Sunday, May 25, 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:
  • Apr 16th
  • Justice League #29 - I like this version of the metal men as well. A surprisingly fun issue.
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #10 - So, wait... it's over? The whole frigging thing is over, but it's not, because the final issue of the crossover still hasn't shipped. Shipping delays are pretty annoying.
  • Sinestro #1 - I never thought I'd feel sorry for Sinestro. Ok, more for Soranik, but still.
  • Green Lantern: New Guardians #30 - I'm just not sure what to think of this one. Or of the notion of what Kyle is becoming.
  • Smallville Lantern #1 - Is it a good idea to introduce multiple, completely unrelated, villains in a single issue?
  • Capt Action Cat #1 - It's Captain Action, only it's a cat. And there's a Lady Action and a Lady Action Cat. And a cat for a sidekick. And silliness. And the usual insanity you find in a book by Baltazar and Franco. And I think my head hurts just thinking about it...
  • FCBD
  • FCBD: Archie Digest #1 - As usual, a fun little book. If I had any interest at all in the wacky adventures of a teenager slacker, I'd consider getting some Archie books.
  • FCBD: The Intrinsic Singularity Zero - Vaguely interesting team. The art is a little stiff. It's an ok sampler.
  • FCBD: The Dumbest Idea Ever! - I actually have a copy of this full graphic novel in my to-read pile, since I generally buy what Jimmy Gownley does... he's that good. So this has whet my appetite for reading the full book.
  • FCBD: Kaboom! Summer Blast - Herobear and the Kid looks interesting. Adventure Time looks like, well, Adventure Time. Some of the other stuff is clearly not aimed at me. Peanuts was good. Garfield was ok, but the art was freaky. This is an excellent little sampler.
  • FCBD: FUBAR Ace of Spades - Zombies mixed with the Iraq war (guess what the weapons of mass destruction were in this universe?). And zombies elsewhere. I honestly don't know what to think of this. I feel bad for giggling.
  • FCBD: Finding Gossamyer/Past the Last Mountain - Both the offerings in this flipbook are intersting enough to make a person curious, so as a sampler it works.
  • FCBD: Ipso Facto - When I come out of reading a sampler knowing and caring less about the story than when I went in... that's bad. The art is pretty good, but the story makes almost no sense and there's not quite enough hooks to make me want to put the effort into interpreting it.

Fortean Times #309
Fortean Times #309 (Special 2014). It's a fairly goofy-looking cover, but the story is interesting. Basically a ghost story that may have inspired the Henry James story "The Turn of the Screw". Enough to make me want to reread the book right away. It's a tough book to get through for modern readers, and it rewards with ambiguity. The tale it was based on is similar enough: children were involved, but apparently untouched by it. All-in-all, a strange little piece of history.

Another main article is about Santa Claus/Father Christmas (this is the Christmas special issue) and his visits in person to children in the Netherlands. There's also some coverage of the inherent racism of that particular version of Father Christmas and his sidekick.

Speaking of racism, the final main article of the issue deals with Fu Manchu, his origins and history. And how he was portrayed in the original novels as a somewhat more sympathetic character than we might have imagined based on what popular culture has served up to us since.

Strangedays has the usual round up of fascinating stories from around the world, including a man who is either extremely lucky or extremely unlucky, images of festival wild men, fakes in Chinese museums, loony sasquatch hunters, strange marsupials, raining toads and various hoards that actually were valuable. There is a bit on people who destroy art, promoting an exhibit about the subject. There's also a page of Fortean Follow-ups that includes more about Norwegian TV shows of ordinary things, the myth of the Tower ravens, another Nessie hoax and a CD of the "silence" of a church. The Science article asks whether or not birds with GPS devices alone could really be spying while Ghostwatch takes on Dick Turpin's amazingly busy ghost.

Archaeology covers some neat little stories, including one about a Roman eagle discovered in London and another about Roman nanotechnology. There's also a bit on a very old calendar and extremely old writing. Neat stuff. Classical corner is about Apollonius, a contemporary of Jesus. Alien Zoo visits Australia, discovers strange hybrids then notes a ray with an extra fin. Konspiracy Korner looks at the University of Winchester's Centre for Conspiracy Culture.

The UFO files has the usual subjects, including a story about a flying hut piloted by a couple of small beings that a guy saw in 1901. There's also a bit about an uptick in UFO sightings caused by drones. Random Dictionary is about people who mysteriously appear and claim to have strange backgrounds, often fooling others completely, before the true identity of the mysterious soul is determined. There's several cases examined, including the tale of Forest Boy from 2012 and Caraboo from 1817. The First Forteans looks at some early rocketeers and the problems they had with authorities. Fortean Traveller tries, and fails, to figure out the secret of the Philip Worshippers of Tanna. Ha. The Illustrated Police News is about a Socialist Anarchist lunatic who attacked a bank in 1903. Phenomenomix starts the story of W.B. Yeats.

The Forum has a piece on the Quantum Zeno Effect, which is freaky as anything involved in quantum mechanics. Another piece has a seance that summons Santa... sort of. This is from folks who figured out that if people expect certain results from a seance, they tend to get those results. The reviews are the usual level of great reading, regardless of how good the book they are describing may be. Definitely a few books that I'm considering adding to my wantlist from this set of reviews. The letters were also pretty good, as usual, though I could have done without the picture of the so-called maggot king. As usual, a good package, worth the price of my subscription.