Recent Reading

11 03 2009

inhobokenFirst up is the Christian Bauman novel In Hoboken.  It’s the story of Thatcher, a young folk singer recently discharged from the army, who moves in with his friend James in Hoboken (of course).  The book chronicles Thatcher and the people he meets, including members of the music community and Orris, a mental patient who at times feels like the most real character.

Overall, I found the book well written and enjoyable, but the plot ambles along never really going anywhere.  It ends kind of flat, failing to wrap up or even address some of the issues in the characters’ lives.  

The second thing I’ve been reading is Marvel’s title, Secret Warriors.  


Nick Fury has discovered that the only person he can trust is himself and it’s kind of crazy awesome.  So far we’ve had a new team of young heroes, Skrulls, and Hydra.  I like how this book is trolling the back alleys of Marvel’s Dark Reign. I’m hoping to see this book cross over into the rest of the Marvel universe (and vice versa).  It would be great to see Captain America and others all show up.  

Well, off to the pile of comic books and books remaining.

I almost forgot to mention, I recently also finished Stewart O’Nan’s a Prayer for the Dying.  A beautiful but heartbreaking book that can be difficult to read.  Essentially it’s a tale of a small town after the U.S. Civil War that experiences a diphtheria outbreak and is threatened by wildfires.  Written in the second person, the book grapples with the moral implications of what must be done and then often asks, how do you live with it?

prayer_for_the_dying1Overall, this is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year or so.  That being said, there were times I had to put it down.  What happens throughout the story is sometimes depressing and disheartening.  Not only do you feel for Jacob, the main character, but you cringe as you feel the novel’s world sliding slowly out of control.  

That being said, I’m starting to really admire O’Nan and his writing.  He can change voice, style, and subject so easily from book to book, yet still manages to produce great work.


Captain America #42

28 09 2008

Apparently issue #42 of Captain America marks the end of the current story arc. First off, I can’t believe that I’ve just finished a forty-two issue story arc in this day in age. It’s been absolutely wonderful. The art, writing, and consistency of this run has reminded me why I love reading comic books. If you haven’t read the issue, go to Marvel’s website and preview it here. I don’t want to give too much away considering that the Red Skull/Agent 13 story line ties up and we discover the fate of The Grand Director (also known as the Cap of the 1950s). The important things that come out of this include:

  • James continues to struggle with the idea of being Captain America, but he also starts to get it.
  • The Black Widow and the Falcon continue to be treated as quality characters.
  • James is going to be Captain America for the foreseeable future.
Do I miss Steve Rogers?  Yes I do.  Am I excited to see where this title is going to go now (especially since Thor met James in the Secret Invasion series)?  You bet.
If you want to read more about this issue check out reviews:

The Incredible Hulk

15 06 2008

In the latest round of comic book movies, Iron Man has been getting all of the love.  While it didn’t get panned, the reviews for the Incredible Hulk have been lukewarm at best.  I finally understand.  It’s obvious that the people who made The Incredible Hulk actually cared what people like me, comic book readers, thought.  As a result, much of the shmaltz that is woven into movies so that the general public can swallow then is not here.

I’m not going to give any spoilers here but I have to make a few comments.  First, this movie doesn’t see the need to give us a long-winded and cliched origin story.  Actually, it uses the origin found in the television show as a backdrop to the credits.  I actually prefered this because, as a long-time reader of the Hulk, if they’re going to tell an origin story I’d prefer it to involve a gamma bomb. It also allows us to sidestep what would end up being an hour of slow story development and trade it in for some action.

That being said, we get Bruce Banner in Brazil, trying to learn to control the monster inside.  Of course we know that won’t happen because otherwise there would be no movie.  What we get in addition to a great Hulk is a supporting cast full of the characters needed for any Hulk movie.  William Hurt plays a great General Thunderbolt Ross and Liv Tyler is adequate as Betty Ross. What we get in addition to these two is Tim Roth in a fantastic performance as Emil Blonsky and Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns.

Other nice touches include cameos by Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno. Additional touches for long-time Hulk fans include Jim Wilson (one of the Hulk’s former sidekicks) and McGee (the name of the reporter who hounded the Hulk on television) within the film. I do wish that Rick Jones had somehow been worked into the movie as his sidekick.

Overall this movie was fantastic. It includes yet another teaser for the Avengers movie scheduled to be released in 2011 and remembers that the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he gets. Don’t believe the reviews that say the movie has no heart, is lacking, etc. This movie was well worth the price of the ticket.

Heat Wave, Tearing Me Apart

7 06 2008

Well it’s only 102 degrees here today, tomorrow, yesterday, for the week.  We’re in one of North Carolina’s freak June heat waves that seems to be hitting us every three years.  The only positive is that Señor Bebe is sleeping all night.  Yes, that means we put him down at 10:30pm and he wakes up in the morning like a human boy.   So while he’s napping and I’m watching Double Whammy, here’s the week as I saw it:

Let’s start in comics. I’ve got a new pile sitting next to me, but the first thing I tore into was Secret Invasion. Once again, we have a winner of an episode. At this point I have no clue who to trust.

  • Spoilers abound, but check out LOTRKing’s Commentary here.
  • I also have to mention Marvel’s new book, 1985. One of the coolest things is that the comic book store guy in the beginning. He’s the guy I buy my comics from. That’s right, Ultimate Comics, my friendly shop is drawn in all of its glory. Go say hi to Jon.

In movies, I have one film to talk about and I know there’s something wrong with me. I think that You Don’t Mess with the Zohan actually looks funny. Maybe I’m insane but the commercials make me laugh. At least it will likely come quickly to HBO (so I know I won’t pay to see it) AND Robert Smigel is one of the writers. However, I’m not the only person to be thinking about it:
The AVClub interviews Robert Smigel and reviews the movie.

In music, two things to note. First, I went to see Jacob Dylan live in Raleigh last night. It was a great show and his new album, while quiet is pretty good. It’s hard to beat seeing a musician of his ilk play in front of less than 300 people in a tiny club. Something though from the show bugged the hell out of me. The opening act, a local band named Wrecking Season had an iPod that they used to play in background synth music. What kind of bullshit is that? If you can’t play live without extra production, pack it up.

  • As a result I’m considering starting a music only blog to express my displeasure. I’ve even got the name for it: Rockist.

In books, more love for The Boat and V.S. Naipul has a lot to say.

Finally, in links, one of my favorite aggregators of links Electricity & Lust, pointed me to some fantastic stuff this week, including:

  • Short Fiction from Nabokovin the most recent New Yorker. I really need to attack my pile of them that dates back to February.
  • An author I love interviews a band I like as Tom Perrotta interviews the Hold Steady.
  • My music hero Bob Dylan likes Obama. As my father in law would say, it’s best to not know what people you like stand for or what they’re like in their private lives. Needless to say, I’m trying to find reasons to vote for Obama now that Hillary is out of the race (yes I’m one of those Democrats!)

I’m off to watch Cloverfield on Pay-per-View, attack a new (and old) pile of comics, finish up The Corrections, plant some cucumbers, watch the end of Battlestar Galactica Season 1, watch X from the Directv live series, and all the normal stuff for a weekend. Unfortunately I won’t be going to the Mudhoney show this week at the Cat’s Cradle.

Superhero Personality Test

19 01 2008

I found this Superhero personality test from Hammer of the Gods. I’m apparently Spiderman, one of my favorites. Of course, I wouldn’t have made a deal with the devil to wipe out 21 years of history in such a stupid fashion like the real Spiderman. Stupid Brand New Day plotline… To go on a tangent, I just read the first issue, Spiderman #546 and while the writing was ok, the entire plot just sickens and angers me. On top of that, I really hated the two-page, we’re going to wipe it out and tell you how it all is now in two seconds page. Why couldn’t they just have Spiderman go through a divorce and a family death? That would have been in the tradition of Spiderman dealing with normal life.

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman

You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz