Green Lantern and other strange superheroes

Green Lantern Blackest Night by Geoff Johns, Ican Reis, Oclair Albert, Jeo Prado

I’m so torn about the Justice League. This was a great story. The characters who were in it all had great stories. Hawkman and Hawkgirl was¬†beautiful. Atom’s grief is real. The Flash is just excellent, as usual. Good beautiful human stories.

But as a whole they just hang together so goofily.

Green Lantern’s power is his glowing accessories. In the end of the story, he and a bunch of friends with super glowing accessories get together to literally make a rainbow to fight the evil Black Ring. Rainbow jewelry fighting evil. To anyone who was offended when DC introduced a gay Green Lantern: How did you not see this coming?

In this story, the Big Bad makes a bunch of Black Ring that pulls up the dead and turns them into zombies. And because this is a DC universe story, so naturally the only dead that rise are the dead superheroes and they kill their alive superhero friends, who then join the ranks of the zombies. The parts of it that was beautiful and art like and real and compelling were the emotions of the heroes as they face their dead friends. They all struggled so much with survivor’s guilt, grief and hopelessness (’cause this is all shortly after the Final Crisis) and their stories are very human.

And then there’s the weird disconnect between space aliens fighting with people who give themselves superpowers with lab accidents and kids who have to merge into one body to become magical flaming powers. And zombies. What’s that all about?

Highlights: Dick Grayson was mentioned. Alfred was there. Bruce wasn’t ’cause he was dead but they talked about him a lot.

Overall conclusion: 50%  awesome for good writing and nice pictures. 50% for huh?

Last movie I watched:

Divergent I think? Which was good guys. Really good. Like…. good

Last TV episode I watched:

Buffy! Who has recently become not dead. Fun time!

The book I just geeked out over with a high school volunteer. It’s just that good.

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

This is the fourth book in the Heroes of Olympus series. There’s one more. After that, theoretically, there will never be another Percy Jackson book ever again.

So stressful.

Great things about this book: The character development. Every single one of them gets their go at growing and becoming more awesome, and when you’ve got 10 major characters, that’s no easy feat.

Hazel gets to really embrace her heritage and explore her powers, despite her misgivings about her own strength and whether or not she even wants the powers that come from her father. Annabeth, who had relatively little growth, begins to come to terms with what it means to be a leader, and the full meaning of her relationship with Percy. Leo gets to step away from the class clown role (but luckily not all the way away ’cause a little comic relief is great) to someone who’s made the hardest choice possible – choosing his duty over the woman he loves. Percy starts to realize that being a leader and a warrior has a cost and there are serious consequences to everything he does. Frank moves from the awkward clumsy giant to the strong, warrior and leader that he never really had the chance to be when Percy and Jason were around. Jason starts to fall from his annoyingly perfect pedestal as his own indecision about his place in the world starts to effect his ability to do his job. Piper finally finds her own voice, kinda literally given her power and metaphorically as she saves her friends and learns to fight. Nico’s big sexuality reveal makes him a much more interesting character. Reyna, the rigid Roman leader breaks the rules to do what she knows is right. Even Coach Hedge gets a little more 3D when we find out he’s going to be a father.

Downsides include still not narrated by Percy Jackson in first person, which I will never stop missing and Nico, the single gay character on the quest, is the only one who isn’t tidily matched up with someone yet, which kind of angers me. Still there’s one more book, so hopefully he’ll hook up before the end. Although I suspect that he’s going to die.

Which’ll be sad.

Also stressful.

Overall, loved it, good times were had and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Last movie I watched: The first half of Friends with Kids. Pretty funny. Cute kids.

Last TV episodes I watched: Leverage. Man the show is EPIC. I love it. And Parker. And Elliot. And Hardison. And Sophie. And Nate.

A sprinkling of comic books. ‘Cause god knows I don’t read too many of those

Nightwing # 97 by Devin Grayson, Mike Lilly and Andy Owens

Nightwing # 98 by Devin Grayson and Sean Phillips

Nightwing # 99 by Devin Grayson, Zach Howard and Andy Owens

Nightwing #118 by Bruce Jones, Joe Dodd and Bit

Nightwing #120 by Bruce Jones, Someone Diaz and Bit

Nightwing #121 by Bruce Jones, Someone Diaz and Bit

On the one hand, I read a lot of comic books. On the other hand, it’s been a while and I totally missed it.

Nightwing episodes 97-99 were epic. I started reading comics right around the launch of the New 52 and I really did like it a lot. Until I started to read the pre-New 52 stuff and finally understood what the internet was complaining about. These comics take place after the Blockbuster murder and Dick Grayson’s rape/forced but pleasant sexual experience (if you’re DC. Everyone else kinda stands by rape). I haven’t read those ones yet, so I’m going to avoid that part. Anyway, the result of these experiences clearly mess Dick up a lot. And it’s really beautiful and tragic to see him working with Bruce, his father figure and Tim, his younger brother when he’s hurting so bad but still trying to be the man they need. Other pluses, Alfred ordering Dick back to bed after getting shot.

The other three are part of the one year later story line. Good solid plot. Jason Todd is pretending to be Nightwing, but killing people, so Dick, who had apparently been taking the rest of his life off, is forced to get back into the life to stop him. He’s dating a red head for a change (I mean there’s having a type and then there’s Dick Grayson and red heads. Seriously) and she has super powers. I’m really excited to see where this story ends, whenever I get back to a comic book store.

Comic books are short. So I think this blog post will be too.

Last movie I watched: Probably Miss Representation. Very good. If depressing. Made me want to be president for a minute. Only then I remember I’m in Canada and we don’t have one of those. Also I don’t lie very well.

Last TV episode I watched: Newsroom. So good guys. So good.

DC comics and how they never do anything halfway

Batman Knightfall Vol 1 by Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon and Alan Grant. And about a hundred other people.

I was pretty excited to read Knightfall. After all, to anyone as fangirlie as me, who has spent hours reading up on Batman mythology, the story of how Batman’s back was broken is pretty legendary.

And it was good.

There was also just a lot of it. Like a lot, a lot, a lot of it. Like this book is over 600 pages and I’m only 1/3 of the way through the story. There’s a hundred pages of Bane’s back story, which is sympathetic but I’m not sure I’m ready for a study of what drive people insane. Or at least, not one this long and repetitive. Bane then releases EVERY SINGLE VILLAIN Batman has ever locked up and we have to watch him systematically rounding them up while pushing Robin (Tim Drake) away and becoming increasingly exhausted. And then, when DC could think of literally no other way to possibly torture him, Bane finds out his identity, comes after him and breaks his back. Which is almost a relief ’cause it’s a change the in story.

Then Bruce, because he’s the world’s greatest detective, puts Jean Paul Valley in the Batsuit, despite the fact that he was programmed to be a crazy person. Worse still, he never even asks Dick. And that’s just not cool man, not cool.

Inevitably Jean Paul looses himself in the suit and the power and his programming and the violence, Bruce goes off on a mission to save the woman he’s truly, deeply, madly in love with this week and poor Tim’s left to fix everything.

So mostly, this story makes everyone but Tim look bad.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the story. I wouldn’t take Bruce getting his back broken by Bane out of the canon ever ’cause it’s great to see him as a human, fragile and defeatable. It’s nice to see him fight a villain who actually plans and thinks ahead and is strategic but it just feels like too much to me. Too heavy. Too long. Too many episodes. I’d rather a few good fights instead of going to such extreme extremes to make Bruce look good before breaking him. But maybe that’s just me.

Last movie I watched: Blackfish. Documentary about how orca whales aren’t meant to be at SeaWorld. Beautiful. Also sad. But very beautiful.

Last TV episode I watched: BSG! BSG! BSG!

In an unprecedented move, I read two books in the same series in a row

The last time that happened it was a Batman.

Black Bulter II by Yana Toboso

In this, the second book of the Black Bulter series, Ciel and Sebastian head to London to investigate…du du daaa…. Jack the Ripper.

Obviously there are more reinterpretations of the Jack the Ripper story then there were hairs on the man’s head. Unless he was bald. In which case, I need a new metaphor. Anyway, generally they don’t vary that much, just enough to tie in whichever character’s doing the investigating, so they do run the risk of being stale.

But also totally lovable.

So, here we have a story of clumsy, annoying servants, double cross, back stabbing, cross dressing, conflicted loyalties, fancy parties and evil but also life saving butlers. And what more do you need from a story really?

The drawings are fun and sexy and genuine. I think I’m starting to appreciate manga a little more, although I’m still not sold on the emotion faces, which are thankfully few and far between in this book. The characters grow into themselves very beautifully and the plot thickens with the (SPOILERS) reveal that the reason Ciel has sold his soul is vengeance on the people who killed his parents. It also extends the relationship between the Queen and Ciel, which I’m very interested in seeing unfold. They’d better run into each other. Seriously, I’ll be gutted if she doesn’t have a cameo.

I’m looking forward to book three. Whenever I get around to it.

Last movie I watched (sorta): Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Which every Canadian should see at least twice. And all non-Canadians once. It’ll really help you understand our culture.

Last TV show I watched (sorta): BSG. God I love BSG. And Helo. And Athena. Man, that show is amazing. I will never get over it.

New favourite manga! Or that time when I opened a book the right way

Black Butler 1 by Yana Toboso

At the request of my fledgling Graphic Novel Book Club teens, I’m making an effort to read more manga, and one of the series they insisted I look at was Black Butler.

Totally get that. Unlike Vampire Knight, which I found passively enjoyable, I actually really liked this one. Like nerd level liked.

Not fangirl level liked or anything crazy like that, but definitely nerd level liked.

It’s the story of Sebastian, a magical and incredibly talented butler who works for the young Earl of Phantomhive. Like really young. Like 12 years old. Ciel’s family is a leader in business, particularly sweets and candy manufacturing, as well as working for Queen Victoria in slightly unusual capacities and is often in need of his butler’s services.

Of course, and here there be spoilers, everything is not as it seems with the loyal, not exactly human and somewhat evil servant.

I’m pretty sure the reason I liked this one so much more than Vampire Knight is because of the central relationship. I like that it’s not a love triangle, but really focuses on the relationship between Ciel and Sebastian. So that’s one great point. I also liked the Victorian era-ness of it and all the references to tea. There are other servants who are pretty much comic relief and kind of annoy me ’cause they take valuable page space away from Sebastian but whatever. Maybe they’ll grow on me.

In the absence of a thorough understanding of manga, and therefore the ability to comment on the genre as a whole, I think I’m going to leave it there for now. At least until I blog about the second one.

Last movie I watched: Brokeback Mountain. SO sad. And so much, much, much sadder than the last time I watched it.

In a non related story, I really wanna ride a horse up a mountain.

Last TV show I watched: My favourite BSG EVER!