Some light Batman

Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol 2: The Starfire by Scott Lobdell, Kenneth Rocafort and Timothy Green

I’m not going to chat about this book in the context of the wider New 52 stuff because I’m not up do date on most of it any more. I will add also that I don’t have a lot of the context of the New 52 on Starfire or Arsenal.

I do want to say one thing about each of them each though. Arsenal is well written and I really liked him. Starfire is drawn ridiculously sexually. Ridiculously. I know this is drawn for an audience that probably doesn’t think about this too much, and I know that Starfire is supposed to to be sexually liberated but she basically wears no clothes and is in a sexy pose whatever she’s doing. I don’t understand why sexually liberated means not wearing clothes so standing with her boobs popped out.

Because I love the Batfamily most, I will just mention a few things about the story from that point of view. I loved Jason’s portrayal in this. Not only is he well written and funny to read but he’s a complex and challenging and genuine. Having him care about Tim Drake and their brief conversation really completed  him in a precise way. The dynamic between Arsenal, Red Hood and Starfire was great! They were fun and fast paced and great to read.

I don’t have a lot of smart thoughts to say about this book, as it turns out. It was a good read, I’m glad I took a break from my serious reading list for a quick, fun read.

Last movie I watched:

I think Moana still. So cute

Last TV show I watched:

Last episode of The Dragon Prince and I really liked it! I’m looking forward to some more and would also like a baby dragon.

Advertisements

Beautiful and heartbreaking and human

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Abridged) by Khaled Hosseini

I listened this book as an audiobook, which is why it was the abridged. The reader was great, the book was amazing and I’m kind of struggling with an book hangover – I’ve got a new audiobook on the go but can’t get into it because it’s just not as good as this story.

The story is of two women in Afghanistan, spanning forty or fifty years. It is heartbreaking, beautiful and devastating but ultimately hopeful story .  It is about the amazing power of women to overcome unthinkable horrors, particularly when they are motivated by love of their children.

The first part of the book is the story of Miriam, an illegitimate child of a wealthy man and a former housekeeper. She is excluded not just from her father’s family, but society as a whole. Her world changes dramatically when she’s a young teenager which ultimately results in her marriage to an abusive man named Rasheed in Kabul.

The second part of the book introduces Laila, who has lived her whole life down the street from Rasheed and Miriam, some twenty years older than her, without ever knowing it, in a much more liberal household. She too is forced to grow up devastatingly early and she becomes Rasheed’s second wife.

The last part changes point of views, switching between the two women as they move from adversaries to allies to a family in the truest sense.

The personal struggles of the two women take place against the backdrop of Afghanistan troubled history, including regime changes, international conflict with the Soviets and the Americans and the repressive rule of the Taliban. Both women are scarred by the trauma of war, just as their beloved city is. Yet at the end of the books, there’s a glimmer of hope for another generation of women, who may escape the horrors their mothers and grandmother’s survived.

I should mention that this book ends almost in the present, and its worth considering what the book is so subtly and elegantly suggesting about the future in the middle east.

It’s really hard to talk about this book without giving away a lot of details, which I’m struggling with because it was such a great story I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but I feel like I have to talk about mothers in this book, because to me that’s what the story is really about. In all fairness, this could be because I listened to it as I fed my 4 week old son, but I still think it’s worth considering.

Both women, Laila and Miriam had mothers who loved them, but could not make the hard choices to protect their daughters, due mostly to the trauma and pain they had experienced. For Laila’s mother, this was the death of her sons and her hatred for the Soviets as a result which motivated her to stay in Kabul long after it became unsafe for her family, which ultimately resulted in her death, her husband’s death and the forced marriage of her daughter. Miriam’s mother was so unable to move past the betrayal of the man she loved that when Miriam left her, even just for a day, to see her father, she took her own life.

Contrast that with Laila who married and stayed with a man who abused her to protect her children, who at the end of the book is called “mother” by a school full of orphans and is carrying the potential for the next generation of women. Miriam kills and literally dies to protect Laila and her children, the daughter who wasn’t even her own. Both women make enormous sacrifices to ensure the safety of their children, and that provides hope for the future.

This is an incredible story and I think everyone should read it. Everyone because if nothing else it’s a beautiful, moving exercise in empathy, which is of course, how books change the world.

Last movie I watched:

A small piece of the Greatest Showman, with the commentary of a four year old and a six year old over top of it. I think I’ll try it again sometime.

Last TV show I watched:

Avatar: The Last Airbender. So good guys! So, so good.

Batman’s trust issues

Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond  by Adam Beechen and Ryan Benjamin

Once again, I read this a long time ago, like several months and even though it was really, really fun, particularly it’s place in the Batman Beyond universe, it wasn’t exactly ground breaking.

Highlights have to include the cameo from Dick Grayson, the introduction of the new Catwoman and Bruce Wayne having to acknowledge that he screwed up because that doesn’t happen often.

If you enjoy Terry McGinnis and that timeline, I’d totally recommend it!

Last movie I watched:

A piece of Moana

Last TV episode I watched:

Still Supernatural. Sooner or later I’ll get through this.

Ninja Turtles aren’t as fun as I remember

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures: Vol 3 by Justin Eisnger and Alonzo Simon plus 23 other artists

It’s not that the Ninja Turtles aren’t awesome, they are, but this book wasn’t a great example. For  book that’s no more than 150 pages, 8 short stories in there means that the quality of the stories isn’t great. Some of them are cute and fun, and they all do a great job of displaying the Ninja Turtles different personalities, but there’s no time to build a story or a villain or really any readers investment

Having said that, this book really is targeted at young readers. I don’t like dumbed down stories to make them more appealing to kids because kids are smart and shouldn’t be talked down to. But particularly for kids who are having trouble with comprehension reading really short stories is a good way to practice developing that skill.

Final report: As an adult looking for a fun, kid’s graphic novel experience, it kind of failed. But as a story for kids who love Ninja Turtles and could use a little light reading, it’s probably great.

Last movie I watched:

Probably still Victor Frankenstein. As previously mentioned, it didn’t do a lot for me.

Last TV episode I watched:

Touch, which I love in all possible ways. But I wonder why they never say “autism” to describe Jake and whether this is part of a failure to recognize autistic people or not and what an autistic viewer would think.

 

Hilarious comic book fun, in unexpected places

The Tick # 1,2 and 4 by Ben Edlund, Eli Stone, George Suarez, Bob Polio and Dave Snyder

This is going to be a shoddy post. I’m really sorry about that. It just is.

I read these comics almost eight weeks ago when I was sitting in my (then) new, tiny, tiny apartment a week into a new job. Since then I’ve moved to a new tiny apartment and am about a month into a different new job.

Mostly what I remember about these comics is that they were hilarious. I really, really liked the one that Superman guest starred in because it was just full of hard core satire of comics in general, not particularly Superman. Full of clever word play and comical sketches, they were way more fun to read then I thought they would be. Picked them up for free somewhere and really didn’t have high hopes for them. So the laugh out loud was pretty great.

I don’t know what else you want from me. It was too long ago. I’m sorry. Life is hard and complicated.

Which is why comic books are great.

Last movie I watched:

Cool Runnings! I love that movie!!

Last TV show I watched:

I have no idea. Haven’t watched any since I moved. It might have been North And South? Does that count?

The best story that the New 52 just erased for no actual reason

Red Robin: Collision by Chris Yost, Marcus To and Ray McCarthy

This series is one the best Batfamily series I think I’ve ever read, and I might seem to say that a lot, but I really do mean it.

Tim Drake (Robin #3) is convinced that Bruce Wayne (apparently recently dead – spoiler, he gets better) isn’t dead, but is trapped in time. Dick Grayson (Robin #1) is wearing the Cowl now, and chose Damian Wayne (Robin # 4 or 5 depending on who you ask) instead of his brother (adopted technically) Tim. He leaves Gotham to search for Bruce and gets mixed up in the League of Assassins. This book is the story of Tim coming home.

It has the best parts of a comic book – good fight scenes, relatively clever and driven plots, lots of humour and of course, the wonderful bundle of characters.

Okay, it’s not exactly high quality literature but it’s just really fun to see the Tim reuniting with his family and kick some bad guy ninja butt and really do Bruce proud. Tim deserves more credit for his awesomeness then he gets.

Last movie I watched:

Star Trek Into Darkness. This is a fun movie. Not as smart or big ideas as the original Star Trek but way more fun. Not as funny in a bad way either.

Last TV episode I watched:

The Fosters. Oh my god, the Fosters.

Value Village Comic Books

Superman 204 by Brain Azzarello, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Rai and the Future Force 9 by Bob Layton, John Ostrander, Sean Chen and Kathryn Bolinger

Eternal Warrior 9 by Mark Moretti, John Dixon and Paul Autio

Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder 2 by Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair

Superman Action Comics 728 by David Michelinie, Tom Grummett and Denis Rodier

The Silver Surfer 85 by Ron Marz, Ernie Stiner, Tom Christopher, Hen Bruzenah, Renee Witterstaetter, Craig Anderson

This blog post is going to be lame. I’m just going to be upfront about that.

I read these comics weeks ago, but then I once again became an unemployed librarian (contract up, out of my home, squatting with friends, squatting and settling, driving places, sleeping on couches, job applications, interviews, etc) so blogging just didn’t happen. While I like to think I had some clever thoughts about these comics at the time I read them, I have no idea what they were.

This Superman was super broody as our hero confesses his guilt about how he can’t be everywhere for everyone. I guess broody Superman is a nice change, and as usually I love Jim Lee’s drawings. By far, my favourite part.

The Future Force I have no context for, at all but it seemed like a cool concept, even though I don’t understand what’s going on. Old school ethnically diverse cast. You know, in an awkward stereotype kinda way.

Eternal Warrior was like Highlander, but not as wonderful. Maybe it’s the cat people. Whatever. I actually would read this one for the story.

Batman and Robin I have conflicting feelings on. Jim Lee illustrations, so that’s a plus. I don’t know how I feel about Frank Miller’s Batman and Robin series. It’s Dick’s origin story but Bruce takes the “I’ll torture him” approach to shaping his sidekick. Which I don’t love. It felt too cruel, and maybe a little forced. Or at least, not in line with my Bruce Wayne. But that’s how comic books work right? Everyone gets to pick their own stories.

This Superman Action Comic was actually just an adventure of Manman, because Superman has no powers. It was fine, if a little plodding. It’s probably a better read if it’s read in it’s arch.

Silver Surfer featuring the Xmen? Whatever. Crossovers are all well and good, but I didn’t love it, probably because I was missing too much of the story.

So, now that I’m unemployed, I’m going to be blogging a lot more. Should be fun.

Last movie I watched:

Pitch Perfect 2! Not as good as the first one, but still pretty excellent!

Last TV episode I watched:

Game of Thrones. Rewatching, with people who haven’t seen it yet. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT’S COMING.

Also I’m catching things I missed before. That’s cool.