The movie in question being On Stranger Tides, the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel based on On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers. I love Powers’ work, I’m thrilled to see him adapted for film—but I have real doubts how well this will work with Jack Sparrow in it.
If someone attempts to adapt Last Call into an Ocean’s Eleven sequel, I’ll scream. Loudly.
HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY is Audrey Niffenegger’s unimpressive follow-up to The Time Traveler’s Wife, wherein a pair of identical twins inherit a London flat from their aunt’s rather curious will, discover love with various locals and meet their aunt’s ghost. Despite the ghost, this reads like a routine mainstream family melodrama—the supernatural element is almost disposable.
SUPERMEN: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes, 1936-1941 isn’t really representative of any wave of heroes, since the editors are working primarily with C-listers suchas the Clock, Stardust and Marvelo from C-list companies such as Fiction House, Centaur and Fox. Despite some historical interest (the text notes identify the Clock as comics’ first costumed hero and the jungle girl Fantomah as the first superheroine), this is mostly unimpressive, though Will Eisner’s stylish “The Flame” is good and Jack Cole’s battle between Daredevil and The Claw is as memorable as I’ve heard.
KILLING THE WHITE MAN’S INDIAN: Reinventing Native Americans at the end of the Twentieth Century, by Fergus Bordewich doesn’t date as badly as it might, since many of the topics it covers, such as what exactly tribal sovereignty should be and the Native American claims to Sacred Land (“Archeologists are convinced most of the Lakota tribal legends are about the Great Lakes region, not the Black Hills.”) remain controversial. Bordewich looks at both the long, ugly, historical relationship between the US and the tribes, the equal ugliness of tribal corruption and inter-tribal war, the idealization of Native American spirituality (“The book Black Elk Speaks never mentions that the shaman converted to Catholicism later in life.”) and the question of how things should work in the future (citing the Choctaw emphasis on economic development and the Crow efforts to develop their own college as bright hopes). Good.
PRIDE OF BAGHDAD is a graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughn chronicling a lion pride in the Baghdad zoo trying to figure out what do when the Gulf War liberates them. Enjoyable, though not terribly fresh outside of the setting, and it comes off as a rather heavy-handed metaphor for the post-war confusion and chaos.
HONEY WEST was an early sixties detective series, starring Anne Francis as a PI whose cases range from tricky mysteries (Levinson and Link, who later created Columbo, did several scripts) to the seriously oddball (criminals who steal soup, a literal modern-day Robin Hood, a dying man warning Honey that Lincoln is about to be assassinated). A fun series, but when ABC discovered it could buy an hour of The Avengers for thirty minutes of Honey, they axed it.
I finished the second season of CARNIVALE, fully aware it was canceled prematurely; instead of wrapping it up in a rush, however, the series ends on a cliffhanger, the creators hoping until the last minute HBO would cut a deal. A good season, as Brother Justin begins to assert his full powers, Ben finally confronts his father and Sophie begins to figure out her own destiny; that being said, the mythology behind it all is murky and puzzling as Hell (though I dare say it would have made more sense if it had run longer). Still, more interesting than the equally enigmatic Lost ever was for me.