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Michael Emond "Michael of the North" (Sudbury, Ontario Canada)
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Silver Surfer Volume 1: New Dawn
Silver Surfer Volume 1: New Dawn
by Dan Slott
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.29
43 used & new from CDN$ 8.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Graphic Novel I have read in Years, Feb. 27 2016
Wow. Just Wow. This is the kind of collection that reminds me why I love the media of graphic novels so much and why after so many stories of super heroes have been written there are still amazing stories like this waiting to be written and drawn by two geniuses like Michael Allard and Dan Slott. Slott has become one of my fav writers. There is no one who can touch him when it comes to creative stories that are smart, have humour, pay homage to the character's past (that is, he is an uber-fan like us and doesn't forget what makes the character great and adds to that greatness) and are just all out FUN. FUN is something missing in too many comics today. they have some great writing, art but forget how to have fun. Dan Slott doesn't forget and reminds us of the joy of comics.
He has found a kindred spirit in Michael Allard. Allard's art style is definitely different than usual and when I first saw it decades ago I wasn't immediately impressed but over time I have come to love it. Allard, like Dan, brings the feel of an old time comic with him but adds modern sensibilities. His art literally POPS out of the page and is oozing in creativity.
Okay the story. Well I don't want to go into it too much but the first story is about the Surfer being recruited to help save a pleasure planet and how he comes to meet Dawn, an Earth girl who is somehow connected to him (we don't really find out why in this collection). The second has a nice twist I don't want to reveal but it includes a team up with Surfer's old Defender teammates Dr. Strange and the Hulk (see what I mean when I say Slott is a fanboy just like us). Both stories are so smart and original and I just loved them. the one tack on story at the end - was a bit meh but I'll overlook that.
In a nice bit of "meta" a cosmic being notes how the Silver Surfer (and Dawn) hasn't lived up to his potential. I say it is meta because it feels like Slott saying (as I also believe) that while the Silver Surfer is an amazing character, no writer has yet written a GREAT Surfer story. He has always been dragged down because his powers are too vague (he has cosmic power...which is...um...powerful..and...yeah, not well defined) and he was too morose as a character (and artistically a tad boring to draw). Dan overcomes that by giving him a bit of personality, letting him "silver down" now and then and pairing him up with Dawn who brings so much humour to the character and gives him someone to bounce off of, so instead of morose Surfer having monologues we have a great pair to engage in dialogues. It has a bit of a Dr. Who plus companion feel in that sense. Let's explore the Universe together.
So in closing - best graphic novel, best BOOK I have read in years. Thank you Slott and Allard.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Bilingual)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Henry Cavill
Price: CDN$ 15.00
7 used & new from CDN$ 9.97

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab! A Movie You Missed in the Theater You should catch on video., Dec 5 2015
Underrated by critics and ignored by many movie goers - this is Guy Ritchie's love letter to the 60's. Henry Cavill gives a perfect performance as Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer is a chameleon the way he becomes Illya Kuryakin. I never watched the series it was based on but as a stand alone movie I couldn't love it more. The costumes, the set design, the humour the action, everything pops off the screen. Some critics say "weak plot" but come on - it is James Bond for the Fab crowd we don't care about plot we care about fun and man was it fun.

Gatchaman - Complete Collection
Gatchaman - Complete Collection
DVD ~ GATCHAMAN COMPLETE COLLECTION
Price: CDN$ 112.82
11 used & new from CDN$ 100.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta Get Your Gatchaman, Oct. 30 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
What can I say - for a 1970's animation show the art holds up pretty well - thanks to the fact it was being done overseas and not in "how cheap can we make this" America. While it would be misleading to say all the stories are high drama and intellectual, as a children's program the stories all had a good amount of adventure and almost every episode did have an emotional storyline to draw you into these characters as more than just super-heroes. It was one of my favourite series as a child - even in the horribly put together Battle of the Planets. Thankfully, these are the original shows from Japan. Gone is 7-Zark-7 (yay!); gone is the idea that most of these adventures took place on other planets (I think the change was made so children wouldn't freak out that the Earth was under attack); gone are the edits that took out all mention of people being killed (in Battle of the Planets all ships and planes were piloted by robots). And what remains is a wonderful show.

The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes: Fifty Tantalizing Problems of Chess Detection
The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes: Fifty Tantalizing Problems of Chess Detection
by Raymond M. Smullyan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.41
27 used & new from CDN$ 4.69

5.0 out of 5 stars The Logic is Afoot Watson!, Oct. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love Chess, Sherlock and Smullyan. Guess what - I loved this book. At first glance you think "oh, this is one of those books where you figure out how many moves for White to mate" but it isn't that at all. It is from the greatest logician of our century Raymond Smullyan and he has his Sherlock and Watson solve Chess mysteries based on logic. You have to figure out what a missing piece would be. What the last move was. Whose turn it is to move. Based on logic. You do need a basic understanding of chess to solve these but if you have that and a curious mind you'll love this book. His portrayal of Sherlock isn't half bad either. As usual, Smullyan tells a solid story and peppers them with his amazing logic puzzles.

What Is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles
What Is the Name of This Book?: The Riddle of Dracula and Other Logical Puzzles
by Raymond M. Smullyan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.61
30 used & new from CDN$ 4.30

5.0 out of 5 stars It is Logical to Buy This Book, Oct. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the earlier Smullyan books. I cannot recommend his books enough. I love them. They were what got me into logic problems when I was a teenager.

Alice in Puzzle-Land: A Carrollian Tale for Children Under Eighty
Alice in Puzzle-Land: A Carrollian Tale for Children Under Eighty
by Raymond M. Smullyan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.41
19 used & new from CDN$ 5.65

5.0 out of 5 stars A logic problem book for all ages, Oct. 15 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the best book of logic problems I have ever read. It was my first Smullyan logic puzzle book and was not my last. Raymond Smullyan is the best writer of logic problems I have ever encountered and I have rarely been disappointed in his books. This is the perfect one to start with. One note - the illustrations are horrendous, a shame the publishing company didn't hire a better artist.

Windor McCay: Early Works Volume 9
Windor McCay: Early Works Volume 9
by Winsor McCay
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 24.28

3.0 out of 5 stars More Moore, Sept. 30 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The first 2/3 are about a trial of a dead heroine. Intertwined with the trial is a story of a book of great power given to mankind by the trickster Mercury. The trial and the narrative of the book come together quite nicely at the end. The reason for only three stars is the last few stories are Alan Moore trying to reboot the Youngblood and it is less effective. Not enough time to see where he was going with this. Overall, there are better Alan Moore books out there but even this weaker offering from Moore is more creative than 99% of the stuff out there.

Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 2
Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 2
by Mark Waid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 35.09
41 used & new from CDN$ 32.02

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing Daredevil Returns, July 13 2014
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I don't know how long this rant will be but I was so disappointed with this volume after such a promising start in volume one, a weak second half and now it has come to this. Fans rave about this series so I may be in the minority but that's how I feel. What started off as a fresh and welcome new take on Daredevil both visually and in tone has now fallen into the "sad sack" Daredevil that has been the tone ever since Miller left the book. Everyone picks on this guy and in this volume, his self professed "best friend" and new girlfriend dump on him. I am just sick and tired of the mopey tone of the book and Waid started off with the promise that that wasn't going to be the tone of the book when he wrote it but he breaks his promise in spades here. There will be spoilers so stop reading if you don't want to know too much about the stories. The first set of stories were my favourite. They involved Daredevil, Spider-man and Punisher. The art by Checchetto is breathtaking. The story isn't too memorable since we end up back where we started at the end of it but the inclusion of Spider-man and his interaction with Daredevil is welcome. Then we get the conclusion of the "Daredevil has a hard drive that can bring down five major super-crime groups". From the beginning it made no sense that "Daredevil had to bear this burden by himself" bringing angst and the threat of death to him. And as the storyline ends it still makes no sense (still not clear why he couldn't have handed over the hard drive to the Avengers in the first place) and the conclusion of it is not clever nor worthy of all the build up.
It leads to a three parter that was extremely distasteful to me. It was a "rape of a hero" for the sake of torturing your main character. Dr. Doom manages to teleport DD to his castle and punishes him for costing him business with the 5 crime groups by stripping him of all his senses. So Doom can do that? Teleport heroes at his whim? Oh, only when Waid needs him to and not, you know, every other issue of every other comic. Cause if Doom can do that he can pretty much destroy every hero he wants to (i.e. all of them). It is a brutal torture of DD and not interesting and the conclusion of the villain saying "you can't hurt me, diplomatic immunity" is INSANE! Hey, I just kidnapped and tortured DD but every citizen of my country can do whatever they want because of that rule.
Then when DD gets back his friend Foggy accuses him of going insane because he finds DD's dad's remains in DD's desk at work. So, instead of believing in his friend he throws him under the bus and gets his girlfriend to start a manhunt for him. So apparently Foggy wasn't reading the other 300 issues of DD and forgot about super-villains and how his friend is a hero. DD makes a similar rant when it is all cleared up (after another scene of torture - a super-villain was starting a human slave trafficking business - REALLY Marvel? I know we are gritty but how far are you going with this??) and Foggy gives a half apology before again accusing his friend of going insane. My God. And we end with the girlfriend enlisting the help of someone to hunt down DD (apparently Foggy wasn't too quick to speed dial the girlfriend to tell her he is an idiot and made mistake about DD).
So, in short, I think Waid has tonally shifted this book back into a direction I hate, forgot his original promise of having a lighter DD and instead is giving us the sickest take on the character yet (digging up human remains, human trafficking and torturing your main character).

Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
by Rob Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.47
38 used & new from CDN$ 4.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ... many reviews raving about it and I am a pretty big VM fan (seen all the episodes) I thought ..., July 13 2014
I don’t think I had high hopes for this going in but there were so many reviews raving about it and I am a pretty big VM fan (seen all the episodes) I thought I would give it a shot. I am not upset I did but it was not an enjoyable read. The main problem is this, I love the TV series for the smart writing but also because of the actors and how they bring the characters to life. As with many novelizations of a TV series or movies, the author doesn’t work hard to give you a feel for the characters because we should know the already from TV. Take Mac for example – not fleshed out, not given much motivation but that’s okay, you are supposed to know her from TV so why should the writer bother?
The other big strike for this novel is the mystery was not that compelling and the solution(s) not that interesting. So the writer failed in that respect. What else? Well I hated the walk ons from the other characters from the series: Logan is barely there but he is mentioned a lot; Wallace serves as an escort for one scene and other than that, nothing, Weevil has a walk on at a gun range (what a nice coincidence), Dick has a walk on at a party (what a nice coincidence). Even the characters who have more of a part to play (her dad and Mac) just aren’t fully fleshed out enough. The mystery is based on a missing girl. The title is based on – I have no idea. There is a part of story where the party Veronica is at has a tan line competition but this plays no true part in the story. By the way – when you read the ending, tell me why the missing girl went to this party in the first place.

There are also so many incidences of sloppy, weak writing. Writing where there is no character motivation to do what they did but the writer “makes” the characters do it to answer a question or add to the drama. The first that stuck out was Sheriff Lamb coming to Veronica’s office to complain about the flyers she put up. It is done so she can present him with information about the party the girl went missing at. But Lamb would never demean himself to visit Mars over something like that and besides, even if he hates her, why would he want her to stop the flyers?? Other example of sloppy writing – Bad Writing 101, when the story isn’t strong insert a family member or friend to bump up the emotional stakes of the mystery. I won’t spoil who shows up but it is as stupid as you could imagine.
Overall, just a very weak mystery, and there were so many times I felt the book spinning its wheels just to prolong the mystery or to unrealistically make sure Veronica solved everything. I mean seriously, Sheriff Lamb wouldn’t have done any investigation of the party where the girl went missing? I don’t care how corrupt he is, that makes no sense that HE wouldn’t or the press wouldn’t badger him into doing that.

In the end this book lacked any of the magic of the series and felt like bad fan fic. I have trouble believing Rob Thomas played a major role in its creation. So I think there was some false advertising suggesting he is the PRIMARY writer.
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Hawkeye - Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon (Marvel Now)
Hawkeye - Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon (Marvel Now)
by Matt Fraction
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.25
42 used & new from CDN$ 11.53

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Aja or Half Empty?, April 30 2013
Is the glass half Aja or half empty? Let me explain - the whole book is written by Matt Fraction (hot new-ish writer) and he does a great job both creating characters (Hawkeye and Kate Bishop) that you love and want to spend time with and stories that are fun and flashy. I would say his strength is in the characters, and the stories are vehicles to showcase them in. So far so good. Then things go bad - only half the book is drawn by David Aja, who is an artist that is so amazing at what he does I picked up a book on Hawkeye simply because he drew it :). He does not disappoint. That first half with him drawing is an instant comic classic. I love, love, love Aja. So you can imagine my deep depression at seeing that only half the book is drawn by him and the next third is by Javier Pulido who (IMO)has art that looks like a two year old next to Aja. Some may like it for its style but I think it was horrid and Pulido needs to go back to art school to learn to draw anatomy, and the basics of storytelling. As much as I loved Aja I hate Pulido. The last part of the book is a Young Avengers story drawn by Alan Davis (who is a very good artist - but not my fav - and reminds me of Don Newton's art in this issue). It was a spotlight on Kate Bishop, which is okay but the tone of the story and the way the characters of Hawkeye/Ronin and Kate are portrayed is a 180 degrees turnabout from the rest of the book. So in the end - loved the first half - was disappointed with the second half.

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