Friday, October 19, 2012

What I Read This Week - Oct 19

So this weekend I finally managed to see the Avengers movie.  I know, I know I am slow but finding 3 hrs to waste doing nothing is harder than it looks at my house.  Grandpa came to visit and brought his copy with him so there were no excuses.  Boy and I could barely wait to see it while the girls could care less. 

How do I know the girls didn't care?  I asked.  The conversation went something like this,
Me:  Girl, Tiny, wanna watch the Avengers movie with us?
Girl: Is there any kissing?  I like the kissing parts.
Me: No.  There is no kissing in superhero movies.  There is no crying in baseball and no kissing in the superhero movies. 
Girl:  No kissing?  It's just gonna be dumb boys punching each other.  I'm gonna go play.

So it was just the boys watching the movie.  Now, Boy is getting older and while he hasn't quite found girls yet he's getting close.  As far as that goes, I keep my head in the sand and hope that he doesn't find them until he's in college and long gone so I don't have to worry about it.

Well, apparently I am not going to be so lucky.  Do you remember the scene with Gwyneth Paltrow early in the movie.  Downey Jr flies in as Iron Man into his new fancy skyscraper and proceeds to flirt with her.  And, in case you forgot she is wearing daisy dukes, which, while looking good, are completly ridiculous in context.

So, as Gwyneth is doing he best catwalk across the sceen, Boy turns to me and non chalantly states: Yep, that's what you call a butt shaker.

Well, he was right.  And on that note, on to the books!  This week I read Echo: The Complete EditionAlias Vol. 1, and The Taxidermist.

This week suffered from high expectations but you can see exactly what I thought below the break.

Echo: The Complete Edition
by (w/a) Terry Moore
600 pgs, $40, published by Abstract Studio
I can't decide if this book suffered more from high expectations or from the collected format.  This book was so well reviewed, and so highly praised, that I had huge expectations for it.  I expected to immediately love it.  I expected to be sucked in for 600 pages.  I wasn't.  That's not true, I was sucked into 200 pages and then the cracks started appearing.

I think the problem is due to reading the entire series at one sitting.  It's really hard to create a balance between a good monthly read and a good collected read.  I think this would have been great monthly because I wouldn't have remembered all the details.  If you forget little details from month to month then alot of the issues I have go away.  Unfortunately I read this in one sitting and it suffered.  Villains appear for no other reason than to move the plot forward.  Events occur for no other reason than to move the plot forward.  The characters travel from location to location by... as the Muppets say 'by map.'

That isn't to say it's all bad.  Moore has a great ear for dialogue and can create some great interactions between the characters.  Many of the quiet moments for over the top good.  But many of the action sequences were flat.

As for the art.... 600 pages of Moore's art is just too much for me.  It was good for awhile but then it just got repetitive.   The characters, especially the women, started looking the same and his inking isn't all that strong.  The actual composition of the pages was always great and Moore's story telling abilites are fantastic.  But it just got old.

My recommendation.  Get the trade and read one or two issues as week.  I am sure it will be great then.  Just don't read it all at once.

Alias Vol. 1
by (w) Brian Michael Bendis, (a) Michael Gaydos
224 pgs, covers issues 1-9 of the series published in '01-'02.
Harvey Award for "Best New Series" in 2002.

I read it years ago and decided it was time to see if it still held its charm after all these years.  I am sad to say it doesn't.  At the time, Max books were still new and having Marvel characters act like dogs and cats in heat while swearing like sailors was novel and groundbreaking. 

Not so much anymore.  This felt like reading the original FF stories.  I know why they are great.  I know why they are important but boy do they feel old.  I think Alias really changed alot of things in the Marvel U and for that it's important.  These days I am no longer impressed by Luke Cage acting like a slut and dropping F-bombs every other page.

It's some very strong work from Bendis.  It's great crime noir with superheroes.  But it's no longer new and fresh.  Sometimes you can't go home.

The Taxidermist
by (w) John Wagner, (a) Ian Gibson, Cam Kennedy, and Trevor Hairsine
128 pgs, published by 2000AD.

And this is my random read of the week.  This is a collection of stories about a Taxidermist in the Dreddverse.  Of course, since it's Judge Dredd, he works on people, skinning them and posing them just perfectly.  The first story in interesting but that's about it.

The second story is where the book really shines.  Our Taxidermist comes out of retirement to compete in Taxidermy at the Olympics!  That's right, taxidermy is a sport worthy of a medal just like competitive staring, burp singing, and artistic sex.

Written around the time of the '96 summer Olympics, this is a perfect satire of the whole tradition.  Grant makes some of the silliest events and creates some wonderful characters doing it.  There is so much black humor that you can't help but laugh out loud.

Ian Gibson does the art chores in color and it's some of his best work.  He has a wild angular style that's evident from the cover.  If you like that then you will love the rest of it.

There isn't anything really earth shattering here but it's certainly a great deal of fun if you can find it.

That's it for this week. 

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