Monday, October 20, 2008

The Walking Dead: V.8

The Walking Dead Volume 8
(Made to Suffer)
Written by: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Image
Language: English
July 2008, $14.99

In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. There was a time when he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. But now everything has changed. A few months ago, he and a small band of survivors had found a haven behind prison walls. But nothing lasts forever and this time it isn’t just the undead they need to worry about.

+++++++++++++

If you love zombies and like comics, you really should read the Walking Dead series. In fact, it is this series and a couple of others that renewed my love of comics and got me reading and buying them again. To be honest, if you haven’t read the Walking Dead series, shame on you as it is a very good series.

Issues 43 through 48 sees the return of the sadistic Governor who has manipulated his small town of survivors into attacking the prison. The first few pages we discover what has brought this about from the Governor’s point of view. And then we return to Rick and the other survivors’s point of view.

Some say the dialogue is flawed and I will admit it is very basic and obvious at times. However, the story still hits you and for me that is what matters. All of this time Rick and the other survivors have been trying to rebuild their lives and a society after zombies took everything away and finally got them to start living again. It has always been zombies vs. the living, but this time around it is man against man, and that man is the Governor. This is one of the most violent of the volumes and because of it the loss of life is heavy as well. In previous volumes, Kirkman held no punches when it came to taking out some of your favorite characters and this time there are no exceptions. In fact, I think my jaw dropped just a little with the cliffhanger ending. It is safe to say that things will never be the same again.

The artwork continues to have the same impact. At first I wasn’t wholly impressed with Adlard’s artwork, but over these past 8 volumes I have grown to appreciate it. Well worth the read and I cannot wait to see what happens again.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Favorite Horror Novels?

Over at Getting My Geek On I posted my favorite lesser known horror films. It is the Halloween season and though I love horror and thrillers year round I am especially drawn to them during this month. Do you have any horror novels, comics, etc that you love to read during this time? Or do you have favorite all time horror books? Now the more I think about it I think I may have to come up with my own spooky little list. Will have to come up with a spooky playlist as well. Did I mention how much I love this season? While I am at it, I should come up with an equally delightful and spooky skin for this new blog.

Cry Wolf - A Review

Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Bk 1)
Written by: Patricia Briggs
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace
Language: English
July 2008, $7.99

Now Briggs begins an extraordinary new series set in Mercy Thompson’s world—but with rules of its own.

INTRODUCING THE ALPHA AND OMEGA NOVELS...

Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.


++++++

I am a big fan of Patricia Briggs whose Mercy Thompson series has a distinct voice in the urban fantasy genre where action tends to take precedence over character development or where romance takes over. For me, Mercy was different. Sure there was action and romance subplots, but they were not the main focus of the stories. Mercy is the focus of the series and I have enjoyed getting to know the mechanic shapeshifter. In fact, Iron Kissed even had me crying like the big giant girl I am.

I first read about Anna and Charles in the anthology, ‘On the Prowl’ and to be honest I would recommend that people try to nab that first. The story focuses on Anna, an Omega werewolf who is very special when it comes to pack hierarchy. She is neither submissive nor dominant and has the ability to soothe troubled wolves. Unfortunately, not only was she turned against her will because the Alpha recognized her as being Omega, but was then brutalized and mistreated by her pack. When a local turns up dead and Anna recognizes him as being someone that her pack killed she musters up the courage to call the Marrok, the leader of all werewolves, who then sends his son Charles to investigate. As discovered early on in Cry Wolf Charles not only killed Anna’s Alpha but was shot in the process with silver bullets. Another strange thing happened, his wolf claimed Anna’s as his own.

Cry Wolf begins with Charles moving Anna away from Chicago to join Bran’s pack. She is still extremely gun-shy despite her attraction to Charles and unsure of what being Omega really means. The new couple barely has time to really get to know one another before Charles is needed to investigate a possible rogue that is killing people in the nearby mountains. Of course there is more to it than just that.

I think Cry Wolf is a good book, but not a great book. It leans a bit more to the supernatural romance than it does urban fantasy for me and I think the book, especially the characters suffer with the opening missing which leaves the overall story feeling incomplete. I also think if this was the first Patricia Briggs book I read, while her take on werewolf society is very interesting and the characters likeable, I don’t think I would have immediately sought out to devour her other books. Luckily I have known Bran, Samuel, and even Charles from the Mercy series and I have a better understanding of who they are and why they do the things that they do. But a newcomer might be a little confused.

I do like Charles and Anna and would be interested in reading more about them, especially Charles who didn’t get to be as fleshed out as he could have been. Briggs spent this novel developing their relationship and I will admit the progression of their relationship works for me though I think there are still a lot of things that need to be discussed and sorted. I also think said relationship will take less precedence in following books and hit the stride that the Mercy series has in balancing all of the elements. I also hope that Anna’s Omega abilities are more fully explained and realized. I must admit this was the first Patricia Briggs book that I didn’t read all in one sitting because the pacing was a bit slow. I think the last half of the book was definitely more exciting, better paced and more entertaining to read than the first half. With some minor complaints about the villain (who I am surprised lasted as long as she did considering how crazy and easily manipulated she is), I liked the overall story involving her especially Asil. I think my favorite thing about the book is I got to learn more about Bran, the Marrok, who I find fascinating.

If you’re a Briggs fan, it is worth the read if but for the Mercy book 4 preview. As I said I would recommend going back and reading the novella first in the On The Prowl anthology. In doing so, I think you’ll be much happier with the overall story. It’s a good book, maybe not the best, but I think if the series continues the problems that I had with this one will be fixed. It doesn’t help that I had high expectations.

3 out of 4 bibliosnark bookmarks

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle - A review


The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle
Written by Jim Butcher; Pencils by Adrian Syaf
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Del Rey/Dabel Brothers
Language: English
Del Rey, October 2008, $19.95

When the supernatural world spins out of control, when the police can’t handle what goes bump in the night, when monsters come screaming out of nightmares and into the mean streets, there’s just one man to call: Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard in the Chicago phone book. A police consultant and private investigator, Dresden has to walk the dangerous line between the world of night and the light of day.

Now Harry Dresden is investigating a brutal mauling at the Lincoln Park Zoo that has left a security guard dead and many questions unanswered. As an investigator of the supernatural, he senses that there’s more to this case than a simple animal attack, and as Dresden searches for clues to figure out who is really behind the crime, he finds himself next on the victim list, and being hunted by creatures that won’t leave much more than a stain if they catch him.

Written exclusively for comics by Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle is a brand-new story that’s sure to enchant readers with a blend of gripping mystery and fantastic adventure.


++++

I really like the Dresden Files and have been ever since I first heard James Marsters (Spike of Buffy/Angel fame) read Storm Front years ago. I was instantly smitten and not just because of James Marsters. Harry was a likable character. He was self deprecating and snarky, an anti-hero I instantly adored. Plus, there was all of the magic and intrigue of good urban fantasy. Unfortunately, the TV series didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but when I heard that it was coming to comic form I was excited. Of course instead of buying each issue, I just waited until I could grab it all together in a nice pretty and shiny hardcover sort of form.

Taking place before Storm Front the comic stays true to the film noir and still has Harry as witty and snarky as ever. For those who are not familiar with the Harry Dresden series this is a great place to start. The books, now 10 but soon to be 11, feature one Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, a detective and wizard in a world where vampires, werewolves, faeries and other beasties are as real as you or me. Unlike most urban fantasy today Harry is a bloke, a freakishly tall self deprecating guy, and not an attractive gal who ends up falling for one or more of the aforementioned beasties. He usually doesn’t get the girl in the end, is considered a bit of a loose cannon when it comes to the governing White Council due to his lack of any real control over his powers, and has a heck of a time with technology.

The comic does a great job of capturing the spirit of the Dresden Files and it should be considering that Jim Butcher wrote it. I have to say that Butcher did a great job of translating our hero into comic form. It may be short, but it still has action, magic, mystery and that ever present wit I find some charming. The artwork is typical of comics today and while I liked the depiction of Harry, I wasn’t digging Murphy and Wil ended up looking like a Lara Croft clone to me. However, the beasties and the baddies turned out great. In the end I am looking forward to Storm Front and the other projects the Dabel Brothers (most notably bringing Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson to comic form) have in store for us.

If you’re a fan of the books, this is a must for you as much as the short stories are in some of the anthologies out there. Its urban fantasy in comic form and for diehard fans there is a great Cover gallery, concept artwork and notes by Butcher himself. Plus you get to see Harry, the beetle, Mister and Bob which makes me excited to see some of my other favorite characters in comic form as the series continues. If you are new to Harry, but enjoy The Buffy and Angel comics or even the Anita Blake ones, I think you’ll enjoy Welcome to the Jungle.

3.5/4 Happy little bookmarks