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text 2016-12-05 17:03
Reading progress update: I've read 130 out of 208 pages.
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural, Vol. 1 - Rick Remender

I'm so contrary--the party-pooper; Doctor Strange is all the rage now, a big movie star, and I sneak off and read about the man who took his place when Stephen Strange burned out. Brother Voodoo becomes Doctor Voodoo, Sorcerer Supreme (and chief Houngan to boot). I just can't go with the flow...y'know? but it doesn't matter, because this is fabulous, and all I have left is the earlier Brother Voodoo material collected at the back. Nightmare and Doctor Doom were terrific, and I appreciated all the Marvel Horror-character cameos and guest appearances...though only a few of these creepies were really themselves.

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text 2016-12-03 02:25
Reading progress update: I've read 3 out of 208 pages.
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural, Vol. 1 - Rick Remender

Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom, and one of my faves, Nightmare (who may appear as the villain in the sequel to the movie Doctor Strange), all show up in this. so basically, it's the party of the year!

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review 2015-05-25 17:44
Justice, Inc. Volume 1 - Giovanni Timpano,Michael Uslan,Alex Ross

This one is a pulp fiction lovers fantasy, starring Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger. All classic heroes from that bygone era when pulp ruled the magazine stands across America.

For those unfamiliar with each of these guys, let us stop for a moment and take a closer look.

Doc Savage is Clark Savage, Jr., whose father used science to train him to have superhuman abilities, such as greater strength, longer endurance and a photographic memory. This tutoring has also resulted in him being gifted at numerous skills; Doc is an accomplished musician, a martial arts master, a speech mimicker, a master of disguise, a physician, a scientist, and an inventor. But at heart, this prodigy’s view of life can be summed up by his oath: “Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it. Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice. Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage. Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do. Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.


On the other hand, The Shadow is the mysterious vigilante persona of one Kent Allard, a famous World War I aviator. After the war, Allard decides to fake his own death, then return to New York City to fight underworld criminals by their own means: intimidation and brutality. Thereafter, he uses numerous fake identities, but his most useful is that of Lamont Cranston, a “wealthy man about town” who tends to travel the world. While Cranston is away, The Shadow impersonates him, living Lamont Cranston’s life and using his resources to wage an endless war against those who would do innocent people harm.


The last member of our trio is Richard Henry Benson. This globe-trotting adventurer has spent his life traveling the world, accumulating millions before returning home to America to settle down and have a family. As this comic collection begins, Richard Benson has not yet assumed the mantel of the Avenger.


Naturally, it takes a huge crisis to get these guys together. Such an event happens in the present day, where an older Doc Savage cannot keep his greatest scientific experiment from going horribly wrong. Instead of harnessing time itself for the benefit of mankind, a disruption in time occurs, leading to circumstances that place the key to saving time in the hands of Doc Savage’s younger self in 1939.

From this beginning, Michael Uslan presents a fast-paced story that quickly throws the three main characters together. There are brief glimpses of their pasts, quick explorations of their personalities, but this story mainly stays the course as an epic struggle to discover who is trying to destroy time itself and stop them.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this collection was the artwork. Giovanni Timpanos’ style was crisp, clean, and smooth. He didn’t try to be over-the-top, in-your-face, or any other euphemisms such as that. Nope, he gave this team-up comic an old school feel that fit not only the characters but the story as well, because Uslan’s plot is a classic pulp fiction tale that focused on archetype villains, world-spanning conspiracies, and heroes who are not as flashy as Superman, Batman, Hulk, Wolverine, or any other modern superheroes.

As for the story itself, it is a pulp fiction romp.

Does that mean Justice, Inc. is going to knock your socks off?

Probably not. It is definitely a solid read though. And it does have more than enough fights, drama, historical guest stars, and laughs to keep a reader entertained. But what Justice, Inc. does a brilliant job of, however, is introducing these iconic pulp characters to a new generation, and doing so in such a manner that future creative teams can build upon this solid foundation to craft Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger stories for years to come. And for that reason, this is a collection I’d recommend to anyone.

I received this book from Netgalley and Dynamite Entertainment in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

Source: bookwraiths.com/2015/05/25/justice-inc
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-05-07 13:56
Captain America: The First Avenger [Movie Novelization] - Junior Novel - Walt Disney Company

I knew this was just a "junior novel", but still, I'd hoped for more. It's very bare bones, racing through the action and not bothering with things like characterisation or transitions. I'm not sure i makes sense if you haven't seen the movie, actually - it sure doesn't make you care about anyone except maybe (maybe!) Steve. It also constantly switches POVs, which I found rather irritating.


The only thing of interest is that in the script on which the novelisation is based Bucky apparently wasn't supposed to die. Steve simply finds him in a cage, no sign of experimentations, and he survives the train (which is much more explicitly set up as a trap). So there's that, I guess.

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review 2014-07-02 13:30
The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation
The Avenger Takes His Place: Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days That Changed the Nation - Howard Means

Andrew Johnson was by no measure a great president. He is remembered (if at all) for the circumstances that led to his taking office, perhaps with the added anecdote of his being drunk at Lincoln's inauguration. Author Howard Means does not aim to convince you that Andy Johnson was a great president or even a great man — but he does want to demonstrate that Johnson's stint as POTUS was consequential. And, frankly, he does a pretty good job. What's more, he does so with a bit of flair.


Tennessee Tailor

We can breeze pretty quickly through the younger years of Andy J.: boyhood, bootstraps- you know the drill. Johnson is the second most notable POTUS of his surname and last initial from Tennessee, and I'll mention his apprenticeship as a tailor only because it plays into some op-ed cartoons later on. The best bit of young Andrew's shenanigans was the reward notice put out by his boss after he and his brother went AWOL, which described the two as being of "black hair, eyes, and habits."


As governor of Tennessee he pulled what was undoubtedly his best stunt to-date. In the quite literally violent political environment of 1850ish Nashville, rumor had it that if Johnson deigned to show up at the next town meeting, he wouldn't make it out alive. According to an eyewitness account:

At the appointed hour, he ascended to the platform, and advancing to the desk laid his pistol upon it. 

He then called out his would be assassin in an almost eloquent manner, noting that "the assassination of the individual who now has the honor of addressing you [Andrew Johnson]" was "part of the business to be transacted on the present occasion," concluding this bit with the invitation to "let him shoot." After a lengthy pause for effect: "...he resumed: 'Gentlemen, it appears that I have been misinformed.'"


I wish that the microphone had existed at that time, if only so Andrew Johnson could have dropped it before exiting stage left.  


Archer Boom Mic Drop


Latter-day Caligula

Must I mention Johnson's drunken rant at Lincoln's Inauguration? Well, it happened. So, yes. Means gives a combination of well-researched sources, theories as to how the situation may have come about, and humorous accounts, including one unidentified senator who unwittingly forecast things to come.

"Heaven in its mercy avert, we should have Andrew Johnson for President, and sink to a lower degradation than was ever reached by any nation since the Roman Emperor made his horse a consul."

The scene is set for drama befitting its environment.

The District of Columbia in that opening scene of the Johnson administration had many backdrops: crime scene, secessionist hotbed, numbed capital, and home to a teeming population of black freedmen.

What could possibly go wrong?


The Sword of Justice

The people (and preachers) grieving the loss of Lincoln consoled themselves only with the notion that kind-hearted Abe would never have been able to wield "the sword of retributive justice" with sufficient ferocity. 


At first, it seemed that "the bloody-minded tailor" would, indeed quench the bloodthirsty mobs. And yet, Johnson somehow managed to please precisely no one. In an 1867 address to Congress he made what one historian called "the most racist statement ever to appear in the official state papers of any American president." (And that's really saying something.

It must be acknowledged that in the progress of nations Negroes have shown less capacity for government than any other race of people. No independent government of any form has ever been successful in their hands. On the contrary, wherever they have been left to their own devices, they have shown a constant tendency to relapse into barbarism.

Freedmans Bureau


Epic Fail

So much can be said about the various ways in which Johnson's Reconstruction was a disaster, and I won't even attempt to sum them all up here. For one thing, he decided it had really been about a labor monopoly that was unfair to white men trying to pick themselves up by their bootstraps (harkening back to his own youth), which just...I have no words. 


Andrew Johnson returns to first love


I'll leave you with one of Means' parting shots that I most sincerely wish I had written myself.

Andy Johnson didn't have it in him: neither conciliation nor creativity. His synapses didn't leap that way; his neurons wouldn't fire in that direction. It was his way or the highway, and his way seemed always to be right through a brick wall. 

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