Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Respite before the Basketball Storm

So this weekend we only had one game: Lexi's. She played a ton, and was all over the court. She hasn't been able to get a shot to fall yet, but had 3 or 4 this game. Her first shot came off a rebound that she took the full length of the court. It was a nice bit of skill. She played pretty good defense, and had several rebounds and tied up the ball a couple of times. She is getting more aggressive on D, which is cool. She also played a little point guard.

Additionally, there was a pair of games to for her to cheer at.

Beginning next Saturday, we will be living in gyms on the weekend. Cami and Griffin have their first rec league games, Lexi has a game, and then on Sunday, Griffin has a double-header for his travel team.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Superman/Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Casualties of War by Peter J. Tomasi - Book Review

From the publisher: Featuring the new all-star creative team of writer Peter J. Tomasi (BATMAN AND ROBIN) and Doug Mahnke (JUSTICE LEAGUE)!

Superman and Wonder Woman—two of the world’s mightiest heroes—are the ultimate power couple. And yet, when a new superhero arrives out of nowhere asking for their guidance, the two Justice Leaguers can’t help but suspect that something is very, very wrong.

Wonderstar has no past, no memories and only a strange connection to Superman and Wonder Woman. He claims his intentions are good, but when his true identity is finally revealed, it will take the combined strength of the Man of Steel and the God of War to take him on.

Featuring the debut of the new all-star creative team, SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN VOL. 3: CASUALTIES OF WAR tests the bond between the super-couple like never before! Collects issues #13-17.

Peter J. Tomasi takes over writing on Superman/Wonder Woman with volume 3, Casualties of War. The story involves Wonder Woman and Superman dealing with some fallout from the first time they met, five years prior during the attempted invasion of Earth by Apokolips and Darkseid.  In the midst of this, the super couple meets Wonderstar, a young superhero with no memory of who he is or how he got his powers.  As the mystery progresses, Magog is introduced in to the New 52 universe, and Superman and Wonder Woman are also confronted by a classic villain from Wonder Woman’s past, also making her New 52 debut.

Tomasi’s story is okay, but not spectacular.  I felt like the previous two collections were outstanding and fresh, while this one had a recycled feel to it, partially due to the New 52 universe and having to bring in old villains in new ways.  Additionally, Tomasi does not utilize many of the changes Diana has been going through in the pages of Wonder Woman, other than to touch on her role as the God of War.

The best part of the story was Wonder Woman’s growth as a character, from who she was when she came to the world of man, to who she is after five years living among people.  She has become more human, for lack of a better term, and lost some of the hard Amazonian edge.  She and Superman are a good team, and complement each other. He brings out the humanity in her, while she often forces him to make tough decisions.

The art by Doug Mahnke is nice, and complements the story.

Overall, I think this was an average Superman/Wonder Woman story. It’s a good place for new readers to jump in, and current fans may enjoy it.  However, Superman/Wonder Woman Vol. 3: Casualties of War, by Peter J. Tomasi, didn’t bring a whole lot of new ideas to the party. Hopefully this volume was just laying the groundwork to return this series to its earlier levels.

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

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Basketball Update

Lexi had a another set of games to cheer during. She also had another game of her own. Her team won, and Lexi played well.  She did a great job on defense, showing terrific form. She also had a couple of rebounds, as she's learning to block out. On one possession, she brought the ball up the court on and put on a nice spin move to avoid the defender. It's easy to see her improvement from week to week, and that's pretty cool.

Griffin had two more travel ball games. They lost a close one, and won in a blowout. Griffin scored his first basket of the season. He played terrific defense, forcing several turnovers, getting some jump balls, and even getting a rebound and the chance at a put-back shot. He had a lot of fun, and worked his butt off.

Next week, only Lexi has a game, but the first weekend in December will see all the kids in basketball action.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bryant & May and the Secret Santa A Peculiar Crimes Unit Story by Christopher Fowler - Book Review

In this fast-paced Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery, available as an eBook short story, detectives Arthur Bryant and John May must crack a puzzling Christmas case with some extra assistance from Santa's little helpers.

Includes a preview of Christopher Fowler's upcoming Peculiar Crimes Unit mystery, Bryant & May and the Burning Man!
The streets of London are covered in twinkling lights and freshly fallen snow, but the mood inside the Christmas department of Selfridges is decidedly less cheery. Bryant and May have arrived there to investigate the death of an eleven-year-old boy who inexplicably fled the store after a routine visit to Santa's Wonderland. Their only clue is a torn scrap of blue cloth discovered at the scene. Now, Bryant and May are making a list of suspects, but they'd better check it twice to catch a shifty culprit in disguise.

Christopher Fowler’s latest Bryant and May story, Bryant & May and the Secret Santa, is actually just a short story (and just an ebook as of now).  The two detectives from London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) investigate the death of an eleven-year-old boy who was struck by a bus after running from a department store Santa. What they find is an interesting twist on England’s boarding school culture.

Having read the first book in the Bryant and May series, I was passingly familiar with the characters. They are a Holmes and Watson-type team, working in the PCU, which deals with unusual (supernatural) cases. In this particular story, neither the characters nor the PCU are described or explained. While it is not necessary to the story, it would serve to add depth. Additionally, this feels like more of a treat for regular readers of the series, rather than an introduction to the characters for newer readers.

That said, I did enjoy the mystery. I like Christmas mysteries, and Bryant and May are interesting enough characters that I would recommend this short story. It’s a fun, slightly melancholy, read, perfect for a cold, snowy, holiday afternoon.

I received a preview copy of this story from Random House in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Basketball Update

We are in full-blown basketball mode at the Knight house. Lexi is cheering for the middle school games and playing in her own every Saturday.  Her team has won their last two games, each by one point. They are now 2-1. She hasn't scored yet, but has taken some shots. She is a pretty good defender and is improving in other areas as well.

Cami started practice this week, and will be starting games soon.

Griffin's travel team went 1-1 last Sunday. Today, his team went 2-0. They got to play in the Hoosier Gym (the home gym for the Hickory Huskers in the movies Hoosiers). He has taken a few shots, and today he played excellent defense, getting a couple of steals. He also brought the ball up court after getting rebounds, as well. He does a good job, and his skills are improving a lot. He also started school ball practices this week, with games to follow in a couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to see how the fundamentals and competition from travel transfer to school ball. I expect him to play with more confidence as his seasons progress.

As you can see, its all about hoops for us for the next several months.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman - Book Review

From the publisher: Twenty-five years since THE SANDMAN first changed the landscape of modern comics, Neil Gaiman's legendary series is back in a deluxe edition!

THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE heralds New York Times best-selling writer Neil Gaiman's return to the art form that made him famous, ably abetted by artistic luminary JH Williams III (BATWOMAN, PROMETHEA), whose lush, widescreen images provide an epic scope to The Sandman's origin story. From the birth of a galaxy to the moment that Morpheus is captured, THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE will feature cameo appearances by fan-favorite characters such as The Corinthian, Merv Pumpkinhead and, of course, the Dream King's siblings: Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny. 

Neil Gaiman's Sandman has been one of my favorite stories for a long time (and Neil Gaiman one of my favorite writers), so I was excited to hear he was going to tell another tale about Dream, the Endless, and the rest of the crew. Sandman Overture is supposed to function as a sort of prequel or origin for Dream (the Sandman of the title). However, its more than that; its another piece in the long story, and not the typical origin.

In the book, Dream is made aware of the fact that an aspect of him has died. He also finds out that the end of everything is near. Overture follows his quest to avert that catastrophe, which was going to occur due to a mistake he made in his past. Along the way, the reader meets up with some old favorite characters, including many of the Dream's siblings, the Endless. We also meet his parents. Woven throughout Overture are threads connecting it to the greater story told in the original Sandman series, leading right up to the event that starts that series. In fact, a reread of the series might be a good idea to see just how the events of Overture link up with the original series.

I don't rightly know how to judge any Sandman story; they are the highest example of what comic books can be. The art, by J.H. Williams, is beautiful and atmospheric. Gaiman tells another wonderful story, which, like the previous Sandman books, seems to be about so much more than what it appears to be.  One of the things I enjoy so much about these books is being to think about them after finishing, discovering the depth they contain.

In addition to the story, the deluxe edition of Sandman Overture also contains many nice extra features. There are interviews with the various members of the creative team, highlighting their thoughts and the creative process that went in to the book.  These provide a cool glimpse behind the curtain.

Overall, I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's Sandman Overture. The entire series is fantastic, and this latest story is actually a good place for new readers to begin. Reading it is well worth your time.j

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Multiversity Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison - Book Review

From the publisher:  The biggest adventure in DC's history is here! Join visionary writer Grant Morrison, today's most talented artists, and a cast of unforgettable heroes from 52 alternative Earths of the DC Multiverse! Prepare to meet the Vampire League of Earth-43, the Justice Riders of Earth-18, Superdemon, Doc Fate, the super-sons of Superman and Batman, the rampaging Retaliators of Earth-8, the Atomic Knights of Justice, Dino-Cop, Sister Miracle, Lady Quark and the latest, greatest Super Hero of Earth-Prime: YOU! 

THE MULTIVERSITY is more than a multipart comic book series. It's a cosmos spanning, soul-shaking experience that puts YOU on the frontline in the battle for all creation against the demonic destroyers known as the Gentry!

Featuring artwork by Ivan Reis (JUSTICE LEAGUE), Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN), Cameron Stewart (BATGIRL) and many others, THE MULTIVERSITY tells an epic tale that span 52 Earths. 


Grant Morrison’s Multiversity is about what you’d expect from him; big, crazy ideas and a bit of meta-fiction. In a nutshell, Multiversity is Morrison’s take on the giant, universe spanning crossover events that DC Comics seems to have every few years. In this case, characters from most of the various DC continuities, Elseworlds tales, and even children’s comics come together to battle a great evil that threatens the very existence of the Multiverse.

I want to look at this collection from two angles. The first is as an event story. Taken as a whole, this story didn’t work for me. There seemed to be a lot of cutting between scenes that left the reader in the middle of a scene or conversation that didn’t have a lot of context. The “bad guy” wasn’t really explained, or even presented for that matter. It was a bit of a jumbled mess.

As individual issues and ideas, however, Multiversity was pretty cool. Morrison manages to throw Cthulhu-type creatures, a Rubik’s cube, comics showing the reality from other dimensions, and some interesting takes on alternate DC universes into a giant cauldron of Wow. I enjoyed the issues spotlighting The Society of Superheroes (a Justice Society-type book), The Just, and Pax Americana. The heroes and worlds in these issues bear further exploration, and I would eagerly read future collections spotlighting these characters.

In addition to the story, the deluxe version includes mulitple cover variants and character sketches. Another cool element (found in the Multiversity Guidebook) is a guide to each of the 52 universes, including some of the major heroes/villians.

Overall, I’m hesitant to recommend Morrison’s Multiversity to the casual comic reader, as it is a bit confusing. However, fans of Grant Morrison should love it. Additionally, readers looking for something different than the typical DC fare, especially the New 52, might enjoy this collection as well.

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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Basketball Season Begins

Yesterday, Lexi had her first basketball game of the season. Her team lost, but she played well. She hustled, played good defense, had a couple of rebounds, and even took a shot.  Her next game is next Saturday. She also starts her cheering for the school basketball teams next Saturday.

Griffin's travel basketball team has their first double-header next Sunday. His school ball starts soon.

We are currently waiting to hear what team Cami is on, and she should be starting in the next couple of weeks.