‘Easy Street: The Hard Way’ – Book Review

 

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Holy crap this book was fantastic. I never thought it would be this good. Perlman starts off the book with the passing of a family member making this book get serious real quick. He then goes into details of hard work and how it took him to where he is with all of its highs and lows. What’s really great about this book is how comprehensive and well written it is. Perlman makes it a pleasure to read, not a chore, about his very interesting life, as well as the projects he’s been a part of. And if your a fan of this guy’s work you will really get a kick out of it. What really caught me off guard to was how profound Perlman was.

There were quotes in this book that had a deep effect on me. Such as his talk about death/mourning. “Death is a thief, the grandest perpetrator of larceny of all. It robs the potential of all the things left undone and reimburses the living with bits of memories that, with each day, pass through the fingers like a handful of sand.” Bravo sir, Bravo.

The only compliant I have would be the last two chapters that have a big liberal rant in them. Granted I am pretty liberal myself, but I can see these chapters turning a lot of people off. Still this book is a beautiful tale of an actors life and it feels ordinary as well as extraordinary at the same time.

 

9/10

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Secret Six, Book 1: Villains United

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Where to begin? This book is the definition of a roller coaster ride. At times this book felt like a 9/10 experience. Until the next few pages where I would hate everything. That’s pretty much how I feel about the author Gail Simone overall. She either does incredible work or mediocre stuff. And this book felt like the center of all her books. Some moments are good and some moments are down right awful.

I’m sort of repeating myself but characterization is a roller coaster too. The cast is a group of misfit villains who will do anything for a paycheck. Sort of like suicide squad except their lesser known villains. Except for deadshot. There are some moments where the character dynamic is fantastic and feels very real. And then there are other moments that almost makes the whole book fall flat. For instance we find out Deadshot kills a few animals close to Catman’s heart (I know, theirs a character named Catman). Naturally they get into an intense fight which is great. But somewhere along the way they become best chums…What? If a hitman killed my pet lions, I would rip the dude’s heart out, end of discussion. There are many moments like this. Another one would be a character brutally torturing someone because her lover got killed. But for some reason she can’t find the strength to kill the tortured victim. Until Deadshot comes in and kills the villain anyway. Now that I think about it, I understand why I enjoy Deadshot so much in this story because he gets things done. Even if their not good decisions.

The story is great until you look into the details. The overall story of the “heroes” trying to get revenge while getting paid is great and overall satisfying. Until the plot comes into focus. So The first half of the story you find out Lex Luthor is the main villain. Then it turns out that Lex is not really Lex but someone else and the real Lex hired the Sinister Six. It’s weird but it gets stranger when the super villain, ‘Savage’ becomes the antagonist of the book abruptly for the rest of the story. It’s strange and very disorganized at times.

Outside of the characterization and strange story, my biggest complaint is the sexist stuff in this book. Which always made me split on Gail Simone because she does this in her works. She writes great female characters and then all of a sudden she degrades them. In one scene we have a female antihero come waltzing into completely naked as she’s talking and the only thing covering her boobs and taco are strains of hair. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? strains of hair would not hide nipples let alone your vagina. I was pretty offended that this story had to stoop to this level.

Overall this book is a mess. Its hard to rate it because there were some legit great moments. At the same time there were just as many awful moments as their were good ones. Still I thought it was okay, DC fans will get a kick out of this. But I don’t know if its worth continuing after this volume.

5/10

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Blog Update

Apologize for the lack of updates on my end. I’ve been busy writing/publishing a short story on amazon. It isn’t much but I loved every minute of it. It’s .99 cents on Kindle and free if you have kindle unlimited. Check it out

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‘X-Men: Magneto Testament’ By Greg Pak – Comic Book Review

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Powerful and haunting. This Magneto story has very little to do with superheros or mutants. It could almost be passed off as a historical comic book based around concentration camps. This is in no way a superhero story. There is one moment where you think some super powers will show up but then it gets thrown right out the window. This is a World War 2 story, a story about a Jewish boy and his family who lived in Germany during the war. And that little boy happened to be Magneto and you get a sense as to how he became the famous x-men villain through the horrors of war and genocide.

It’s very difficult for me to describe the story without spoiling anything. But in a nutshell, ‘Testament’ is a sublime tale of the cruelty that humans are capable of committing to one another. Especially against a minority they perceive to be inferior. As I mentioned before this is a story of a boy’s survival that turns him into a vengeful old man capable of bending worlds to his name.

The only flaw is from the art. From time to time the facial expressions seem a bit off. It was a minor flaw but nevertheless it pulled me out of the experience. Outside of that small issue this book is almost perfect.  Even cooler is this book has lesson plans in the back for teachers. It didn’t even occur to me that this book could be used as a teaching tool, but it absolutely could be. In the foreword, Pak goes out of his way to say all of the information in the book is factual, so I could see this being in the Holocaust unit of a middle school history class in the same way Schindler’s list would be used.

It left me emotionally drained at the end of it. Almost like the movie “Requiem for a Dream”. I’m glad I read it, but I probably won’t reread it for another year. A powerful that will stick with you for a very long time.

(On a lighter, different and minor note I always wonder how marvel will change Magnetos backstory later on. Because it’ll be weird if they have a man over 100 years old still fighting teenagers. Like will he be in a wheelchair? I dunno I’m getting off topic but it is an interesting to think about.)

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9/10

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‘The Heroes’ By Joe Abercrombie – book review

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This book is straight up metal. ‘The Heroes’ is the fifth book in Abercrombie’s ‘First of Law’ series and it’s arguably the best book in the series. The story takes place during a forty-eight hour battle. It’s gnarly as hell. The 3-day battle is between the ‘Union’ (a bureaucratic society) vs the Northern people (Nords/barbarians). There are events before the battle and after it but the main bulk of the story is on the battle itself. So much happens in this battle in such a short span of time and it pays off well in the plot.The tale shifts between varying viewpoints, from soldiers to commanders and everything in between. And Abercrombie blends traits together where there really isn’t good guys and bad guys just dirty shades of grey. Each character is layered and have a strange sense of right and wrong. It’s got a fascinating continuity to it too. Old favorites from the trilogy show up while the other half are brand new characters. Its refreshing and cool. Their were minor annoyances and it mainly had to do with certain characters. Its difficult to explain why because it’ll involved spoilers. Let’s just say some characters do things that appear out of touch with their persona. I digress this book was an incredible stand alone in the series. I highly recommend this, if you haven’t read the series yet please do they are wonderful fantasy books that are dark and grim.

“The smell of it. The feel of it.” He rubbed one hand up and down the stained sheath of his sword, making a faint swishing sound. “War is honest. There’s no lying to it. You don’t have to say sorry here. Don’t have to hide. You cannot. If you die? So what? You die among friends. Among worthy foes. You die looking the Great Leveller in the eye. If you live? Well, lad that’s living, isn’t it? A man isn’t truly alive until he’s facing death.” Whirrun stamped his foot into the sod. “I love war!”

9/10

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‘The Tao of Wu’ By Rza – Book Review

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As a fan of Hip-hop since I was little, I’ve always loved The Wu-tang Clan. To me they are one of the greatest groups in Hip-hop. So when I found out Rza made a memoir I knew that it would be a good and I couldn’t wait to see his perspective on life. What I got instead was something totally different. ‘The Tao of Wu’ is half biography, half spiritual/philosophical book and it came with several flaws.

Now I really enjoyed this but RZA’s writing is very chaotic. I’ll start with the good stuff. Its really nice how each chapter is at the most ten pages. And in-between the chapters are some thoughts on life lessons or meditations. However these short stories are misplaced. His life chronology is jumbled up and difficult to follow. He goes into something called, ‘The pillars of wisdom’ however they aren’t parallel to what hes describing. The Tao of Wu is like starting in a middle of a conversation. Then he throws out goofy stuff like, he is God but Allah is greater. Or how he was reborn yet he’s still dead. He’s not religious but Islam is the way.  The craziest/best one is when Rza claims that the anime, “Dragon Ball Z” represents the journey of the black man in America .The way he talks about subjects such as spiritual gifts feels like ADHD he goes to different topics. Now do I hate this? No, in fact even with these flaws I was still entertained by his ideas. Even through the craziness of this book I still found tidbits of knowledge. The book overall is a clumsy mess but a wonderful mess.

7/10

 

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‘A Little More Human’ by Maazel, Fiona – Book Review

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I’ve never been so conflicted on a book before. I made it halfway through this book and decided to give up because I was not enjoying it. The urge to read this dwindled as the days went on. It sucked too because it’s right up my alley. Superpowers, conspiracy and a mixture of science fiction. The writing and the idea for the story are fantastic and in that sense it flows well. However the pacing and the characterization are weak. 3/4’s of the characters were awful with very little positive traits.  The worst thing about this was that stuff was happening but not going anywhere. The pacing kept going around in circles to the point where I lost all interest. Again its upsetting because this had a lot of potential to be great. But as the pages kept going I couldn’t keep myself invested in it.

4/10

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‘Stoner: By John Williams’ – Book Review

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A beautiful and devastating novel about academia, and failed dreams. Stoner is about a man in the late 19th century America who went to school because of his farming parents. He went to study agriculture but fell in love with literature and became a professor. The rest of the story chronological his life and his constant stream of failures and regret. It’s a depressing read but my god the writing is beautiful. Almost like an ‘Elliott Smith’ song based on the academic life. It’s a very straightforward story and John Williams does the impossible by making an unremarkable story and turning into something rare and true. The writing is gorgeous, the plot is soul shattering and the ending will leave you speechless. I went back and read the highlights of this book twice. It’s been a year since I’ve read this book and it still gnaws in the back of my mind at least once a week. One of my favorite books ever and a story worth reading.

“Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.”

 

10/10

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Kill or be Killed Vol 2 – Comic Book Review

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OH, MY GOD. It is very rare for a second volume to follow up an explosive one like the first volume. But I’ll be damned if Brubaker and Phillips didn’t deliver. Things are really starting to get “real”. The protagonist Dylan is now realizing he’s in way over his head. And we’re introduced to a new character who’s a good detective on his trail while trying to figure out why Dylan is doing what he’s doing. Also, this volume leaves juicy history on Dylan’s mental health. I’m going to stop here in the plot before I spoil the whole thing. Basically, this story is excellent and had me reeling. As for the art, Phillips is still a ‘G’ and its awesome as usual. No real complaints and no funny ‘derp’ face this time around. Overall fans of comics/crime need to read this. The characters are more developed this time around, the stakes are rising and the plot’s pace is going so fast on this wild roller coaster that it’ll derail and crash off the ramp.

 

10/10

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Moonshine, Vol 1 – Comic Book Review

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Honestly I don’t understand the hate behind this book. It’s noir, Southern gothic, horror story, following mobsters and hillbillies in Prohibition-era Appalachia. Oh and theirs werewolves which is awesome in my mind. The writer Azzarello strikes a great, balance between the dialog and characterization. It comes of well and really kept me enthralled with the story. Eduardo Risso the illustrator is fantastic as usual. In my mind he’s always mastered the art of subtly. His use of bold silhouettes, white space, and lighting have always been incredible in ‘100 bullets’ and it continues in Moonshine. I feel like almost every page could be a cover for the story.

Now the flaws, My only complaint on Risso is that some facial features come off very strange, which bothered me, and some of the supernatural appearances made were hit or miss. A bigger problem in the book is Azzarello. ‘100 Bullets’ could get very confusing and complicated at times and it was starting to show in this book. Granted I didn’t get lost, but the story was teetering on the edge of confusion. Another factor with the story is that it sort of went in circles. Nothing really got resolved until the final issue. That’s where part of the confusion lies in. I figured Azzarello was trying to build up suspense but it didn’t necessarily work all the way through.

Still this is a great volume that I recommend. Doesn’t deserve the hate that it gets and I’m looking forward to the next volume.

 

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7/10

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