Monday, September 28, 2009

Graphic Novels I've Enjoyed Recently

Here are a bunch of graphic novels I've recently read and enjoyed.
  • Absolute Superman for Tomorrow. Writer - Brian Azzarello. Artist - Jim Lee. The Absolute format is great for showcasing reprints and this story about Superman's inner search for meaning is a great read.
  • Punisher War Zone: The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci. Writer - Garth Ennis. Artist - Steve Dillon. Ennis is the perfect Punisher writer with a story that's full of black humour and violence.
  • Wolverine: SNIKT! Writer/Artist - Tsutomu Nihei. Wolverine travels into the future to do what he does best.
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Hard Time. Writer - Brian Azzarello. Artist - Richard Corben. Constantine is in a maximum-security prison and you just know it will end badly for everyone except him.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection Book 2. Writer - Mark Millar. Artist - Various. The young team find out some dark secrets about Professor Xavier as they struggle with fulfilling his vision.
  • Spider-Man/Wolverine. Writer - Brett Matthews. Artist - Vatche Maulian. S.H.I.E.L.D. hire out two heroes to track down rogue agents, which takes them around the world.
  • Lobster Johnson and the iron Prometheus. Writer - Mike Mignola. Artist - Jason Armstrong. Pure pulp fun with Nazis, mad scientists, weird creations and furious action.
  • John Constantine Hellblazer: Good Intentions. Writer - Brian Azzarello. Artist - Marcelo Frusin. Constantine goes to Doglick, West Virginia and finds himself up to his neck in all sorts of trouble.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear

If you're looking for a truly fun read, that will have you laughing out loud and reveling in the sheer chaotic craziness of it all then The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers is for you.
Bluebears have 27 lives and this novel deals with Captain Bluebear's first 13 1/2. Afterall a bear must have his secrets, "they make him seem attractive and mysterious." In this wonderfully told adventure you will also meet the Minipirates, the headless Bollogg, the Bolloggless head, the Rickshaw Demons, the Cogitating Quicksand, Diabolic Elves, Time Snails and the smell of Genff.

This book is just fun on a stick. It is so well written that the reader flies through the chapters with a smile on their face, chuckling at the many adventures that Captain Bluebear manages to have. If you start reading this, you will want to keep going until the end, and it won't disappoint.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Quick Reviews

Some more quick reviews of books I've enjoyed recently.
  • The Dwarves by Markus Heitz. What does it mean to be a dwarf when you have never seen your own kind. Tunydil is about to find out as he attempts to save the world.
  • The Civil War. Fort Sumter to Perryville by Shelby Foote. The first volume in an epic and gripping retelling of the American Civil War.
  • Wasteland of Flint by Thomas Harlan. The galaxy spanning Mexica Empire keeps discovering ruins from an ancient civilisation and sends Dr. Gretchen Anderson to find out more. Superior science-fiction.
  • The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling. In the near future environmental catastrophe has led to the collapse of nearly all nation states. Instead spheres of influence fight for control. As always a thought provoking read.
  • All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. An action packed novel that doesn't let up. For people who enjoy their science-fiction at full throttle.
  • Wireless by Charles Stross. A collection of short stories by one of science-fictions shining lights. A great read.
  • The Spartacus War by Barry Strauss. A very readable and engaging look at the gladiator revolt led by Spartacus.
  • Ravenor. The Omnibus by Dan Abnett. Join Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor as he battles the enemies of the Imperium. Balls-to-the-wall fun.

Le Tour

The Tour de France is a great sporting event, but it has had its fair share of cheating, cruelty, tragic deaths and sheer bad luck. Matt Rendell has done a great job of recording this in Blazing Saddles. The Cruel and Unusual History of the Tour de France. The book basically follows every Tour from 1903 until 2007 and gives a brief summary of what happened. It particularly focuses on the things that set this race apart in terms of the unusual and cruel.
The early years of the race were like the wild west riders would travel on cars and trains to get an advantage, nails would be left across the road, mobs of supporters would block the road and beat up or stone competitors that were beating their favourite rider. One rider even organised a line of beer bottles to be set up on a wall on the side of the road on a long and hot stage, and when his competitors stopped to have a drink he rode on by. Now days drugs are the main form of cheating that goes on.

Overall a good little read that fans of the Tour will enjoy as it highlights some of the events that make it so unique.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Have you ever wanted to be Batman? Well here's your chance. This amazing game which I'm playing on PS3 puts you in the shoes (or utility belt and cape) of Batman as he battles with the Joker and his minions who have taken over Arkham Asylum. Along the way you also bump into members of Batman's Rogues Gallery like Bane, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc and the Scarecrow. You also get the chance to solve riddles posed by the Riddler as you enter a new area.This game captures perfectly the stealth aspect of Batman as well as his fighting ability and his funky gadgets ie Batarangs, explosives, and Batclaw. Now don't worry, this isn't the movie Batman (with Christian Bale's ridiculous Batman voice), this game is firmly set in the world of the comics. Fans will find lots to like about this game and should have hours of fun capturing the Joker and his goons, before they even start on the challenge rooms.
Special comment must be made of Mark Hamill's great work as the voice of the Joker, a role he played on the animated series of Batman. Overall, a must play.