Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Supergirl: "Falling" - And after a flash of red, all that Supergirl has worked to build falls down around her. The best moments of the episode were when Supergirl threatens Cat (very effectively) and when she apologizes. Both intense moments that say a lot about the women involved.
  • Supergirl: "Manhunter" - And finally we learn about the death of a major character that happened well before the series started. It's told nicely through flashbacks, which also explain why superheroes lie about themselves. It's a nice reminder of the major problem with alter-egos... they are lies.

  • The Flash: "Trajectory" - This episode is a bit disjointed, like it's trying to link various pieces but isn't sure how to do it properly. The result is a bit of a mish-mash... not bad, but it really needed another edit or two before it was filmed.

  • Gotham: "This Ball of Mud and Meanness" - Bruce confronts his parents' killer... this is definitely it's own universe. Nygma gets paranoid while Cobblepot goes sane. All very disturbing.
  • Gotham: "Mad Grey Dawn" - That was not what I was expecting from this show at all. Yeah, Gordon is no longer the man he once was, but I wasn't expecting ... well, this! As for Cobblepot... I detect danger in the air for the Penguin. And why do I think Nygma is headed for a major fall? Then there's "sleeping beauty"... this show is crazy.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Feb 17th
  • Sinestro #20 - The king is dead, long live the king? I'm really not sure what to think of this one, since I'm relatively sure we didn't see what really happened. Since Soranik is my favorite, I'll just try to enjoy it.
  • Titans Hunt #5 - And the plot thickens even more, as a variety of characters are showing up and remembering that everyone has forgotten the Teen Titans... which actually explains a lot about this universe being so messed up. I loved the moment Dick calls Garth 'Aqualad'. Ha.
  • Teen Titans Go #14 - Beast Boy's quote: "If this game doesn't get better in another twenty levels, I'm out." is so much the gamer philosophy I nearly laughed milk out of my nose when I read it. Both stories were cute in this issue. I particularly liked the various Starfires that appeared in the opening tale. Fun stuff without a lot of substance.
  • Twilight Zone 1959 - A nice little anthology with three stories, the first one just odd, the second one almost successfully creepy, and the last one an ode to comic book fans of the 1950s. None of them rise to sheer excellence, but they are all very good and the book is a fun read.
  • Astro City #32 - Into a trap he goes. Obviously, from the first pages, that's what's going to happen. But who and why is a good question. Totally intrigued, as usual. Great set-up.
  • Huck #4 - And I wondered that Huck's brother didn't seem to have any abilities. Still a very good book, and I'm now extremely curious to see what happens next.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #152 - Usagi is awesome... but I do wonder what happened to him and the other person who vanished during the flood. Perhaps that question will be answered in the next issue? I also see that Usagi has learned of an injustice from the bandits, so I wonder if that little problem will be dealt with as well. I enjoyed this issue a lot. Simple plot, but lots to think about.
  • Doctor Who 8th #4 - A nice little done-in-one that's part of the ongoing plotline. I would think the Doctor might figure out a way to get solve the problem a bit better. Still, at least it's solved.
  • Steam League #1 - A bit of a mess of a book, with characters from lots of different stories jumbled together into ... well, I'm still not sure what they are jumbled into. What I know is that Oz characters show up, so we got it. It's got some decent artwork and a strange plot, but it's promising enough.

Fortean Times #31
Fortean Times #31 (Spring 1980). Going back to the old issues, this one was released about the time I was finally becoming aware that history was still happening. That said, I was certainly not aware of this magazine, but I would have loved that cover. Right now, I'm still delighted by the cover. The giant ape has such a great expression, something between "should I smash them?" and "ooh, they stink!" The cover article is pretty good, written by two Chinese students about their own hunt for China's version of Bigfoot. The themes are familiar to anyone who has studied Bigfoot - lots of stories, lots of indirect evidence, but no proof. I loved one paragraph that lists all the data the group gathered then laments that all the evidence found of the wild man itself was hair, footprints, excrement samples and taped interviews with eye witnesses. Same song, different country. It's a nice reminder that people are the same all the world over, despite our differences.

This issue is a bit slimmer than the previous one, and the editorial explained that the magazine had cash-flow problems while it tried to appeal to a larger market with the previous two issues. As a result, this issue is slimmer and has less color on the cover, but it's still up to the same standards readers were used to. From the opening article, I'd say that is accurate.

The second feature is about "Gateways to Mystery," or window areas - places on earth where odd things happen repeatedly. Author David Fideler makes the case that these areas tend to be clustered around fault lines. While the article itself isn't too bad, it's got a bunch of supporting artwork, some of which isn't actually mentioned in the article and thus goes unexplained. At least there's a good set of footnotes.

The third and final feature is an absolutely hoot of a look at the Delayed Death Touch, referred to in the article as the DDT. This apparently mythical martial arts move kills a person with a touch, but the death occurs some days/weeks/years after the touch. The article itself digresses frequently, but is consistently entertaining and manages to cover a lot of ground on its subject. A fun little piece.

Enigma Variations, the column about UFOs, focuses on hostile alien encounters. On the Trail talks about maned big cats in North America, including a sighting in Tacoma I'd never heard of... although, since I was only four at the time of the sightings, I doubt I'd remember it from local news. The Steve Moore column has two follow-ups, including an update on the condition of the hairy boy from the previous issue. The other follow-up appears to be about the terracotta army, which was reported on in issue #29.

Comix include "Telly Kinex", who is harassed this time by a joker who glues a rock to his hand and bets Telly £25 he can't roll the rock across the joker's shoulders to his other hand. Bad things happen. The next comic, "Facts You Might Forget" is about a guy who sneezes icons. Phenomenomix is a two-pager that concerns a rash of oddness and its final result.

Moving into the "Notes" section, we start with some strange encounters... UFO-themed, of course. Interesting little stories, but not much beyond that. Heavens Above has cutting-edge space news, some of which I knew about and some I didn't. Antiquities looks at ancient footprints, Atlantis discovered again, and a variety of neat little bits and pieces. The cartoon in this section shows two guys in robes walking past Stonehenge saying, "It's a disgrace. It should have been let ages ago." Ha. Standing stones as nuisance properties.

Ghosts has some fairly standard haunted house tales, and synchronicities is about people with intensely suitable names. Ball lightning is the subject of the next section, and there's some decent little tales there. Finally, in Trends, there is a piece on small people both real and not, and another piece on fakery, doubles, and sadly similar events. There's also a photo with a couple standing on a beach at La Jolla, and a child in the background playing. There's an implication that something is unusual about the photo, as there's a close-up of the child. But it looks like a trick of perspective to me.

The reviews are pretty good. I'm terribly amused by a comment on computers in the first one, but it was early days yet for computers in regular life, so I'm not surprised. One of the reviews is written by a problematic writer who I looked up after seeing a review of his work in the previous issue... I'll just say everything I read by that person will get an extra bucket of salt, so I'm not really sure what to make of his review. One book gets two reviews, and is panned completely in one and dismissed lightly in the other. The sole review of a paperback book warns readers to not eat while reading it, as it's about incorruptible corpses of saints. Um. Good advice.

The letters were fun, with the opening one being a response to a review in the previous issue. There's also a story about mysterious ball lightning, a report of a book being a known hoax in response to something printed in issue #29, and some thoughts on the fish fall article in issue #30 with a kind response from the article's writer. All told, it's another excellent issue of my favorite magazine, and makes me wish I could get my hands on all the earlier issues even more. *sigh*

Fortean Times Wishlist: FT1-FT24, FT40-FT163, FT194-FT211, FT219-FT222, FT229-FT238