Reading List 8/31/2010-9/7/2010

Hello you all,
Here's the plan for this week.

Reading List 8/31/2010-9/7/2010
Revolver-OGN by Matt Kindt, not a treatise on the classic Beatles album
Rasl vol. 2

Daredevil, Walking Dead, and assorted issues.

Four Four Two- It's soccer season! Or should I say football?

I have been a somewhat lazy reader as of late but I do want to kick it up a notch this fall. There is much to catch up on before the fall movie-adaptation season begins. More on that soon.
Have a great week! Book Slave.


Reading List 7/24/2010-7/31/2010

Hey folks,
Here's the reading plan. Please note that just because a book changes, it doesn't mean that it won't reappear. I shake things up, unexpected books drop into my lap, or I'm behind on posting. Just roll with it. I do.

Reading List 7/24/2010-7/31/2010
Numb-The Last Book Club book. Sad.

Some random issues. Strangely I'm kinda caught up on the weekly pile. Finally catching up on the back log.

Four Four Two.

Currently stuck in a West Wing k-hole. I can't stop!

Have a great week! Book Slave.


We are Sex bob-omb! Here to make you feel sad and stuff!

Hey folks,
Catching up on some reviews for books that I read last month during the insane period.

Great Expectations: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour
Just gonna make myself clear up front: I love Scott Pilgrim. Ever since I took home and read volume one titled Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, I was hooked. I remember sitting down with volume 1 and reading it in the course of an afternoon without being able to stop. It was so much fun. I got instantly caught up in this video game-esque world where vanquishing opponents turns them into coins. So finally we come to Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour. For me, your humble reader, expectations for this conclusion were ridiculously high. Waiting 18 months will do that. As I picked up my pre-ordered copy I was nervous. Would I be elated or disappointed? Well having read the book I’d use a different word to describe my feelings: Surprised.

Writer/Artist Bryan O’Malley finished up his epic with a lot of action, a touch of darkness, and ultimately a hopeful ending. I did not predict that nearly ¾s of the book would be the final battle between Scott and the “super-boss” Gideon Graves. Although we had some cameos from side characters, and wrap up to their stories, this really came down to the triangle of Scott, Ramona, and Gideon. He eschews the focus on characterization in order to give us as much visual eye-candy as he can.

O’Malley has shown great improvement in his use of sequential art over the years. He has always emulated a manga-esque panel style. He mashes it with video games visuals to create a unique look. In volume 6 O’Malley uses this to explore dreamscapes and psychology more in-depth than in previous entries. In particular this pertains to Ramona and her own relationship issues. I found this very interesting because Ramona has maintained an air of mystery and emotional aloofness. It’s been implied that this enhances her attractiveness. It is her ability to constantly be cool but unattainable that has so many evil ex-boyfriends willing to fight for her.

This was a surprising turn in characterization to shift the focus to Ramona. Whereas the book is called Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour it could easily be called Ramona’s Darkest Therapy Session. Like Scott Ramona has her own issues to overcome that are linked to her fears. I never expected any of this from this series. Ramona has been held up on a pedestal until the aforementioned Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe. Call me pathetic or a “shipper” but I’ve always felt invested in the Scott/Ramona romance. I’ve felt that Ramona is a great dream girl in volumes 1-4. Her supercool ever-changing hair color and deft use of the subspace highway are just a few of her awesome attributes. However I was not happy when in Vol. 5 Ramona suddenly became an unlikable character. It was like a betrayal to see this sudden turn in character. She’s pissed and unhappy with Scott at the end of Vol. 5. Now I see that O’Malley was laying the groundwork to de-mystify Ramona in Vol. 6. As we head into the final confrontation Scott and Ramona are on equal footing which completes an emotional arc for the two of them.

Ultimately this elevated storytelling shows a maturity in O’Malley’s writing. It’s unfortunate that O’Malley doesn’t extend this to the side characters as he wraps up this story. I was really hoping for a cool ending for Kim Pine, Stephen Stills, and Wallace. These characters are fun enough to have spin-off books of their own. Instead O’Malley settles for some cheap laughs. I was not impressed and it felt like a step back compared to the finale that O’Malley gave Scott and Ramona. The lack of characterization with these side characters, especially Kim Pine, was particularly cheap.

Endings are hard. As a fan of the series I wanted everything to be great. In the end it turns out that Vol. 6 fits in somewhere in the middle quality-wise. I still feel that the series peaked during volumes 3 & 4 with its strong focus on the characters and relationships. However it’s not like the final volume ruins the whole series for me. It’s hopeful view of Ramona and Scott’s emotional journey is enjoyable, without being schmaltzy. It’s unpredictable and ambiguous which is one of the wonderful things about Scott Pilgrim. I hope that O’Malley continues to maintain this aspect of his style. Can’t wait for his next book.

Hey here's the past reviews for the other books in this series in chronological order (BTW I read Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life before the blog, so no past review to link): Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Scott Pilgrim vs. the Infinite Sadness, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe.

Have a great week! Book Slave.


A little Self-Promotion...

A little self promotion if you please. Within this link is an interview about yours truly. It mostly focuses on The Graphic Novel Club, a program that I started up this year and have been trying to build.

Salt Lake City Weekly-The Graphic Novel Club

Enjoy your weekend! Book Slave.


Things I've Learned...Comics Edition

Hey folks,
So I finally had some time to sit back and get thru that comic stack that’s been mocking me. Comics yeah. My old friends.

Here’s some conclusions I came to.

5 Things I Learned from Comics this Week

1. Captain America is awesome again. I was very close to dropping the book after the last storyline. Brubaker brought me back with #606, which was the beginning of this new storyline with Baron Zemo. I love how this story delves into the complex psychology of Bucky Barnes. He's been through some stuff being the Winter Soldier and all. With Steve Rogers, the original Cap, back from the dead, Bucky really has to convince us that he has the mental stability to hold the Captain America mantle. Can't wait to see what's next. Still don’t care about the Nomad backup though.

2. Sadly I’m gonna pass on Birds of Prey. I want to love it, but I don’t. Maybe I’ll come back to it in trade.

3. Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark was awesome! C’mon They Get Mixed Up! I’ve loved Ottley’s art on Invincible and he’s a local so I picked it up just for fun. It was remarkably gruesome but hilarious. Ifanboy was right.

4. Fantastic Four is the best Marvel comic right now. It’s wonderfully consistent, smart, and dynamic, without relying on flash. Hickman has made me love a book that I never thought I would even read.FF is worthy of everyone’s attention.

5. The ending of Walking Dead #75 is wonderfully amazing. Kirkman is a magical SOB. You trade-waiters are missing out.

Have a great week! Book Slave.


Reading List 8/17/2010-8/24/2010

Hey folks,
Here’s the plan for this week. So nice to see things getting back to normal eh?

Reading List 8/17-8/24/2010
Last Olympian
Chronicles Vol. 1-Due to the fact that I am seeing Bob Dylan in concert tonight. Yes let me repeat that: I am seeing Bob Dylan tonight! (Very excited)

Amazing Spider-Man-the last two arcs The Grim Hunt & One Moment In Time. I'm so behind. Then some random issues of comics that I've picked up over the last little while.

Four Four Two

In addition to this fine reading I've now got time to do the following: Re-Watch the magic that is West Wing. Finally watch Skins Series 1. And the next series of MI-5. It’s nice to be a bit slovenly.

Enjoy your week! Book Slave.


Don't call it a Comeback & Never Let Me Go

Hey folks,
Yes I am back. I’ve been horribly absent from this blog but trust me it was because of a worthy cause. When I’m not lost in the written word I like to find ways that I can keep myself busy. So that’s where I was. But now I’ve returned like that cat that came back. Thank you those who’ve stuck around to read my literary rantings. I’ll try not to stay away so long.

Never Let Me Go: Go Get the Tissues.

Never Let Me Go by Kazou Ishiguro has been sitting on my TBR pile for a long time. I was motivated when I saw the trailer for the new movie adaptation. That trailer pushed me to the point where I finally picked it up and entered the world of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. These three friends are all students of Hailsham, a boarding school for those who are “special.” The story is told in flashback thru the eyes of Kathy who works as a “carer.” I am being purposely vague because I don’t want to lessen the emotional impact of this story. He is subtle in such a way that may lose readers who seek out melodrama. There are neither bombs that explode nor people held at gunfire. The stakes, however, remain just as crucial to our metaphysical existence. What does it mean to have a soul? What does it mean to be human?

Ishiguro uses a limited narration that keeps the readers at a distance. At first Hailsham seems like any other boarding school but slowly the reader gains a feeling of something more sinister. This underlying feeling that there is something “different” about the world in which these characters exist drove me forward. Even though I knew that Kathy’s tone of melancholy meant that there would be no happy endings. Kathy’s acceptance of this makes Ishiguro’s indictment of this society even more tragic. Tears welled up in my eyes upon the devastating climax because it was all so inevitable.

This book hurt my soul. I’ve talked before about books that I can’t read in public because I’ll end up making an emotional mess of myself. Well add another book to the list.

Oh by the way here’s that trailer I was talking about:

It’s good to be back. Have a great summer night, Book Slave.