Category Archives: 2014 reads

Ender’s Game Concludes with Children of the Mind

Children of the Mind

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card

It’s taken me a while but I have finally read the original Ender’s Game series.

The first novel is a science fiction classic that I stumbled upon seven years ago. I was completely blown away by the tale and it became one of my all-time favourite books.

The second book in the series, Speaker for the Dead, did the impossible. It topped the original. Sequels rarely do that, but the second book stands as my favourite of the series.

The third book was enjoyable but couldn’t quite compare to the two back-to-back knock-out punches. Fortunately though, Orson Scott Card brings it all home in the fourth and final chapter of the series.

But like all good characters and stories, this one lives on. Card is apparently working on a new trilogy focusing on the alien species, The Formics.

That would bring the grand total up to 19 novels. I have only read 7 of them so I still have some work to do to exhaust the complete Enderverse Saga.

I highly recommend the audio books of this series. They are produced with full-cast narration and sound effects. They sound amazing and are, quite frankly, the best way to experience the stories.

My Reading Log of 2014 – continually updated all year long

This is an Avenger’s World. It is Protected!

Avengers Vol 1

Avengers: Volume 1 – Avengers World

Trouble is brewing and it seems like the only hope for earth is The Avengers. Captain America and Iron-Man realize that the team, as it is, won’t be enough. So they start recruiting to make the team even bigger and more powerful.

Avengers Vol 2

Avengers: Volume 2 – The Last White Event

I read this series a little out of order. I started with this title over a year ago simply because it was at the public library. You never know what you will find there. I love the randomness, but I also like the binge reading I’ve been doing lately as well.

Avengers Vol 3

Avengers: Volume 3 – Prelude to Infinity

Alien beings have launched weapons to spark a new evolution on Earth. They are part of an ancient race that have been doing this since the beginning of time. They have visited planet after planet and have never met resistance like they are about to on Earth.

Avengers Vol 4

Avengers: Volume 4 – Infinity

The Avengers get some help fighting an alien menace that is determined to reshape the Earth.

S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) and even the Skrulls help fight the aliens. The Avengers truly are living up to their mandate to grow and expand, even if it is with temporary allies.

Avengers Vol 5

Avengers: Volume 5 – Adapt or Die

A rogue planet is hurtling through space and is on a collision course with the Earth. And it seems like one of Iron-Man’s descendants might have to key to save the day. Time-travelling members of the team? Things truly are expanding.

That is all for my Avenger’s binge reading . . . for now! 

My 2014 Reading Log – a comprehensive list of everything I read this year

Is the new Spider-Man truly Superior?

Superior Spider-Man

The Superior Spider-Man Volume 1

In the final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus cheats death by body-swapping with Peter Parker. It looks like all is lost but Peter manages to get inside of Doc Ock’s brain and convinces him to continue on as a super-hero instead of a villain.

In this first graphic novel of the new comic series, we see that Peter Parker is trapped inside his own brain and Otto Octavius is in complete control of his body. The cool thing is that he has dedicated himself as The Superior Spider-Man as vows to be an even better, more efficient Spider-Man that Peter Parker ever was.

Superior Spider-Man Vol 2

The Superior Spider-Man Volume 2

It’s amazing to see that Otto Octavius, the man who used to be the evil Doc Ock, is actually able to be the heroic Spider-Man. His methods are brutal and people question his motives, but ultimately he is still doing good deeds.

Peter Parker is still fighting to regain control of his body and to let people know that it really isn’t him behind the mask and living his day-to-day life in his civilian identity.

Superior Spider-Man Vol 3

The Superior Spider-Man Volume 3

J. Jonah Jameson is now the mayor of New York City and he is overseeing the execution of the super-villain who killed his wife. When things go wrong on the island prison, he orders Spider-Man to kill the villain himself.

Spider-Man records the conversation and uses it to blackmail the mayor. He gets a secret base, a private militia, and he no longer needs to live a double life. He has even vanquished the part of Peter Parker that still managed to exert some kind of control. The Superior Spider-Man is now loose to be the hero he wants to be, even if it is a more brutal and ruthless one.

Superior Spider-Man Vol 4

The Superior Spider-Man Volume 4

Spider-man 2099 comes back from the future in this edition and is surprised to find that this time’s Spider-man doesn’t remember him. But there are bigger things afoot that need to be addressed, mainly the end of the universe as we know it.

This series has been a great read so far. I can’t wait to read more. Doc Ock is supposedly The Superior Spider-Man but I think we would all like to see Peter Parker come back some day!

My 2014 Reading Log – sure to break a reading record this year!

Bullseye: Greatest Hits

bullseye greatest hits

Bullseye: Greatest Hits

This is a one-off story that attempts to tell the origin of one of the most dangerous villains in comics. This graphic novel collects the entire run of the five issues mini-series.

First off, the title is a bit of a misnomer. This wasn’t a greatest hits compilation. It didn’t retell any of his victories or legendary battles.

Instead, we see him being held in a top-secret and super-secure facility. A negotiating team goes in to talk to him about the whereabouts of a nuclear bomb that he had stolen just prior to being apprehended.

Bullseye acts as though he is exactly where he wants to be, and that he, in fact, has the upper hand, despite being locked down in a seemingly inescapable prison.

Of course, with Bullseye things are never quite what they seem.

This was a nice read and a good companion to my favourite superhero, Daredevil.

My List of 2014 Reads – a detailed reading log of all the titles I’ve read this year

The Hulk is Indestructible

marvel-indestructible-hulk-tpb-1

Indestructible Hulk: Volume 1 – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Bruce Banner has been fighting the monster within ever since the Gamma Bomb turned him into the Incredible Hulk. The meek scientist has been looking for a cure for years. He hates the damage that The Hulk causes every single time he is unleashed.

Banner realizes that The Hulk is indestructable and has come up with a plan that he can live with. He joins S.H.I.E.L.D. so he can be a weapon whenever he hulks out. They simple have to point him in the right direction so he can battle evil forces. In return, he gets a lab and a team of scientists to work on things to benefit humanity.

The new slogan: Hulk  Smashes, Banner Builds!

It seems like a perfect solution.

Indestructible Hulk 2

Indestructible Hulk: Volume 2 – Gods and Monster

This was a really fun graphic novel. The Hulk actually lifts Thor’s hammer, as if he wasn’t dangerous enough without it. There is a lot of comedy in this issue as well. I loved it!

This volume also features my favourite superhero, Daredevil.

Daredevil x Hulk

That was a pleasant surprise and made for a great read. Maybe it tied into the fact that both Daredevil and Thor were featured in the old Incredible Hulk television series. Why not have them both back in a graphic novel too?

Indestructible Hulk 3

Indestructible Hulk: Volume 3 – S.M.A.S.H Time

Time is broken and to make things worse, someone is messing with The Hulk’s past. Bruce Banner beams his consciousness into a robot probe so he can control The Hulk, the only being strong enough to travel through the time distortions and set things right.

The Hulk meets up with the knights of Camelot, dinosaurs in the Old West, and even pirates on the open sea. It’s another great adventure in this series that I am really enjoying.

Indestructible Hulk 4

Indestructible Hulk: Volume 4 – Humanity Bomb

There is a global threat that Bruce Banner thinks he can alleviate with his latest scientific creation. Before he can set his plan in motion, he hulks out and is running around town with a giant bomb.

Ant-Man and Iron-Man are worried what the monster will do and feel the need to stop him at all costs. But did Banner have the right idea all along? And could this bomb help counteract the Terrigen Mist that threatens humanity?

I have really enjoyed this series so far and look forward to reading more of this title.

My List of 2014 Reads – my reading log for the year with links to every single title I read

Earth Afire – Ender’s Game Prequel

Earth_Afire

Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

I had no idea that this book was part of a trilogy when I started reading it. I just thought it was a one-off prequel to Ender’s Game. I enjoyed the read but it seemed like it took a long time to get to the actual story I wanted to read.

I was already familiar with a bit of the story because I read the graphic novel Formic Wars: Burning Earth and I really enjoyed it.

As I got close to the end of this novel, however, I started to worry that the story wasn’t going to be resolved. Just when the it finally got to the point I’d wanted to read, the story ended abruptly.

I like my novels to have some sort of closure, even in a trilogy. This book didn’t do that for me.

Orson Scott Card is one of my favourite authors but I hate to admit that I really am not interested in reading the final book in this series. Instead, I want to finish reading the original Ender’s Game series. I am currently reading Children of the Mind.

I know that I am not painting this book in the greatest of light, but the original Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, are absolutely amazing, fantastic books that I highly recommend.

My 2014 Reading Log – 40 titles and counting

The New Spider-Man, Miles Morales

I’d been wanting to read this title for some time now. I finally got around to it, thanks to the Marvel Unlimited Comics App on my iPhone. They had a one month special subscription price as a special comic-con deal that I just had to take them up on.

I read all of the graphic novels in this series, the original death of Peter Parker storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man, and all of The Superior Spider-Man titles as well. That was well worth with $1.99 subscription.

I’m thinking of buying a yearly subscription as well. It really is worth it to be able to read all of theses great comics anytime on my phone.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 1

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 1

Miles Morales becomes the new Spider-Man but his powers are a little bit different. He has a venom strike that shocks his enemies much like a tazer. He also has the ability to camouflage himself by blending into the background of his environment. The really surprising thing is that he doesn’t have the ability to shoot webs.

I like the fact that he has a Black father and a Hispanic mother. He also has his own identity and the story doesn’t feel like a retread of the original Spider-Man we all know and love.

Brian Michael Bendis did a great job of relaunching the iconic character for a new generation in the Ultimate Universe. It compelled me to read more immediately.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 2

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 2

Peter Parker’s Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane Watson share with Miles their stories and give Miles the encouragement he needs to continue as Spider-Man. They also give him Peter Parker’s web-shooters. Spider-Man is back and swinging from webs once again. Seeing Miles learn how to use them was hilarious and uplifting. I loved it!

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 3

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 3

The new Spider-Man gets to join The Avengers, despite Captain America’s objections. Miles also finds out that his uncle isn’t exactly the man he thought he was. And even worse, he discovers that Miles is a super-hero and tries to use him to advance his own criminal career.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 4

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 4

Enter Venom and family tragedy. This was a story that had me on the edge of my seat.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol 5

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 5

This image is so iconic and I’m glad they used it in the new Spider-Man series. It makes sense for Miles to pack it all in. He takes a break for close to a year, but he truly is Spider-Man now and is needed. He gets some great encouragement and finally realizes his destiny as a crime-fighting superhero.

I really enjoyed this read. It was a great series that I would have loved to seen continue. But fortunately, I have this app on my phone and can start reading the other new Spider-Man title, The Superior Spider-Man.

My List of 2014 Reads – My Reading Log for the year

Amazing Spider-Man: Dying Wish

amazing-spider-man-dying-wish-tpb

The Amazing Spider-Man: Dying Wish by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, and Richard Elson

Spider-Man swung into our lives in 1963 and immediately became an iconic hero. But all good stories must come to an end. This graphic novel tells the story of the final days of Peter Parker. It collects issues 698-700 of The Amazing Spider-Man.

Spoiler Alert

Doctor Octopus is on his death bed and has merely hours left to live. He manages to cheat death by switching bodies with Peter Parker.

Peter tries his best to beat his nemesis and reclaim his body. Unfortunately, he fails at this task. Yet, in his final moments in the broken body of  Doc Ock, Peter manages to show the doctor exactly why he is Spider-Man. He uses the memory switch to implant his own mission into  his nemesis.

Peter Parker dies in the body of Doctor Octopus. And no one knows that the actual living Spider-Man has been body-snatched with that of a villian.

The twist here is that Doctor Octopus truly buys into being Spider-Man and he tackles it with such vigor, rebranding himself, Superior Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man comes to a close but a new series, The Superior Spider-Man takes over.

Peter Parker is dead, but in comics, death is never permanent. Hopefully he will return one day. He is a great character.

My List of 2014 Reads – with links to every title I read over the course of the year.

Transformers: In the End there is Chaos

transformers-heart-of-darkness-tpb

Transformers: Volume 4 – Heart of Darkness

Galvatron in back and it looks like the on-going series has taken steps towards the second generation. I much admit that I have always preferred Generation One Transformers and I missed having Optimus Prime and Megatron in this issue.

I didn’t have to worry though, the Generation One characters are still alive and well and interact with the newer characters in the rest of this arc.

transformers-vol5-chaos-theory

Transformers: Volume 5 – Chaos Theory

We see biological aliens in this issue. That’s not something we see often in the Transformers universe.

Rodimus has survived and keeps the Matrix of leadership safe from aliens who want to harness its power. He makes it back to Earth and Optimus Prime is reunited with the Matrix.

Transformers_Vol6_Police_Action

Transformers: Volume 6 – Police Action

This issue takes place completely on Earth. Spike is accused of murdering a Decepticon. Political tension is high as the Autobots try to figure out what really happened.

Transformers-Vol7-Chaos

Transformers: Volume 7 – Chaos

I had no idea that the on-going Transformers series was coming to an end with this trade paperback.

The big battle has arrived. Galvatron is really close to opening a portal that would unleash a terrible darkness into the world. The Decepticons become mere pawns in this battle and it looks like things are very bleak for Optimus Prime, the Autobots, Cybertron, and the entire universe.

What’s Next?

Two new on-going series continue the Transformer story. I have yet to read these titles, but I understand that they are really good. A fellow blogger on Tumblr has told me they are even better than the series I just finished reading. That’s good to hear, because these last four issues weren’t that great, in my humble opinion.

I look forward to reading these new titles.

More Than Meets the Eye – Rodimus travels through space in an expedition to find the Knights of Cybertron.

Robots in Disguise – This series is set on Cybertron and has Bumblebee trying to restart a new golden age after the war that ravaged the planet.

My List of 2014 Reads – my reading log for the year (continually updated)

Hidden Empire

Hidden Empire

Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card

I read the first book of this series, Empire, a few years back.

I didn’t even realize that there was more to it. I found this hardcover book at the dollar store and couldn’t believe it. Orson Scott Card is one of my favourite authors. I just had to pick it up.

The first book was really good and I enjoyed it. I’m not much of a gamer but apparently, there is an X-box game that stands between these two narratives. It’s called Shadow Complex. 

shadow complex

The second novel revolves around an epidemic that breaks out in Africa. The president of the United States effectively uses the tragedy to affect change on a world-wide scale.

Certain members of Special Forces start to think that there might be more behind the president’s actions. He could be working towards building an empire and effectively destroying democracy. Or is it merely coincidental?

This is a political thriller that circles around one family. It is well-written and fast-paced but not quite as good as the original, in my humble opinion.

My List of 2014 Reads – My Reading Log for the Year