Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Destination Truth: "Thai Tree People/Aiya Napa Monster" - Josh goes to Thailand to hunt the Naree Pon, a tiny creature that grows on trees and leads people to their deaths. In Bangkok again, Ryder and Josh have fun with handcuffs. I like the elephant riding scenes. Josh did some dangerous spelunking and I sometimes think this series will end with the report that Josh was killed in an accident somewhere. All the crew brought back were pictures of the temple Naree Pon corpses, which were shown to an expert who couldn't determine what they actually are, so the mystery continues. The crew goes to Cyprus to look for a sea monster. They have the usual luggage and vehicle issues, and Josh snarks at a market. Then Josh jumps off a cliff. I like the video of a shipwreck they got while diving. Again, they don't find much, and decide the basking shark is a suspect for the identity of the monster. But it was sure nice to have an episode all about cryptozoology.

  • Ghost Hunters: "Chasing Ghosts" - TAPS investigates the Higgins Armory Museum in Massachusetts. This would be a really awesome location for an episode of Doctor Who. Especially the basement, where creepy mannequins with covered faces lined the walls. The place was a personal collection of armor from history and was turned into a museum later, and the ghost stories are much the standard type. It's just an awesome location, and the group has entirely too much fun wandering the place, playing, and enjoying the atmosphere. They do some excellent debunking, particularly on doors that open themselves. In the end they find sounds and chains moving when they shouldn't, enough to make them want to come back.

  • Being Human (US): "Dog Eat Dog" - More divergence, more developments, and another element of the original series added to this new one. Older vampires, Aidan's past, and dogfights. This series continues to add on and grow away from its roots. It's a pretty good episode. The Dutch are creepy. Interesting that the older vampires show up so quickly in this version.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • March 9th
  • Zatanna #10 - Um, yikes? Wow, that's a cliff-hanger and a half. Well, it's some sort of hanging, at least.
  • Birds of Prey #10 - So, I think I get what they are trying to do, but I'm not at all convinced they did it.
  • JSA All-Stars #16 - Mostly a big battle scene with an unexpected twist that required the build up from previous issues to understand. I'm ambivalent about it. Fun and clever bits, but requires too much backstory.
  • All New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5 - Guy Gardner? Not the best ever team-up for poor Batman, although I seem to remember in the regular universe that a certain punch involving those two made history. And the guest star, wow. Fun.
  • March 16th
  • Brightest Day #22 - Not much Aquaman, unless you count zombie Aquaman. At least the DC zombies were creative and made in-universe sense.
  • Power Girl #22 - I must've missed an issue where some dramatic events relating to Karen's company happen, as the whole thing is described within the issue in a throwaway line. Still, fun enough despite my confusion.
  • Knight & Squire #6 - Oh wow. Wow. Not at all what I was expecting. Nothing like I wanted to see. But really really darn good. More, please?
  • DC Universe Legacies #10 - So that's the end. Not talking to a reporter, like I thought. Sad. I found I wanted to read more. It was a good series. And the backups weren't all that bad either.
  • Young Justice #2 - Needs more Aqualad, but I thought it was funny that Superboy hesitated with Superman, then tossed Aquaman over to check his theory.
  • Tiny Titans #38 - This one was even more odd than usual, and that's saying something. Of course, I was so busy "SQUEE!"-ing that it harder matter. Artie Jr is AWESOME. Want more of Atlantis. Obviously.
  • PS238 #49 - Ah, this is a really satisfying issue for me, as all the threads are finally coming together and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not that this book is ever tunnel-like, but I can feel the payoff coming up quick. YAY!
  • Doctor Who V2 #2 - Wow, Amy really knows her history, doesn't she? Nice to see the psychic paper, nice to see it not work consistently.
  • DMZ #63 - Parco didn't make the best choice, but I wonder what exactly he gave to Matty, and how it's going to affect the war.
  • Northlanders #38 - Nasty nasty, with battles that really don't make sense from any realistic point of view - therefore entirely too true to life.
  • Soldier Zero #6 - Oh, so that's it then?
  • March 23rd
  • Green Lantern #64 - Part one of the War of the GL. Hal and the gang meet up with Krona's big black book, and the Guardians get what they probably deserved.
  • Green Lantern Corps #58 - Part two of the War of the GL. Ganthet's group is back from Qward, and get quickly involved in Krona's schemes. Um. Ok. Not pretty, but maybe this is going somewhere.
  • Justice League of America #55 - Massive threat, GL involved, Starheart. Not sure what I think about this. I'm not warming up to it.
  • Fables #103 - Wow, Ozma's a snot, isn't she? Pity she's probably right about it all. I'm warming up to this book. *sigh* That means we're going to have to get the trades and catch up, doesn't it?
  • March 30th
  • Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #8 - Part three of the War of the GL. Guy's very messed up group is headed home when Krona's actions hit them. The main draw of this one might be the knock-down drag-out fight between Hal and Guy. But all the threads are pulling together now.
  • Action Comics #899 - I was disappointed at first, then justified, then disappointed, then justified. So I think this book worked. It's going to be fun to see what Superman makes of the whole mess.
  • Jimmy Olsen #1 - While this seemed to be a lot of reprint, it all held together much better in one big issue. I thought it was a fun little book, and a nice way to introduce Chloe Sullivan into the DC Universe.
  • Justice Society of America #49 - I think this and JLA are out of joint. But then, what else is new? Not liking the "new" GL. But at least the storyline seems to be slightly over.
  • Zatanna #11 - Yay for smart assistants willing to dress down in order to rescue the super hero. And eek, and double-eek for the whole situation.
  • Doctor Who V2 #3 - Ah, the most dangerous of situations, when one side is trying to play the Doctor off the other. I admit, I did look up the historical event involved to see how it really happened.

My library book this week was The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. Hubby-Eric snagged this from the library to see if there were Oz references, I think. And I couldn't help but read it as well. Elizabeth is an average student who gets a job as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a type of library that deals with objects instead of books. I really liked the building of Elizabeth as a character, with details of her family and social life coming through as needed. The story was a very nice take on fantasy and magic in the real world, and a different angle than I've seen before despite many many books about magic worlds hidden within New York. This would be a good one for teens to read, and is safe for younger children although the romance might just turn them off. Of course, it's a fun read for adults as well.

Fortean Times #271
Fortean Times #271 (March 2011). Fun cover with an intriguing promise asking if H.R. Giger is actually the "designer" of the Chupacabra as it is currently imagined. And the cover article makes a compelling case for the theory. In short, when the killings started taking place, a movie called Species was big in Puerto Rico. And the look that the monster took was based on a single eyewitness who happened to have seen that movie recently. The article argues that the witness confused events that had happened with the imagery in the movie, creating the Chupacabra we recognize now. It's a fairly compelling argument, taken all together.

Strangedays starts us off with the whole Wikileaks saga, and although the story itself is moving faster than a magazine can track, it does a fairly good job giving an overview of how Wikileaks has affected conspiracy theories. Another article is about the boys that were lost at sea for 48 days. There's also a story about dogs dying mysteriously after walking in a certain wooded area. Another frightening story covers some severe allergies.

An article in Medical Bag claims that there are studies that determined that prayer does work to heal people. I know that a lot of people cite a study that says the exact opposite, but I also know how the media almost always gets science wrong. Ghostwatch has more on the ghosts of those executed, and in some cases the executioners. Archaeology claims the Uffington Horse is probably a dog. The UFO files are good, again, with the discovery of recycled UFO photos used in later hoaxes, and some other short pieces. Blasts from the Past covers falls of flesh and blood... eeuuuuwww! The Random Dictionary is all about the religions that UFO contactees have created.

Another article talks about Quakers and their tendency to nakedity. There's a tribute to the UK World of Wonder magazine that ran in the early 1970s, including wonderful two-tone illustrations from their Strange Stories features. I'd love to see a collection of those. The Forum starts with an article about the shirt Charles I was wearing when he was beheaded, and the three claimants for being that shirt. The second article is about the music that used to be played at Japanese crosswalks. A third article talks about the King Cheetah, and whether it existed in Asia. The last article is about the Cholera outbreaks in Haiti and why the people blamed the UN troops.

The reviews cover some fun stuff, and have two perfect 10 ratings, which is not unheard of but is fairly rare. One of them is something I already want but cannot afford, the gigantic 75 Years of DC Comics book by Paul Levitz. The tagline on the review is entirely too true: "An extravagant treasure with a heart-stopping price tag". Too true (list price is $200, ouch). The other is a book called Cambridge Ghosts by Robert Halliday and Alan Murdie. The review's tagline describes it well: "You used to get a better class of ghost in Cambridge..." The other reviews are also good, and a couple of items got added to my wishlist. The issue is wrapped up with a pretty good set of letters. Another great issue of this great magazine.