Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: JSA Vol. 2: Darkness Falls

JSA Vol. 2: Darkness Falls
JSA Vol. 2: Darkness Falls by David S. Goyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As is my wont, I was perusing the graphic novel shelves at my local library when I came across this one. I've been randomly working my way through various DC characters and right now, I'm enjoying quite a bit of the JSA.

I'm not sure where in the continuity this particular volume falls. But, like much of my reading, I've found that I don't much care. It's still a very enjoyable read that expands my knowledge of several more of my favorite characters.

This particular volume has two fairly distinct stories: Obsidian's fall into madness, followed by the fate of the universe being held in the JSA's hands. The two stories were linked through Al Rothstein, or Atom Smasher. And it is a wonderful set of stories.

The artwork was, as always, wonderful. And the writing was also top notch. I loved exploring the character of Atom Smasher and finding out more about Star Spangled Kid. Seeing the pain in Alan Scott (formerly Green Lantern, now going by Sentinel) was heartbreaking. And the resolution found at the end to deal with an almost omniscient character was pure brilliance. It was one of the better JSA stories that I've read.

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Review: The Brownie Scouts in the Cherry Festival

The Brownie Scouts in the Cherry Festival
The Brownie Scouts in the Cherry Festival by Mildred A. Wirt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I still remember finding these books on the bookshelf of my town library. I was a Brownie at the time and finding fiction about Brownies just excited me beyond belief. I took the entire series several times to read and reread. I've thought about the books many times over the years but couldn't remember the name of the author, nor find anything like them in the libraries I visited.

I decided to check my library's Interlibrary Loan to see if I could find them in the wider world. I was in luck! Two of the books were able to be found and sent from a library in Illinois here to mine in Tennessee. I started, last night, with this one and finished it up this morning.

The Brownie Scouts in Rosedale are trying to make money for their troop, starting with sewing a quilt to be auctioned off. One of the girls, Veve, doesn't care much for sewing and instead tries to find another way for their troop to earn money. She finds an ad wanting cherry pickers at the local orchard, so she and her friend Connie travel out to the orchard to see if their troop will be hired. While the man they traveled to speak to was a horrid man and refused to hire them, they were able to be hired at the orchard across the street. The gentleman there was in dire straights since he didn't have enough pickers to get his cherries in in time. The Brownie Scouts come to the rescue! And while they're there, they help to solve a little mystery as well.

Rereading this brought me back to my youth. While many things are dated (it was written in 1950), a lot more of it fits with any age. Only a few of the girls really have fleshed out characters - primarily Veve and Connie - but the small group is a lot of fun to read about regardless. Especially with all the trouble the Veve manages to get herself into!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part III

Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part III
Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part III by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please see my review for the entire Thy Kingdom Come series on the first volume, which can be found here.

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Review: Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come Part II SC

Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come Part II SC
Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come Part II SC by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please see my review for the entire Thy Kingdom Come series on the first volume, which can be found here.

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Review: Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part 1

Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part 1
Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come, Part 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't remember specifics for each book, so I'm combining a review for all 3 of the parts of Thy Kingdom Come into one review.

When a much older Superman is pulled through a black hole created by Starman, he tells the story of his world gone wrong. He is from an alternate world, Earth 22, and didn't manage to save the people that lived there. His fear, based on some of the things that the members of the JSA had told him, was that this earth would soon be following in the footsteps of his own home planet. And he's willing to help the JSA try to make this happen.

But when the nature of that threat arrives - an old god by the name of Gog from the Third World - the team becomes split. Gog seems to be making things better. He cures Starman's madness. He fixes Damage's scarred face. He restores Dr Midnight's sight. But not everyone is as trusting of this seemingly benevolent god. Will Gog be what tears the team apart?

This is a series that I'd seen in the back of several of the graphics that I'd gotten recently and I thought that now would be the time for me to check them out, especially when I saw the second volume on my library shelves. The other two volumes arrived at my branch of the library last Saturday and I dived into them, curious what the story was going to be about.

And it was a good story. Not my favorite by a long shot (that still goes to the Green Arrow graphic novel, Quiver) but a fairly solid story. The only thing that I had to quibble with is that the message seemed a bit heavy handed at times. But seeing the various members of the JSA struggle with the choice of whether they should believe in Gog or not was well worth the message that was being passed along. I felt sorriest for Citizen Steel, who couldn't even hold his family because of the powers he received. Especially when Gog helped every other person but ignored him. Yet, for the longest time, he kept the faith in Gog stronger than anyone but Damage.

I think the authors did a wonderful job in depicting the various characters from the DC Universe, making us care about those that were new to our world, and giving enough information about the heroes that new readers wouldn't be completely lost. If you're wanting to get started in the world of reading Graphic Novels, then Thy Kingdom Come may not be a bad place to start. Yes, you'll probably want to go out and read a ton of other comics that had come before, but I don't think this will detract in the least.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Batman: A Death in the Family

Batman: A Death in the Family
Batman: A Death in the Family by Jim Starlin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story is one of the most controversial in the whole Batman mythos, being the one where Jason Todd (the second Robin) is murdered by the Joker. I known of this history and had seen it in animated form (in the direct-to-video Batman: Under the Red Hood) but I'd never actually read the story. I decided that it was time to rectify that and read it. I picked it up from my library today and finished it within a couple hours.

I'm honestly still not sure how I feel about the comic as a whole. I've been reading so many comics from the mid-to-late 90s and beyond that the dot style coloring is a huge throw-back for me. And the story itself doesn't have the same... realism?... I guess that's the best word... for me as the later ones do. Still, it was a decent story for it's time, where Batman was moving into the grittier stories that are common now. It's just looking back at it now that it feels almost contrived. It also reminds me, in a lot of ways, of the reboot that Donna Troy went through. But the picture of Batman holding a battered and bleeding Jason Todd (in Robin costume) is still one of the most powerful images I've seen in the world of Batman.

So I'd say "Check it out." It's not a bad book, by any stretch of the imagination. And it is a very important part of the Batman history.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One: The Amulet of Samarkand

The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One: The Amulet of Samarkand
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked up the original as an audio book for one of our trips and fell in love with this series. When Rich found the graphic novelization at the library a few weeks ago and took it out for me. I'm not sure why I let it sit to the side, unread, for awhile, but I didn't pick it up until later this week.

Graphic Novelizations are things that are usually hit and miss with me. Sometimes the writer pulls out my favorite parts and the artist brings the characters into view the way I saw them in my own mind. Other times, I find a part I was looking forward to was nowhere to be found and the artwork doesn't work for me. This was one firmly fits into the first category. The layout and artwork fit perfectly with what I'd remembered from the original. It was beautifully done and the story included the humor along with the more serious moments that had been in the original.

If you have a reluctant reader, I'd suggest handing them this one - particularly if they enjoy fantasy. It is a great introduction to a wonderful series.

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Review: More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason

More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason
More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second book of the Book Lust series is just as good as the first book is. Being a life-long reader, I can understand why she needed to start a second book. It's so easy to forget favorites and think of more books that you want to share! And, again, there was a great number of books that have gone onto my list. Some of the books that were mentioned in Book Lust are mentioned again here, but only if the title and author were the only things mentioned previously. In this book, Ms Pearl gives more detail about the second-mentioned book.

Like the first book, I want to own this one. Because, while I've noted titles and authors, I haven't noted genre for many of them, so I'd like to go back and see what she has to say about the book again. I can see me, as my tastes change as I get older, wanting to see what other books may catch my attention.

I really can't recommend this series enough. Because I have no doubts that, while reading through it, you'll find others that will catch your attention as well.

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Review: Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason
Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I remember correctly, Paul Weimer was the one who recommended this to me. And I haven't regretted it since. This is actually the second time I've read through it, and this time, I have a notebook to write down the books that interest me and I want to read.

The book is incredibly easy to read, with lots of different categories for the reader to immediately go to some of their favorites. While there are some books that I am disappointed to see missing (most particularly Neil Gaiman's The Sandman from the Graphic Novel section), for the most part I devoured the titles and descriptions. So far, I've got over 200 books on my list (granted, that is between this book and it's sequel), so I forsee some awesome reading coming for me. The hard part is figuring out what book to start with!

The index in the back is a great way to see if some of your favorites are mentioned without having to read through the whole book. Both authors and books are listed, with books being bolded. This is one series of books that I would like to own because I could see me going back numerous times to get more ideas of things to read.

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Review: Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman: The Long Halloween
Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story opens at the wedding reception of Carmine "The Roman" Falcone's nephew. Both Batman and Catwoman break in - Batman to try to find something that will help convict The Roman of one of the many mob-connected crimes that he'd committed and Catwoman to find something nice to sell. Batman comes out with a ledger with information on various members of the Falcone family, passing it along to Commissioner Gordon and DA Harvey Dent. This opens up a possibility for things that are to come.

Starting with Halloween, members of the Falcone operation/family start being killed on holidays, starting with the newly married nephew. This new serial killer is dubbed Holiday by the people of Gotham and the question of who Holiday is is debated among Falcone, his biggest competitor, Maroni and the trilogy of Batman, Gordon and Dent. By the end of the story, the person claiming responsibility for the murders is caught. But it's not quite the end of the story. Because things aren't always what they seem.

I really enjoyed this story a lot. It did something that never happens - completely surprised me at the ending. While I was reading the story, I suspected that the person claiming responsibility was Holiday. But when the twist came at the end... I'd never seen it coming. But it was perfect.

I also really enjoyed it because it told the story of how Two-Face came to be. Two-Face is one of the two Batman villains that I really feel sorry for. Dent was a good man, trying his best to get the criminals off the street. And that part of him has to be in there somewhere, otherwise the duality wouldn't exist. Getting to see this version of how Dent became Two-Face was an interesting thing to read.

It's definitely not a book for kids - but then again, I don't think that any of Batman's stories from the 80's on are. But it's one of the best of the various Batman stories.

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Review: Batman: Cataclysm

Batman: Cataclysm
Batman: Cataclysm by Chuck Dixon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gotham has just made it through a horrid plague. But Mother Nature refuses to give Batman's home city a break, hitting them with a devastating 7.8 earthquake. Much of the city is in ruins (though all of Wayne Industries holdings - minus Wayne Manor - have held their integrity thanks to Bruce Wayne's forethought. The graphic novel follows Batman, Barbara Gordon, Nightwing and Robin as they do what they can -sometimes together, sometimes along - for the people of the Gotham.

Partway through the story, once we know our heroes are all safe (Batman was in the bat cave when the earthquake hit and much of it - and Wayne Manor above it - collapsed), a villain comes forward to claim responsibility for this disaster. He sends word that he'll cause another earthquake - a 9.6 - if the city doesn't pay him a million dollars. So along with trying to keep as many Gothamites safe as possible, the Bat family needs to try to find this supposed Quakemaster.

I really enjoyed this story. I love seeing people band together to help one another when disaster hits their world. Not every story has a happy ending, but that fits reality. Not everyone ends up being saved and one in particular brought tears to my eyes.

There was only one blurp that bugged me a bit. Tim Drake, the newest Robin, has been in Europe and arrives home just after the earthquake hits. He makes his way into Gotham and, after briefly seeing Alfred, heads next door to his own home to make sure that his father is alright. Then, a chapter or two later, he is helping the people of Gotham and wondering if his family is ok, but not feeling that he can get away from his duties to the people of Gotham to find out.

Otherwise, it was a wonderful book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a bit of hopefulness in their Batman stories.

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Review: Sleeping Murder

Sleeping Murder
Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a re-read for me. I wanted something familiar while I was sick. Sleeping Murder was Agatha Christie's last book and it's one of her best. The story itself is chilling in a way that Agatha Christie excels at. Since it was a re-read, I already knew who dun it, but following the path to the answer was once again thrilling. The truth unfolded perfectly and the characters were engaging. While I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as I had Curtain (Poirot's final foray), it was still a wonderfully told story with Miss Marple fleshing out the clues as only a nosy little old lady can.

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Review: Darkness Unbound

Darkness Unbound
Darkness Unbound by Keri Arthur

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This new series is set in the same world as Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen series, albeit 20 to 25 years in the future of those books. And as the Riley Jensen series is one of my favorites, I knew that I would have to check out this new series. When last I remember Risa, she was the adorable daughter of one of Riley's closest friends. Now, Risa's all grown up and showing off her werewolf and Aedh sides. The book shows off Keri's wonderful writing style and gives just the perfect mix of new characters with their stories and old favorites that we've come to love from the previous series. The mystery that's happening in this book is an intriguing one and the sex scenes are pretty hot. All in all, it was a great read!

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Review: Justice League: Cry for Justice

Justice League: Cry for Justice
Justice League: Cry for Justice by James Dale Robinson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was one of the few graphic novels that I've read recently that I really didn't care for. It wasn't horrid, but it wasn't memorable either. And for me, that's one of the worst things I can say about a book. If it's something that I hadn't read in awhile, that would be one thing. But it was just over a week ago that I read it, so it should be in my mind a little more. I thought the concept was an interesting one - looking at the difference between revenge and justice. But the characters were so OUT of character that I felt like I was reading heroes from a different multiverse. It just didn't work well for me.

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Review: Batman: The Cult

Batman: The Cult
Batman: The Cult by Jim Starlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a strange cult rises within the ranks of the homeless and hopeless, Gotham becomes (if possible) less safe than it was before. Particularly for those in the public life. Batman suspects that Decon Blackfire, the enigmatic leader of the cult, is up to more than just gaining followers, but will he be able to find out what Blackfire's real goal is? Or will he, too, fall under Blackfire's sway?

My Thoughts: While this isn't the darkest Batman that I've read, it is up there in terms of darkness. It opens with Batman in the hands of the cult, chained and beaten, while they attempt to brainwash him to Decon Blackfire's message. The assassination attempts (including the one against Commissioner Gordon) are shown on screen. The madness at the end of the book is chilling. Yet, for all of that, it is a good story. The writing is evocative and the artwork fits the story perfectly. While it's not a story that I'll be rereading, it is one that I am glad that I read. Because it shows just what could happen under a truly charismatic cult leader.

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Review: The Flash: Rebirth

The Flash: Rebirth
The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

23 years before, Barry Allen (also known as the Flash) disappeared into the Speed Force in order to save the multiverse. And when the Final Crisis came about, he returned. But Allen isn't sure why he's back or how the Speed Force let him go. When something happens to the other speedsters, Allen finally finds out the reason for his return to the world - and the malevolent nemesis that was behind it and many of the tragedies that Barry had lived through in his life.

My Thoughts: I've always enjoyed reading about Flash. He's a DC character that I didn't know much about, beyond the fact that there were many that have carried the name of the Flash throughout the years. I'd recently read Final Crisis and I saw Barry's return in those pages. So when I saw Flash: Rebirth and knew that it was Barry Allen's story, I had to pick it up to read. And I'm glad I did. Like many of the other graphic novels that I've read, I got to learn more about the characters that I loved and be introduced to several more that I learned to love. The story was great and it opened up the DC world even more with the secret of the Speed Force and Barry Allen's history.

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Review: Justice League Elite: Volume 2

Justice League Elite: Volume 2
Justice League Elite: Volume 2 by Joe Kelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Several members of the Justice League were tired of being reactive to threats to the human race. They wanted to be proactive instead. So they, along with others that weren't quite so noble, combined to make the Justice League Elite. But they are being eaten away from within. Someone is a traitor, and someone else isn't quite who they say they are. Will the JLE survive the trouble from within?

My Thoughts: I was in the mood for more graphic novels and found this one while I was searching. Of course, my library didn't have the first volume, but that never seems to stop me. I wasn't really sure what to expect of this one, but it had Green Arrow (my favorite superhero) so I knew I'd enjoy it for that, if nothing else. And I did end up enjoying it quite a bit. I was only familiar with a couple of the characters before I'd read this one - Flash and Green Arrow. But many of the other characters - particularly Manitou Raven - were ones that I found myself really enjoying learning about. I'm going to see if my library system has the first book so I can check it out, as well as see if there are more books in that series. But I love reading anything DC related, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I've enjoyed it.

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Review: The Rogue Hunter

The Rogue Hunter
The Rogue Hunter by Lynsay Sands

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Garrett Mortimer has been immortal for a long time - 800 years. In all that time, very little has been able to draw him away from his duty as a Rogue Hunter for the Argeneau clan. Until, that is, he and his partner are search cottage country outside of Toronto for a rogue vampire and he finds the one woman he cannot mentally influence - Samantha Willan, also know as his life mate. Sam is at her family cottage with her sisters, while Mortimer is staying next door with another member of the clan. As Sam and Mortimer get closer, more obstacles seem to be thrown in their way, finally ending with Mortimer telling Sam about who and what he really is, asking her for commitment. What will Sam decide? And will they ever find the rogue biting mortals in the wilds of cottage country?

My Thoughts: I'd read a few of the Argeneau short stories (or, I think I have. I've read so many anthologies that it's hard to remember what I have and what I haven't read!) I saw this book at my library's month book sale and thought, "You know, I've heard a few good things about this, so let me pick it up." Yes, I'm following my trend of starting somewhere in the middle of a series rather than at the beginning. But in this case, it wasn't a hindrance. Sands wove the vampire mythos into the story very well, along with giving other bits of information that long time readers of the series may have known by newbies needed to know. I'll admit, that's something I relish finding in a book that I'm reading. It makes me want to read what's come before and not feel completely lost in what I'm reading now. I loved the characters - especially Bricker. He's the youngest of the vampires in that group and still has a lot to learn about being an older vampire like Mortimer and Decker (the vamp who owns the cottage). It's a shame that he isn't life-mated with Sam's sister, Jo. They would have made a great couple.

There was also a lot of humor in the book, and that is something I love to read. The interactions between the sisters and the vampires got incredibly comical - particularly when the vamps were trying to come up with a cover story of what they did with a living and Bricker blurted out that they were in a band together, formerly called Morty and the Muppets. The band bit led to some humorous moments throughout the rest of the book. And the poor luck that continually happened to Sam and Mort whenever they tried to get it on was just... definitely chuckle worthy. One of those stories you tell your kids so you can embarrass them when you're older.

One of the highest kudos, however, goes to Sands for the world that she built. I love the vampires-as-products-of-science so much more than the vampires-as-products-of-cursing so much better. Yeah, you need to stretch your imagination a little to make it work (premise: the vampires have nanotechnology inside of them that keeps them in top physical condition. The nanotechnology runs off of the blood in the body and that is why they need to replenish themselves by drinking blood. The Argeneau clan has been around a long time - the first people to have this technology implanted were part of the highly-developed country of Atlantis.), but it's something that doesn't cause the immortals to be evil creatures. And I've never liked vamps as absolute evil. Sometimes you need to do what you have to do to survive, right?

If you like your vampires a little different than the norm, check this series out. I don't think you'll regret it. It's one of the best.

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Review: Bitten

Bitten by R.L. Stine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a compilation of the two books thus-far written for this series. The first book, Dangerous Girls, introduces the reader to Destiny and Livvy Weller, twin sisters ending their jobs as summer camp councilors before the start of their senior year of high school. After all the kids have gone, the councilors and the junior councilors have one last good time together, and Destiny finds herself walking in the woods with the gorgeous head life-guard, Renz Angelina. Little does she know, but Renz is a centuries old vampire and, even more, thinks that Destiny is the reincarnated soul of his long dead love. He wants to be with her again, so he prepares to make her into a vampire so they can spend their lives together. Before he has a chance to do more than bite her himself (since the ritual recalls mingling their blood by each biting the other under the full moon), they are interrupted. He temporarily erases her memory of the night thus far and she heads home with her sister.

When things start feeling strange around her - most noticeably her overwhelming hunger for blood - she starts to get worried. And it's both better and worse when she finds out that she is not the only one who has been bitten. Livvy is showing the same powers that Destiny seems to have. And then their friends start dying around them. They need to find someone to cure them, before the next full moon. Otherwise, they'll go crazy.

The second book, The Taste of the Night, ends a couple of months after Dangerous Girls. Livvy has embraced her vampire-self, while Destiny has been cleansed of the blood lust. Livvy has distanced herself from a family that she doesn't think understands, making new friends among the growing vamp community in their hometown. Regardless of the pleas of her sister, father and brother, Livvy is determined to live a life that she wants, regardless of what the rest of the family has to say. When a new vampire arrives in town, things start to go bad for both girls - again, losing friends that were an integral part of their lives. Can the sisters put aside their differences long enough to save the people they care about?

My Thoughts: I picked this book up in the discount bin at my local grocery store. I've been pretty heavily into paranormal lately, and the back cover intrigued me. So I figured $3 wasn't bad for an omnibus and brought it home. While it's far from the best paranormal story ever written, it wasn't a bad read for a teen novel. The characters were pretty easy to care about, though at times they did seem to act a bit more irrational than others. The story had me turning pages, curious what answers they would find for the mystery that their lives had become. It may not have been the best read that I have had this week, but it wasn't a bad one. I'd say that if you're a fan of the Twilight series, you'll probably enjoy this one as well.

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Review: 52, Vol. 4

52, Vol. 4
52, Vol. 4 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(This review is for 52, Vol 1-4. I couldn't separate them out in my mind.

52 is the story of what happens between the end of Infinite Crisis (after which Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman disappeared for a year) and Year One, where there was a bit of a reboot/change in the status quo. The story revolves around... well, almost all of the characters you've ever cared to hear about in the DC Universe. There are many storylines that weave themselves together into a wonderful whole - Booster Gold and Skeets trying to figure out why history is changing and having some pretty bad things happen to them through out; Black Adam finally finding peace with a woman he loves, only to have that peace ripped from him by people who refuse to believe that he could have changed; Renee' Montoya, former cop whose life has been spinning out of control, meeting the mysterious Question and having her life change tremendously; Adam Strange, Beast Man and Starfire being stranded in space, desperate to try to find a way home; Steel and his niece, Natasha, standing on opposite sides of a battle instigated by Lex Luthor, Not to mention all the other super-heroes who are trying to make sense of a world without the big three. This is a truly epic story that any fan of the DC super-heroes should check out.

My Thoughts: I'd heard a lot of things about 52 while I'd been reading some of the other graphic novels that came across my desk. And almost unanimously, it was said to be one of the best. Most recently, while reading Gotham Central, I heard about it again when told that Renee' Montoya has a large part in the storyline that spanned 52 issues in one year. So I requested them from the library.

Unlike other times when I've gotten books, I waited until I had all four volumes before I started reading. And I'm glad that I did, since I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning - when my eyes could barely stay open - turning pages to find out what was going to happen next. It was truly a world-encompassing story and gave me fantastic introductions to some characters I'd never heard of before, and yet found myself loving. The story was full of surprises, the plot was very tightly written (especially for a series with the kind of time crunch these authors were on - for those unfamiliar with the world of comics, they are usually released in 16 page monthly books. This year-long series was released in 16 page weekly books.). I found myself crying a few times through-out the story, which has always been one of my indicators that a story is good. If it can give me strong emotion, then it's one that was good. And this is one of the few that I want to own, not just have to borrow from the library. I was seriously blown away by all four of these books and the complete story in general.

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