Sunday, March 09, 2014

A Sunday Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Jan 22nd
  • Justice League #27 - How nice to have access to a secret lab full of forbidden tech to upgrade yourself with... Oh, an Metal Men, huh?
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #7 - Ok. So, Sea King is Deadman, and Pandora is ... something else. And this isn't quite over because of decompressed storytelling.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #27 - I keep forgetting that he's still alive AND he's palling around with Hal's ex. Eh. Tolerable.
  • Scribblenauts Unmasked #1 - Cute, and slightly promising now that I know there's actually a plot.
  • Batman Beyond Universe #6 - AQUAMAN!!! WAHOO! And Mera as well! That was a bit of a surprise. I'm squeeing.
  • Batman '66 #7 - The first story was pretty fun, having False Face impersonate Bruce Wayne... in front of Robin. I liked the impersonation of the President, as well. Ha. I'm never keen on Joker stories, and the second story in this issue was a joke.
  • Mr Peabody and Sherman #3 - This seems to be true to the original cartoon, as much as I know of it. Lots of bad puns, making fun of history. The usual.
  • Peanuts V2 #15 - I really love the cover. The stories were pretty good, as well. I love the old strips mixed in with the new.
  • Legends of Red Sonja #3 - Well, that's *one* way to explain the lack of armor.
  • Jan 29th
  • Aquaman #27 - So... No control. Interesting. I'm still not sure where this storyline is going, but I'm looking forward to seeing the destination for some of these plot threads.
  • Earth 2 Annual #2 - And now we know all about the Earth 2 Batman. Not entirely what I was expecting... I wonder if Helena will ever learn about him?
  • World's Finest Annual #1 - Flashback stories. That lead into the events on Earth 2. Wowsa. Good stuff.
  • Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 - Ok, so they're at war. Next?
  • Smallville Special #4 - Cute team. In fact, I kind of like them.
  • Fables #137 - Bigby's children are off into their own worlds, even if their mom isn't ready to admit it yet. I still want to know what scared the Lady of the Lake so much.
  • Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 - I still miss Wash. But otherwise...not bad.
  • Mr Peabody and Sherman #4 - Amusing. I can't say I loved the series, but it was amusing.
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: Tales from Oz #1 - Tin Man - Origin story! Not totally different from the original, but still off by a bit.

My library book this week was Allegiant by Veronica Roth. That was different. I think I found this exceptionally satisfying, despite a major rule of fiction being broken. It isn't a happy ending so much as a realistic ending, which is something strange to say about a story that is set in that sort of dystopia. When all is said and done I think I liked it, but I definitely have to keep thinking about this one for awhile.

Fortean Times #308
Fortean Times #308 (January 2014). The 40th Anniversary cover is pretty cool, with the various strange beings giving their comments (attributed to various awesome writers and such). Anyway, amusing cover, and the "cover story" with various folks picking out their favorite stories in 40 years of the magazine was also pretty good. The biggest problem with it is that I don't have access to any early issues of the magazine, since I was introduced to it fairly late in its run. I would love to read all those articles in the original magazines. The first handful of issues are apparently available at an extremely high price in a digital format, but it's too few issues for too much money. The majority of the issues aren't available at all except through massive patience on eBay. Anyway, a lot of the articles mentioned are ones I haven't got the ability to read in their original context, if at all, so that's kind of sad. On the other hand, I could easily spend all my time reading Fortean Times and doing nothing else, so it's probably for the best.

Another main article is a new ongoing feature about the first Forteans. It seems like an attempt to remember the people who came before... before all of them are too far gone in the past to remember. Not the major figures that everyone already knows about and who have multiple books about them, but the general folks down in the trenches exploring the wonders of the world and sharing them through magazines like FT. There's a significant crossover between early science fiction fandom and the early Forteans, so it should be a fun series to read. In that spirit, Hunt Emerson also has a 4-page cartoon about how he came to be involved in Fortean Times.

There are three other features in this issue, one about a Jamaican "duppy" that turns out to be a pain-in-the-butt poltergeist type incident, another about 80 years of modern Nessie sightings and the last about the making of a documentary called Shooting Bigfoot and what the filmmaker learned about American Bigfoot hunters along the way.

Strangedays starts with tales of captured birds in various nations that had taggings, leading those who captured them to believe the birds were spies. Another piece covers the controversy of Dr. Melba Ketchum's alleged Bigfoot DNA study. A check-in on the world's oldest people reveals a few surprises and changes. The 2013 Ig Nobel prizes are covered, along with attempts to figure out if cosmic dust contains life. Another piece rounds up unusual and frightening snake sightings. Fortean Traveller goes to Capel-y-ffen in the Black Mountains near the border of England and Wales to investigate a Madonna sighting that started with a boy threatening to hit the apparition with a stick if it came too near. Illustrated Police News covers wagers made regarding doing things in lion cages, including playing cards, shaving, getting married, playing ping-pong, and dancing. The stories of which folks won their bets versus which ones failed is enlightening, if gory at times.

Science is about a hoaxed scientific paper that was submitted to a large number of journals that require papers to be submitted for a fee. The goal was to check if the paper was properly vetted before being accepted for publication. The hoaxer, who did not allow the paper to actually go to print, found that 157 journals accepted the hoax for publication while 98 rejected it. The piece goes into more detail about the process, the flaws in the process, and the potential need for more *ahem* research into the problem of open-access journals as opposed to traditional journals. It's actually a serious problem in the field of science and needs more attention.

Ghostwatch is about a demon baby in Columbia and reports, including a photograph, of a duppy in Jamaica. Archaeology reports on lost chalk giants, an ancient quartz pathway linking two stone circles, a cocky cornerstone and how hand prints left near cave paintings may have been mostly of women's hands, not men. Classical corner is all about birds. Alien Zoo looks at the Olinguito, a stuffed cryptid found at a car boot sale and the potential discovery of more cryptids in Borneo. The UFO files has news of a radio station advertising promotion that was misunderstood, the willingness of officials to let UFO stories cover work on the U2 spy plane, and early drones. The Casebook continues last month's investigation into a sighting by air traffic controllers.

The Forum starts with an investigation into the meaning of "40" in religious symbolism and other things. A second forum article has a truly nifty Loch Ness image, which is almost certainly just a wave cresting in a very tantalizingly suggestive way, but really looks like a dragon-head or something. Reviews were again solid, with nothing quite making my reading list but more than one getting close. The reviews include a review of the first season of Arrow, which gets an "8" and lines up fairly close to how I felt about the first season. Letters are good, as usual, with some asking questions and others answering. It Happened to Me was spooky, as it often is. Another good month of the best magazine around.