Showing posts from March, 2013

The Cocktail Waitress

The Cocktail Waitress James M. Cain, editor Charles Ardai, 2012 Premise: This is a previously unpublished novel by Cain (1892-1977), drawn together from several finished manuscripts and the author’s notes. Joan Medford’s life was looking up when her husband died. Despite taking on his debt, she was relieved to be free of him. That was until her sister-in-law tried to adopt her son against her will, and the police believed that she had something to do with her husband’s death. She’ll do what she must to survive, despite her heart, if she can figure out what, exactly to do. This has been described as a noir story from the perspective of the femme fatale, and it is that, in a way. It’s in the first person, so you have to decide whether Joan is telling the truth or not. You could also read it as the straightforward account of a woman in a bad situation who does what she can, what she thinks is right at the time, or maybe isn’t right, but could turn out best. When her plans falter

Superman: Emperor Joker

Superman: Emperor Joker Jeph Loeb, J.M DeMatteis, Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Doug Mahnke, et. al. Collection 2007, Issues released 2000 Premise: Something is very wrong in the state of Metropolis. Superman is in prison for murder, Bizarro leads the JLA, Lois Lane is a megalomaniacal business woman, and somewhere, someone is screaming. Mxyzptlk seems to know what’s going on, but something keeps stopping him from reaching Superman. This is one of the weirder stories I know which sort of counts as an in-continuity Elseworlds story. What if the Joker had the power of Mr. Mxyzptlk? What if Superman was the only person who sensed that Joker’s twisted reshaping of reality was wrong? Well, then you’d have this story. It’s a little on the gory side (I mean, Joker, duh) and a little long, because there are tangents about the supporting Superman cast. Supergirl’s plot arc is pretty weak until the plot starts to speed up, the same with Steel and Superboy. Batman, naturally, gets some

Fly Into Fire (Extrahumans, Book 2)

Fly Into Fire (Extrahumans, Book 2) Sarah Jane Bigelow, 2012 Premise: Sequel to Broken . When last we saw Sky Ranger, he had shaken off the manipulations of the oppressive government and was off to exact some unspecified revenge or justice. Or possibly both? This book follows Sky later as he deals with his past supporting the corrupt government and tries his best to protect the few other extrahumans that remain. I liked this sequel quite a bit. I liked getting more about Sky Ranger, he’s an interesting character. I liked the new characters as they were introduced, with all of their own troubles, and the return of some of the characters from the first book. The mix of superheroes and sci-fi dystopia continues; there’s more emphasis on the space travel and sci-fi aspects in this one. There were some scenes of torture that I found really unpleasant, but necessarily so. The book basically opens with a crash landing, Sky Ranger and a group of other refugees fleeing Earth cras

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses Tom Standage, 2009 Premise: Exactly what it sounds like. The book traces the movement of history through the popular beverages of each era: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea and Coke. This book is just pop history, but it’s well written and entertaining. I knew most all of the big points being made here, but all of the supporting details were interesting. I liked reading about the origins (mythological and otherwise) of all the beverages, and the connections between the spread of certain drinks and the spread of certain cultures. The 6 drinks in question have more in common than they have differences, but the exact relationship between people and each one is worth exploring. Some examples: I liked the specific reasons why people would drink each instead of water, and the way many drinks started out as “medicine” before becoming recreational. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the spread of coffeehouses, the ties between the tea trad

The Invincible Iron Man: Books 1-3

This write-up has been sitting in queue for a while. I read these books from the library a few months ago, but have been collecting my own copies since that time. Yesterday I finally picked up a shiny new copy of the first one at Emerald City Comic Con, and got it signed by Matt Fraction! Woo! The Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares, 2008 The Invincible Iron Man: World's Most Wanted Book 1, 2009 The Invincible Iron Man: World's Most Wanted Book 2, 2010 Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca, Premise: Tony Stark is down but not out. First, in the aftermath of Civil War, he faces his worst nightmare: someone running around making new weapons out of his tech. Then, after Norman Osborn takes over SHIELD, Stark and company go on the run to protect the very information that caused him to fight his fellow Avengers. Before the end, he'll take "self-destructive" right to the limit, even while proving that the one thing he does best is create. These three