Fair warning, my review of Kingdom the Wicked below gives away a major spoiler.
SPIDER-GIRL: Duty Calls and Secret Lives by Tom DeFalco and Pat Oliffe are the eighth and ninth paperback collections of May Parker, fighting crime in an alt.world where Marvel heroes are about 20 years older (I read Duty Calls a while back but forgot to list it). In the first volume, a looming gang war leads “Mayday” to bring together a new version of Marvel’s New Warriors, Peter decides to get back into action and May makes a catastrophic mistake due to her determination to save everyone, even the bad guys. Secret Lives has the clone Kaine return, Normy find romance, May angst even more, and we learn how this timeline branched off from the regular MU (Earth-616) when Kaine returned the Parkers’ kidnapped baby to them. Great stuff; there’s a reason May and the “M2” setting remain much beloved by fans.
SAVAGE by R.A. Jones and Ted Slampyak is a by-the numbers vampire-hunter graphic novel in which the eponymous protagonist recounts how he came by his profession and battled a vampire king who was tied to him more closely than he thought. A couple of good ideas don’t redeem this formulaic stuff.
SHE LOVES ME was the latest production from Playmakers, a musical adaptation of the film The Shop Around the Corner (making it one of the first screen-to-stage adaptations). Georg and Amalia work at a parfumerie in Budapest and they cannot stand each other; every night, they relieve their feelings by going home and pouring out their hearts to “dear friend,” a stranger they met through a lonely hearts club (the snail mail equivalent of Match.com) and have yet to connect with in person. Why that’s right, Georg and Amalia are each other’s dear friend — so what will Georg do when he finds out and Amalia doesn’t? I’ve seen this before, but not done as well; a real charmer. “I’m nervous and upset /because this girl I’ve never met/I get to meet, tonight at eight/I know I’ll drop the silverware/but will I spill my drink/upon her plate, tonight at eight?”
The first chapter of the graphic novel KINGDOM OF THE WICKED by Ian Edgington and D’Israeli has children’s author Christopher Grahame discover his beloved fantasy world, Castrovalva, is doomed, as a mysterious evil boy leads the monsters from The Land Under The Bed to conquer it. I was intrigued, but commented to a friend that “I just hope it doesn’t turn out this is all taking place in his head.”
Oops. It was. And that’s a stupid twist, and it’s handled poorly to boot: we get a long scene of Chris and the evil one talking in Chris’s mindscape supposedly made scary because in the real world Chris is undergoing a life or death brain operation … Mr. Edgington, it’s been done, and better (the Canadian TV series The Odyssey did the same thing with more flair). I’m baffled why this got good reviews from people whose judgment I respect.
#SFWApro. Cover by Oliffe, all rights remain with current holder.