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Voting for the Hugos means reading graphic novels, something I'm trying to do more of, but.... So many, many books, so very little time.

I continue to enjoy the Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson. In Vol. 5, Super Famous, the adventure plot has sone things to say about gentrification and the effects of urban redevelopment on communities, but it's the interpersonal material that's pure gold. As usual, the best parts are about Kamala trying to negotiate her day-to-day life while balancing that with being a suoerhero and member of the Avengers. Naturally, this goes terribly wrong as she tries to do what she thinks is expected from her on all sides, but everything ends well with Kamala learning some important lessons about priorities and staying sane and level-headed in the midst of chaos.

I had never really been aware of a superhero named Vision before reading the Hugo-nominated The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, and illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta. The IMDB says he was in the recent Avengers films, but I guess my attention slid right over him in favour of the superheroes I did know.

In any case, this is an excellently written and deeply frightening graphic story - I want to know how it ends, but I'm not sure I want to read any more of it. Vision, apparently, is an artificial life form created with the use of the brainwaves of a real human being. At one point he had a human wife and children, but they died, so he has made himself a synthetic family to replace them, and moved them into a nice middle-class suburban neighbourhood. And just as sure as if this were a Steven King novel about death and hubris, things go horribly, horribly wrong. Small mistakes and misunderstandings, misjudgements, errors and then attempts to cover up the errors to make everything seem perfect on the surface, it all piles up.

The story is told in a very objective, almost mechanical fashion, almost in the style of a casebook or police report, a contrast to the increasingly violent and horror-filled events of the narrative. Not going to forget this soon.

Unfortunately, I was not nearly as enthused by Volume 1 of Brian K. Vaughan's Paper Girls. It's the story of four young teens - all girls who have early morning paper routes in the same typical American town in the '80s - who get caught up in something called The Ablution involving horribly disfigured teens from the future battling armoured warriors riding mutated pterodactyls and the disappearance of most of the people in their town. When one of the girls is shot by accident, the future teens offer help, and the girls team up with them temporarily and reluctantly. Various twists and turns later - all of which happen very suddenly and serve only to further confuse the reader (or at least, this reader) - the paper girls find themselves thrown forward in time, only to meet with the future self of one of them on a dark and lonely road. End Volume 1.

Alas, despite my confusion, I am not tempted to find out what's going on. The somewhat frantic pace, and the deliberate 'let's confuse everyone' tone of the work, left me cold, and not even the prospect of a story about four girls was enough to warm me up.

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