Reviews by eknapp
Disappointing.
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Meh. The Comedian's backstory was kind of interesting--his 60's association with the Kennedy clan and certain historical events was reasonably well put together. But it lacked the magic of Watchmen.

Rorschach's story was an embarrassment. His contempt for, well pretty much everyone, shone through but he spent the entire book getting his ass kicked repeatedly and tripping into lucky escapes. That's not Rorschach.
Beautiful but unsatisfying.
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Wow. Lost Dogs is simply a chain of horrific injustices. A revenge tail where nobody gets--or even seeks--revenge. I guess it's also supposed to be the story of a man holding on to his humanity through all that the world can throw at him, but for me that paled against how badly I wanted to see the bad guys get what they deserved.
A strange mix of excitement and mediocrity
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Dara faces off against the final elemental-god-sibling. Malia manipulates the easily fooled masses into believing that Dara is a psycho super-nutter and that she, Malia, is humanity's only hope. Dara has the entire population of Earth to contend with in addition to the power-mad air goddess.

The final volume is as simplistic as the rest. The characters are all about as canny as your average fourth grader, right down to the general in charge of keeping the superhumans under control. This would be a clear YA title if it weren't for the violence. The Luna brothers never met a compound fracture they didn't want to draw in close-up.

I did quite like the dark ending, and the mixed in flashbacks they used to tie it together.
Bleak and pensive and wonderful.
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Part 1: Tales from the Farm. A lonely ten-year-old orphan lives on a farm with his lonely bachelor uncle, who has no idea how to relate to his charge. He dreams of being a superhero and never removes his mask and cape. He's befriended by the slow guy who runs the county gas station and together they fight off imaginary aliens.

Part 2: Ghost Stories. A senile, deaf, lonely old man muses on his past while drifting in and out of dementia (the transitions between past-present and confusion-lucidity are brilliant; it's an absolutely believable portrayal of what might be behind the disjointed ramblings of an elderly man with dementia). Once a hockey star with NHL potential, he lost his family, his future, and his happiness to a knee injury and an indiscretion with his brother's wife. A portrait of a life wasted.

Part 3: The Country Nurse. A lonely nurse meddles in the lives of her patients and their family members, including the old man from Ghost Stories and the boy from Tales from the Farm. The relationships between characters from all three stories are highlighted.

Jeff Lemire has a grubby but effective black-and-white illustration style that is easy to get lost in. It's a stolid book, thoughtful and poignant and sad and bleak and powerful. There are a very few happy moments, all the more potent for being so rare.
Satisfyingly apocalyptic.
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My favorite opening sentence ever of a book: "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." So much goodness there. I love that even if the character is NOT at fault--maybe--he's the kind of guy who sure as hell COULD be and we can't wait to find out just what the heck is going on.

The opening sentence of THIS book: "John Matherson lifted the plastic bag off the counter."

*cough*

So yeah, that was strike one. Strike two was when I realized that the foreword was an arm-waving fear-mongering piece of pap written by none other than Newt Freaking Gingrich.

At that point I was just looking for an excuse to quit reading, but--amazingly--there was no strike three. Forstchen recovered the ball, crossed the neutral zone, drove the lane and split the uprights.

Okay, it's not contending for book-of-the-year. His prose doesn't get any better and the book is comprised mostly of 1)dry lectures on history, nation-building, public health, and introductory law, and 2)maudlin monologues about noble sacrifice and conservative heroism (LOTS of the latter).

What can I say, the dry lectures were interesting. Forstchen digs into EMPs and demonstrates just how dependent we are on abundant power and easy transportation. He exposes the pamperedness of 21st century first-worlders and posits some pretty convincing die-off scenarios and survivor conflicts.

All told, it didn't hold a candle to Lucifer's Hammer or World War Z but it was still mentally delicious for an apocalypse nut like me.