Silver Sable & the Wildpack (Silver Sable & the Wildpack #1) ★★★☆☆

silversable1 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Silver Sable & the Wildpack
Series: Silver Sable & the Wildpack #1
Author: Gregory Wright
Artist: Steven Butler
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 32
Format: Paper Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Silver is testing out a bunch of recruits and only 1 makes the cut. That night she learns that the school where her niece Anna is attending has been taken over by Hydra.

Since it is not a paying mission, Silver goes on her own to rescue Anna. Sandman, now apparently a good guy (?) is concerned and puts together a Wildpack team and goes after her. Spiderman is also on the scene and between him, Silver and the Wildpack, Anna is rescued and the Hydra agents taken down.

Silver tells off Sandman and docks everyone’s pay and fines them as well.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, the Spiderman 2099 comics really weren’t working for me, so I decided to try something else. And after Oh My Goddess failed as well, I wanted something I could bail on easily. Silver Sable ran for 35 issues, approximately 3 years. She had one or two crossover events with other small time comic characters and like many of the small characters in the 90’s was eventually folded back into a big time character’s book as a side character.

I was 14 when I picked this up. I picked it up because it was a Number 1 and comic collecting was really starting to take off. It also didn’t hurt that I was beginning to work and had some money in my pocket. I figured with that shiny cover and being a number 1, that in a couple of years it would be worth so much money. I practically shook my own hand at just how clever I was being. Of course, since you can still buy it for less than the cover price over 25 years later, I guess I wasn’t as clever as I thought.

First off, let’s talk quality, eyes, colors etc. This is the very definition of pulp paper. I read one of the copies I own and my goodness, the paper is so rough and yet so thin. The whole book is so thin. It is really easy to forget that these were made as cheaply as possible. The second thing that struck me was just how hard it was to see things. My being 40 might have something to do with that, but the color schemes and the font types, it was meant for maximum wowey zowey’ness, not old eyes. The colors, oh my goodness. Hydra goons were dressed up in bright green and yellow hazmat suits with bug goggles and the Wildpack had purple jumpsuits with orange armor stuff. Garish doesn’t even begin to describe it!

SS1-17

Green & Yellow, Purple & Orange? My eyes, MY EYES!!!

This was meant to introduce Sable on her own, as previously she’d been a minor character in various Spiderman comics. You get a little about her history and what drives her and are introduced to 2 of the Wildpack, Sandman and the new recruit Powell.

For 32 pages, with maybe ¼ of that being ads, this does it’s job of introducing her very well. I don’t have high hopes for this, but really, it’s not meant for that kind of expectation. This was meant for a 14 year old boy.

★★★☆☆

 

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The Riddlemaster of Hed (Riddlemaster #1) ★★★★☆

riddlemasterofhed (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Riddlemaster of Hed
Series: Riddlemaster #1
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 229
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Morgan, King of Hed, reveals, unwittingly, that he has beaten a ghost hundreds of years old at a game of Riddles and won a legendary crown, and possibly the hand of a princess. Unfortunately, this sets him on the trail of a riddle of himself and the 3 stars that adorn his head. He plans on ignoring the riddle and to settling down and ruling Hed, an island of farmers, but when his life and the lives of those he knows and loves are put in danger, Morgan realizes that he has to find the answer to the riddle.

His journey takes him to many a land and he learns how to shapeshift, to become as the trees and he finds a harp and a sword, both with the same 3 stars and all prophesied about millenia before. He finds that a threat that destroyed the Earthmasters is rising anew and now threatens all the lands again.

Morgan makes his way to Erlenstar Mountain, seat of the High One, the last of the Earthmasters. The book ends with him finding out that the High One is the High Wizard that destroyed all the other wizards and is also one of the Masters of Cathnard, the school of Riddling.

 

My Thoughts:

I can completely understand why I gave this 3 stars back in 2007. Morgan is one of those characters who fights against destiny more out of a mulish desire to be left alone and will make choices, no matter how bad, based on that mulish side of him. I still had issues with him this time around but it wasn’t nearly so bad, as I had a LOT of sympathy for the poor guy. I know I’d be the same way now.

The other reason is that this has touches of McKillip’s lyrical writing style but is trying to tell a straight on fantasy story and it can be hard to do that. Much more prose’y and so where I don’t mind the slow pace and hiding of information because of the poetry of her later writings, this didn’t have that advantage. I was frustrated at times where a character wouldn’t reveal info for no apparent reason. Since this was a re-read though, I know there is a reason and I just haven’t gotten to it yet. It is amazing how my attitude can change when I know that an apparent mystery isn’t just arbitrarily set forth but has a point by the author.

While the writing is more prosaical than her later stuff, I did not find that a strong point for this book. I’d also be hesitant to recommend this trilogy as a first try for someone new to McKillip. Let them taste the beauty of her writing from when she is more accomplished and then they’ll be able to appreciate what she has set forth to accomplish in this Riddlemaster trilogy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this with the occasional bout of frustration. I think I’m making the correct decision to not immediately dive into the second book but to wait until this trilogy comes back to its turn in the reading cycle. Time is a great ameliorator.

★★★★☆

 

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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1: 1929-1964 ★★★★★

sfhalloffame (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1: 1929-1964
Series: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame #1
Editor: Robert Silverberg
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 576
Format: Trade paperback

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories voted by members of the Science Fiction Authors Guild (or something or other like that) as the best of. A popularity contest of stories from the 30’s to the 60’s. No author had more than one story and the book was presented chronologically, so we as the readers could see how things progressed storywise in 30 years.

 

My Thoughts:

Danielle from Books, Vertigo and Tea reviewed this recently and brought it to my attention. What a fantastic read.

First off, this was originally published back in 1970, I believe. It was released again in 2005 and then just released digitally in 2018. Obviously not a new book. I read this at lunch beginning sometime in March and just finished it this past week. Short stories really lend themselves to no pressure reading and going at a slow pace. Sometimes you need that in a busy, hectic book life like mine.

I had read over ½ of these 26 stories, as growing up in the 80’s and addicted to SF meant I was familiar with almost all of these authors, even if just by name. This was good stuff! If you’ve never read Vintage SF, this is a good place to start. Even if you don’t like every story (and I didn’t like every one either), you’ll get the flavor of what those years produced and if an author strikes your fancy, you can then go on and investigate on your own.

In many ways, I think that Science Fiction shines through the short story medium. Ideas are presented and there is no extraneous fluff or junk to ruin it. And if your imagination isn’t up to snuff to get you excited about ideas, then you probably shouldn’t be reading SF in the first place.

I bought this used in trade paperback through Amazon but I think the stories are good enough that I’m going to have to put the hardcover on my wishlist. In terms of Short Story Collections, this falls squarely between Asimov’s Complete Stories Vol 1 and Asimov’s Complete Stories Vol 2. I do plan on buying, in used trade paperback again, Volumes 2 & 3, which are the best novella’s of that time period. Hopefully they are as good as these stories.

★★★★★

 

 

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The Devil in Miss Urd (Oh My Goddess! #11) ★★☆☆☆ (Manga Monday)

devilinmissurd (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Devil in Miss Urd
Series: Oh My Goddess! #11
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Kei, Bell and the gang all “win” a trip to a hotsprings. There, they run across Mara and they all decide to call a truce while on vacation. Of course, it is all a ruse by Mara to gain a strand of Urd’s hair, which she uses to make a clone of Urd. The clone is empty and needs a soul.

Mara kidnapps Urd and using junkstore equipment, separates her goddess half from her demon half. The demon half Mara sends into the clone and lets it loose. Belldandy realizes what is going on and knows that if one half of Urd’s soul perishes, the other will as well. So they can’t destroy Demon Urd, just try to subdue her. Goddess Urd gets free and with the help of Belldandy and Skuld, Urd is put back together again. Of course, there is an empty “Urd skin” lying around.

The book ends with a one shot story of Banpei the robot putting on the Urd skin and going around helping people.

 

My Thoughts:

This was amusing. Convoluted, silly and not well thought out, but amusing nonetheless.

I think my biggest problem with this series is that I constantly see the manga-ka undercutting himself in the longterm to get what he wants in the short term. Take Urd. She’s supposedly half-goddess and half-demon. Gods and Demons are supposedly the antithesis of each other, so how did she come about? And then it is revealed that even the Almighty couldn’t separate Urd’s two natures but we’re supposed to believe that imbecilic Mara can do it? It is just too evident that Fujishima is making things up as he goes and the inconsistancies are glaring.

Going to be talking to myself for a minute, so bear with it. This series is making me not want to read manga at all. I dread having to read this because it is so blah and this re-read has destroyed all my good memories of what I read before. The romance and humor that appealed to me when I was 24 has not matured along with me. I’ve outgrown this and cannot overlook the faults. And yet I paid for the whole 48 volumes. I feel like I’ve got a ball and chain wrapped around my neck and I’ve been tossed off the dock.

And when I put it as bluntly as that, I realize something. I don’t like this manga anymore and while I spent some good money on it, spending TIME on it will not justify the money. I need to cut my losses and just let it go. I am done with this series. Hopefully I can at least sell it on Craigslist and not lose all my money.

I think this final picture is appropriate. Goodbye Oh My Goddess! Only the anime ova shall live on in my memory. This manga has punished me enough.

domg1_15

Sweet Belldandy. It wasn’t only Kei who was in love with you back then

★★☆☆☆

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Miss Keiichi (Oh My Goddess! #10) ★★★☆☆ (Manga Monday)

misskeiichi (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Miss Keiichi
Series: Oh My Goddess! #10
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Urd and Skuld are called back to Heaven, giving Kei some alone time with Belldandy. She gets sick, he messes around with some of Urd’s “medicine” and ends up turning himself into a girl. He manages to get ahold of Urd and she and Skuld come back to nurse Belldandy back to health.

Then a former lover of Urds shows up, a Plum Spirit, by the name of Troubador. He professes to want to get together with Urd but is really after her tears so he can complete his training as a bard. He is insanely jealous and so Urd won’t turn Kei back into a guy while he’s around.

Kei gets suckered into taking over the motor club since the two elder students are graduating that year. He wins a competition only to find out that the two Senpais are staying on for advanced mechanical courses and so will still be in charge.

A girl confesses to Kei in a love letter but her ulterior motive is to perform an exorcism on him as she claims she senses “unhuman” energy surrounding him. Due to her own ineptness, she calls forth some super demon dog and it is only thanks to Urd manipulating Belldandy’s jealousy that allows them all to survive.

Megumi has left the motorclub to join the softball team, but with only 4 members, they are being pressured by the baseball club to fold up and become gofers for them. Megumi, Kei and everyone else gets together as a team and end up winning on a technicality. And Urd shows cleavage.

The final story is about Megumi finding a stray dog, it worming its way into everyone’s heart, Megumi finding the owner and Kei admitting he really likes the dog.

 

My Thoughts:

The only amusing part of this manga was when Kei was a woman and preparing to take a bath. I’ll let this picture speak for itself.

omg-c55-p23

 

The rest of these chapters? Barely humorous, wallowing in vapid sentimentality (that puppy chapter just about made me barf) and generally feeling like the manga-ka was mailing it in. Nothing happens. There is no overall plot. A good manga doesn’t always need some overarching story. Yotsuba is the perfect example of that and the manga-ka there carries it off really well. I can forgive random crap chapters when they at least entertain me or are funny or “something”. However, this book felt like a big bowl of diet vanilla pudding. I don’t know if “diet” vanilla pudding even exists, but I imagine it tastes like chalk or something and that is what this book came across as. Dry and bleh.

Mediocre is a good word for this volume. “Miss Keiichi” keeps it from dropping to a 2 ½ rating since I found that panel very humorous.

★★★☆☆

 

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As You Like It ★★★☆½

asyoulikeit (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: As You Like It
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 120
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Orlando, youngest son of a dead lord, has been cheated by his older brother. He runs off to the Duke, out wrestles the duke’s champion and meets, and falls in love with, Rosalind. He then runs off to the forest because the Duke didn’t like his pappy. There he pines for Rosalind. He meets a young man, who is really Rosalind in diguise ands woos said young man who claims that he can cure anyone of love. Orlando is successful and Rosalind marries him, all the while she is orchestrating the marriage of 2 other couples along with her own nuptials. Orlando’s brother gives up the estates to him, the naughty duke, Rosalind’s Uncle, takes religious vows and Rosalind’s daddy becomes ruler.

Everybody is happy. The End.

 

My Thoughts:

I keep wanting to treat these plays like novels and you just can’t do that. The value contained in the words aren’t necessarily the actual plots. Boy and Girl fall in love, overcome Incredible Odds, Happy Ending for Everyone. That story is as old and Jacob and Rachel. Yet, seeing these plot points is good as it gives you the necessary understanding of where so much of our modern stories come from. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

You can say that again.

What I am liking is the metred cadence. This is a play. It is meant to be spoken. While I am not, at this point in time, reading these outloud, I am not discounting the idea of doing that for one of these, just to hear how it flows. I am no thespian, nor poetic enough to write in iambic pentameter, but some time this year I’m going to try to write one of my reviews like it was a Shakespeare play. I already know that will take some serious work. The whole mindset has to be different than the prose I am used to and think in.

Honestly, I can’t even tell you exactly what iambic pentameter IS or how to do it. I know roughly it is so many this and thats over so many lines, blah, blah, blah. Not sure if rhyming is necessary or not. See, I have a lot to learn before I even attempt a review like that. And Shakespeare wrote a whole raft full of the bloody things.

★★★☆½

 

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Batman: Under the Red Hood (Batman/Robin #5) ★★★☆☆

undertheredhood (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Batman: Under the Red Hood
Series: Batman/Robin #5
Author: Judd Winick
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 384
Format: Paper Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A vigilante, wearing a Red Hood, begins taking out various crime syndicates in Gotham. Unfortunately, he’s just as willing to kill as the badguys. This brings him to Batman’s attention but he’s able to outwit Batman. It is revealed, quite early on I might add, that the Red Hood is Jason Todd and he’s back for revenge against the Joker and to show Batman that his scruples against killing just won’t work anymore. That story ends with Batman, Red Hood and the Joker all facing off against each other and the Joker stabbing a huge block of c4 and blowing the building to kingdom come.

The book ends with a 2part storyline about how Todd came back to life. Apparantly some of the shenanigans pulled by DC with Superman allowed “time changes” and such baloney and so Todd was miraculously alive. He was then put in a Lazarus Pit by Talia Al’Ghul and sent on his way to revenge himself.

 

My Thoughts:

This book had some really deep moments, like where Todd’s philosophy of death is pitted against Batman’s and then some just plain stupid points, like the end story about how Todd came back to life.

This book explores why Batman is one of the good guys. It isn’t just that he doesn’t kill but the whole reasoning behind it. Batman still believes in the Justice System. He believes in the duly constituted authority of the police and the like. He apprehends the criminals because somebody needs to and provides evidence against them but he realizes that he is NOT judge, jury and executioner. He is not above the Law even while working outside the framework of the law. Ultimately, he serves the purposes of Law.

Todd, on the other hand, is just as much a piece of trash as he was back in “Death in the Family”. He’s an arrogant, pompous and now, truly dangerous psychopath. He doesn’t believe in the underpinnings of Law and Order and hence, has absolutely no regard for even trying to play by the rules. At times I found myself almost agreeing with his assessment of how Batman’s way doesn’t seem to work. His accusations against the Joker, about the thousands he has killed, the thousands that could have been saved if Batman had only killed the Joker, rang true in my ears. Until I stopped and thought. I do believe that the Joker should have been killed but not by Batman. He should have been executed by the Government for his crimes. And that is what is so seductive about these comics. They provide half truths as full truths. They purport to show that ANY killing is somehow bad. So only badguys do the killing and goodguys don’t kill, including the Government. Even though death is sometimes the only punishment that fits the crime.

However, that gets into the whole role of government and ethics and where you get your ideas from. That is a MUCH deeper and more complicated issue than can be adequately done justice to in a comic book. Plus, it doesn’t help that a lot of comic people are leftist commie pinkos who are as deluded as Hitler ever was so to ever expect something right and decent from them is like expecting me to start reading those bodice ripper books and think they’re great literature. It just isn’t going to happen.

The thing that really knocked this down for me was the whole explanation for how Todd came back. It had something to do with the Flashpoint storyline or the New52 or something. I got a 2page spread showing a Superman who looked like he was 18, breaking something or other and somehow that all mystically made it happen. I HATE SuperKid. The New52 Superkid needed his bottom paddled and told to grow up. He’s called phracking Super MAN for a reason so make him look like a man. And make him somebody kids want to emulate and look up to, not a teen displacement fantasy. There are enough superheroes who already do that * frowny face *

Also, there was zero mention of Tim Drake. Near the beginning there is a brief mention of some girl who also died who was close to being a fourth Robin, but nary hide nor hair of Tim Drake. I had to go to Wikipedia to see a history of Tim and found out he was branching out into the Red Robin character at this point. But Nightwing got facetime in this book and even had his city blown up, so why Drake wasn’t included is beyond me. Bunch of Jealous Haters is my guess.

Overall, I am pretty pleased with this Robinverse read. From the death of Jason Todd to his return, I think these 4 Robin related graphic novels are all worth owning. While they are a bit topsy turvy due to DC doing reboots every decade or less, you learn a lot about the Robin personna and get various takes on it. That being said, I will not be hunting down any of the Red Robin graphic novels or continuing any of the storylines left open in this book. I’ve got a Superman graphic novel still on tap but I think I’m going to wait a month or two before diving into it.

My rating of this book went all over the place from 2 stars to 4 star and even while writing this review I found myself going back and forth. So I settled on a 3star, as it means I was ok with the read but wasn’t wow’d.

★★★☆☆

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