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review 2017-08-23 00:34
Boring.
The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman's Journey to Love and Islam - G. Willow Wilson

Wilson's story seemed intriguing: a young woman from an atheist family converts to Islam, moves to Egypt, where she meets her husband. Sounds like an fascinating journey. Wilson is also the writer behind the Ms. Marvel comics so while that part was not something I cared too much about, it seemed like this would be a good library borrow.

 

And that is what the book is basically about. Her journey to becoming Muslim (which actually happens early in the book), then navigating this new world and her time in Egypt. She meets her husband and their courtship is described. They get married and eventually move back to the states. Unfortunately much of this happens post 9/11, so there is also that issue and all the afteraffects. 

 

Honestly? this was very disappointing. I knew someone who went through a somewhat similar journey (converting to Islam perhaps a few years after she did) so I thought this might provide some insight into his journey. He's also around the same age so it seemed like it could be a good fit. 

 

But as the negative reviews discuss, there is something very distant about the writing. It was enough to keep me somewhat intrigued about what was happening, but I wasn't particularly interested in her relationship with her husband. Books that are about religion/spirituality are also not "must-reads" for me and that's the same here. I never felt I understood why she converted and it just seemed like an afterthought. Maybe it's something she doesn't feel needs to be discussed or that it's too personal and private to share.

 

It wasn't for me. It's highly rated and I decided to give it a shot since I'd seen it mentioned here and there but this just completely missed the mark for me. I would guess this would speak to a lot of people but this just wasn't a good read for me. Skip it.

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text 2017-07-26 16:10
Comic Round Up
World of Warcraft: Legion #1 - Matt Burns,Ludo Lullabi
Ms. Marvel, #1 - G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona
Murena - tome 1 - La Pourpre et l'or (French Edition) - Dufaux,Delaby
Tellos #1 - Todd DeZago,Mike Wieringo,Nathan Massengill,Rich Case,Paul Mounts,Ken Wolak
Age of Reptiles Omnibus, Vol. 1 - Ricardo Delgado,Genndy Tartakovsky
FCBD 2015: Tales of Honor - Matt Hawkins,Linda Sejic

In my last comic round up, I started with a series of comics based on a video game, so I figure I will do the same here.  The four issue World of Warcraft Legion series is apparently a set up for the video game (or part of the video game).  The series isn’t as good as Overwatch, in part because it relies a bit more on reader familiarity, but it isn’t bad.  Part of the series focuses on the relationship between fathers and daughters, in one case, a father upset that his daughter isn’t a son.  Each issue is more of a character study with some action.  The first and last issues being the best.

 

                To be fair to World of Warcraft, the female characters are actually drawn in ways that make sense and not as objectified as many other comic books would have done them.  Take for instance, Tellos, which has had all good markings of a good fantasy story – exciting chases, a tiger man, magic, a female pirate with intelligence – until you realize that said female pirate with the triple DDD bust size constantly spans her own waist with one of her hands.  Every Time She Puts Said Hand On Her Hip.

 

                I’m done.

 

                There are exceptions to this trend.  Marvel’s Ms. Marvel being an example.  She is nicely geeky, she tries to be a good daughter, she is nice and insecure.  She’s a Muslim.  In other words, she is everything Donald Trump would hate.  The fact that she is a normal teen and minority is a huge step forward.  She isn’t perfect.  It’s good that Marvel is finally doing something like this.  I wish they would go back and rescue some of their less known woman heroes as well.  I really want Firestar done well. 

 

                Ms. Marvel, however, does give me hope.  Not only in terms of the future of comics, but also that hype can be correct.

 

                And she is drawn realistically, and the issue passes the Bechdel test.

 

                Tiny Titans doesn’t, at least not entirely.  There is jokes about who has a crush on Robin, and while this might be a reference to Nightwing’s butt, it is rather annoying.   Still, the comic is a little cute, though the DC Super Hero Girls was better.

 

                Tales of Honor (#1 and FCBD issue) is a series based on the Honor Harrington novels by David Weber.  #1 is basically a start of Honor’s story, starting around book 6 or 7.  The FCBD issue is a standalone story.  Both have the info dumps that do tend to populate Weber’s books.  Interesting, Nimitz, Honor’s treecat is drawn differently in each, at one point so large that he would not be a shoulder perching cat, which is what he is supposed to be.  Issue #1 sexualizes Honor a bit, though not as much as some comics would have.  I have to give the edge to FCBD issue, though, the story was complete and straight forward.  It showed Honor at her best.  However, if you like Honor, you might want to check out this series.

 

                Murena is a graphic novel series that in some ways is the sequel to Claudius the God.  The story focuses on Nero and the bastard son of Claudius, Murena, who are friend despite being, whether they know it or no, on opposite sides.  The art work is fine, the history good, and the storytelling well done.  If you want a I Claudius again, this is the one for you.  What is interesting is the use of Nero, in particular making him an almost sympathetic character.  The first volume seems to be an indication that part of what the series is going to look is the corruptive nature of power. 

 

                A few years ago, I was in DC and saw the Diaghilev and Ballet Russe exhibit at the National Gallery.  It included footage from a performance of Rite of Spring.  Now, I am of the generation who knows that music thanks to Disney’s Fantasia, which means I hear it and think dinosaurs. 

 

                There were no dinosaurs.

 

                Thankfully, there is Age of Reptiles, which is about dinosaurs.  In fact, it is nothing but dinosaurs.  There is no dialogue, just dinosaurs being dinosaurs.  It is absolutely cool and enthralling.  Be warned, there is blood so if you are a parent, you might want to check it out before kiddo reads it.

 

                Closing note- American McGee’s Grimm #1 is a hilarious take down of the super hero comic book.

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review 2017-05-18 21:58
Review: Ms. Marvel Vol 6
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War II - G. Willow Wilson,Takeshi Miyazawa,Adrian Alphona

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Kelly Sue Deconnick isn't writing Captain Marvel any more? Her appearance in this installment of Ms. Marvel is a complete stranger to me. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it more if I didn't find the difference so jarring.

 

There's some great stuff that happens around the Minority Report riff that makes up most of this volume. (Also, delighted that a character references that movie at one point, because, yeah.) There is also some stuff I'm struggling with. In Vol. 5, Kamala's the cause of her own problems because she's trying to do too many things, and be too many people. In this volume, she lets her hero worship for her namesake override everything else. It's a far less interesting, less appealing arc saved only by not pressing a specific reset button at the end. 

 

I loved the last issue in this. I hope she keeps up with her new friend. And I hope there's minimal contact with Captain Marvel from here on out. 

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review 2017-05-09 07:16
Ms Marvel, Volume 6
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War II - G. Willow Wilson,Takeshi Miyazawa,Adrian Alphona

I'm torn on how I feel about this volume. I still love the story and the characters, but I feel like parts of this one were really tied into another series (one I don't read) and it felt confusing at times. I mean,

Rhodey's dead, Captain Marvel's really upset about it but Tony Stark seems unaffected?

(spoiler show)

What's all that about? I have no idea.

 

Kamala's origin arc seems to be over, and I'm excited to see where the series goes from here. I just hope the next volume is lighter on the crossovers.

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review 2017-05-05 07:00
Ms Marvel, Volume 2
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why - Jacob Wyatt,G. Willow Wilson,Adrian Alphona

I like this series so far. I read Volume 1 a few years ago and then just never got around to reading any more. I find the style hard to look at sometimes. It feels very busy. I am enjoying all the references to other Marvel works and cameos (even if I don't understand all of them).

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