Friday, July 28, 2017

PAPER GIRLS: BOOK ONE by Brian K. Vaughan

After falling in love with his Saga series, I wanted to branch out to other projects written by Brian K. Vaughan, and that led me here! The Paper Girls are Erin, Tiffany, Mackenzie, and KJ, pre-teen kids living in 1988 Cleveland, who meet on their respective newspaper routes early in the morning after Halloween, and find themselves dropped into an epic fantasy adventure.

This adventure of the Stranger Things/Goonies variety happens to be a bit of a mind-wreck filled with parallel timelines, multi-verses, dinosaurs, giant maggots, and futuristic soldiers.

Oh who am I kidding, it might not be about that stuff at all; I would be lying if I said I understood everything that was happening here! The comic lets it's secrets out on its own terms and it can get a little frenetic and confusing but the interesting thing is that I didn't really care. I enjoyed the characters and their budding relationships so much that I could watch them do anything. Plus, I'm a sucker for time travel so I'm down to being patient and seeing where it all goes! The second volume in particular is a rollercoaster of crazy-ass ideas that are sometimes hard to follow, but I'll be holding on for the ride.

The two volume included here in this deluxe edition are also available in cheaper single editions.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Scott Snyder jump-started his run on Batman by putting his own stamp on it, Introducing a compelling new antagonist of his own original creation in the Court of Owls, and putting his own spin on Gotham mythology. It was well-received but many were bummed that he didn't include more popular and established Gotham villains in the first year of his run. But, after wrapping up that story, he goes full bore by utilizing the ultimate Batman villain. And man, does he! The product here is one of the most disturbing depictions of the Joker ever.

Snyder's Joker is even more of a complete madman than you would expect, not only allowing his face to be sliced off and put on ice, but then tying that face back onto his head like a mask before he embarks on an elaborate scheme to rid his favorite buddy Batman of his silly distractions, his closest allies!

The Joker's plan is gleefully depraved and the plot development is well thought out by Snyder. I had to keep reading to see how far The Joker would go and how it would all end. I've never been a fan of the whole Bat-family idea though. I feel like the Batman character works best as a solitary hero. I don't mind a small number of dedicated non-vigilante Gotham allies like Alfred or Jim Gordon, or even sometime reluctant partners like Catwoman, but do we really need Robin, Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl? It just seems silly after a while. And The Joker monologues a little too much here, even for him!

But if you want a creepy, nasty story featuring one of the most iconic villains out there, check this one out. It'll probably go down as one of the most insane, dangerous versions of The Joker to date.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

PECKERWOOD by Jedidiah Ayres

Man, I really wish I liked this more than I did. Jedidiah Ayres was one of my favorite author discoveries of last year. So I was excited to read this one: his debut novel and a release from Broken River Books, probably the coolest publisher out there. But although I didn't have a problem finishing the book, I realized that that reason I kept reading was due to Ayers's stylish prose and his true potential rather than much engagement in the characters or what was happening. It read a bit like an early draft, with hints of really great characters and noteworthy moments that never really reach their full potential. It felt like all the elements were turned to 50 when I feel like everything should have been hitting closer to a 100 to be truly memorable to me.

Now, it seems like I might literally be the only person who feels this way, so there's a good chance that others would love it, but I didn't feel like it matched the same quality as his fantastic novella Fierce Bitches, or his tough and creative stories in A Fuckload of Shorts. But I believe Jed Ayres is ultra-talented so I'll jump on his next book.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Our favorite couple has narrowly escaped Kegel Face and her Sex Police and now they want to lay low, settle down, and just be a regular couple. But like any new couple, the honeymoon phase fades and the real struggle begins!

The fun is over in Sex Criminals and in some ways, I thought the shift in tone was interesting. But it did mean that I enjoyed this volume a little less. I really wanted more time-stopping sex and CumWorld criminal hijinks but instead I got hefty doses of relationship woes and dealing with depressing mental health issues. Although it wasn't as fun, Fraction does do a great job with pushing the further development of Jon and Susie and the rest of the supporting cast.

It's still lovable and and comical (that porn parody of The Wicked and the Divine...hilarious!), I just wish that the plot momentum was consistent with the last volume.

Good stuff.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017


This is the kind of book that's pretty mandatory to read in a physical form, if only to read it in a public place and have the decent people of the world give you weird glances after they look twice at the title.

The book's concept leaves room for so many possibilities and loads of entertainment. Jon and Suzie are a young, everyday couple, but they both share one special gift: they have time-stopping orgasms. No really, they literally stop time during the cum-down after sex. So once they hook up, they do what anyone with that gift would do, they decide to rob some banks! Let the games begin!

There are a couple of things in this series that elevates the concept above being merely juvenile and made it something distinctive. The first are the characters, who are relatable and charming if not fully likable, both endearing and multi-faceted enough to make me want to read much more about them. The second is Chip Zdarsky's artwork, which is colorful and witty, working perfectly in tandem with Matt Fraction's writing and a great fit for this fun romantic comedy. I also really love the light-streak effects that visually cue the time-frozen Cum World/Quiet. The lovely art is sometimes a character in itself, through it's attention to detail and it's subtle in-jokes that make you truly study the art on each page.

The whole thing is a great premise for a romantic comedy and it's a great way of looking at a new couple exploring sex and relationships and all their complexities.


Saturday, July 15, 2017


We pick up again with our heroes as they try their hand at living a normal life on the planet Gardenia, with Marco taking up stay-at-home-dad duties while Alana wins the bread as an actor in shitty tv shows on the Open Circuit. Oh and Hazel is a toddler!

The first part here is really great as we really focus on the relationship between Alana and Marco and I thought it was a wonderful look at how doubts, trust and insecurity can strain a marriage even outside of the fact that the two are star-crossed lovers from enemy alien races. But just when the relationship is at it's lowest, the past catches up and the story is off again on an intergalactic adventure that's even more action-packed than before, involving new alliances, space heists, and a dangerous quest for dragon jizz. 

It's once again addictive, imaginative, and exciting, with characters you care about, proving once again why it's considered one of the top comic series being published right now. 


Friday, July 14, 2017

THE FORCE by Don Winslow

This is the the type of great book you don't see everyday; that you might go all year without reading. A book where you simultaneous want to see what the hell happens on the next page but also want to slow down your reading because you don't want it to end. A book that on one hand is crazily entertaining but also makes you hit Google and read articles to learn more about its timely issues.
Hell isn't having no choice. It's having to make a choice between horrific things.
At the risk of this sounding like hyperbole, Don Winslow takes a crooked cop story that's a combination of The Shield and The Wire (yes, it's just as amazing as that sounds), and crafts: 

1) One of the best books I've read this year

2) What might have to be considered the Best Cop Novel, perhaps ever.

3) The best Richard Price novel Richard Price never wrote.

This is the third book by Don Winslow that I've given an A grade to. The guy really does have a talent for slinging stories that are both heavily engaging with a lasting effect and also very researched and informative. A great storyteller that should have the same success as the most popular authors. One of the things that really impressed me was how awesome Winslow's attention to detail is and how EVERY SINGLE THING matters by the end. Everything character, every idea, even every setting connects in important ways and it always excites me to see an author so dedicated to making that happen. 
You tell yourself what you gotta tell yourself to do what you gotta do. And sometimes you even fuckin' believe it.
The story of Manhattan Task Force Detective Denny Malone is the epic tragedy of a crooked city cop at the top of his game slowly losing his grip on his kingdom. Throughout the novel, it's mesmerizing to witness him struggle to keep control and to get his head out from under the slowly rising waters of corruption, lies, dirty deeds and violence created by both he and the system he's a part of. 
All cats are gray in the dark.
Trust me, this will be seen as one of THE books of the year.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017


This second volume of Scott Snyder's Batman run concludes the well-conceived clash between Batman and the Court of Owls, a shadowy cabal who have secretly ruled Gotham for centuries. The story was a bit more disjointed in this one (what was up with the intriguing but totally random Mr. Freeze story in the middle?) but the ideas continue to be great as Snyder goes all out with creating his own Batman mythology, as if it might be his last and only time ever writing a character he's always wanted to tackle. I applaud him for that. But damn, what I don't applaud him for is falling into that superhero comic trap of constant, non-stop dialogue during fight scenes! The opening attack on Wayne Manor was creative, dangerous, and engaging but damn, some of the other scenes (like the fight with the final Talon) were confusing and the chatter went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on………


Wednesday, July 5, 2017


This is the case of an otherwise decent graphic novel being nearly ruined by its artwork. It has a great concept in the premise of the country essentially making street crime obsolete, making paper money worthless and switching to electronic money, and the group of old-school criminals trying to hit the one last score that can set them up for life after the switch-over. The book had a lot of double-crosses and some bits of great dialogue as well but I kept getting taken out of the story my the mushy artwork by Greg Tocchini. I had a difficult time telling the difference between characters because of the lack of recognizable facial detail, and I thought that the action scenes were terribly rendered. I kinda wish that the cover artist Alex Maleev worked on the whole book! I've been curious about Remender's LOW series but I'm having second thoughts because Tocchini draws that one as well.