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review 2019-01-19 22:13
The Avengers and the Thunderbolts (book) by Pierce Askegren, illustrations by Mark Bagley & Jeff Albrecht
Avengers and Thunderbolts - Pierce Askegren

Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and Baron Zemo forge a temporary alliance to...accomplish something. I didn't really follow along very well. Something about Hydra (Strucker's folks) gaining power and Zemo gaining access to research Strucker had acquired that's based on work originally carried out by Zemo's father.

The Avengers first become aware that something's up when the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man's date is interrupted by an apparently indestructible Dreadnought. Wonder Man is kidnapped. At approximately the same time (I think), the Vault, which used to be a maximum security prison intended for supervillains and is now being modified to house broken/inactive supervillain technology instead, is broken into by Hydra. The Thunderbolts just happen to be in the area, for reasons I can't recall.

Strucker, Zemo, and Techno manage to produce a mindless and obedient super-powered army of creepy golden people. The Avengers and the Thunderbolts have to work together and somehow figure out how to defeat them and foil whatever it is they're planning.

This was published back in 1999 and begins with an editor's note stating that it takes place shortly after the Marvel comic Avengers (Vol. 3) #12. I haven't read an Avengers or Thunderbolts comics in at least 10-15 years, so this information didn't really mean anything to me. What I can say is that it seemed to take place after the Thunderbolts comics I vaguely remembered reading. In the ones I read, the Thunderbolts were still villains under the direction of Baron Zemo, pretending to be superheroes. In this book, the Thunderbolts have been found out and are trying to figure out how to clean up their image, regain people's trust, and become true superheroes, with Hawkeye as their new leader. As far as the Avengers chronology went, the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man were dating, and there was a bit of tension between them and the Vision.

I've owned this book for ages. Every time I thought about getting rid of it, I felt a burst of vaguely remembered fond feelings for the Thunderbolts and just couldn't do it. Now I've finally read it and...meh.

There was so. Much. Exposition. So much. I don't know if Askegren thought it was a good idea or if Marvel required him to include it, but it bogged things down and still didn't provide me with quite enough information to get a good handle on all the characters, their relationships, and any other relevant background info. I spent a lot of time browsing Wikipedia pages.

There were hints of character relationship info that interested me a lot more than anything Strucker and Zemo were doing: MACH-1's worries about going to prison and leaving Songbird; Moonstone's shadowy motivations; Jolt and Atlas's sibling-like relationship; Hawkeye's empathy for the Thunderbolts; and the tension between Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, and the Vision. But the book wanted to focus on the Avengers and the Thunderbolts vs. Strucker, Zemo, and Techno, so that's what I got.

Even if the things that most interested me had gotten more page-time, I'm not sure how enjoyable they would have been, due to the limited page count and many, many characters. A few people got a little more page-time than others, but I don't think that anyone in particular stood out. Iron Man battled a Dreadnought. Thor stepped in and provided assistance multiple times. Techno and the Vision fought one-on-one. Askegren occasionally reminded readers that Firestar and Justice existed. Jolt worked undercover at a fast food place (it was the only place where they figured a teenager wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb). Captain America spent some time tied up, and Moonstone enjoyed it more than someone who wanted to be seen as a superhero probably should have. Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Simon (Wonder Man) went on a date at a monster truck rally. As soon as I got my bearings with someone, the narrative switched to someone else.

All in all, this really wasn't for me, and I'm not sure it would have been that much more appealing if I had read it back when I was plowing through my uncle's boxes of comics.

Extras:

Each chapter begins with a black-and-white illustration. The book ends with a chronological list of Marvel novels and anthologies published by Byron Preiss Multimedia Company and Berkley Boulevard Books between October 1994 and May 1999.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2019-01-18 12:24
Reading progress 8%.
Superheroes Anonymous - Lexie Dunne

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text 2019-01-18 11:22
Reading progress: 1%.
Superheroes Anonymous - Lexie Dunne

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review 2018-12-01 01:30
What kind of superpower do you have?
El Deafo - Cece Bell

El Deafo by Cece Bell is the autobiographical account of the author as a little girl after she contracted meningitis and became deaf. First point in this book's favor: The illustrations are absolutely delightful. If you were a fan of the Arthur cartoon growing up then you'll love her artistic style as it's very reminiscent of that. (The characters are all rabbits.) She focuses primarily on her experiences using the different hearing aid devices that she had growing up and how isolated it made her feel. Bell doesn't shy away from exploring her shame and 'otherness' in comparison to her family and friends which I think is refreshing in a middle grade book. The way that Cece ultimately copes with the changes and difficulties that she's experiencing is by creating an alternate persona where she uses her deafness as a superpower. (Check the picture below for an example.) I personally really loved the references of such classics as Batman (with Adam West) and one of my faves M*A*S*H. I don't know that younger readers will appreciate that as much but I thought it was a great touch. Included at the end of El Deafo is a little informational blurb about Deaf culture so if parents are reading with their kids (or teachers with their students) it makes a really awesome learning tool. I loved that kids are getting to see a character using a hearing device in a medium that is easily digestible and conveys the message that no matter what our abilities we are all 'super' in our own ways. 9/10

 

An example of the art writing style. [Source: Goodreads]

 

 

If you don't follow me on social media you may have been surprised/confused when I started posting a new review every day this week. I did this because I didn't want to play catch-up like I did earlier this year with books I've finished but not yet reviewed. However, I'm not seeing a ton of engagement in these posts so I want to get your opinion. Are you enjoying the more frequent posts or do you prefer once a week and you don't care when they go up? Please comment below with your thoughts! :-)

 

What's Up Next: Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-in-Training by Joris Chamblain with illustrations by Aurélie Neyret. 

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-11-03 01:22
Batman is how old?!
The Science of Superheroes - Robert E. Weinberg,Lois H. Gresh

What an absolutely FUN read The Science of Superheroes turned out to be! Lois H. Gresh & Robert E. Weinberg took several big name superheroes like Superman, Batman, The Flash, Ant Man, Aquaman, and the X-Men (just to name a few) and discussed in-depth their powers, origin stories, narrative continuity, and whether there was any basis in scientific fact for their superpowers. There were great recommendations both throughout the book and in the footnotes (ya'll know I love a book with excellent footnotes). They also went to great lengths to give a detailed, thorough history of comics in general which made this an altogether well-rounded and researched book. (I've read some so-called 'scientific' nonfiction that couldn't hold a candle to the amount of work that Gresh & Weinberg obviously put in for this book.) Another huge bonus was the extensive appendix which also included biographies and q&a responses with several popular 'current' writers of comics. (Am I gushing? I can't help it that I love a good set of biographical facts organized in an orderly fashion.) At any rate, whether you're a pop culture fan, comic aficionado, superhero movie nerd, or really into researched footnotes this is sure to fit the bill and be an excellent choice for a cozy autumn evening. 10/10

 

PS I had made a note after reading this that I hoped they made one for comic book villains...and they did! If you're interested the title is The Science of Supervillains. XD

 

What's Up Next: Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans & Ronald Searle

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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