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review 2020-06-02 21:31
You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez
You Brought Me the Ocean - Alex Sanchez,Julie Maroh

Jake Hyde is in his junior year of high school and wants to study the ocean. He's never even seen the ocean, living in Truth or Consequences, NM, but he's always felt drawn there. His best friend Maria wants to study closer to home, and Jake's overprotective mother would agree. After his father drowned when he was a baby, his mother has all but forbid him to go near open water. There are other complications, like the weird birth marks Jake has up and down his arms and legs that glow when wet, and his growing crush on Kenny Liu, captain of the swim team. 

 

The story moves at a nice pace, allowing plenty of time for the characters to show who they are and Julie Maroh ('Blue is the Warmest Color') provides a dreamy landscape that doesn't dilute the sharper aspects of the story. I'd forgotten this was a DC Comics graphic novel when Jake and Maria spot Superman flying high in the sky towards the West coast while hiking. 

 

This novel succeeds as a coming-of-age story, complete with first romance, tears and drama as well as an origin story for Aqualad. There is an astonishing amount of LGBTQIA books coming out now (yay!), and this one hits all the marks.

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review 2020-05-26 21:23
Legion of Super Heroes, Vol. 9
Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 9 - Jim Shooter

This volume collects issues mostly from 1969, which was also the year that the Legion stories were pushed from the lead feature of Adventure comics to a second-stringer in Action comics.

 

The stories however...a lot seems to have happened in the volume I had to skip due to costs. Action-wise, certainly, but character development is happening and the stories are taking on more stakes. These issues are sharper and (relatively) heavier-hitting. This includes the first "drug" storyline printed in a comic book after the comics code authority banned the subject - writers got around the censors by making the story about "toxic fruit". That story, as well as an earlier one where a criminal apprehends mind drugs that were for United Planets study only featured great psychedelic art. These issues also see the beginning of new costumes, open romantic relationships and dating stories for legionnaires, and other signs that these babies are growing up!

 

The Legion very easily could have been cancelled after the switch in venue, but they carry on stronger than they ever were before. The only blah note was the constant referring to the women as "doll". The women have always been treated as equals in 'Legion' stories, and it doesn't go away, but I could really do without the late '60s lingo in the 31st century.

 

Legion of Super-Heroes

 

Next: 'Volume 10'

 

Previous: 'Volume 8'

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review 2020-05-18 14:46
Things you didn't even know that you didn't know.
The Universe Next Door: The Making of Tomorrow's Science - Marcus Chown

While a little out of date, starting operations at CERN in 2006 in discussed as a future event, this is the best book I've read so far on quantum physics and parallel universes. Apart from some sections on plancks and branes that went over my head, I got a lot from it as a lay-person and it made me want to learn more. Mirror worlds and particles; tricksy atoms that can be in more than one place at once; the likelihood that our universe is teeming with life, originating from asteroids that seed any planet with enough warmth to have liquid water; and that six missing dimensions that must exist for wave theory to be correct, might be folded so small that we cannot perceive them.

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review 2020-05-09 20:01
Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang
Superman Smashes the Klan - Gene Luen Yang,Gurihiru

Adapted from the 1946 'Superman' radio serial on 'The Clan of the Fiery Cross', 'Superman Smashes the Klan' is great fun and offers a message of hope for those confronting intolerance.

 

Author Gene Luen Yang, most famous for the middle grade graphic novel 'American Born Chinese', offers a detailed essay in this edition on the origins of the famous serial and its direct influence in defeating a revival of the Ku Klux Klan in postwar America.

 

The Lees are moving from Chinatown into the heart of Metropolis' residential area. Dr. Lee has been hired by the Health Department (a private company) on a top secret project and looks forward to integrating his family into modern American life. He encourages his wife to speak only in English and they have had their children take on "American" names.

 

The night after the Lees move in, the Klan burns a cross in their front yard, attracting sympathetic and negative responses. The Daily Planet's most valued reporters are on the story, of course. 

 

Roberta Lee is a great character, shy and prone to motion-sickness, she is nonetheless brave and stands up for what's right for herself and her family. She doesn't like the idea of leaving their old lives behind, but a piece of advice from her mother about how to make new places home ends up helping Superman as well. During this conflict Superman is increasingly dealing with challenging visions and memories of his childhood. How different is Superman willing to be in order to be his best self?

 

A timely and important story, appropriate for all ages.

 

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review 2020-04-11 16:00
Legion of Super Heroes, Vol. 7
Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, Vol. 7 - Pete Costanza,Jim Shooter,Curt Swan

I've said it before and then went and splurged on volumes anyway, but 'Volume 8' is notoriously high-priced. Some mixture of the notoriety of its stories and the scarcity of its edition makes it sell for three or four times the cover price. I'll be circling eBay for awhile before one comes up at a price I can live with. I mean, if I spend all that money on one book I can't buy other books!

 

Not that I'm reading much these days. It has been a struggle since this crisis began.

 

First of all, this volume had the best introduction so far: Tom Peyer treats these issues with irreverence and good humor while praising the strides the series makes. 'TEEN BEAT IS COMING!' indeed. It also felt that these issues, published mostly in 1967, were beginning to reflect in earnest the restlessness of youth and the political turmoil that was beginning to boil over. On the surface these issues and villains are as silly as they ever were, foiled at the last minute by a clever plan or a deus-x-machina. The issues are beginning to say something, however. It feels like there's something at stake and the characters are taking on real personalities.

 

I have a couple collections from the 80s I could look into, but I hate to abandon continuity at this point. Oh, who am I kidding. I'm gonna cave before May!

 

Legion of Super-Heroes

 

Next: 'Vol. 8'

 

Previous: 'Vol. 6'

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