Monday, April 29, 2013

Dejah Thoris vs. the White Apes

Not gonna lie, this one can probably be summed up in one panel.

T & A and apes and gore.

So, the quirky thing about this was that I was rooting for Dynamite, even with all the obvious T & A. (Yeah, I know in the original Barsoom stories, everyone ran around in their birthday suits, still...)  You see, I think one thing wrong with the John Carter movie was the portrayal of the White Apes.  They seemed more monstrous than ape - strange faces, really oversized bodies compared to the original A Princess of Mars descriptions.  And, the movie only hauled them out for the big arena fight.

I think one of the stronger chapters of A Princess of Mars is when Carter first encounters the apes.  The apes haunt the ruins of Mars.  It is a much more suspenseful reveal and certainly could be setup as a horror movie scene, rather than the big monster of the arena, thing.

Anyway, at first glance of plot it seemed Dejah Thoris and the White Apes of Mars might harken back to those roots.  But, it got stuck in gore horror mode.  Blood and dismemberment and apes gnawing on flesh.  A lot of it.

Plot motivation is a little on the simplistic side.  Set in the ten years John Carter disappeared, Dejah is bored and decides on a archaeological field trip with her lady friends.  Given the "girly" dialog at some points, I find it hard to believe these women wouldn't rather be at a weekend spa.  Their airship crashes near some ruins before they reach their destination.  Cue apes.

On the plus side it is sharply drawn.  It is a very visual story with little dialog once the action starts.  Dejah is rather badass, fighting to the last.

I guess I might buy the digital version if it were on sale and I didn't already have the print.  Might be okay in print if you don't pay full cover price.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Overdue reviews

Men of Bronze by Scott Oden

Great historical epic, rich in details from daily life to battlefield carnage. Setups and payoffs work well from the opening skirmish, through the political intrigue through to the crescendo of the final battle.  When Greek mercenaries swap their allegiance from Pharaoh to the Persians, the Phoenician Hasdrabal Barca leads his own mercenary company - the Medjay - to stamp out the traitors before it is too late.  Oden was directly inspired by Robert E. Howard - in fact, his first novel attempt was a Conan novel, but he came to understand his niche might be found in historical fiction.  And we readers are all the richer for his decision.  If you want a historical that is action-oriented and set in a period you don't usually read about, this would be a great change of pace for your reading list.

Plague of Shadows (Pathfinder Tales) by Howard Andrew Jones

Good adventuring with a nice angle, as someone else noted, "what happens when elves get too old for this s*&^?" A blend of D&D adventuring with tones of Jirel of Jory and the western, Unforgiven. The payoffs here are setup through characters, hard truths and exposed lies. I look forward to Jones' next entry in the Pathfinder universe, and I need to check out some of the other authors and novels of this world.

Sharpe's Havoc by Bernard Cornwell

Fun Sharpe romp, as usual. This time around Sharpe and his riflemen are trapped behind enemy lines in Portugal while under orders from a duplicitous colonel. Fine blend of historic details, fun characters and action.

Assimilation² (graphic novel)

Star Trek: the Next Generation Meets Doctor Who!  The Borg meet the Cybermen!  Could a Whovian who generally enjoyed Star Trek: the Next Generation resist?  No, because resistance is futile!

Yes, it's a geek fest.  But, it's not a bad crossover.  Featuring the current Doctor, the 11th, played by Matt Smith, and his companions Amy & Rory.  Some details are lost in the rush to have all the characters meet from across the two universes.  The Borg merging with Cybermen makes sense.  The Borg showed they weren't afraid to penetrate dimensions in Star Trek: Voyager, and the current restart of Doctor Who's Cybermen started in an alternate universe.  It is never satifactorily explained why the TARDIS and the Doctor and his companions universe hopped, though.  But, we're here more for the ride than the how & why.

There's even a Captain Kirk / 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) flashback as the universes start to produce new memories when their timelines collide.

I read this as individual issues over last year, I did not get the current collected trade paperbacks.  The painted art-style took some getting used to.  When I heard they were doing this crossover, honestly, even I wasn't too interested until I learned it would be the Cybermen and Borg.  I always said the Cybermen were the original Borg.

If you're a fan, it works.  Check it out.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Boston.  I was born there.  I grew up in the suburbs and live in those suburbs still.  Today is our celebration of the battles of Lexington and Concord.  The shot heard 'round the world.

All the towns where I have lived sent Minute Men to Lexington and Concord when the call went out.  I have seen graves of Revolutionary soldiers still bedecked with the stars-&-stripes on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

We are the birthplace of the American Revolution.

And you, whoever you are who attacked us today, had a few bombs.

Not impressed.  Then again, I am never impressed with cowards.