And some books!

MANSFIELD PARK is a surprisingly flat work by Jane Austen, mostly because the protagonist is so annoyingly wimpy—not only is Fanny hard to root for, but she aspires to so little (other than being allowed to live another day) it doesn’t give any drive to the plot. Despite the usual character touches like the odiously selfish Mrs. Norris, this is disappointing.
Diana Wynne Jones’ CASTLE IN THE AIR has an Arabian carpet vendor initially thrilled when his new acquisition turns out to be not only a genuine flying carpet, but to land him in the garden of a beautiful princess. Unfortunately, this turns out to be the opening to an adventure involving feuding djinni, a thieving veteran and a wizard with a moving castle (much like Chrestomanci’s appearances in the first sequels to Charmed Life, this has Howl (and Sophie, and Calcifer, and the castle) appear as guest stars late in the story, though more involved in the action than Chrestomanci usually is.
FEARFUL ROCK AND OTHER PRECARIOUS LOCALES: Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman, Volume 3 gathers Wellman’s four stories of Reverend Jaeger, a Civil War veteran turned preacher, and four of occultist Judge Pursuivant. A very good collection, particularly “The Black Drama” (pitting Pursuivant against an immortalist Lord Byron) and “The Dreadful Rabbits” (which proves Killer Rabbits don’t have to be Night of the Lepus).
LOOKING GLASS WAR: Hatter has legendary Wonderland warrior the Hatter hunting for Princess Alyss in Victorian Europe and encountering a cult feeding on the “black imagination” that spills out into our world from Wonderland’s current civil war. Part of larger series, this didn’t give me the urge to seek out more——the story isn’t without interest, but the art doesn’t work for me at all (I have a hard time figuring what Hatter is doing half the time). And Dark Alice isn’t exactly a new idea.
SUPERNATURAL LAW: Sodyssey collects some of Barton Lash’s stories of Wolff and Byrd, counselors of the macabre as they help out a guardian angel being sued for negligence, sue Anne Rice on behalf of Dracula and try to help out the Swamp Thing parody Sodd from getting led into ecoterrorism——not to mention coping with problems in their personal lives. Always a fun strip, or almost always (the Anne Rice parody was weak)
THE CHANGELING SEA by Patricia McKillip has a lonely girl in a seaside town discovering her attempts to curse the sea for killing her father have apparently resulted in the interest of the king’s haunted son and the arrival of a dragon chained by gold to the root of the sea. Not McKillip’s best, but entertaining.
100 BULLETS: The Counterfifth Detective is the weakest TPB of the series I’ve read to date as it tells the story of a hard-drinking, womanizing detective recovering from a scarring accident only to become embroiled in Graves’ war against the trust——which it turns out he’s already a part of. Author Brian Azzarello does much worse with hardboiled dialogue than with the book’s usual street lingo and I honestly have no idea what the whole plot was (and no real urge to go back and figure it out).
BATMAN AND ROBIN: The Sunday Classics collects the Sunday comic strip pages from 1943 through its expiration in 1946. Many of these are straight Batman-and-crooks stories (of varying quality) but there’s also a good story of the Joker battling a rival gangboss, a retelling of Two-Face’s origin and the story that gave the Penguin’s real name for the first time. Readable, if not up to the best material in The Batman Chronicles.

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One response to “And some books!

  1. Pingback: Movies and Books | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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