Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 100 The Doomsday Brunette

TITLE-The Doomsday Brunette
AUTHOR-John Zakour&Lawrence Ganem

This is the sequel to Book 98 of the challenge.Got both at the same time. In this one our private dick is called in for what is a locked room murder. 

Seems years ago some scientist used gene splicing and created 4 perfect women. Named Ona,Twoa,Threa and Fora. Each is gorgeous,ultra smart and a few other things. All of them are now fairly rich. And while gathered at Ona's home Fora dies. 

I was very surprised at how much better this was than the first book in the series. And I did really enjoy that first book. The dialogue is much better. And feels like stuff I would hear in old detective films. The pacing is better. 

I looked on Amazon and seems like there is at least 2 more books in this series. Now I just gotta track them down.

The Doomsday Brunette gets a 4.66 outta 5.

Friday, November 20, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 099 The Bionic Man Vol 1 Some assembly required

TITLE-The Bionic Man Volume 1 Some assembly required
AUTHOR-Phil Hester & Kevin Smith
FORMAT-Trade Paperback
PRICE-Free,got it from the Library ILL program

I remember Kevin Smith mentioning years ago that he had wrote a script for a Six Million Dollar Man film. But nothing came of it. Then a few years back Dynamite comics took the script and got Phil Hester to work on it a some.

My understanding is the 10 issues covered in this trade are from the movie script Smith wrote.If so I would love to have seen it become a movie.

The story is the origin of the Bionic Man. Updated to modern day. With lots of little Easter eggs for fans of the franchise.The art is nice,but has this sameness look that most comics from Dynamite have. It never stands out but also never is so bad it harms the story.

Steve is a test pilot who almost dies in a crash. And is put back together with bionic parts. So far we are pretty much following the old TV show.Then we get the curve ball of Steve not being the first person they have done this to. So there is a rogue Bionic Man out there. And of course Steve fights him.

While I liked the story there was no need to make it 10 issues. 5 or 6 would have worked just as well.Hell it isn't until issue 4 that Steve receives his bionic parts.But once he does the comic kicks it into high gear and doesn't slow down.

The Bionic Man vol 1 gets a 3.56 outta 5.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 098 The Plutonium Blonde

TITLE-The Plutonium Blonde
AUTHOR-John Zakour&Lawrence Ganem

The cover is what got my attention with this book. I looked at it and thought "Ok here is a mash up of science fiction and pulp era stuff." And I was pretty much right.

Set in 2057,this is the first novel in a series about the last detective left on Earth. Zachary Nixon Johnson is his name. And he prefers old fashion ways. Like how now most people have flying cars that they let the autopilot drive. Not Zach,he hates them and still tools around in his now ancient gas guzzling car.

In this adventure our private dick is hired out by an ex-exotic dancer. Who is now head of a major corporation. Seems a replica of her was made and escaped. So Zach is hired to track this replica down. Of course there are twists and turns along the way.

The book has a great pace to it.It is a bit over 300 pages and felt much shorter. Now I haven't read lots of pulp era detective fiction. But what I have read,reads similar to this novel.

When I got this book I also picked up it's sequel. Which I hope to have finished before the end of the year.

The Plutonium Blonde gets a C+.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 097 Alien Legion:Piecemaker

TITLE-Alien Legion:Piecemaker
AUTHOR-Carl Potts&Chuck Dixon
FORMAT-Trade Paperback
PRICE-Free(was an X-mas gift)

Until about 8 years ago,even though I had heard lots about Alien Legion,I had never read an issue. Then I got a few real cheap at a con. Tried it out and loved it. So threw a few of the trades Checker books published on my X-mas wishlist. And my Aunt Midget got this one for me.

This trade reprints the last 7 issues of the second series of Alien Legion that Marvel published under their Epic Comics imprint.By this time Chuck Dixon was doing most of the writing and Larry Stroman was handling the pencils. I normally enjoy any military/war stuff from Dixon. And have been a fan of Larry's artwork since he was doing X-Factor.

Most of the stories in this trade are 1 and done. But the one major continuing story is about when the Legion gets sent to a planet being held hostage. And we find out the leader of the group holding it hostage is Jugger Grimrod's father.So we get to meet the man that helped create most Alien Legion fans favorite member. As for why this volume is titled Piecemaker. And spelled that way,well the Legion has a ship. That is pretty much made to be used as a last resort. It blows a planet to pieces. So is nicknamed The Piecemaker.

After reading this I wanted more. But sadly after the second series from Epic was cancelled there hasn't been much new Alien Legion stuff to come out. There was a few one shots in the 90s. And I heard of a new series that was suppose to start this year. No clue if it did.

But if you enjoy military fiction,science fiction and comic books this is  a series worth tracking down. I know besides the two trades Checker books put out there is at least one Alien Legion Omnibus from Dark Horse.

Alien Legion:Piecemaker gets a B+.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 096 World War Z

TITLE-World War Z
AUTHOR-Max Brooks

From not long after this book came out I kept being told how I had to read it. I kept putting it off mostly cause I had a feeling I wouldn't like it. Then a few months before the film was released I grabbed the novel.

This is as the cover states an oral history of the zombie war. A reporter is traveling all over the world talking to people. And we slowly get pieces of what happened. Now as of this writing I haven't watched the film. I do wonder how the hell this translates into a film. There really isn't a a normal plot in the book.

It is kind of rare that horror novels scare me or creep me out. But in a few scenes this novel did just that. The one part that got to me the most was when he find out to help find and fight the zombie hordes the Army has equipped tiny dogs with cameras. Being a dog person,and having always owned tiny dogs,this scene got to me.

If you are a fan of the Walking Dead tv show or comic read this book. If you are just a fan of zombie films read this book. I have only ever read one other thing from Max Brooks. Which was a vampire comic trade he wrote for Avatar Press. Which sadly wasn't that good.

World War Z gets an A.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 095 Heroes Saving Charlie

TITLE-Heroes:Saving Charlie
AUTHOR-Aury Wallington

With Heroes recently making a comeback I dug out this novel. If you watched Heroes during it's original run you will remember a part were Hiro went back in time and met a red haired waitress named Charlie and he feel in love with her. On the show this all happened in one episode. But with the TV show being a huge hit that story was taken and fleshed out into this novel.

Since Hiro is from the future he knows Charlie's fate. And most of the novel is about him trying to decide if he should prevent her death or not. Aury did a great job capturing the feel of each of the characters from the show. And does his best avoiding any time paradox. Which is always something you have to watch out for when dealing with time travel in fiction.

Going back now,after finally seeing all 4 of the original seasons of Heroes,I gotta say this novel is better than seasons 2 thru 4. But not as good as the first season. If you are a Heroes fan and haven't read this book yet go get a copy. It shouldn't cost that much and is a neat piece of Heroes merchandise.

Heroes:Saving Charlie gets a B-.

Friday, November 13, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 094 VideoHound's Horror Show

TITLE-VideoHound's Horror Show
AUTHOR-Mike Mayo
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

Not long after I bought VideoHound's Cult movie reference book I found this one. Which contains reviews of 999 horror films. Since buying it I have managed to see right at 800 of the films reviewed in the book.

As with the Cult movies book,the reviews are kind of short, But give enough info so you can figure out if you want to see the film.

I would love to see a updated version of this. But thanks to stuff like IMDB books like this are dead.

VideoHound's Horror Show gets a B+.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 093 VideoHound's Complete Guide to Cult Flicks & Trash Pics

TITLE-VideoHound's Complete Guide to Cult Flicks & Trash Pics
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

Sometime in the late 90s I found this book at Hastings. With my love of movie reference books and cult movies I had to grab it.And as you can tell the book has been read many many times.

With a reference book like this the best ones not only include the well known cult movies but lots of obscure ones. And this book does a great job of doing short reviews of some films that when the book came out were pretty obscure. Gotta remember this came out right when DVD was first hitting the market in North America.So it wasn't nearly as easy to find some movies.

Since getting the movie I have made it a point to try to see every film mentioned in the book. At last count I am right at 80% done with that.

VideoHound's Complete Guide to Cult Flicks & Trash Pics gets a B-.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 092 The Encyclopedia of Superheroes

TITLE-The Encyclopedia of Superheroes
AUTHOR-Jeff Rovin
FORMAT-Trade Paperback

When I got Rovin's Adventure Heroes reference book I also ordered this one about superheroes.Back in the pre-internet days books like this were very valuable reference tools. Of course now they are kind of outdated relics.

But I love reference books. I keep a stack of them in my bathroom. And they make perfect reading while you are taking the Browns to the Super Bowl.

So how through is this book? It came out in 1985.So I am assuming it was more than likely finished in late 84 or early 85. But even with my huge knowledge of superheroes there isn't one I can think of that isn't in this book. Hell there is so many in here I have never heard of. Each entry seems to be well researched and as far as I know accurate.

I love how in one of the appendixes we get a list of superhero teams. And another appendix for obscure Golden Age heroes.

The Encyclopedia of Superheroes gets a B+.

2015 Reading Challenge Book 091 Infinite Crisis

TITLE-Infinite Crisis
AUTHOR-Geoff Johns
FORMAT-Trade Paperback
PRICE-10 bucks

In 2005 DC started this series. Which is a sequel to the 80s classic Crisis on Infinite Earths. I would listen to the reviews of each issue on the Comic Geek Speak podcast. Then at a con found the trade for about $5 off cover. Grabbed it. But almost didn't,mostly cause I am not a big fan of Geoff Johns. In lots of ways his writing reminds me of Peter David. And I do not like Peter David's comic work. But since this was a sequel to one of my favorite big comic book events I felt like I needed to read it.

This trade reprints issues 1 thru 7 of the Infinite Crisis mini series. And includes all the alternative covers. Some of which are from Jim Lee. I have always said Lee is a great artist for cover,posters and pinups. But that his storytelling skills are lacking. The cover you see above is from Jim and it looks damn good.

So what is the story? Well cause of a recent reveal ,that the JLA mindwiped some stuff from various villains and Batman's minds,Batman is now refusing to work with any other hero. To save the world Wonder Woman had to kill a man which was broadcast world wide. And something has attacked the JLA HQ and almost killed the Martian Manhunter.


So what has happened is this. At the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths all the alternate Earths in the DC multiverse got merged into one. And so that meant no more 2 Supermans and various other things. The Superman of Earth 2,which is the one that appeared in Action Comics #1,along with Earth 2's Lois Lane,Alexander Luthor of Earth 3,a world where all the heroes are villains and vice versa,along with the Superboy of Earth Prime all are shuttled off to a pocket universe. Where they are suppose to live in peace for eternity.

What wasn't known was they could see what was happening on this new merged Earth. And after seeing how dark the heroes have gotten Superman and the others come to believe if they can bring their old world back it will correct this.

Now to me this entire series was Geoff Johns kind of crapping on all the bad ripoffs that happened after Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's Watchmen were such huge hits not long after Crisis on Infinite Earths ended.And I kind of agree with Johns on this. I don't mind so called dark or edgy heroes,hell one of my favorite comics of all time is Miracleman,but most of the ripoffs of DKR and Watchmen missed what made those two series so good. It wasn't that they were so dark and gritty. It was how each writer took the common superhero tropes and used them in new ways.

So how is this 7 issues collection? I enjoy it a bunch. I got it back in 2008 and since then usually read it once a year. The writing it pretty good for the most part. There is a few too many storylines that sadly do not get enough room to breathe.And the art is really good on most pages.And as a sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths it works very well. Even if by the time I read this I knew all the big reveals and surprises.

Infinite Crisis gets a B.

Friday the 13th limited edition Ultimate Collection DVD review

Last month while in a local Dollar General I got the numbered Friday the 13th Ultimate Collection DVD set very cheap. Now sure I already owned all the films in this set,this only has the ones Paramount put out AKA the first 8,on DVD. But parts 6,7 and 8 were the old first DVD releases that had no extras. Plus as you will see this set came with some very nice extras.
That is the box. In the bottom right hand corner is a sticker telling you what number this set is. It is 38,283 out of 50,000.I like how the box is mostly blue with some trees on it.

Now lets open up the set.The first thing to come out is...
Yep a nice replica of Jason's infamous hockey mask that he first got in part 3 and wore in that film along with parts 4,6,7 and 8. It is a bit small for an adult sized head.But I bet it fits a kid's head perfectly. Currently I got this mask hanging up on my wall.

Up next is...
Yep two pairs of 3d glasses so you can watch part 3 in 3d. That is the front of them.
And that is the back. Now when the Deluxe DVD of Friday the 13th part 3 first came out I kept seeing online people bitching cause they claimed the 3d didn't work. It does work. But you gotta make sure you are in a completely dark room. Then set the brightness of your TV to the right level. It also helps to have a bigger TV. First time I watched the entire film in 3d on DVD was at my cousin's home. She has a 70 inch TV. And the 3d worked perfectly.I do like how they just didn't throw in some generic 3d glasses. Instead we get ones that on the front look a bit like Jason's hockey mask. And have the Friday part 3 logo and blood splatters on the back.

Then the final part of the set. The main event if you want to use wrestling terms.
That is the front cover to the book like case that houses all 8 films. I really like that picture of Jason. So lets open up the book and see how the inside looks.
Each film gets not only a nice synopsis of the film. But also a listing of the special features.Some Friday facts about each film. And my favorite parts a body count and list of how many weapons are used in each film.Then below all that you get some film credits and a few pictures from the film.

The first film  has a fun commentary with Sean Cunningham and some of the cast and crew. A few short featurettes. And the first part of the brand new Lost Tales of Camp Blood. Which sadly is kind of crap.

The second film has no commentary,BOOOOOO. But has a feature named "Inside Crystal Lake Memories".A feature on horror conventions,Lost Tales of Camp Blood part 2,something called Jason Forever. And finally a theatrical trailer.
Now part 3 gets only one extra.Which is the theatrical trailer. I guess Paramount thought putting it out in 3d was good enough. I would like to have a commentary on this film.

Part 4 gets a buttload of extras. We get two commentaries. One with the director,screenwriter and editor. Then another with huge Friday the 13th fans Adam Green and Joe Lynch.We also get Lost Tales of Camp Blood part 4,no clue what happened to part 3.Some deleted scenes.The lost ending.A feature titled "The Crystal Lake Massacres revisited part 1". Another feature all about Crispen Glover's amazing dance moves. And the original theatrical trailer.
With part 5,which is one of my favorites of the series,we get a commentary from the director.Lost Tales from Camp Blood part 5.Part 2 of the Crystal Lake Massacres Revisited.A making of Friday the 13th part 5 and the original theatrical trailer.

Then part 6 gets a commentary with the director.Lost Tales of Camp Blood part 6.The third part of the Crystal Lake Massacres Revisted. A making of Friday part 6.A feature named Meeting Mr Voorhees.Some deleted scenes and of course the original theatrical trailer.
On to part 7,my least favorite of the series.The commentary this time not only has the director,but also Lar Park Lincoln and Kane Hodder. A making of part 7.A feature on telekinesis.A feature on the make up work in the film.And some deleted scenes.

And now the last of the Paramount Friday the 13th films,Part 8 Jason Takes Manhattan.The commentary this time has Kane Hodder,lead actress Jensen Daggett and Scott Reeves.Then there is a making of Friday part 8.Some deleted scenes. And a gag reel.
There is the back cover of the DVD case. I love the red tint. And how Jason is almost hidden by all the fog.

So since I figure most people reading this have seen either all of or at least most of the films in this set I will not bother reviewing the films. Instead I will review the extras. I love how parts 1,4,5,6,7 and 8 all have really good commentaries. It would be nice if part 2 and 3 had commentaries. The Lost Tales of Camp Blood are all crap. But all the making ofs are good. And it is nice to get to see some of the deleted scenes. The other extras are pretty good also.And you gotta love the mini replica of Jason's hockey mask.

Friday the 13th Ultimate Collection DVD set gets a B-.