Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best Audio Books of 2013

My wife gave me an Audible account Last Christmas, and I dove in with abandon.  Below are some of the best books I've listened to in the last year.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay
So well written, it easily could have been real.

Snow Crash
If I had listened to this when it was originally published, I would have spent the intervening years a hipster douche talking about how Snow Crash did it first or better.  Still great.

Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius
Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about Nikola Tesla.

Macbeth has always been one of my favorite Shakespearean works, and this novelization brings it to life in new ways.

World War Z
Possibly the best zombie story I've ever encountered.

Kitchen Confidential
I've been a fan of Anthony Bourdain for 10+ years, and this is an entertaining and interesting look at his early life and career.

The Martian
Simply one of the best books I've ever read.

Easily the best of the Robert Langdon series, and with a rather surprising ending.

Creepy and fantastic.

Great book, but don't re-watch the movie.

The Fault in Our Stars
Nearly brought me to tears a few times, which is really saying something.

Parallel Worlds
Mind blowing stuff.

The Gun Seller
If Douglas Adams wrote about conspiracies and terrorists, I think it'd be something like this.  Wonderful and hilarious.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Short, but amazing.  This is how I want to write.

The Areas of My Expertise
I laughed my way across Italy with this book.  Oh, the Hobo Wars and that fictional city of Chicago...

Rendezvous with Rama
I felt a few times like I'd read this already, but I later realized that many have used this story as inspiration for their own.

I, Robot
A great collection from Isaac Asimov.

Minority Report and Other Stories Unabridged Stories
A great collection from Philip K. Dick.

Ender's Game
The best parts of the book were left out of the movie.  Read this instead.

Peter & Max
Set in the Fables universe, which I haven't read since it launched all those years ago.  Still, this was excellent and may have convinced me to give the series another read.

Beyond Religion
Hands down, no one is cooler than the Dalai Lama.

Peter and the Starcatchers
Part of a series, but books two and three were middling.  One and four were great, though.

Grimnoir Chronicles
Not only a great story set in an alternate early 20th Century with magic, but Bronson Pinchot is a helluva voice actor.

The Dresden Files
I wasn't overly impressed after book one, but +Dipak had books two and three already so I kept going.  Now, everyone we know has or is reading them and we're all waiting for book 15.

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy
A great continuation of the Star Wars story, that's very likely no longer cannon.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/23/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Coffin Hill #1
Great first issue, though I do particularly enjoy non-sequential storytelling.  We're presented with Eve Coffin, daughter of a powerful family she doesn't want any part of, yet can't manage to escape.  Events unfold in both 2003 and 2013, with a page filled with hints and glimpses of what happens in between.  In one era, she's a rebellious youth that gets into more trouble than she was expecting.  In the other, she's a rookie cop that solves a major crime, garnering unwanted attention from press and co-workers alike.  I'll definitely be picking up more of this.

This issue is creepy.  Taking an early look at Zero's training as a child, we're shown some disturbing events in his early life.  While each issue is supposed to be stand-alone, the final page actually follows up on the fallout from last issue.  The writing remains top-notch and the art from Tradd Moore is just as good as his work on Luther Strode.  Recommended.

Trippy and amazing, this issue changes everything you thought you knew about the series.  The bulk takes place in our antagonist's head, but a crucial scene is happening simultaneously back on Earth.  While I still recommend the series, at this point you'd be better off waiting for the trade so you can hold the entire story in your hands.  With only one issue to go, I expect things will go out with a bang.

Battle Beast!  Battle Beast remains one of my favorite characters, and it's always good to see him again.  From the final pages, it appears we should be seeing more of him in the near future.  What seems like a relatively quiet issue dinner with Mark, Eve, and his parents, is actually filled with future plot threads.  What's Robot really up to?  Is Mark stronger than Nolan?  A villain we haven't seen in awhile returns!  And, of course, the aforementioned Battle Beast is given a mission.  There's quite a lot going on here.

This issue made me realize I had chosen a similar setting for a personal project, and I now have a hard time looking at it without thinking about my own story.  Anyway, people do bad things while Lono tries to remain good.  That's about all the summary I can give you.  The dialogue, if possible, is even better here than in previous issues.  The art from Risso is similarly fantastic.  While I have a hard time calling calling anything _100 Bullets_ without Agent Graves, this is Azzarello and Risso playing to their strengths, and I love it.

Each issue, I find myself wondering about the long-term prospects of this series, with the cast ever-dwindling.  I'd say, "things aren't going well" but at this point that should be a given.  Lucas deals with another member of the group that has questions, while the girls in the bunker mull over what to do next.  The drama and characterization remain very good, but the constant question in the back of my mind is, "where is all this going?"  Lucas has an idea, one that necessitated his actions in the first issue, and as crazy as it sounds, I'm wondering if that's exactly what's going to happen.

I can't tell if I like this book or not.  It's interesting, and I'll probably pick up the second issue... but I'm not convinced it's good.  The main character, Dayoung Johanssson is a 15-year-old cop from the future (2013) that's gone to 1986 to fix time.  The thing that bugs me is the reaction other characters, especially the 80s police officers have to her.  The scientists she first appears to are justifiably surprised, but the police seem to take her at her word despite her age and strange attire.

Good first issue, not great, but I'm interested enough to keep purchasing.  An unpopular outgoing president leaves a letter for his replacement that tells of something, not of human origin, being constructed within our solar system.  We secretly scramble a mission to investigate, and the new president is sworn in just as the crew in space approach the object.  Most of the issue is spent introducing the cast, setting the stage, and scenes of politicians talking to one another.  I'll probably pick up through issue three to see where this is going.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/16/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Shaolin Cowboy 01
Jay and Adam's time in the pocket universe is quickly coming to an end, but is there enough time left for everyone to get out?  What's really going on and there and why?  This issue answers these questions and more, including the fallout from the mission, and a surprise ending that sees one character leave the FBP.

This series is nuts and I love it.  Great writing, crazy art that both looks and works great (when Rodriguez bothers to include backgrounds).  Next issue should serve as a jumping on point for anyone interested in the series.

Geof Darrow and Shaolin Cowboy are back!  Fans of the original series will rejoice at the return, but new readers shouldn't fear picking up the story from here - this is the beginning of a brand-new story.

The book opens with Shaolin Cowboy digging his way out "from the center of the earth" as the short prose opening tells us.  Unfortunately, there's a horde of zombies fast on his trail.  Beautifully disgusting mayhem ensues as he first runs from, then confronts the undead.

The Shaolin Cowboy has never been a talkative character, that role has always been left to the rest of the cast.  The same holds true here, with much of the story being told through Darrow's art rather than the titular character.  Near the end of the book, however, we'e shown a few pages worth of unfamiliar characters that have seemingly been in search of the cowboy, indicating some larger storyline at play.  I can only assume we'll be treated to additional details in issues to come.

While Jackson's team tries to formulate a plan, one of their members goes missing.  Unfortunately for them, that's just the beginning of their trouble as things get much worse for everyone involved, leading to the climactic final page.  Oh, and that thing Jackson's been talking about not doing for the last few issues... it happens.  They stay in the house after dark  There's really very little else I can say about the issue without spoiling things, so I'll simply suggesting picking up the series and giving it a try.

Honestly, after the first issue, I didn't think I'd be reading the series for all that long.  The premise is good, writing is good, art is serviceable... but it didn't really hook me.  Yet I've consistently come back for more and after that last page, its hooks are in me.  Supernatural + Heist makes for a good comic.

This issues picks up exactly where the last left off.  Winston is still in Las Vegas, attempting to quietly deal with a ghost in the hotel while on vacation with his wife.  Egon continues to investigate himself for changes following recent events, but will he find anything more than his own paranoia?  Peter, Ray, and Kylie are all on the frozen ship off the coast, only to make a bad situation worse.

This storyarc wraps up faster than I had expected.  For one, I thought we'd see more of Winston on vacation and the relationship with his wife.  Instead, he spends much of his time trying to trap the ghost, and when he's unable to do it discreetly, has some strong words for the client.  The tension on the ghost ship, seen in the last few issues, quickly builds, but luck and a brainstorm resolve the issue without difficulty.  It's hard to understand why so much was building toward this.  Egon, meanwhile, still hasn't done much of anything.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/09/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Lazarus #4
I hope this book lasts a long time.  Its hooks are in me deep, and Rucka has created a world with plenty to be mined and explored.  It helps also that it's incredibly good.  Issue three ended, pretty spectacularly, with Forever and her Morray counterpart Joacquim getting blown up.  Fortunately for us, it's pretty hard to kill a Lazarus.  As soon as those plotting against her realize this, new plans are set in motion.  Plans within plans, and everyone's got a secret.  Like I said, I hope this series lasts a long time.  Recommended.

Brian Wood and Ming Doyle's story of sports and powers comes to a close.  It's been a bit longer than usual since the last issue, but it ended with the nuclear weapons of the world pointing down at it from space.  Since having Mara explode those all over the planet would make for a very short book, it's safe to assume that doesn't happen.  Instead, we're treated to a look inside her mind as she tries to deal with what she's become and the world she's tried hard to leave behind.  Definitely one of the best world-without-superpowers-suddenly-gets-them stories.  I recommend picking up the trade, which should be along any time now.

As if our cast weren't in enough trouble after the first issue, they're in now much deeper after the second.  Cops are getting killed all over town there aren't any leads.  After checking with an informant, Slater and Sticky head to an off-shore casino boat in the hopes of learning something.  Though walking away a few grand richer, they get little more than a name - Domino.  Meanwhile, Bonnie proves just how much trouble she can get into, and we end another issue with a dead body.

The team of Bryce Carlson and Vanesa R. Del Ray work perfectly together to capture the setting, mood, characters, and time period to create a fantastic noir book.  The cover says "2 of 4" but I'm hoping for more.  If not more _Hit,_ than at least more from Carlson and Del Ray.

Like a trailer that misrepresents a movie, the solicitation text for this book doesn't do a good job of selling the story found inside.  Billed as a book about a couple that stop time when they have sex and use this ability to rob banks, what's found inside is far more than that.  While, yes, that _does_ happen, the book is actually an intimate look at a young girl discovering and exploring death, her power, sex, and herself.  Not since _Blankets_ have I gotten such a look into the make-up of a character, which is one of the best compliments I have give.  Fraction's writing is superb, and Zdarsky's art helps keep even heavy topics light, while still packing a punch.  The best advice I can give is to pick the book up and flip through it.  Recommended.

This book upsets me a tiny bit, mostly because I wanted to do something similar.  There's too many stories of supernatural beings hiding within our world.  I wanted to flip it, making a world of supernatural beings with humanity in the minority.  Still may.  Anyway.  I'm off topic.  Possibly because I don't actually have much to say about the book.  The art is serviceable, though the landscapes are better than the faces.  The writing is... well, I'm reminded of the _Revolution_ TV series, partly due to the setting, and partly due to the main character being annoying and not caring about her in the slightest.  I won't be picking up more.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Indie Corner - 10/02/13

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

If you're not reading the Villains micro series, or really any of the micro series, you're missing out.  While the cover says issue 26, it's really more like 40 with the two micro series factored in.  The two go hand-in-hand, immediately evident by fallout from the Hun issue in the opening pages, and later, a reference to the Donatello issue.

The Foot are making moves while everyone else is merely making plans and gearing up.  Leo gives us hope that he'll soon break the reconditioning that has made him a follower of Shredder.  Angel hints at change and internal strife within the Purple Dragons, stemming from the events of Hun.  Mike checks in with an old friend and gets a possible lead on Leo and the Foot's whereabouts.  Donnie checks in with an old friend of his own, and with the help of April, acquires some tech that will aid in their assault on Shredder.  The Foot attack and devastate an unprepared Savate, though Karai grows increasingly insubordinate.  Splinter begrudgingly works with Old Hob, to further Hob's plans, in return for his help when Splinter and the Turtles attempt a rescue of Leo.  And Raph sees Casey in the hospital, easing Raph's guilt over what happened that put Casey there.

That's a lot to cover in a single issue, but all of it flows well together and is a natural extension of the preceding issues.  Nearly every cast member makes an appearance, all with their own goals and agendas.  No room for slouches here.  All of it gorgeously illustrated by Mateus Santolouco, one of the new favorite artists.  It's my understanding he'll be the main artist for the series through issue 50, and I couldn't be happier.

My newest favorite series.  If I could have one favorite series for each week of the month, I'd be in comic heaven.  I don't know what sales are like, but I haven't seen anyone talking about this except +Bleeding Cool.  I'd easily recommend this to all kinds of people, especially fans of anime.  It has that feel to it.

Anyway, in the book, we managed wreak most of the face of the Earth through war and nuclear weapons, and now people live in fleets of planes in the sky, or mountain tops.  Great writing, fantastic art, and I really don't have anything else to say except to please try this book.

Kurtis J. Wiebe is someone whose work I have an interest in.  Debris was great, though I wish the series were an ongoing instead of a mini series.  Peter Panzerfaust is amazing.  If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.  I've heard great things about Green Wake, and I may even own it, though I haven't read it yet.  And Grim Leaper was great, with an added bonus that it was drawn by a friend of mine.  So I'll try anything new from him based on his past work.  But this didn't grab me.

Rat Queens is a fantasy book starring four women known for their destructive tendencies.  Mildly reminiscent of Northlanders, but only in the sense that there are non-modern characters speaking like they are modern characters.  Overall, it gave me the sense of trying too hard to be something it's not.  I recommend Peter Panzerfaust instead.

The beginning and the end.  Things come to a head for all members of The Upotian's family.  Issue four will jump ahead nine years, so we can see the fallout from decisions made here, and I'm looking forward to seeing just how screwed up things become.  While I'm generally not a Millar fan, Quitely could illustrate and instruction manual and I'd want to read it.  This feels like Millar might be maturing.  While he still goes for the occasional shock value, this isn't as immediately offensive as something like Wanted or Nemesis.  I'm looking forward to seeing what happens, not only in the future, but back on that island all those years ago.

Niles and Mitten are back for the latest mini series - The Eyes of Frankenstein.  Christopher Mitten does an excellent job crafting the dark world Cal inhabits, with colors by Michelle Madsen adding a wonderful touch that's missing from some of Mitten's black-and-white work.

The re-cap on the credits page covers a good amount of ground people unfamiliar with Cal will need to jump into the series.  The only things left out are the recreational drug use and Cal's current state as a sort-of ghoul, though this gets touched on within the comic itself.

Preview pages for this issue involve Cal meeting Frankenstein's monster, whom is going blind.  But this is actually the end of the issue.  Prior to this, we're shown two additional situations Cal will have to deal with, though he's only aware of one.  Needless to say, Cal's going to have his hands full.  It's a great start to the series, and I know I'll be along for the ride.

I read this a few days ago, and was just flipping through it again now trying to figure out what to write when I saw "Royal Baby Bump?" on a TV in the background of a panel.  This is why I love the book.  Saga is a story of imperfect people trying to live their lives as best they can, with gorgeous, expressive art by Fiona Staples, set against an incredible sci-fi backdrop.  With sometimes hilariously ridiculous things, like flying sharks and a baby seal in overalls harvesting plants, and tiny background details you may not even see the first time you read it.  You either get it or you don't.

Final issue!  Also the first.  The credits page reveals that "This is an limited-edition sneak peek of the first book of Battling Boy." A few weeks back, my shop had a preview copy of Battling Boy which reminded me I had missed this when it was published back in July.  This is Pope at his best.  The characters and world immediately come alive, and the story isn't just read and seen, but felt.  If I weren't already looking forward to Battling Boy, this issue would have done the job.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Indie Corner - 09/25/2013

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Zero 01
The book everyone's been talking about, and for good reason.  30 pages, no ads.  All action, intrigue, and drama from start to finish.  It's books like this that people break out the word "taut" for, since there's not a single wasted panel or word in this book.  I've heard Ales Kot's name get thrown around for the last year, but this is my first exposure to him.  From now on I'll be paying closer attention.  The art is by Michael Walsh, and though the artist will change for each issue of the series, he does an excellent job illustrating the action and the few quiet moments.  Highly recommended, and for only $2.99 you really can't go wrong.

Regular series artist Dan Schoening does the back-up in this issue, with Doc Shaner handling the main story.  Shaner's not bad, but it came as a shock upon opening the cover.  It's just that Schoening has a very distinct style that I've grown accustomed to in a short time.  Erik Burnham is still on writing duties, though, so nothing misses a beat.  Janine and Egon are each dealing with the events of the last few issues in their own ways.  Winston is on a working holiday with Tiyah in Las Vegas, and Peter rounds up who he can to deal with the mysterious ship seen last issue.  An amusing issue with Peter making jokes at every opportunity, but mostly setup for things still to come.

I haven't checked to see if it's been longer than a month since issue three, but I can tell you it felt longer because I've been looking forward to this for so long.  Everything's hitting the fan, both on Earth and off.  Viewership is at an all-time high, but being shown things the executives don't want anyone to see.  An ex-girlfriend feeling sentimental.  Our blue hero getting more pieces to the puzzle, but still missing the big picture.  And the setup for a showdown between our two most mysterious cast members.  Highly recommended.  I'm already eagerly awaiting issue five.  Also: they're only shown for one page, but I absolutely love the police on page two, reminding me a lot of Frank Miller art, Robocop, and Judge Dredd.

Good first issue.  Characters, setting, and story are all well established with hints of a larger story and plenty of action.  Featuring art from Juan Ferreyra, whom I'm unfamiliar with but after this will now be on the lookout for more from him.  A quick search tells me Ferreyra worked on Rex Mundi, which I own but have never read.  It may be time to dust that off and finally give it a read.  The writer is Victor Gischler, most memorable to me for turning Jubilee into a vampire.  It seems like supernatural comics are becoming a crowded space, but I think there's at least room for this title, that carves out its own niche away from Ten Grand, Chin Music, and others.  I recommend checking out the first issue.  I'll be picking up the rest of the five issue mini series.

This didn't come out last week, but I'd been hearing good things, so I had my local shop grab me a copy of the first issue.  It's not only good, but there's nothing else like it in American comics.  The script is by Mike Raicht, though the credits page lists three creators having a hand in the story.  I'm only familiar with the artist, Zach Howard, mostly from The Cape.  He's every bit as accomplished here as he was there, doing an equally gorgeous job at high-flying dog fights, intricate machinery, or heated personal conversations.  I recommend everyone check out the first issue and know I'll be adding this to my regular pull.  Issue two is already out.

Things aren't going well for Conan or Belit as separation and multiple attempts on their lives lead to ill ends for both our main characters.  I realize now that the previous sentence could be read to imply they've died.  That's not the case, though though both their plans backfired in a spectacular way.  Neither will be starting next issue in a good position, and while I've seen Conan in bad places before, things seem particularly stacked against him this time.

Double cross!  No real dinosaurs this issue, aside from the dead one in the opening pages, but plenty of action.  Our multinational team commandeer a submarine and sneak aboard a Nazi ship full of dinosaurs headed to America.  If that sentence doesn't interest you, I don't know what will.  Everything concludes next issue!

Once this series is done, I'm going to re-read it in one sitting.  This is a hard issue to recommend on its own, since not a whole lot happens.  But in typical Azzarello fashion, plenty is happening if you can read between the lines.  Everyone is posturing and maneuvering, though I feel like it will be issue six before powder kegs start exploding.  Risso, also in typical fashion, beautifully draws every twisted thing is this book.  If you haven't been following the series up to this point, just wait for the trade.  Bonus: There's a preview for Coffin Hill at the back.  It's piqued my interest enough that I'll check out the first issue.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Indie Corner - 09/18/2013

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.
As I write this, Sunday morning, the Valiant website is inaccessible.  There was some information I wanted to verify, but I'll just work from my spotty memory instead.  When Valiant re-launched last year, I read a preview of X-O Manowar and was intrigued enough to pick up the first issue.  I only made it to issue two before dropping the series, but I've continued to hear good things regarding Valiant ever since.  Once again, I read a preview and was interested enough to pick up the first issue. Eternal Warrior 1 is a good first issue.  Great art and Pak's writing mean I'll be picking up issue two and seeing where things go from there.

A friend of mine has mentioned Hun a few times from his appearance(s?) on the Turtles show.  I was unfamiliar with him, so learning his identity here came as a shock.  I'm having a somewhat difficult time reconciling what I knew before with this new information.  It certainly wasn't the path I imagined things would take.  Still, this new wrinkle should make things very interesting.

Despite being an oversized issue, this feels rushed.  Or at least the beginning does.  The opening pages check in with our scattered cast of characters, but does so in the least informative way possible.  From there, Dodge explains explains practically everything for a large chunk of the book, before the tables turn and people start dying left and right.  I can't help but feel slightly disappointed in this.  This feels like it should have been left in the oven a bit longer.  It's just doesn't feel the same as the half dozen mini series I've enjoyed so much.

Issue two just came out two weeks ago.  I don't know what's up with this book's shipping schedule, but I'll take it.  The book opens with a brief look at what led Adam to become an FBP agent before quickly resolving the cliffhanger from last issue.  The mission continues in the bubble universe while an investigation is underway about what's really going on in the main universe.  We're then left with another cliffhanger and if things weren't kicked into gear already, next issue has the clock seriously ticking.  This may be one of the rare books I buy monthly and in trade form.

B.P.R.D.: 1948
I don't know anyone that's read BPRD and said, "Eh, it's just not for me."  As far as I can tell, there's people that are into it, and those that haven't read it.  1948 is a great example of the series at its best - great story, amazing art, thrilling, touching, and somewhat heartbreaking.  While there are some slight references to the 1947 series, this is an almost entirely stand-alone story that I would easily recommend to anyone interested in the BPRD series.  For those long-time Hellboy and BPRD readers, there are moments (like the final page) that hit home that much harder.

EAST OF WEST: vol. 1
I picked up the first four issues of this before switching from buying the single issues to trades.  It was good enough that I knew I wanted it on my shelf instead of a box in the closet, and I thought I'd be better able to keep track of the various characters and plots.  So this morning I sat and read the whole thing.  And it was awesome.  But crucially, I found retained more information and pieced more of the story together than I had when read as issues.  Recommended, and very much looking forward to future volumes.

Things aren't going well for anyone in this series - The Girl, the DJs, Korse, the droid, and though he doesn't realize it yet - Val.  Things are escalating toward... something.  What, I can't tell, but definitely somewhere.  We've already had one confrontation between the Killjoys and scarecrows, that didn't really result in much change, but it appears another is on the horizon.  Maybe things will go down differently this time.  I'll stick around, though mostly for Becky Cloonan's art and not the barely coherent story.  With two issues to go, maybe it ends well.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Indie Corner - 09/11/2013

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Hit #1
This book mines the same vein as the Gangster Squad movie did earlier this year, with period LA cops doing very questionable things in their off hours. I loved it.  It's only a four issue series, and I'll be telling my comic guy tomorrow to pull the rest for me.  It's well written, excellent art, and plenty of story to sink your teeth into for a first issue.  Recommended.

Things aren't going well for our survivalist survivors.  Surviving survivalists?  Trust and alliances are wavering, some truths are discovered, and some characters are beginning to act like the unsupervised children they are.  This book makes me feel things I don't normally feel when reading a comic.  The sort of creeping dread I get from Walking Dead is all over this book, but I never realize it until I hit the end and relief washes over me.  At this point, a trade can't be far, and I suggest picking it up for anyone that hasn't been following the series.  Recommended.

I've mentioned this before, but I need to switch this to trades.  There's too many characters and personal plots for me to keep track of on a once per month basis.  But that's me, your mileage may vary.  I'm still enjoying this, still finding it interesting and I'm still interested in where it's all going... but I need more when I sit down to read this.

It seems we've entered one of those "domestic periods" in Invincible, where the characters aren't punching planets in half and instead we're treated to some quiet moments at home... and on the moon.  While I'm sure the Thragg storyline will come back around eventually, I'm very curious what's going on with Robot.  Not a whole lot going on in this issue, but various pots continue to be stirred.

This book is the perfect example of why Hickman can't be trusted.  I loved the The Nightly News and because of that, immediately bought the Transhuman trade.  Huge mistake.  Now, each new series, I pick up the first issue to see which Hickman shows up.  This is actually co-written by Hickman with Mike Costa, so I don't know who to blame for this mostly recitation of facts and GPS coordinates, but ultimately, I didn't like it and won't be picking up the rest of the series.  I recommend Manhattan Projects or East of West instead.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Indie Corner - 09/04/2013

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

So much done with so little.  There's a number of silent or nearly silent panels here, but each conveys volumes.  Family machinations going on at every level and all of it is perfect.  Seriously, I can't praise this book enough.  Easily my favorite new series.

With the number of things that happen in this book, I will surprise myself by saying this is a bit of a breather before the storm.  The last few issues have been nuts and I've loved every second.  This issue moves a huge number of pieces on the board - Hob and Splinter, Casey's dad, Casey and April, Raph goes nuts for a bit, there's a call-back to the annual, the Savant return, there's something up with Leo, the list goes on and on.  And that doesn't even include the last page insanity.  Things are about to explode in a major way.  I recommend you get on board.

I came into this expecting Hellblazer-Diggle or Losers-Diggle, but issue three has turned the series into... Heroes?  I don't know.  Higher level players than our protagonist are introduced, but I'm finding it very hard to care.  This will be the last issue I pick up.

This book is nuts, and I completely love it.  Before issue one, the solicit text had me slightly concerned because it sounded like _Fringe_ which didn't exactly go well, but it's totally not that.  There's insane sci-fi stuff going on with beautiful art, but really there's believable characters, a deepening mystery and killer cliffhangers.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Indie Corner - 08/28/2013

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

TMNT Micro Series: Karai
This is what I've been wanting!  We've been watching Karai a long time, and in this issue hints finally turn into confirmations.  Karai making plans, Karai versus Leo, ugh, it's so good.  Every new issue I state the Turtles series is great.  This is another fine example.  And issue 25 of the main series out Wednesday!

As a writer, I both love and hate Azzarello.  He's so damn good.  Not a whole lots happens this issue, but pieces are coming together, everything gets fleshed out a bit, and the signature styles of Azzarello and Risso are all over this.  If I had to, I'd recommend skipping the series and waiting for the trade.  This will read much better that way.

I'd never read a Conan comic before Wood started this series.  When I was announced I walked into my local shop and said, "I heard Wood and Cloonan are doing a Conan book.  I need that."  Becky didn't stick around, and Wood's time ends at issue 25.  I find myself dreading the end in ways I never expected.  Conan and Belit are amazing together, and this issue is a great example of that.  A new adventure begins here, but there's only a few more issues until it's all over.

CHEW vol. 7.
I love this series.  The ridiculousness, the characters, the tiny things hidden in the backgrounds of panels.  Volume 7 moves some things forward in a big way.  Olive, Savoy, the Vampire, and even Tony himself.  Lots going on, and ramping up to even bigger things down the line.  I basically recommend this series to everyone I encounter.

This book could really benefit from a "Previously..." info box.  There's some things that happen in this issue, but I'd have to go back and re-read the first issue to understand any of it.  I thought I'd be able to do just that before posting this, but then came down with some sort of fever/exhaustion that's wiped me out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Indie Corner - 08/21/2013

Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

A tiny bit more subdued than last issue, letting the plot develop and building the world(s) with political statements on the front line and corporate statements coming from the TV control room.  Then the action kicks off again the final pages.  Really looking forward to next issue.  This is probably one of the rare series I buy in singles and again in the eventual collected trade.  It's good.

I actually misplaced issue two until a short while ago, so I read two and three back-to-back.  I dig the series, but am hard pressed to tell you why.  Art by Becky Cloonan is certainly part of it, but the book feels like an independent movie.  By that I mean, the story certainly isn't being spoon-fed to us.  We have to work for it and try to piece things together ourselves.  I enjoy that, perhaps, in this case, more than I normally would.

Things get interesting.  Still, not much has actually happened, but things are certainly building, and I continue to be intrigued.  This would be an excellent candidate for trade-waiting since you'd be able to get more story in a single sitting.  I'll keep checking out individual issues until either something happens or I get bored and drop it.  Bonus: there's a preview at the back for Velvet, from Brubaker and Epting.  I was looking forward to it before, and am even more so now.

I picked this up last week because I'd read something good about it just before leaving for the comic shop.  Turns out, it's not that good.  Mildly amusing, sure, but not as funny as it thinks it is.  Also, too heavily laced with English linguistic ticks.  Skip.

Lots of interesting things going on here.  And more than that, this issue made me feel things - sadness, tension, intrigue.  Enough to make me realize that doesn't happen often.  I honestly wasn't sure I'd still be into this series, but the last few pages alone are enough to make me buy more.  Really curious where this is going next.  Recommended.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Indie Corner - 08/14/2013

Sheltered 02
Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

I've been a fan of Cyber Force since the beginning, and will be the first to admit its been a rough couple of decades. I still think the premise and team are a story worth telling, though I'm not sure this series is it. I Kickstarted this, way back when, but this isn't the series I was hoping for. I'll pick up one more issue to see where this is going but I think the damage might already be done. Check out the Cyber Force / Hunter-Killer series from a few years ago instead. That book was awesome.

Hysteria all around as things begin to fall apart. This is a taught, high-tension, relatively quick read. It's grabbed me and hasn't let go. Recommended.

Less happens than I would have liked, but the stage is set by the end of the issue. That may just be the nature of a six-issue mini series. Fortunately, we see Robocop... and he seems to delight in punching his way through things to grab people. I'll at least check out the next issue to see where this is going.

I don't know which of the creators came up with the human water fountain, but it's both disgusting and beautiful. This issue wraps the current storyline while setting up the next on its final pages. It's good, as all Luther Strode issues are, but those images are going to haunt me for awhile. I recommend the eventual trade.

I finally read this last night and can say... it's alright. I'm surprised by all the praise this book has recieved since largely nothing happens. It's vaguely reminiscent of Aronofsky's The Fountain , and that's about all I have to say. I'll stick around for a few issues to see where this is going but was expecting more after everything I'd heard.

I'm still enjoying this Sorkin-esque read, though from the comments I've seen, many people dropped off after the first issue. For me, I think the series would read better in trade form so I can keep better track of the many characters and their personal agendas, though there's a character page at the front that does an excellent job of this.

The only book I didn't get to read this week was Ten Grand, so I'll get that next week.  I may post and back-date some more of these later since I've been doing it for a few weeks on Google+.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Indie Corner - 08/06/2013

Indie Corner
Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Collider #1
I'm in love with this book.  So many awesome and terrible things are happening, I'm in simultaneous joy and dread.  At one point I didn't want to turn the page, because I feared who was holding that sword.  I did, reluctantly, then had to shout and briefly shake my fist at the sky before diving back into the action.  Raph!  Shredder!  Splinter!  Hob!  Mikey and Slash!  It's so good!  Every Turtles fan should be reading this.

This series ends decently enough, dropping enough threads for future stories.  I thought the first issue was great, with the rest okay, but not mind-blowing.  The trouble for something like this, is with so many independent #1s out now or in the near future, if this returns, the creators are going to have to up their game if it wants to stick around.

Great first issue.  Good story, great visuals, believable characters, mystery.  Really, what more could you ask for?  I'll be signing up for issues 2 - 4 and see how I feel after that, but it's off to a fantastic start.  Recommended.

It's been awhile since I read the first volumes in this series.  I don't recall why, but had assumed after reading vol. 3 that that was the end of the series.  Something about the cultural pervasiveness of trilogies?  I don't know, but I was super excited earlier this year when vol. 4 was solicited.  This volume is a bit more political than I remember the earlier books being, but still excellent.  And we finally find out the titular killer's name!  This gives me hope there will be a steady stream of books to come.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Indie Corner - 07/31/2013

Indie Corner
Each week I'll spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Six-Gun Gorilla #2 (of 6)

Wow, I think I'm in this for a long haul.  No decision yet on whether to switch to trades, like +Charles Dowd or not, but it's good.  Much like Uncanny, further down, this issue is more mystery than answer, but the difference is - I don't care.  Here, I'm willing to wait for the answers because the family drama is so well written I'm already hooked.  You definitely check it out.

Issue two is even better than issue one.  Ridiculous things are afoot.  Beautiful, well-written, ridiculous things.  Recommended for anyone interested in comics on the fun side.

I don't have a whole lot to say about this issue, except that I wish there were more issues to read.  This spends most of its time wrapping up the current story thread, but does manage to show snippets of what's to come.  Afterward, I found myself hoping for a TMNT- or MLP-style micro series, just to get more content in my hands.

If you think about it at all, you can probably guess exactly what happens in this first issue.  Criminals in Central City and LA are working together, necessitating the need for the Spirit and Rocketeer to meet-up.  Misunderstanding leads to fisticuffs, leads to begrudging team-up.  But we're talking about Mark Waid, so it's a wonderful pulp-y read.  And the art perfectly matches these two heroes.

I read one review that said issue two isn't as good as issue one, and I find myself in agreement.  It's okay, but we get more mysteries and no answers.  Unsure where this book is headed, but I'll stick around for another issue or two to find out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Indie Corner - 07/23/2013

Indie Corner
Each week I'll (hopefully) spotlight a couple independent books I've read and may have flown under people's radar.

Interesting, though too early to tell if it's my thing or not.  Most of the first issue was spent establishing the main character, being given a job, and assembling his team.  Character introductions all-around.  Will definitely be checking out the next issue, and will decide from there.

Dan and I always speculate on what will happen next in Invincible.  We're always wrong, because Kirkman is full of surprises, and this issue proves that in spectacular fashion.  Eve and Angstrom, Invincible vs Invincibles... fantastic.

I take every opportunity to talk about the IDW Turtles series, because I love it.  The main series is great, and the micro series expands the world while simultaneously further developing characters.  They're perfect companions.  Here, we finally learn about Alopex, the white fox that's been showing up since practically the beginning.  And, oh man, those that three panels.

Kind of a dense issue, and I mean that in the best possible way.  Some books you can read in a matter of minutes and quickly forget.  For a first issue, there's plenty here to latch onto.  Mystery, action, non-sparkly vampires, and both the main character and the series' world in general are well fleshed out here.  I'll definitely be picking up the next few issues.

World War II, Nazis, a secluded Pacific island, and dinosaurs.  Issue three was out last week, but I actually read all three issues over the weekend.  I'd been buying it, with the expectation it would be good, but hadn't actually read any yet.  It's good, though the art could be a little better, particularly the faces.  Pulpy goodness.