Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Torchwood: Miracle Day: "Rendition" - And the action really starts in Torchwood style. Gwen is fantastic in this one, and Rex is growing on me, although his decision to arrest Torchwood and take them to the States seems overwhelmingly nasty on the surface. By the end of the story I'm enjoying his role. I'm definitely hooked now.

  • History Detectives: "Season 9, Episode 5 - Drone Propeller; Clara Barton Letter (repeat); Teddy Roosevelt War Club" - The drone propeller story gave me some information that I've never heard about from WWII. I thought drones were a more recent phenom. The Teddy Roosevelt story was hilarious, partcularly the nature of the guy that made that club. It was a lovely tale, and a very strange artifact. I'd already seen the Clara Barton letter piece, but it was good to watch again.

This week's movie was The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Journey of Radiance (Beneres and Peking, 1910). Still watching the borrowed DVD Set. In the first half, Indy is led on a spiritual journey by Jiddu Krishnamurti while Indy's tutor Helen Seymour questions Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant about their beliefs. Corey Carrier puts in a great performance as Indy in this one, while Margaret Tyzack's portrayal of Miss Seymour gives her added depth. There's another age jump as we enter the second episode. In this story Indy's father is detained and the rest travel around China, but Indy gets sick. This becomes another story of Indy's mother's strength, as she is determined to save her child. That journey with Miss Seymour and Ah Pin would be one worth seeing, too bad it happened off-screen. Another fun adventure with Indy.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Jun 8th
  • Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1 - And so we learn how Aquaman sank Europe, and to a lesser extent why. I love the steampunk Vulko look, and how his hair is shown as properly trailing off in the water. I also like the inclusion of Rodunn, a relatively new character in the Aquaman family. Very nicely done.
  • Flashpoint: Deathstroke The Curse of the Ravager #1 - I'm not really familiar with Deathstroke, but this is clearly tied into Aquaman and his villains, so I picked it up. Pretty good for a pirate book.
  • Aquaman Quote
  • Birds of Prey #13 - To make a threat that actually is dangerous to the Birds seems unlikely anymore, so it was nice that this threat got built up so well that it worked. Still, that combination of heroes shouldn't have much to fear from anyone in the DCU.
  • All New Batman Brave and the Bold #8 - This one made me laugh so hard I very nearly fell on the floor. Particularly one bit while Aquaman and Batman are in the whirlpool. I'm still giggling about it. I may well be giggling about it for years to come, in fact. Oh, and the rest of the book was good, too. More Vulko in a week is always a good thing.
  • Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Tomar Re - It would have been nice to get these Prequels before the movie came out, but no such luck. Still, a slightly interesting story of how Tomar Re's choices result in events that happen in the movie.
  • Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Kilowog - Rookies are so foolish! Um. That's about all I can say about this one.
  • Doctor Who: A Fairytale Life #3 - Still trying to figure out what is happening here, although most of it is obvious. I'm really enjoying parts of this story, especially Amy's characterization.
  • Spongebob Comics #3 - I just want to note that Mermaid Man is on the cover... on the cover of a comic book that Spongebob is waiting for! And there's a nice little Mermaid Man story, broken up with a framing sequence. Fun!
  • Jun 15th
  • Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1 - And so we learn why Wonder Woman is so angry with Aquaman. And we get to see Garth for a short time, as well. Wonderful little tale to start and seemed to be leading up to a fairy tale ending. Good stuff.
  • Power Girl #25 - Ah, this is not an entirely bad way to end this story and this book, but I'd like to know when Batman had time to review the black box recordings and come to that conclusion? The sequence of events is missing something.
  • Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Abin Sur - I like the movie version of Waller even more now. I didn't think that was possible.
  • Tiny Titans #41 - The Flashes race around. I loved the Spanish sequence with Mas Y Menos and Blue Beetle, all the more because I understood every word of it (except the backpack, I had to check the key for those bits). And Aqualad was in it! yay!
  • Northlanders #41 - Another done-in-one, this about a girl who is heir to her father's island. A strange little character study, with the requisite amount of swearing and gore for this book.
  • Doctor Who Ongoing v2 #6 - Poor Rory. In for death again. But hey, Sontarans! Awesome!
  • Soldier Zero #9 - Every time I pick up a new issue of this book to read out of our pile I wonder why we got it, then I read it and enjoy it and it stays on the list.
  • Jun 22nd
  • Action Comics #902 - So... Doomsday gained intelligence and wants to *what*? Pretty typical Superman story. Not my cuppa.
  • Justice League of America #58 - Still chaotic and overwrought. I'm just wanting this whole thing to end, the sooner the better.
  • Zatanna #14 - This whole story is just filled with frustration, enough to annoy me even though I'm not the victim. It ended on a sour note, and I think I didn't really enjoy it.
  • Young Justice #5 - Great story from Aqualad, but then, I would say that, wouldn't I? The cliffhanger is nicely done as well, as I'm thinking it'll lead into a good little bit of much-needed therapy for Superboy.
  • DMZ #66 - This is about Zee and how she got involved, and what she thought of it. A good little character study, and a nice lead-in to the final story-arc.
  • Fables #106 - While the end of the main story was clear enough, because I haven't read a ton of the previous issues, a lot of the tying up of loose ends went over my head. I really need to get the previous trades so I can catch up.
  • Jun 29th
  • Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #1 - Fairly standard, except for the whole being at war thing. Yippee.
  • Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #11 - Done-in-one tale of Guy Gardner being... Guy. Not bad.
  • Justice Society of America #52 - I'm really beginning to feel sorry for Mr Terrific, while at the same time admiring his determination. As for the JSA bringing in specialists... really? Seriously? I would have waited for Dr Fate to come back.
  • JSA 80 Page Giant 2011 - A decent set of stories. It's a mixed anthology, no particular theme except maybe "what does it mean to be a hero?" Like any anthology, some of them were fine, some not so fine.
  • Green Lantern Movie Prequel: Hal Jordan - Meh. Not much there, really.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #138 - And so ends the saga of the Scorpion gang. Wow, another intense one. And another worthy comic in the Usagi adventures. As always, I love this book.

My library book this week was Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. This is the story of how a young man torn between multiple cultures learns to accept himself. My interest in the book has a bit to do with the family connection I have with Obama. His mother is a Dunham, and I'm a Dunham, and we share a common ancestor a few generations back. So I read the bits about the Dunham side of his family with great interest, knowing that there was a tiny link with me there. The story of growing up black in America is alien to me, and I know that I will never truly understand it. I was taught that there is one race, "human", and that ethnicity and culture only matter as far as you let it. However, it's true that a lot of people have hang-ups about ethnicity and impose their views on others, making that hopeful teaching of my youth a little naive. I've met outright racists. I've had conversations with them. And, growing up in a racist culture I'm sure that I'm racist to some degree as well, no matter how much I wish I could protest that I'm not. This book doesn't have the answers to that, any more than it gives answers to Obama's questions about his background. But at least it raises the questions, more than once, and in a decent manner. To some extent, as long as we keep asking the questions and never allow ourselves to believe that this generation is post-racist, then that is a good thing. This isn't a great book, but it's good. Worth reading if you have the time and interest.

This is Endtown. A mutagenic plague has turned humans into animal-like mutants, and they are hunted by "pure" human survivors of the war that followed the plague. Retreating underground, the mutant survivors create a community and try to hold onto themselves and come to terms with their new forms. I received an Endtown promotion comic from creator Aaron Neathery, and have read two of the storylines online (all availabe in the goComics archives). I'm technically reviewing the promotion, a nice done-in-one comic that fit into a long envelope, but I'll say a little about the other two stories. The first story was about a survivor living with the mutants who seems to have not changed from human. He and his girlfriend go on a quest, and have some terrifying adventures that define this new world. The second story is the current tale, which involves a wanderer who finds Endtown and joins in, only to feel like he doesn't fit in. The promo comic is about the Mayor of Endtown struggling to recapture some of the familiar past. The art is good, sketchy and evocative. The stories are strange and wonderful. And the characters are built up so nicely that you can't help but be pulled into their world, feeling their struggles. I've become fond of this comic strip, and I'm glad to recommend it to you.