Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Hail to the Tornado Tyrant!" - Green Arrow and Batman compete again. And then Red Tornado makes himself a son. I prefer the original Red Tornado. Heck, I prefer the DCU's modern Reddy to this one. So I wasn't that into this episode.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released May 20th and 27th:
  • Greatest American Hero #3 - Boy, I wish I'd remembered to order issue #2!
  • Incredibles: Family Matters #2 - I like the finale of this issue. You gotta admit, Mr Incredible sure wasn't being smart in this one.
  • Oz/Wonderland Chronicles: Jack & Cat Tales #1 - Um. I think I followed this one. I liked the inside back cover. One full-page cartoon.
  • Tiny Titans #16 - No way could most of them keep up with those speedsters. I like who won the race though. Great choice for PE teacher.
  • Doctor Who: Time Machination - Ah, I wondered if that would be revisited. I hope it's touched on in the show, but seeing that particular twist show up in the comic was pretty good.
  • Green Lantern #41 - Flashback issue with another origin tale. I'm getting slightly tired of origin tales.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #120 - Nice little done-in-one story.
  • Justice League of America #33 - I like Doctor Light a bit more in this one. But I don't know who any of those other characters are, so I felt a bit clueless while reading this.
  • Justice Society of America #27 - Wow. More like this, please.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5 - The two-page set-up story wasn't as fun in this one, but the story as a whole was pretty freakin' good. I'm enjoying this book (and the cartoon as well).
  • Northlanders #17 - A done-in-one story of a duel on a beach. This one will require a reread.

My library book this week was Donde Viven Los Monstruos con texto e ilustraciones de Maurice Sendak, traducción de Teresa Mlawer. Ok, I admit my Spanish is pretty weak, but I figured I could get through a picture book without too much trouble. I was right, but I also checked out the English version to make sure I stayed close to the heart of the story. A book like this, which is basically an illustrated freeverse poem, has got to be difficult to translate. While some passages are literal, there is a difficulty getting the connotations of words through. In Spanish, Max is called a "monster" by his mother. In English, he's called a "wild thing". It may not seem like such a difference, but part of the feel of the book is the connotations, both positive and negative, of the word "wild" over a mostly negative word like "monster". Moving on, the ocean "suddenly appears" in Spanish, while it "tumbled by" in English. This creates a decidedly different feel. Max's world grows organically and naturally happens in English... it is wild. I'm not sure that same sense of wonder is brought out by the choice of Spanish words. I'm glad I checked out the book, and I'm very glad I decided to try it in Spanish as well as English. The rereading and comparison brought more to the story than simple reading can. I'm looking forward to the movie this Fall, but I honestly can't see what they'll be able to do with this book. It's very short. I hope it doesn't get turned into something it's not.

For another bit of Wild Things, check out Terrible Yellow Eyes, a blog devoted to artwork inspired by the original book.

Agatha Christie this week was The Regatta Mystery and Other Stories from 1939. Finally, a collection that interlibrary loan could find! This is a pretty good one, with a great variety of stories with Parker Pyne, Poirot, and Marple, and one of her more supernatural tales thrown in as well. I enjoyed the variety more than anything, although the quality of the stories is generally as high as most of her works.
  • The Regatta Mystery - When a diamond is stolen, the suspect calls in Parker Pyne. This was fairly easy in some ways. I figured out how the diamond left the room, for example. But the rest is pure Pyne.
  • The Mystery of the Bagdad Chest - Poirot is called in when a dead man is found in a chest after a party. Didn't figure this one out, though I got some ideas when Poirot found the critical clue.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? - A woman is murdered after appealing to Poirot for help. Same start in many ways as Dumb Witness, but a very different murder.
  • Problem at Pollensa Bay - Parker Pyne's vacation is interrupted by a mother who has a problem with her son's lovelife. Very typical Pyne story.
  • Yellow Iris - A mysterious phone call sends Poirot to try to prevent a murder. This one builds up nicely. I like the solution, although the ending isn't quite satisfying.
  • Miss Marple Tells a Story - Marple writes a letter to her nephew in which she describes solving a murder. Miss Marple scares me. The logic is impeccable, especially when you put all the testimonies together, but still!
  • The Dream - A man is apparently driven to suicide by a dream that he recounted to Poirot before his death. This is another one of the fantastical ones. It works, sure, but the murderer was taking quite a big risk, like the murderer in that Christmas tale.
  • In a Glass Darkly - A man has a vision of a woman being choked in a mirror, then meets and warns the woman. This is another supernatural tale. There is no explanation for the vision, and the vision eventually comes true. Also, none of Christie's sleuths appears in it. But it's still a good little yarn.
  • Problem at Sea - A woman is killed in her locked cabin aboard a ship. Poirot is on the scene, and solves it with his usual flare. Maybe a bit more than usual for him.
Not much else to say about this one, except that if you want a little taste of her short stories and want to meet her famous creations, this is probably a good choice of collections to pick up.