Category Archives: review

Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Arkham Asylum was an interesting look into what marks insane. I appreciated the acceptance of insanity as part of a person – a characteristic to learn to live with rather than erasing. Two Face lost a part of his connection with the world in a treatment that didn’t fully understand the root cause of his compulsion.
I love that Batman must face Bruce’s fears in order to maintain his sanity and save the day. 

Dave McKean’s art is phenomenal and adds an essential layer to the story. I picked the story up for the art, and it tells the story more than the words do in some parts.
It’s a story that relies on symbols to discuss the symbology of sanity, and it does that extraordinarily well! 

Here is a review by Chandra: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2023279156

The Spire

Covet for The Spire.
I liked the set-up of the world of a new comic, The Spire.  I am interested to see where this story goes and how the characters develop. I really enjoyed Six-Gun Gorilla by this team of Simon Spurrier & Jeff Stokely, and the story was definitely quite gonzo in its unfolding, so I’m excited to see where the story goes from here. The Spire doesn’t seem like it will be the kind of story that follows a traditional method of story-telling, so who knows what the next issue will hold, or how all of the side-characters will tie in by the end.

If you like random, gonzo-esque stories with political undertones, you should check out this story.  Your local comic shop or a digital storefront probably has it.

Review: Waking the Destroya!

Waking the Destroya!
Waking the Destroya! by Gerard Way
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[bc:Waking the Destroya!|18746710|Waking the Destroya! (The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, #5)|Gerard Way|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1383333728s/18746710.jpg|26629965]
I have no idea how this series [b:Waking the Destroya The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys 5|18746710|Waking the Destroya! (The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, #5)|Gerard Way|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1383333728s/18746710.jpg|26629965] is going to end within the next couple of issues. There are so many themes and ends still floating around. And, quite honestly, I don’t want it to end anytime soon. Not that I want it to drag on, but I’m concerned I will be left with too many questions.

Fair warning – There be spoilers ahead…

Continue reading Review: Waking the Destroya!

Review: Batman / Superman #3.1: Doomsday

Batman / Superman #3.1: Doomsday
Batman / Superman #3.1: Doomsday by Greg Pak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t entirely sure how this issue fit into the Batman/Superman story that was in the process of being set up. I understand that it was part of a broader promotional move to have the villains crash the titles, but it happened at an odd moment in the arc in this new series. Issue 3 of a complicated story broke the overall narrative. As a stand-alone story, I thought it was interesting (and I hope it ultimately has some kind of pay-off); I just didn’t carer for its overall timing.

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Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved the story. I remember seeing the novel on the bookstore shelves not long after its publication, and I wanted to read it. Being a quite, not shy, watching person myself, any book that dealt with the people at ease on the edges of the crowd felt immediately comfortable.

But I put off reading the novel until earlier this October, more than a decade after I first held the book in my hands. And I’m glad I waited until I had grown up a little more. If I had read the story so close to my experience in high school, I would’ve completely missed all of the references to the numerous groups of like-minded lovers of all that life has to offer, like the Algonquin, and my enjoyment would’ve have been less.

And the space gave me some perspective on my own high school experience, which allowed me to connect with these complex characters. Charlie and Patrick and Sam come with a tremendous amount of baggage that, like real life, we only get to see parts of. As much as we learn about all of them through the course of the novel, we never get the complete story for any of them. We get the most important pieces of them, and no one gets to be completely good or bad or friend or enemy or pigeonholed into any one category. Even secondary characters do not get to be any one thing.

I cried through whole sections of this book because I recognized the pain of these characters in my own experience. They are damaged without being broken, and their efforts to keep from falling to pieces demonstrate ways to accept the entirety of their lives, from the great to the horrifying to the mundane to the sorrowful. Because life is all of these and more and becomes complete with the acceptance of its multifaceted nature.

I loved this story, but realize it is not for everyone, as it deals with very major topics. But for those who’ve always felt like they are alone on the edges, Charlie can be a friend to walk the path to connecting with others. And sometimes when you live on the edge, you need to see a way to live with others, and this novel can be that.

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Haywire

I love that the theater by my house shows movies for $6.50 before 5pm and starts them early enough that I can watch on before I have to leave for work.

Because that’s how I got to watch what might be my new favorite action movie, Haywire.

The plot is pretty standard, but the format it adopts takes action movies to a new place. The opening scene provides enough information for viewers to know that Mallory Kane, our lead, has no problems taking control of whatever situation she finds herself, and that we are dropping into the middle of a story.

Most of the film unfold as the lead, Gina Carano, recounts the events the led up to the opening moments. This entails many action scenes as she finds herself fighting what eventually seems to consist of everyone.

But that’s perfect for an action movie. And the fight scenes feel real as though I could actually learn how to do them, which is very different from most action films. And as much as Carano looks like she can take on the world, when she gets hurt, she shows it, which only adds to the realism.

This movie won’t win awards for dialogue or plot, but that’s not why I went to see it. I wanted to see an action movie that was entertaining and had some cool fight scenes. Haywire delivered, and I will probably pick it up on DVD to add to my collection.

Red Tails

Red Tails opened this weekend, and I made the effort to see it after George Lucas’ interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

The movie has some good fight scenes, and I like that it highlights a part of history that we frequently ignore in the U.S. The characters are not as fleshed out as they could be, and the dialogue is a bit flat and clichéd.

But it captures the same feeling, in all of its flawed glory, of U.S. movies in the time of World War II. It tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American air-force division, with the heroism and patriotism of movies like Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Tuskegee Airmen
From the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives Flickr

I appreciate that the movie highlights the accomplishments and drive of the men who fought to fly and then cam home to fight for equality. The movie focuses on the strength of the men who made up the Tuskegee experiment in the guise of a blockbuster. And the format makes the information approachable for a broad audience.

I do wish the movie was more cohesive in its approach to the story, but I think as an introduction with entertainment value it works. I would recommend the movie for all audiences who are old enough to handle loud noises and some gore. As tame as this movie is, because the focus is on the people, it remains a war film, which means on-screen deaths occur but with less intensity than a crime show on tv. I’d recommend it for people who would like a brief overview of a moment in U.S. history or people who like to watch WWII dogfights.

Review: Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising
Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I truly enjoyed reading this novella. Fast-paced and engaging but not manipulative so I couldn’t stop for necessary tasks; it was the treat I needed to complete my to-do list in a timely fashion.

Strong female leads are hard to find, so I loved meeting Eliza in this story. And Welly provides a perfect counterpoint as they both keep secrets while working together. Both characters are strong, not just because they can handle weapons and brawls, or because they are both intelligent; they are strong because they know who they are and are comfortable with all the pieces that make them complete. I love when I find such complex characters.

The style reminded me of Cherie Priest, which is great, and could be more from my recent reading of Clementine and association of well-written strong female characters. And maybe it’s the genre feel for Steampunk mysteries. But if you’re a fan of one, I’d recommend the other.

I loved reading this story. I couldn’t give it 5 stars because there were some type-setting and proofing oversights that threw me out of the story several times. But I would really give ut more of a 4.5 star rating.

I hope there is more in this series with these characters! I would love to go on another adventure with them!

There are also a few scenes that would make me hesitate to hand this one off to just any kids, but if you read voraciously and in a wide variety, the moments probably won’t be too noticeable.

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Heat Wave

Heat WaveHeat Wave, the first book in the Nikki Heat series by Richard Castle, is a pretty good read. It’s a mystery/thriller novel, and it fulfills the conventions and expectations. I would be surprised if this novel is studied outside of a marketing class, but it’s a fun, summer read.

The novel follows the basic outline of a mystery: meet characters, murder presented, suspects introduced, fake out, fake out, wrong turn, sad moment, character figures it out, reader figures out murder(if you haven’t been trying), murderer arrested.

And I love the characters, though I’m not sure if that’s because I hear the actors voices.

Because Heat Wave is a pretty fantastic marketing ploy to get people to spend more money on the shows. You see, Richard Castle is the lead character of ABC’s television show Castle. And it’s a pretty successful one as far as I can tell.

Richard Castle follows around Kate Beckett as inspiration for the title character of this books, Nikki Heat. Fans of the show now have 2 volumes in the series, both supposedly written over the summer breaks in the show.

It’s a great marketing ploy and makes for an entertaining read. And if the characters feel like they’re missing something, check out the show. It’s even better than the book!