Catch, kill and battle: books read

Working on Undead Sexist Cliches I’d read enough about the Weinstein case and Ronan Farrow’s exposé on it I wondered if Farrow’s CATCH AND KILL: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators had anything to say I hadn’t heard. Turns out yes: this is an absorbing story about Farrow’s efforts to cover Weinstein’s history of harassment and rape despite NBC suddenly backing off (“the consensus about the organization’s comfort level moving forward,” in the words of Farrow’s then boss Noah Oppenheim). Farrow believes the reluctance involved both Oppenheim’s sexist conviction that harassment wasn’t that big a deal and NBC’s unease about how close it struck to harassment cases inside their own company. While it doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t know about rape and harassment, the details, as always, are horrifying (like one actor who went to the cops, got Weinstein’s confession on tape — and still nobody prosecuted).

THE REGIONAL OFFICE IS UNDER ATTACK! by Manuel Gonzales starts well but runs out of steam as it goes along. The Regional Office is a SHIELD-like organization that like Buffy’s Watchers trains paranormal women to fight against threats to humanity — but now one of their own as turned against them, leading to the title set-up. Gonzalez’ breezy, meta-commenting omniscient narrator voice is amusing in small doses but after a certain point it feels like Look How Clever I Am — all the meta stuff needed a payoff and I don’t think we got one.

HELLBOY AND THE BPRD: The Beast of Vargu and Others by Mike Mignola and assorted writers is a random selection of Hellboy adventures rather than the year-by-year approach Mignola’s been doing in previous and the BPRD volumes. The stories are a mixed bag — I honestly can’t make sense of the title tale — with the best being Krampusnacht, in which Hellboy battles yes, Krampus.

I really enjoyed Greg Pak’s run on Hulk, which introduced Korean-American genius Amadeus Cho as Banner’s sidekick. I didn’t have as much fun with THE TOTALLY AWESOME HULK: Cho Time by Pak, Ryan Cho and Mike Choi. Here, Amadeus has saved Bruce Banner by draining the Hulk’s essence into himself; as he doesn’t have Bruce’s traumatic past, he figures it’ll be easy to keep the Hulk’s brutal side under control … right? Something about the bantering dialog and the light-hearted situations just made this a little too cute.

#SFWApro. Cover by Gregg Kulick, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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