Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Justice League 3000: Reviewing issues 1-9

This is a spoiler-free review, so make yourself comfortable.

We've all heard about the imminent return of BLUE BEETLE & BOOSTER GOLD, yes, the real ones, the pre-New 52 ones (at least the ones I consider to be the "real" ones). They're supposed to appear in Justice League 3000 #12 and I just couldn't help it and had jump into the series from #1.

I remember reading the first issue back when it was first published, but it had a sour aftertaste since Kevin Maguire had been dumped from the book and the entire first issue got pencilled all over again by Howard Porter, who happened to be the one who actually designed these new characters. The creative team that reunited the original writers (Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis) and penciller from the classic 80s-90s Justice League was simply gone. This whole mess turned into a deep dislike of what I read in the first issue at that moment.

Now, with a different perspective in sight, and realizing that the "New 52" tag had been removed from the series starting with issue 9, I had a better vibe towards this book. So, I went on reading. And whoa, what a reading, I enjoyed every bit of it. The characters are dead on and they're definitely not our regular Justice League. From an obnoxious Superman to a bloodthirsty Wonder Woman, and add an ironic Batman, a shy Green Lantern and a tragic Flash, we have quite a set. I mean, I don't love the idea of a bloodthirsty Wonder Woman (I hate her regular book), but this whole thing has a giant joke behind. Yeah, I think they're doing their best to recapture the sense of humor comics these days are so much lacking.

Yeah. Shake in your seats. This book is bringing humor back to the fold.

Who would have thought? After the entire mess of the New 52 that there was this book that was really doing its best to build a different tone, and it was going unnoticed! News and company politics threw most of us out of the door and didn't let us give this book a chance. Well, now it comes with my biggest recommendation.

My only complaint is the pace. Nine issues into the series and the first story-arc is still incomplete. But it will be coming to an end with issue 10, so, I will have to wait just a bit. (There's nothing I can do about the pace since that's the regular thing these days in the comic universe). But at least this is an enjoyable series. I even grew to like Howard Porter's style, which is quite rich and hast its own merit. Comparing it with Kevin Maguire's may be a problem and not exactly fair. DC kinda forced the comparison, too bad.

So, what do you think? Will you give this book a chance? If a DC book from their core line, without the "New 52" tag does succeed, it should mean something, uh? What do you think?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: "...And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too"

Title: ...And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too
Author: Jeremiah Swanson
Print Length: 493 pages
Buy it digital:  Amazon
Kindle Price: $9.99

This is be a spoiler-free review, so, read it at ease.

The book description starts like this:  "Christian Thompson had the power to heal people with a touch of his hand, but in order to cure one person he first had to kill someone else."

Just by reading the description you see that this is about a special ability, and we, as comic book readers, would just call it a "super-power." So, for those of you wondering, this is why it made it to this comic book blog.

The book is told in third person and moves back and forth through time. As far as I've seen in other books and even TV shows, this technique can be disorienting if it doesn't get well handled or if situations in the past and in the future don't blend all too well. Thankfully, this is not the case. In this particular book, Swanson moves back and forth showing you different moments in the life of Christian Thompson and some of the other characters, in a way that make sense to each scene and make the story a whole lot richer than if it had been told in one single timeline.

This is a complex story with lots of sub-plots, but be at ease that all of them get resolution, as surprising as it may be. This was a well thought story, everything does fall into place at one moment or another and that's quite an achievement considering there is so much going on.

I found it interesting that Christian Thompson, the main character, isn't necessarily likable. He's some sort of anti-hero dealing with impossible situations, but you do get a good read of him and his choices, making us understand why he does what he does.

The Good:

The plot moves fast, sometimes focusing on Christian Thompson and some other times on secondary characters that play important roles in the story, and its rhythm is that of a roller coaster. There are ups and downs and you get overwhelmed, in a good way, about all that is going on. You get to see one surprise after the other and most scenes end with cliffhangers making you want more.

The Morals:

The book is all about life and death. Seriously. This makes it for an interesting debate that goes within Christian Thompson as he has to make some serious choices and deal with the their consequences. This dilemma could get old real fast but it was handed properly, always making sense with the character's evolution at the moment.

The Ugly:

When I first started to read the book, I found a review over at Goodreads which wasn't very flattering. I just got curiouser and curiouser. Once I finished the book, I went back to that review and that's when I think I understood what happened there. The reviewer was a woman, and well, the portrayal of women in this story is not very flattering. They can be either over sexualized or victims or violated in unspeakable ways. This is not something new, we see this in many mediums and definitely, we see it in comic books, too. This book may not be for everyone, considering that some people may see this as a fault.

The Pet Peeve:

My particular pet peeve with this book was its title. I still find it hard to remember and that was bad when I told people I was reading this book that was so interesting but I couldn't remember its name...

My Grading:

I'm giving this book four and a half stars. It wasn't a life-changing book, but I wasn't looking for one. It was a fun and addictive read that made my head spin more than once and that is something I highly value.