The Last Days of Krypton
By Kevin J. Anderson
Jor-El is a scientist in a society of ostriches. Over the decades he has submitted invention after invention to the Commission of Technological Acceptance only to have his ideas branded as dangerous and his creations seized by the State. The Council of Kandor, which governs all of Krypton, is made up of social sycophants who delay and prevent any meaningful improvement in society. As the machine of status quo frustrates the scientist Jor-El it grows hatred in the unscrupulous Commissioner Zod. When Zod sees his opportunity he takes it and Krypton never knows what has hit it until it is almost too late, they think.
I absolutely enjoyed this background tale of Superman’s home planet and the integrity of the El family line. That the society is painted in the strokes of isolationism is astounding but builds a sounder foundation as to why Kal-El later arrives alone on Earth. Excellent transitions on point-of-views as the author buries into the inner working of Zod, Lara, Jor-El, Zor-El and Aethyr-Ka. The copy I have was purchased at Denver Comic Con in 2014 and was autographed. I found one misspelled word in the entire book.
Here it goes. I award five out of five enjoyment points for the storyline and the quality of the product. Well Done.
Fear the Sky (The Fear Saga Book 1)
By Stephen Moss
Part 1 comes off a lot like an old Charlie Sheen movie called The Arrival. I really liked that movie and I really like this plot. Rogue scientist struggling on a government contract has insights of genius and becomes a target. Really cool combination. Editing in this section was excellent and dialed in also.
Part 2 on the plot seemed to get really driven beyond the pace of the story with whole segments appearing to get rammed through between chapters. It went through the narrator time warp. This is also where the editing train wreck occurred and held on through the end of the book. The M’s. Misused words, misplaced words, downright missing words and then the dreaded support crew of ‘rewrite-rescan-and still missed it’.
First part was really high quality and I was into the plot. After that it went wrong, felt rushed and the quality plummeted. I’m going to give this one three out of five points overall and state that it almost got the review of silence. I did finish reading it so it gets a review but though tempted to read the sequels I’m leaning toward not because of the quality of this one.
Captain Canuck 002 Ongoing
by Andrasofszky and Team, Published by Chapter House Comics
This issue picks up where the reboot issue #1 left off. Canuck is trying to rescue a bunch of oil workers from a burning rig that has been attacked by some golden goo that is sentient. His team has been roughed up but are still supporting. Meanwhile, his brother Michael has fallen off the grid but apparently is under somebody’s mind control.
The story is good and there is a back up story in the second half of the issue. That one is good too although it seems to be alternate universe Canuck and some aquatic bipeds fighting over an oil rig. Oil seems to be a big theme here. The artwork is top notch.
I award this outing with 4 entertainment thumbs up. One note is that I seem to have an alternate cover and I keep having to scratch my Canuck itch through Amazon. Enjoy!
Shadowman: Birth Rites
Written by Justin Jordan and Patrick Zircher
Illustrated by Brian Reber
Jack Boniface has grown up in foster care ever since his mother was killed in a car accident. As an adult he finds his way to New Orleans because everyone says his name is local…there. Finally with enough of a job he can afford to have someone uncover who his parents were and what happened to them. A fit of disgust at what he thinks is the truth of his parent’s results in an impulse decision and now he is visible to things he didn’t know he was hiding from.
Welcome to the tale of a paranormal superhero named Shadowman, a symbiotic melding of Jack Boniface and a shadow spirit called the Loa. This is not a comic for the children. The artwork is graphic and very well done. This volume has the first four Shadowman comics and is a fluid tale of him coming into his powers.
Another good thing is it is not a DC or Marvel product. This is published by Valiant comics and I got my copy from the publisher at Denver Comic Con. I’m giving this five out of five entertainment points. Well played Valiant!
Book 4 in the Expanse series
Written by James S. A. Corey
Narrated by Erik Davies
“The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity’s home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire. Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth. James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail. And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.”
The above is the description of the book from audible minus the first paragraph which I decided was ridiculously misleading compared to the actual condition of Ilus. I’m going to get to the point in a hurry here because the author doesn’t need my help…the consumer does, although maybe the author should see this.
Cibola Burn falls into line telling the story of the Expanse in a logical and entertaining manner. Narrator points of view in this story include: James Holden, Bobby the Martian Gunnery Sergeant, Dr. Occoy (Spelling, oops I listened to the book), Basia an unwilling grassroots terrorist and Dimitri Havelock the ex-partner of Detective Miller from the previous books. Almost left one out but I’ll leave that one as a surprise. The interweaving of all these points of view was excellent but it makes for some awkward situations when action scenes are being. Maybe the best action scene in the books happens when an REC security guy impulsively kills one of the First Landing colonists just to make an impression. What makes it perhaps the best is absence of monologue.
Another issue with rushing to get matter out to the consumer here is that a decision was made to have Erik Davies narrate this one instead of Jefferson Mays. I noticed Mays will be returning in the narration of the next installment. As a consumer I got used to Mays range of voices and he helped develop my mental imagery of the characters. Mr. Davies either could not or chose not to follow these established characteristics and now it’s kind of embarrassing.
I’m giving this one a three out of five on performance and four out of five on the story.
V for Vendetta
by Allan Moore and David Lloyd
with Steve Whitaker and Siobhan Dodds
Been a while since this work was added to my reading list and now I’ve completed it. Let me just say that it was worth it. V is a man who was experimented on in an internment camp for undesirable persons. Who said they were undesirable you ask? The government of England does in this storyline because they are the last country standing after World War III. They decide who to lock up and who to allow the semblance of freedom to based on skin color, sexual persuasion, credo and the droning belief of “England Prevails.”
V blows stuff up while he rescues Evey from being raped and killed by a gaggle of Vice cops. He takes her into his refuge and teaches her all the things that have been purged from the officially sanctioned school curriculum. He teaches her to think independently.
There are several compelling storylines in this presentation of V for Vendetta and sometimes they come off almost like a soap opera but they all have their little parts to play. It is a shame that they did not pick this up as a mini-series instead of a one shot movie because there is a lot missing in that piece.
I enjoyed this enough to give it four satisfaction points for story and artwork. Enjoy, and embrace anarchy…not chaos.
Abaddon’s Gate: Book 3 of the Expanse
by James S. A. Corey
narrated by Jeffery Mays
The proto-molecule discovered and malevolently exploited in books 1 and 2 is back and has formed a mysterious gate out near Uranus. Martian warships are guarding it while science teams ponder where it goes and will something nasty come out. Turns out the more important question to be asking is will something nasty go in…humanity.
Squabbling Earthers, Belters, Martians and OPA flock for the chance to get edge up on each other with Jim Holden and the Rocinante getting stuck in the middle. Earth put up a fleet of older ships since their pasting at Gannymede and they had to hire a corps of contract maintenance civilians to service them. Seems a great place for a psychotic terrorist to infiltrate and cause mountains of mayhem.
Our buddy Detective Miller is back with his Fedora that Holden hates. He’s making a career out of causing Holden to question his sanity with his ghostly apparitions. “Corners and doors kid.”
The threads are multiple. Holden, the psychotic vengeance seeking terrorist, the dried out ex-subordinate of Fred Johnson who is the head of security on the Behemoth, Anya (whatever her Russian last name is) the Methodist minister who takes action then asks forgiveness are all the POVs. The author has kept to his propensity for making you care about characters and then offing them, just saying.
This was a really good book and I liked the narration. Four out of five enjoyment points are awarded.
New Sky: Eyes of the Watcher
by Jason Kent
New Sky starts out as a Space Opera and turns into a steampunk adventure that kind of fits in with Firefly, The Expanse Series and maybe some of the old quest fantasies like Shannara or Lord of the Rings.
A non-quitter type of cadre gels around a woman named Kate Thompson who has gazed into the face of the enemy and now her eyes glow. She also foretells the future, figures out how to deal with most things non-electrical and communicates with a grand being.
The bigger picture is that Sol is engaged in a war with a splinter civilization of humans called the Tailinn, who have forsaken most advanced tech and made Steam technology embrace the stars…with some help from this grand being. It turns out there was another uppity bunch of humans before them who tried to come back and take over things. Back then Sol and the Tailinn joined forces. Some things just aren’t forever.
I enjoyed the storyline and the character building. This work needs another editing pass but nothing I found detracts enough to spoil the story. The character of Sparrow actually seems like something William Gibson might have dreamed up. I enjoyed it and I’m giving it three out of five stars.