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review 2017-08-13 01:44
Still loving this series
Transformers: Lost Light #8 - James Roberts,Jack Lawrence

Although I think a lot of it has a More Than Meets the Eye vibe, especially in this issue.   Not better than the previous issues, just different, even more familiar.  I loved the alternative universe, although it changed a lot of dynamics: how characters saw each other, how the action played out, some of the humor.   Revelations changed people.   Loses changed more dynamics.  

 

And perhaps losing Megatron skewed this back to feeling like the beginning of this series a bit, although arguably the addition of the femmes - Nautica, Anode, Lug, Velocity and so on - add something that MTMtE didn't have at the beginning. 

 

Then again, being in a familiar universe allows Roberts some freedom: to bring them to a planet where everything is sold and bought, even grief, and where they can have some old school, somewhat tangential adventures.   (Some are tied to finding the Knights of Cybertron and Cyberutopia.   Some of are not.   But some of the stories that were least tied to the grand finding Cyberutopia storyline were also the most fun.   I'm glad that this is not going to be non-tangential: Roberts has never been afraid of diverging from the larger plot, although he never does so without adding more to his mythos, his characterizations and doing a lot with the world and sub-plots.   Still, the AU story was fairly contained, less tangential, and this issue makes me realize how much I wanted an action/mystery based slightly tangential story, and how perfect this timing was.)

 

I love the way this series is evolving and I love what they're doing with Skids.   (And wondering if Arcee will get wind of this and do something for Sideswipe, although I think the might be a lost cause and she might accept it at this point in time.   She wouldn't have earlier, but she just might now.)

 

I'm afraid for Lotty, for Anode, for Lug, for Nautica.  I'm afraid for the rest of the crew, because things like this are never self-contained with Roberts: this will have consequences.  It might not be immediate, it might be years down the line, but it's going to happen, I won't be able to see it coming, and it's exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. 

 

And since I tweet these to him, and since he reads his reviews, I hope I don't embarrass him, but I can't think of a single author that excites me more.   It's not just the stories, it's the way I think about them, find new things in them when I reread them.  It's breathlessly waiting for the new issues.  I can't think of another author who consistently takes me on these roller coasters to the point that Roberts does.   And I think I look forward to these issues more than any other writing that comes out. 

 

Sadly, I didn't get to this issue as soon as I normally do.   Weird couple of weeks, but I did get it out before the next issue, and I read all my new comics backlog including this so I can hopefully get to issue nine immediately when it comes out!

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review 2017-08-12 22:48
Still amazing
Black Bolt (2017-) #4 - Saladin Ahmed,Christian Ward

I never thought that a conversation between Black Bolt and The Absorbing Man (aka Crusher Creel) would take up a whole comic.   I would have laughed at you if you told me it was one of the most poignant, thoughtful comics you've read.  

 

But it was.   

 

It was about family, about life, about what it meant to fight to live even when you were doomed.   It was full of heartache and hope, an understanding between two vastly different people who wouldn't have bonded if they weren't quite literally chained together.     With a limited amount of oxygen, meant to suffocate them eventually.  I think the knowing you're going to die and not being able to stop it was the cruelest thing about this storyline.

 

The facial expressions brought their conversation to life.   Spot on, as heartwarming and heartbreaking as the conversations themselves were.   Between this and Once and Future Kings, I'm also shipping Black Bolt and Medusa hard right now.   Medusa may be more prominent - more active - in the one issue we have of the mini-series than in four issues of Black Bolt, but she's definitely a presence.   Always with Black Bolt, even if only in his thoughts, he admits she was a better ruler than he, all openness and no bitterness.   She was, and I think she inspires him to be better even now.   (When she stripped him of his title of king, and of the right to her, he simply bowed his head and left: he might not think himself the ruler Medusa is, but he also never coerced her into anything.   He accepted her wishes, and I think he gets a bad wrap.   He had to make a lot of bad choices to stop worse things from happening, in a very short amount of time.   He also didn't let Medusa in on anything, and I think his secretiveness - protecting her, most likely - was also his greatest weakness.   If he truly believes her to be the better ruler, perhaps she could have stayed his hand and come up with something better for everyone with him.)

 

But this is a lot of Crusher.   Who Crusher was as a child, what made him become the way he was.   It's a lot about not dying quietly.   It's about what forms you, and how that comes into play later in life.   It's about the choices you make. 

 

It's about life.   

 

Although I question that ending.   Clearly things were going to happen as they did.   A word or two and things could have changed for Crusher.   I suspect surprise kept Black Bolt talking the way he did, but I'm shocked that after that talk fest, he didn't think of Crusher's safety sooner. 

 

Also, I'm trying to remember where I saw a certain character last.   I have to go back and look that up, now...

 

 

 

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review 2017-07-20 15:38
One of my favorite tropes is included
Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik

And man, I just loved this novel.  I know that this isn't for everyone - amnesia trope, by the way - but I've loved it since I fell in love with the X-Men, and Wolverine in particular.  I also love how well Novik does hurt/comfort, two tropes that are well used in fanfiction.   It should be noted that Novik is very open about starting out writing fanfiction, realizing she didn't like those confines, and never wanting to write fanfiction, filing off that serial number, and replacing names before publishing.  Oh, no, she uses fanfiction to get somewhere original, to eventually create a wholly original world. 

 

But I'm not surprised to see so many tropes that I enjoy and are used in fanfic so often in her writing either. 

 

Laurence, shipwrecked in China, has to find his way back to Temeraire, without use of his memory.   Meanwhile, everyone around Temeraire is convinced that Laurence is drowned, and tries to let him get on with it - mostly by allowing him to believe that Laurence is alive and to keep looking for him until he wears himself out with that searching.   

 

I find it very telling when they're apart and what they're willing to do for each other: it's touching, and I couldn't help but hurt for Temeraire every time someone tried to tell him Laurence was dead. 

 

Love, love, love.   This one moved really quickly for me, and I tended to resent having to put it down.  Looking forward to the last novel.

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review 2017-07-13 01:43
Still one of the most beautiful comics being produced
Black Bolt (2017-) #3 - Saladin Ahmed,Christian Ward

And I'm not just talking about the lush art that is full of color and movement.   No, no, no.   The writing is just as lush, just as full.   It makes Black Bolt relatable, and although I thought this would make him less intriguing - there's something about him being impenetrable, so much higher than everyone else, so removed in so many ways that drew me to him as a character - it does the opposite.   It makes his tragedies - his awesome power that keeps him removed from everyone in so many ways, and his responsibilities that do the same - more tragic.   

 

It makes the decisions he has to make harder, and it makes me like him more.   

 

The plans are finally revealed, even as it's revealed why this group of prisoners need Black Bolt.   He also finally truly sees the consequences of his hard decisions, from the point of view of someone who's living those consequences.   It's poetic in a way that stripping him of his crown and his title and his wife, and family, wasn't, and gives him pause in a way those didn't.   Then?  He was still confident that what he'd done was right, and stood tall even if he wasn't exactly proud of his actions. 

 

Now, though?   This is showing him what willful blindness really brings, and it's horrifying on a level that makes even him squirm.   I thought that seeing Black Bolt second guess the terrible decisions he had to make - or that he felt he had to make - to try and save as many of his people as he could, to try and protect them the best he could would make me like him less.   In a less talented author's hands, this storyline would make me like him less.   Instead, Ahmed is doing everything I didn't ever want to see in a Black Bolt series, and his talent is forcing me to admit I was wrong.  I wanted it.  I just was afraid the writer Marvel picked wouldn't be up to the task. 

 

This author is, and he's not only got the skill, but he's reveling in this storyline.  He's gleefully dissecting Black Bolt, what makes - or made - him, and I'm loving every single second as Black Bolt becomes more aware of what the true cost of his responsibilities were, and are.   Even when these revelations are painfully obvious - Black Bolt says as much to the readers - there's so much more going on, writing wise, art wise, that it's impossible that I won't glean more on my second reading. 

 

I'll reread when I have the time, although given my soon-to-be hectic schedule, that may not be for a while.   Certainly not as soon as I'd hope for! 

 

 

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review 2017-07-13 00:47
So sad this is going away!
Transformers: Till All Are One #11 - Mairghread Scott,Sara Pitre-Durocher

This title has been cancelled.   And while this is one of my favorite authors, and she's said she hoped we'll follow no matter what other comics she writes - and if they have giant robots in them or not - I may or may not.   I'm partly in it for the giant robots.  Like a lot, actually. 

 

And what's a real shame is that while this series has been excellent from the start, I feel like it keeps getting better.   Starscream and his machinations are becoming just truly outrageous, in a way that's completely in character: cruel, malicious, and for his own good - as well as Cybertron's.   Or at least he believes they're for the good of Cybertron.   He's scheming, he's manipulating, and it's kinda... hot.   

 

Sighs.   Starscream is one of my unhealthy crushes, aka the way I process that type of person in a way that doesn't feel unsafe to me.   I've come to accept that I have these, and that it's not because I want to romanticize such unhealthy relationships, but rather that it's part of my process.   Of processing. 

 

Just a beautiful book and an all around gorgeous series.   The art, the writing, everything.   Just absolutely lovely. 

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