Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Sunday Review

Recommendations are always welcome. Pop a note into the comments if you can think of a movie/TV show/book/comic you think I might enjoy.

TV this week:
  • Doctor Who: "Hide" - The title says nothing about this story and doesn't really have all that much to do with it, either. The story creates a fantastic atmosphere of terror. The visuals did a great job conveying the sheer fear of all the characters. But the plot doesn't seem to hold together very well, with dangling strings and strange time compression and decompression. Then there's the question of what happens to the ghost and her hitchhikers after all else is said and done. This is the second episode in a row that ends on... not exactly a cliffhanger, but without a proper resolution. I don't know whether I like it or not.
  • Young Justice: "The Fix" - Oh wow, finally Nightwing learns what really happened and Kaldur gets some help. And that final word from Impulse on the Blue Beetle... my oh my. I wonder if that means something other than what we would hope it means?
  • Young Justice: "The Runaways" - Oh crap. There's an interesting group of super-friends. And Blue Beetle... ouch. I wonder if Impulse suspected? This is a disturbing turn of fate.
  • Young Justice: "War" - Nice way to bring in other parts of the DCU. But I wonder what the Earth's reaction to the fleet will be? And, what exactly is Savage up to with that suggestion? Only five more episodes to go.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Mar 20th
  • Steed and Mrs Peel #6 - Ok, so is it time travel or something else entirely going on?
  • Justice League of America #2 - On the one hand, I'm glad they are making Vibe self-aware of his own lameness, but on the other hand, I sure hope he gets a better showing than this in the future. Definitely NOT enjoying this version of the Martian Manhunter.
  • Justice League #18 - Aquaman is still there? Huh. I think I need to read Aquaman now. Otherwise, a lot of little interesting bits. And the back-up story is getting interesting again, too.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #18 - Not torturing, not able to. This is kind of pathetic in a fanboyish sort of way. I'm not sure what to make of it.
  • Batman Beyond Unlimited #14 - Pretty good Batman story, I thought. Superman story is getting nicely complicated. But I'm not sure about the Justice League story's artwork, bleah.
  • JSA Liberty Files: The Whistling Skill #4 - Yeah, I don't much like circuses. This isn't helping.
  • Fables #127 - Ooh, this one really builds up nicely to a great final page. There's still a little bit of the backstory I don't get (what's up with the Blue Fairy? No, don't tell me, I'll catch up eventually). Nice appearance by Ozma.
  • Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #3 - Decent third Doctor story, and we finally get a better glimpse of what is taking the companions away at the end of each tale. Looking forward to the next one.
  • Mar 27th
  • The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West Ongoing #5 - I'm beginning to really like this version of Jack Pumpkinhead. And to think I wouldn't like it at all.
  • Aquaman #18 - Several interesting threads in this one. I'm most interested to see if Mera ever resolves her issues with the surface folk, though that thread has been interrupted now. The Tula twist is a very different take on her... I'm really quite interested to see what else is different in the Nu52.
  • Arrow #5 - The fact that there are three stories in each of these means there's often a jump, but it's a good kind of anthology, to read about the same characters. I'm enjoying the show and enjoying the book. Didn't think that was possible.
  • Superman Family Adventures #11 - Aw yeah, Ma Kent!
  • Doctor Who V3 #7 - As soon as I saw the shadows, I knew what the cosmonauts were up against. Wow. Surprisingly powerful imagery, left over from the show. Good stuff.
  • Powers: Bureau #3 - I can't remember the last time I read two issues of this book so close together. It reads pretty good without months between books.
  • Peanuts V2 #7 - Still a surprisingly good book.

My library book this week was The Alpine Betrayal by Mary Daheim. Granny Gjovaag got me interested in this mystery series featuring a newspaper publisher in a small town in Washington state that no longer exists. This is the second book in the series and is about a local girl who has become a movie star returning to her home town to make a movie... only there are some skeletons in the closet that are not willing to rest. Like the first book, the cast of characters is bewildering, but our guide through it all is Vida, the local historian, sort of, who works with the main character, Emma Lord, at the newspaper. Because Emma is new to town, Vida does regular info dumps that move the story along and refresh the situation for the reader. This is a useful little device that works pretty well throughout the story. Unlike the first book, I had the suspect pegged fairly quickly. The whole thing came together like a jigsaw puzzle, but the ending was satisfying. If you want to learn more about the real Alpine, check out this story of one man's search for the place.

Fortean Times #292
Fortean Times #292 (October 2012). Cover story is about M.R. James, a writer of ghost stories. Off the top of my head I could not tell you if I've ever read or heard any of James' stories, but the article was fascinating. I love articles about writers, especially ones I have yet to discover... although I fear his work may be too intense for my nightmare-prone imagination. Some good stuff in this one.

A second article covers the non-existence of hoop snakes, a beast seen in America that can't possibly exist but still has sightings. I love the advice at the end of the article, which sum up a lot of cryptids and just about every movie monster: It doesn't exist but run if you see one.

Another article is about baetyls, stones that fell from the sky and were worshipped as gods, or as representatives of gods and goddesses. It lists many examples and explains the ways they were worshipped. Many of them were thought to be carved in heaven and sent to earth as a gift from the gods... thus earning them their places of honor.

Strangedays is the usual jumble, and includes some follow-ups. There's a bit about giant spiders and yet more freakin' cannibals. There's also a jellyfish round up, including a couple of pieces of aerial jellyfish. Another piece is about the sounds that Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) makes.

The 2012 Watch talks about guesses that the Earth's magnetic field would flip, and maybe even the sun's magnetic field. Science discusses the Higgs bosun and what it means to the theories of the universe. Ghostwatch is about a fire destroying a haunted house that had also been a landmark. Alien Zoo discusses a couple of lonely survivors of species that recently died after long lives in captivity. Archaeology has some prehistoric rock art, vandalism to an ancient standing stone and a new discovery in Wales of an ancient timber structure.

Classical Corner is about ancient physiognomy, where character traits supposedly reflected a person's physical traits, most notably the face. Konspiracy Korner is about JFK. The UFO Files mentions an intriguing case of a missing flier whose last words over the radio were "A strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again. It is hovering and it's not an aircraft." The Fortean Traveller visits Germany is search of Rosicrucians.

The Fortean Bureau of Investigation talks about Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), a condition which may or may not exist. I'll ignore the actual article for a moment and put forward my own personal pet theory (MOPPeT) which is that some folks are sensitive to electromagnetic fields, but not in the way they think they are, and that 99 percent of the complaints are psychosomatic. I think a high enough EMF can trigger electrical synapses in the brain which can have odd effects, but it's really rare. I don't think the tests on EMF's effects on humans have studied the right things (though I could be wrong and I welcome correction) in the right way to prove me right or wrong, and I honestly can't think of a way to test it that would work in a repeatable way, making the issue very Fortean indeed. I expect smarter folks than I will someday sort the whole issue out. However, the reports of folks who are "allergic" to wi-fi seem rather silly to me.

Forum starts with an article about the Aurora murderer and a conspiracy theory regarding it. Another article is about a parrot in a painting. Some good reviews of some not-so-good books. Some great letters, including some good "it happened to me..." tales. All in all another good issue.