Comic Talk: Nightwing Vol. 1 (New 52)

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Title: Nightwing V. 1 Traps and Trapezes
Writer/Illustrator: Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows
Published: October 10, 2012
Publisher: DC Comics.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Dick Grayson flies once again as Nightwing! And as he embraces his destiny, Haley’s Circus, the big top where Dick once performed, returns to Gotham City: bringing with it murder, mystery and superhuman evil. Nightwing must confront his past among former friends and enemies from his circus days, while uncovering a greater evil.

Collects Nightwing #1-7.

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This launch of Nightwing isn’t necessarily a re-telling though they nerf some of the history/canon. The hero of this story, Dick Grayson, former first Robin and stand in Batman is back in his place as independent masked vigilante Nightwing. Bruce has reclaimed the Batman cowl–and while there’s no ‘on-screen’ discussion, Dick seems to be okay with the demotion.

Note: I would read Batman Vol. 1 Court of Owls before reading this trade. There are some tie-ins and some things that won’t make a lot of sense.

Haley’s circus returns to Gotham, and Dick stops in to visit with the family he had before being taken in by Bruce. He reconnects with old friends, family and an old flame (he really can’t stay away from redheads can he?) And as this is Gotham, and DC nothing stays golden for long. The owner of Haley’s dies, and bequeaths the circus to Dick. While working on accepting that new role, a new advisory rises focused on destroying Dick.

With cameos from Batgirl, Alfred and the return of Bruce later in the trade this is a very character heavy story. Members of the circus are featured–fleshed out and given backstory that ties in with Dick’s. The action is fast paced and nearly continuous, though one of my major peeves with Dick is the fact that he talks.all.the.time. He even mentions in one panel that he talks too much, and yet continues to do so. I’m not sure if this is a characteristic of Dick, or a running gag within the series, but it’s not something that I’m really fond of. The art stands on its own, though at first pass it was a little difficult to differentiate between Raya and Barbara when they meet face to face. Other than that the characters are individual and have distinguishing characteristics. The story is a little predictable, but it’s decent. The end of this trade is leading into a massive plot arc which I like a little bit better.

Overall: pink3 Not terrible, good action and art make it decent. I won’t add it to my collection, but I’ll continue reading the story.

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Book Review: Falcondance by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Title: Falcondance The Kiesha’ra volume 3
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Published: September 13th 2005
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Nicias has never felt completely at home among the avians and serpiente in Wyvern’s Court, despite his loyalty to Oliza Shardae Cobriana, the heir to both thrones. He is a falcon, the son of two exiles from Anhmik- and images of this distant island have always haunted his dreams. But when Nicias’s visions become more like reality, his parents have no choice but to send him back to the homeland- and a royal falcon- they’ve tried their best to forget.

If Araceli won’t bind Nicias’s new found magic, it could destroy him. In a place where everyone is a pawn, only one other woman has the potential to save Nicias. But she holds the keys to a dangerous power struggle that will force Nicias to choose between his duty- and his destiny.

picadillypink To be completely honest I’m still on the fence with this series, as Snakecharm left a bad taste in my mouth. Falcondance introduces a slew of new characters, the second generation of the books if you will, and it’s a little difficult to sympathize with any of them straight off the bat. As readers we’re thrown directly into the story without any sort of buildup or back story at all. Nicias is an interesting character, and I have a feeling he’ll play an important part in the next book.

Falcondance is a bit of an information dump after the first chapter, revealing more about the Falcons, their history, their magic and their part in the war between the avians and the serpiente. This book is far more political than the other two, focusing on an older, stricter culture than the others. It was interesting to see the differences between the three, especially through Nicias’ eyes as he’s someone who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, until later in the story. It is a short book at just under two-hundred pages, but at times drags. The action, when it does happen is far more brutal and intense than the other two books in the series, further progressing the story and introducing some darkness to it.

Overall: pink3 Falcondance hasn’t redeemed the series for me, but I am more likely to pick up the next one rather than dropping it.

Book Review: Displaced Persons by Derek McCulloch


Title: Displaced Persons
Author: Derek McCulloch
Published: February 15, 2009
Publisher: Image Comics

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
From the Eisner-nominated creators behind Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo comes Displaced Persons, the story of a uniquely twisted and tragic family history spanning the most turbulent hundred years in the history of mankind – the twentieth century saw 99 wars, 19 pandemics, 14 genocides, and one family lost hopelessly in time!

Courtesy of banners04

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I wanted to like this, with splashy art and an interesting story line. I couldn’t get past the bad narrative, slurs and random inconsistencies. I figured there would be a bit of offensive tone to this story considering the blurb, but it’s tasteless and really not something anyone should read. I can’t recommend this at all. Frankly I’m disappointed that I finished it.

Book Review: Les Miserables The Fall of Fantine by Crystal Silvermoon


Title: Les Miserables the Fall of Fantine
Author/Artist:Victor Hugo, Crystal Silvermoon, Stacy King, SunNeko Lee
Published: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributers.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo’s classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!

The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Miserables!

Courtesy of banners04

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The classic epic, Les Miserables is retold here with classic manga art. I’m not fond of this art style, the wide eyed, sparkly shoujo-kawaii style art. The art aside it’s a wonderful re-telling staying true to the classic, but presenting it in a way that’s easily understood. Some of the more delicate nuances of the source material are lost in translation, but it’s still a strong story. This volume focuses on Fantine and her story within Les Mis. I found that she was even more sympathetic in this version, causing me to feel really sorry for her.

Some of the narration is repeated throughout the pages, creating a double exposition effect. I wasn’t too bothered by this, as it happens in other volumes and series. If you’re interested in reading this, and you haven’t read manga, please be sure to read from right to left (so start at what would typically be the end of the book). The art style takes a little while to get used to, and the text is a bit overblown, but at it’s core it’s a great presentation of an iconic piece of literature.

Overall: pink3 Classic literature gets the manga touch, with overblown text and pretty illustrations. I’d present this to younger readers, or those intimidated by the massive tome.

Book Review: Extinction Parade Volume 1 by Max Brooks


Title: The Extinction Parade Volume 1
Author/Artist: Max Brooks, Raulo Caceres
Published: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Avatar Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Max Brooks, the best selling Zombie writer in history, unleashes an all-new horror epic! As humans wage their losing fight versus the hordes of the subdead, a frightening realization sets in with the secretive vampire race: our food is dying off. This is the story of the vampire’s descent into all-out war with the mindless, hungry hordes of the zombie outbreak as humanity tries to survive them all! This collected edition contains the entire first chapter of Extinction Parade

Courtesy of banners04

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World War Z redefined the Zombie genre for me. Extinction Parade takes it one step further, by introducing a secondary supernatural creature: the vampire. In this volume Brooks sets up an epic battle of zombie vs. vampire and the winner maintains the right to hunt and feed on the dwindling human population. It’s a riotous bloodbath with gore and violence. The art is beautiful, and something that I’m drawn to when I’m looking for graphic novels to get into. The story line is something different and I’m interested to see where it goes in further volumes.

The aspect of vampires v. zombies is something that I’ve thought about–especially since both beings at their core are reanimated corpses. I found it fun to read and to see the differences between the two. The vampires that are portrayed in this book are what I consider traditional vampires. Strong, badass and rather nasty when it comes down to it. I am intrigued by the vampire’s caretaker and I am going to grab later volumes of this to figure out the story line that’s happening there.

Overall: pink3 Bloody, gory and violent this graphic novel throws together two of the undead supernatural creatures in a knock down drag out fight for food. It’s vampires v. zombies and the prize? Us.

Book Review: Black Science Volume 1 by Rick Remender


Title: Black Science Volume 1
Author/Artist: Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera and Dean White
Published: November 13, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics.

Rating:kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Grant McKay, former member of The Anarchistic Order of Scientists, has finally done the impossible: He has deciphered Black Science and punched through the barriers of reality. But what lies beyond the veil is not epiphany, but chaos. Now Grant and his team are lost, living ghosts shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds, barreling through the long-forgotten, ancient, and unimaginable dark realms. The only way is forward. The only question is how far are they willing to go, and how much can they endure, to get home again?

Courtesy of banners04

 

 
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To be completely up front and blunt, I enjoyed this. I like that straight off there’s a ton of action and story development. There’s a great underlying plot and it’s smart. The writing and dialogue are very smart and fast paced. There’s enough explanation and exposition that it’s not an info dump alongside great illustrations. It does remind me a bit of the television show Sliders (seriously, look it up it was amazing.)–but the differences are strong enough that I’m not feeling like it’s fan fiction.

The characters are well written and unique with their own voices. The aliens that they encounter aren’t the most creative, but I think with the way this story is going and conflict we as readers are thrust into when the story opens, it’s easily ignored. The art though—I keep coming back to it. The lines are great and the colors are brilliant and saturated with an interesting quality to them. I will be reading this series as it progresses, and I’m interested to see where it’s going from the ending point. I’ve been on a manga kick for so long that it was a little different to pick up a traditional graphic novel/comic book and read it, but I found Black Science to be a good trap door back into that genre.

Overall pink3 beautiful art with a clean, slick, well written story line makes up an interesting comic book. Worth checking out and reading.

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green.


Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Published: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Speak.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Synopsis:
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life — dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge — he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues — and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

picadillypink In reading The Fault in Our Stars, I discovered John Green. I found him to be a bit pretentious (okay, a lot pretentious) but the way he crafted his world, and his way with words won me over. The Fault in Our Stars reads like a movie, and I’m glad I experienced both mediums. Curiosity got the better of me, and after a friend’s non stop barrage of tweets about Green’s other works I picked up Paper Towns from the library. I let it sit around for a few days before I picked it up and started to read.

Almost instantly I’m greeted by the same prose, the same slightly overbearing pontification of word-smithing, and yet I chug on. I try to connect with the plot, with the characters with this whirlwind of a hope of a chance of a female named Margo Roth Spiegleman and her ever present, yet cast aside straight man Q. Let me tell you, if I have to read the words Margo Roth Spiegleman again, it’ll be all too soon. What frustrates me so much with this novel is the time Q spends chasing this girl and she’s not even what he really wants. Q doesn’t even know what he wants (and here in might be the main purpose behind the story–but still).

What I take out of it, is it’s a love letter and a goodbye note left by Margo Roth Spiegleman to Q. I really like the reaction she has later on in the book. She’s wanting to be free from the societal bounds she’s put on herself–and I think Q and the Scooby Gang going after her completely undermines that. It’s a drawn out process and maddening in it’s plodding progression. Yes, it’s a coming of age story, yes it’s the last hurrah before graduating high school and stepping into the grand void of the unknown.

I wanted to love this book so hard. I wanted it to be something that after reading I went out and purchased and put on my shelf, like I did with TFiOS. I also tried really hard to keep from drawing comparisons of the two, but they just kept happening. Things would creep in, details, narrative nuances that I couldn’t help but notice. I prefer TFiOS, though I can’t deny that Paper Towns is well written and there’s an audience for it, it just didn’t happen to float my boat.

This particular quote has stuck with me though, and I can’t seem to shake it.

“– I mean at some point, you gotta stop looking up at the sky, or one of these days you’ll look back down and see that you floated away, too.” I liken this as a warning to Q, not to get so wrapped up in Margo, but at this point there’s really no turning back. Not for Q, or the reader.

Overall: pink3 Would I recommend this? Yes. Would I own this? No. I am going to read Green’s other works though.