Category Archives: 2013 reads

Animal Man + Avengers + Xmen = Awesome

A + X = Awesome

This is a crossover book that tells several short stories. Each story pairs up a member of The Avengers with one of the X-Men.

There are twelve different adventures in this trade paperback that team up the likes of Wolverine and Hulk, Black Widow and Rogue, Spiderman and Beast, and many more. It’s light fair and good for a laugh or two, not very serious reading, and not connected to regular continuity.

Animal Man TPB

Animal Man: Volume 2 – Animal VS Man

I was pleasantly surprised to see the second issue of this graphic novel in the public library last week. The first volume captured my attention with an interesting take on a super-hero family. 

Buddy Baker is able to call on the power of animals around him, but his four-year old daughter’s emerging powers already surpass his own. She is destined to be the protector of The Red – the force of animal life.

The Rot is threatening to destroy all of nature. It has upset the delicate balance that has been in place since time began. Quite simply, it is death and decay. As such, this story is horrific and a bit scary, but it is a compelling read nonetheless.

I don’t normally like horror but I am enjoying The Walking Dead and Animal Man.

Avengers White Event

Avengers: The Last White Event

White Events have been happening since the very beginning of time. Yet, something has damaged the mechanism that controls them. As such, the system is broken and so is the universe.

The Last White Event created an extremely powerful being and it’s up to the Avengers to manage the threat. Even the Canadian super-hero team, Omega Flight gets caught up in the action. They begin fighting it but then start to protect it. What is this new system that has been brought into the world? We might have to wait until the next issue to find out.

My 2014 Reading Log (updated constantly with every new title I read over the course of the year)

Recommended Read – Will & Whit

Will and Whit

Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

I fell in love with Laura Lee Gulledge’s first graphic novel Page by Paige. The book spoke to me on so many different levels. As such, I eagerly awaited more material from her.

The title and cover art  might lead you to believe that this is a romantic tale but it really isn’t.  It’s a coming of age story about a teenage girl named WIlhelma. Everyone calls her Will though. Her passion is creating all sorts of lamps out of found objects. She is really good at it too.

And Whit isn’t even a person. It’s a hurricane that causes a blackout and forces Will to confront the shadows she had been dealing with secretly for close to a year.

This book is absolutely perfect. As I read it, I envisioned an animated series. I would love to see these characters spring to life beyond the pages of this great book.

This was the last book I read in 2013 and a great way to cap off a year of reading. It turns out that I read 61 books last year. The year before I read just a few more, 65. I wonder how many books I read this year.

My 2012 Reading Log

My 2013 Reading Log

More Danger from the Living

 

The Walking Dead: Volume 6 – This Sorrowful Life

Once again, this issue of the series deals more so with the violence between the survivors of the zombie apocalypse than between those of the living and the dead. But the stakes are just as high. This volume of the popular series is quite graphic in its level of violence. It is gory and scary.

 

The Walking Dead: Volume 7 – The Calm Before

The characters in this series are so well-defined and diverse. It is so easy to get into the story of the few survivors and how they have banded together in an effort to have some sort of normalcy in an otherwise insane world.

I think that is the reason I am enjoying this series. I am not normally into horror, graphic images, and such scary content. It’s the story and the characters more so than the content that holds the magic to this series.

The calm wasn’t exactly peaceful in this issue either. And war is inevitable in the next issue. The last splash panel sets this up brilliantly and has me yammering to read more.

My 2013 Reading Log (one more book to blog about and I’ll be done)

Batman Knightfall – Comic vs Novel vs TV Show

Batman: Knightfall

This is an iconic story in the Batman universe. It was a huge event starting in 1993 and it crossed over into every related Batman title. The main story ran in Detective Comics, which introduced the character in 1939 in issue # 27. Batman became the star of the title shortly thereafter and remained so even after the introduction of his self-titled series.

This is a huge graphic novel that collects Vengeance of Bane # 1, Batman #491-500, Detective Comics #659-660, Showcase ’93 #7 and 8 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #17-18 and clocks in at 640 pages.

The story revolves around Bane and I don’t think there are any spoilers left. The cover art pretty much gives it away. Bane is the man who broke Batman’s back.

This story was reworked for The Dark Knight Rises, which really let me down.  Incredibly, I much prefer the novel version of the story as opposed to both the comic and the movie.

 

I read this novel as a teenager and it was brilliant. It is still my favourite way to experience this iconic story.

Although, I really enjoyed how Bane was portrayed in the Animated Series.

 

I think he was much scarier in the cartoon than he was in the latest feature film. I really need to get my hands on the DVD collection of that series. I would so love to watch it from beginning to end one more time.

There are two more volumes to this story in graphic novel form. I will have to read those at some point. I still don’t know exactly what happens in the aftermath of Banes destruction and the devastation he unleashed on Gotham City.

I’m currently reading a modern Batman comic. Stay tuned to this blog for my review of that story as well.

My Reading Log for 2013

Jack of Fables Comes to an End

I’ve been following the adventures of Jack Horner a.k.a. Jack the Giant Slayer a.k.a. Jack Frost since I first discovered this comic book series. It’s been a great read . . . but all great things must come to an end.

I’ll admit that it felt like the series ended with the last issue. I really didn’t know how they were going to continue the series with the situation they’d left the main character in.

Jack of Fables 8 - The Fulminate Blade

Jack of Fables – The Fulminate Blade

Volume 8 of the on-going series has the title character’s son taking over the title in its entirety. It was strange not having Jack in this book, but the story still managed to deliver just what you’d expect from the series.

Jack Of Fables 9 - The End

Jack of Fables – The End

I laughed out loud several times during the reading of this final ever Jack of Fables story. I can’t say much more about it without giving out spoilers.

It’s the end of an era. 

The original series, Fables, is still going strong. I’ve only read up to Volume 17 and there are four more volumes available now. I hope they’ll be at the library soon. I really enjoy this series.

My 2013 Reading Log – all of the titles I read over the course of the year

The Humans are Worse than the Zombies

Walking Dead TPB

 

The Walking Dead: Volume 4: The Heart’s Desire by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn

The Walking Dead is a very popular television series that was based on a comic book. I read the first hardcover collection a few years back and am only just getting around to reading more of the title.

The story is centred around a small group of survivors. Zombies are everywhere and they are fighting hard to stay alive and stay together.

The survivors are literally prisoners in this issue. They have holed themselves up in a prison. They have cleared it out and barricaded themselves inside. The zombies stay on the other side of the fence eerily watching them.

One of the survivors on the inside had this to say, “I was a prisoner here. It’s weird how different this place can become just by sleeping with the cell door open. . .

I was never out there. I was never in danger, hunted, terrorized by those things. I was here BEFORE they came to life and started killing people . . . And I was in here after.

So yeah–it’s a new world, but God help me . . . I like this world better.”

The appeal of this series is how it is so character driven. It’s not so much about the horror. It is more about the relationships, the fight to survive, and the drama.

Walking Dead TPB

 

The Walking Dead: Volume 5: The Best Defense by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn

The real horror in this volume comes from how the humans treat each other. A global tragedy like the zombie apocalypse should have brought people together. That’s what has happened so far with the small band of survivors that Rick has been leading and keeping safe for nearly a year now. But when a helicopter crashes and he goes to investigate, he is met with a bigger horror than the zombies outside the gate.

My Reading Log for 2013 (with links to each title)

Long Live Daredevil

 

Daredevil: End of Days by Brian Michael Bendis, David Mack, Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Alex Maleev

Daredevil meets a violent end at the hands of his arch-nemesis Bullseye. That’s not a spoiler alert either. This book is about the final days of our favourite super-hero.

The strange thing about this story is that the main character dies at the beginning of the book. He says one word just before dies, however. A word that completely unravels Bullseye.

Reporter Ben Urich starts an investigation to find out why Daredevil had been absent for years, why he returned to crime-fighting, and why he died. It’s personal because he has always respected and admired the super-hero. He even knew the man behind the mask.

 

He starts writing the story of Daredevil’s final days. He interviews many of Daredevil’s allies, enemies, and former lovers and pieces of the story start to come together.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s well-written and beautifully drawn by some of the best writers and artists to ever work on the ongoing series. It’s a dark tale that wraps up Daredevil’s story nicely

My 2013 Reading List (tons of great novels, comics, and teaching-related books)

The Final Days of Captain America

Captain America: The Chosen by David Morrell and Mitch Breitweiser

Ever since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, comic writers have been inspired to tell the stories of the final days of our favourite superheroes. Origin stories have always been popular, but now exit stories are becoming all the more frequent.

This graphic novel tells the story of Captain America’s final days. He is a soldier right until the end, but he realizes that sometimes fighting isn’t as important as inspiring others.

The story starts off in Afghanistan and we are introduced Corporal James Newman. He tells us that he’s been fighting in the war for quite some time. “I’m so used to being scared that I’m numb.”

 

This opening sequence really hits home and shows the harsh realities of war. It seems like the Corporal starts hallucinating when Captain America shows up at his side and helps him save his squad.

Spoiler Alert

It seems like Captain America is dying and reaching out to this soldier via some sort of telepathy. He is inspiring him and teaching him how to become a hero. It’s almost as if he is grooming him to become the new Captain America.

The story is very well done. I didn’t want to put it down. It is inspiring and tells a superhero story that is grounded in the real-life heroes we don’t seem to celebrate as much as the fictional ones in this culture.

I really enjoyed this story and I think you will too.

My Complete (and ever-growing) List of 2013 Reads

Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo

polarity bear

Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure by Sue de Cuevas and Wendy Rasmussen

This book tells the story of a polar bear who lives in a zoo.
She is unhappy being caged up with nothing to do.
This is the first picture book that I’ve been asked to review.
Like many illustrated books for children, it is told in rhyme.
But I have to admit, this style doesn’t work all of the time.

Okay, time to stop rhyming and look a little more closely at this book.

Polarity Bear

The book is beautifully illustrated with a water-colour technique. You can see the polar bear’s emotions quite clearly on every page. She starts out sad and depressed and then becomes happy and amazed at all of the things she sees on her adventure.

In the story, she is able to break out of her cage and she embarks on all sorts of new adventures. She is genuinely happy on this little field trip until she gets dizzy on the carousel and gets a few scrapes and bruises. She then rushes back home and no longer has to be sad about living in a small cage.

The zoo owners have expanded her habitat and made it a much better place to stay.

I like the story and the message behind it. I think zoos are a great place for children to learn about animals from different parts of the world. I know that many people are against locking up these creatures up and putting them on display, but there are ways to make sure these animals are comfortable and happy even in a zoo.

My only criticism of the book is that some of the rhymes don’t fall off of the tongue so easily. I think I hold children’s books to a fairly high standard when it comes to story and rhyme. The two need to work together perfectly.

That being said, I know children who love animals and zoos will get a lot out of this book. It can open up discussion about the fair treatment of animals. It can be a fun read one lazy afternoon. And it even ties in community since it is set in a real place with a familiar setting.

My 2013 Reading Log (with links to every title I read this year)

Batman, Robin, and The Red Hood Join Forces

 

Batman & Robin: Dark Knight Vs. White Knight by Cornel, McDaniel, Tomasi, Gleason, Winick, and Tocchini

There are three stories in this graphic novel. My favourite is not the title story, however. I much prefer the story arc that had Batman and Robin joining forces with The Red Hood.

A little bit of history here that shouldn’t come as a spoiler to any dedicated Batman fan. The Red Hood is a vigilante that doesn’t have the morality of Batman, although he has a history with him. He was Robin at one point in time.

 

But he met a nasty end at the hands of the Joker.

 

Jason Todd’s story was brilliantly presented in the animated feature film, Batman: Under the Red Hood. I highly recommend this movie.

Spoiler Alert

In this graphic novel, Jason Todd is imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. He makes an appeal that he doesn’t deserve to be held in a facility for the criminally insane and as such, gets transferred to a regular prison. He unleashes havoc in the general population and kills several inmates.

He escapes the prison and once again dons the mantel of The Red Hood. In the panel before this final page teaser to set up the next issue, he mentions how he had to improvise with his costume . . .

 

This make-shift costume is definitely inspired by Punisher but I like the new look. And I am interested to see where this character goes next.

My 2013 Reading Log (every title I’ve read over the course of this year)