Category Archives: Reviews

And Then I Read: AQUAMAN 29

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

There are lots of clues as to who the big guy is on the cover. The story title might also help, “Olympian.” I guess I wasn’t really trying too hard, I didn’t figure it out until the last page.

Arthur Curry has lost his trident, and the person who has it is going to use it to unlock a long-barred gateway and unleash horrible creatures. They are pretty horrible, actually, good job there on the art and writing. While Aquaman tries to sort that out, Mera is attempting to deal with politics in Atlantis, and meeting lots of resentment. Most of the issue focuses on Aquaman fighting monsters, though, not a bad place to focus. Nice job by everyone involved.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERN 29

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

While these are desperate times for the Green Lantern Corps, this issue does not feel panicked. Instead we get a breather from some of the impending action for some calmer stories. Hal Jordan visits Earth, then back on Mogo forms a privy council of fellow Corps members, having finally realized he needs help leading the group. Walker debates with Mogo, a secret stash is found,  and finally action is accomplished in an unexpected attack by Hal and company on an enemy world. Nicely written by Robert Venditti. The art is by two pencillers, Billy Tan and Martin Coccolo. Tan’s work looks good, the other not so much, with some rather ugly faces and poses. One has to begin somewhere, I suppose. Overall, not a bad issue.

Recommended.

Rereading: THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

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I’m rereading all the Holmes stories on my phone when I have the odd moment, and have completed the four novels and now this first short story collection. Having read them more than 25 years ago, there are many stories that I remember only parts of and some I don’t recall at all, which makes for fun reading.

The collection begins with “A Scandal in Bohemia,” where Holmes’ opponent is Irene Adler, the one woman who seems as clever as the master detective himself. Holmes expresses much admiration for Adler, but there is no romantic interest suggested at all, despite that being an often-used plot idea for Holmes on the screen. We do see Holmes being a good sport about being bested, which tells us of his character.

“The Adventure of the Red-headed League” is a story of an elaborate swindle that is well told. One I remembered pretty well.

“A Case of Identity” uses an idea often used since, and the mystery is not hard to guess.

“The Boscombe Valley Mystery” shares some elements with two of the Holmes novels, and is notable for allowing the criminal to go unreported by Holmes and Watson, for reasons the story explains.

“The Five Orange Pips” uses as a source of villainy an organization that must have been strange and exotic, and mostly unknown at the time in England: the Ku Klux Klan. Today they are widely known, so some of the mystery is removed, but it’s still a good story.

“The Man with the Twisted Lip” is the kind of turnabout that Doyle did so well. Clearly he saw role-playing as a useful story device. Can’t say much more without spoiling it, but it’s clever indeed.

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” is entertaining but full of odd coincidences without which the plot would not work. Far fetched ones.

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is one I remembered pretty well, though the build-up to the near-fatal encounter with the murderous device is very well done.

“The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb” is another far-fetched criminal scheme with an innocent drawn into it. I didn’t remember it at all, so enjoyed reading this one a lot.

“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor” is, like “A Case of Identity” a social mystery that seems very Victorian and old-fashioned today, and is not too hard to guess.

“The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet” is a complex mystery that I enjoyed reading. Holmes is really on his game. One of several stories in this collection where the criminal is not caught.

“The Adventure of the Copper Beeches” has been well filmed, but I still found lots in the story I didn’t remember. This one is full of action, suspense and mystery, almost a mini-novel.

Of course this and all the Holmes stories are highly recommended.

And Then I Read: SWAMP THING 29

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

What a nice surprise for Alec Holland when The Sureen show up. They’re a cult that worships the avatar of The Green, and they present themselves as ready to help him in any way they can, including allowing him to occupy one of their human bodies for a time, something that appeals to Alec. But if something sounds too good to be true…  Meanwhile the other former avatars that he’s brought back from The Green with him are out making plans of their own that may or may not be in Swamp Thing’s best interests. Writer Charles Soule continues to entertain me on this book, and the art by Jesus Saiz is excellent.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: AQUAMAN 28

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Image © DC Comics, Inc.

Kind of nice to see Aquaman coming back to human level and dealing with sharks rather than immense monsters. As usual, he’s misunderstood by those he’s trying to help. And where might his trident be after he’s done here? A question that proves important in the issue. Meanwhile, Arthur Curry and Mera, back in the lighthouse on land, are invited to and attend his high school class reunion. Somewhat predictable (fish out of water), but fun. The reveal at issue’s end is going in an interesting direction. In all, I’m warming to the writing by Jeff Parker on this title, and the art by Pelletier and Parsons continues to be quite good.

Recommended.