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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‘Catwoman: When in Rome’ – Comic Book Review

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Conflicted. This is a 6/10 book, with an extra score because the art is stunning. I love Tim Sale’s art and enjoy his layouts, and use of silhouettes. Yet this book had water coloring by Dave Stewart and it added a whole new level of gorgeous art.  Now the rest of the book is mix. Loeb is great with Selina and brings back some sarcastic, internal dialog that works out well. The book is a fun heist book mixed up with Selina seeking information about her parentage, in a Rome setting. Yet Loeb is the real issue in the story.  He can’t get past the falcone story from his previous works and focuses this entire story around the falcone’s to the point it feels rehashed. Speaking of rehashed there is dialogue and internal dialogue that’s basically copied and paste from ‘long Halloween’ and ‘dark victory’. Sure it can be argued that it was used for referencing or a nod to his previous works. But it comes off more like lazy writing. Still the story had a bunch of great twists from Loeb that caught me off my guard. Overall decent cat-woman story with amazing art. Definitely worth the read for batman fans.

 

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7/10

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Descender, vol 1 ‘tin stars’ – comic review

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A space opera with a lot of heart. Jeff Lemire does it again as he mixes Star Trek and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Jeff of course blends his own version of storytelling. I may have enjoyed the work more if Lemire himself drew it because he’s drawings work perfectly with his writing. Then again that’s ridiculous of me to say when Dustin Nguyen is doing the artwork. His watercolors bring a nice layer to the story. I wish I could say what was holding this book back from a nine or ten rating. It had everything in it, yet I really wasn’t drawn into it compared to his other works. Perhaps that’ll change in the next volume seeing as how the climax/ending ended on a wild note. Overall Lemire surprised me with this book and its well worth the read for fans of scfi or fans of the author.

 

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8/10

 

 

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