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MIND MGMT Volume 2: The Futurist
MIND MGMT Volume 2: The Futurist
by Matt Kindt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.86
88 used & new from $9.63

5.0 out of 5 stars Same awe of starting to read "S", but this actually goes somewhere, February 8, 2015
I had to stop reading this after an intense twenty minutes or so in, only because I felt I was devouring it too fast and not savoring it enough. Haven't felt that impressed by a comic book in a long time. There are several layers going on in here, stories within the main story, stories in the margins about the characters and about things they've already done, or things associates of theirs have done. It's world building. Gives you a taste of the key plot of the main characters with just enough outsiders running around that you get a solid feeling that there is an actual world outside of what these guys are doing.

Unlike "S" by Dorst, this actually seems to go somewhere.

Thief of Thieves Volume 4: The Hit List
Thief of Thieves Volume 4: The Hit List
by Andy Diggle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.33
47 used & new from $4.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacks ANY sense of surprise, January 31, 2015
By the time volume four rolls around, this standard plot outline is way too well worn. Redmond knows everything, he holds all the cards, every other character plays second fiddle to him. He's never surprised, he's always just letting the other kids play ball with him, even though he's way better. Even when major international crime cartel mob bosses are involved, people who can kill and disappear bodies for mild annoyances, Redmond is able to twist things miraculously to his advantage. Even when he's bound and at their mercy, it always works out to his advantage. He needs to play with others in his own league; he needs to lose once in awhile to break up the boredom of his adventures. His idiot son is more interesting by the fact that he seems to have lost an eye to his own stupidity in the previous volume. Something like that needs to happen to Redmond too. He needs to make mistakes.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 13, 2015 11:53 AM PST

The Wake
The Wake
Price: $14.49

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Man.... I really wanted this to be great, January 13, 2015
This review is from: The Wake (Kindle Edition)
I like the overall concept (even with the scratchy art, which does get better) but the book suffers, particularly at the end. The beginning is a pretty straightforward "thing from the deep" storyline with a few surprises and twists. The middle suddenly gets awesome with a forward jump into the long-extended wake of the first part. Here I was hooked and thinking "Synder really set that up well." But as it wears on to the end I was left wondering about the motivation of almost everyone involved. What exactly was so compelling about traipsing all the way around the world chasing a broadcast? In Snowpiercer there aren't any better options, but in The Wake the characters apparently touch on all sorts of cool and interesting points in their journey (none of which are fleshed out, just snippets of narrative and pictures), yet everybody just continues on toward an unknown goal for vague promises of "something better." Like what? They've all already adapted to the earth as it is. For their entire life, this is what the world has been. So what's the draw? That's where I was confused. Particularly for the antagonists. It is a HUGE mystery as to why they even care about the broadcast, or keeping it from people, let alone wasting the massive resources in pursuing it. I kept waiting for some key reveal, but to no end. It didn't make sense to follow them. There was no benefit.

The very end of the book left me hanging. Still not exactly sure what the point of the whole story was. The beginning was good, the middle started to get awesome, but by the end the whole thing collapsed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2015 7:42 PM PDT

The String Diaries
The String Diaries
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $9.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but leaves you asking questions, July 7, 2014
The idea here, a long-lived shapeshifting psychopath terrorizing a family through the years, is solid. However, the execution of the book itself needs some tweaking. One, a glossary. Lots of hungarian words are peppered into the text without clear explanation leaving only context clues for the reader. Some seem to be Male Leader, Female Leader, Disavowed, Gifted, and the like, but I'm not sure of what they actually mean since there is no glossary anywhere and I wasn't going to stop reading to go and look up the translations.

Second, and probably the bigger issue, there is a pretty major deus ex machina thrown in the story that doesn't really serve any purpose. It's glaring, and worse, comes directly after one of the characters explicitly states how that option has been tried over the years and never, ever works. It's thrown in the story, everybody just accepts it, but it's never fully fleshed out as to "why" it's possible after the book took the time to state how much it isn't possible, and has already been experimented with over the years.

Third, the pacing. The first half takes its time getting going, telling three stories set in different time periods and locales. I had to keep plowing through and making myself read it. It just wasn't that engaging. Now, when the action picks up about halfway through I was all in. Mr. Jones writes action really well. And by the last fifth of the book I couldn't put it down, since it was rapid fire (even oddly introducing new characters- however, to me, this made sense as up until that point there wouldn't have been anything for them to do and I'm not a fan of just having all the characters in the book but not needed). Plus, at one point a character describes something from the past and it's adequately explained. Then later, we read that scene as if in real time. But since we know how it turns out, even though horrible, it's not surprising in the least. Seemed like it could have been cut entirely, or the the first description of it edited out to leave a sense of surprise while reading it.

Fourth, and maybe I just missed something, but I didn't get why everybody had such a hard time with the protagonist. Shapeshifter, I get it, tough to spot. But beyond that he's basically just a regular human who lives a long time. He's not an X-man or anything (he does have a sort of "power" but it takes concentration and the target needs to be restrained). Others of his kind are killed throughout the book, and he's not shown to be particularly cunning or smart. He's a torturing psycho, so I get why people would be scared of him initially, but not how over generations someone doesn't connive to catch and kill him. They always just run. It's alluded to that it was tried at points in the past to do just that, but it's never shown to the reader. There were some close calls, but never was a trap set. To me, he just reads as a whiny nut job, obsessed with lost love. Again, maybe I missed it, but he didn't seem like he'd be that tough to pin down. Like if you're unsure of three people in a room, shoot all of them in the leg or something, then tie them up and start questioning each. I can see where it would be tough in the short term, but over decades you'd think somebody in the family would have thought of a trap.

So I liked it, the story was good, but overall I put it down with some questions.

100 Bullets Vol. 13: Wilt
100 Bullets Vol. 13: Wilt
by Brian Azzarello
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.69
144 used & new from $4.31

5.0 out of 5 stars I gotta reread this whole series, February 21, 2014
Finished the last book in the series and my first thought was: I gotta read this whole series again. I think I generally just absorb most graphic novels, read it, eh, good enough, nice story, and move on. But 100 Bullets I should have approached differently. There's too much going on. I didn't have enough of a grasp of the characters and the conflicting motivations of each, let alone the radical shifts throughout the series. I phoned it in and now all I can think is that I should start over and really relish these characters as they develop. Mainly the Croatoa activation of each Minuteman and how they move from submerged memory back to their true, killer selves. I got the overall message of the series, the chance to balance the scales, whether it's a random person Graves picks with no interaction to the world of the Trust or Graves himself, leveling the playing field after a raw deal forced him to consider a life possibly misspent. (Which really feels like Azzarello intentionally left that gaping Atlantic City piece out of the puzzle. A back door for more of these guys in future works.)

The only things that stick as really big question marks to me are: did Graves have some semblance of this final act planned for decades, or was it just an acceptable outcome given the cards on the table? The story flashes to the past a lot, but before Atlantic City, why would he care about who was in charge of each House? And the Trust is apparently all powerful and shadowy but is only seen as a generic structure of "families running America." I like the concept, but seriously, are they bankers, criminals, government officials, shadow government, all of that, or what? Aside from the untraceable bullets and gun they never really do anything impressive, just fly around, gamble, and lounge in pools. When depicted they just seem like rich douchebags. Not masterminds of anything.

Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories
Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories
by James Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.25
176 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some truly memorable snippets, most not so much, November 13, 2013
A good story, long or short, is one that stays with you. Of the 72 entries here, only 14 are memorable: Brilliant Silence, The Stones, Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye, Feeding the Hungry, Grace Period, Vines, A Continuity of Parks, The Nicest Kid in the Universe, A Moment in the Sun Field, Corners, Snapshot, Harvey Cedars: 1948, Offerings, A Chronicler's Sin, and Here's Another Ending. The rest range from mostly bad and pointless to kind of interesting when considered on a more technical level, like a college writing assignment to do a piece without punctuation, or stream-of-consciousness. The List and August Evening fall in this latter category.

Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead
Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.70
239 used & new from $4.97

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but not King. (Plot holes and Spoilers), June 29, 2012
Having just finished The Wind and the Keyhole, wherein Roland's father is alive and well to send him on a mission directly after the events in Mejis, I was very surprised to see him die in this alternate timeline. Which is what I've concluded: Stephen King didn't write this, so it can't be part of the canon. Even though he is creative and executive director of the series, and the woman who did write it is his personal assistant and wrote A Concordance (the encyclopedia King used to keep all Dark Tower references in line), it's not Roland's true history. It's a very close and very similar world that reflects Mid-World, but it's just not King.

As for the book itself the plot was laid out nicely and the art is good, but some points were overly reliant on stark imagery without filling in the action in between. The battle in particular, not to mention the treachery leading up to it, were only given in snapshots. Apparently ALL the men were either traitors or killed before Farson's forces arrived; Steven Deschain's gunslingers are good but not good enough to spot an ambush (so, in fact Roland IS several cuts above the rest); and even though there are awesome deterrents to attacks on Gilead, no one has thought to keep them in good working order over the years.

All in all, it's a good plot. The writing is decent even with the holes left by the grandstanding art, which was also decent. But ultimately it's one or two Tower levels away from true Mid-World because it's just not King.

X-Factor - Volume 8: Overtime (X-Factor (Numbered))
X-Factor - Volume 8: Overtime (X-Factor (Numbered))
by Peter David
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.99
22 used & new from $7.60

4.0 out of 5 stars From Marathon to Sprint, May 26, 2012
I was loving this storyline: characters, teasers, plotting, developments, clues, twists, it had it all. But the pace suddenly shifted during the last ten or twenty pages (this would be the second half of the giant size X-Factor #50 of volume 3 in the actual comics). And it didn't downshift, it certainly didn't lose the race, no it sprinted like hell for the finish. Some eyebrow raising moments: Dr. Doom in a frail state can assemble a force blaster in the back of an ordinary truck "from spare parts" (I'll even buy he had it hidden on him), but that's nothing compared to overtaking a cyborg's mind within a few moments of being alone with him, who is already very wary of Doom being around at all. Not that these by themselves are implausible in the world of comics, it's more that they so drastically break with the established pace of the story. It's like someone just hit the highlights of the plot because they knew they were running out of pages to actually develop it. But the real kicker is when things are compounded by the "Voltron" of sentinels (seriously, what the..?!) and a standard sci-fi child-angst-paradox. Maybe it's because I never liked Sentinels as enemies, too Johnny Quest or something, that I didn't care for that part of the story. I think if there were maybe another ten pages inserted to develop some of these big question marks (and there were others, these are just the real biggies) this book would rank as one of David's best. Even so it's still definitely one of X-Factor's most interesting storylines. Again, overall, I loved it. It's just that the sudden sprint at the end completely shifts gears to wrap it all up. 5 stars for the plot but only 3.5 for the full story.

Beside the Dying Fire
Beside the Dying Fire
Price: $1.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Questionable Leadership, March 19, 2012

Michonne, finally! And perhaps even cooler than her initial appearance in the comics. Speaking of the comics, I'll take a stand based on both them and the show: Rick is not that great a leader. Admittedly, I agree with his statements at the end of the episode: sure, there should be one leader who gives orders to prevent mass dissention and disagreement from corroding any kind of societal balance. I just don't think he's a good choice to be that person. Aside from his horrid parenting (just keep the loaded gun you STOLE from someone else, thereby endangering TWO people at the very least, and probably the whole group, you cute little psychopath you) he actually chose not to tell everyone there was a threat in their midst! What if, say Lori and Carl, were out walking and Carl randomly fell and died. She would be grief stricken... right up until his corpse reanimated. Or, maybe she could carry the body back to the group before it started ripping out throats. Right there, you sir, are not a good choice to lead. You kept people from knowing key information that could have saved their lives. I get that the others simply don't want the burden of leadership, even Randall's fate wasn't really an argument to get choked up over (I wouldn't have at least), but I wouldn't just blindly follow what Rick had to say either. His decisions are questionable, to say the least. If you were driving for an hour in the red why didn't you mention it sooner, with daylight left to do something about it, and why aren't you taking into account other people's opinions? I guess I'm more with T-Dog's line of thinking: I'll stick with you people until something better comes along. In the time since Rick has joined the group no one has made any long-term good decisions, no fortifications, early warning systems, scouting parties, I would settle for even just basic armor. Seriously, wear a winter coat if you're going near walkers! (I take that back, they did it once in Season 1, then forgot what a good idea it is.)

Even so, all in all, the show is certainly back on track and actually making progress. Glad they took out those two people who I had to stop and think, wait, who are you two again? Otis's wife I think? Even Lori, whiny as she is, moves the story along. (Was she actually upset and disgusted with Rick for killing a man in self-defense who was himself a murderer, twice that we know of? Now I see why Carl is both so annoying and such a powder keg if she's been this patchwork crazy all his life.)

And here's a question, how many times does your camp/holdout/bar/farm need to be attacked and overrun before you stop and think, hey, maybe we need a back-up meeting place with provisions in case something totally unlikely happens, like a zombie horde migrating through, tearing down our nonexistent defenses? With any luck the momentum they've built over the second half of this season will carry on through to the next. I'm all for some Michonne, Abraham, and Governor action.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2012 7:34 PM PDT

W 5 Blade Razor For Men With Trimmer
W 5 Blade Razor For Men With Trimmer

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it, March 8, 2012
Saw this on sale for 3.99 at the local Walgreens and since I'm looking for a solid alternative to the Mach 3 I've used for years I decided to give it a whirl. No good. It cuts hairs but not close enough (still feel and see the stubble) so I ended up going over my face again with another razor. The price is right but the effect is totally lacking. Far as I can tell 5 blades is no better than 3, or even 2. For what its worth I also tried the Walmart 3 blade disposable, even worse, it cut me up with razor burn. I'm still on the hunt for a cheaper blade that does as a good a job as the Mach 3. The struggle continues.

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