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review 2017-08-20 01:06
Companion, and I believe 'sequel' to Irredeemable
Incorruptible Vol. 1 - Mark Waid,Jean Diaz

I believe Irredeemable came first.   Both series are written by Mark Waid, and if one didn't come after the other, I believe they were both written at the same time. 

 

Irredeemable is about a Superman-like superhero, The Plutonian, who becomes corrupted: he starts murdering, takes the world over in his own way, leaving death, and destruction in his wake.    The stories were meant to parallel each other: one falls, one rises.   

 

I own Irredeemable via Humble Bundle and never really made it a priority.   I was more interested in Incorruptible, the story of Max Danger, a supervillain who gets his own redemptive arc.   This is, in fact, the story of Max Danger trying to save the world from The Plutonian.   I'm actually super into redemptive arcs.   Stephen Strange's origin story is a redemptive arc: he wasn't a villain, but he was a giant jerkface.   He was brought low to learn compassion - and the mystic arcs - and became a much, much better person.   Somehow, starting him off that way wouldn't be the same.   He had to learn humbleness and to value human life, and those lessons made him far humbler than if he'd simply started out that way.   Having worked so hard to become so much better, he's less willing to let that slide.   

 

Redemptive arcs can be amazing.   Max Danger is no Doctor Strange.  He's got a long way to go, but he was motivated to do this himself, and he's got less of a support system.   So far he's doing fine, this is funny, this is entertaining, and it makes me think about what a supervillain would have to go through to make him change so drastically. 

 

It's just the kind of fun I needed today.   

 

That and Whirl orgies.   So many Whirl orgies.   

 

But I decided not to taint BL with that messed up thing I have for Whirl.   Not that much.   

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review 2017-08-15 18:13
Amulet 1-6
Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 2: The Stonekeeper's Curse - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 3: The Cloud Searchers - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 4: The Last Council - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 5: Prince of the Elves - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 6: Escape From Lucien - Kazu Kibuishi

I picked up the first six volumes in this series for free.  Apparently, it was when volume seven was about to be released and Scholastic offer the first six via Kindle for free.

 

                The series chronicles the adventures of Emily, her brother Navin, and their mother as they try to adjust to an unexcepted trip to a magical land.  Emily is a Stonekeeper, an Amulet wearer (hence the title of the series).  She received this amulet from her grandfather upon her arrival.

 

                In short, this is a series where the chosen one is a girl.

 

                And that is cool because that doesn’t happen too much.  Don’t worry though, unlike some series where the sidekick gets sidelined, Navin too is allowed to come into his own, and his skill set is different than his sister’s.

 

                Kibuishi makes it quite clear that the siblings love each, though they do tease each.  The back story for the family is pretty much comic standard, one that we have seen pretty of times.  The artwork is cool, and the comic touches on themes such as redemption and protection.  At first it seems that the bad guys are going to be the elves, but the true evil becomes more complicated than that.  Kibuishi also illustrates where hate and fear can lead people.  It’s a tale with morals that doesn’t hit the reader over the head with them.

 

                Additionally, there is a creature that resembles Cherbourg (you know that mountain demon from Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain).

 

                I did have some problems with the story.  The first is one that I think only adult readers will have.  Both Emily and Navin at times seem both too adult and too childish.  It doesn’t quite work and at times, it throws you out of the story.  This occurs when Navin says to two children that they are too young to be helpful.  But I am pretty sure this is just an adult perspective.  The other issues are despite Emily being the chosen one, for much of the series the other major players are all male.  This changes in books 5 and 6 where we finally get more female characters who are active and not simply damsels in distress (like Emily’s mother).  This could have occurred before – Emily is being accompanied by men, trained by men (or male animals) so it is a little disappointing.  But if 6 is any indication this is going to change in the rest of the series.

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text 2017-08-15 11:44
Reading progress update: I've read 8 out of 1100 pages.
Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1: Rocannon's World / Planet of Exile / City of Illusions / The Left Hand of Darkness / The Dispossessed / Stories (The Library of America) - Brian Attebery,Ursula K. Le Guin

Rocannon's World.

 

The first Library of America volume of Le Guin collected all the works about Orsinia. The next two collect all the Hainish works. Earthsea next?

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review 2017-08-15 08:29
New to me superhero.
Blue Beetle Vol. 1: The More Things Chan... Blue Beetle Vol. 1: The More Things Change (Rebirth) (Blue Beetle (Rebirth)) - Keith Giffen,Scott Kolins

New to me superhero in that I'd heard the name but not read any previous issues.

 

This is a new incarnation of The Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes, teenager, and he has a scarab beetle-type tech welded to his back. Unfortunately, someone wants it back and it appears it can't be removed without killing him.

Fun in the way a teenage hero should be. Lots of worrying about skipping school to do superhero duty and hanging with friends that know your secret (it's barely a secret, the world and his wife seems to know). Lots of banter between school friends and with his mentor, former Blue Beetle, Ted Kord.


We get his origin in several panels almost at the end of the book rather than a whole issue at the beginning.


The artwork is bright and well drawn. 


Impressed, can't wait to get the next issue.
 

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review 2017-08-14 03:56
New Super-Man, Vol. 1: Made in China
New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth) (Super-Man - New Super-Man (Rebirth)) - Gene Luen Yang,Viktor Bogdanovic

This book had a weak start, but a stronger finish. It started off with Kong Kenan bullying a classmate. When that classmate was attacked by a supervillain, he threw a can at him and managed to save his classmate. This was caught on camera and Kenan pretended to be a hero to impress the cute reporter interviewing him. Based on this action alone, Kenan was chosen by a secret government organization to be turned into the New Super-Man and be part of the newly created Justice League of China along with the Chinese Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man. The two people chosen to be Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were both vetted and trained before given powers, but not Kenan. For some reason it was deemed a good idea to give him the powers without any further research into him.

 

Kenan then had difficulties controlling his new powers, understandably, so was told to research the original Justice League members to learn more. When Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were sent out to save someone, Kenan convinced the leader of the project to let him go to because he knew the passcode to get into the place the woman lived. I didn't understand why they didn't just make him tell them the passcode or even just have Wonder-Woman fly herself and Bat-Man over the gates since she can fly. Kenan's powers were unstable and he'd had no training at this point. And he did indeed proceed to mess things up in a huge way. The secret organization just made a lot of highly questionable decisions in the beginning of the book that had me wondering how they'd managed to get this far.

 

Luckily things improved once the story focused more on Kenan's relationship with his father and his maturing as a person as he began to realize the new responsibility he suddenly had with these powers. Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were a good balance for him as more veteran heroes who have a better handle on their powers and the responsibility that comes with it, while still having room for character growth as they bonded with the New Super-Man. I liked their group dynamics.

 

I do feel like there were too many characters introduced in just one book though. In addition to the 3 superheroes of the Justice League of China, there were 2 opposing teams introduced, resulting in about 20 superheroes and supervillains introduced in just 6 issues. And that's not counting the non-supers also in the book. One of the teams didn't get fleshed out at all, so I'm guessing they'll get more focus later, but it was just hard to keep everyone straight with so many people getting introduced.

 

Despite a weak start due to a lot of questionable decision-making from the government agency giving the powers to the New Super-Man, the 3 members of the Justice League of China made an endearing team that were fun to watch work together. And with Kenan's relationship with his father, this book created a nice foundation for Kenan's journey to being a hero. I look forward to seeing where this series goes next.

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