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Book Reviews II: Electric Boogaloo

So, uh, this happened a lot more quickly than I was expecting!

Seriously, based on past predictions I was expecting to barely scrape 50 books this year let alone surpass it. But, lo and behold, less than a month since my 50 books post and I’ve already reached 75! I’d like to thank P, for always supporting me and providing a calm home environment to read pretty much constantly, and my university, for finally buggering off and letting me read things that I actually enjoyed reading.

Anyhow, onto the books! (I say books, these are mostly comic compilations. Considering that some of them are comfortably over 200 pages, I say they count.):



The Batman Adventures: Mad Love

Batman Adventures: Mad Love is an original comics story drawn in the style of the popular animated series. It's even put together by Paul Dini, a major force behind the animated show. This particular story involves Batman's old foe, the Joker, and Joker's cute but deadly sidekick, Harley Quinn.

…That summary is awful, but it’s the one on Goodreads and I’m currently too ill(/bored by work) to go on a wild quest to hunt down another one! So this’ll have to do.

Anyway, I really liked this comic. I think I stated somewhere that it’s almost the anti-Killing Joke and I’d probably stand by that. It’s a story where the Joker is the main antagonist, but instead of almost forgiving the horrible things he does it instead focuses around his victims and how their lives are affected by him. Harley is absolutely one of my favourite characters in anything, and this shows why just perfectly. She’s bubbly and positive and slightly evil, yes, but is also super smart and absolutely heartbreaking as a character.

The only problem with this volume, really, is that there were a few other stories tacked on the end that weren’t quite as good. But Mad Love itself is excellent, and I’d definitely recommend it! +

Batman: Lil’ Gotham Volume 1 / Batman: Lil’ Gotham Volume 2

Batman Li'l Gotham / First, Robin needs Batman's help to learn the true meaning of Halloween. Then, on Thanksgiving, Batman and Robin join the families of Gotham City around the table for a holiday feast-and birds of a feather flock together to stage a march against the city...led by The Penguin!

Apparently I only gave this a 3 on Goodreads, so apparently I was having a bad day when I rated it? I have no idea, a mystery that will haunt the ages!

Anyway, I did enjoy this but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. The art was gorgeous, but the stories just rubbed me up the wrong way for some reason. I have a feeling that the stories weren’t meant to be that in depth, though, so that’s probably not so much of a concern. It’s probably just mainly that I’m hyper defensive of Damian, and so can get super judgemental about literally anything that features him.

But, yes, to veer away from any rants about Damian: wonderfully drawn, but nothing profound. Something to look at if you want something lighter!

Young Avengers, vol 1: Style > Substance / Young Avengers, vol 2: Alternative Culture

The critically acclaimed team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie reinvent the teen super hero comic for the 21st century, uniting Wiccan, Hulkling and Kate "Hawkeye" Bishop with Kid Loki, Marvel Boy and Ms. America. No pressure, right? As a figure from Loki's past emerges, Wiccan makes a horrible mistake that comes back to bite everyone on their communal posteriors. Fight scenes! Fake IDs! And plentiful feels! (aka "meaningful emotional character beats" for people who aren't on tumblr.) Young Avengers is as NOW! as the air in your lungs, and twice as vital. Hyperbole is the BEST! THING! EVER!

I mentioned that I was catching up with it on my big comics post, and these are the collected editions. Anyhow, I really enjoyed these! I mainly picked them up for Kate (and because I’d been told that I’d like America), but I enjoyed all of it put together. The plot was pretty awesome, the characters were great and it was a hell of a lot of fun to read. Even when traumatic/disagreeable things were happening (I maintain, BILLY AND TEDDY YOU BELONG TOGETHER) it was still extremely joyous. I’d definitely recommend it, if you like Kate and punching and Loki being an utter dick! +

Grayson, Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral

Dick Grayson. Former Sidekick. Former Superhero. Former dead man. Agent of Spyral?! A thrilling new chapter of Dick Grayson's life begins here. A super-spy espionage thriller that will shock you and prove one thing: you think you know Nightwing--but you don't know Dick.

…I see what you did there, summary writers.

Anyhow, another one mentioned in my big comics post! And, yeah, I absolutely LOVED this. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was, but it really captured me and made me invested in the world. I loved the action, I loved all of the supporting characters, and I absolutely ADORED how they wrote Dick Grayson. It was fun, but also serious, and really endearing. If you have any interest in the batfamily/Dick Grayson whatsoever WHICH YOU SHOULD I would definitely recommend this. And, even if you don’t, maybe give it a go anyway? +

Zom-B Fugitive – Darren Shan

The penultimate tale in this gory, epic series from Darren Shan - with unmissably horrifying twists!

The next entry in the Zom-B series! (They come out about twice a year now. Or, at least, did last year. They came out three times a year before that. Timing is complicated.) I talked in my last post about how I was a little worried for this one, considering that they seem to alternate how good they are, but I actually really enjoyed it. I would’ve preferred that it did a few plot twists differently, including one that just made me disregard it immediately, but the story was good and the characters were all written well. Again, I probably wouldn’t recommend it – it’s the eleventh book in a very fast paced series – but I certainly thought it did a lot of things enjoyably.

…Now to start worrying about the final one! :D

Atomic Robo and the Fightin' Scientists of Tesladyne / Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War / Atomic Robo and the Shadow From Beyond Time / Atomic Robo and Other Strangeness / Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science

In 1923, Nikola Tesla's career is in its twilight... until he unveils a robot with automatic intelligence ATOMIC ROBO! After decades of dealing with all manner of weirdness, Atomic Robo and the so-called Action Scientists of Tesladyne become the go-to defense force against the unexplained! See ROBO take on Nazis, giant ants, clockwork mummies, walking pyramids, Mars, cyborgs, and his nemesis, Baron von Helsingard, in his first trade paperback graphic novel.

This story involves a robot created by Nikola Tesla fighting a variety of pulp fiction style villains, including a talking dinosaur named Dr Dinosaur and the ghost of Thomas Edison.

…:D

It’s yet another one that I mentioned in my comics post, because forward planning is for other people, but yeah. This series was recommended to me by a RL friend, and I love it. It’s very pulpy, and so is an incredible amount of fun. I love all of the characters, I’m very fond of all the plots and the world is absolutely marvellous. The only fault that I could possibly mention is that I’m a little less interested in the historical stuff, but even then it’s absolutely fantastic and a hell of a lot of fun to read. I’d definitely recommend it! +

The Flash: Rebirth

Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, the visionaries responsible for the blockbuster GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH and THE SINESTRO CORPS WAR, comes the start of an explosive and jaw-dropping epic that will reintroduce to Barry Allen, the modern age Flash who single-handedly birthed the Silver Age of comics! DC history will be made, and the Flash legacy will be redefined!

I… Think I got this in a sale? I’ve got a lot of things in sales, it’s frequently hard to keep track!

Anyway, I’ve discussed this with P a few times and I stand by what I said to him. I don’t necessarily agree with the events of this comic, I LIKE Barry but Wally is probably my favourite Flash in the comics, but it was really well written. The plot was interesting, the character dynamics were great and I felt that it really built towards a satisfying finish. I probably wouldn’t recommend it, at least not wholeheartedly, but it was a lot of fun and a great example of how to do something I don’t like and make me not mind it all that much.

The Flash, Vol. 5: Blitz

From award-winning writer Geoff Johns, the Flash's latest adventure has him defending Keystone City from an invasion that succeeds in Freeing Gorilla Grodd from his Iron Heights cell. Meanwhile, Profiler Hunter Zoloman turns on the Flash and sets out to destroy the Scarlet Speedster's life, starting with his pregnant wife Linda.

Usually I’d group books from the same “series” together, to avoid incredibly similar reviews, but in the case of the Flash each one of the books I’ve read has been so incredibly different (and AMAZING) that it seems an insult to group them altogether. So, I’m going to do them all separately. BECAUSE I MAKE THE RULES HERE! (And other mad scientist yells.)

This was the first Wally West book that I picked up, and I LOVED it. It involved the birth of Zoom, Wally’s Reverse Flash, and was basically a perfectly put together story. All the characters were amazing, the story was amazingly crafted and it actually made me cry at multiple points. It was an excellent introduction to Wally’s Flash, even if it does start on issue 200 of his run, and I would definitely recommend it without a single reservation. +

Green Lantern: Rebirth

Hal Jordan was considered the greatest Green Lantern of them all. But Jordan lost control, allowed himself to be corrupted and transformed into the villainous Parallax. Later, Jordan reappeared and made the ultimate sacrifice - a sacrifice that allowed him to become the Spectre, the Wrath of God.

After several years of activity on Earth, The Spectre became restless and sought a way to prove himself worthy of that noble reputation. See how a man born without fear and seeking to rebuild his life, puts cosmic forces into motion that will have repercussions not only on Earth but across the universe.


Entry number 2 in my “Geoff Johns brings random characters back to life” read!

I have a lot of the same thoughts on this as The Flash: Rebirth, in that I disagree with it but thought that it was very well done, with the tiny reversal of while I thought that The Flash: Rebirth started out weakly and ended strong I thought that Green Lantern: Rebirth sort of did the opposite. It was good! But I wasn’t sure about the ending, and did disagree with large parts of it.

Again, I wouldn’t really recommend it. But it was a good read, and it definitely isn’t something to avoid at all costs.

The Flash: Born to Run

When Wally West, the adolescent nephew of the Flash's fiancée, accidentally gained powers of super speed, he became the Scarlet Speedster's sidekick. Growing up as his hero's protégé, Kid Flash had a childhood of amazing action and adventure. But on the day that the Flash died, Wally's carefree adolescence abruptly ended and his life as an adult began. THE FLASH: BORN TO RUN looks back at Wally's earliest days as the Kid Flash and explores the gamut of his emotions and experiences from his first day as a child hero to his succession of Barry Allen as the new Flash. A journey full of humor and drama, this story shows just how much Wally West loves being the fastest man alive.

A retelling of Wally’s origin story! This was very good, but I didn’t love it in quite the same way that I’ve loved some other stuff from Wally’s run. It was interesting, and a great look into his character, but not exactly the kind of thing that I read in one breathless go while refusing to move from my spot on the sofa (to P’s mild amusement). Very good, but again not something that I can wholeheartedly recommend unless you’re already interested in Wally West.

Justice League International, Vol 1

In the wake of world crisis, a new generation of the World's Greatest Super-Heroes takes center stage. But it's the most unlikely grouping of heroes you'll ever see! Batman, Blue Beetle, Martian Manhunter, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Mister Miracle, Dr. Fate, Booster Gold, Doctor Light and the power of Shazam!

Can this ragtag group of work as a functioning unit to stop terrorists at the United Nations, a brigade of Rocket Reds, the Royal Flush Gang, the mysterious Gray Man, and other threats- or will they succumb to in-fighting and bad jokes?


Another thing that I mentioned on my comics post! (Leave me alone, I’m not super great at planning.) I mainly picked this up because I’d seen a few funny panels floating around the internet, and I was quite satisfied. The plot was a tiny bit confusing, at least for me, but the characters were well written and it was generally hilarious. I mean, it contained the original “ONE PUNCH” panel in all its glory. How can you not love that?!

The Flash: The Return of Barry Allen

In this story, Wally West gets the surprise of his life when his uncle, Barry Allen, the previous Flash suddenly walks through his door. Barry was transformed into pure energy saving the universe, but he recently reformed back into the flesh. It's almost too good to be true.
And now, Barry seems to be getting jealous of the Flash name. Something strange is going on. Can Flash save the day? Yes, but which Flash?


THIS STORY.

I will be honest here, I was expecting very little to even approach the level of Blitz in comics terms. So it was quite a shock to come across this story and then love it EVEN MORE. It was perfectly crafted, wonderfully drawn and really firmed up my love of Wally as a character. I like it significantly more than the Flash: Rebirth, and think it does the general concept – Barry Allen possibly comes back to life, shit goes down – quite a bit better… Although, obviously, in a different way.

So, yeah, if you like the Flash I’d definitely recommend it! And even if you don’t like the Flash, I am perfectly willing to chain you down and force you to read it. +



So… What next? Well, I’m still reading the last Mistborn book (so close to the end!) and enjoying it greatly. I’m also reading several other comics, including more Atomic Robo and Batman Eternal, so expect to see those featuring heavily. And, furthermore, I’ve just picked up The Martian and seem to be powering through that at quite a good rate!

I’m not sure when my next books post will be, but it may take a tiny bit longer than this one. I’m planning to post either when I hit 100 books or reach the end of the year, so expect to see a post whenever I reach either of those. I’m certainly hoping to reach 100 books. Things look to be getting a bit busier for me in the last few months of the year, as my working hours will be getting a bit longer, but it would be nice to double my target!

…Yay, books! :D

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
classics_lover
Oct. 7th, 2015 12:45 pm (UTC)
How do you like The Martian? I'm debating whether I'll read it first or go see the movie and then read it, or go see the movie and not bother with the book at all (although one friend of mine always asks if I want to be *that* person who only watches the movies and never reads the books, and I go all meeeeeeh about either :P).
doreyg
Oct. 7th, 2015 02:17 pm (UTC)
I'm really enjoying it! I'm not sure when I'll be able to properly finish it, I started a new job today and we have ALL THE TV to catch up on, but I've read about 300 pages in two days and that says a lot. It's oddly gripping, considering that most of it is one guy trying not to fuck up on Mars. :D
classics_lover
Oct. 7th, 2015 04:06 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the new job! :D
And what tv are you looking forward to?
doreyg
Oct. 8th, 2015 10:17 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D

And being me, it's mainly superhero shows. The Flash and Agents of SHIELD have just started up again, as has Doctor Who. I'm also very much looking forward to Supergirl, and Jessica Jones when it finally arrives!
classics_lover
Oct. 8th, 2015 03:30 pm (UTC)
DW has been SO GOOD so far! I still love Capaldi!Doctor and Missy! Oh, Missy is so perfect and deranged and perfect :D
doreyg
Oct. 9th, 2015 09:25 am (UTC)
I'm quite enjoying it! And, yeah, Missy is great. :D
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )