Reviews by eknapp
For DC nuts only.
»
Man, I thought this was supposed to be some kind of astute subversion of 80s superhero comics, but it felt pretty much like every other insipidly-dialogued mainstream superhero story, with a bunch of cheesy cameos shoehorned in to sell issues. I could almost hear the live studio audience squealing with glee whenever Hawkman or Martian Manhunter made a fawning full-frame appearance. Disappointing.
I found this hard to relate to.
»
Robert Neville is, as far as he knows, the last man on Earth. A plague has turned everyone else--including his wife and infant daughter--into vampires or vampire food, but Neville for some reason finds himself immune. In the aftermath, he has converted a house into a bunker and lives a monotonous, lonely existence; at night his home is besieged by mindless monsters, and his days are filled with hunting, scavenging, and repairing the nightly damage to his fortress.

I Am Legend seems to be mostly concerned with the human response to isolation, and I found Matheson's take to be a little disturbing. Neville is understandably dealing with crushing grief, fear, and loneliness, but his response to the female vampires was...excessively rapey. It was off-putting and hard to relate to; this might say something about the time in which the author lived (IAL was published almost sixty years ago), or maybe Matheson just has issues, I don't know. Anyway, Neville eventually finds a measure of peace in the search for knowledge, teaching himself science in an attempt to understand the how and why of his world's transformation.


SPOILER ALERT

The story ends abruptly: Neville is discovered and killed by a community of "civilized" vampires, who fear him and his hunting skills. It felt to me like a missed opportunity to explore xenophobia and the human instinct to destroy rather than communicate.
V2 continues to be excellent.
»
Easy Kill picks up right where the first volume left off. This time, when he's not rescuing innocents from the brutal Ugandan civil war, Dr. Lwanga becomes embroiled in a plan to murder Angelina Jolie--I mean "Margaret Wells"--to further African revolutionary causes. It's an excellent work of modern historical fiction, though it starts to get a bit weird at the end; hard to tell exactly what's real and what isn't. The questions about what happened to turn Lwanga into skilled counterrevolutionary without his knowledge go largely unanswered.

Volume 2 ends with a fascinating 7 page history of the actual war that's being portrayed in the book. There's also an Afterword by this volume's illustrator, Pat Masioni, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (he did a terrific job, by the way).
An extremely smart graphic novel.
»
Unknown Soldier is the story of Dr. Lwanga Moses, a Uganda-born raised-in-America physician who returns to his war-torn native land with his doctor wife to work in a refugee camp. He finds himself entangled in the fight between the corrupt government and the child soldiers of the vile Lord's Resistance Army. Moses goes all Jason Bourne, discovering that he has combat skills and no memory of acquiring them.

It's not fun, but it's an excellent book. The politics are convincing, the dialogue rings true, his new-found skills seem genuine. The narrative is disjointed, wandering, which echoes the hero's dissociation and confusion. Some of the scenes are brutal, but not gratuitously so. This first volume ends with some truly tantalizing hints of things to come. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.
There's little Repairman Jack in this Repairman Jack book.
»
SPOILERS AHEAD


This is it, the last Repairman Jack book before Nightworld. It's more focused than Fatal Error but it doesn't feel at all like an RJ story. It's full-on Adversary Cycle.

Jack takes his best shot at Rasalom, and fails. Glaeken and gang try to perform a ceremony on the q'qr baby in order to rob Rasalom of his power, and they walk right into his trap and inadvertently clear the way for the Change. Everyone dies but Jack and Glaeken.

Riddled with contrivance, this is really only a decent read for series completionists. I will be interested to see what the "heavily revised" Nightworld looks like with all this new plot shoehorned in there.