Book Review: Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott is an action packed adventure that is brutal at times with really great imagery. This volume has 2 main storylines the war with the Drengir race and going undercover to stop the Nihil’s next attack. I was really pleased with how the Drengir storyline ended, and how it could effect the Star Wars Universe. The Undercover to join the Nihil will take the reader into the next volume, it ends in a cliffhanger. We get introduced to a new Jedi Orla Jareni who is a Wayseeker who follows her own path and not just the one the Jedi Temple says she can. I liked the character but I wanted more since they don’t stay long, but believe the character could do more in the Star Wars Universe. Since Cavan Scott wrote the novel The Rising Storm we have the big event in that book set up as a catalyst for events in this book. The ending of the Drengir saga was exciting in a very Jedi way. The Nihil story line has a good twist. The heart of these issues is still the padawan and master relationship between Keeve and Sskeer. Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir collects issue 5 -10 of Star Wars: The High Republic by Disney and Marvel Comics. Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott was published on December 7th 2021

The Plot Summary: Keeve tries to separate The Drengir who has taken over her master Sskeer. After days of fighting with it the only solution she can come up with is let it infect her so she can talk to him with the force. Te Hive mind of Drengir does not like this and tries to take Keeve out. Meanwhile Aver Kriss and the most unlikeliest ally the Hut syndicate goes planet to planet in the outer rim trying to drive the Drengir away. Keeve and one of the force twins go undercover to join the Nihil, which is smart because the other force twin can feel every action with the force, until he’s cut off, with a device we know the Nihil developed.

What I Liked: the epicness of The Drengir taking over a Rancor and making it theirs to use against the bad guys. This book as some great art panel that I really enjoyed, for my WordPress review will try to find and awesome one with Avar Kriss losing to the Drengir in a dream. I still really like the Keeve and Sskeer master and padawan relationship, it is still the best part of the book by far. The cliffhanger of them finding out why Sskeer is losing the force. I like the Hutt and Jedi relationship and how tense it becomes at times.

What I Disliked: The Way new Jedi Orla Jareni who is a Wayseeker was used, she has such a cool look and one or two moves but doesn’t add a lot to the story. I liked what I got of the character and wanted a lot more. (Orla Jareni is the Jedi in white on the cover). I wanted more of force twin who are barely in these issues, for a second I was like did they die since they were not in this book until the end.

Recommendation: This graphic novel series still has the most so far in the High Republic series, and it is good action with consequences and meaning. I rated Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir by Cavan Scott 4 out of 5. I did enjoy the first volume a little bit more but felt the standard and action were kept up. I liked the Art in Volume 2 better.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee is the book that introduces Morbius the Living Vampire the antihero that will get it’s own movie in the Spiderverse soon and will be played by Oscar winner Jared Leto and cameo Michael Keaton as the Vulture. This book bring back Allister Smythe and a new version of the Spider Slayer. This book feature the first time that Stan Lee did not write all the issues of The Amazing Spider-Man as he went to write a screenplay, he was still the story editor, but not the sole writer. The change was not glaring until he came back, I love his little quips in the editorial. The villains in these issues are Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, The Lizard, And Allister Smythe. This volume does have a couple of guest stars namely Kazar and Dr. Strange. Volume 11 brings The Amazing Spiderman past issues 100. which is crazy to think since I’m reading in order that I have read over 100 issues of Spiderman. This issue contain 4 stories that are either 2 to 3 issue arcs, I liked two stories a lot, the other stories one was okay and one was pretty horrible. One of the stories featured Flash Thompson as a soldier returning from Vietnamwhich was interesting for it’s time stamp and showed a little PTSD, also commenting on the complexity of war and misunderstanding. I had a love hate relationship with the art, Gil Kane draws a great Spiderman but a horrible Peter Parker, he’s not good with people but adds such intricate details to landscape in panels. I prefer Romita who is more balanced in all things. The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 collects issues 100-109.

The Plot Summaries:Peter Parker ready for a normal life concocts a formula to reverse his spider powers only it has the opposite effect and makes him more spider like and grows extra limbs. Perker wants to run from the world and can with Dr. Kurt Connors help and his summer home by the beach, but little does Spiderman know another creature is trying to hide from the world named Morbius the Living Vampire. The Daily Bugle is in trouble and Jonah Jamison thinks a picture of a rare monster form the Savage Land will do it, and he knows just the photographer. Jamison is humiliated by Spiderman and wants revenge in walks Allister Smythe and his newest Spider Slayer, but Jamison keeps loosing control of the robot is it him or is it Smythe who is in control, either are not good for Spiderman. Flash Thompson Returns from the jungles of Vietnam much more serious. He is getting followed for what some believe are war crimes, Spiderman saves him and believes his innocence, but a there is a bigger force that Spiderman can’t protect him, enter Dr. Strange.

What I Liked: The Spider Slayer storyline was great and a welcomed return for Stan Lee back in the helm. The Spiderman quips were great and so were the editorial ones. I liked the Morbius backstory and how the Lizard got involved in the story and how he changed. I liked Gwen and Spiderman’s relationship the best, Gwen has a moment where she snaps at Aunt May for babying him and it was great. I liked that they discussed soldiers returning from Vietnam and dipped into the Civil Rights protest again as well. I thought more could be done with the 6 armed Spiderman but it was still pretty fun having him get used to them.

What I Disliked: The Savage Land storyline was a horrible remake of King Kong when he was on Skull Island an excuse to draw Gwen Stacy in a bikini. Te only bright spot was Kraven the Hunter. I laughed in the backstory for Morbius he changes from man to Vampire due to a rare blood disease that he tries to cure when he turns to vampire it changed his regular clothes to a costume.

Recommendation: I liked more than half of the stories, this book had good insight in to social issues at the time. I thought some of the storytelling could have been stronger but it was still interesting and worth your time. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 11 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee is Spiderman in the 1970’s. This novel features more grown up storytelling it has the death of a supporting character, civil rights issues, and drug use / drug abuse of Peter’s close friend. This volume brings big battles and big bads like The Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus back. Spiderman tangles with X-men’s Iceman, The Beetle and The Prowler. This book brought the action in real fun ways, the Spiderman / Doctor Octopus battle is the best, a lot of iconic scenes and real stakes which leads to death. The drug abuse issue as one that broke the comic book code to no show drug abuse, it’s pills and lightest of drugs, but it does show the effects of over dosing. Volume 10 features two 3 issue arc’s with the grief from the death of a supporting character hanging over Peter Parker and influence his decisions in most issues in volume 10. This volume collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 88-99.

The Plots: Doc. Oct is in prison and his mechanical arms are on display. The display is just too close to Doctor Octopus who can control the arms with his brain waves. The arms come alive and bust him out of prison so he can start his life of crime, luckily spiderman is there to stop him, but the fight breaks out into the public and some on close to Peter Parker dies. Ice man thinks Spiderman is responsible for someones death and wants to stop him and hand him over to the police. Peter Parker heads to London to clear his head and go for a new assignment, and Spiderman has to come out after terrorist. A series of robberies in aunt May’s neighborhood send Spiderman on neighborhood watch and he finds a villain he has not seen in some time. The Prowler knows Spiderman knows the man he allegedly murdered and wants to find him. The Green Goblin’s returns starts with a large group attending a performance of Hair starring Mary Jane Watson, when Norman Osborn is get with flashback of the old art house that Oscorp refurbished. Then he remembers that he stored the Green Goblin gear there and remembers, that Peter Parker is Spiderman.

What I Liked: The Spiderman Doctor Octopus fight was so good I loved every second of it, I though they could have played up the death more, but the fight was awesome. After reading 1-99 of The Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey and Doctor Octopus have the best fights and beat each other to exhaustion, followed by Mysterio, Vulture, Molten Man (i’m shocked too), and Kraven the Hunter. The death was shocking and will have consequences. The Iceman fight was actually good I’ve seen Spidey fight Medusa from the Inhumans, Black Widow, and Johnny Storm. The fight with Iceman is by far the best. I liked the hardcore flirting of Mary Jane to make Harry jealous. I liked the Joke about maybe Aunt May seeing Hair won’t be good for her heart. I liked the conversation Randy Robertson had with class at Norman Osborn. I like how Harry beat Norman my using his son to break him away from the Green Goblin.

What I Disliked: I felt most of the Green Goblin fight was just okay. The Green Goblin had new inventions and new gear but he only remembered he was the Green Goblin again minutes before, why didn’t he use the gear the last time he had plans to kill Spiderman. The Jail Riot reminded me the last jail riot issue. The London storyline could have been better.

Recommendation: This volume was way better than volume 9. I recommend this volume for the action and the consequences of that action. I thought the addiction issue was pretty bold, I did like it the Peter Parker took on the drug dealers, not Spiderman. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 10 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars. Next volume will take me into issue 100.

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola is about Hellboy’s is short stories from his discovery in 1947 with stories through to 1961. My knowledge of Hellboy is based solely on watching the films. I think it was a bit of a mistake to have me go in Hellboy timeline Order than the publication order, there’s very small amount of establishing the character or much characterization at all. So I will skip the second volume and might revisit this volume after I have read 1-4 of the omnibus. The stories vary in length from 2 pages to 48. The stories consist of two genres comedy and horror. I liked half of the stories, some felt like repeats of stories I had just read. The art is fantastic I love, love what is done with shadowing and I love the uniqueness of the art of Hellboy. Almost half the book takes place in Mexico in 1957 and I feel the art was the best here. The Mexico stories were hit and miss. I felt the stories worked best when they relied on humor. The Crooked Man The Troll Witch, The Chained Coffin, Double Feature of Evil, and Pancakes were my favorite stories. The Double Feature of Evil was the stand out stories for me, really unique stories that were unlike any other in the book.

The Plots: Hellboy eats Pancakes for the first time and Hell knows he’s not coming back. Young Hellboy breaks out of the research and defense headquarters to go to a circus, but it is not an ordinary circus but one of ghosts. Hellboy investigates paranormal activity in Mexico, gets lost, becomes a wrestler. Hellboy gets married but it is bride is not among the living. Hellboy goes on a quest to bury a man to stop the curse of the crooked man. Hellboy must rescue a stolen baby from goblins. Hellboy must confront a haunted house that pays for the souls it takes.

What I Liked: The humor was great, I laughed out loud as Hellboy has an old pirate corpse on his back looking for a sacred burial, they stumble on to treasure that the corpse wants and get in an argument on what the corpse would need with it. There was burst of great action, that was fun. I loved the art, it is so unique and the shadowing was amazing. I liked the use of muted colors. The mini story of Sullivan’s reward was so great it was creepy and had humor, that is the only story that will stick with me for a while after reading this.

What I Disliked: The Midnight Circus was pretty lame. since nothing happens, and it was really hard to follow the bad guys motivation. A couple of the stories were carbon copies of the other with slightly different ghost. Character development was severely lacking.

Recommendation: I can not recommend this collection, there’s a couple stories you could casually breeze through but there is little to no development with the Hellboy character or any other character. I rated Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola 3 out of 5 stars. This was close to being rated a two but the last two stories pushed it over the edge.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee is an okay collection of Spiderman stories. This is the weakest volume so far in terms of story and memorable action and storylines. There’s a lack of long form storytelling, which is explained and does make sense, if you had a long form story and miss one issue there were no comic book stores in the 1960’s to get the missed issue, but it was definitely a step back in storytelling. The adds to the Marvel universe in this issue are the The Prowler who is not bad just misunderstood, he ends up donning the spider suit once in this volume and to a greater effect later, we also meet Vanessa Fisk the woman behind The Kingpin, and The Black Widow makes an appearance where she changes costume which is pretty close to the outfit she wears today. The only villains in Spiderman’s rogue gallery appearing in these issues are Electro, The Chameleon and the Kingpin. The notable issue that is also on the cover is Spiderman unmask in front of Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, Gwen’s father Captain Stacey, when he come’s to his senses he fixes it but this issue will place doubt in some that find the truth later. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee collects Amazing Spider-Man issues 78-87.

Plots: The Prowler is born and runs into peter parker who tries to stop him fearing he shows to much strength in front of J. Jonah Jamison throws himself out the window, with the Prowler believing he killed him, the Prowler get set straight and vows to do only good. Electro works at a tv studio that just booked Spiderman for an interview, this will not be good. The Schemer takes away all of Kingpin’s old property while he is in hiding, the Kingpin comes out of it to deal with the Schemer. Spiderman want the bounty for The Schemer and things end up getting personal for the Kingpin. Black Widow after having been in a relationship with Hawkeye and briefly joining The Avengers wants to go on her own she wants to learn the secrets to Spiderman’s powers. The Kangaroo is an Australian villain that can jump high. Spiderman thinking he lost his powers shows his friends that he is Peter Parker, only to realizes what the problem is and having to fix what they just saw. Spiderman stays with Aunt May and sneaks out makes a dummy out of web which Aunt May finds and has a passed out, Peter has no choice to lie to her making her think she’s starting to go crazy.

What I Liked: The lying to Aunt May was pretty soul crushing and was done really well. The internal monologue was written really well showing the indecision of the moment. The way Peter Parker fixed the reveal that he was Spiderman was clever and desperate. The Electro Fight was the only real good one this issue, but it was really good. Gwen and Peter’s relationship is so up and down but you see what he falls for.

What I Disliked: there’s some really dated sexism and it is from the smartest most thought provoking character Captain Stacey. “You know Peter women are not like men, they think only with their heart”, this line is said twice, causing me to role my eyes both times. The Black Widow and Kangaroo storylines are horrible. Stan Lee even admits this is a promo for Black Widow’s own book and that is what it feels like.

Recommendation: Most of this book is skippable because it does not impact the larger story for what Spiderman becomes and it is just not as fun as the previous issues. I would recommend reading the 2 issue Prowler Issues 78-79 and the reveal of Spiderman’s identify issue 87. The Chameleon and Electro issues are fun as well. But the 5 other issues are skippable. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee 2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 1: There Is No Fear by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 1: There Is No Fear by Cavan Scott is a lot of fun and high stakes adventure. This graphic novel makes up for one of my complaints in most books in the High Republic little to no action. This book is filled with action and light saber duels. This graphic novel is a page turner and over way too fast. This novel features for the most part characters that were referred to only briefly in Light of the Jedi, Into the Dark, The Gathering Storm, and Out of the Past (the two adult and two young adult High Republic novels). One of my favorite characters from Light of the Jedi, Avar Kriss, who has been in the background of all the other books, finally gets back into action in this book and it was great. The heart of this book is Keeve and Sskeer and their padawan / master relationship. The villains are the same as in the books mainly The Nihil and The Drengir. The stories are connected as we mainly follow Keeve’s rise from Padawan to Jedi Master. The dialogue could have been better as it dips into a fair share of cliches and at times corny, while the inner monologue is really good. Cavan Scott wrote my favorite novel so far out of the Star Wars: High Republic series with The Gathering Storm and I would put There is No Fear right behind it.

The Plot: Keeve is a young Padawan to master Sskeer, she is on her final test when something unexpected happens, should she complete the test or fail it to help others? She decided to help others, and discovers something that get her promoted to Jedi Master, and working at the Starlight Beacon responding to distress calls on the Outer Rim. When Keeve, her master, and two Jedi force twins investigate missing villagers, to find one member of the search party missing as well.

What I Liked: Avar Kriss getting to do stuff in this book, and not just a background character. I like the aspect of the padawan/master relationship and what was explored we have seen the typical student goes to the dark side, this was anew fresh Idea I really enjoyed. The force twins Terec and Ceret, who are so bonded can feel every aspect of the other’s force. The action was great a lot of back and forth, good v. good, good v. bad, bad and good v. really bad, it was a lot of fun. I liked a character repeating the mantra “I am one the the Force and the Force is with me” when in great trouble and reaching out with the force. I loved the inner monologue and how it bridged the past to the present, it reminded me a lot of how Scott Snyder did it in Batman Court of the Owls.

What I Disliked: The dialogue is bad in some spot where I would roll my eyes and cringe. There is one jump cut scene where the villains surprise the Jedi and it jump cuts to them caught, I wanted to see some fight not just give up, all the Jedi still had their light sabers.

Recommendation: This Star Wars: High Republic is a fun action packed adventure with some real heart. I recommend you check it out, the only book I would you reading would be Light of the Jedi first, everything else get recapped. I rated Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 1: There Is No Fear 4 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: September 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, September was a great month, finally settled into my first house, I had more time to read.  I read 8 books this month. I read 2 graphic novels, and 2 new releases thanks to netgalley. I Read 3 books from a book series Star Wars: The High Republic second book young adult book, Goosebumps book 20, and Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spiderman Volume 8. I read one 5 star book, five 4 star books, and two 3 star books.

Five Star Reviews:

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is insanely good. The book has a twist that will change you world and open yourself to a new way of thinking. This is one of the best well rounded stories that I have read in some time, everything fits and it does not feel forced. The big twist is explained and all the loose ends are tied up so well. What is cool about the big twist is if you pay attention and open your mind you can figure it out, I was back and forth on what was coming guessing some parts but not all. I’m going to be vague on my plot details because this book is best not knowing too much. This book will be compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl because you get the big twist and still have a lot of book left to explain it. This book is a book that was hyped early for reviewers to read, and I’m glad to say it has earned it’s hype. There are parts of this story that will stick with you for a while. It is being marketed as a Horror but is more of a psychological thriller with elements of horror, it leans to Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs in mixing genres. The story is great you will have a couple character’s where you switch to loathing to loving them because they are so misunderstood. I was lucky to get selected to read The Last House on Needless Street early by Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is published on September 28 2021.

Four Star Reviews:

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins is back! I was not a fan of Into the Water but a big fan of Girl on the Train. This is a pretty compelling mystery about broken people. Each of the characters had something horrific that makes them all capable of murder if it was the right person which makes this mystery good and hard to find out who did it. There is no big twist but a lot of little twists act as the embers to A Slow Fire Burning. I guessed wrong on who I thought the killer was, but was okay with the killer and the outcome. This is a very fast read that sucks you in with the little twists and cliffhanger chapter writing where you have to keep reading.

August’s Eyes by Glenn Rolfe is a mind trippy horror that involves past trauma and dreams that can effect reality. The novel was fast paced and has some scenes of horror that will get under your skin. This book reminded me a lot of the Jennifer Lopez movie The Cell meets the villain from Joe Hill’s N0S4A2. This book has a lot of fun pop culture references, and little bits of odd humor. I liked and cared about the main character John or Johnny still being tormented by a mistake he made as a scared kid that represses in his living dreams. This book is pretty brutal and not for everybody with trigger warnings of rape, abduction, and child abuse, book doesn’t go into crazy detail but enough to unnerve the reader. I want to think Glenn Rolfe who reached out to me on Goodreads and asked if I would like to read his book. I want to think Flame Tree Press and netgalley for providing the book to me. August Eye’s by Glenn Rolfe was published on August 17th 2021.

Plunge by Joe Hill is a graphic novel which is heavily influenced by H. P. Lovecraft stories and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Plunge took me back to 80’s movies like The Fog, The Thing, Aliens, and The Abyss. The story starts off slow but after a lot of exposition finally gets going and does not stop. This book is gore filled. The villains are pretty terrifying. Since this story is such an amalgam of 80’s movies you almost feel as you know the story, but Hill offers a fresh and new twist to a story you already know.

The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight by R. L. Stine is book 20 in Goosebumps original publication order. This is one of the scarier Goosebumps stories the nightmare scene is pretty terrifying. The story is good and focused as it ramps up horror at the end. The characters are more memorable than most Goosebumps stories, especially Stanley that is similar to Forrest Gump, but with a twist. The twist at the end is good and fits the story, even if it is not going to be memorable. The story is the first one that takes place on a farm and R. L. Stine plays with the isolation of that.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man volume 8 by Stan Lee is Spiderman’s longest linked storyline up to date, involving Spiderman and a mysterious tablet (based on the Rosetta Stone). This storyline spans over 8 issues, once the power is revealed is is kind of forgotten about, but maybe you don’t want that in the world. The Lizard makes a great return, as the only way Dr. Connors can escape is turn into the Lizard. J. Jonah Jamison gets the scare of his life all at the hands of Spiderman. This issue dips into the civil rights movement which should get kudos for not ignoring it. The Kingpin returns and the artworks is a lot closer to what the character looks like today,

Three Star Reviews:

Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Christina Henry is not a retelling of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but a continuing story that takes place 3o or so years after the original. . You will learn what happened to Brom and Katrina after Ichabod Crane incident. The book acknowledges that Brom was dressed as the Headless Horseman to frighten poor Ichabod, but what if the legend created something new. The book is best when it ties into the original The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, when it drifts away it is not always good. I was given an advanced readers copy thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group. Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Chistina Henry was published on September 28th 2021.

Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland is the second Young Adult novel in The High Republic series. The High republic comes 200 years before Star Wars: A New Hope. This novel is paced so slow with only 3 battles. Reath and Master Cormac are the returning Jedi from the first YA but given background roles in this. The ending of this book saves it from being a 2 star review. There’s is only two things of significance that happen that will effect the adult Star Wars: The High Republic novels. This book was missing humor there’s one recurring event that was funny. What the book is filled with is young adult angst, which reached an annoying level, instead of being poignant. There’s a LGTBQ relationship that was good for inclusion purpose but the relationship wasn’t all that strong. I feel the adult version handled the LGTBQ relationship better. The plot is a huge long con, the pay off is all at the end which saves this novel, but I wanted to see this good writing through out

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 8 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man volume 8 by Stan Lee is Spiderman’s longest linked storyline up to date, involving Spiderman and a mysterious tablet (based on the Rosetta Stone). This storyline spans over 8 issues, once the power is revealed is is kind of forgotten about, but maybe you don’t want that in the world. The Lizard makes a great return, as the only way Dr. Connors can escape is turn into the Lizard. J. Jonah Jamison gets the scare of his life all at the hands of Spiderman. This issue dips into the civil rights movement which should get kudos for not ignoring it. The Kingpin returns and the artworks is a lot closer to what the character looks like today, they found away to make him chubby but still have muscle definition. We get guest spot from heroes the Human Torch and Quicksilver. The villains are Kingpin, The Lizard, Silvermane, and The Shocker. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man volume 8 by Stan Lee collects The Amazing Spider-Man 68-77, and Marvel Super-Heroes #14.

The Plots: A rare tablet from biblical times and has never been deciphered comes to ESU to get studied. Tension on campus has reached an all time high with a building not going to low income black students. The Kingpin using the the tension and turning it into a riot so he can steal the tablet. The Kingpin steals the tablet and implicates Spiderman and the black students. Spideman retrieves the tablet only he can return it since the police think he was involved. He gives it to Captain Stacy but before he can return it The Shocker steals it. The tablet keeps changing hands until one deadly bad guy figures it out to deadly consequences.

What I Liked: Jamison finally gets what he deserves, and his reaction when Robbie Robertson writes complimentary things about Spiderman. The Kingpin is starting to look like the character we know today. The Kurt Konnors trapped but still not wanting to turn into the Lizard but warning his kidnappers. The fate of Silvermane and the tablet. The Shocker was pretty terrifying, I think of him as a second rate villain but there was some good stuff in that issue that made Spiderman work for it. I liked the heart to heart that Robbie has with his son about his place in this world. I loved the continuous storyline with the tablet. I liked that the issue dipped into the civil rights and being an activist. I like that Spiderman gets fed up with doing a good job only to be accused of being a bad guy and taking it out on Jamison.

What I Disliked: The Quicksilver issue was so weak and pointless. The added Marvel Super-Heroes #14 is pretty crazy and not in a good way, I laughed at how lame the bad guy dies and why would a super villain leave a return address, so amateur. I disliked that the tablet storyline was kind of dropped, only if it keeps going and kind of gets picked up again. Which I will let you know in the next review.

Recommendations: This volume brings the longest tail that keeps drifting from hero to villain with good story telling. The Lizard issues are the highlight of this issue and pretty great. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man volume 8 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 7 by Stan Lee

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 7 by Stan Lee is a lot of long form spiderman tales with the most beautiful artwork to date. This volume contains the small first run of The Spectacular Spiderman which only ran 2 issues. One of the book is black and white pencil drawings that are just beautiful with Peter Parker looking closer to what he looks like today. The big issue in this volume is the return of the Green Goblin, which has been building up for sometime, and leads to a big finish with the Green Goblin being the only enemy that knows Peter Parker’s true Identity. The other notable issues are the battle of the two Vultures, and an epic Mysterio which was my favorite two parter issues so far in the series. We get to find out what happened to Peter Parker’s parents, and how they died. Mary Jane gets a perm, and it is not pretty. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 7 collects issues of The Spectacular Spiderman (1968) 1-2; The Amazing Spider-Man 62-67 and Annual 5.

The Plots: Medusa from the Inhumans comes to Earth to learn about humanity and becomes a hair model, when she is bored with that the owner tricker her into fighting Spiderman for publicity. The to Vultures duke it out to prove who is the almighty Vulture. Spiderman after a fight with the winning vulture gets taken to prison infirmary to await trial then has to save Captain Stacy after a jail break. Spiderman battles a crooked politician and his giant. Mysterio threatens the city for a rematch with Spiderman. Norman Osborn remembers that he is the Green Goblin and Peter Parker is Spiderman at a party he throws for Harry. Peter Parker find out that his parents were spies and possible traitors to the USA, it is up to Spiderman to uncover the truth.

What I Liked: The art is so incredible for each issue of The Spectacular Spiderman I really like the pencil drawings, really incredible use of shading. Mysterio is my favorite of the Spiderman villains and these issues were so cool and really showed off what he can do. The Vulture storyline was really fun and I’m glad that the original Vulture was back. Th return of the Green Goblin was fun and the party scene where Norman test Peter Parker was heavily inspired the scene in the very first Spiderman with Toby Maguire.

What I Disliked: Mary Jane with a perm is a horrible idea. The first issue in The Spectacular Spiderman is pretty to look at, but man is that story a dud, it also drops storyline from the Amazing Spiderman, only to be right back when the volume switches back to The Amazing Spiderman. So that was a little confusing.

Recommendations: This volume was a mixed bag three strong stories and 2 okay stories and one dud. My favorite in terms of Art so far and my favorite two parter so far, that dud story line is bad and felt so long. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 7 by Stan Lee 4 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: July 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, July was a crazy month, I moved into my first house, it is out in the country where only one internet provider reigns supreme, so it took me and my family a month to get internet.  All other services were decently fast so if you missed me and my reviews that’s what I was doing.  I read 6 books this month. I read 2 horror, 2 graphic novels, and 2 new releases thanks to netgalley . I started 1 new series and read 2 from a book series. I read one 5 star book, three 4 star books, and two 3 star book.

Five Star Reviews:

The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah is a tearjerker about two of America’s harshest times The Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.  Really blown away by this book. This Historical novel uses real events and puts here character’s through tragedy and triumph.  This novel can easily get compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but teaks it giving it a new perspective what if Tom Joad  was a single mother with kids.  The perspective changes everything the character of Elsa want to breakdown but is strong for her and her kids.  This is a novel that you will want to thank your mother after for all that she has sacrificed for her children’s happiness.

Four Star Reviews:

Surviving the Night by Riley Sager is a twisty thriller that takes you on a ride with a serial killer.  The twist keep coming and coming, some I could foresee but others will change the way you read this novel, making you go, What! Just happened!?!.  Every character in this book has a major change of how the reader perceives them.  He ending is non-stop the last 150 pages are on the edge of your seat as the twists keep coming.  The climax is very satisfying, I saw the final twist coming for a while but the actions after that were very satisfying.  The flaw of this novel is the beginning was hard to get into, it takes a little time for this book to get into rhythm, but when it does it is really hard to put down.  A big thanks to Netgalley and Dutton publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Surviving the Night.  Surviving the Night is published on 7-29-21.

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian is a period piece in the mid 1600 America. It was you typical divorce stories husband beats on wife, she tries to divorce him and gets called a witch and has to defend against being a witch; so not typical at all.  This novel will have you scream at characters, that I’m sure are accurately portrayed but so one sided and biased.  The novel is set when the husband was king and they referred to the wife as the helpmate, it was not a partnership.  This novel can be seen a feminist, it’s a fight for equal rights and to have a woman with strong ideas is not a bad thing.  The trials are the best part of the book.  The story is at it’s core simple but the way the story is told is what makes it so interesting.

Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 6 by Stan Lee is getting Spiderman in the larger story arcs.  Spiderman has had minor stories arc like turning in his costume then having to use a spare, injuring his shoulder and being in a cast, or poor Aunt May being sick and weak for a couple issues. The villains have lasted only two issues until now. Spidey fights Doc Oct. and Kingpin for 3 – 4 issues.  The main villains are Kingpin, who was just introduced in Amazing Spider-Man issue 50 and is in 5 issues in this volume, Doc Oct, Mysterio, and Allister Smythe and his Spider Slayer.  Peter Parker’s love life takes a turn where he has to choose Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane Watson.  This volume sees a death of a minor but important character, and introduces Gwen’s father Captain Stacey and Robbie Robertson who are all important to Peter Parker / Spiderman’s legacy.

Three Star Reviews:

Falling by T. J. Newman is an okay thriller on an airplane. The novel does feel authentic like you the reader are getting insider information on how the flight crew works. The author was a former flight attendant and Falling is her debut. This book has moments of thrills but it felt pretty formulaic too me. I would say this book is Airframe by Michael Crichton meets a decent James Patterson thriller. I think if you read this novel it should be on a plane, because that will amp the fear, and you couldn’t help wonder what goes on behind the door of the flight deck. You will come out respecting your fight attendants and the job they have to do. I think this book is getting over hyped, it is good but not great. Thanks to Netgalley and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for giving me access to Falling early. Falling by T. J. Newman is published on July 6 2021.

Fight Club 2 By Chuck Palahniuk Is a very meta tale told in graphic novel form. The first book was written as a novel, but the follow up was written as a graphic novel. This follows the film Fight Club over the actual novel. I prefer the film but this novel fall in too much fan service and too meta. Palahniuk brings everyone back, Angel Face, Robert Paulson, and even Chloe. Each character is brought back with a surprising twist. I liked some of the ideas brought on but others fall flat. The ending is way too out there and meta it is a bit of a cop out. The art and how the story uses the visual to tell that story is one of the best but the story just was just okay.