Review of “Inhuman” (Inhuman (Collected Editions) #1-3) by Charles Soule, Joe Madureira, Ryan Stegman, Pepe Larraz, Andre Araujo

inhumans-marvel-knights-1017842Soule, Charles, et al. Inhuman. Marvel Worldwide, 2016.

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

Let us start off by saying that we all agree that at one time there existed a tv

I looked for a great quote from the story that would exemplify how good the writing is. “Blah Blah”. I literally couldn’t find one.  B-

show called “Inhumans.” It was based loosely on the comic book characters of the same name. We can just say that the studio that brought forth this atrocity, has since seen the error of their ways and ripped it off of TV. I hate to be so harsh here, but it was as well acted as an episode of Xena the Warrior Princess without all the fun. The source material allows some interesting characters, and interesting they aren’t on the show.

marvel-comics-inhumans-black-bolt-1028388-1280x0
Must have more Lockjaw. Ahhh You are such a good boy. yes, you are.

Book wise, this is definitely not my favorite set of characters. I tried to like them. Or get attached to them in any way. The least I could say is that I didn’t give a shit about their existence or not. Save for the large pit bull, Lockjaw. Got to love pitties. I just didn’t get it. Maybe this series of stories is written for a younger audience or having stories this disjointed is just comic M.O. I get so lost reading them, even when reading them in the required order. You get little fleeting glimpses of the protagonist or antagonist dealing with the plot line. Then all the sudden another stupid character is waving his arms over here, and saying “look what I made for breakfast!” The reader is basically saying Da Fuq. What stories I could parlay into cohesive thought through manipulation of cross stupid plot lines still sucked and were vapid cheese. C’mon. we can do better here.

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Look at this shit. I mean c’mon. We can do better then this.

I will say however that the artwork is very good. Not Alex Ross, mind you. Just very good artwork that tells a story well. If I had to rate this it would be a solid 2 gorgon stomps out of 5. I finished this story arc, and I am not sure I will be jumping off into the next one. I may read more stories if they come up only to see if it could possibly get better.

What Skills Do You Have?

I am currently watching the TV show Sense8 (screw you Netflix for canceling) and freaking loving it. I have always have been a fan of the Wachowiski sisters. I saw Matrix 8 times at the theater, and I really adore Speed Racer. When I was watching Sesne8, I had an interesting thought based upon the plot.  As an individual, what skill have you cultivated? Who are you? In the story, they are eight very different individuals. Each has a very unique life experience. Each of them brings something to the table. My question is, what do you know how to do that other’s might not know about. sense8-clusters1

I have always been a bit fascinated by this thought. In a world full of people, hell, in a room full of people, we are the stars of our own movie or our own book. In that, we are the main protagonist of our lives. Each of us has gone down many branching paths that have led us to adopt, understand and try new things. Those branches lead an individual to become a combination of infinite things. So who are you, because I am a combination of millions of choices in my 37 years.

I am a tryer. To me, one of the coolest things in life is trying new things. I figure that if I try enough stuff I might come across something that makes my heart explode in delight. Or if it sucks really bad, that’s ok too. It is something new.  This is how I personally battle depression and anxiety. Which I have been dogged with for most of my life. But, that is another story.

So who am I? I am one who tries different things.

I can tell you a little about some things that I can do, and I am curious as a lover of stories, about things that you can do. Everyone has such great stories if they could only tell them. So tell me something. Here are a few about me:

I can juggle like a fiend. I used to work at IKEA in childcare, and it was boring. Boring and insanely stressful at the same time. The coworkers would sit with anonymous children for 8 hours a day and try and figure out things to do to entertain them. We also had a giant ball pit. All kids like playing with balls, and I discovered 99% of children love to watch juggling. It is magical to them. I watched a few youtube videos on basic juggling and taught myself to juggle over the course of a few weeks. I can now juggle 3 balls backward, forwards,  upside down, all sorts of ways. I can juggle 4 balls for a few seconds. But I quit Working there before I got to spend much time doing that. I am infinitely grateful IKEA because they gave me health insurance when my family really needed it, and an opportunity to learn to juggle while getting paid for it.

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Adam the Bawdy Juggler. Image Courtesy of http://www.adamthejuggler.com/imagepage.html

A little proud tidbit. I actually impressed Adam the Bawdy Juggler with my basic juggling skills. He taught me how to do Mills Mess. Well, he showed me Mills Mess, and I dropped all the balls on the floor. Repeatedly.

 

I have read a lot. (Well duh if you read this blog.) Books are this mysterious entity for me. So many stories, true or not, lay inside of flattened, dead trees. The thought itself is kinda magical. When I was younger, I carried a tiny little book inside my purse everywhere I went. It had lists of books that I would like to read. As I went along and read them, I crossed them off with a highlighter. Crossing something off became this fantastic cathartic happy inducing thing. I have graduated on to other means of tracking my lists, but the idea still fascinates me. Electronic means of tracking lists are not as satisfying as a little yellow book that you can carry. I might even go back to that. Very old school. I have read, as of today 1700 books. Of various lengths. That isn’t 1700, 500-page novels. Some were much longer, I am looking at you unabridged version of The Stand by Stephen King, and some were novellas. But Lists and books make my heart sing. Happy happy things.

The third thing I am mentioning today. I have a degree in Landscape Architecture that I do not use professionally but use it every day otherwise. Education is never a waste, and my knowledge has a daily effect on me. I hate when people say to me, “Wow your parents spent 40 grand on a degree that you don’t use. They must be so pissed at you.” First off, you’re a presumptuous prick. Secondly, I am sure my folks would love it if I got back into designing parks and stuff. But, a degree is not like a jug of milk. It doesn’t go bad, and you have to throw it away if you don’t use it. It took me seven years to get my degree. I think I got something out of it I can use on a daily basis. Stop being a prick.

Tell me what you like to do, or part of your story. I want to hear something about you. You are the protagonist, tell me something that changed your story as you lived it. I am all ears, or eyes because you know.. computer.

 

Obligatory apology – I haven’t written in a couple weeks. Every member of my family came down with Pneumonia or bronchitis at the same damn time. Every single one. It was like a damn plague swept through our homes. I have been too sick to get out of bed, let alone write and think. But I am feeling much better now. So here you go. 

 

You Can’t Go Home Again

Or can you?

 

 

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Image courtesy of visitlasvegas.com

When I stepped off of the plane last week and into my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, I was assaulted by a familiar cacophony of noise, blaring light, and a hair dryer worth of heat. I felt at both times exhilarated and full of dread although that dread had a helpful tinge of fondness and nostalgia. I left home eight years ago after living in Vegas for 30 years. I had to. I was out of a job, and my husband and I needed to live, so we ripped Las Vegas out of that place in our minds and hearts that held what home is and made for parts unknown. It was one of the most painful and scariest things I have ever done.

 

Now looking back, it is so odd. I am in a sorta limbo. Portland, my new home,  does not have the hometown feel that I used to get from Vegas, but Vegas doesn’t have it either. Vegas is so changed now that I get lost here. The vegas I new is now gone.

It is ok though. The new things to discover are like icing on a nostalgia cake. There are new restaurants, new parks, new things to try and do. So maybe you can’t come home again, because home is not a static place. It lives inside you, in your memories, with your family,  and your past. It has been quite the adventure. I will be here for another week due to a family emergency. Hopefully, I will have a chance between panic attacks to try some new exciting things. Here’s to hoping. Cheers.

 

 

 

Review of “Magic to the Bone” by Annie Bellett

The Twenty Sided Sorceress #7

29558243.jpgBellet, Annie. Magic to the Bone. Doomed Muse Press, 2016.

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

 

Holy crap on a cracker it is boss fight time, but before we get to that let’s talk about what we know beforehand and what is going on with the characters. (scattered spoilers ahead) First off we left our girl Jade Crow in the hands of her father. A Dragon, whatever the hell that means, to basically level up her character. She needs formal training badly. Her friends, the paper characters, are all back at the druid-ranch playing catch-me-if-you-can with Samir’s bodyguards and hired mercenaries. Her ex-boyfriend, the biggest jerkface on the planet, is about to try and make himself a god. He wants to bring back the era of high magic and gods and get rid of all of us puny mortals. Grand plans, but Jade can’t let that happen because of..reasons. We also know that the story arc is coming to head like a giant magical pimple. Most of Jade’s power derives from something deep down into her bones. This is generally glossed over in the first few books, she basically bounces around like she is a magical bubble. Now we know though that deep in her bones is the magic answer to her problems. I am going to try and not give too much away. But it rhymes with pragon. Plot wise it is almost a bit Deus ex machinea for me. She seems very much like an overpowered character in a beginning level. It is anti-climatic and rushed as hell.  Annie Bellet does try to set limitations on her training and power, but they are fuzzy and useless. The guidelines for being a sorceress have always been a bit mutable in this series, but this is ridiculous. What is the point of having the main character so overpowered that it really doesn’t matter? The boss fight that we have waited six books for is over so quickly and easily. There is no drama, at that point, you are really just going through the motions.

Now that I have almost finished this series, inexplicably there is another book, we can talk about how it feels overall. As far as a series goes, it feels a bit uneven. Some books were wow! Others, especially book seven left me feeling very flat. It was way too rushed to be enjoyable. To much has been taken for granted and the build-up really lost steam. What was the point of having all these subsidiary characters if they serve no purpose in the finale? They did nothing to offer anything to the story except a place for the main character to quip off of. It is really disappointing because the first novels were so exciting. One thing that the writer did do well kept to the very serviceable plot device of novice building and growing, discovering something badass about herself, and then killing the big baddy. I can think of a handful of series off the top of my head that does just that. Sookie Stackhouse, The Hallows, Illona Andrews, and even to some extent Dresden Files. It works as a plot device even though it isn’t refreshing.

I know that it sounds like I didn’t wholly like the book, that’s not true. I did like the book and in extension the entire series. Save for the eighth book. I am not even sure what I am supposed to do with that unless the author plans on another story arc. I liked the series, even if it was uneven and ended oddly. It is fun and a quick read. It allows you a couple of hours of fun. It is worth it.

 

Review of “Hunting Season” by Annie Bellet

The Twenty Sided Sorceress – Book 4

23303229.jpgBellet, Annie. Hunting Season. Doomed Muse Press, 2014.

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

Yaaaassss. Queen. Slay all day. This series keeps getting better and better. Jade Crow is just killing it. (pun intended)

This book has more of all the fun stuff. More magic, more gore, more action and definitely more backstory. We are learning a bit about her past and that maybe

‘”We fight with what we have,” he murmured. “Not what we wish to have.
“Okay, Obi-Wan.” I nipped his chin and settled into his arms.
“I am not quoting Star Wars,” he said, glaring down at me in mock annoyance.
“No, but you sound wise for your years.”
“Protect you, I will,” he said. “Love you, I do.”‘”

there is something special about her. Ya. I know, not exactly the most original plot device. But, you know what that is ok. It is a plot device because it is useful. Bellet is not slamming us over the head with the fact that there is something unknown about Jade. There just is. Deal with it and we will find out in due time.

Also, I have to say that I totally dig all the gaming and pop culture references. On one hand, it gives a subtle nod to those of us out there who appreciate geekdom, on the other hand, it might make it so this book doesn’t have the longevity for reading that other series might have. It is one of the reasons I enjoyed “Ready Player One” so much. I am a child of the eighties and totally got the references. It was a roller coaster in pop culture awesomeness.

Also. Unicorns. My head just exploded a little.

Go ahead start at book 1, I’ll wait.

Review of “Pack of Lies” by Anne Bellett

23365287.jpgBellet, Annie. Pack of Lies. Doomed Muse Press, 2014.

 

Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)

 

Let’s hear it for independent publishers and let’s hear it for writers who get better and not worse from book to book. I thought the first book in this series was serviceable. Decent. Fun, but obviously Anne Bellett was snuggling in, and getting comfy with these characters. Book three is an entirely different and better offering than the first two books in the series. She is happy with the personalities she has created and they just keep getting better and better. The love angle is also a whole lot more enjoyable to read and more believable. He is not some cardboard cutout but is evolving into a more fleshed out person.  Less of a go-to hot guy and more of a person with feelings and personality.

As far as the story goes, I think Anne Bellett excels at both pushing the main story forward inches at a time while having a contained separate story arc for each book. This is no exception.

“Recovering from a broken heart and coming to terms with her family history, all sorceress Jade Crow wants is to resume running her comic book store and gaming with her friends. With a town full of strange wolf shifters, a hundred-and-fifty-year-old peace accord hanging in the balance, and the Justice who broke her heart back in her life, Jade’s plans go out the proverbial window.

Wolves are killing wolves, innocent human lives are caught in the crossfire, and not everyone in town is who they appear to be. As the bodies stack up and the doubts build, Jade and her friends race to find the true killer. “

Talk about exciting action. Wolves, 150-year-old peace accord, and a weird baddy to deal with; this story really had it all. I totally dug it.  Plus it was short and mighty. Perfect for winding a couple hours in the afternoon away. Check it out.

Thank You Mr. Rogers

32106This post will be a mite more serious than my usual lighter fare. I haven’t written anything this week because I wanted to write about this thing that happened to me, and I didn’t have the words. I think I might have some words now, but it might be that I will never know exactly what to say.

Recently while driving home from my almost daily coffee run, Starbucks makes a lot of money off of me, I came across a dead body. At least I think he was dead. I was too scared to actually check for a pulse. But, he certainly looked like he had passed into the beyond, and his chest wasn’t moving.

Not where you think I was going with this.

A man lying in the middle of the sidewalk, face down behind a grocery store. He had a box of Venezia wine and a 24 pack of beers next to him like they came tumbling from his arms as he fell. Before I am asked, he wasn’t homeless, not that that matters in the slightest. He wasn’t just some dude deciding that a nap in the middle of a cold sidewalk sounded awesome. He was a man lying down in the middle of the sidewalk. Face down, and not moving. The part that bothered me so

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

much, is not that he was dead but that people were walking around him seemingly unconcerned about this person. He was a non-entity that did not exist in their world. That bothers me. As in existential crisis bothers me. Have we as a society become so inured to horrible things that someone who is dead is not given a second thought? We care about Kim Kardashian, couldn’t we care a little about the guy on the sidewalk.  I was stunned by what I was witnessing.

Mr. Rogers came to my mind and offered me comfort. All was not as bleak as it seemed. Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” So I did.  I looked for the helpers, and then I endeavored to become one. There was a man across the street, who I had originally not seen,  on his phone calling 911. I asked him what he was doing. His reply was, “trying to get him some help.” He was a helper.

What can I do?  how can I be a helper in this situation? The only thing I did the only thing I could think of, I went and got a blanket out of my car and threw it over the man. Not over his face, but around him.  It was a cold damp day, if he was alive, maybe a blanket would keep him a little warmer. When I got close to him, his chest wasn’t moving. Maybe the breathing was imperceptible, and it was there but I couldn’t see it. I hope so. There wasn’t much else I could do for this man. The paramedics were coming, so I left him the blanket and got back in my car. When I got home, I sat in the car for a long time trying to process what I had just seen and later I talked to my mom about the whole thing.  She said that I did a good thing, and I was a good person by giving him the blanket. Did I? I feel like I did the absolute minimum that a person should do. I felt bad, and cowardly that I did not do more. I still do. But what could I have done?

Later on that afternoon, I drove by where the man was laying out of morbid curiosity. Was there a chalk outline to be found like out of a detective novel? There wasn’t. There was nothing. Like he was never there.

Here I am writing this blog, not sure how I feel about the whole situation, but I do feel better for having written something. I will always endeavor to try and be the helper. Even if it is scary, it often is. Thank you, Mr. Rogers for helping me that day. Your lessons go on and on.