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review 2015-12-26 16:10
#CBR7 Book 148: Wonder Woman: Iron by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: Iron - Tony Aikins,Amilcar Pinna,Cliff Chiang,Brian Azzarello,Dan Green

Time passes differently in the Underworld, and by the time Diana makes it to Zola, she's already nearly full term in her pregnancy. Almost immediately after birth, Diana and Zola experience a terrible betrayal, as the baby is stolen away. To locate the child, it's clear that Diana will need the aid of several of her demigod siblings. Zeus' continued disappearance and the shift in power on Olympus means the reawakenings of old forces and the birth of Zola's child could have an impact on more than our world. Orion, one of the New Gods arrives to help her in her search for the baby, but clearly has his own agenda, and it's unclear whether he wants to help or harm the child. In Wonder Woman: Iron we also get a look at Diana's early years. The god of war, Ares, wants to train her into a perfect warrior, but gives her up in disgust when she eventually refuses to finish off an opponent after a battle, showing mercy instead.

I must confess, that as I read this and the previous volume in the series on the same day, the plots do blend together a bit in my mind, and I'm not entirely sure what happened in each of them. Common for both, however, is an action-packed plot full of adventure, twists and turns. Things are very rarely as they appear on a first glance or sometimes even on a second. Everyone is ready to scheme and double cross everyone else. Cliff Chiang is an excellent artist and mostly I really like his style, in both the action scenes and the more quiet moments.

A bigger niggle is the introduction of Orion in the third volume. While my husband is a huge fan of Jack Kirby's New Gods and pretty much every iteration of them, I find them incredibly annoying and the only time I've not pretty much hated all of them is when Gail Simone had Big Barda in some guest appearances in Birds of Prey. So the prospect of more of them turning up in later issues is not a happy one for me. I really liked every single issue of Guts, but in Iron, there are several story lines being introduced (not just the Orion thing) that I'm not too keen on. Azzarello's portrayal of Wonder Woman, and his general take on the gods and demigods of Greek mythology is so creative and fun that I'll keep reading for at least a while longer.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2015/12/cbr7-books-147-148-wonder-woman-guts.html
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review 2015-12-26 16:08
#CBR7 Book 147: Wonder Woman: Guts by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
Wonder Woman volume 2. Guts - Cliff Chiang,Tony Akins,Brian Azzarello

Wonder Woman's friend Zola is pregnant with a child of Zeus, and has been taken by Hades into the Underworld. Diana is determined to do whatever it takes to get her back, and since Hades is none too pleased about the way Wonder Woman and her friends tricked her and Poseidon, she may have to pay a heavy and lasting price in order to secure her friend's safety. She enlists the help of the divine smith, Hephaestus, for suitable arms and in the process discovers yet another family secret. While Diana tries to escape the bonds of matrimony with the ruler of Hell, there is another power struggle for the throne of Olympus. Apollo wants his father's throne and has his sister Artemis to help him. Hera is convinced that Zeus will return to protect what is his, but may be in for a nasty surprise.

 

I must confess, that as I read this and the next volume in the series on the same day, the plots do blend together a bit in my mind, and I'm not entirely sure what happened in each of them. Common for both, however, is an action-packed plot full of adventure, twists and turns. Things are very rarely as they appear on a first glance or sometimes even on a second. Everyone is ready to scheme and double cross everyone else. Cliff Chiang is an excellent artist and mostly I really like his style, in both the action scenes and the more quiet moments. One exception is his depiction of Hades, as a petulant child with a sort of melty candle head. It really doesn't work for me. It's a minor niggle, however.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2015/12/cbr7-books-147-148-wonder-woman-guts.html
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review 2015-09-14 23:00
Rationalising the Greek Myths
Iphigenie - Jean Racine

 

Anybody who is familiar with the Ancient Greek plays will know that this is a modern retelling of the story of Euripides Iphigeneia at Aulis. However it is told from a more rationalistic, secularist point of view rather than a direct translation from the original. For those who do not know, the story is set just prior to the Trojan War when Agamemnon is preparing to set sailed with a Greek armada to 'rescue' Helen from Paris, who had kidnapped her (or did she go willingly because Paris was a much more romantic person than Menelaus) and taken her to Troy. However the winds were not blowing favourably so Agamemnon asks the gods what the problem is and they tell him that unless he offers up his daughter as a sacrifice the winds will not change. This play is about the personal and social struggles that Agamemnon faces between his wife (Clytemnestra), who does not want to see her daughter sacrificed, and the Greek kings, who want to sail off to Troy and are looking for any sign of weakness in Agamemnon so they they may depose him.

 

The problem with this play is that there is a happy ending, which no doubt would have impressed the original audience (who were probably not that familiar with the story, in the same way most of us moderns are not familiar either). Unfortunately it does not work because the whole reason that Agamemnon was murdered by his wife when he returned from Troy was because he had sacrificed his daughter at Aulis. One could also argue that this was simply an excuse to get rid of a troublesome husband and for Clytemnestra's lover to take over the mantle of kingship. There are also further problems with Euripides' version where Iphigeneia was replaced by a cow and then spirited off to Tauris by Artemis, but this is probably not the forum for it to be discussed (though I don't actually discuss it in my treatment on Iphigenia in Tauris).

 

 

The other thing I should note with this play is the political undertones that are evident. The issue is raised as to Agamemnon's real reason for going to Troy: to extend his empire across the Aegean to Asia. However, it should be remembered that his hold on the Greek alliance is tenuous at this point in time, though as it turns out it is only Agamemnon and Menelaus who have a problem with the Trojans (though no doubt this is an aspect of Greek nationalism in that while they may not have been united under one king, the fact that a foreigner – a barbarian – kidnapped a Greek princess, would have set the hackles of all the Greeks on edge). There is only one other Greek king that plays a major role in the play: Achilles. Achilles is also torn because he has been betrothed to Iphigeneia, but he also wants the glory of going to war against the Trojans. He forms the catalyst of the whole mission, and is also the key to Agamemnon's power: he is the king that can pretty much decide whether Agamemnon remains overlord.

 

The other interesting thing is that the whole nature of this event reminds me of another story; one of the foundational stories of Christianity: Abraham and Isaac. In this story Abraham, after waiting a very long time and growing to an age that nobody could consider him to be fit to have a child, gives birth (or his wife does) to a son. God then tells him to take his son up onto Mount Moriah and to offer him up as a sacrifice, something that Abraham dutifully does. However, at the last moment God intervenes and sends a lamb. I wonder whether, in producing this play, Racine is causing his audience to remember this Bible event (which no doubt the audience would be much more familiar). It is difficult to tell, though I suspect that since we are in an age of rationalism at the time of the writing of this particular play, Racine is probably questioning, and using the fickle Greek gods as a platform, the nature of the Christian god.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/687386136
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text 2014-09-23 23:17
Autodidactic Rabbit Trails: Not Your Grandmother's Porcelain Figurine - Tiger Mauling and Art Weirdness

Autodidactic Rabbit Trails: In which I meander around the net picking up all sorts of tidbits and share them, and we all pretend this is intensely educational. Whereas a lot is gleefully "ew gross" or "whoa, really?!" depending on your preference for weirdness. Strange history - it's still history! Note, I do quote wikipedia frequently, but be aware they're not to be entirely relied upon for all facts. (Do correct me where needed.)

 

In this episode: pottery figures of tiger mauling and murder, the story of Lt. Hugh Munro and the tiger, a musical tiger mauling a human, and a freaky Greek myth about breast feeding I'd somehow missed in classics studies.

 

If your grandmother (or grandfather, or other relative) has this kind of china figurine I REALLY want photos and stories, because seriously, share that stuff. Specifically Staffordshire pottery figurines showing pop cultural topics like boxing, bull baiting and mermaids - and deeper strangeness like the scandal of eloping to Scotland, the 1823 Marriage Act, being attacked by a tiger, and a historic murder or two.

 

I'm now about to link to Collectors Weekly, which I should possibly warn you is indeed a rabbit trail you can follow for many an hour, if you simply like looking at collections.

 

I was going to post an image from the article (to lure you in) but 1) copyright, so you really should visit the link below (even if not to read, just to scroll through all the images) and 2) I can NOT choose just one, too much delightful weirdness on display. Here's brief quote and link before I go into more detail:

 

Murder and Mayhem in Miniature: The Lurid Side of Staffordshire Figurines
Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collectors Weekly, August 22nd, 2013

 

"...The subjects that graced Staffordshire pottery more than 200 years ago weren’t for the fainthearted: Imagine giving grandma a figurine that mocked discriminatory marriage laws or portrayed a gruesome series of animal attacks. Welcome to the world of Staffordshire miniatures.


Long before people had Us Weekly or 49ers t-shirts, they bought Staffordshire figurines to celebrate pop culture. During the late 1700s, potteries in the Staffordshire region of England created these figures to commemorate everything from classical artwork to sport heroes, from political movements to tabloid headlines."

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text 2014-08-18 15:45
Monday Mythology Lesson

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