Category Archives: Reviews

And Then I Read: A YEAR IN PROVENCE by Peter Mayle

Cover Illustration by Ruth Marten.

I seem to have drifted into mainstream summer reading territory with this book, and I quite enjoyed it. After fifteen years in advertising, the author decides to buy a house in the French countryside of the Lubéron, known for it’s small picturesque villages, wine production, and excellent food. It seems an idyllic place to live and write about, and it is, but there are some caveats. The old stone farmhouse is in a perfect spot surrounded by a national park so it can’t become too developed, but the house needs lots of work. Hiring locals to do that work is the first of many friendships forged and humorous adventures and escapades survived. Mayle writes about the people of his new home with wit, insight and love. Yes, he’s highlighting their quirks, faults and bad behavior at times, but also their passions, warm-hearted generosity, and kindness. There are plenty of gastronomic adventures, lessons in growing and harvesting wine grapes, local festivals and customs, and Mayle has many funny things to say about both his own English foibles and habits as well as the French ones.

The writing of this book is a great pleasure to read and savor. If only the amazing meals and drinks came with! Highly recommended. Two more in the same vein are waiting.

And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERNS #47

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Tim Seeley, art by V Ken Marion & Sandu Florea, colors by Dinei Ribeiro, letters by Dave Sharpe. Alternate cover above by Brandon Peterson.

I feel like I’m missing some of the story here, probably because I came in late. The Justice League don’t seem to have a lot to do except get captured and rescued. I do like the role for John Constantine as magic consultant. The main story is what’s happening to Jessica on a world inside the villainess Singularity Jain. There she’s trying to deal with the loss of some old friends, while being helped by Simon, though he does not have his power ring. This kept my interest despite art that doesn’t completely work for me. I must add the cover above is excellent, though it’s not by the interior artist. Not a bad read, but I can only mildly recommend it.

And Then I Read: WONDER WOMAN #46

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by James Robinson, art by Stephen Segovia, colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr., letters by Saida Temofonte.

I haven’t read WONDER WOMAN since Greg Rucka left as writer last year, but I like James Robinson’s writing too, the art is appealing, and this new story arc seems a good place to jump on again.

Diana’s friend Dr. Barbara Minerva has been changed permanently to her alter-ego The Cheetah by Veronica Cale, who now learns that Cheetah has escaped the place where Diana had put her. She recaptures Cheetah to resume experiments (shades of Dr. Moreau), but Cheetah escapes from her too, babbling of some new Dark Gods that are coming, and that she must prepare for. When Wonder Woman appears on the scene, she finds she can’t reason with Cheetah, and perhaps catches a glimpse of these new gods. Meanwhile, a man named Jason in heroic armor has broken into a Kobra research base in Montenegro to free his father, and a surprise attacker, also obsessed with the new Dark Gods, faces Wonder Woman on the final page.

Nicely done by all, the story is intriguing, and I will read on. Recommended.

And Then I Read: BUG! #6

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Lee Allred, art by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Nake Piekos.

The final issue of this series is, like the rest, trippy fun with lots of Jack Kirby overtones and characters. Bug has reached New Genesis to find it has been converted into a board game, with the New Gods as cardboard place markers. His nemesis, Chagra, the cause of trouble on the many worlds Forager has visited is revealed as someone a little different, and the unleashing of The Black Racer seems to mean certain death for the title character. Meanwhile, two Source Walls and the connections between them are explored, the conflicts are resolved and final mysteries revealed amid philosophizing and reunions.

I enjoyed this series particularly for the great art, and the fun everyone is having with the Kirby concepts and characters (much less grim than many recent versions). Recommended.

And Then I Read: BUG! #5

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Lee Allred, art by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Nate Piekos.

The software glitch that happened a few months ago kept me from reading the last two issues of this miniseries, but I’m getting to them now. I found that I didn’t remember many details of the plot, but it really didn’t matter in this case, as my enjoyment of the series is based on other things. The art is terrific, the colors are excellent, the lettering is tops, and the writing is fun in a sort of free-flowing, trippy way, as if Lee was simply looking at each page and making cool things up for it as he went along. Could be so, I don’t know.

Essentially this is a romp through and within the worlds of some lesser Jack Kirby creations: Bug, the main character, and in this issue, OMAC, as well as other new characters, villains and oddities that Jack might have thought of but didn’t. Elements of the story are magnificently fantastic, such as the villain stealing entire oceans and the answer to Kirby’s Mother Box, a Brother Box. Mike Allred clearly loves Kirby, and though his art sticks to his own unique style, he does a fine job with Kirby homages and styling.

One issue to go, which I will get to soon. Recommended.