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Everything posted by Venneh

  1. Can you explain this? I like the trailer, interested mostly in Wakanda, and the costumes/world building look amazing.
  2. To elaborate: the monologuing felt super ham fisted to me, if trying really really hard to recall Milestone. There are parts of continuity that seem to be straight up ignored or thrown out. Also, the Chicago/Emanuel stand-in stuff, the latter of which could potentially lead to some REAL fucking stupid awful Jewish stereotypes depending on where they take it next issue. Admittedly, I was led by Mike and Jim's reactions, but even without that, that this is the guy who's apparently writing and coproducing on the Hulu series for Runaways is... not real encouraging tbh.
  3. The Oracle Year, Charles Soule: Meh?? This feels like a failed comics pitch. It's a solid thriller, and reads quick, but it drops threads, straight up makes me roll my eyes in places, and doesn't bother with character development for any of its multiple main characters. Books read: 83
  4. Falcon 1: I just spent ten minutes reading this and yelling at Jim in the other room. Christ. This is fucking embarassing. Zines: 15 Single Issues: 282 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 95 Omnibuses: 4
  5. Bitch Planet Triple Feature 5: Fraction and Charretier lead with the first short story, which is in my opinion, the strongest. Tsuei does one about Asian actors in Hollywood, and Bassey/Eyang/Nyambi Nyambi do a great one about white women's appropriation of black culture. Descender 25: Feels like the best parts of Pluto and Astro Boy mixed with Nguyen's watercolors. Shit's jumping off again in a big way. Zines: 15 Single Issues: 281 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 95 Omnibuses: 4
  6. WicDiv 32: And fuck, there's the arc closer. Double whammy this issue, and McKelvie and Wilson go overtime/overboard on these sequences. One more time. Redlands 3: Gatormen, sex, chihuahuas biting off dude's dicks, and potentially one of the mystery parts already wrapped up. Alright. Jordie Bellaire's got some shit to get out of her system, and Del Rey does an amazing job drawing it, especially the sex. Seven to Eternity v2: I read selected bits of this in the singles, but having the full story arc together definitely helps the story cohere. Leans pretty heavily on some Remender standards ("I'm a bad guy who's done bad things but I'm gonna make it up to my FAMILY", issues with women), but is fun enough story wise that I can forgive it. Opena and James Harren guesting on art helps a lot too, it turns out. Zines: 15 Single Issues: 279 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 95 Omnibuses: 4
  7. Wild Hundreds, Nate Marshall: A short poetry collection mainly centering on the neighborhood he few up in in South Chicago. Some really good poems, but for me, the standout is Chicago High School Love Letters, which are scattered throughout the book and recontextualized by a single footnote at the end of the last of them. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Jeff Hobbs: On the one hand, this is a thorough examination of a young man's life, a solid deep dive into what he went through and how everything went down, and doesn't try to attribute any grander lessons to it. On the other hand, I feel like the author makes it way too much about himself at times, goes out of the way to emphasize how bad he wants to be a famous author, how much his family was in debt, oh, and did you know he has another book along with two he didn't sell, and leaves you with the feeling that he's trying to profit off of tragedy porn of his friend's life (he's doing a speaking tour based on this book, guys!!). Some of the profits of this go to a scholarship in his memory (but we don't know how much). It's a very weird feeling as you're reading it. Books read: 82
  8. The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang: Chronologically first of the twin novellas that JY Yang released this week, and the one I will recommend coming at first. It's a good introduction to the twins, and to the world/core conflict, and follows them as they grow up. The world building is exquisite (and is silkpunk in a way that doesn't make me want to put a brick through a wall), but never feels like an infodump, and comes to us naturally as the twins grow older and experience the world. The most chronologically jumpy of the novellas, but allows for stories to be filled in if the series sells well enough. Focuses on the male twin's perspective the most, and on establishing the world of the Tensorate, and how he comes into himself in his twin's shadow. This is apparently the novella that came second in terms of them (JY Yang) writing it, and it does show in some places. Oh, also, Yuko Shimizu art, which is always a good draw for a series. The Red Threads of Fate, JY Yang: Follows up with the other twin in the aftermath of a major traumatic event, and is the more traditionally action-y of the novellas, but can still stand well on its own. The potentially interesting threads are the strongest here (especially wrt the soul grafting that's mentioned), but their not really being followed up on is alright, I feel, because if these sell well enough they feel like a thread that can be explored. Just real fun, too - dinosaurs, stubborn queer women trying to save a city from a mythical creature, and how one of the twin deals with trauma and the powers she had potentially being gone (but maybe not, and again, potentially an interesting thread). I technically led with this book, but was planning on splitting the read between this on my commute into work, and Black Tides going home from work. I ended up finishing this in one day for both and just switching off every few chapters between the physical book for this, and the digital book for Black Tides. Whoops but not whoops because this series is amazing, and I'm in for the rest of this series. Binti: The Night Masquerade, Nnedi Okorafor: WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK DID I JUST READ?! Not going into spoilers, because ARC, but man, I will be fucking interested to see how people react to this when it comes out in January. Books read: 80
  9. I think whoever the initial editor was who pitched this to Rivera somehow absolutely missed the core of this character? (According to a Refinery29 interview, Moss reached out to her because he thought she'd be an amazing fit.) If true, everyone involved has somehow missed the entire goddamn point of America. Rivera should've also been given something else before a solo series. The issues where she had Kelly Thompson cowriting Hawkeye were slightly less awful. But all she's written before this has been one YA novel that is very much for the tumblr crowd (and that I have not read and should not judge as such), and Wil Moss recruited her on the strength of that. Yes, America should've been given to a queer Latina. But man, maybe they should've given her more ramp up? these issues have regularly had three or four artists, and given that Quinones could handle solos just fine before this, I have a feeling that gossip re: scripts being late might be true.
  10. Here's the thing: we get process pieces each issue, and the base line work isn't awful! But then the photoshop comes in and ye fucking gods. if nothing else, this comic is proof that Image has no editorial team, for better or for worse.
  11. Komodo, Jeff VanderMeer: One of VanderMeer's first longer pieces after the end of the Ambergris trilogy, originally published in a sci-fi journal in the UK that had Mieville visiting some squid and octopi and Atwood published in an earlier issue, and was rereleased on Amazon. Pitched as ghost frogs, psychotic angels, transdimensuonal Komodo dragons, and undead bears, but as with VanderMeer, it's so much more than that. You can see the roots of Southern Reach's environmental concerns, and further seeds of what would later become Borne. Quick (29 pages), weird as fuck, and a hell of a ride once it comes together. The City and the City, China Mieville: Mieville does a detective novel with a touch of metaphysics and conspiracy. So, with how hard and quick this drops you into the world and terminology, I somehow missed that this is supposed to actually be set on Earth, so some of the random pop culture references that get thrown in really pulled me out of the story at first. But as the story drills more into the detective story and the two overlapping cities, that falls away, and Mieville write a hell of a story. Again, took a while for it to click, but when it did, daaaamn. The comparisons on the cover to Chandler and Dick are accurate - I would also add Borges in there. The one pattern I've noticed and find irritating with Mieville is that if there is a woman character she is likely to end up a stereotype, dead, or gone by the second half of the novel (here, we get two dead women, one who starts the novel that way, and the other female officer is effectively out of the picture by the second half). This is only for the five fiction books of his that I've read, but it is noticeable. The Strange Bird, Jeff VanderMeer: Ahem: Fuck you Jeff VanderMeer for making me feel things about a goddamn fictional bird. Under 100 pages, so it's a quick read, but it's brutal. A side story in the Borne universe (and there's another one of these coming out next year) that focuses on a new character but also fleshes out characters we already knew even more. VanderMeer also doesn't pull punches about the treatment of the bird; a good two thirds of this is an extremely accurate depiction of emotional and physical abuse, and has some amazing lines besides. It's $3 on Kindle, and for that, it's absolutely worth it. Books read: 77
  12. Virgil and Two-Step were real fun. America 6-7: Because I am secretly a masochist, I decided to check this series out again. Hoooooo boy. 6 was a weird little luchador diversion, the writing still is not fantastic but improving (they added Kelly Thompson, one of their workhorses, on as a cowriter for the Hawkeye bits, and it does seem to be helping a bit). There's some very painfully clear moments where the fill in artist takes over from Villalobos (including some damn embarassing background art.) This is the one where they accidentally published the 4chan letter mocking them. 7 is... hooo fucking boy. There are six fucking artists credited to this (and they're all amazing, but jesus christ, if you have to send an issue to six separate artists to get it out on time, that's not a good sign). I'm genuinely not sure if this was a stylistic choice, or literally that no one could get this out on time. Painfully exposition heavy issue, and with the tumblr-esque interjections it kinda made me want to claw my eyes out. There is also some Themyscira-ass knockoffs going on here. But hey! Lesbians! Coincidentally, no more letter page this issue. I don't know how this series keeps going. But it does. Thought Bubble Anthology 2017: Wonderful collection of comics, including from winners of the comics competition for all ages, alongside pros (protip: the Southern Bastards one is amazing). Very heartwarming. Snotgirl 7: Hung and O'Malley are benefitting from the every other month schedule, I think; Hung's art seems a lot less rushed, and O'Malley gets a few more pages to do story/gags in. They seem to be finding their stride on both the Instagram/model and murder mystery sides. Black Monday Murders 7: This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Crazy stuff on the story front this issue, and gorgeous art. There we are. Black Magick 8: Still keep trying to get into this. Still failing. Crosswind 4: Cat Staggs is still embarassing, Gail finally figured out it's downtown Chicago (psst, try the Gold Coast, that's where it is). She dives into the socialization issues a bit this issue at least, so it's mildly interesting? IDK. This continues to be a thing that happens. Lazarus X+66 3: Peeked my head in on this one, still pretty meh on it. Southern Bastards 18: Shit is jumping off real quick, and we learn more about Roberta's childhood with some exquisite flashbacks as she tortures the shit out of Materhead. Brunner subs in for Aaron this time around. Rat Queens Special: Orc Dave: Man, remember when I was interested in Rat Queens? Been a long while, and the shine's worn off hard. (My D+D game is more interesting, my dude.) Descender 24: Christ this series continues to be goddamn gorgeous. Killer robot meets his Yoda. Alright. Looks like it's going to be at least an issue or two of diversion from the main story. XO-Manowar 7: Ahem: KINDT AND CRAIN KINDT AND CRAIN KINDT AND CRAAAAAAAIN. Also thank god for recap pages. They're back to their stride with each other, and we are in for a good time. Zines: 15 Single Issues: 277 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 94 Omnibuses: 4
  13. Beneath the Sugar Sky, Seanan McGuire: ARC of the next book in the Wayward Children series, due out in January. I'm really impressed with this. A continuation of the first novella proper, with time loops, new and old characters, and tours of more doors/possibilities. The two things that stuck most with me: really well done fat representation, and the fact that the time traveling daughter is named after a reference to the same in the Sailor Moon dub. Absolutely read this series. Books read: 74
  14. This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz: The only work I've read of Diaz's is the story that closes out this collection; this is my first experience with him in general as an author, and I'm intrigued. This is a collection of all of his short stories published in the New Yorker, and from what I can tell, they're all the same POV character at different points in his life (with the exception of one story that might be from his father's mistresses POV, not sure), with different POVs used. I read through this in this in three or so nights, a few stories a night. Really good writing, there is frequent Spanish without translation, but even if you don't know it, you can guess with context. I was lucky enough to find this edition remaindered on one of my first trips to Unabridged Bookstore (which is now my/our bookshop). It has illustrations and endpapers done by Jaime Hernandez, and they're gorgeous. Might have to get his novel if I can find it remaindered. Definitely worth your time. Books read: 73
  15. Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions, Valeria Luiselli: A short (100 pages without sources/references) but brutal read about how the US treats undocumented children immigrants, primarily focusing on immigration courts in NYC, the authors experience as an immigrant, and as a translator for children caught in these courts. Read this. You'll be done with it in an afternoon, but it'll stick with you. Books read: 72
  16. Destiny 1: Shoots happen. Bungie destroyed the grimorie cards/tracker because they're not in Destiny 2 so I have no idea what's going on. Hell, even with them I don't think I'd know what's happening. But it's fun watching Jim's face when there's another dumb platforming section.
  17. *bangs fist on table* BRING UNTO US THE WILSON
  18. Insexts 13: Sad to see this end, but man that was a good issue to go out on, especially that last double page sex spread. Land of the Lustrous v2: Some potentially interesting plot threads in the background, but mostly some real goddamn gorgeous art (pretty enough to rival Kaoru Mori). I'm in. What Did You Eat Yesterday v12: Good recipes, cute individual developments, all in all another solid volume. Zines: 15 Single Issues: 265 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 94 Omnibuses: 4
  19. Taste of Marrow, Sarah Gailey: Sequel to River of Teeth, in that it actually looks at the emotional fallout of the last novella, and continues the story in an unexpected but interesting way. I also get the sense that there's another one of these in her if they do well. Eternal love for a fat bi lady who is one of my most recent favorite characters, period. You can get through this real quick, and it continues to be wonderful besides. Books read: 71
  20. December: A Diary Comic About Depression: Zine I picked up at FlameCon. Extremely accurate depiction of how I experience depression at times. Sailor Moon Tribute Zine: Pretty much what it says on the cover. Trung does line work that's really well suited to Sailor Moon in general. The Magic Fish: A collection of two comics Trung started but has not yet finished. One's a Little Mermaid adaptation, the other is a Vietnamese Cinderella variant called Tam Cam. The collection starts out with Trung's personal relations to both these stories, and his art is amazing. My Neighbor Jiaojian: Wendy Xu and Alyssa Wong team up for a six page horror comic. Very creepy. The Legend of Gay Zelda: Again, what it says on the tin. . Small anthology of various gay/lesbian Zelda comics. Breath of the Wild dominates due to the release time (and yay for Link/fucky fish prince appearing frequently), but these are really short, sweet, and well done. Orchid: A sweet little Yuri on Ice doujinshi I picked up at FlameCon. Combination of domestic moments, realistic depictions of anxiety, and of course, banging. Three Chrysanthemum Moon: Chapter Zero: Prelude to Wendy Xu's new comic, which combines royal drama, politics, animal people, and magic. Good into, and I'm interested to see where it goes. Burl and Fur: Pinup collection of bears/bara dudes. Hell yeah. Runaways 1: Anka continues to be wonderful, and is probably the perfect fit for this book. Not sure how I feel about how we get dropped into things storywise this issue, but it's better than America 1. Nice acknowledgement that AForce was a thing that happens. Mister Miracle 2: Hmmmm. That is. Hmmm. Let's see where that goes. (Special shoutouts this time around to the color work. Damn.) Zines: 15 Single Issues: 264 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 92 Omnibuses: 4
  21. Death's End, Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu): Finally fucking done with this. 600 pages, and at times, some of the most dense technical writing I've ever read. The scale is immense - through hibernation and the simple scale of light speed travel, several thousand years are covered. All the threads of the previous books come back and are wrapped. It's bleak as fuck, and it feels like a fucking hammer just swinging away at you, but still manages to end on a bit of hope that feels genuine. The pros: Liu does an amazing job on the translations, and this book flows a lot better than the last one, and even more so than Three Body Problem (now that Liu knows Cixin's style better). The sheer scale, and epic (in the proper old term) involved in this. The way everything ties into each other, across books and eras. The ending, where you feel a genuine bit of hope that the author doesn't mercilessly extinguish, and in fact encourages you to believe in it. The cons: oh sweet Christ if I never have to read another fucking technical exposition it will be too fucking soon. It goes hard on the hard sci-fi, but given at least half, if not more is technical exposition dumps that feel like death marches, I start to think that maybe the editor (either in the original or the translation) could have suggested some cuts. Our lead character ends up being a bit flat because of the focus on technical exposition at times over any kind of inner dialogue, and at times can be reduced to the madonna/mother archetype. Everything gets wrapped neatly, but toward the end you get the feeling that Liu remembered "oh fuck, these people exist, I need to wrap their stories somehow", and it feels a bit haphazard as such. This gets super fucking bleak at times, overwhelmingly so. Honestly, you could probably skip Dark Forest and just stick to the first (Three Body Problem) and this one for the series, as there's a nice summary of all the books to this point in the front of this one. Ken Liu does a really good job of translating these, and switching translators in the middle of the trilogy was probably one of the biggest mistakes they made. I am also probably a lot kinder to this book having only spent $3 on it because of sales. Books read: 70
  22. The Brightest Fell, Seanan McGuire: Seanan kind of has two modes with her Toby Daye novels. Plot light, and plot heavy. This is the latter. The shit that goes down in this book, both in the main plot and in the novella in the back, is heavy. What starts out as one of the funnest moments in a Toby Daye novel goes the darkest that she has so far with these. I mainlined this in most of a night. If you want to read 11 books of a really well plotted fantasy series, go read this series; you won't be disappointed. Books read: 69 (nice)
  23. Bombshells United 1: Wonder Woman takes on the order for Japanese American internment by saving a train bound for the camps, and also Clayface shows up as a soldier. Also, puns. A damn good start to the second series. Lucifer v1: The recent continuation. I have some issues with the logic of the continuation, but otherwise, a solid murder mystery, and a neat interim story with art by Stephanie Hans that seems to lead into the next arc. If I can find vol 2, I'll give it a read. Zines: 9 Single Issues: 262 Trades/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 90 Omnibuses: 4