Reviews by Brad B.
Annotations!
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These books are hilarious.The best thing, though, about the "treasury" versions of the collections of these comics is the author's annotations they come with. See what inspired each strip, wacky stories of reader feedback, and what Stephan Pastis thinks of his own work looking back. He's not afraid to poke fun at himself. Includes 'never before printed' strips, sort of like deleted scenes from a DVD, with the reasons why they got cut. It's a great insight into a comic artist's mind.
Fantastic!
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This whole series of books is fantastic. These are just what the title says: stories to read to your dog. Seriously. I know right now you are looking at this review like this is crazy, but the manner in which the stories are told is perfect. They just feel like stories your dog would like if only he/she could understand…and maybe they can, who knows; the words are simple…lots of repetition…O.k. so maybe it is just as much for you as it is for your dog. Still, it’s a great way to connect, and all the tales are funny bits straight out of real life (“Remember that time you barked at the door when you thought someone was there and no one was...”). Delightfully entertaining and original. Very recommended.
A Nice, Tense, Batman Story
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You may have heard about the 'death of Batman'. This book takes on the first part of that story, but if you are looking for the whole Batman dying story scenario and whether he does or doesn’t or what happens you will have to look to Final Crisis. This is just a set up to that. That being said there is an entertaining and fairly complete story arc to this book. Grant Morrison does get some flack sometimes because occasionally when he writes it feels like the comic is skipping pages that should be there…and to some extent that is the case with this story. There are a few confusing bits to it, I have to admit. Still, my favorite Batman stories have always been the ones where it’s the clever Batman; where Batman is ten steps ahead; he has a back up plan for his back up plan…you get to see him try to get out of impossible situations, and that’s juts the type of story Morrison gives here. It’s a thrill ride of ups and downs and nail biting tension, and even if it’s a little jerky at places, Morrison still gives quite the entertaining read.
Political Intrigue
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For those of you looking for a new fantasy and curious about George R. R. Martin, I’m here to lay it out for you. I won’t go into a point by point plot summary, because you can read that elsewhere, and done better than me, but suffice it to say there is a large cast of characters a la Robert Jordan and in Martin’s case lots of houses vying for power. His books are harsh, and certainly for adults; there are a lot of bad things that happen to the characters, and Martin doesn’t shy away from things like incest, rape, or brutality. So, you’ve got to be able to handle that sort of thing. But, if you can, the political intrigue is top notch, and the fact that magic is only hinted at here and there gives it a gritty realism. The most notable thing about his books, however, is that they can be quite unpredictable, and Martin isn’t afraid to have really horrible things happen to a character, or even kill them off, if he wants to,which leaves a feeling that any character could be next; no one is safe. It’s a level of tension that many authors don’t achieve, and I give him credit for it. On the other hand some people find this frustrating- and add in the fact that the books for this have been coming out very-very-very slowly so it may be a long while before it reaches a satisfying conclusion. Still, a great read for a unique fantasy intrigue series.
New Ways to Entertain
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The Spider-man comic has undergone a lot of changes over the years and the Brand New Day storyline took spider-man to places it had never been. New friends, a roommate, no marriage to Mary Jane, new villains…If you were worried that too much had changed for this to be the same old spidey you’ve grown to love, rest your fears. NEW Ways to Die ratchets up the tension, brings in Osborn’s thunderbolts crew (a good taste of the pre-Dark Avengers) to hunt down a spider-man who’s suspected of murders, and introduces the…Anti-Venom? Yep. If you’re new and this all sounds like gibberish, don’t worry. All you need to know is there is lots of action, lots of trademark spider-man humor, and a few plot twists to make it all interesting. Not a bad read.