Monthly Archives: July 2018

Comic Book Friday: The Infinity Gauntlet

The Infinity GauntletWhile I still haven’t seen Avenger: Infinity War yet, I’m still curious about the source material that led to what I’ll (eventually) see on-screen. (It hits home theater on physical disc in August and I plan to pick it up then)

So, I checked out a copy of The Infinity Gauntlet from my library’s digital collection and started reading.

The first thing I noticed was this six-issue mini-series was written by Jim Starlin, whose work I previously encountered in the much-hyped Batman mini-series A Death in the Family. You may recall I wasn’t a huge fan of that work, so I will admit I approached this one with a bit of caution.

I need not have worried too much. The Infinity Gauntlet feels like the next big crossover event after they were put on the map with Secret War in the 80’s. All of Earth’s heroes are brought together to take on Thanos, who is trying to impress Mistress Death and win her heart. To do this, he’s assembled the Infinity Gauntlet and trying to show her why he’s the baddest guy in all of the cosmos.

And while Thanos takes on a lot of the Marvel cast and crew, he still never quite wins her heart. An epic story, I can see why Marvel Studios chose this as the culmination of ten years of cinematic storytelling. At times, the story feels cinematic and like one that would work well as a movie. I’m going to assume there are some big differences between what I’ll see on-screen and what’s on the page. But that it’s interesting to see how this will be the jumping off point for an epic film.

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Review: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

The Impossible FortressIt’s 1987 and there’s only one thing on the mind of Billy Martin and his friends — finding a way to get a copy of the Vanna White issue of Playboy.

If only they can find a way for shop owner, Mr. Zelinsky to sell one to them, whether Zelinsky knows about it or not. The guys hatch a plan to sneak into the shop, pick up three copies, leave money on the counter, and head out with their new treasures (after all, if they pay for it, it’s technically NOT stealing, right?) But to do this, they’ll need the security code for the store’s alarm.

Billy volunteers to get close to the shop owner’s daughter, Mary, in the hopes of finding out the code. But what his two friends don’t know is that Billy and Mary share a passion for computers and computer programming and what begins as a ruse to gain entry to the shop after hours, turns into a partnership to write a great game and win a computer. It doesn’t help that Billy slowly starts to become romantically attracted to Mary, either.

A love letter to being a geek in the 80’s, The Impossible Fortress
Jason Rekulak fills his story with a ton of great Easter eggs from the late 80’s and keeps the story one that is grounded, heart-felt and believable.

Light, fun summer reading that had me thoroughly entertained.

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Audiobook Review: Doctor Who and the Robots of Death by Terrance Dicks

Doctor Who and the Robots of Death: 4th Doctor Novelisation\In an interview for a DVD extra, author Terrance Dicks notes that one aspect of his career he’s most proud of is his ability to meet deadline. As a person who understands the importance of writing on deadline, it’s easy to admire that about Dicks.

However, it’s also easy to lament that having to meet that deadline for a lot of Target Doctor Who novels in the mid-70’s means the adaptations are a bare-bones retelling of the script with little or no room for expanding the story. The image of Dicks handcuffed to his typewriter and having to churn out a new adaptation of a fourth Doctor script often springs to mind when I think of this era in Doctor Who publishing.

Which is what makes it a shame that Dicks wasn’t given the time to embellish and enhance stories like “The Robots of Death” like he did with “The Auton Invasion” or “Day of the Daleks.” Continue reading

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Comic Book Friday: Normandy Gold by Megan Abbot and Alison Gaylin

Normandy GoldMegan Abbott and Alison Gaylin team-up for the Hard Case Crime series’ first graphic novel, Normandy Gold.

A love-letter to 70’s thrillers, this six-issue miniseries reads just like you’d expect — hard hitting, hard drinking, and completely over the top. In short, it’s a blast…if you’re in the right frame of mind for it.

When her stripper sister goes missing, Normandy Gold heads to D.C. to find out what really happened. What she finds is a vortex of lies, deceit, and underhand dealings that extend the highest levels of power.

A fun, entertaining ride that reminds me of just what it is about the Hard Case Crime series I enjoy so much.

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Review: The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson

The President Is MissingThe President Is Missing is the literary equivalent of a blockbuster action film — better when you sit back, turn your brain off, and just go along for the ride.

President Jonathan Duncan faces attacks from all sides. As he faces impending impeachment hearings in Congress, Duncan is made aware of an attack on the United States that will send our nation back to the stone age. Duncan is forced to go rogue to try and take down the threat before it comes to fruition and to ferret out who in his inner circle is leaking vital information to his enemies.

Promising “insider secrets only a president could know,” The President Is Missing is less a political thriller and more a political fantasy. At multiple points, you can’t help but wonder how much Bill Clinton would have given to shake off the threat of impeachment by going John McClain to save our country from an attack and then riding that to astronomical approval rating.

And that may be the biggest thing that holds the novel back from being a “bubble gum for the brain” thriller. I kept looking for clues as to which author wrote which part of the novel.

This novel also reminded me why I’ve stopped reading James Patterson novels. His novels feel a bit formulaic and rushed to press. And that’s how this one ends up feeling as well. Staccato chapters, quick pacing so you don’t have to ponder the implications of things as the develop, and a lack of room for any substantial character development add up to a disappointing novel. The final third of the book piles on absurd twist after absurd twist until I felt like crying, “Enough already.”

The President Is Missing feels like a missed opportunity. With a former president co-authoring and able to offers insights into the office and what might really happen if our president vanished for a significant length of time, the novel instead is told mostly from the first-person perspective of Duncan, thus negating the title early and often. I’m not sure what I expected, but this one didn’t fit the bill.

 

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