Sunday, August 18, 2013

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:
  • Jul 3rd
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1 - I think they got the number of days wrong. Anyway, all I could think was how unfair the punishment for curiosity. The result of the curiosity was of course nasty, but the punishment added to it unfairly. A strange origin... I guess we'll see where it goes from here.
  • Earth 2 #14 - Alan's plan isn't bad, per se. Just naive. I do wonder what's going to happen with Mr. Terrific... both of him.
  • Green Lantern #22 - Lots of fighting, blah blah blah.
  • Age of Bronze #33 - Having not really paid attention to the story of Troilus and Cressida before, I was surprised by how the tale ended. I like how Shanower gives Cressida a deep understanding of what's happening instead of making her a fickle lover. And the method of Troilus figuring out that he's lost is really well done as well.
  • Super Special July 3rd Oz Books! - Thanks to being married to a Wizard of Oz fan, I get to see all kinds of different versions of Oz. This week's books have three interpretations of Oz to enjoy...
  • Emerald City of Oz #1 - The most classic version, based on the original books. The fun of this is the parallel stories of the Nome King's plans and the sorrowful tale of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry. During Dorothy's trip to Oz I could see just how strange the whole thing was to Em and Henry. I love the look on their faces when Ozma brings them to the Emerald City. Then the story goes back to the Nome King and wow... what a time for the couple to travel to Oz, eh?
  • Steam Engines of Oz #1 - Steampunk Oz, dark Oz, but something else as well. This picks up where the free comic book day preview leaves off, with Victoria and her fellow prisoners on the run in the Emerald City. This is yet another very different version of Oz, and an oddly fascinating one.
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: Oz #1 - I'm not sure how to classify this one. Dorothy is almost adult, clearly. Toto is a dire wolf. The Wicked Witches are kind of typical. And that's the strangest reason I've ever seen for the Gale house to fly to Oz. We'll just have to see where this one goes from here.

This week's comic book related review is Brody's Ghost Volume 3 by Mark Crilley. Brody starts to follow his ex around, knowing that she's in danger, which doesn't sit well with the ex. But eventually he finds another way. I was really disturbed by the idea of Brody just following Nicole around... eeuw. I was gratified by her response to his cleaned up room. And I was even more gratified that Gabe turned out to be a smart guy. The penny... now I really wonder what that was all about. And the final page kind of turns everything upside-down.

My library book this week was The Alpine Escape by Mary Daheim. On a break from the newspaper, Emma Lord runs across a mystery in Port Angeles. I admit I was a little sad to not have the story set in Alpine itself but, on the other hand, Port Angeles was a decent setting for this type of mystery. And Alpine was not neglected, well... not in the sense of it showing up in the story. I loved that Vida still managed to help solve the mystery despite it not being in Alpine, and I really enjoyed the hints that Alpine might be involved earlier in the book (although I didn't recognize them as such until after Vida's reveal). I love that it was a lot of research and interviewing, journalism!, that solved the mystery in the end. Well, and gossip, as it turned out. I thought this was better than the last two books in the series, and I'm eager to start the next one. If you want to start the Alpine series, I strongly recommend starting at the first book, The Alpine Advocate.

Fortean Times #304
Fortean Times #304 (September 2013). Amusing cover with an amusing cover article about corpses, animals and things that have been taken to court in the past and, sadly, in the present. There's a nice round up of cases, but the article starts on a depressing current case in Russia of a whistle-blower who died in prison yet is still being tried for tax fraud, the very thing he was blowing the whistle on. The rest of the article is a bit more light-hearted, if only because the cases are mostly in the past.

Another main article is about the Tokoloshe, a really strange southern Africa goblin-type creature that's unusually endowed. There's also a couple of sidebars that give more of a sense of how widespread the myths are, and the impacts on people who believe in them. The final main article is about fasting and spirituality... but only extreme fasting. Including the modern Breatharian movement of people who claim to never eat but live on air alone. The article mentions some of the people who have died trying it.

Strangedays covers a fake alien, the infamous spinning statue and quake predictions from both humans and animals. There is a funny image of a caterpillar that looks a lot like Trump's hair on the two-page photo spread along with a huge python (18 ft 8 in) found in Florida. Another piece is about Al-Mahdi and the various fake-Mahdi's that have been arrested in Iran. A large piece covers the history of coffee (and lots about its health benefits). Another piece is about amazing coincidences.

Science is about green clouds and how such clouds were proven to exist in intense storms, although what causes the green color is still unknown. Ghostwatch is about Egyptian curses and mummies. Archaeology starts with a meteoric bead, moves to a pit on a Teotihuacan pyramid, discusses ancient immigration, the evolution of hearing and the impact of weather on culture.

Classical Corner is about the resting places of ancient rulers. Alien Zoo is about white tigers, sturgeon and dodos on the loose. Konspiracy Korner is about the Bilderberg Group and why people fall for conspiracies. Britain's X-Files is about the final dump of Ministry of Defence UFO files, including files about releasing the files. Police News is about Ned Wright, who tried preaching to thieves to set them on a positive path and got some flack for it.

The Forum starts with an article about cosmic habituation, as mentioned in Fortean Times #299, in which results of scientific studies fade away when the experiments are replicated. The article in this issue has a different take on the effect. The next two Forum articles are about H.P. Lovecraft, one about the literary merit of his stories and the other about how the tales are actually science fiction, not fantasy.

The reviews have the usual mix, starting with three books on Scientology and moving on to heavy intellectual books on governmental dealings with UFOs and health-related paranormal studies. As usual, the reviews are compelling reads of themselves. Letters were good, with at least one little spat continued. I also enjoyed the "It Happened to Me..." section with its genuinely creepy tales that may or may not be true, but certainly keep the reader interested. I do love this magazine!