Friday, May 25, 2007

REVIEW ROUNDUP

I thought that instead of whining about what I need to read, I would actually say a few things about what I have read the past few weeks...

I completed my "Hellboy Project" with Hellboy: Strange Places, the sixth collection of the ongoing series. This one has two separate stories - "The Third Wish" and "The Island." These are darker Hellboy stories, little humor and lots of death (including a big one). Mike Mignola has said this collection ends the first chapter of Hellboy's story and it really deals with a lot of the big questions of the series. I'm interested to see where he goes from here - the current mini-series, "Darkness Calls," just got started so it will be at least a year before we see a new trade.

I've been waiting to read The Yiddish Policeman's Union ever since it was first announced it would be Michael Chabon's next book a few years ago. Why? He's one of my favorite writers (and maybe tops that list). And his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay was responsible for my starting my book reading goals a number of years ago. So, what do we get with this novel? An alternate reality where the Jews went to Alaska in the 1940s, government conspiracies, a police novel with a down-on-his-luck Meyer Landsman, a love story, tons of humor, and great writing. Really, can you ask anything else of a novel? I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone who likes to read. Seriously.

Last year I read River Of Gods by Ian McDonald and it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. Naturally, that put his new novel, Brasyl, on my must buy and read list. We get the stories of three different time periods in Brasil - the present, the future of the 2030s, and the past of the 1730s. McDonald delves into the culture and history of Brazil while telling a tale that links together...and deals with no less than the multiverse. His characters are sharp and the language is as well. It's a very entertaining novel that the buzz has winning many awards next year. I can definitely see that, though I probably liked River of Gods better. Still, this is a very good book.

One of my favorite comics the last few years has been Y: The Last Man, the story of what happens to the last man left on Earth after a plague wipes out the rest of males. The ninth trade was released a few weeks ago and Motherland is the penultimate collection (the story is slated to end very soon). Brian K. Vaughan gives us lots of answers about the hows and whys of the plague and it's a big surprise. There are big changes for many of the characters as well. That all happens in the first 4 issues collected here. The other two check in on characters we've met throughout the series and allow us to once again see the state of the world. They take a break from the main story, obviously, but they are very effective in moving the plot forward in small ways and really work as stories. Pia Guerra and Goran Sudzuka do a fantastic job on the art as usual.

1 comment:

franQ said...

Hearing all this talk of the new Chabon release makes me a little sad…

A year ago, I would have been thrilled and no doubt attended his book signing. He’s been my favorite author since I first read his debut novel THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH back in the early 90s.

But I can no longer support the work of an author who has no regard for the story and characters that put him on the literary map.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a film version of MOP coming out later this year… Written and directed by the guy who brought us DODGEBALL, in which he’s CHANGED 85% of Chabon’s original story.

And the sad part is… Michael Chabon himself APPROVED of the script! WHY would he do this? I can only think of one possible answer: $$

If you are a Chabon fan, esp MOP, I suggest you do NOT see this movie. You will be sadly disappointed at the COMPLETE removal of the gay character, Arthur Lecomte, and the fabrication of a romantic love triangle between Art Bechstein, Jane Bellwether, and a bi-sexual Cleveland Arning. And really, what is MOP without the presence of Phlox Lombardi? Alas, she’s barely in it.