WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/30

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

DarkDiscipleI’m a little over half way through reading Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, having finally exhausted all other content related to the animated series The Clone Wars. I wanted to have it done by now, but I’m confident I will have it done soon. I’m enjoying the book a fair amount. It certainly captures the feel of the show quite well, having been adapted from an arc meant for the series prior to its cancellation. In telling a story where two characters fall in love, however, it has a tendency to get far too melodramatic for my tastes. I have little attachment to Quinlan Vos, but I’m nevertheless happy to get this amount of story dedicated to Asajj Ventress, giving closure to her role in the Clone Wars.

Recently Finished

HellboyOddJobsI finished Hellboy: Odd Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden, shortly after my post last week, which you can read a full review of here. All said and done I was swept away by how much I ended up liking this collection. It was wonderfully strange and macabre, but also tragic, solemn, and heartfelt too. The authors went through great effort for each of their stories to be more than just another monster for Hellboy to fight. Not only do I have every intention of getting the latter two collections Odder Jobs and Oddest Jobs now, but I’ve started looking into the Hellboy novels too, the first two written by Christopher Golden himself.

Reading Next

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyGuardiansDisassembledI haven’t touched any Guardians of the Galaxy over the last week, but I intend to pick that up again soon, the next being Guardians Disassembled, which finally adds Agent Venom to the team. I’m also going to Fan Expo in Toronto this Friday, so I will doubtless be coming home with a lot more comic books that I will have to try to get to in good time.

I still have every intention of reading The Aeneid by Virgil as my next primary reading, it’s just a matter of getting Dark Disciple wrapped up. Hopefully, you’ll be hearing all about it come next week.

TV Series Review – The Defenders

IMDB Summary

Marvel’s The Defenders follows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. A quartet of singular heroes with one common goal – to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.

DefendersHeader

The Defenders is a Netflix miniseries set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), bringing together Matt Murdock aka Daredevil (Michael Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones) from their respective series to team up against a common enemy. This crossover series has been teased since before any of the Netflix series began, and has been slowly building with each new series. It’s here that we see the culmination of unresolved plot threads and the growth of seeds planted from these previous stories.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Odd Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Summary

In 1994, Mike Mignola created one of the most unique and visually arresting comics series to ever see print: Hellboy. Tens of thousands have followed the exploits of “the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator” in comics form, and in the novel, Hellboy: The Lost Army, written by Christopher Golden. Now, fans of the comic can enjoy the world of Hellboy as seen through the eyes of some of today’s best writers.

HellboyOddJobs

Hellboy: Odd Jobs is a 1999 anthology of Hellboy short stories edited by Christopher Golden. It gathers noted horror writers of the time to tell their own stories about the character, including a story by the duo of Golden and creator Mike Mignola, as well as a special cartoon by Gahan Wilson. The book presented a new opportunity for me: I haven’t ever read a book of prose adapting a comic book character before. Novel and comic book spin-off of movies and TV series are quite common, but novels and short stories supplementing comic book series doesn’t seem nearly as prominent. It felt a little risky. Hellboy is strongly defined by Mignola’s iconic art style. With that absent, save for a single illustration at the start of each story, I wondered how well these authors could capture the spirit of the character.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/23

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyOddJobsI’m still reading Hellboy: Odd Jobs. I wanted to be finished with it by now, but some travelling over the weekend and needing to rearrange some things at home didn’t allow for as much reading as usual. Nevertheless, I’m loving Odd Jobs a lot more than the I thought after impression the first story left me with. The different writers do a great job of playing with the structure of how each story is told. Sometimes Hellboy is a first-person perspective, at others he seems more like a supporting character. The format allows them to be a little more thoughtful and introspective as well. Better than anything else, however, is these stories get really weird. The second story “Jigsaw” initiated this with a man suckling a stone human head, which only got weirder from there. I wasn’t sure if I’d pick up Hellboy: Odder Jobs before, but I am now.

Recently Finished

TrialofJeanGreyWhile I have not managed to finish any prose books, I did finish Guardians of the Galaxy/All-New X-Men: The Trial of Jean Grey, putting me at halfway through the series. It was a notable improvement thanks to the fact that the title finally gets to tell a self-contained story in one of its volumes, amounting to something more than just establishing character or weakly tying into a larger plot line.

With the original, young X-Men being brought to the future (long story), some galactic societies see it as an opportunity to prosecute Jean Grey for her crimes when her adult self was host to the devastating Phoenix force. She is abducted to be put on trial, and the Guardians and other X-Men must rescue her from this farce. The Guardians still weren’t focused on as much as I’d have liked, but that’s to be expected with two titles coming together. Frankly, there was no way the Guardians were going to get equal billing with the X-Men anyway.

Reading Next

TheAeneidI’m still intending to get to Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden any day now, I’ve just been letting my fixation on watching the unfinished episodes of The Clone Wars get in the way of properly starting it. With the right allotment of time I’ll hopefully be finished with it by next week, if not close to finished.

With a number of new books that I want to read coming out in October, I’ve decided to commit to reading The Aeneid by Virgil in September. It was actually the first one I wrote down at the start of the year on a list of books I wanted to finish in 2017. It’s high time I got to it.

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/16

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

HellboyOddJobsI recently started reading Hellboy: Odd Jobs, an anthology of short stories edited by Christopher Golden. I’d been focusing on getting some other books read, so I’ve only read one story so far. It captured the spirit of a single-issue Hellboy case quite well, though for a large chunk of it the story felt rather unremarkable. What did work well was how it dealt with its monster, Medusa, integrating more obscure aspects of her mythology into where she comes from. I also really liked how it depicted being petrified by her, and the subsequent reversal of stone back to flesh and blood. The visual evoked by worn and broken statues returning to what they once were was unsettling.

Recently Finished

PyramidsI finished reading Pyramids by Terry Pratchett a few days ago, which I posted a review of yesterday. This novel was much more interesting than I expected it to be, though admittedly that stems from knowing almost nothing about it. Unlike others in the series that I’m looking forward to, I read this one because it was next. Nevertheless, it tells a thoughtful tale of belief, ritual, identity, and how becoming too engrossed in accompanying traditions can prevent us from moving forward.

 

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyAngelaCoverI also finished Guardians of the Galaxy: Angela, the second volume in the series that ran from 2013 to 2015. Unlike the first volume, this was rather disappointing thanks to Marvel’s unfortunate tendency to tie independent series to their yearly events in half-assed ways. I had to look up information for their Age of Ultron event series as well as Infinity to have a frame of reference for what was going on. Angela was an interesting addition to the team, but I’m soured that I couldn’t just get an extensive Guardians of the Galaxy story instead of dealing with the leftovers and sidelines of other storylines.

Reading Next

DarkDiscipleI’ve finished watching The Clone Wars, so Star Wars: Dark Disciple looms in my near future. The only thing that makes me hesitate is my desire to watch the unfinished episode arcs available on the Star Wars website. I’m on a kick with this franchise right now, and knowing there’s more story (even if the animation is horrifically incomplete) is actually alluring to me right now.

Otherwise, I’ve been thinking more about the classics I wanted to get through this year like The Golden Ass by Apuleius and The Aeneid by Virgil. I especially need to get the latter of the two read so I can finish the connected trio of epics, even if The Aeneid was written far later and was basically propaganda to help legitimize the Roman Empire.

Book Review – Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

‘Look after the dead’, said the priests, ‘and the dead will look after you.’

Wise words in all probability, but a tall order when, like Teppic, you have just become the pharaoh of a small and penniless country rather earlier than expected, and your treasury is unlikely to stretch to the building of a monumental pyramid to honour your dead father.

He’d had the best education money could buy of course, but unfortunately the syllabus at the Assassin’s Guild in Ankh-Morpork did not cover running a kingdom and basic financial acumen…

Pyramids

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett is the seventh novel in his comic Fantasy series Discworld, telling a standalone story this time around. It takes place in the old kingdom of Djelibeybi (jelly-baby), which is based on the cultures and mythology of Ancient Egypt. In my progress through the series, this book was admittedly one I wasn’t particularly looking forward to. There are only a few books in this massive series that are actually standalone tales, involving characters who will not, as far as I know, be appearing in any meaningful way again. Regardless of this, I was pleasantly surprised with this novel.Read More »

Movie Review – The Dark Tower

Spoiler Warning: I do reveal some key plot points in as vague a way as I can. I normally would work to avoid this more, but in this case, I needed to bring these things up.

IMDB Summary

The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

TheDarkTowerMoviePoster

The Dark Tower, directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel, is an American science fantasy Western based on the novel series of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain of Gilead, the last gunslinger, Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers, and Matthew McConaughey as Walter aka The Man in Black. This is a film I have been highly anticipating for the last year. I’d been a Dark Tower fan for a number of years, but in the summer of 2016, when I was only halfway through the series, I resolved to finish it before this film released. In April of this year I completed The Dark Tower, my resolution completed. For a lot of personal build up it amounted to something sadly anti-climactic.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/09

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

PyramidsAt the moment I am only reading Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. It’s a welcome change of pace from the other novels of his I’ve read this year. I liked Sourcery and Wyrd Sisters, but it’s fun to see him working from a clean slate again with a novel’s characters and setting. The story is focused on a region of the Discworld based on Ancient Egypt, specifically a parody of the West’s interpretation of that period in history. The main character, Teppic, is the King’s son who was sent away at a young age to the city Ankh-Morpork to learn at the Assassin’s Guild. Upon his father’s passing he returns to to the Old Kingdom to take upon his rightful place as King, a position that his rich education as an assassin makes him ill prepared for.

Recently Finished

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyCosmicAvengersCoverI finished reading Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers, and I’m a little disappointed with how it turned out. The character establishment was great, as was the art, but it’s only three issues long in terms of story, telling a very basic plotline to introduce the characters, followed by a series of vignettes that flesh out each member a little further. It serves as a great introduction for new readers, I’ll give it that, but I wanted a little more meat to this book. Hopefully volume two will be more substantial.

Reading Next

HellboyOddJobsAs I come closer to finishing watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars I also come closer to reading Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden. Can’t really say how soon that will be, except that I will likely start it before August is completed. In the mean time, I want to start reading Hellboy: Odd Jobs, a collection of short stories edited by Christopher Golden (that’s an oddly similar name. Apparently no relation to Christie?), who was tasked with assembling horror writers to contribute to this anthology of prose about Mike Mignola’s iconic demonic character. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Hellboy translates to prose, specifically how these writers go about portraying an inhuman character, which I hope to learn from for my own creative endeavours.

Movie Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

IMDB Summary

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

ValerianPoster

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a 2017 French science fiction action/adventure film, written and directed by Luc Besson. It stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as his partner Laureline. It is based on the French comic book series Valérian and Laureline, which was first published in 1967, with a final installment released in 2010. A decorated and influential series in European pop culture, its impact can be felt here as well, where echoes of the series’ ideas can apparently be found in other science fiction films and franchises such as Star Wars.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/08/02

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

GuardiansOfTheGalaxyCosmicAvengersCoverHaving just finished a number of books I’m taking things a little lighter with some Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis et al before I get back to some lovely walls of text. I’m only a couple of issues into the volume but I’m liking it a lot so far. I have to keep reminding myself character backstories are different from the movies, but the two interpretations are rather close to each other so it doesn’t throw things too much. I especially like that it has started to confront how insanely frequent cosmic threats are on Earth, and in turn shows how uncanny and even dangerous the planet looks to Galactic community.

Recently Finished

AssaultOnNewOlympusI finished reading the final two Incredible Hercules volumes I had, The Mighty Thorcules and Assault on New Olympus by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente et al. The former was a fun romp with Hercules along with meaningful plot development from Amadeus Cho. The latter was a worthy conclusion (though it’s not quite the last volume as it turns out) with everything that’s been building throughout the series finally coming together into a showdown of Olympic proportions.

I also finally concluded Reflections: On the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones and posted a review yesterday if you want to check out my thoughts in depth. It became a bit of a chore to read so much of it at once, but Jones’s insight was utterly valuable nonetheless. Though some details are repeated a lot, her history is fascinating as well. I only regret that I’m not yet a bigger fan of her work.

TheOldManAndTheSeaCoverLastly, within a span of eight hours I read through The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I know that’s no spectacular feat, it’s only 100 pages long, but I was proud of myself for sticking with that personal challenge all the same. The dialogue at the start felt a little rigid to me, but once it gets into Santiago’s struggle with the marlin things really pick up. I especially admire his determination to succeed mixed with reverence for nature and the animal itself, as well as the regret that can come with pursuing something so formidable to its death.

Reading Next

PyramidsI’m determined to get through the six volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy I picked up, so expect to see those here in the future. I’ve also decided to continue onward through Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. The next book shall be Pyramids, the seventh novel in the series. I’m interested to see how he produces a more standalone novel, unlike those previous which are parts of sub-series that continue throughout Discworld. I won’t be surprised if this novel has it’s connections and Easter eggs too, though.