SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP: Doomed by the usual team of Sholly Fisch and Dario Brizuela has Scooby and friends help Supergirl when she’s haunted by the ghosts of Argo City, assist Dyno-Mutt when Blue Falcon goes off his rocker and in my favorite story, assist a small town threatened by DC’s gorilla villains, from Monsieur Mallah to Pryemaul the Nazi vampire gorilla (that’s him on the Brizuela cover). The line “It’s the Gorilla Boss of Gotham City and the Mod Gorilla Boss, together!” for some reason had me convulsed with laughter. A shame there’s only one TPB of this series left.
CAITLIN KELLY, MONSTER HUNTER by Theresa Glover has a Vatican-sanctioned Slayer looking to vacation in New Orleans with her nerdy best buddy, Matt. However the local counterpart is dead and a demon dog is eating the Big Easy’s ghost population so Caitlin’s vacation gets postponed. Plus she has to work with her handler Sister Betty, a nun lesbian Caitlin has an intense crush on. This was competent but not much beyond that (though I might have liked it better if I were a bigger urban fantasy fan), and counting Warrior Nun it’s the third Catholic-sanctioned demon-slayer I know of (which has prompted me to start a story with a Jewish slayer sneering at the Catholics as mere parvenus).
My friend Sherry Harris has branched out from her Sarah Winston garage sale cozies with FROM BEER TO ETERNITY: A Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon Mystery. Chloe is a Chicago librarian honoring a request by her late BFF to move to Emerald Cove — a fictitious community just east of Destin, where I used to be a reporter — and help her friend’s grandma, Vivi, running her beachfront bar, the Sea Glass. Vivi doesn’t want Chloe there but when it looks like Vivi stabbed an annoying local eccentric through the throat, Chloe starts digging … I honestly can’t evaluate this as a mystery because for me revisiting my old home was a lot of fun. We have white sand beaches, pine woods, tourist traffic, development squabbles, oddballs … it’s like revisiting home without the suffocating heat. HEROIC FANTASY, edited by Gerald W. Page and Hank Reinhardt, was a sword-and-sorcery collection from the late 1970s, selecting from what I think of as a talented B-list rather than the big names such as Fritz Leiber or Michael Moorcock. That’s not meant as an insult because the results are very good, including an Andre Norton Witch World fantasy, a Cyrion story by Tanith Lee, one of Charles Saunders’ Imaro tales and a story of the Voidal by Adrian Cole. The last was particularly fun to reread because at the time I had no way to find the small-press volumes in the series but now, in the Internet age, it’ll be easy. This collection does tend toward the grim, and the heroes are overwhelmingly white (except for Imaro) and male (except for Norton’s), but I like it nonetheless. There are also good, informative essays on swords, armor and heroism that I enjoyed rereading.
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