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Author Topic: Let's talk about books.  (Read 10452 times)

J

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2012, 10:55:59 AM »
From Amazon: 

Quote
A preeminent scientist -- and the world's most prominent atheist -- asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.

With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326732906&sr=8-1

I'm pretty excited to read it.

xiv

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2012, 12:05:47 PM »
that does sound interesting.   

Tanya Black

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2012, 12:20:57 PM »
I've heard of him. He's not horribly offensive but I just couldn't embrace atheism.

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #53 on: January 17, 2012, 10:08:43 AM »
I've heard of him. He's not horribly offensive but I just couldn't embrace atheism.

God?

B

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #54 on: January 17, 2012, 07:02:24 PM »
From Amazon: 

Quote
A preeminent scientist -- and the world's most prominent atheist -- asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11.

With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight into the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universe's wonders than any faith could ever muster.

http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326732906&sr=8-1

I'm pretty excited to read it.

I hope that it's less incendiary in its text than the abstract there would have you believe...otherwise it's going to come off just as preachy as...well...religion.






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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #55 on: January 17, 2012, 07:04:37 PM »
I need to go to B to open up my vocabulary. I was apparently raised by Neanderthals.

Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #56 on: January 21, 2012, 03:28:49 AM »
"Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America" by Jeph Loeb, art by various - This book takes place following the famous death of Captain America in issue #25 of "Captain America" by Ed Brubaker. It focuses on various characters in the Marvel universe and their reactions to the death of Steve Rogers. Specifically, each issue, or chapter if you want to look at it like that, focuses on a different character/team and a different stage of grief out of the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). The writing itself is so-so. Nothing that happens here isn't also explored in other issues of other comics related to the Civil War event. All of the art is pretty good. There's one exceptional scene by David Finch where Rhino is looking to tear Spider-Man a new asshole. I'd love to have that as original artwork pre-speach bubbling. Coincidentally this scene was probably the worst of the writing because Spide-Man is a total fuck-head in what leads up to the scene, with absolutely no remorse or consequence. Sure it's easily written off as Spider-Man being in a distraught state of mind over Cap's death, but I still thought it was shitty because I empathized with Rhino instead of Spider-Man. That tangent aside, if you've invested in reading Civil War and/or Brubaker's Captain America and want to kill a short amount of time, check this out. But its certainly not essential reading by any means.
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Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #57 on: January 23, 2012, 01:32:47 AM »
"X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills" by Chris Claremont, art by Brent Anderson - Most of my experience with the X-Men comes courtesy of the FOX Kids animated series of the 1990s, along with the X-Men motion pictures. I picked up this graphic novel because I heard other comic book fans raving about it as one of the preeminent X-Men tales and Marvel graphic novels of all time.

My take is that this was written in 1982, it shows its age 30 years later. I can't appreciate it in the same way that someone who purchased it in '82 could have. I didn't live through the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, or the Cold War like Claremont did. The themes of those events have permeated the X-Men when they have, at times, been stand ins for the minorities in society, especially in terms of race, nationality, and sexual preference. Another theme that has been explored in the X-Men is their advance powers are a threat to us normal humans, much like nuclear weapons possessed by Russians may have perceived during the Cold War.

In this story, an extreme religious evangelist is preaching and turning the tide of public opinion against the X-Men because they are not humans in God's image and that they pose a threat to humans' safety. Behind the scenes he is trying to exterminate all mutants, one by one. If this sounds familiar, its because plot elements from this story were adapted for Singer's X2 film. From what I've heard of other X-Men stories, it sounds like this idea of exterminating mutants for being different has been repeated time after time. If this story was so revolutionary, I assume the idea originated here 30 years ago and hasn't gone away, much like Miller's influence on Daredevil is what countless other authors have tried to re-create in torturing Matt Murdock.

At any rate, race relations and the safety of humans is in many ways better today than it was in '82 or in the decades preceding the '80s (though it is certainly not perfect), and almost my whole life I've had the message of this story ingrained into me from many different avenues, so it's not quite so revolutionary for me. The one thing that's not outdated is the religious extremism, which we're all painfully aware of from multiple viewpoints in this decade following 9/11. But from crusades to inquisitions to holy wars to 9/11 to the Westboro Baptist Church, the ideas of religious extremism aren't new to me or that shocking that they could have been used against the X-Men.

Despite my lack of connection with the title 30 years after it was written, it is a pretty well told tale and the nuances of how certain characters are used, especially at the climax of the book, make it a worthwhile journey. The art is pretty typical for the 80s. Some of the scenes are very well done, especially a black and white flashback involving Rev. Stryker. Some of the scenes are lacking, but an interview I read with Anderson makes it seem like it had something to do with the size it was originally drawn at then shrunk down to that muddied things. The coloration, while technically dated compared to the vibrant computer coloring of today, has its own uniqueness to it due to a process that, from my understanding, they were just starting to use on the Marvel Graphic Novel series. It has a very dark and gritty yet solid feel to it (when it was appropriate) that actually stands out well 30 years later.

Despite being dated, I'd say its worth a read for comics fans and especially any X-Men fans since this is the source of many X-Men tales that came after. (It should be noted this story was not in continuity with the long running series.)
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Trey

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2012, 04:56:09 PM »
I finished reading all three Hunger Games books about a week ago.  For "young adult" books I really really enjoyed them.  Started reading Tomcat in Love again today before Bio class.  Still as good as before.







Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2012, 07:42:23 PM »
"Green Lantern Green Arrow" Vols. 1 and 2 by Dennis O'Neil, art by Neal Adams; also known as "Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow" and "Green Lantern / Green Arrow: Hard Traveling Heroes" - This is the infamous team up of Green Lantern and Green Arrow published in the early 1970s, but is about the issues of the 1960s that immediately preceded publication. Ground breaking for its time (as well as award winning), the comic juxtaposed Green Lantern's "law and order" rigidness against Green Arrow's "Robin Hood" like openness to social justice. The books run the gamut from making social commentary on environmental damage, racism, exploitation of Native Americans, poverty, over-population, drug use, and some other stuff mixed in. This run is also notable for some of its bigger moments, such as a black man asking Hal Jordan why he's helped alien races of other colors but never the black man on Earth, Green Arrow's ward Speedy being a heroin addict, the introduction of the first (maybe only?) African American Green Lantern John Stewart, and apparently Green Lantern unmasking himself and revealing his real identity as Hal Jordan to Carol Ferris (who is now disabled) for the first time. Black Canary is there too, and while she is portrayed as a martial arts master and routinely kicks bad guys asses, she's never treated as an equal to either Green Lantern or Green Arrow. Guy Gardner makes an appearance too, but apparently this version isn't a sarcastic prick like more modern versions of him are.  The subject material is dated but many of the problems addressed are still around today in one way or another. The dialogue is especially dated, but this wasn't written to be an all time classic, it was written as a last ditch effort on a book near cancellation at a time of social upheaval, so its not a huge negative. I'm not too familiar with other Silver Age art so I can't say how well it compares to that era, but I've read its top notch for the time period, and its certainly solid by any standards. Much like "God Loves, Man Kills" (which Neal was supposed to draw), its worth a read if you're interested in experiencing a part of comic book history.
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TheLegacy

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #60 on: February 01, 2012, 12:36:25 PM »
"Green Lantern Green Arrow" Vols. 1 and 2 by Dennis O'Neil, art by Neal Adams; also known as "Green Lantern co-starring Green Arrow" and "Green Lantern / Green Arrow: Hard Traveling Heroes" - This is the infamous team up of Green Lantern and Green Arrow published in the early 1970s, but is about the issues of the 1960s that immediately preceded publication.

I almost stopped reading, dismissing it as something I wouldn't be interested in.


But I kept reading.

Ground breaking for its time (as well as award winning), the comic juxtaposed Green Lantern's "law and order" rigidness against Green Arrow's "Robin Hood" like openness to social justice. The books run the gamut from making social commentary on environmental damage, racism, exploitation of Native Americans, poverty, over-population, drug use, and some other stuff mixed in. This run is also notable for some of its bigger moments, such as a black man asking Hal Jordan why he's helped alien races of other colors but never the black man on Earth, Green Arrow's ward Speedy being a heroin addict, the introduction of the first (maybe only?) African American Green Lantern John Stewart, and apparently Green Lantern unmasking himself and revealing his real identity as Hal Jordan to Carol Ferris (who is now disabled) for the first time. Black Canary is there too, and while she is portrayed as a martial arts master and routinely kicks bad guys asses, she's never treated as an equal to either Green Lantern or Green Arrow. Guy Gardner makes an appearance too, but apparently this version isn't a sarcastic prick like more modern versions of him are.  The subject material is dated but many of the problems addressed are still around today in one way or another. The dialogue is especially dated, but this wasn't written to be an all time classic, it was written as a last ditch effort on a book near cancellation at a time of social upheaval, so its not a huge negative. I'm not too familiar with other Silver Age art so I can't say how well it compares to that era, but I've read its top notch for the time period, and its certainly solid by any standards. Much like "God Loves, Man Kills" (which Neal was supposed to draw), its worth a read if you're interested in experiencing a part of comic book history.

Sounds cool.  I'm going to check it out.


I finished reading all three Hunger Games books about a week ago.  For "young adult" books I really really enjoyed them.  Started reading Tomcat in Love again today before Bio class.  Still as good as before.

I keep hearing more praise for that series, so it's now on my list.


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Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #61 on: February 01, 2012, 02:17:13 PM »
Sounds cool.  I'm going to check it out.

It might be hard to acquire legally, depending on how much money you're willing to spend. I lucked out and grabbed both of the recent TPB volumes from 2000 I believe for $10 total from a site online that sells used books, but I've only seen the titles in stock one other time prior to when I snagged them, and I lucked out snagging them at some night where I was up at 3 AM. But sites like Amazon seem to have just volume 1 from 3rd party sellers for $30 alone. I've seen the pair of TPBs go for about $30 on eBay before, but I'm not sure what the current eBay market is for the books.

DC has the series in what equates to "Absolute" sized volumes but those will run you over $200 these days. You might check a local comic book store, but I imagine if they had these particular original issues they're going to charge more for them and you won't find them in the 99 cent bin with other 80s and 90s comics. There were a a handful of reprints though between 1975 and 2000 so you may be able to find those buried in the back issues.

Otherwise you can torrent them, I'm sure.
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TheLegacy

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #62 on: February 01, 2012, 04:49:42 PM »
Otherwise you can torrent them, I'm sure.


I would never admit to the fact that torrenting was the only option I ever considered.


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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #63 on: February 13, 2012, 12:07:17 PM »
Im confused by so
Ething, admittedly from the Ghostrider trailer, but had a question about the comics...

Can he go to having a regular flesh and muscle face in the comics?  Im not that familiar with the books, but the few ive read plus the cameos never had him with a face/hair

Turner

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #64 on: February 13, 2012, 01:46:46 PM »
Just finished the third boo of the sword of truth series "Blood of the Fold"... Now onto Hunger Games...

Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2012, 03:37:50 AM »
"The Marvels Project" by Ed Brubaker, art by Steve Epting - Normally I discuss art after story, but I feel like Epting has really set the standard for the look and feel of modern comics. His art is great throughout the book, and his renditions of the Torch and Toro are particularly cool.

As for the story - this is essentially a telling of the origins of costumed heroes during the pre-WWII period, trying to tie in the Golden Age of Atlas characters to a definitive timeline and to Marvel continuity. Brubaker is no stranger to Captain America and his origins, having written the critically acclaimed Vol 5 and Vol 6 of the Captain America title. So seeing how that plays a role here, that gave me some hope for a good story. But this story takes on a handful of different plot threads that all converge over the course of 8 issues. Its drawn out and I think the multitude of plot threads drags down the overall story. The other major problem is, while you can grasp the overall story and impact, if you don't know anything about Marvel's Golden Age, or even the origins of a lot of popular characters, the truncated summaries you get here aren't enough. You'll often be left wondering "who was that" or "how did that happen" even if its not essential to the main point of this tale.

And the main point of this tale isn't a great one. You get the formation of the Invaders which sets the stage for the mega power characters of today, and you have the low level masks of the golden age continuing to do what they do in greater numbers. That has relevance to comics today certainly, but I don't know that it tells us anything we already didn't know about the status quo of heroes in the Marvel U. Not to mention, we hardly get any new insights on the internal strife of these characters except for the Torch, but I'm not up to date on if that's been covered elsewhere. Also, if you don't know the Two Gun Kid apparently has a history in time traveling, the final scenes of this book won't make a lick of sense.

From another critic's review:
Quote
In a way, I suppose, The Marvels Project feels like a belated response to Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen. It’s the story of a world where a bunch of men take to wearing tights and fighting crime, but the two miniseries are remarkably different in outlook. Watchmen focuses on how ineffective these ordinary guys in capes are – and how pointless it all is. Most of its cast (even those who aren’t borderline sociopathic) are seriously flawed. By way of contrast, The Marvels Project portrays these heroes as consciously heroic do-gooders hoping to make the world a better place and (arguably) succeeding. The heroes are even “starting to feel like we were making a difference.”

Not everything has to be dark and gritty, but this book is overly optimistic which has no choice but to cut down on the amount of drama you're soaking in, leading to a blander story. I haven't read either yet, but if you want modern tellings of the early days, apparently JMS's "The Twelve" (which should be finished soon) and Busiek's "Marvels" are much better tales. But don't take my word for this. I picked up this book because of the "critical acclaim" and was severely let down. It might happen again with "The Twelve" or "Marvels." Once again, the hype of comic book fans has led me astray! I'm not looking for a Pulitzer Prize winning story (though I did just pick up the complete Maus), but I'd like to find a comic with "critical acclaim" better than this. Hell, Brubaker's run on Captain America is better structured and more entertaining than this.
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Lucy Blaylock

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2012, 06:38:17 AM »
I'm sorry, but when I see this is the last thread commented on from the forum index, it makes me think the thread is called, "Let's talk about boobs", and when I see it's books, I get a little sad.

J

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #67 on: February 20, 2012, 11:54:02 AM »
I'm gonna re-start A Feast for Crows (GoT book 4) pretty soon.  My first attempt at reading it didn't work out that spectacularly.

Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #68 on: March 01, 2012, 09:19:37 PM »
"Batman: Riddler: The Riddle Factory" by Matt Wagner, art by Dave Taylor - This is a 1995 original graphic novel. I suspect it was published around the time of the firm "Batman Forever" because it stars the Riddler who was portrayed by Jim Carey. The book also briefly references Harvey "Two-Face" Dent, who Tommy Lee Jones portrayed in the same film. The writing in this story is dense, mostly because its got a ton of Riddles as the Riddler is hosting a game show which is itself a riddle for various things. But in the end, the payoff isn't that grand and the Riddler wasn't so clever with his final riddle for the game show, or the over all riddle that the game show encompasses. This really makes the Riddler look pretty weak and petty. The art is pretty solid and would pass as modern today, so its definitely not in the popular Rob-Liefeld-1990s-garbage style. The only thing that was lacking was the action panels, which were pretty weak and uninspired. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to track down this story as its not a very good plot, nor is it an essential Batman or Riddler tale. I borrowed it from a friend, and if you have the same opportunity and a half hour to kill, it may be worth that much of your time and effort.

"Batman: Mr. Freeze" by Paul Dini, art by Mark Buckingham - This is a 1997 original graphic novel. Again, I'd suspect it was published to coincide with the release of the 1997 "Batman & Robin" film where "The Governator" Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed Mr. Freeze. The story is generic supervillian stuff with Mr. Freeze tormenting Gotham, trying to bring the city to its knees. Freeze is particularly after Batman and wants to destroy everything he holds dear because he blames Batman for destroying something he held dear. The flashbacks showing Freeze and his parents and Freeze and his wife are good building blocks to help us understand how Mr. Freeze came to be. I don't know if this is the first time these facts about Freeze's past have been revealed or not, so I can't say whether this book is breaking any new ground regarding Mr. Freeze. The 1997 film also shares some of these elements revolving Freeze's wife. The book stops short of explaining why Mr. Freeze must wear the suit he wears, but perhaps that's been explained in different stories. The end of the story is a little underwhelming for my tastes, but it does develop Freeze's character ever so slightly. The art is pretty solid and modern in style - it's not over the top 1990s stuff. The one thing that really bothered me was that Buckingham seems incapable of displaying much, if any, emotion on the faces of anyone. That really took me out of the story because the words didn't seem to match the reactions on the panel. He also draws the "bat ears" on Batman's cowl very exaggerated and Batman looks like an antelope in some panels. If you're interested in the past history of Mr. Freeze, this one may be worth a read. I also borrowed this book from a friend, and I'd say if you have easy access to it and 30 minutes to kill, its worth at least that much.
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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #69 on: March 02, 2012, 03:51:35 PM »
finally finished Doug Glanville's "The game from where I stand"... Clearly wasn't a page turner for how long it took me to finish.  Some solid insights into the inner workings of Major League Baseball, but was just incredibly dull.... unfortunately I don't "stop" reading books, I have to finish.  So?  Took me for-fucking-EVER

Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #70 on: March 03, 2012, 06:52:55 PM »
"Batman: The Collected Adventures Volume 1" by Kelley Puckett and Martin Pasko, art by Ty Templeton and Brad Rader - This 1993 collection collects the first six issues of "The Batman Adventures," a comic in the style of the legendary "Batman: The Animated Series" animated cartoon program. To that extent - it definitely succeeds. The art, the writing, the stories, the tone - it matches up with Batman: TAS so well. Having said that, I think most people into their teens would be above this comic's intended demographic. But if you're a big fan of Batman: TAS, definitely check this out. I think there are several other volumes out there as this style of Batman comics continued into 2007. I do want to note that page 138 of this trade, which is page issue 6 might be one of the coolest single pages of Batman art I've ever encountered. There are no dialogue balloons or anything, but the action on that page tells you just about everything you need to know about the essence of Batman. Here it is:



"Holy Terror" by Frank Miller - I had gone into this book having read several reviews about how absolutely terrible it was. Originally slated to be a Batman tale (I assume DC axed that after they saw the story development), it tells the tale of a Batman-like superhero, featuring a Catwoman-like character and even a Jim Gordon-like character, whose city is rocked by a multi-part terrorist attack. Critics have essentially said that Frank Miller has gone off his rocker with a xenophobic, racist, extreme right-wing, anti-Muslim story. I think there are certainly some of those elements in this tale, which is why I'm glad Frank Miller isn't shitting on Batman again, but I don't think it's as bad as some other reviewers and critics think it was. The story isn't far off from what some of those hardcore right-wing talking heads on cable TV have said could -and WILL - happen right here in America. I'd say its worth a read if you're level headed enough not to get up in arms about it, but also not gullible enough to take its story and message as the truth. What's unique about this book is its format - it's not a classic upright rectangular comic. It's almost like a children's story book (which is kind of creepy given the content) given its size, shape, feel, and the structure of the story which makes it an absolute page turner you can't put down once you pick it up:



The art inside the book is pretty much classic Miller and is pretty cool even if you don't agree with how the subject matter is portrayed. He takes his inking cues, especially the few splashes and color, from his other works like "Sin City." I just noticed now his choice of color for The Fixer (aka Batman) on the cover - he pretty much looks like Daredevil, another character that Miller defined. I borrowed this book from a friend and now part of me wants to add it to my collection because of the book's unique size format and the art. The other part of me doesn't want to add it to my collection because its a Batman tale gone very wrong. But at the very least, if you're even a little bit interested in this book, I'd say check it out from a library or book store and decide for yourself.
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Red River Jack

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #71 on: March 04, 2012, 07:21:18 PM »
"Batman & Robin: Dark Knight vs. White Knight" collecting three separate stories written by, respectively, Paul Cornell, Pete Tomasi, and Judd Winick. I read this at the constant pestering of a couple of friends, as if every Bat-book is the next Year One or something. The stories themselves are simply okay. They are typical superhero tales without much consequence. The first two introduce two new Batman villains, the first of which is "meh" and the second of which has potential which is never reached in the story. The third story uses the recently revived Jason Todd, aka The Red Hood, aka the Robin that DC Comics killed by fan vote that was actually a tainted vote thanks to a phone hacker but was recently resurrected at some point in the past few years. I haven't read any of Grant Morrison's recent work when he headed up the Bat-titles prior to the DCnU reboot because I didn't quite care for the direction I read that he took Batman. So I'm generally unfamiliar with what he did in the works that have been published in collected format as "Batman and Son" and the prior three collected volumes of Batman & Robin. From what I understand, these final three tales that close out the Batman and Son series without Morrison are a step down from his work, if that matters to anyone thinking about reading it. But as I said at the beginning of this paragraph, the stories are just okay superhero stuff. Dick Grayson is under the cowl as Batman, and Bruce Wayne's son Damien is Robin. Dick is too nice of a Batman, apparently, and Damien is a bit of a dick, no pun intended, as Robin. If that dynamic sounds amusing to you, this collection may be something to check out. The art is just okay and is consistant with what I'd call the modern standard. Otherwise this collection is pretty non-essential, especially the Red Hood tale.
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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #72 on: March 05, 2012, 03:25:17 PM »
Started THe Girl who Played With Fire  today... ripped through 80+ pages already.  Really good stuff.  I underestimated the value of knowing the main characters, and being able to "hit the ground running", as it were. 

TheLegacy

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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #73 on: March 05, 2012, 04:28:54 PM »
Started THe Girl who Played With Fire  today... ripped through 80+ pages already.  Really good stuff.  I underestimated the value of knowing the main characters, and being able to "hit the ground running", as it were. 

i've read through the trilogy and I can't remember whether that's book 2 or 3


either way, it's good.

if that's book 2, i'll be interested to see what you think


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Re: Let's talk about books.
« Reply #74 on: March 06, 2012, 12:12:27 AM »
"Batman: The Black Mirror" by Scott Snyder, art by "Jock" (the pen name of Mark Simpson) and Francesco Francavilla - Right off the bat (no pun intended), I'll say this: If you're interested in Batman comics and you've read things like Year One, The Long Halloween, the Killing Joke, etc., you should - perhaps must - read this as well. It's not a perfect story or collection. The stories within the over-arching story often introduce a few new villains that have good potential. But that potential isn't fully realized here in this collection. Maybe one day Snyder or another author will make a couple of these characters really stand out. But the last story in this collection (which is essentially the finale of the over-arching story that worked its way into the preceding stories) is totally on the money and incredibly awesome. Jock's art is very good for the stories he draws, but to me, Francesco Francavilla's art and color work absolutely knocked it out of the park. Insanely good. The one downside to this hardcover collection is that DC absolutely SUCKS at binding hardcover books, especially thicker ones like this collection. There is so much gutter loss and it absolutely destroys some of the amazing two-page splashes and layouts. Hopefully this is rectified in a deluxe reprint years from now. But I heartily recommend all Batman fans to read (and/or own) this book.
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