Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Detective Comics Vol 6: Icarus by Francis Manapul


I have no idea how long it has been since I have read Detective comics. I remember reading it shortly after Infinite Crisis when Bruce was missing and Batwoman was the lead character in this book. I think that had to be at least 5 years ago. When I saw this available on Net Galley I had to request it. Thank you to Net Galley and DC Comics for allowing me to read and review this.

I always loved this series. Of course the main series Batman is my all time favorite but this was one I looked forward to every month. I even had a subscription to this so every month the new issue would be sent to my house. I miss those day and I'm not even sure they do subscriptions like that any more. The thing I liked best about this series is just how dark it is. Here is a story about a new drug about to hit the streets of Gotham that has one of the oddest side effects I have ever seen. If you overdose or just can't handle the poison then you will bust into flame from the inside out. A drug made by radiation is the deadliest thing Gotham has seen in awhile. Batman must follow what ever trails he can to this drug from going in to distribution. 

Not only are the stories in this series darker and gritty but so is the art work. Even with the dark shadowing there is still a great bit of detail in each panel and I like the way that Brian Buccellato draws Batman. He stays very close to the traditional version while making him tough and frightening. I love this Panel on the right. The shading from the lightening in the background really makes this an incredible piece of artwork.If I could remove the dialog bubble I would blow up this one panel and frame it. I think it would look great in my home office where I do my writing when I get one.

Since the death of Damian I have noticed a slight trend in the Batman stories. There is at least one character in each series there is a young character who Batman seemed concerned about. In this book the daughter of one of Bruce Wayne's friend is wrapped up in a dangerous situation and Batman is looking out for her. There is a stronger paternal aspect to Batman these days and as a father I like this. It makes the character more human without loosing the intensity.

This was a great book and I really want to go back and read the earlier volumes. I also can't wait to see where this story goes. It has been a long time since I read this series but I am glad to have found my way back. I might even see if I can get a hold of the books I missed with Batwoman and try to catch up there as well. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. For the sake of Goodreads and other sites I will leave this at 4 stars.  



Monday, May 25, 2015

Batman Earth One: Vol 2 by Geoff Johns

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Let me start by saying I know this is an alternate earth than what we are used to with Batman but there are a few things that irk me about this Batman. This is a continuation of Batman's origin story from the first volume. Bruce seems to be kind of a wimp being pushed into the whole Batman thing by his badass butler Alfred. Which brings me to my next little irk, I am not a fan of the angry violent pushy Alfred. Now that I have gotten my little issues out of the way let me tell you what I liked about this book.

The writer of this book is Geoff Johns one of my favorite comic authors of all time. He didn't disappoint. This volumes has the origin story of the Riddler and Killer Croc, well maybe not "Killer" Croc. The Riddler is terrorizing Gotham with several mass murders. Is there another agenda or is he just trying to take out as many citizens as he can to raise the body count. The story was great and the art work was pretty good, but I have to admit I wasn't a bog fan of the Bat-suit in this book.

Better than the Frank Miller Bat-Suit but not as good as the traditional suit drawn by Jim Lee. However, the art work in this is really great. I have to give credit to Jon Sibal. His detail is just amazing. I have read some comics that would not have gone to the trouble to define each brick like in this picture here.

Killer Croc was so detailed every single scale and detail was just perfect. The story and plot is the main reason I read comics but a good artist can still make or break these books. Of course my all time favorite artists are Jim Lee and Alex Ross but Jon Sibal impressed me.

Even though the Earth One series is different form the original history I like this series. I may have little issues with different changes but over all these are just great. I have to thank Net Galley and DC Comics for allowing me to read this and review it. I hope there is a volume 3 to this. I can't wait to see where the story goes from here.

When thinking about how to rate this book I easily can give this 4 out of 5 stars. I flew through this book and was kind of bummed when I got to the end. I wanted more of for this to just keep going. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fallen by Karin Slaughter

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For me, this is the book that started me on Karin Slaughter's work. It was one of my first reviews on Goodreads and looking back on that review, I spent more time talking about the giveaway I didn't win than the book. As most of you who read my blog regularly I have been trying to catch up on all the books before this I have missed. I did that and really felt sad that there was nothing else for awhile so I decided to re-read this one and I realized I didn't remember the book at all. I had forgotten everything about this so it was like reading it for the very first time. 

About the book, I still really liked this book. I am going to be honest and say the thing I like most about this book is the budding relationship between Will and Sarah. Will is "Married" to his long time friend Angie, and she disappears for months at a time, sleeping with anything that moves and really doesn't seem to care about Will. So when Sarah who has had tragedy of her own starts to fall for Will I really got hooked in this story. However, this is only a little side story, the main plot is one that will have you glued to this book and turning pages like crazy. Will's Partner Faith is late getting home to her new born baby and her mother. When she calls to check on them there's no answer. As a parent I was freaking out just at the thought of not being able to get a hold of my babysitter while I was away. When Faith gets home she finds her daughter locked in a shed outside, and a bloody hand print on the door. Her mother has been kidnapped. 

Frantic Faith is on a mission to find her mother and protect her children at the same time. It appears that the reason behind the kidnapping of Faith's mother is related to a case Will worked investigating corrupt police skimming money off the Drug cartels they take down. Was Faith's mother secretly rich? Was she really guilty of the crimes she was investigated by Will for? This story doesn't seem to have a slow moment. From the very beginning I couldn't stop reading this. I got to the end and couldn't believe I was there so quickly. Both times reading this book has been a lot of fun. I worried that if I had forgotten everything about the book in the few years it has been since I read it if this book was really that good. It is, just because I forgot doesn't mean the book was forgettable. I will stick with my original rating of 4 out of 5 stars.  I am so glad I caught up with all the books I had missed because a good bit of stuff in this book made sense this time because I was in on the history, and background of these characters. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Deal Breaker by Harlan Coben

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I have read a few books by Harlan Coben but it wasn't until the last two, Six Years, and Missing You that really got me hooked on his writing. When I saw that he had a series I figured I would give it a try. Myron Bolitar is a sports agent and the main character of this series. Now I am a huge Hockey fan but the rest of pro sports I know very little about. I wasn't sure how I was going like this but wanted to at least give this book a try. 

Even though Bolitar is a fairly likable character I wasn't a fan of the slimy, sleazy world of a sports agent. Thankfully there isn't a ton of that in the book. Bolitar may be a sports agent but at the request of a client and his ex girlfriend he plays detective. I would have rather read a detective novel than this kind of story if I am being honest. 

One of Bolitar's new clients has lost his fiance and of course the police are focused on the boyfriend. Turns out the ex fiance was the sister of Bolitar's ex girlfriend so he also has a personal stake in finding out what happened to her. A picture surfaces that makes it seem like she might still be alive. This was a very interesting concept for a story which I have seen done by other authors, but each has had their own spin on it. There was something that held my attention throughout but it wasn't until the last quarter of the book that really got good. 

This was a decent book and I did enjoy it but I expected more. Considering this is one of his earlier books there is a good chance Harlan Coben has honed his skills and improved. That might be why I have enjoyed his recent work versus his older books. Not sure this series is for me yet. I also haven't decided if I am going to move on to the next book in this series. I do love his one shot novels and can't wait to get to his new book The Stranger. I'm kind of on the fence on this book. I liked it but still expected more from this. I give it a 3 out of 5 stars. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

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I'm going to be really honest, when I first started reading this all I saw of the summary was that is was the next installment in Anthony Horowitz's Sherlock Holmes books and it was about the events after Reichenbach Falls. I was really excited when I saw this was out and was fortunate enough to get this for Christmas. When I started reading this I kept wondering when Sherlock was going to enter this story. Well, he doesn't just to let you know in case you are like me and only read the very beginning of the summary. So if you are like me, here is the full Goodreads description,
Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz's nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of Detective Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty--dubbed "the Napoleon of crime"--in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.
Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into the waterfall's churning depths, Frederick Chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place--including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction, whom Conan Doyle introduced in The Sign of Four. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London--from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the Docks--in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.
Riveting and deeply atmospheric, Moriarty is the first Sherlock Holmes novel sanctioned by the author's estate since Horowitz's House of Silk. This tale of murder and menace breathes life into Holmes's fascinating world, again proving that once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however im- probable, must be the truth. 
Well that was lengthy, my review is over Goodreads took care of that for me. Just kidding, I will however skip my own summarizing and move straight to the review. This was a really good book even though  I went in with the wrong expectations. This flows just like a Sherlock Novel and the story was really engaging. The ending had a great twist that I didn't expect and I should have. I wont spoil anything but the twist was right out there plain as day and I never put the pieces together. Once it was revealed I felt like such a chump that I hadn't seen it coming. Bravo Mr. Horowitz, you got me and that isn't easy.

As great as this book was I do wish there was actually some Sherlock Holmes in it. There are a bunch of characters from early Conan Doyle Holmes stories which was fun to see. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Had I not been an idiot about what all this book was about and gone in with different expectations this would have been a 5 star book. I still really enjoyed it and would recommend it to any Holmes fan, just know there isn't any Sherlock and Watson in this one.
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Batman/Superman Vol 3: Second Chance by Greg Pak


So this book begins with a microscopic city in Batman's head that has put him in a coma. REALLY??? This seems like the dumbest story opener I've ever read. It must spin right off from Volume 2 but I don't remember anything about this. The book just opens with Batman unconscious and Superman asking Ray Palmer for help. I guess this is the only way they could guest star Ray Palmer in the book.

Thankfully this is a small part of the book and it is rather short. The rest of the book seems to feel like a collection or random stories that jumped around from stories that started in the previous two volumes. This book just felt off to me. We have the god of Chaos showing up again and she wipes the memories of Superman and Batman to see what happens. The whole thing is for amusement. Superman has no morals instilled by his earth parents so it is very easy for him to be turned towards a ruthless god figure, and Batman without the pain and loss of his parents Death is a much softer more confused semi hero. I will be honest and say I wasn't a fan of where this book went.

The one thing that I do like in each volume I have read is the underlying friendship of Bruce and Clark. I like how Batman does his best to be stoic and yet her still can't shale the fact that he likes help from Clark from time to time. The writing was very well done so I have to give Greg Pak credit, I just didn't care for the story. It may be hard to believe but a book can be well written but still fall short of expectations.

I really don't mean to be so negative on this review. Being granted this as an advanced copy by DC Comics and Edelweiss was an absolute joy. I just have to be honest and say I was a little disappointed in this book when volumes 1 and 2 were so good. This in no way has put me off the series and I am anxious to see if Volume 4 helps make sense of this book. I will of course throw my name in to be a reviewer if ti is offered, lets see what happens and if I will have the next review to post. It pains me a great deal to have to give this 2 out of 5 stars but compared to what I had waiting behind this to read and review, this was the weakest of the bunch.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Broken by Karin Slaughter

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Well, I have finally read all of Karin Slaughter's books until the new one comes out. I am excited to finally have caught up and read every thing I had felt left out on, but sad at the same time. Going through this burst of books by Karin I had a lot of fun and now it seems like the party is over. Compared to the other books this one was pretty tame on the horrible violence. 

This book does start off with a suicidal girl working up her mind to plunge herself into the icy river and drown herself when someone comes up behind her and kills her. Her last thought was that she wanted to live which was one of the saddest scenes I have read. Finally she figures out that life is worth living and it is taken from her. The whole situation when the body is found looks like suicide but an autopsy reveals a stab wound to her neck which wouldn't have come from being weighted down in the bottom of the river.  All signs point to a mentally challenged boy who is arrested and charged with her murder. While in the custody of the police he commit suicide. This brings Will Trent into the investigation. 

Not only is this a Will Trent novel but the murder and suicide are in Grant County, Sara Linton's old home. Sara has returned home to spend a little time with her parents and sister since she moved to Atlanta away from all of the painful memories of her dead husband. While she is home the acting Police Chief asks her to try and talk to the suspect before he kills himself but by the time sara gets there it is to late. 

This was a great book, very well written and held my attention all the way through. The series starts as just a Will Trent series, but with each book Sara Linton takes a bigger and bigger roll in the stories and I love the pairing of the Sara and Will. In this book we also get Lena and Sara's former husband's son Jarrod. Not a lot of character development beyond what we already know, but the story overall was really well written. I have to say that Karin Slaughter is one of my favorite authors and when I had the pleasure of meeting her at a book signing I attended she was just as pleasant as I had expected. 

On to the rating, this was a great book and I really enjoyed it. I do think there are better books in this series which is why I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars but this is still a great book. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a great suspenseful read but you really need to read the earlier book or this will spoil a few things for you if you decide to go back later. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Batman Vol 6: Graveyard Shift by Scott Snyder

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I can't tell you how impressed I have been with Scott Snyder's run on the Batman series. I really hope he is in this even longer because the stories are great. This book is almost a step out of the story line of Zero Year to take a breather. Snyder has done a great job of expanding on Batman's origin story while also laying foundation for Batman's story to go anywhere. This book is a collection of stories instead of one consistent story.

There are some interesting moments in this book. My favorite is the Clayface story line. Clayface can change into anyone including their DNA just by touching them. This made for a great story with Bruce Wayne actually. Not a lot of Batman in this section but we get to see Bruce kick ass and take names. We also get a short little story line with special guest Superman. This one involves events that have happened recently in the Batman time line not part of Zero Year.

I liked this book but I think I prefer the bigger story. Maybe it was the Advanced copy I got but some of the stories seemed out of order and disjointed. I do need to thank Edelweiss and DC comics for allowing me to read this and review here on my blog. There was this story about a trapped spirit and maybe it was this way in the comics and not a bad download but the story starts and then cuts to our Clayface story. Then halfway through the Clayface story it cuts back to the spirit story only to finish it quickly.

I really liked this book but it wasn't my favorite so far. There have been some amazing stories since the New 52 took over the Batman stories. It was a nice change of pace having sort of a short story collection but I will have to give this 3 out of 5 stars. I am anxious to see where Batman's story goes next in Vol 7.