Sunday, July 27, 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:
  • Jun 18th
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #12 - Ug. Just ug. Double-ug. A whole lot of fighting and not a lot of anything else. Ug.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #32 - Interesting mysterious set-up, but the blue guys really are getting on my nerves by the time the issue is half over. And I honestly can't remember a thing about the previous issue, so I'm not sure what's up with Kyle at all.
  • Scribblenauts Unmasked #6 - I'm amused at what started the fight between the Bat-family and the Super-family. I'm also delighted to see Aqualad (Jackson) in the big splash page. I think that's Mera next to Red Tornado, as well. Overall, not bad. I'm enjoying the nonsense of this series.
  • Teen Titans Go #4 - While I don't mind this book, it really feels like a dumbed down version of the original cartoon. And the original cartoon wasn't all that sophisticated in the first place. I wish they wouldn't aim so low.
  • Fables #141 - So, is Bigby actually back? Maybe? And lots of Ozma in this one.
  • Spongebob Comics Annual #2 - You know, I like that back page, especially when in context with the rest of the issue. This was a fun one for me, with tons of Mermaid Man, mostly classic. Great stuff.
  • Star Trek: Harlan Ellison's City on the Edge of Forever #1 - I knew the final version that was on the screen was different, but never realized just how different. Now I'm reading a treatment of the original, it's quite something.

No God But God by Reza Aslan. After reading his book about Jesus, I decided this might work as a good starting primer on Islam. I was not disappointed. The first half of the book is a simple retelling of the beginnings of Islam, focusing on the context of the times so the reader gets a better understanding of the nuances of what was happening and why it was significant. The second half expounds on where Islam went from there and why, making it clear that many of the problems with the religion were caused, as is often the case, by disciples with their own interpretation of the prophet's ideas. In addition, Aslan explains how translations can be difficult due to words that mean many different things depending on context, allowing some translations to be brutally misogynistic while others reveal extremely enlightened beliefs. While it is clear that Aslan prefers the enlightened translations, he also acknowledges that those are not always what is believed. For a first stop to looking at Islam, this is a good read. It clearly cannot encompass the entirety of the religion and the people, but it's an excellent overview and one that, perhaps, most Americans should take the time to read and understand.

My mystery book this week was The Alpine Winter by Mary Daheim. After the staggering events in the last book, Emma and Milo start to come to terms with their relationship even as bodies turn up and prisoners escape. This is the final book in what seemed to be a trilogy of stories, all set in the same year. This book actually has a forward that says it takes place in December 2004. It doesn't quite require reading the previous couple of books to understand, but I'm certain readers would get lost quickly without them. In short, start with the first one and work your way through to fully enjoy each book. Anyway, this one again uses the town to its fullest and reminds readers that this series is set in a small town with small town values. I wasn't expecting the villain of the piece, though I should have guessed. Overall, a good read. If you want to start the Alpine series, I strongly recommend starting at the first book, The Alpine Advocate.