Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Batman Vol 1: I am Gotham by Tom King

I can't tell you how excited I was to read this book. DC Comics and Netgalley were kind enough to allow me to read this for an honest review and I was crazy excited. I purposely waited till I had read my other comics so I could save the best for last.

One thing I will say about New 52 is that Scott Snyder wrote some amazing Batman stories and it is going to be hard to live up to that expectation. This story was really good. Batman has dealt with a lot in his life and faced even some of the most horrible villains. Yet Gotham and Gotham Girl are something Batman hasn't had to deal with. Super meta humans have decided to take up a mask and fight the crime in Gotham until something goes horribly wrong. Batman now has to fight Hugo Strange/Psycho Pirate and control a crazed meta human.

Batman has his work cut out for him in this opening chapter in Rebirth that only will peak your interest with every passing page. I loved this book and already can't wait for Volume two. I know that coming up in future Batman stories he looks into a smiley face button with blood on it. Now any comic book fan knows the button belongs to the comedian from Watchmen. I can't wait to see Where that story goes and every step of the way to get there.

This book is written very well and this is the first time I have read anything by Tom King and I loved it. I have my favorite comic authors and if Tom King keeps up this level of quality writing on Batman, he could easily slide in next to Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns as one of my favorite authors. I loved this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. By the way the artwork is really good. This panel of Gotham is one of the best I have ever seen. Gotham is always portrayed as run down, dark, and decrepit. This one panel not only still portrays the dark, hard edge architecture that makes the city what it is, but this makes it beautiful. I'm really impressed with this one panel and had to share this. This is yet another reason I gave this book 5 stars.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

Here we are, the last book in the Magician's Trilogy. This book picks up a bit after book 2 ends. Quentin is living back in the normal world, Julia is in the other side of Fillory, and Elliott is fighting a battle that only marks the beginning of an all out war for Fillory. Magic is leaving Fillory and the world is dying. I will admit that this book seemed to grab my attention more than the second book very early on. It is one of those situations where all our favorite characters a divided and you hope something happens to being them together. 

Ok so in the last book I really had a hard time keeping up with the time frame changes. Julia in Fillory versus Julia in the real world gaining her powers. Well this happens in this book too. At the beginning Quentin is invited to a run down bookstore in hopes of a job of the magic variety. Then we find Quentin working as a professor at Brakebills who finds the note offering the Job. So this book flips between time as well. It was so hard to listen to this book at work because of the subtle shift in time every now and then.

Quentin is out to find his way back to Fillory and he will do what ever it takes to get back. While he is trying to get back Elliot is trying to find Quentin so they can save Fillory and we get to see Alice in her powerful and very angry form. I will admit that this book held my interest much more than the previous two. I will still have to admit that I don't think these books were really my taste. I'm glad I read them but also glad I am finished. I give this 3 out of 5 stars. Still love the show and look forward to each new episode. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I can remember the first time I saw this movie. I was 9 and my dad found this on VHS at Toys r Us. We bought it and watched it while eating dinner in the living room. I have never read the book until now reading it with my wife and son. I have always loved the original movie with Gene Wilder even over the remake with Johnny Depp. Don't get me wrong the Depp movie is good and a closer adaptation to the book but the original is the best.

Willy Wonka is a recluse and no one has seen him or anyone in his factory for years. There has to be people in the factory though because it keeps churning out the worlds most amazing confections. Out of the blue Wonka announces that he is placing 5 golden tickets into his chocolate bars,. The ones who find it will get a private tour of the factory, a lifetime supply of Chocolate, and a special surprise to the winner. This leads me to our main character Charlie Bucket. This poor boy is exactly that, poor. His mother and father have no money and they take care of their parents who live the four of them in one bed in the middle of the house. Charlie would give anything to visit Wonka's factory but he only gets one chocolate bar a year on his birthday.

Needless to say Charlie finds a ticket and gets to visit the chocolate factory. Inside the Chocolate factory we read about all kinds of wonders and rare candies. We also get to meet the people who help run the factory. Mr. Wonka has a bunch or little people known as Oompa Loompas. Charlie and 4 other children go into the factory and each room has different wonders that some are unable to keep their hands off of.

I do like this book. I never read this until now and I am so glad I did. It was such a joy to read this with my son. I say read with my son because we all traded chapters. We would read at least 3 chapters a night. My son would read one and then my wife and I would read at least 1 each. Sometimes if the chapters were short we would read 2 but for the most part we traded. We all got such a kick out of this and then we watched the original together while my son was sick home from school. This weekend we are going to watch the remake with Johnny Depp. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and I am so glad we read it. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

My wife and I really like the show The Magicians on SyFy and I was curious about checking out the books this show is based off of. The frist book was so different from the show which was nice. I like how shows and books can be different so they are like 2 separate experiences and one doesn't ruin the other. The Walking Dead is like that where the show sticks to the larger story but is different than the comics. With season two fo this show gearing up I decided it was time to move on to the second books. I have got to be honest, these books are not really for me. 

I am not a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I love comics and Superheroes and one of my favorite series is the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I also love the Dresden Files, so I had high hopes to like this trilogy. I just couldn't get into this book. I tried and my mind still wandered. Thankfully my wife had already read this and the third book so I could ask her all the questions I had as they came up. I felt like this book went on and on and I struggled. The ending also left me with a lot more questions than answers and not in a good way. Some questions are good so you are excited to read the next book but this just had me feeling like I missed something when it just wasn't there. 

In this book Quentin got almost everything he wanted and is now one of the kings of Fillory. On a routine errand, because he wanted to get out of the castle and go on a quest, he gets sent back home to our realm. In order to get back to Fillory he has to follow Julia and her trip through the world of Black magic. This book gives us both an account of what is going on in the present, but also Julia's story. How she got to be so powerful when Brakebills turned her down. Now Quentin and Julia have to find their way back to Fillory in order to save the land from loosing magic forever. 

There were some high points to this book that I enjoyed but for the most part I was bored. This is one of those rare cases that I enjoy the television show more than the books. It is very rare but it happens from time to time. At this point I only have one more book in the trilogy to read so I will finish it. Had this been a longer series I would have stopped here. I'm not saying these aren't great books I'm just saying they are not for me. I give this a 2 out of 3 star review. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nightwing Vol 1: Better than Batman by Tim Seeley

This is the book I have been waiting for. I have been a Nightwing fan since the very beginning of his solo run. Dick Grayson became Nightwing with the blue and yellow suit. These stories were good but I don't feel like Dick really came into the hero he is today until the second run when he changed to the Blue suit which is my absolute favorite. I was bummed when they changed him to a red version of the current suit but the character is who I really like so I moved on.

During New 52 Dick Grayson was captured in a book called Froever Evil and exposed to the world and then "Killed" Of course Batman and Dick found a way to make this fake and give him the ability to live his life. So Dick went off and became a spy for Spiral. I started to read the series about this Grayson, but the story was dull, the character wasn't what I loved and I ended up not finishing the run before Rebirth. I was disappointed and pining for the return of Nightwing. This book is everything I had hoped for and so much more.

I need to thank DC Comics and Netgalley for allowing me to read this for an honest review. It came at a great time. Last weekend I was so sick, I mean I couldn't get out of bed for anything and it was a chore to even hold my iPad. Being stuck in bed I was really happy to have new comics to read to make me feel better when I was like death in a soupy package. In this book we get to see what happened to Dick leading up to where we are now in the story which was great to get that hole filled before it took off. The my favorite pannel in the whole book is not only seeing Dick back in the Nightwing suit but back in the original Blue one.  Goosebumps abounded when I got to this page. The rest of the book flew by out of sheer excitement to be reading one of my favorite characters back as he belonged.

So here is where the story gets weird and I couldn't put this down. Dick is working for the Parliament of Owls. Scott Snyder wrote some of the best Batman story lines I have ever read but Court of Owls is somewhat still going on. The Court of Owls has mostly been destroyed in Gotham but the larger Parliament in Europe is still working to control the world. Dick has begun working for them because they are threatening to kill Damien Wayne if he doesn't. What they don't know is that Dick is planning to take them all down from within the organization. To keep Dick in check the Parliament partners him with Raptor who has a creepy kind of feel to him. He is also brash and violent and tells Dick he is going to have to learn a new way of fighting or he wont survive. Together the Parliament sends them on errands to help build a new home for the members of the Parliament of Owls.

This story was amazing. I am so glad I got this book to read for a review. I was on cloud 9 when I got the approval letter for this one. Batman is my all time favorite Super Hero but Nightwing is a very very close second. I'm beyond excited to see him back and I can't wait for volume 2 to come out so I can read what happens next. The story is amazing and it grabbed me from the very beginning and didn't let go. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. This is a must read for any fan of the Batman series. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Green Lanterns Vol 1: Rage Planet by Sam Humphries

Rage Planet

I really liked this book. There are so many reasons that I personally liked it which probably wont resonate with everyone but this is my review and why I like it. Thank you to Net Galley and DC Comics for allowing me to read this for an honest review and I can't thank you both enough. 

Rebirth has been so much fun to read. The Green Lantern Corps is a group of police officers that protect the entire Universe. The Corp has been destroyed and only a few are left My favorite Green lantern has gone to off to find out what is happening and Earth is left with two rookie Green Lanterns. I am not current on the Green Lantern or Green Lantern Corps so I'm not completely sure of what happened to Kyle, John, or Guy, but Earth now has Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. I read how Simon became a Lantern but this is my first exposure to Jessica and I have to say I love her character. What I love about her is that she isn't your standard Lantern candidate. Hal Jordan is the definition of brave. He is fearless and strong. Jessica is an anxiety mess scared of everything in the world. She has locked herself in her apartment for the last 3 years scared of the outside world and yet she is a Lantern who is supposed to overcome great fear. I am the biggest Batman fan but even I have to admit that I have had day dreams of being chosen by a ring to fly off and save the galaxy, but I am an emotional anxiety wreck. I'd never be a lantern. Until now.

Ok, so the story is all about these two new lanterns having to share a planet to protect as well as share a power battery. We do see Hal Jordan at the beginning subject these two to a test which they fail and they fight back and forth. In order to train them and make them work as a team since Hal can't stick around he merges their batteries and now they can only charge there rings when they are together and summon the battery as a team. This obviously causes some tension and then problems as these two have to figure out how to work things out.

The big story is the Red Lanterns are desperately trying to rebuild themselves. In order to do this they have to raise their hell tower and plant a seed to bring about this Red Dawn. No big shocker, the Hell tower is located here on Earth. The Red Lanterns are going to take over our planet to rebuild their ranks. The tower has already to infect the world with rage causing people to fight and tear each other apart. Now I included the picture below for one reason only. The Hell Tower is just outside St Louis Missouri and in the bottom left panel is the Arch and my hometown pride is shinning through. If this had a St Louis Blues Logo in the background somewhere I would blow this up and frame it.

I really liked this book and I have to say it was a fast read. I was addicted to this book from the moment I picked it up. This review is easily a 5 out of 5 star read and I can't wait to read on and see where these two Lanterns go. I am also really curious about the other 4 Lanterns from Earth so I will be trying to catch up on what I missed before Rebirth. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Flash Vol 1: Lightning Strikes Twice by Joshua Williamson

Let me start off by thanking Net Galley and DC Comics for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. I have been very lucky to have been able to read the Rebirth comics of my favorite heroes. 

Barry Allen has a lot to contend with in this book. It starts off a little confusing to be honest with you. We find Barry working CSI on a case that is very similar to his mother's death while having visions of Zoom and Wally West. However, Wally comes out of that vision and is back running along side Barry for a few pages. Now here is where I get confused. I didn't read a lot of Flash during New 52 but I did before that. I remember Wally West and him being Kid Flash, but now we have another Wally West who is Iris West's Nephew who also has a touch of the speed force. What book explains the two Wally's? I have to read that one. 

Anyway, this all happens in the first few pages and that is all we get of the visions and return of Wally West. I'm sure this is setting up future stories but I was hoping for something about this. Instead we get one heck of a story that could mean big trouble for Barry. A Speedforce storm hits Central City and strikes a whole lot of people. Now flooded with speedsters Barry has to split his time between CSI work, being the flash, and training new speedsters. This also brings about a new very fast and very dangerous villain known as Godspeed. 

This was s great way to start of the new story line with the Flash. I couldn't put this down and just flew through it. I highly recommend this to any fan of the Flash because it is very well written. My only complaints about this book is the set up in the first few pages that didn't go anywhere in this volume and the art work. I didn't have any pictures that really stood out for me to include in my review this time. I try to get some art from the digital comics I read as an example but the art is kind of fuzzy and not very detailed. I get that it shows just how fast Barry is at all times but I have read other comics that have still been able to convey this and have more detail. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.