Tuesday, May 31, 2016

BatDad: A Parody By Blake Wilson - Book Review

From the publisher: Life as an everyday superhero when your Batmobile is a minivan, the villains you face are your crazy kids, and your Bat Cave is always covered in piles of dirty laundry. 

Blake Wilson has turned into an internet sensation thanks to a $10 Batman mask and some funny observations about the life of a husband and father. BatDad: A Parody is a look at this comedy in book form. Basically, BatDad shows a picture of Blake and one or more of his kids, with an amusing caption (I imagine him speaking like Will Arnett's Batman in The Lego Movie). It's hard to do justice to the book in a written review, as there isn't any plot to discuss and it's all visual humor. However, it's a very entertaining book, particularly for those of us dads with young kids. Blake provides a fun take on many of the everyday, ordinary parts of being a dad.

Additionally, my kids grabbed my copy and found it extremely funny. That puts another stamp of approval on BatDad for me.

I highly recommend BatDad by Blake Wilson. It is a funny book, full of excellent observations on family life. It would make a fun father's day gift, as well.

I received a preview copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Beginning to Transition to Summer

The kids (and I) finished the school year last week. Griffin had his last basketball session, and has improved every week. I look forward to seeing him apply his new skills in school ball.

Cami had one softball game (she lost). She had several fielding chances playing 2nd base, throwing one girl out at 1st base. She pitched some, as well. She also reached base (she was hit in the foot) and ended up scoring when she slid into home plate. She was pretty proud and excited. She has a tournament game Tuesday, as part of a single-elimination format, so any further games depend on wins.

We're transitioning to summer break by spending Memorial Day weekend swimming and resting. Nice weather is helping us get off to a wonderful start.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Grayson Vol. 3: Nemesis by Tom King - Book Review

From the publisher: In this collection, Grayson faces some of his most difficult challenges! Not only must he take on Lex Luthor, and risks losing his position with Spyral, but Dick finds that in order to save Agent 1 he must face off with... himself! And who is the mysterious shadow leader behind Spyral, and what does he want with Dick? The super-spy finds himself in a clandestine hunt for the true identity of Agent Zero!


With Grayson Vol. 3: Nemesis, Tom King continues his entertaining look at Dick Grayson (formerly Nightwing and the first Robin) as a superspy. However, Grayson isn't sure if he's working for good or bad ends.

Coming on the heels of the last collection, Vol. 3 sees Dick Grayson's former partner, Matron, as the new head of Spyral. While he continues to work undercover for Batman, he also has to accomplish his missions. However, someone is killing rival spies in all the locations Grayson has been and in a manner consistent with Grayson's skills. In the course of attempting to uncover who is framing him, he runs afoul of Lex Luthor and discovers that Bruce Wayne has become an amnesiac and remembers nothing of his life as Batman. There is also a short adventure with Superman.

The two storylines in the Nemesis collection are both pretty good. The mystery of who is framing Dick is engaging, and goes with the general feel of the previous Spyral storylines. It is fun and entertaining, echoing the best action of James Bond-type movies, while keeping up with the humorous tone of Dick Grayson's character.

The more engaging and poignant story, though, is Dick's discovery of Bruce Wayne's condition. Dick makes a return to Gotham in order to see Bruce for himself, and while there he reveals to his fellow Bat-Family members that he is indeed not dead, like they believed. This results in some very emotionally charged exchanges. Dick's meeting with Damien Wayne (the current Robin, who was recently deceased himself) is particularly impactful. The relationship between these two characters has been the most interesting over the past several years, and it's nice to see the character development continue.

King's Grayson Vol. 3: Nemesis continues his excellent series. I highly recommend it all readers, but especially to fans of Dick Grayson, Batman, and spy stories.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Getting Closer to the End of the Season

With her track season officially over, Lexi wrapped up more activities this week with a school band concert and a piano recital. She also attended her first official Jr. High youth group activity at church.

Cami had two games this week. Her team lost the first, but did many little things better. Cami got her first hit, and eventually advanced to 3rd before being tagged out a home. She also pitched about an inning. She is getting more consistent every time, evening working to overcome a steady rain during the game. They won their second game, and Cami played okay. She played shortstop and left field, and got to field a couple of balls. She put the bat on the ball during one at-bat, but it just went foul. There are two more games coming up this week, so more chances to cheer Cami on.

Griffin's shooting form continues to get better every week. We put him through two shooting sessions this week and he was exhausted. He has one more session this week, and then we'll take a break from the summer.

With summer coming, sports camps are headed our way, and Cami got them started with volleyball camp this past week. She loved it, and looks forward to the time when she can play at school (sixth grade).

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FUTURE QUEST #1 Lights in the Sky by Jeff Parker and Evan "Doc" Shaner and Steve "The Dude" Rude - Book Review

From the publisher: Writer Jeff Parker (AQUAMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED, BATMAN ’66) and artist Evan “Doc” Shaner (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARKSEID WAR: GREEN LANTERN) join forces to bring fans new tales of adventure’s most iconic teenager, Jonny Quest, along with his sidekick Hadji. This series combines Team QUEST (Hadji, Race Bannon, Dr. Benton Quest and Jezebel Jade) with some of the most well-known action and adventure heroes ever created by Hanna-Barbera, including SPACE GHOST, THE HERCULOIDS, BIRDMAN, MIGHTOR and FRANKENSTEIN Jr., and others.

In FUTURE QUEST #1, when the adventurous and inquisitive Jonny Quest and his adoptive brother Hadji make a startling discovery in the swamplands of Florida, they are pulled into an epic struggle between the Space Rangers and a dangerous villain who threatens the galaxy. Now it’s up to the combined forces of Team Quest, Inter-Nation Security, Space Ghost, and a host of Hanna-Barbera’s greatest action heroes to stop him and save their universe!

Don’t miss the start of this new, monthly series that features character designs by comics superstar Darwyn Cooke and kicks off with an extra-sized story and a wraparound cover!

Jeff Parker's Future Quest series starts off with a bang, as Jonny Quest, Hadji, Race Bannon, and Dr. Quest are dropped into the middle of what appears to be an alien invasion of some sort. Throw in Birdman and the evil group F.E.A.R., and Parker has the makings for an awesome throwback/update of the classic Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning characters.

As Jonny and Hadji search out mysterious vortexes that are opening, Dr. Quest is explaining the danger to agents of Inter-nation, including Birdman. Agents of F.E.A.R. attack the boys, sending Birdman to the rescue. However, as they come upon the latest vortex, they glimpse images from other worlds, including what appears to be Space Ghost.

Parker sets the table with the opening issue of Future Quest, slowly introducing the characters. There are nods to the old, familiar cartoons, but the characters have a modern sensibility. Additionally, the idea of the vortexes seems to be setting up the idea of a shared universe between all the various heroes, including the Quest family, the Herculoids, Space Ghost, and multiple others. This series seems like it could be a lot of fun.

I recommend Future Quest #1 by Jeff Parker. This is a series that bears following, at least until the writer has a chance to reveal what his plans are. Fans of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons should really enjoy Future Quest.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Nearing the end of the Spring Seasons

Lexi's competitive track season ended this week with a rainout. The team competed at the conference meet, but only the top two in each event run/jump/throw. She cheered her team to a 2nd place finish, and the county meet is this upcoming week. I'm not sure if Lexi will continue with track or not, but she seemed to have a fun time. She showed improvement, not only in her abilities, but in the mental toughness it takes to train for track events, especially with the high amount of running. I'm very proud of her.

Griffin continues to improve his basketball skills, learning more about proper shooting form, including how to put his legs into the shot and put backspin on the ball. He is also becoming a better ball-handler every week.

Cami's team had a double-header, due to a rain make-up game. Her team went 1-1. The exciting part was that Cami pitched all three innings of the first game and earned the win! She struck out four batters, and overall, had her best pitching outing. She was way more consistent and did a good job catching the ball when it was thrown back to her (that had been an adventure). Her hitting hasn't quite come around yet, but she is doing a good job of not swinging at bad pitches. Two more games this week, if the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Batman #52 (Final Issue) by James Tynion IV & Riley Rossmo - Book Review

From the publisher: Echoes from Batman's past ripple out into Gotham City's future…

With Batman #52, James Tynion IV does an excellent job of ending this series in preparation for the new Batman series coming out of the DC Rebirth event. He perfectly captures one of those reflective moments that seem to occur every now and then for Bruce Wayne/Batman. In this case, Tynion tells two stories simultaneously: one involves a new villain known as Cryptic, who is a bank robber; while the other details several of the events that built Bruce into Batman. This issue is called "The List", which refers to a list of items that Bruce Wayne created (at the behest of Dr. Thompkins) to help him move past the death of his parents, and the items on that list are what ties the whole issue together.

While I enjoy the brooding, dark stories that often involve Batman, the occasional issues that highlight his joy, motivation, and, for lack of a better term, feelings often result in the most heartfelt stories that really show the depth of character that Bruce Wayne has. This issue is one such story.

I highly recommend James Tynion IV's Batman #52.

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

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Less Rain, More Sports

This week, kids were able to get in a few more activities without having them canceled by rain.

Lexi had two track meets, with the team going 1-1. She long jumped in one of them, and wasn't pleased with her distance, but it was a very windy afternoon. She also continues to run in exhibition races for the 100m and 200m. In the second meet, she came in second in her heat, posting her personal best time of 14.9 seconds. Improvement continues.

Cami also had two games. She is continuing to hit the ball more consistently, but so far she keeps hitting it back to the pitcher. It's only a matter of time until she punches one through. Her fielding is improving, and she had several balls hit to her yesterday. No pitching this week, but we will see what the upcoming week holds.

Griffin started his second round of basketball drills. His shot keeps looking better and better, and he's picking up on some new dribbling moves, including trying to dribble between his legs. One of the coaches keeps calling him "southpaw", so I got to explain what that means.

We have a couple weeks of spring sports left, and lots of fun times are there to be had.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Justice League Vol. 7: Darkseid War Part 1 by Geoff Johns - Book Review

From the publisher: Geoff Johns pits the heroes of the DC universe against the might of Gods in the seventh volume of the best-selling series!

The Justice League came together to stop the forces of Darkseid from destroying Earth five years ago. Now the ruler of Apokolips returns, but sets his sites on the world-shattering Anti-Monitor. Will the combined might of the Justice League be enough to protect the Earth from the collateral as Gods fight? The NEW YORK TIMES best-selling series from Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok continues here in JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL. 7: THE DARKSEID WAR. Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE#39-46, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2015: DC COMICS DIVERGENCE #1.


Justice League Vol. 7: Darkseid War Pt. 1 by Geoff Johns is a great introduction to the Darkseid War storyline. Johns does a fantastic job of laying out the premise and putting the various players in play. As a conflict between Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor becomes inevitable, the Justice League heroes find themselves forced to revisit the opponent that brought them together. When titans clash, who will the heroes choose to back? How will they take on not only their greatest foe, and new one who's power is just as great?

Johns does a fantastic job with Justice League Vol. 7. I highly recommend it, and I look forward to reading the next chapter in the Darkseid War.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Rain Shortened Sports Week

This week, Cami's softball game was rained out, as was one of Lexi's three track meets (two of which were rescheduled from previous rainouts). Fortunately, Griffin's basketball camp is indoors, so that went well. He keeps learning new skills, and it's really cool watching him continue to develop a stronger dribble and proper shooting form. This week he even tried dribbling behind his back during some of the drills.

Lexi did have two meets this week. During the first, she only long jumped, as there were no extra heats due to the weather. It wasn't her best jump (she was fighting wind and rain), but she competed hard and is improving her form. During the second meet, she long jumped, and again kept working on her form. Due to some injury and absence circumstances, Lexi also got to compete in the main event 200m race. She was super excited and represented herself well. She did not place, as she was racing girls older than her, but she was able to hold her own, and looked like a sprinter while doing it. It's a lot of fun to watch her compete. Also, the team won both meets, and are currently undefeated.

More stuff to come.