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review 2017-06-23 14:52
The Life and Death of Martha Washington
The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-first Century (Second Edition) - Dave Gibbons,Angus McKie,Frank Miller

The first time I read Give Me Liberty, it was in the late 1990s. I was working as a sales assistant in a comic specialty shop and the owner had actual copies of single issues of a very hard to find mini-series. It blew me away after I read it and I never thought how beautiful Martha Washington was, that strong female leads do make a difference then. It was then, I did not follow up any of its sequels... until the release of The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century was released, a complete chronicles of her life since birth until death.

 

Re-reading Give Me Liberty was so refreshing. If there is any thing about Martha Washington that she was born in 1995 in a ghetto so poor, that the US government housed these poor people into what was meant to be a social welfare but turns out to be a prison. From there, we get to know how smart she is with computers. Right up to the 21st century, the world that we know of is different. Its a different Earth and its a mess-up one. But do not get me wrong, I love how the creation of this universe is and with Martha Washington in it, you will understand what Give Me Liberty really means.

 

After the first series, the sequels came in (Martha Washington Goes To War, Happy Birthday Martha Washington, Martha Washington Stranded in Space, Martha Washington Saves The World & Martha Washington Dies) and what was a brilliant created universe from Frank Miller and beautifully drawn by Dave Gibbons, the same award-winning creators of DC's The Watchmen, every thing just felt spiraling down hill. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy some bits and pieces of it. I can see the evolution of change in the art from the earlier days of when Give Me Liberty was published in 1990. It was much later that I felt the consistency and the beauty of the art was gone. Same goes for the sequels that felt more like fillers. Until towards the end, was it a fitting ending? Well, to me it already felt what was kept as a universe that is messed-up truly stays true and that is more than enough to enjoy reading it.

 

Martha Washington is a strong female character that truly is a rarity at that time for female leads in the comic industry then. She was the Ellen Ripley of the Alien universe - strong, brave and justifiable. Besides Wonder Woman, Martha Washington was the only female comic book character that do stands out because of her beliefs and what was written the experience and journey she went through. As the rest of the characters, not many of them stayed long. I always wonder what happen to Raggyann and it was not explained. Still, I am glad I found a copy of this and able to read her whole journey. Thank you Frank Miller & Dave Gibbons for creating such a wonderful series. Without you guys, change will never happen and Martha Washington shows us that change and righting wrong is what hope is.

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review 2017-06-04 12:08
Fun little side story
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Free Comic Book Day 2017 - Kevin Eastman,Bobby Curnow,Tom Waltz,Cory Smith

Too much exposition sometimes, which is why I knocked off a star, but that's because I've read most of the series this ties into, and I knew all of what they were talking about.   It's probably more useful for what they're really hoping for: new readers who pick this up for free and like it enough to start reading the series. 

 

And me complaining about this one thing really shouldn't stop anyone from picking this up if they were interested.   It wasn't that bad, and I really, really love this series which is why I picked it up in the first place.   And this feels very much like that series: the same warmth and banter is there.   That same focus on the Turtles as a family, and not only that a family who wants to do good in the world in any way they can. 

 

The art is just as slick and fun as in the original series.  None of this should be a surprise: it's the same writers and artist.   And I'm glad I picked this up and read this, because it's not a series I follow regularly so much as something I pick up on the sales at Comixology.  I tend to prefer reading a whole volume of this at once, thus the sales, the volumes, and the binging when I get them.  So this was a nice way to keep up with the series.   

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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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