Friday, May 31, 2013

Batman Begins a Novelization by Dennis O'Neil

I've never read a novelization before. Never much wanted to. Why bother, right? The process of working backwards never intrigued me. A movie adapted from a book is common place – "We're going to read the book before watching the movie," a mother told me at the library while her fifth grade son held a copy of World War Z – but I've never heard anyone mutter, "I'm going to read the novelization after watching the movie." Still, a morbid sense of curiosity rose in me. And in a three-day weekend of sheer boredom had me sitting down in the living room with the only book close to hand was Dennis O'Neil's novelization of the Christopher Nolan film Batman Begins. Why the hell not?

The book took me a tad longer than expected. I blew through the first hundred pages in a matter of an hour (a feat for me because normally I get distracted). The added details were enough to sell me on the idea. I wasn't disappointed too much, but I wasn't enthralled. O'Neil adds Bruce Wayne's research into the League of Shadows, seeking out their history. But O'Neil also leaves Nolan's realism behind by mentioning the pits and the possibility that Ra's may indeed be immortal.

I really don't have much to say about this book. You either read it or you don't. You can still purchase - oddly enough - the novelization at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Tungsten World Inc

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Walking Dead Compendium Two by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

I wanted to put off reading Compendium Two for the next pay check. Even at a discount price, this undead tome is still quite expensive. After my sudden coming to for Kirkman's zombie bestseller, I couldn't hold back my urge. Rather than buying it at my usual hunting grounds (online or Barnes & Noble), I purchased this guy at Walmart. No need wiping your computer screen, I bought this guy at the super-center for $4.31 more than I would have paid at Barnes & Noble online. What can I say? I love instant gratification over savings.

I'm almost certain that I devoured the second forty-eight issues faster than the first. The story opens after the attack on the prison, with Rick and Carl pushing forward after the death of two loved ones. Kirkman opens the door for a darker passage of time, where are heroes see their truer selves. On the brink of insanity and survival instinct, Kirkman touches on something very little zombie movies and books feature, human nature. Where the reasoning and rationalizing ends and the justification for the evils we're forced to in order to survive out in the undead wilderness. Rick is pushed into trusting new members and a new community, and pushed passed his limits. In the end, he comes to realize his purpose in the world. And it's not one we were expecting. At least, not me.

Laying off on Kirkman's writing with this book. Either I'm getting used to it, or he learned to share the storytelling with artist Charlie Adlard. Adlard's work is haunting, depicting every annoyance, every forced smile, every bit of anger the characters convey. It's an amazing body of work, and I'm a fool for doubting it in the past. And as an act of contrition, I will force everyone who hasn't read these books to do so.

The Walking Dead Compendium Two is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Stock Images

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Walking Dead Compendium One by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Tony Moore

In the past, I've given The Walking Dead comic series in the past. Namely for my disliking of Robert Kirkman's inability to share a panel with the artist he's working with. Sure, there are a lot of silent panels that graces the pages, only after he's taken up an entire page with his word balloons. I stopped reading the series (in trade form) before I made it to the Governor arc. I don't know what possessed me to purchase Compendium One, I just did.

There was something that began to nag at me. Something, I couldn't put my finger on until I cracked the pages of Compendium Two (which I purchased yesterday, against my better judgement - monetary reasons, not taste). He makes no use of captions. Outside of comic strips and slice of life graphic novels, traditional comic books have made great usage of captions, even if it's just the "Meanwhile" piece. And that's when I cracked a knowing grin.

While I still feel Mr. Kirkman should stick to prose or TV scripting - he's a great writer, don't get me wrong, but his need for dialogue that often falls upon the repetitive and unnecessary still makes my skin crawl while reading his comic books - I've learned to reassess my opinion on his zombie series. If anyone should know that when it comes to the zombie genre it's often times the people that make the story flow, it's me. Loving the undead since a child, I respect the man's ability for us to draw our own conclusions and make our own captions subconsciously. He doesn't need that written down, doesn't need it to make his story flow from past to present to meanwhile.

It's a great job he's done, and he's won my respect.

The Walking Dead Compendium One is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Design By Humans

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

"Stuuuuuurum-hayyyyyyy-gennnnnnn!" That's right, boys and girls, Gustav, Liam, Duncan, Fredrick, Ella, Lila, Briar, Rapunzel, Ruffian, and Snow are back in Christopher Healy's follow up to last year's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. They're off on another hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure to reclaim the Sword of Erinthia from the depths of the Bandit King's – who's an official king! – castle.

A year has past since the events of the first book, leaving the princes scattered in their rightful places. Except for Liam, who is now living with Fredrick and Ella. Duncan has moved on to write a guide of hero-ing, and Gustav is still living in his brothers' shadows. While the heroes are still laughing stocks throughout the continent, Briar Rose still wants her Prince Charming to live up to his end of the bargain. And thus sparks the powder keg that sends our heroes on their next adventure where they face more than they can chew. But sneaking into the Bandit King's castle, located in the recently founded kingdom of Rauberia (formerly the Orphan Wastes which housed the castle of the witch-villain from the first book whose name has slipped my memory) isn't as easy as they assumed. Each prince (and princess) is pushed to his (and her) heroic limits, leaving them wondering if they have what it takes to be a hero. 

Christopher Healy's writing draws the reader in, making it difficult to put the book down. And there's never a dull moment, every chapter holds significance to the characters and plot (and subplots), so no fluff of information that isn't tied up neatly at the end, or left leading toward the next book (could his League of Princes series be a trilogy or are we looking at Harry Potter proportions here?). And even though he's more than capable of breathing life to his characters, Todd Harris's artwork compliments the prose. 

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as, for Kindle and Nook. Until next time, keep on huntin'.