Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Darkseid Descending" - Aquaman is in it, so I wanted to like it. But it was a bit of a mess of a story, with the introduction of a new Justice League full of second-stringers up against Darkseid. I just didn't feel like it made the grade. Ok, I found the brawling with Booster, Guy, and Aquaman to be mildly amusing, particularly when J'onn joined in. The tease at the beginning featuring Firestorm was ok, but only just. I hope the next episode is better.
  • Sapphire and Steel: "Assignment Four: The Man without a Face" - Wow, intense story. I can see why the Torchwood episode "From Out of the Rain" was compared to this tale, even though there are significant differences. The terror of the burning of the photograph was very well done. I can't quite imagine being able to do what Steel told the girl to do at the end. Another strange and interesting episode of this show.

This week's movie was Firebreather, an original movie from Cartoon Network based on the comic book from Image comics created by Phil Hester and Andy Kuhn. I've never regularly read the comic, so I came into this movie mostly unfamiliar with the character. This was a slightly confusing intro. Not to the character himself, that was clearly explained. My big problem was that the characters seemed to have certain knowledge, but then later that knowledge is treated as a big reveal. Duncan, for instance, knows who his father is, but when he actually runs into Belloc his mother starts to tease him with the whole "I suppose you're wondering how you happened" thing. Um, wouldn't he have already been aware of that particular strangeness? And Barnes at one point seems to act like he didn't know that Duncan was Belloc's son. But if that was so, why was he assigned to watch him? Despite those distracting moments, the movie was pretty good. The CGI was only a little annoying at times, the characters were fun, and the story was amusing. Overall, I found myself wanting to see more. I may have to check out the comics.

Here are some reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released in November:
  • November 3rd
  • Brightest Day #13 - No Aquaman. Not very interesting to me.
  • JSA All-Stars #12 - Cyclone lost her powers, but now... what? Crazy stuff. Pity the artwork is so bad.
  • Ozma of Oz #1 - Excellent as usual. I love Billina. She's just about my favorite Oz character in a lot of ways, and her showing up at this point is lovely.
  • PS238 #47 - Not really enjoying the alternate universe storyline, and Ron's adventures with Tyler in space needs to wrap up or change soon. But I still enjoyed it.
  • November 10th
  • Birds of Prey #6 - Ah, a nice wrap up of a storyline I wasn't sure I was enjoying. Huntress comes out well in this one, and even Shiva got an "oh yeah" moment from me. More like this.
  • Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #4 - I really really don't like how this storyline is going. But I'm getting drawn into it anyway.
  • Knight & Squire #2 - I love the Morris Men! Wonderful as a set of villains. And I love the "secret" identities of Knight and Squire and how pretty much the entire town protects them.
  • All New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #1 - Batman and Superman team up and visit Kandor. I enjoyed this one. Lots of fun, a nice little mystery with plenty of hints for the reader, and you know it's a good start if you've got Superman guesting.
  • Tiny Titans/Little Archie #2 - Oh yeah, Josie and the Pussycats! Oh yeah, lots of little fun bits. I think I even caught a glimpse of Aqualad in one panel. I'm not sure who those Archie bad guys are supposed to be, though.
  • November 17th
  • Brightest Day #14 - Well, that solved one big mystery for me. And even had a tiny touch of Aquaman. Not enough, of course, but a little. I just am waiting for Aquaman to really return to the book.
  • Green Lantern #59 - Um. I kind of have to agree with the Flash in wondering what the heck GL thinks he's doing. But then, all the Green Lantern Corps seems to be insane at the moment. Must have something to do with that whole Blackest Night thing.
  • Green Lantern Corps #54 - Speaking of insane. I like Natu. But this whole Sinestro's daughter thing is annoying. At least her heart is still in the right place.
  • Justice League of America #51 - Sigh. It's an ok book, but it's just not the Justice League. Sorry.
  • Power Girl #18 - I like Power Girl, but I haven't been impressed with this run. And the way it's tying into Brightest Day isn't making me happy. I don't like Max.
  • Zatanna #7 - For items in a magic museum to come to life and still have the personalities of those people... I was amused. I particularly liked the reactions of the LA Superman and Batman impersonators in the opening page.
  • DC Universe Legacies #7 - Ah, the death of Superman. The back-up story was a good one.
  • Tiny Titans #34 - The Aqua-Ohs make another appearance, YAY! The whole confusion between Zatara and Superboy was cute, but I'm not really sure what to think of it.
  • Northlanders #34 - I'm not really sure what happened with some of the supernatural stuff at the end of this one, but then it's been strangely supernatural all the way through. Glad this story is done.
  • George RR Martin's Doorways #1 - I suddenly want to see that pilot. It suffered the same fate as the Aquaman pilot: it was as close to a sure thing as is possible in TV, then circumstances pulled the rug out from under it. This is an interesting story, I'm glad the hubby ordered it.
  • Stan Lee: Soldier Zero #2 - Still promising. Gotta see how this one continues.
  • November 24th
  • Action Comics #895 - And now Vandal Savage is in the mix. Ok. Looking forward to seeing more.
  • Justice Society of America #45 - So, is Jay learning a lesson or something here? I'm not sure what to make of this one.
  • Batman Beyond #6 - Amanda Waller has gone batty in this DCU.
  • DMZ #59 - Matty made his bed, and now he's gone back to make sure he lay in it properly.
  • Stan Lee: Traveler #1 - Very promising start to this new series. Pity we didn't order the second issue.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #133 - I wonder what Usagi wished for at the end. But it was a very touching story.

My library book this week was The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster. I saw this on the "new books" shelf at the library and picked it up on a whim, because I've enjoyed Foster's work in the past. I was unaware that it is the first book of a trilogy, or I might not have bothered. As I got close to the end, I suspected it wasn't a standalone, and sure enough it ends on a sort of half-hearted cliffhanger. This is a bubblegum sort of book. Don't look too closely or the seams will show. It's fun, a good read if you like Foster's stuff, but definitely not his best work.

Agatha Christie this week was The Clocks from 1963. This was the first book I read completely on a Kindle, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. In this case, I figured out the murderer fairly quickly but missed the crucial clue about the motive. I wasn't nearly as disappointed that I didn't figure this one out, at least I fingered the murderer right away. I'm looking forward to the next one, which I think I have an eBook of as well. If not, the library has it. I'm getting nearer the end, and I'm going to be sad when there are no more Agatha Christie stories for me to read.

Fortean Times #267 (November 2010). My first thought on seeing the cover, "The Magical Battle of Britian", was isn't that the plot of 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks'? Well, not exactly, as it turns out. According to the cover story, while Britian fought against the invasion, an occult army on the ground fought the forces of evil dredged up by Hitler's occultists. Even if you don't believe in magic, the human story behind the people who strove to protect their homeland is compelling enough to make it an article worth reading.

Strangedays was the usual mix of bizarre and intriguing. More monster sightings, a termite Buddha, giant goldfish, very old people, and trained monkeys. The science section was about astronomical mysteries including dark matter and something slowing two Pioneer probes. Ghostwatch was about an increasing number of ghost reports in the UK. The UFO files has an interesting bit about the fluidity of memory, using a case report of a man who originally thought he'd had a childhood alien encounter, but then found notes he had written that convinced him much of the events had been created later. I wasn't keen on the poetry and paranormal article for some reason, but it had some interesting information. The Forum and Reviews were great, as usual, with lots of stuff that I don't feel like writing a ton about. I'll just say I found it worth reading. Overall, another fantastic issue of the funniest and strangest magazine available.