books

Do You Believe? (American Gods S01E08 – “Come to Jesus” Review)

am godAfter last week’s less than stellar episode, American Gods is back with another strong, engaging episode. And just in time, too, as it’s the season finale. And, boy, it’s quite an epic one. All the various plot threads of the season come together in one big cluster as it all leads to the house of the goddess Easter. In Come to Jesus, written by Bekah Brunstetter, Bryan Fuller, and Michael Green and directed by Floria Sigismondi, it’s the eve of war and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) must recruit one more Old God: Ostara, ne Easter, Goddess of the Dawn (Kristen Chenoweth), but winning her over will require making a good impression, and that is where Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones) comes in. (As always, this review will contain spoilers, so read ahead at your own risk.)  (more…)

Gallifrey Lies (Doctor Who – A Brief History of Time Lords, by Steve Tribe – Review)

34994671I enjoy when spin-off books are written as though they exist in the universe of the thing they’re spin-offs of (ie: the Hogwarts Library textbooks). Steve Tribe writes A Brief History of Time Lords from the point of view of the young boy that the Twelfth Doctor meets at the end of Heaven Sent. This boy grew up and went on to write an “unofficial” history of his planet and people that contained unofficial and forbidden knowledge. It’s a fun concept that’s executed fairly well. The big question with books like this is if they contain enough new material to make it worthwhile, or if they’re just a collection of older material crammed together into one thing so it can be sold for more money. A Brief History of Time Lords kind of fits into both categories. But, at least, it’s enjoyable. (more…)

Luck of the Irish (American Gods S01E07 “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney” review)

2560x14401Well, we were bound to encounter a less than stellar episode eventually, and A Prayer for Mad Sweeney is that episode. It’s certainly not bad; in fact, it’s very enjoyable and if it were placed anywhere else besides as the penultimate episode of the season, it would raise from less-than-stellar to good. The problem is that this episode is essentially one long detour from the main plotline right before the season finale. It’s a great story that’s well told, but placing the episode this close to the finale was a mistake. Written by Maria Melnik (and Michael Green and Bryan Fuller) and directed by Adam Kane, A Prayer for Mad Sweeney tells the story of how Mad Sweeney came to America. After her reunion with Shadow (Ricky Whittle) ends far too quickly, Laura (Emily Browning) turns to an unlikely travel companion to find her way back to life, and back to Shadow. Mad Sweeney’s (Pablo Schreiber) long, winding, and often tragic past is explored. (As always, this episode will feature spoilers. You have been warned.)  (more…)

Gerard Way’s Still Got it! (Doom Patrol, Volume 1 “Brick by Brick” Review)

61vh2bl7xglIt’s been quite some time since Gerad Way has published any kind of ongoing comic series. The last one he did was The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, co-written with Shaun Simon, and that was back in 2013. So, the world of comics was in need of his return. He’d been teasing the third volume of The Umbrella Academy for years now, and it was beginning to look like we’d never see another ongoing series from him again. Then came DC’s announcement of the Young Animal imprint, spearheaded by Way himself. Along with the imprint would be his first ongoing series in ages, a reboot of Doom Patrol. The big question is: was his return to comics worth the wait? Answer: yes. In volume 1 of Doom Patrol, Way reintroduces readers to the unconventional team of heroes through the lens of Casey Brinke, an EMS driver who is drawn into a series of weird circumstances when she finds the broken body of Robotman. Casey and the other members of the team must outwit a bunch of aliens who want control of a magic, sentient van that can create life. So, basically, it’s a pretty typical subject matter for a Gerard Way comic.  (more…)

In Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall,” History is Cyclical (REVIEW)

building the wallThere is a popular theory that all of human history is cyclical; we are destined to repeat the same cycles over and over again. This idea is explored, somewhat, in Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan’s new play Building the Wall. Part post-apocalyptic warning and part prison conversation, Building the Wall tells the story of one potential future of America based on the rhetoric of President Trump and the successful implementation of his anti-immigration policies. Following a devastating terror attack in Times Square, martial law is enacted, giving Trump essentially unlimited power to round up and detain immigrants as he sees fit. One man, Rick, works at one of these detention facilities and his actions echo the actions of Nazi Germany, leading to the eventual impeachment of the president and arrest of Rick. The play tells Rick’s story through a conversation between Rick and historian Gloria. Note: this review is based solely on the script. I have not actually seen the play, and who knows if I ever will.  (more…)

REVIEW: DC Comics’ “The Button” Crossover

Batman-The-Flash-Button-event-DC-Rebirth-teaser-house-ad-2Over the past month, DC Comics has been publishing a crossover between Tom King’s Batman run and Joshua Williamson’s The Flash entitled The Button. This crossover picks up from where the DC Rebirth One-Shot left off, with Batman and the Flash discovering the Comedian’s (from Alan Moore’s Watchmen) smiley-face button stuck in the wall of the Batcave. The crossover follows Batman and the Flash as they try to track down the source of the radiation being emitted by the button while facing off against a series of personal and emotional obstacles thrown their way, seemingly on purpose.

First off, I think it’s important to note that I have not been regularly following either of these comics. I read the first issue or two of Tom King’s Batman run, and it was enjoyable enough; I just got too busy and caught up with life to regularly read them and I have never really read any of the Flash’s solo titles. That being said, this crossover seems to stand apart from whatever ongoing storylines have been going on in the individual titles. As long as you’ve read the DC Rebirth One-Shot, you should be good to go with reading this crossover.  (more…)

REVIEW: American Gods – Shadows #3

496006-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_American Gods: Shadows #3 is the latest issue of Dark Horse Comics’ adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by Scott Hampton and Walter Simonson. This issue faithfully adapts chapter 3 and about half of chapter 4. In this issue, Shadow encounters his dead wife in his hotel room and travels with Wednesday to Chicago to meet Czernobog and the Zorya sisters.  (more…)

REVIEW: “Doctor Who: The Shining Man” by Cavan Scott

shiningSo, I finally managed to finish a Doctor Who book that didn’t involve the War Doctor. And I enjoyed the heck out of it! Doctor Who: The Shining Man is one of the three most recent Doctor Who novels published by the BBC recently. It is written by Cavan Scott and involves the Doctor and Bill investigating strange events that have been happening in a small British town.

The Shining Men are everywhere. You spot them out of the corner of your eye. Abnormally tall, with long lank hair, blank faces, and blazing eyes. If they catch you, they’ll drag you away to who knows where. No one is safe. They’re on every street corner. Waiting. Watching. Shining bright. Of course, it’s a hoax. It has to be, right? It started as a joke, a prank for Halloween. Then it went viral. Idiots dressing up as monsters. Giving folk a scare. Silly masks and fright wigs. No one gets hurt. Because bogeymen aren’t real. Until people start going missing and lights burn in the darkness. Burning like eyes. But help is on its way, in the form of a strange man called the Doctor and his friend, Bill. The Doctor will keep us safe. The Doctor will stop the monsters. Unless the monsters stop the Doctor first… (Courtesy of the BBC summary)

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REVIEW: Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

51izuxor7hlWelcome to Night Vale: A Novel is the first novel in the Night Vale series (based off the popular podcast of the same name) written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel expands the universe of the podcast as we follow two women, Diane Crayton and Jackie Fierro, whose (already weird) lives get turned upside down when a man in a tan suit with a deerskin briefcase gives them both a piece of paper with the words “KING CITY” written on it. Their individual quests for answers will lead them on a journey that will change how they look at themselves, and at their families. (more…)

REVIEW: The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe (Welcome to Night Vale, Episodes #2) by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

51pbspam99lThe Great Glowing Coils of the Universe is the second volume featuring scripts from the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe contains the scripts from the podcast’s second season, as well as the live show The Debate, along with an introduction by Maureen Johnson, illustrations by Jessica Hayworth, and introductions to each episode by various members of the cast and crew. In The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe, Night Vale faces a takeover by a totalitarian corporation that threatens to forever change the town and everyone in it. Like the previous review, this review will be in two parts; the first part will discuss the book itself while the second part discusses the content of the season.
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