Wednesday, 25 February 2015

My Review of Golden Age Sub-Mariner Volume 1

As part of my Panels read harder comic book challenge, the one category I really thought that I'd struggle actually finding anything to read was the Golden Age (30's to early 50's). However, while deciding on my options I went to the library with my husband and he spotted Marvel Masterworks: Sub-Mariner - Volume 1 (Marvel Masterworks #47) by Bill Everett, Ray Gill, Stan Lee and Mickey Spillane. This was originally written and published individually in 1941, so it fell perfectly right in the middle of that time frame.

Much as I wanted to love this, as this time period was when comics really got started, I really struggled with the stories and the way the text was written. I felt that each story with Namor was pretty interchangeable as each issue followed the same arc of finding the Nazis did something bad and then punishing them for it, usually by punching them in the face. (action was certainly very different in the 40's)

The writing itself felt very formal and stilted, however that could be due to how people spoke in the 40's, but its not all that long ago in the whole scheme of things.

I believe the stories were run as part of a propaganda plan to try and get America involved in the war (I seem to think we saw Captain America fighting in the war too before America officially joined). This does give at least the reason why the Nazis are in every story, however how they are shoehorned in or blamed in some of the stories is quite unbelievable.

Overall with the Namor stories, I got bored after the second one, so it was quite a slog to get through the rest of the book.

Saying all that, there were stories at the end of each issue about The Angel. These stories and this character I absolutely loved and looked forward to getting to his pages. I liked his character, I thought the stories were good and slightly cheeky. I also loved the idea that when he left a scene, he left a shadow of an angel on whatever surface there happened to be (wall, gravestone etc)

I gave the book 3 stars, mainly because of The Angel, however had this been a more modern book, I would have given less.

I started this book on the 14th of February 2015 and I finished it on the 20th of February 2015
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My Review of Born to be Killers

I've had Born to be Killers (True Crime) by Ray Black on my Nook for quite some time, but I had just never got around to reading it. Boy oh boy, do I wish that I had just never bothered to start it at all.

This has to be one of the worst written books around, there are spelling mistakes, incorrect grammar, incorrect words used, incorrect information and just blatant made up thoughts and feelings that the author has no way of knowing. In a lot of e-books, I find there are more mistakes than in physical copy books, but this book is just ridiculous.

While reading it I was discussing with other book friends on Twitter how badly it was written and was asked if it was a self published book. I hadn't thought of that and momentarily felt bad that I may have judged someone who had done it all by themselves and got a book published. Nope, this book is not self published and to make matters worse, the author has written 6 books so there is no reason what so ever for how terrible this book is.

In certain places as well the author is extremely judgemental in regards to prostitutes, people who aren't children, different races and women. This book made me incredibly angry for so many reasons.

I could go on listing the reasons this book was basically unreadable, but I won't, I would just advise anyone not to waste their time or money on it.

I started reading this book on the 17th of December 2014 and finished it on the 19th of February 2015
I gave this book 1 star (because you have to) on Goodreads

Monday, 23 February 2015

Nice To Meet You - My Review of Supergirl, Vol. 1, Last Daughter of Krypton

Ok, I'll be honest with you, my only experience with Supergirl I believe is from Smallville. So when I picked up Supergirl, Vol. 1: Last Daughter of Krypton by Michael Green I had no idea what I was to expect and I already had a bit of bad feeling towards her as I really disliked her character in the TV show.

The art I felt was not the greatest that I have ever seen and I actually don't think it did justice to the story being told. Truthfully, I disliked the art and I found myself not looking at anything other than the text for the most part.

This book has been a revelation and definitely a great introduction to Supergirl for me. I absolutely loved the story and I loved the character. I felt that Green got the perfect tone for a confused teenager without her sounding whiny or bratty. She reacted to her situations exactly how you would expect someone in that situation to react (someone in that situation and a superhero naturally). I enjoyed meeting villains that I had not come across before, the Worldkillers, they were really interesting and I really want to know more about them and what they go on to do.

I originally gave the book 3.5 stars, however I was still thinking about how good the book was days after I had read it so I changed my mind to a 4.5 stars. I can't give it a full 5 due to the art work as it really let it down in my opinion

I started reading this book on the 14th of February 2015 and I finished it on the same day
I gave this book 4.5 stars on Goodreads

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Light in the Dark - My Review of The Darkness Vs Eva: Daughter of Dracula

When I picked up The Darkness Vs Eva: Daughter of Dracula by Leah Moore and John Reppion, though it seemed familiar, it didn't click until I got home and the hubby pointed out that it was The Darkness that the video game was based on. This made me happy as I love that game and the story in it.

This book is incredibly well written, as soon as I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. Jackie Estacado is exactly how I remember him from the game, which is great as I love his character, he's such a badass. Eva I have never met before, but I definitely want to meet again, she is such an interesting character and I want to learn more of her back story and then more of what she goes on to do after this story. As well as having two powerful main characters, the peripheral characters all have personality and presence, so they do not get lost in what could have been a two man (well one man, one woman) show.

The artwork by Edgar Salazar, matches perfectly the tone of the story and is just genuinely beautiful work.

Though I'd liked the sound of the synopsis and was pleased when I discovered it was related to The Darkness video game, I really wasn't sure if I would like this book. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it and that I enjoyed it so much. Definitely one to recommend to fans of the game who may not have read any of the comics or to people who love kickass, powerful women characters.

I started reading this book on the 11th of February and finished it on the same day
I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads

Friday, 13 February 2015

A Journey Into The Bizarre - My Review of Maria Holic #1

As one of my choices for the 2015 Panels Comic Challenge one of the selections was for a volume of manga, as I pick up manga from the library anyway, I just chose one of the volumes I already had borrowed that week, Maria Holic #1 by Minari Endou.

The premise behind this story could have been gold. Kanako, the main protagonist is allergic to men and has transferred to an all girls high school to try and meet her soul mate (finding out along the way about her dead mother - though this is barely touched upon in this first volume). The first person she meets, she believes to be "the one" immediately, except that they turn out the be a mean, cross-dressing boy.

Sadly the writing and the art work fall far short of the potential this book had. The story is incredibly mish mashed and at some points, I had to go back and re-read a page to make sure I knew what was going on, but sometimes even that didn't help. The artwork as well, I really don't like and I normally love how beautiful manga artwork is.

Reading this made me sad about how the idea seems to have been wasted when it could have been so good. I would have liked to have learnt more about Kanako's mother and that story, as well as seeing how she dealt with Mariya, however I will not be continuing with this series. Maybe something has been lost in the translation, but I can't face reading another volume just to see if it gets better.

I started this book on the 11th of February and finished it on the same day
I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads, though it's more of a 1.5 stars

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Nananananananana Batman! - My review of Batman: The Jira Kuwata Batmanga, Vol. 1

For such a small library, my local one has quite a good selection of comics, graphic novels and manga. One of my most recent finds there was Batman: The Jira Kuwata batmanga, Volume 1 and as soon as I saw it, I picked it right up as though I had heard of Batmanga, I had never seen any.

Before I begin to review the actual content, I would just like to take a moment to tell you how absolutely beautiful the book itself was. The cover art was stunning and the paper used for the pages was amazing quality and so thick, it was such a joy to hold and read such a well made book. 

The volume is a collection (the first 20 chapters) of Batmanga's written by Jira Kuwata written back in the 60's to bring Batman to the Japanese audience. The writing holds up incredibly as well as the art and reading it, it could have been written today. Adam West is my personal favourite portrayal of Batman (Michael Keaton is a close second), so having stories based on his character in the TV show was really good for me. 

I love that only the cover page of each story is in colour and the rest of the pages are in black and white. It shows the skill of the artist to get so much detail and keep the readers eye while not using colour. 

Each story is based on Batman and the Boy Wonder defeating a different enemy, the names of which are awesome (Dr. Faceless and Professor Gorilla as examples) but my absolute favourite name and story has to be the first one in the book about Lord Death Man. I love the slight cheesiness of it all and the incredible deductions Batman makes to solve each crime. 

It really pained me taking such a wonderful book back to the library and I genuinely will be adding this book to my collection at some point in the future, as well as the other volume. 

I started reading this book on the 6th of February 2015 and finished it on the 10th of February
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads

Monday, 9 February 2015

Lost In Space - My Review of Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin, Vol. 1

I have always wanted to try some Star Wars literature, so when I saw Star Wars: In The Shadow of Yavin Vol. 1 by Brian Wood at the library, I made sure to pick it up.

This book is timed just a few weeks after Episode IV movie ends and we're following the story of the Rebellion trying to find a base and further their challenge to the Empire. We see the fan favourites, Leia, Luke, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Chewie and others and yet, their characters fall flat. Wood has failed to capture the personalities that the real life actors put into their characters. None of them seem quite right, a bit like a bad imitation.

The artwork for this book is good, but I wouldn't say that it was exceptional. The ships were definitely the best looking things on the page.

As to the story itself, I think there is a very good idea of a story, hidden in there behind all the blocks of text. There could have been drama, there could have been suspense, there could have even been some mystery and intrigue, but again it all just seems so lifeless. I KNOW I am comparing this to the movies, but when you are writing something that is to fill in the gaps between movies, then your characterisation and storytelling need to be on point.

Added at the end of the book was a mini story between Boba Fett and Darth Vader (I believe set before Episode IV) and it felt almost like an apology for the rest of the book. Sadly, this added nothing and I barely ended up skim reading it because I was so glad to be finishing the book. This should have taken me a couple of hours to read, but it took me days as I kept picking it up and putting it down because I just was not enjoying it at all.

Overall I was extremely disappointed with this, I will be trying other Star Wars literature, but I will not be continuing with this series.

I started reading this book on the 31st of January 2015 and I finished reading it on the 6th of February 2015
I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Schooled in Manga- My review of PhD: Phantasy Degree, Vol. 1

As part of my visits to the local library, I have been picking up any volume 1's that I see of Manga (and graphic novels) so that I can try loads of new stories without having to read a whole backlog if I find I really like something. One of the most recent pick ups was PhD: Phantasy Degree, Vol. 1 by Son Hee-Joon and I wasn't really sold by the synopsis, but being a library book and with how quick I can read a manga, I figured it was worth a shot.

Before I began, I had problems as I started at the "end" (as all usual mangas read from back to front and from right to left) and this one started from the front and read like a usual book. But that was just a small confusion, more due to my presumption than anything else.

Lets just say, wow was I wrong! I am so glad that I picked this book up, the characters are all interesting, the story is paced and written perfectly and the art matches the tone of the story beautifully.

The lead character is Sang and I took an instant liking to her, she's confident and there is mystery around her which made me want to get to know her better. I have to say that I will definitely be looking out for the rest of this series and I am seriously considering buying them and not just borrowing them from the library and I can't really give a better recommendation than that.

I started reading this on the 31st of January 2015 and finished it on the same day
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads

Monday, 2 February 2015

If You Like Scott Pilgrim, This Review Is Not For You!

Ok I caved and finally picked up Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim #1) by Bryan Lee O'Malley after seeing it there week after week. Before I get into this, I will warn again, if you loved this book (or film), the rest of this review is not for you!

A bit of background story first, I have never seen the film as it was not something that I had fancied and I'm not a fan of the actor that was chosen to play the lead role. I wasn't aware that it was also a book until quite recently and even then, I wasn't sure if I'd read it as it's not the kind of thing I would normally read. Having said that, my goal for this year is to expand my reading even further and try things that I normally wouldn't (hence the challenges), so I thought "what the heck" and picked this up.

I'm not sure I can quite form my feelings on this book into sentences that will make sense so I will bullet point to make things clearer.

  • What kind of name is Knives? I had to read it three times to ensure that I'd read it right.
  • I want to bleach the bookmark I used with this to cleanse it
  • I want the 40 minutes it took me to read this back
  • 7 Evil ex boyfriends, REALLY?
  • What is this even about?!
  • It is very rare that a book can make me hate it this much
  • The best thing about this book was when it ended
  • I WILL NOT be investing any more time in this series
I feel that pretty much covers everything and now I want to go away and pretend that I never spent any time on this book at all. 

I started and finished this book on the 298th of January 2015
I gave this book 1 star (because I had to) on Goodreads

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Bit Of Old School Sci Fi - My review of The Flying Sorcerers

Back to my 2015 Book Challenges reads on this book, this book is the one I chose for the PopSugar topic "a book I own but have never read". The book chosen was The Flying Sorcerers by David Gerrold. Genuinely, I have no idea how I own this book or how long I have owned it, it has just been on my bookshelf for years and I have never got around to read it before.

At the start of the book, there is a snippet of information from the book and it really intrigued me and certainly got me interested in reading the rest of the book. The author does a great job on the first two pages in describing the characters and the world without sounding like they were listing off attributes. Within the first couple of paragraphs I knew we weren't on earth due to the multiple moons and suns and that the characters had fur. To me that's a great start and a great talent to have as a writer.

Throughout the book, there are lots of cheeky references and attempts at describing earthly things such as "electrissy" and at one point, what we know as a wedding ceremony is performed to symbolise a truce has been agreed. This bit made me smile and then thinking about it further, it was probably quite controversial when it was written (I believe it was published originally in 1940) as the ceremony was performed on two men.

Around the halfway point, I got bored and felt that the story wasn't really going anywhere and I put the book down for a good week or so before going back to finish it. It did pick back up around 3/4's the way through but then I felt really let down by the ending, it felt anticlimactic to me.

Overall a good book and had I not checked, I would not have known that it was written such a long time ago. I'd recommend this to people who would be interested in trying out Sci-Fi, but didn't want something too futuristic and full of robots.

I started reading this book on the 7th of January 201 and I finished it on the 26th of January 2015
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads