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Michael Emond "Michael of the North" (Sudbury, Ontario Canada)
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Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 2
Daredevil by Mark Waid Volume 2
by Mark Waid
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.44
38 used & new from CDN$ 24.44

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing Daredevil Returns, July 13 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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$ 12.96
35 used & new from CDN$ 4.10

1 of 1 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$ 13.71
46 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

2 of 5 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.

Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots - PlayStation 3
Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots - PlayStation 3
Offered by Hitgaming Video Games
Price: CDN$ 15.04
42 used & new from CDN$ 2.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Movie or Video Game?, Oct. 1 2012
Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Maybe it was stupid of me to jump into this video game series at number 4 but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. This just isn't the game for me. This is a movie masquerading as a video game. Walk two steps - cut scene of five minutes...walk two more steps another cut scene...shoot and kill a few bad guys, start to get into the game...cut scene. I contrast this with Heavy Rain, which is cinematic but you are helping to control the movie. Cut scenes are necessary for story and, when used effectively, can add excitement to the story and immerse you in the game more by helping develop characters. But I have never seen it used to this extreme before and it ends up taking you out of the game. The cut scenes are not even that interesting. So, overall this game did not work for me. Catty aside - Snake Eater, the 80's called, they want their headband back.

The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2
The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2
by Marv Wolfman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 68.00
18 used & new from CDN$ 68.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Omnibus - WARNING MISSING ISSUE #38, April 24 2012
I received my copy a week ago and I can't rave enough about it. But before I rave about it I want potential buyers to be warned that it is missing issue #38. On the pre-adverts for it they said issues #21-40 (among others) but they left out #38 which is the touching "Who is Donna Troy" as Dick Grayson searches for the true roots of Donna Troy before she is married. In my mind the mistake was made by the editor when he/she inserted the Batman and the Outsiders issue that follows from NTT #37 and then continued on to #39 instead of including issue #38. It is a shame this happened because it will be frustrating for people who by this Omnibus.

Okay - enough of the bad let me now talk about the good. This is (IMO) one of the best series of comics ever put together and is a must have for any serious comic book collector. George Perez was at the top of his game and Marv Wolfman was at the height of his storytelling skills (with George helping co-script the stories). The art is beautiful, the stories are a wonderful blend of action and character development. You can tell these co-creators really cared about their creations and that shines through. You have classic stories like the Judas Contract with the Terminator but you also have Brother Blood (whom I didn't actually like that much) and a journey into space to investigate Starfire's roots (my personal fav). Chris Claremont and John Byrne's X-Men, Walt Simonson's Thor, John Byrne's Fantastic Four, Frank Miller's Daredevil and of course Perez and Wolfman's New Teen Titans...this was truly the golden age of comics.

Yes, I am deducting a star for the mistake of leaving out issue 38 but I would buy it again in a heartbeat had I known...I just wanted other buyers to be forewarned so they wouldn't be as disappointed as I was.

P.S. The footer of including the issue number on each page of the Omnibus? I love this idea - thank you so much for whomever thought of doing this. I wish all Omnibuses (Omnibi) would do this.

New Teen Titans: Games
New Teen Titans: Games
by Marv Wolfman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.39
16 used & new from CDN$ 10.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Can't Recaptue the Magic, Dec 4 2011
This review is from: New Teen Titans: Games (Hardcover)
I wish I could say this book 27 years in the making (due to personal problems and professional commitments of the writer and artist) was worth the wait, but the best I can say is it is an weak story with amazing art. As a Perez fan the art alone is worth the price of admission. While it would be better if the art complimented an exciting story I have to settle for what it is. A story that tries to be an exciting thriller but in the end comes across as a weak attempt at an exciting thriller. Being a stand alone story they probably would have been better off using a tried and true Titans villain or a known DC villain but I actually like the fact they tried to go with an unknown. Let me take some time critiquing the story: 1) Danny Chase - I am a TT fan from the Perez Wolfman 80's run but I have NEVER ever heard of this character and yet there he is sitting in on this story like he is a Titan - a 14 year old member with boring powers and dressed in a horrible coat, with horrible looks and being a snarky idiot (did we learn nothing from the death of Robin that fans HATE that character as a "hero"?). Turns out Marv Wolfman inserted this character AFTER Perez left and "stubbornly" tried to make him work despite fan protests until Danny was finally killed off. Well he ruins the story for me. I waited so long for this story and wanted it to showcase the best of the 80's run and here instead of Kid Flash or Speedy or even Aqualad, we get Danny Chase. I know why he is there (the art was started back when Danny was alive and Marv wanted him to be a main member of the team) but that understanding doesn't help me like it any better. 2) Troia - I know this change was made in the regular run but I have always hated it. The costume is a jumbled mess, the hair is mired in the 80's and it turned me off of what used to be a wonderful female member (same goes with the mullet they gave Changling and the useless costume change - he seems to have regressed as a character in this story). 3) Side missions but no team missions - so the story creates these side missions for each member which are okay (actually Jericho's works well and made me like this previously weak character) but because of this we don't see the TT work as a team. 4) Death of a main character - I didn't mind the death but the fact this person died the way they did made me scratch my head - seems to me they had time to both be a hero AND save themselves - at least the way it was plotted out. 5) Big reveal at the end - meh, it was supposed to be a shocker but it was just a "okay, that makes little sense but okay" no emotional impact and even the big "sacrifice" by Cyborg didn't have any emotional punch.
What is amazing is the art. George Perez was and is an amazing artist and this quality printing of the story only helps to serve his art better. It is a shame that this is his last TT story and that we couldn't have really revisited the glory years with the original TT line-up. If you are an old school TT fan like me I still think this is worth getting for the art but you may be as disappointed by the story as I was.

And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft
And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft
by Mike Sacks
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.59
13 used & new from CDN$ 11.23

5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure to any Lovers of Comedy (behind the scenes), Sept. 29 2011
This book was a joy to read. I am VERY interested in comedy writers since they create the comedy that makes me laugh and because they so rarely get the spotlight they are a mystery. Here's the Kicker not only does a wonderful job giving us 21 insightful interviews of comedy writers but the author should be applauded for going out of his way to get such a diverse range of individuals - from 90 year old ones to younger ones, female and male, black and white, jewish and non-jewish (just kidding), skit, sitcom and print writers. The interviews are perhaps on the short side but all contain brilliant truths and insights and even the writers I was not familiar with had me interested in them by the end of the chapter. A few negative reviews said they were hoping for a more "how to write comedy" book but this book is far more entertaining than that. I also think if the reader is reading carefully there are a lot of nuggets of "helpful hints" that would improve anyone's writing. It is a shame that the ET and Access world we live in only highlights the actors and not the truly brilliant people who are behind the material the actors say. This book makes up for that.

Nonsense Novels
Nonsense Novels
by Stephen Leacock
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.37
11 used & new from CDN$ 6.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Humour that Stands the Test of Time, Sept. 28 2011
This review is from: Nonsense Novels (Paperback)
This novel was published exactly 100 years ago and 100 years later it will still provoke laughs and readers will still be amazed by the wit contained within. It is 10 chapters of an inventive mind mocking the different writing tropes in various genres (e.g. Sherlock Holmes, Scotland romance, rags to riches story, the Old homestead). While I will admit some chapters work better than others and some of the genres are not as well known in 2011 as they were in 1911 the humour still leaps out of the page. What makes me smile so much after reading this book is the discovery that good humour is good humour and it can stand the test of time of 100 years. I wish the humour novels of today were as funny as this novel is. Also recommended: Three Men in a Boat.

Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus
Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus
by Walter Simonson
Edition: Hardcover
9 used & new from CDN$ 285.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Penny, Sept. 27 2011
This is one of the ten best series of all time in terms of writing and in terms of art. It is remarkable how well the art holds up after 25 plus years. This was Walter Simonson at his best and it is clear it was a labour of love. What makes this ominbus so worth it to me is the reproduction value. They have done something to the colouring so it just pops off the page. I have the original comics but the pages are starting to fade so it was such a joy to be able to see the art crisp and clear and relive this amazing run. If you are a fan of Thor you MUST buy this. If you are a fan of comics you MUST buy this. You will never see a story like this again. The only negative is that the art near the end was done by other artists (Sal Buscema)and it pales in comparison to Walt Simonson.

Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters
Mike Nelson's Mind Over Matters
by Michael Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.51
37 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally - A Funny book that is Funny, Feb. 23 2011
I have been on a quest for the past year to find comedic books that are actually...well...funny. Laugh out loud funny, not just "oh, that was amusing" funny. I finally found it and it was under my nose all the time. This book had been on my wish list for years (I was a huge MST 3000 fan and liked Mike's other book) but I never got around to ordering it. I am so glad I did. Mike really shines in this book and there is chapter after chapter of hilarious essays on everything from his fear of Hotel rooms to his inability to make a password that he remembers. Sure there are a few that miss the mark but there is so much gold I can forgive that. This is my type of humour. Absurd, silly, and very clever. I am trying to compile a list of top ten books (I have only found 6 so far) that make you laugh out loud and this will be number one.

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