Friday, May 18, 2018

County Track Meet

Just a quick note on the end of the track season. Lexi competed in the county track meet in the long jump and the 4x400m relay. The relay wasn't real successful. However, Lexi won the long jump by jumping 14' 1/2". This was also her personal best. It was a great way to finish her middle school track career, and we're all really proud of her.

Our competitive seasons are over, but with summer comes camps, workouts, etc. Fall seasons will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

THE WILD STORM #13 by Warren Ellis - Book Review

From the publisher: John Lynch, once the director of IO, the secret deep-state agency that runs Earth, is on the road. His darkest project, Thunderbook, has been uncovered, and he needs to warn the principals, now scattered across America. Hiding. Because they were his most successful experiments. And none of them are completely human anymore.

Warren Ellis starts the second year of The Wild Storm with issue #13. John Lynch steps to the forefront for much of this issue, as he attempts to track down former IO agents that were experimented on as part of Thunderbook. Just what Thunderbook is, we are beginning to find out, and it looks like this might have some long-term ramifications in The Wild Storm universe (and maybe a direct tie-in to the Michael Cray series?). Meanwhile, Henry Bendix is looking to take the fight to IO, and IO is going after Skywatch. This might be the first step towards an all-out secret agency war.

As I’ve been reading The Wild Storm, I’ve been trying to place the current characters with what I remember from their original 1990’s incarnations. Some of the names have been very familiar (Cole Cash, Jack Hawksmoor, Jenny Sparks), while others are floating on the edge of my memory. Regardless, I’m enjoying Ellis’s new take on the concept. He keeps dropping in new faces and has a precarious balancing act going on, where he is juggling multiple people, agencies, and storylines. I’m generally able to keep tabs on what is happening, but there are times when I feel like I’m trying to look at a puzzle that’s still missing a bunch of pieces. I have a feeling that when this Wild Storm story (or arc) is through, a rereading might be necessary to grasp everything that Ellis has thrown in. And that’s not a bad thing; Ellis is well-known for his high-concept ideas and twisting storylines. In the meantime, I’m going to keep reading The Wild Storm and doing my best to make sense of each issue.

I recommend The Wild Storm #13 by Warren Ellis. The second year is off to a great start, but this is not a comic series that lends itself to new readers very easily. If you’re interested in the story, grab the first two compilations (the second comes out next week) and join in the fun.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Track is Wrapping Up

The kids had two meets this past week. Cami ran her usual 800m and 4x400m relay, and long jumped. She set a personal record (PR) in the 800m. Griffin ran the 100m (once), 200m (twice), 4x100m (twice), and long jumped (once). During the last meet he set his PR in both the 100m and the long jump. Lexi continued her fine run of finishes, winning long jump twice, 4x400m relay twice, and she ran and finished second in the open 400m.

This week is the county track meet, where only Lexi will be competing. Schools are only allowed to enter their two best in each event. As far as the twins go, I'm really proud of their effort and accomplishments this season, and I think they had a good time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #8 by Sean Murphy - Book Review

From the publisher: In the extra-sized finale of Sean Murphy’s top-selling miniseries, Jack Napier’s suspicious seduction of Gotham City comes to its twisted conclusion! With the city on the verge of becoming an icy tomb for the GTO, Batgirl makes a crucial assist and Gordon is forced to reevaluate his judgment of Batman to secure the greater good. As the true Joker’s return becomes imminent, Harley seeks vengeance and reckons with the bleak future that looms for her loved ones.

Sean Murphy's Batman: White Knight series has been an interesting and unique take on Batman and Joker. Issue #8 wraps up the series in fine fashion, bringing the main storyline to a close, but leaving just a few side threads undone for possible sequels.

As Batman and Jack Napier/Joker lead the rest of the heroes and GTO group against Neo Joker and her gang, things hit the boiling point. Batman is determined to save Gotham and Neo Joker is determined to force the Joker to surface from Jack's subconscious. When he does, havoc breaks loose. Plans fall apart and some sacrifices are necessary in order to reverse the deep freeze Gotham is under and to catch Neo Joker.

I've enjoyed Murphy's characterization in this series. He does a nice job taking familiar characters and putting a unique spin on them, and adding layers and depth. Seeing Joker in his Jack Napier persona was pretty cool, and he actually became a sympathetic character. Harley Quinn was also well developed. Rather than portray her as a crazy support character or even like the more mainstream version popular now, Murphy focuses on Harley's love for Jack Napier and her intelligence. There were also some interesting character beats for Bruce Wayne, and I'm interested in seeing if/how Murphy moves his story forward in the future.

Overall, I highly recommend Batman: White Knight #8 by Sean Murphy. It's a great ending to a series that I would also give a high recommendation to. Batman fans should definitely check this series out, and it would appeal to readers who are looking for something outside the current DC continuity.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

WILDSTORM: MICHAEL CRAY #7 by Bryan Hill - Book Review

From the publisher: The organization he works for doesn’t trust him. The thing in his brain wants to transform him. Sanity is leaving him. Michael Cray is losing everything. The only hope Michael has to reclaim his mind and his life may come from his next target: a brilliant scientist in London who’s equal parts Nikola Tesla, Hannibal Lecter and Aleister Crowley…Dr. John Constantine! A man obsessed with death, the occult and the darkest powers of the universe, Constantine could hold the power to free Michael of the consciousness inside him—but the price is steep! Michael Cray doesn’t believe in magic, but he’s about to discover how much magic believes in him.

In Michael Cray #7, Bryan Hitch starts to move the story in different direction. The previous few issues have focused on Cray fighting and killing various evil, distorted versions of DC heroes as part of his job for IO. This issue starts the same, as he is tasked with tracking down John Constantine. However, Constantine doesn’t seem nearly as demented as the others Cray has killed, aside from his use of magick and the sacrifices that it sometimes requires. In fact, Constantine is creating a clean, renewable energy source using his magick, and is working for an as-yet-unidentified person/group. Cray has a run-in with Constantine’s companion, Dion Fortune, that leads him to question just what is going on in his head and whether Constantine just might be able to help him with his alien problem.

I had begun to question whether or not I wanted to keep reading Michael Cray, due to its repetitive nature and the fact that the story didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Additionally, I’m under the impression that this is a 12 issue series, so things needed to get moving soon. With issue #7, Hitch changes the usual status, or at least seems to be changing it. Unlike the others, Constantine seems to know about Cray’s condition and even offers his help. Cray, who seems desperate to rid himself of the alien presence, appears to actually be considering Constantine’s offer. This could be a turning point for both Michael Cray the character and Michael Cray the series, and I’m convinced and interested enough to see what happens.

I recommend Michael Cray #7 by Bryan Hitch. Aside from being for current fans of the series, this issue could also work as a jumping on point for new readers. If you like your heroes morally ambiguous with a dash of sci-fi, check out Michael Cray.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Track Report

The kids had two more track meets this past week (Griffin only got to compete in one because there was a 3-way meet and we have too many boys). Griffin won his 100m heat and finished 2nd in his 200m heat. He also competed in the long jump and 4x100m relay. Cami finished 5th and 7th in the 800m and is learning how to run this race with some strategy. She also competed in the long jump and 4x400m relay. Lexi won the long jump at both meets (she set a personal record with 13' 9") and her 4x400m relay team also won both times. The boys team won both meets and the girls team won one and finished second by 2 pts (I think) in the other.

This week, the kids have two more meets.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

DC NATION #0 by Brian Michael Bendis, Joshua Williamson, James T Tynion IV, Scott Snyder - Book Review

From the publisher: Just in time for Free Comic Book Day, this special comic priced at just $0.25 US features three brand-new stories from a lineup of superstar talent—and each tale serves as a prelude to some of the biggest DC events of 2018!

First, find out how The Joker reacts when he discovers Catwoman has turned her back on crime and plans to marry his archnemesis. Can the Clown Prince of Crime stand to see Batman happy? Writer Tom King and artist Clay Mann set up the events that lead to BATMAN #50!

Then, DARK NIGHTS: METAL shook the DC Universe to its deepest foundations—now it’s time to rejoin legendary writer Scott Snyder, along with all-star artist Jorge Jimenez and co-writers James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, for the prelude to JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE! Discover what universe-shattering mysteries have emerged from the most wondrous and chaotic corners of the cosmos to hunt the Justice League in DC’s summer blockbuster event!

And get your first glimpse at Superman’s new world in this exclusive preview of the upcoming six-issue miniseries MAN OF STEEL, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by José Luis García-López. With Truth, Justice and the American Way all under attack, both Superman and Clark Kent find there’s never been a more important time to stand up for what they believe in.

DC Nation #0 functions as a preview of upcoming storylines for three DC Comics: Batman, Justice League: No Justice, and Man of Steel.

The story I am most interested in is the upcoming wedding between Batman and Catwoman in Batman #50. This preview story focuses on the Joker and his reaction to the wedding. As Joker waits for his invitation, the story takes a twist in typical Joker fashion. Tom King has done a fine job with this story, giving readers a different take on the pending nuptials.

Justice League: No Justice spins out of the events of Dark Nights: Metal. The wall between the known universe and the unknown has been broken, and unspeakable creatures are preparing to enter our universe. It's up to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League to stop them. But new threats require a new approach, and the heroes have decided to create teams that wouldn't be expected, including having several villains as teammates. Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson lead this new take on an old favorite.

Finally, Man of Steel is Brian Michael Bendis's foray into DC Comics. This preview gives us a peek into Superman/Clark Kent's new status quo. And everyone's wondering, Where is Lois Lane? Check out Man of Steel to find out.

Overall, DC Nation #0 accomplishes what it sets out to do; it gives the reader a glimpse into where some of DC's biggest heroes are headed in 2018. The standout for me is Tom King's Batman, but this book will appeal to any fans of DC's mainstream titles.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.