Review: Low Vol. 1 – The Delirium of Hope, by Rick Remender

Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of HopeLow, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The artwork here grows on you a fair bit, especially when you realize it’s like Heavy Metal crossed with Conan the Barbarian set in Waterworld.

It’s no secret to any of the Shallows gang, RR is one of my faves. The intro talks about his pessimism and how therapy helped him be optimistic and how it changed his whole world. I’m happy for him, but I can see how sometimes tortured artists produce better work.

This is not a bad book at all, but the one thing Remender usually had going for him in spades was his humour. Never did I worry he was going to go write for DC…however, Low is lacking any sort of humour. This is a major problem. For a book about optimism and positive thinking and hope, it was devoid of humour. Does this mean that humour is tied into being negative or pessimistic? I wonder, because people think I’m funny, and I’m not a wild optimist. I’m a defeated idealist who uses sarcasm to gloss over how much humanity disappoints me. However, my misery usually makes others laugh?
Either way, without the humour, this is just another slightly above average dystopian sci-fi book.

Humanity lives in cities under the ocean, as the sun expands and ruins the Earth…one woman is optimistic and full of hope…so,naturally all the bad shit happens to her and her family.

Her hubby dies, kids kidnapped, and her son descends into depression. Then a glimmer of hope 10 yrs later, and we are off on our merry or not so merry way…
For a book about optimism, it sure wasn’t happy. Ironic, no?

That being said, it is interesting enough to pursue, but not aggressively.

Thanks for the free copy NetGalley!


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Review: ODY-C Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction

ODY-C, Vol. 1ODY-C, Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While the idea is interesting, changing the setting of Homer’s Odyssey to Sci-Fi and the genders all reversed, the actual execution is lacking.
In some places the art is wow cool, in others I feel like I could draw a more accurate body on a humanoid character.
Trying to match the prose style of epic poetry is admirable, but nuts. Fraction can’t tell if he’s going modern futuristic dialogue or ye olde Greek…it’s frustrating.

The triumph of this book is the colouring. Whoever the colourist is should win awards.

This was a free read now book of NetGalley, and thanks for it. The words above represent my honest opinion.

Fraction is becoming a little too miss and not enough hit for me lately, but that’s just my thoughts. He not boring, though. I will always give him that!


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Review: Drifter Vol. 1 – Out of the Night; by Ivan Brandon

Drifter Volume 1: Out of the NightDrifter Volume 1: Out of the Night by Ivan Brandon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hmm…well. Free on NetGalley!

I think this is another piggyback on the space western idea.

There’s no explanation which is a double edged sword…I like not being spoon fed, but a little context might help

This wants to be cerebral like the Prisoner or something, and I’m not quite sure…it could be potentially fun, or terrible.

Time will tell…

Art is a highlight for sure.


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Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 3 – N-Zone; by Warren Ellis

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 3: N-ZoneUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 3: N-Zone by Warren Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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OK, so Volume 3 again is helmed by Warren Ellis, who for me, has done nearly the best sustained job of writing Reed Richards that I can recall. He gets just how smart this guy is, but also in the Ultimate version, makes him have a slightly more in-tune with other humans vibe. (If I can put it this way, most people write Reed like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory in the first season, whereas Ellis writes him more like Leonard, who’s still super smart, but gets the social contract a bit more…) After our adventures with Victor Van Damme last volume, here we focus on the N-Zone (negative zone).

The science in this book is fascinating, but done on a level where anyone who reads it slow-ly can un-der-stand. I love that Reed takes the time to try and metaphorically explain things to Ben, who fully admits that he’s clueless, but I love that this Reed cares enough to try.

Adam (& Andy) Kubert is back on art duties in this volume, and one thing that jumped out at me, is that he totally captures just how sad Ben Grimm’s eyes are. There might be 5 panels in the book where he doesn’t have that sad distant look in them, and it’s brilliant…Ben is completely cut off from his humanity, unlike the others who still maintain human forms. However, a small conversation with the usually shallow Johnny kinda hits home for him: Ben wanted to play football, and Johnny says OK so you wanted to be broke and washed up at 30 with bum knees to score a few goals? Dude, you punched out a Sea Monster the other day. You get to be a Superhero! Are you really going to be that sad about not playing ball?

It’s things like that, this Fantastic Foursome are not just cardboard cutouts or generic FF settings, these are actual young people, who’ve undergone a huge change in their lives, and are mostly excited about what that change presents them with…Sue is strong, fiercely intelligent biologist in her own right, not just ‘Reed’s Girlfriend and Johnny’s Sister’ or the kids’ mom. Johnny is the young one of the group, not tremendously different from the regular version, but he’s still excited and eager, and not as jaded or douche-y as he can be. Ben as I’ve mentioned before, is an actual person, not just a dumbass with catchphrases (though we do see the etymology of his famous rallying cry, which is neat), he’s self-aware, mournful for his lost humanity, but also a strong and loyal protector to these people.

We also see humour that’s not just canned stale jokes, these guys rip into Reed for his naming of things Fantasti-anything, and as a result, Johnny gets to name the Shuttle, which of course, he decides on ‘Awesome’ which he and Ben love, and the other 2 are mortified about.

The science of the N-Zone is handled in a intelligent way, so that we get what is being talked about; I feel like in the regular FF we sometimes are forced to take things for granted and just accept them, whereas here, there’s an effort to understand, like how it’s impossible for Sue to be invisible, yet she is…and how Johnny suffers some adverse side-effects from using his powers, but we see a sort of evolution/change in them as things go on.
We see just how FANTASTIC they really are, and can be, when put into the hands of a smart writer who’s engaged with them. If I knew this title was so good, I’d have told everyone who didn’t like FF to read this. It really makes them fresh and interesting and people I care about.

Of course, what would a trip be into the N-Zone without contact with another life form in a new universe…this one is called Nihil, or as Ben calls him E-Vill. (Annihilus of our universe) the first contact is done very well, I wish I had faith our own first contact would ever be so intelligent…
math forming the basis of communication, the extreme excitement from Reed that nearly blinds him to the dangers that Sue and Ben seem to sense a bit more…it’s just so easy to read this without ever thinking the’re stupid, or the writing is off, or you’re being forced to accept too much weird stuff.

The of course, there’s the final action sequence, straight out of Con-Air, and I loved it for that. General Ross as mad as hell, until Reed tosses him a piece of space tech from N-Zone, and then his proclamation of love for young Richards.

We also see Ben missing his family, the public reveal of the team, a bit more of Reed’s non-contact with his family, and the bonds of this group getting stronger…

I really was so impressed and enjoyed this, it all came together for me, even if it’s not a 5 star book, I enjoyed the hell out of it like one. So what more do you really want in a book but to enjoy it and not have any problems?
(OK, one prob…that was the last of Ellis on this book…SAD FACE!)


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Review: Weird Fantasy Vol. 1 (EC Comics Reprint)

The EC Archives: Weird Fantasy Volume 1The EC Archives: Weird Fantasy Volume 1 by Bill Gaines
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***Dark Horse reprinting of EC Comics, so very Indy!***

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This is a gorgeous collection of EC Comics from the early 1950s, published and written by one Bill Gaines…aka Mr. MAD Magazine!

Along with some great other writers, Weird Fantasy is actually a Science Fiction book. 1950s Science Ficton from before the Witch hunt against comics leading to juvenile delinquency…a golden age in many ways.

There’s a number of issues collected here (even though their numbering is off, they are chronologically the first 6 issues) with a great range of stories.

Time Travel, Space Exploration, Atomic War, Aliens, Life and Death, lots of great stuff that’s been made into movies, some of the coolest ideas that sustained SciFi for the next 65 years.

Discussions of String Theory, 4th Dimensions, Gamma, Infrared, Atomic Energy, this isn’t just dumb pulp, it’s a blast.

From the man who builds a time machine (only with the help of his younger self, and the paradox loop that leads to), to the team that flies through space to a different solar system, only to loop back on themselves, a la Planet of the Apes (but this was written long before the Damn Dirty Apes), to the fears of Atomic Nuclear War and the aftermath: mutants, robots, uninhabitable wastelands.

This is such fun. This book is the kind of thing you used to love to find, just a bit older than you were supposed to be reading, it felt like some kind of secret they let you in on, and you always wanted more, reading it under the blankets at night by flashlight. (Or at least, I did…)

The art is colourful in this reproduction, bright, enjoyable, yet the subject matter is still the kind of questions we wrestle with today…

Thank you to Dark Horse for publishing the reprints of this great company, I cannot WAIT to get my hands on more of this. Without this, we wouldn’t have the dreamers of comics like Morrison, Hickman, Ellis, others. Heck we might not even have the normal comics we do today. I love the intelligence that goes into something that was throw-away for so many, yet over half a century later, look how relevant the subject matter is. Great writing never ages.

I strongly recommend this to all the Shallows Gang, and anyone else looking for a fun read, that you could also share with kids worry free (Anne!)


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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett & Lanning: The Complete Collection Volume 1Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett & Lanning: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Dan Abnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Green Theme Buddy Reads Book #2 – Again, Gamora and Drax ARE Green…as is Mantis, and a whole bunch of other alien characters…there’s my rationale***


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This is not your Chris Pratt Guardians. This is the 2008 version, not the Bendis. I enjoyed it a lot, in the first half, but then, like the characters, it got too cosmic. “I hate that cosmic shit” This version also includes Adam Warlock and Quasar…but not the Wendell Vaughn Quasar I’m familiar with (this one is half-Kree, and possibly daughter of Captain Marvel). Mantis, a green telepath, and Cosmo, the intelligent Rusian cosmonaut Dog from the 60s…yep.

The gang is thrown into missions to save the Galaxy, haphazardly of course. There’s humour thank God, and it’s one of the strong points. The art is impressive as well, and the vast interesting-ness of the characters. The covers are GORGEOUS. The second half of the book goes off in side missions and not as the whole team…plus we get some time travel, and space time continuum stuff. The seat of your pants leadership style of Peter/Star-Lord is there again, and this team doesn’t trust each other as much either. Rocket isn’t quite as badass here, but definitely funny and aggressive. Groom kicks much ass. Warlock is a cool addition, though I recall him being a bad guy in other incarnations…?

It’s very deep, got some cool stuff there, but perhaps this throws one off the deep end in terms of cosmicness…start with Bendis’ more recent reboot from Marvel Now.

This is a fun book, but slows down a bit in the second half and I feel like I am missing a ton of contextual info about everyone…still worth a read, and enjoyable.


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