively come to an end. Well, I suspect the reason had more to do with Hollywood being Hollywood as opposed to any really deep character development – Star Trek has always been Star Trek, and of the seven years of the Next Generation series, Picard was always captain and Ryker was always XO. Well, maybe in some of the movies he did land up with a promotion, but as far as I am concerned, in the world of television bugetry constraints, cash flow, and ratings always seems to trump character development.

 

I did mention that this story does explore the issue of the arms race, but the arms race, especially in the modern era where we have developed weapons that have the capacity of destroying all life on Earth, is something on which lots and lots of ink has been spilt. The other subject was much more interesting and that is the nature of the Hippocratic Oath – does a doctor take sides in a war, and if a doctor treats an enemy soldier are they committing treason? The problem is that doctors (or at least those portrayed in literature) tend to hold the sanctity of human life above politics. Organisations like the Red Cross are facing these ethical dilemmas in places like Syria and Afghanistan – if they treat terrorists are they partaking in terrorism? Further, hospitals are being viewed as important pieces of infrastructure and modern belligerents are becoming more willing to target these institutions in an effort to disrupt the enemy's capacity to wage war. However, the thing with modern warfare is that the boundary between the enemy and the civilian is becoming ever more blurred, but then the concept of the guerrilla war is not necessarily something new – Napoleon and Hitler had to deal with insurgents, it is just that we in the west are beginning to find ourselves on the other side of the fence.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1933850052
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review 2017-03-07 21:19
An Enjoyable Adventure in Space and Time
Guardians of the Galaxy: Guardians of Infinity - Dan Abnett,Jason Latour,Carlo Barberi,Jim Cheung

I think I better be careful as I might end up reading more graphic novels that I originally intended to, but then again considering the price of some of these books (and the number of books on my TBR shelf), that is something that I probably don't need to stress all that much about. Actually, I have discovered that our local public libraries have quite a few graphic novels on their shelves, though due to budget constraints I suspect that they aren't the latest editions (and even then the selection available doesn't seem to be all that great). The other problem with graphic novels (or should I call them comics because for some reason I can't really see Marvel Superhero comic books are being anywhere near books like Tintin) is that they tend to be serialised, and even if you do only get the books as opposed to the individual comics, you can still get a little lost.

 

So, as you can tell from the title, this is one of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, though we only have Groot, Rocket Raccoon, and Drax in this story (I'm not really all that sure what happened to Star Lord and Gamora, but I suspect they are taking it easy after a rather hectic adventure the week, or month, before). Anyway, they stumble upon this massive spaceship and decide to go on board and investigate only to encounter the Guardians of the Galaxy (one of them carrying Captain America's iconic shield), and after a brief battle decide to team up and, well, encounter The Guardians of the Galaxy. It turns out that the teams that they have met have come from the past, and the future, and the ship that they happen to be on has gates into these various time streams (and I have also learnt that the original Guardians are actually the team from the year 3000).

 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, which doesn't take all that much effort because many of these stories tend to run along a similar plotline anyway, the Guardians encounter a big bad guy that is trying to take over the universe – or all of reality as the case may be because his massive spaceship happens to sit outside of the time stream – and the Guardians of the Galaxy, after getting locked up in his prison and Rocket Raccoon having the unfortunate experience of having some other guy placed into his body, escape, beat the bad guy, say farewell to everybody, and go on their merry ways. Yep, basically your typical Hollywood plot with no real twists, and a bunch of superheroes being, well, a bunch of superheroes. Okay, we also have a bunch of space fighters flying around doing what space fighters tend to do, but that is it.

 

So, I guess the question comes down to why I gave this comic book the rating I did (I was going to say seven, until I realised that Goodreads, which is the other site I post these reviews on, only lets you rate out of five, and you can't do half ratings either, which is something Booklikes allows you to do), and I have to admit that I don't really know. Okay, there are people out there that have some really sophisticated ways of actually determining what rating they are going to give a book, and I suspect that they might even go as far as creating some proprietary algorithm to assist them, and then you have me – I basically pick a random number (usually between one and ten namely because a rating out of five doesn't give me the flexibility of being able to say whether a book is any good or not) and leave it at that. Okay, if I enjoyed the book I am hardly going to give it a one, and if I hated the book I am hardly going to give it a ten (or a five as the case may be), but as for this story, well, it was entertaining, and falls into the science-fiction genre, oh and also had pretty pictures and a psychotic raccoon, so I guess I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't be looking for some deep, post-modernist meaning, in the text.

 

Oh, one other thing, it would be interesting reading this one in German because the person who takes over Rocket Raccoon's body has a German accent and I would love to see how the Germans do a character with a German accent when the entire comic is in German. I make mention of that because when I was in Germany I bought an edition of Guardians of the Galaxy that was in German, if only to practice my German, and then promptly gave it to a friend because I don't like marvel superhero comics cluttering up my house (though I believe he does speak a bit of German).

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1933078821
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review 2017-01-30 06:52
The Return of Oliver Queen by Kevin Smith
Green Arrow by Kevin Smith - Kevin Smith

In 2000, Kevin Smith, Phil Hester and Ande Parks revived Green Arrow into a 3rd series, where it follows the aftermath of a crossover entitled The Final Night where Hal Jordan's Green Lantern sacrifice himself to a Sun Eater to reignite the sun. He brought back Oliver Queen, the original Green Arrow from the dead after he died in a tragically witness by Superman. Collected from issues #1 to 15, Kevin Smith had spun not just a good introduction of bringing back Oliver Queen but had given this title a revival that became one of the most readable comics in the year 2000.

 

I read this because of one person - Kevin Smith. He has been an awesome writer to me that not only direct but write good stories that really knows how. He is a natural when it comes to words and with Phil Hester's artwork and Ande Parks inking, this is a team that really bring the best part of how Green Arrow would be. Words a side, I was never a fan of Green Arrow and I did for one time think he is a lame character but reading this tradepaperback really brings a good sense that he is cool and flawed, just like how Wally West is as The Flash. With the now current Arrow TV series and running a good four seasons with a current 5th season airing, if you have ever wonder which Green Arrow comic book to read, this might be one of them you should pick it up.

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review 2017-01-27 14:33
A Redefine Wonder Woman That Done Right!
Wonder Woman By George Perez Vol. 1 - George Perez

In 1985, George Perez, Len Wein and Bruce Patterson redefine Wonder Woman with a new beginning after Crisis on Infinite Earths, a crossover where DC heroes in one too many alternate universe converge into one. Origins were rewritten and in the case of Wonder Woman, it was some thing unexpected that takes you on an epic journey that re-imagine a truer superhero with a proper story line and a better plot.

 

Collecting issues #1 to 14 series 2, a new origin of how Princess Diana (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) was born with a back story of how her mother, Hippolyte, an Amazon warrior whom worship the Greek Gods betrayed by a demigod man named Heracles (son of Zeus), whom abused Amazonian women to men's desire until broke free and escape to Paradise Island. There, Hippolyte had Princess Diana, born out of clay and soon were given a mission to man's world (or the only travel to man's world is Boston) as ambassador to spread peace and teach equality among mankind. Along the way, Princess Diana battles God of War Ares, live among mortals and learn about mankind ways and been given the challenge of the Gods by Zeus himself to prove she is worthy as a warrior.

 

Yes, you must have wondered - Wonder Woman is a feminist. And that is true because the idea behind the redefining this character was meant to be as one.

 

What I read here is truly an amazing read. For one - the flow of the story never miss a beat. It has this steady flow of characterization that I find romantic in telling, more importantly how these characters were introduced so smoothly, it became an epic journey of well-told origins of a superhero. Secondly, there are some chapters in the story that, unlike most comic book series, explained well of the mysteries that was a plot filler complete with significant situations that completes the empty gap in the story that is strong and acceptable. For instance - Wonder Woman's costume. Have you ever wonder why she wore those skimpy outfit? You will be surprise to see its origin that does not offend any female readers. And of course - lastly the reading experience. Its such words written in each panel, it really does take a long time to complete at least a chapter of 32 pages. I mean - its filled with so much words, some times you might missed out some of them in other panels. For the price I paid for, that's worth every single money I spend on!

 

The artwork, of course, done by George Perez is one of the best. I always love George Perez for its sheer detail artwork and its beauty and patience of penciling. There is no laziness nor any computerized digitized artwork done in every single page ever. For me, its a bonus reason why I bought this book mainly because of him. Included in this volume is also a biodata of four significant characters plus a few pages of gallery collected tradepaperback covers worth looking into.

 

With a summer release 2017 of the live-action film version of Wonder Woman, if you never read a single Wonder Woman comic book, pick this one up. It will surprise you and change your view what you thought comic books were, this definitely on the same ranks of any well-written books without artwork should be appreciated. I can safely say, this is a series I will pick up with volume 2 arrives later this year.

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