Comic Book Review: Doctor Strange (2015) Issues 1 through 20

Details: Published by Marvel Comics. Mostly written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Chris Bachalo.

I’ve never been a big fan of Doctor Strange. I’ve enjoyed watching him interact with other characters in the Marvel Universe, like when he was in the Illuminati or when he was god Doom’s sheriff. That changed with this series. They invoked one of my comic book weaknesses; they got Bachalo to do art.

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Comic Book Review: Dark Knight III: The Master Race

Details: Started being released in 2015. Published by DC Comics. Written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello. Pencils by Andy Kubert. Nine issues in total.

After Frank Miller’s disastrous run on All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, I’d pretty much given up hope on Frank Miller and the Dark Knight series. Thankfully, Dark Knight III redeems Miller, or should I say that Miller does okay work when he’s supervised by a competent adult. Writing duties for this miniseries fall to Miller and Brian Azzarello. It’s likely Azzarello’s influence that made this series so readable. I’m sure Miller has plenty of good ideas, but like George Lucas and the Star Wars prequels, sometimes you need someone around who can say no to you and tell you when your ideas are stupid.

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Book Review: The Name of the Wind

Details: A novel written by Patrick Rothfuss. Published in 2007. A New York Times Bestseller. 662 pages long.

A while back, a friend lent me two books to read. The first was The Way of Kings by Brian Sanderson. It was a long, but enjoyable read. The second was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Prior to these two books, the last fictional books I read were the Harry Potter books. What I’m trying to say is that people make judgment on things based on comparison with the things they know. Accordingly, while I will try to give my thoughts on this book, those thoughts will unavoidably compare The Name of the Wind with The Way of Kings and the Harry Potter series.

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Book Review: The Way of Kings

Details: Fiction written by Brandon Sanderson. 1258 pages.

I don’t enjoy reading for fun. Not fiction at least. To me, reading is meant for instruction; textbooks, instruction manuals, news articles, that sort of thing. In the case of this book, a friend strongly recommended I read this book… and also gave me a copy. So, since I had really no excuse not to read this, I decided to give it a try. This is my first foray into the fantasy genre, and seeing that this book is a New York Times bestseller. The last fiction book I read was Harry Potter, which I enjoyed.

This book takes place in a fantasy world with magic, knights, kings, other races, and everything you’d might expect from a fantasy book. Think Game of Thrones and you’ll be on the right track. I do feel like this book is less brutal than Game of Thrones, but, after some research, The Way of Kings is only the first book in what is likely a series of ten books that explore this fictional world.

The story centers around a few characters and is told from the first person perspective, switching perspectives between chapters. The primary characters I’ve found are Kaladin (a slave and former soldier), Dalinar (a highprince and ruler of a kingdom), Shallan (a girl from a lesser noble house who is seeking out a heretic), and Szeth (an assassin with unique powers). I won’t go further into the characters or plot for fear of spoilers. Stuff happens. Some of it is surprising.

What I’ve realized about the fantasy genre is that on of the primary goals of the book is the creation of this fantasy world. Accordingly, I found a lot of the text kind of wordy and extraneous. This is probably because I don’t normally read fiction novels and these very lengthy descriptions of… everything are likely the norm in fictional literary works. Or maybe not. Either way, expect a lot of in-depth descriptions that mostly add color to the world, even if I found them a bit much.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but my first foray into fantasy novels will likely be my last. It’s just to time consuming. I recognize that part of the appeal is to immerse yourself into this world and it’s characters and lengthy text do a great job to facilitate that. I couldn’t help but feel like I was wasting time every time I sat down with this fiction. While books of this length and subject matter may not be to my liking, if you like reading fiction, especially books like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, then I thoroughly recommend this book.

Score: 6.5/10

Comic Book Reviews: Books Released on January 25, 2016

I didn’t review anything last week because nothing looked good. Found some this week though.

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #10

Not my favorite book of the week, but still something I keep coming back to. This book is mostly a retelling of evil Captain America’s origin as it was rewritten by the Cosmic Cube and the unfolding of evil Captain America’s grand plan. It’s not an emotional book. It just lays out the series of events in order. I read it mostly because I want to see where it’s all going, which seems to be a big Marvel event that is coming down the road.

Score: 5/10


Civil War II: The Oath (2017) #1

The only reason this book is worth mentioning is that the end of the book gives you a glimpse at evil Captain America’s end game. I probably wouldn’t buy the book. Just walk into your local comic book store and read the last few pages.

Score: 3/10


Doctor Strange (2015) #16

Bachalo’s art. That’s the main reason to buy this book. The story is fine, I just don’t like that Doctor Strange has become a mystical Tony Stark. Doctor Strange used to be a more wise, mysterious character. Now her cracks jokes and reminds me more of the Doctor Strange in the movies. A big change to attract a more mainstream audience I guess.

Score: 6/10


Infamous Iron Man (2016) #4

Likely my favorite book of the moment. I’ve seen Maleev’s art before and I’ve always enjoyed it. That doesn’t change here. It’s just fun to see this spin on Doctor Doom. Not much progression in this issue, but still all right.

Score: 6/10


Inhuman V. X-Men (2016) #3

Another fine issue. Worth the purchase if you’ve been following along.

Score: 6/10


Justice League v. Suicide Squad (2016) #6

Not a great book, but I can see the appeal if you’re interested in the Justice League or the Suicide Squad.

Score: 4.5/10

Comic Book Reviews: Comics Released on January 11, 2017

All Star Batman (2016) #6

This series is really starting to feel like Paul Dini’s animated series in that all the villains seem to be getting their own little story, Snyder style. This time, it’s Mr. Freeze. The story does not feel as good as what was done by Snyder prior on Batman, but it was still all right. I’m going to keep reading this series regardless of quality because Snyder plus Batman equals compulsive reading.

Score: 6/10


Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #9

Not a great issue, but not terrible. I mainly read this issue because I’m eager to see what evil Captain America’s plan is. Guess I’ll patiently wait for that reveal.

Score: 6/10


Inhumans v. X-Men (2016) #2

My favorite book of the week and another reason why X-Men comic books are still awesome and should not be canceled. The X-Men begin their assault on the Inhumans in this issue and it all feels right unlike what happened in Civil War II. The motivations all feel right. For instance, the X-Men are trying to fight for their lives and even still, try to protect civilians. It’s a good book. Additionally, I’ve always liked Yu’s artwork despite internet comments to the contrary.

Score: 7.1/10


Justice League v. Suicide Squad #4 of 6

Just of bunch of action involving a lot of DC Comics characters. What was interesting was seeing the New 52 versions of a lot of characters I had not seen before. Still, not a great book.

Score: 5/10


The Might Thor (2015) #15

First and foremost, Dauterman’s art is sublime and fits the subject matter perfectly. There’s just something magical and mythical about how he draws these characters and the flow of the action. The story here is also interesting and has me looking forward to seeing what comes next. What seemed like a story involving science fiction aliens versus fantasy Norse mythology turned into a story that will likely smash all those elements into a smorgasbord of all of the above. It’s going to be good. This is my favorite book of the week.

Score: 7/10


Spider-Man (2016) #12

I’m not loving this story line, but I am interested in seeing a cross over with Spider Gwen. I wish this series will go back to the high school meets superhero dynamic that I’ve come to expect. Oh well, guess I’ll just keep reading along and hope for the best.

Score: 5/10

Comic Book Reviews: Books Released on January 4, 2017

Looked through a bunch of books, but only found two books worth reviewing.

Batman (2016) #14

Official preview:

Despite my dislike for the new story arc, this was a welcome issue. It was fun to just hang out with Batman and Catwoman, and to see them be romantic for once. Most of the time, they just flirt and never go any further. It’s nice to see them actually pursue it for once and to see both characters with some vulnerability.

Score: 5.7/10


The Unworthy Thor (2016) #3 of 5

Official preview:

Coipel is drawing Thor. There really isn’t anything else you need to know. The art is great and the story is fun. It’s also fun to see the appearance of so many familiar faces from the Marvel Universe in the book. It helps make the book feel more cosmic.

Score: 7/10


Comic Books Reviews: Comics Released On December 28, 2016

Got a lot of books this week. Here they are in alphabetical order.

All Star Batman (2016) #5

Official preview:

One of the best books on the shelf. Anytime you get Snyder writing Batman, you’re in for a treat. Going along with the style Snyder established from his run on the main Batman book, Snyder explores the mythos of Batman’s history, in this case Two-Face, and puts forth an opinion and a statement about this character. I’ve loved all the insight Snyder has offered towards Batman and that adoration continues here. I don’t love Romita’s artwork, but I felt like it was fine here.

Score: 8/10


Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #8

Official preview:

There have been lots of times in comic book history when a publisher decides to take a hero into completely new territory. Sometimes it goes terribly, sometimes it comes out great. This is one of the times where it comes out mostly great. The character of evil Captain America possesses everything that made good Captain America who he is; he is devoted, idealistic, relentless, and he believes in his ideals to an extreme degree. Watching the evil Captain’s machinations is an interesting experience in that it gives insight into what makes people evil. In another way, it shows us that there is no such thing as good or evil, just people fighting hard for different beliefs. This is a great twist and given what happened in Civil War II, I’m very interested in seeing how things play out for Cap’.

Score: 7/10


Civil War II (2016) #8

Official preview:

What was the point of this book? Nothing happened. Nothing was achieved. They killed off some major characters to little fanfare. This just felt like an enormous waste of time. The main point of this book was mainly as a preview for upcoming story arcs that Marvel intends on putting out. The only salvageable thing was the art, which was great. Even so, the story is such shit that I would not recommend picking this book up.

Score: 2/10


Dark Knight III: The Master Race (2015) #6

Official preview:

Not a story on par with the prior Dark Knight books, but a fun story nonetheless. There are no great themes at play, no greater meaning to this story, and no big emotions to be felt. It’s just a fun continuation of the characters Miller established all those years ago.

Score: 5/10


Hulk (2016) #1

Official preview:

I feel like there are many different tones for comic books and this book shows off one of them. This is not the kind of superhero book where heroes smash everything. This isn’t an action book. This also isn’t Archie. This is something in between. If you’ve read Soule’s She-Hulk miniseries, then you’ll have a taste of the kind of book this is. It’s a book that centers more on the legal profession mixed with the strangeness of super powers. It’s an interesting book which I’m probably not going to continue reading because I’m not in the mood for a story like this. I can happily recommend it to anyone else who is though.

Score: 5/10


Infamous Iron Man (2016) #3

Official preview:

Infamous Iron Man has consistently attracted my attention and is once again my book of the week. Similarly to how Captain America is now evil, Doctor Doom is now good. Even better, Doctor Doom’s transformation into a superhero from a super villain does not come from some magical cube, it is a decision he makes after realizations he has on his own. Reading this book is an exploration into the character that is Victor Von Doom and an observation watching a bad man try to be good, something completely foreign to him. Maleev’s art is also pretty great.

Score: 8.3/10


Spider-Man (2016) #11

Official preview:

The cover of this book has nothing to do with the story inside. This book is about Miles’ father and his involvement with SHIELD. It’s an okay story, but I read Spider-Man to get that mix of superhero action mixed with the antics of a middle school student. I did not get that here.

Score: 4/10