Friday, September 21, 2012

What I read this week - Sept 21

There are few things worse in life than 'the talk'.  Up until this point, Wife and I have managed to avoid it.  Unfortunately, with everything going on and kids talking to other kids, it was time.  Actually, it was well past time so over the summer, we explained evolution to them.

That's right, we explained the theory of evolution and the scientific basis for it.  In a nutshell, we explained how everything we know about man has come from this little theory.  We also had to explain that not everyone believes in it which led to another long, long discussion.  But, that is a topic for another day.  At the end of our family discussion, the kids understood the basics and that our family believes in evolution.

Soon after, we were at the pool, and Tiny swam over to me with a gleeful look in her eye.  She motioned me closer and whispered into my ear, "Daddy, Daddy, I can prove evolution to all the people who don't believe."

To say my curiosity was piqued is an understatement. "And, how would you do that?" I asked.

Tiny looked around conspiratorially, fixed her eyes on the biggest, hairiest man I had ever seen and POINTED. "Look at him Daddy.  He's got hair everywhere.  He's even got hair on his back so he must have come from monkeys.  See Daddy, he proves evolution."  And with that, she swam off happy as a clam that she had proven the theory of evolution.

Well, it's hard to argue with such logic.  I'm just glad the man didn't see her pointing because he would have killed me.

Anyway, as for books, this week I read Prophet Vol 1, Glory Vol 1, Peter Panzerfaust Vol 1, and The Bulletproof Coffin.

You can see what I thought of the rest of the books below the break.

Let’s start the reviews off with Glory Vol 1: The Once and Future Destroyer, written by Joe Keatinge and illustrated by Ross Campbell, published by Image, 144 pgs, $10,

Why start with Glory? Because I am sure that is what you are asking me! Why the heck would anyone want to read about a watered-down, Rob Liefeld created, Wonder Woman clone? Honestly, I can’t tell you why I picked this up. Maybe it was the buzz coming off of Prophet (which I talk about later) or maybe it was just a general vibe. I don’t know my reason but I am glad I did. Just as Alan Moore did with Supreme, this is the best non-Wonder Woman story on the stands.

Keatinge writes a tight tale with just enough future events to make the reader aware that everything is going to end badly.  But there's enough sense of hope that it will all work out.  Beyond a tight story, I think his Wonder Woman Glory is just perfect.  She is the second most powerful being in her universe.  She was raised, and endlessly trained, to be nothing but an engine of destruction.  Can she change?  Probably not but it's fun watching her try and not succeed. 

The art by Ross Campbell is awesome too.  He draws real women.  And I mean R-E-A-L women!  Glory isn't a supermodel in a bikini fighting bad guys.  She's a huge beast of woman full of muscles and plain old mean.  It's a welcome sight to see (semi) real proportions.  It should be noted that Campbell achieves this by using thick black lines.  It creates depth and size on the characters that make them leap off the page.  When Glory goes nuts and starts destroying enemies left and right, it's believable.

If you're looking for a great story with tight art then look no further.

Peter Panzerfaust Volume 1: The Great Escape, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe, illustrated by Tyler Jenkins, published by Image, 128 pgs, $15

I wanted so much to like this book. I really, really did but it just didn’t happen. I’ve come to the conclusion that war books bore me. There’s way too much reality in them. I want my books to be huge and fun and have big, huge fantasicles that make me go ooooohhhh and aaaahhhh. Sadly Peter has none of this.

The premise is Peter Pan battles nazis in WWII.  Based upon that description I expected... I don't know.. more?  I expected some magic.  I expected some wild settings.  What I got was a standard war stories with a boy named Peter.  The problem is that I could have swapped Peter for a boy named Greg who is overly enthusiastic and really lucky and it would have been the same book.

The art didn't help either.  It was technically competent but not very exciting.  It reminded me of a watered down version of Ted McKeever during his Eddy Current days.

Sadly, I can't recommend this book.

Prophet Vol 1: Remission, written by Brandon Graham, Simon Roy and illustrated by Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, Giannis Milogiannis, published by Image, 136 pgs, $10.

Let me just state for the record that this book is insane. Lots of stuff happened which impacted all sorts of other stuff and was in some really odd way all connected. See, I can’t even write about it coherently.

Remember how Alan Moore took a crappy Superman rip-off (Supreme) and wrote some of the greatest Superman stories ever? Well Graham has done the same with third tier throwaway character Prophet. It’s a book of great big Kirby-esque ideas mashed up and spit back out. I’m not saying you’ll completely understand it (I sure didn’t) but you will have a heck of a great time getting there. Where ever that is. Anyway, I wrote a long review here

Also, I read The Bulletproof Coffin, written by David Hine and illustrated by Shaky Kane, published by Image, 200 pgs, $18.

I actually read this two weeks ago but it’s worth mentioning. This is a very Morrison-esque story within a story with tons of metatext. You can read it as a silly superhero story and really enjoy it, or you can read it as a scathing indictment of the comic book industry and really enjoy it. Either way, you will really enjoy it.

You can read the long review here.

And that’s all for this week.


  1. HEY! There was a comment... it got deleted. No name calling on the blog. That's always been the rules.

    If you want to start trouble go elsewhere.

  2. Lee,

    You've got a lot more faith than me if you believe that stuff. Funny story though.


  3. Has anybody seen my driver's license? :)

  4. There's no faith in evolution. It's just science. It's the same scientific method that brings us cars, phones, planes, trains, medicine, and on and on. Saying you dont' have faith in evolution is the same as saying you don't have faith in the scientific method. You can't pick and choose with science. New information and new means of testing may bring new results and new information, but it's still the scientific method.

  5. There's a lot of articles on the other side too, Thomm. Have you read any of them?

  6. Unfortunately, yes.

    I'm no babe in the woods with this "dispute". My wife used to adhere to this fuzzy thinking when she first got saved. She's moved away from that now, fortunately. But in the meantime I read a lot of that faith trying to manipulate science into foregone conclusions.

    Beyond that, I've read all the major holy books - Bible, Quran, Torah, Compassionate Bhudda, some Zen texts, some Upanishads, the Book of Mormon, a good bit of Native American myth, not to mention Greek, Norse, and Egyptian myth stories. I like stories. I like to know what influences the cultures of the world.

    The Bible in particular should not be read literally. Jesus preached his entire message in parables (and there is a school of scholarship that says Jesus never existed in the first place, but I'll let that go for now). Why, then, try to take Genesis as literal? Genesis is merely an attempt by a pastoral people with little to no concept of science to tell stories that explain how they came to be. There are plenty of others, and the influence of pagan stories from the same region is easily seen in Genesis. Floods wiping out large numbers of people is a common theme in origin stories, for instance.

    But let's look at the Bible's creation story. If God is in Heaven, how does he not create Heaven until the second day? How does God create night and day on the first day but no sun, moon, or stars until the fourth day? If God created all the animals and plants known when Genesis was written, why is there no mention of the many extinct animals we know existed prior to the writing of Genesis? Where are the great lizards? Why does Genesis 1:27 say man and woman were created on the sixth day but Genesis 2 goes into a whole other story of how man was created after the seventh day, and then woman created some time after that? Lilith?

    It doesn't really matter how you resolve these questions to satisfy your belief. The key point is that you can't read these passages literally because they contradict one another. You can explain them with outside sources or by saying the stories are representative of concepts, which is fine. But they are not, cannot be, literal.

    If they cannot be literal, then there's no conflict with science. Science is, as I said, a method. Question, research, hypothesis, testing, data analysis, results. New developments in technology can lead to new results. A large part of what science is about is that it can, in theory, be disproved. Someone could come up with new information that gravity works totally differently from what we know now and we could all start flying under our own power. It's unlikely, but in the world of science it's possible. That would be the world we live in, where definite answers are few and far between.

  7. A literal belief in Genesis doesn't just mean denying evolution. It means astrophysics, geology, biology, DNA, chemistry, anthropology - all of it is wrong. It means that the scientific method is an invalid concept. It also means that we live in a world where anything can happen at any moment. You could poof out of existence because an unseen deity whimsically decides it so. You could turn purple. Your entire family could turn into a menagerie of barnyard creatures. I could suddenly have gills instead of lungs. In a world in which an omnipotent and omniscient deity exists we humans live in the most tenuous and uncertain condition.

    Yeah, the Bible and the Quran promise God promises this and that to the faithful. Like God never changes his mind in either book. Who's going to penalize him if he goes back on his word?

    Evolution is a branch of science. It has been tested for over 150 years. It continues to develop. Specifics of how we came to be the animals we are today will continue to develop as new information is discovered and new methods of testing are developed. We will continue to test ourselves to learn our origins.

    At what point has God been tested by the scientific method? When's he stepping forward into the light of day? The day that happens, I'll buy into belief in a deity. Until then, faith and science shouldn't be conflated.