Tag: Marvel

Review: Ultimate Spider-man vol.1: Power and Responsibility

Posted November 22, 2013 by Nikki in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Ultimate Spider-manUltimate Spider-man vol.1: Power and Responsibility, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley

I think I used to watch Spider-man cartoons, or certainly I had Spider-man somewhere in my consciousness, but I haven’t seen the films (although I got a free download of the latest one for my PS Vita when I bought it, I should look into that) and I wasn’t entirely clear on Spider-man lore. So the Ultimates collection seems to be a good choice for me, given that they update and clarify the origin stories as a start. And lucky me, my girlfriend has a whole stack of them.

(I hear Ultimate Cap is a dick, though. Bluh.)

Peter is a fun hero — snarky and sassy, but not cocksure. He’s sassy because he doesn’t know what he’s doing, he doesn’t know what’s happening. This volume establishes the way he gets his powers, and why he becomes a superhero. Definitely enjoyed it, and I recommend it. It’s not bogged down by extraneous details, there are no other heroes muddying the waters (i.e. Young Avengers style: they’re somewhat hampered by nursemaid!Cap and Iron Man), and the art is clear with all characters easily distinguishable. Peter’s an adorable dork, and I’d like to see a lot more of Mary Jane.

I won’t post reviews of all twenty-two volumes here, but I might post reviews of my favourites as I go along.

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Nothing says I love you like a book

Posted November 22, 2013 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

No matter what the occasion, I try to buy people a book. It means some adaptation, and buying books I don’t normally buy — paranormal romance for my sister, certain types of non-fiction for my dad, violent crime fiction for one of my ex-housemates — but I do like to think about it, to pick out something that just fits. (I have one major failure: my best friend since childhood, Laura. Craft books, yes, but anything you could settle down and read… she doesn’t have the time/patience for it unless she’s on holiday, and then her taste is for chick lit type stuff. Hm, an idea strikes…) Luckily, a lot of people around me share my taste: Amy, my partner, my mum, to a great extent my sister.

So yeah, you know I love you when I come home from the charity shop glowing with glee and a stack of books carefully picked out just to suit your taste. My former housemates should be pretty familiar with this situation.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a couple of my happily united book couple successes — and then, if you like, you can comment with a book and some facts about someone, and see whether I can think of something.

For Dad: You Are Not So Smart, by David McRaney. Because whether he likes it or not, some of it is very relevant to things he believes about himself. Granted, he probably didn’t see it that way, but he did carry the book around with him from Christmas to the New Year. He’s a non-fiction reader, gave up on fiction a long time ago, but his knowledge tends to be widespread and general, so I always try to aim for something like this, rather than something super-technical.

For Mum: The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay. The Fionavar Tapestry and Tigana came first, I think, but it was Lions that had her texting me at three in the morning from Italy or Spain or whatever fancy conference she was at. (This is reciprocal more than any other book-giving relationship I have: she introduced me to Isaac Asimov, Robin Hobb and Dorothy L. Sayers, among others.)

For Squirt (my sister): The most memorable occasion was when I handed over her first Alastair Reynolds book, Century Rain. She’s been a fan ever since, and it actually kickstarted her into doing a lot more reading. I think her trust for my taste began at that moment. We actually went to a reading/signing by Alastair Reynolds, and her knees were practically knocking with nerves — my fierce little sister’s knees were knocking!

For the girlfriend: Occasionally I try and break her heart with stuff like Civil War: Iron Man, but mostly I’m nice and push books like The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) and A Face Like Glass (Frances Hardinge) her way. One of our oldest literary successes was The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper). There was also Robin McKinley’s Sunshine and Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry, and more recently Jo Walton’s work you can see we share very similar taste in books. On the other hand, Cherie Priest’s Bloodshot and Hellbent bored her to death, where I love love love loved them, so it’s not all perfect.

For Amy (former housemate): The biggest hit was Garth Nix’s work. It’s now become a yearly Christmas tradition: a Garth Nix book or series, every year. He’ll need to write more, soon, or I’m doomed. Given that Amy’s dyslexic, Spellwright by Blake Charlton could’ve gone either way, but she ended up liking it.

For Ruth (former housemate): This was a lucky one. She mentioned being interested in the Tudors and particularly Lady Jane Grey. I found Alison Weir’s Innocent Traitor a couple of days later in a charity shop.

For Lynn E. O’Connacht: I can’t actually remember anything specific here, but we’ve traded books fairly frequently, starting with her sending me King Arthur’s Death (trans. Brian Stone), which contains the alliterative and stanzaic Morte Arthure poems. Anna Elliott’s Twilight of Avalon is another Lynn sent me.

So… yeah. If I love you, expect a book this Christmas (if I can get you anything at all, which is a different matter).

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted November 20, 2013 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
Let’s see… mostly comics. The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H.G. Wells, was the last novel — read it for my SF/F class, though I discovered I hadn’t actually read it before anyway. Comics-wise, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, Avengers vs X-men: VS., and Young Avengers Presents. All Marvel comics.

What are you currently reading?
Actively, P.G. Wodehouse’s The Small Bachelor, Molly Beth Griffin’s Silhouette of a Sparrow and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland; the latter, is once again, for my SF/F class.

What do you think you’ll read next?
The plan is to read Captain America: Winter Soldier, I think. Then maybe I’ll get round to the acclaimed Ancillary Justice (Ann Leckie).

Books acquired:
Last book before I came here was Nicola Griffith’s Hild, I think. Then there was a little shopping spree in Brussels and Leuven: Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation (Ruby Blondell), The Book of Barely Imagined Beings (Caspar Henderson), The Prisoner (Thomas M. Disch), The Song of Troy (Colleen McCullough), In Search of Shakespeare (Michael Wood), The Folding Knife (K.J. Parker) and Alphabet of Thorn (Patricia A. McKillip). Some bought for me by my partner, eee. Also I bought her Fly By Night (Frances Hardinge).

There was also a library trip. I have to report that the library in Leuven is pretty good for English-language books. So my haul from there was Mockingbird (Walter Tevis), The Short Novels of John Steinbeck, The Lover’s Dictionary (David Levithan), and White as Snow (Tanith Lee).

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Review – Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

Posted November 19, 2013 by Nikki in Reviews / 0 Comments

Cover of Avengers: The Children's Crusade, a Marvel comicAvengers: The Children’s Crusade, Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Olivier Coipel, Alan Davis

Children’s Crusade is pretty awesome. It’s not exactly a pure Young Avengers comic — it’s definitely a crossover comic — but it does feature quite a lot of Billy being awesome, supported by the other Young Avengers, and a fair bit of Teddy being awesome. It also features their first (I think) on-page kiss, and is generally more blatant about their relationship than the other comics so far. There’s some awesome dialogue, and some lovely funny geeky bits about Billy and Teddy.

It also pulls in the X-Men, the Avengers, backlash from House of M, and features quite a few characters we know and love (or hate).

It’s also not without consequences, as even the Young Avengers lose people from their line-up.

On the other hand, I can see some other people’s problems with it: it seems to go back on some previous Marvel events and erase their consequences, and it really is one gigantic squabble between various superhero groups, with the teenage Young Avengers coming out as maybe the most mature.

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Review – Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight

Posted October 20, 2013 by Nikki in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Marvel's Captain Marvel vol. 1 with Carol Danvers Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios

I think I’m completely new to Captain Marvel — I’ve heard bits about her, and about the original Mar-Vell, but I haven’t read a comic featuring Carol Danvers yet as far as I can remember. If I have, and I’ve forgotten, shame on me, but this makes for a great introduction: I fell right in love with the character. She’s unabashedly completely kickass, she’s gorgeous (the art is gorgeous, though I preferred Dexter Soy’s work to Emma Rios’), she cares, and I don’t think she knows how to give up.

I loved how jam-packed with amazing women this issue is. Some of this was obviously more difficult to get than others, since I didn’t really know Carol’s origin story or abilities, but I enjoyed her relationship with Tracy — the last couple of pages are awesome for that, funny and sweet at the same time — and with Helen Cobb, and there’s nothing difficult about the concept of the Banshee Squad (who practically deserve their own comic).

My main complaint?

Make it longer! I want more of Carol’s badassery.

Review on Goodreads.

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