Books (#SFWApro)

WORLD OF WONDERS wraps up Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy with stage magician Magnus Eisengrim telling series narrator Doug Ramsay about his life—how an outcast small boy from Deptford was kidnapped by a pedophilic stage magician with a traveling show and so began the journey that took him to the celebrated conjurer he became. Along the way we get debates on the nature of humor, self-justification, revenge and the truth of autobiography, all of which would normally bore me to tears but Davies makes it absorbing.
SIDE JOBS: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher shows the advantage of Harry Dresden developing such a large supporting cast over the years. The short stories from various anthologies (plus the never-published ur-story in the series) include Harry’s favorite bartender getting exploited by Maenads (for a beer-themed anthology), a werewolf getting kidnapped the night before her wedding (a wedding anthology) and Harry’s vampire brother Thomas participating in a battle called the Oblivion War. There’s also a solo Murphy story written for this anthology, taking place right after Harry’s supposed death in Changes. This is good fun if you’re a series fan (which I obviously am) though Butcher can’t write kids at all (he tries a couple of time) and the Murphy solo shows him too self-conscious about writing from a female viewpoint.
I’ve never shared the awe some comics fans have for Warren Ellis, and AVENGERS: Endless Wartime (by Ellis and illustrators Mike McCone and Jason Keith) doesn’t change that. The story concerns a good adversary (destructive super-weapon that combines elements of Nazi super-technology and Asgardian magic), and the character bits at the beginning are fun, but it bogs down in grim and gritty and like New Avengers: Everybody Dies makes a lot of fuss about how we have to make Hard Choices … I remain unimpressed.
HELLBOY: Wake the Devil was Mike Mignola’s second miniseries (and it’s now added to my Hellboy chronology) in which Hellboy leads a team to thwart the resurrection of vampire Vladimir Giarescu, the possible source for Dracula. This, of course, proves more complicated than it seems as it leads to clashes with Nazi mad scientists, a resurrected Rasputin and Hecate herself (I know some modern Wicca who embrace Hecate as a patron—if you’re one of them, be warned she’s pure evil here). This turned out to be a foreshadowing of things to come, as instead of the straight actioner Mignola planned, he wound up with a much more mystical story involving Hellboy’s role in the Apocalypse, which would, of course, become increasingly important as time goes by.
(Cover art by Mignola, all rights with current holder)

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One response to “Books (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: Catching Up With Hellboy and His Friends (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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