Saturday, March 26, 2016

Batman V Superman- Movie Review

For those of you who visit my blog often, you know I love my comics.  I review comics at least twice a month here.  I am partial to DC comics though I do love Marvel movies. I have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time.  This movie really consists of three main DC comic book characters, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.  Wonder Woman is a character I have loved since I was a little girl. You have probably seen that the movie is getting average reviews and I pretty much agree.  Too much going on in one movie.  DC is trying to catch up with Marvel as fast as it can.  Marvel has the Avengers assembly of characters already locked in the movie market so DC is trying to get the Justice League up in there too.

I wish DC wasn't in such a hurry to get caught up with Marvel. Some intro movies would've been good. I remember when I found out Man of Steel wasn't getting a true sequel and was getting this instead. Non-comic book readers needed to get to love Superman more. There were some clips in this film that I think are going to confuse people who are new to the Justice League.  One seen was even a little confusing to me... like what was DC trying to get at?  The film is a little disjointed.  Dreams were thrown in where they shouldn't have been.  A museum seen that just seemed out of place.

I will say though I was pleasantly surprised by the actors.  I dreaded Ben Affleck as Batman. I was SHOCKED when Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman.  But in the end... they both succeeded in the rolls.  Affleck plays a great Bruce Wayne.  Of course I have always loved Henry Cavill as Superman.  And the love between Superman and Lois Lane in this film was spot on.  Though she did seem to keep being the damsel in distress. I didn't really like Jesse Esienberg as Lex Luthor.  It was WAY too much like the Joker. I think of Lex Luthor as being too smart for his own good so he is super cocky, not crazy.  This bothered me.. the Joker mannerisms.

Everyone needs to remember going into this film is that it's dark.  It's a dark Batman.  The Batman of Frank Miller's imagination. The problem with this in the movie is that the average movie goer isn't going to understand this.  Why is Batman now killing?  Why is he so dark?  Comic book readers know.  The movie shows a Wayne Manor burned down... a Robin costume destroyed by Joker but we get no backstory.  Movie watchers are supposed to just guess something bad happened and changed Batman.  I liked it... but will the everyone?

Obviously I have a lot of theories of future movies... but that would be a ton of spoilers so I'll leave it there. Really the movie just has pacing issues but otherwise for those who love superheroes and DC comics you will love it.  It is a good time... though the movie clocks in at 2.5 hours.  Enjoy it for what it is.

I give the movie a B

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Comic Adventures Issue # 38

read a lot of comics and rarely review them here on the blog. That's because I really don't have a lot to say for an entire post.  So I thought I would review several comics on one post.  I will still review graphic novels on their own now and then, but this is where I will talk about super-hero type comics (DC/Marvel) or sequels to some that I have already reviewed.

This issue I chat about Star Wars volume 1, The New Suicide Squad vol. 2,  Grayson vol 1, and Birds of Prey vol 2.

This comic was way better then the Leia comics. If you want to read some good stories about some of your favorite characters this is the comic for you. So this takes place after New Hope.  The crew is out to take down a weapon storage facility but Darth Vador shows up. All kinds of craziness happens.  Whenever I read the dialog I read it in the character voices from the movie.  I just can't help it. Boba Fett pops in.. because Vader hires him to figure out who the guy who with Obi Wan was (we know it was Luke). The artwork of Fett was great. Jabba and Vader have a meeting so it was nice to their  chemistry.  The writing is fantastic because it seamlessly goes between three groups while in the battle at the weapon storage facility. I'm king of glad I never read any of the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse because now instead of being cannon it's legend.  Comics can be so weird with their continuity. I read that the illustrator won't be around past 6 issues so we'll see what the artwork looks like for volume 2.  Some of the art in this was really just fantastic.

4 out of 5

I was really disappointed when the Nightwing series in the New 52 got canceled but they were bringing back Dick Grayson in this new spy comic.  Of course I had to go and pick it up from the library.  Apparently Nightwing was captured an unmasked and killed, though technically he wasn't but he kept the public thinking this. Now Grayson is a spy for a group called Spiral though reporting back everything he learns in Spiral secretly back to Batman. Let's be honest... I didn't get Spiral. They weren't explained enough.  They are out to uncover superheroes I guess?  I saw that on goodreads there is a lot of love for this comic.  Grayson still won't kill people though he's running around with a gun, look at the cover! I do have volume 2 sitting here waiting to be read, which I will continue. One part of the comic I liked was when some girls who are going to the school (apparently Spiral has a school too) were following Grayson around to see what he looked like.  So there was a neat little map of the campus in the comic.  I love maps in books so I really enjoyed that part.  

2 out of 5

I still don't know why we needed a "New" Suicide Squad when there was nothing wrong with the old one. This comic is about a rouge group from The League of Assassins who call themselves The League (wow) are trying to take over the world. So the newer Suicide Squad goes to get them.  The new squad is Harley Quinn, Reverse Flash, Deadshot, Black Manta, Captain Boomerang, and Parasite. Volume 2 has only one artist throughout instead of 8 but I remember liking the art in the first one so no problem there for me. One of my favorite characters from this squad Reverse Flash doesn't get enough time.. some of the more uninteresting characters get too much time in the comic.  There just wasn't a lot of character in it, more plot.  I would like to get to know some of the villains more. The next Suicide Squad member is announced at the end of the novel but they made appearance on the squad in the previous version so it's not a big surprise. 

3 out of 5

I always hate when people compare comics to the series before them, but I can't seem to stop doing that.  Suicide Squad I just did that to and now I am about to do that again.  This Birds of Prey is nothing like the previous New 52 one.  It is just not as good at all. There are no other reviews for it on goodreads or even Amazon! Probably because no one was looking forward to it. The comic basically only follows Black Canary and Oracle... they are like a two person team now.  What doesn't make sense to me though is that when did Batgirl become Oracle again?  In the New 52 she was able to walk again... so is DC scratching that now?  Which also doesn't make sense because there is a Batgirl comic out right now where she is walking around. Plus this comic also has Nightwing in it, and Grayson isn't the Nightwing anymore in the New 52 he is not Spiral and just Grayson.  Soooo where does this comic fit in the current world of DC?  I have no idea. The comic is very lengthy too.  I would just like the Birds of Prey to be a bigger team full of the supergirls we love.  

2 out of 5

This counts for 21 comics towards my 2016 Graphic Novels Challenge.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Title: House of Leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Pages: 736
Published: March 7th 2000 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 
Source: Library
Links: goodreads , Mark Z. Danielewski Website

Years ago, when House of Leaves was first being passed around, it was nothing more than a badly bundled heap of paper, parts of which would occasionally surface on the Internet. No one could have anticipated the small but devoted following this terrifying story would soon command. Starting with an odd assortment of marginalized youth -- musicians, tattoo artists, programmers, strippers, environmentalists, and adrenaline junkies -- the book eventually made its way into the hands of older generations, who not only found themselves in those strangely arranged pages but also discovered a way back into the lives of their estranged children. Now, for the first time, this astonishing novel is made available in book form, complete with the original colored words, vertical footnotes, and newly added second and third appendices. The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story -- of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
Let's be honest. This is a hard book to review. Now that I think about it, it's a hard book to read. There were several parts where I wanted to give up.  Footnotes upon footnotes upon footnotes.  I'm glad I stuck it out though. I've heard a lot of things about House of Leaves being a great book for odd formatting and that really is true. It's the main reason why I picked it for a book for the #weirdathon I'm participating in.  It was perfect I even saw some other people reading it for the #weirdathon.

Ok.. how to start.  Let me start with a picture I took of the book so you can see what I am talking about with the way the words are laid out.  Let this mess with your mind:

This was the section where I started to get a little discouraged and even had a headache!  You have to hold this hefty book at different angles, look all around for the text you need to read next lead around by a bunch of footnotes.  Maybe I should tell you about the book itself right?  The formatting I suppose gets a little in the way of the plot. This book is difficult.  Don't read it if you want some sort of easy read that just walks you through the book.   House of Leaves is about a House that is fairly odd.  The inside of the House is larger then the outside.  This really gets the owners of the house, their family and friends all kinds of crazy so they get obsessed with investigating it.  The film these investigations and record everything that happens.  The film is called The Navidson Record. The film goes viral and eventually is shown in the theaters.

There is a blind man named Zampano who tries to go through every thing that is available to him to prove whether or not the film is real or if it was all a hoax. He goes through tons of information writing it all down. Zampano dies before he finishes this work, which ends up in the possession of his neighbor's friend Johnny Truant. So Truant then finds himself trying to finish Zampano's work.  He gets sucked in, haunted by what he is discovering about this house. Truant starts to go a little crazy while compiling the finished product. As you read along The Navidson Record you read Truant's story in the footnotes on the pages.

What I like about this book is that different people will read it differently, perhaps in a different order. I personally read it page by page, where you might read just the footnotes, or even go and read future chapters that the footnotes make reference to.  I chose to not do that so I didn't get spoiled. There are a lot codes and symbols that were fun to look up while traveling through the house part of the book.  There are ground to air symbols that you should look up while reading.  I'm glad i found that out before I started.

I will say I was unsatisfied with the ending. Perhaps with horror books I like Stephen King endings where he leaves it up in the air for us to figure out.  There was a point to me where the book should've just ended.  But it kept going.  Leaving some character's stories finished and others just confusing.  I was a little bothered about how the House was handled by the owners too.  I know if I found some weird closet that became some crazy puzzling scary place I would leave the house pronto.  Of course the family stays in the house and does what no sane person would.

I feel like I could talk about this book on and on.  But I really don't want to spoil it.  While I was really disappointed in the end it was still a neat journey.  A tough journey, but that makes me proud that I finished this book.  It's no wonder House of Leaves has such a cult following.  If you chose to read... enjoy the ride.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tomb Raider- Rise of the Tomb Raider Video Game Review

I used to not really enjoy the Tomb Raider games, I thought the puzzles were way too hard and the handling just wasn't right.  Then 2013's Tomb Raider came out and it blew me away! I loved it so much.  I was so thrilled when this one was announced.  Though right now until December 2016 I think Rise of the Tomb Raider is an Xbox One exclusive.  Luckily I have both Xbox One and PS4 so I was fine with it though I know there was a lot of mumbling about this from people who only have Playstation. 

The visuals in this game are stunning.  I really loved it. Personally I don't think you need to play 2013's Tomb Raider in order to play this one.  It works as a standalone perfectly. In this game, Lara Croft is following her father's research where he discovered there might be a prophet, a divine source, and an evil group called Trinity.  As you play there are of course collectables around.. they are certainly addictive.  I sometimes would spend a lot of time trying to find them. You can swing from a rope arrow, use your grappling hook to get from wall to wall. 

Tomb Raider now offers these card packs which will modify the game but you can only use them in certain game modes.  I only played the regular story mode so it didn't give me any advantage.  There are several tombs you get to explore and figure out puzzles.  I loved this part.  Occasionally there was lag and Croft would get stuck in a wall or something, and one time I was trying to jump in a well and died and the spawn point was so far away from where I died.  Annoying.  I was really addicted to getting all the Achievements in the game.  There were some I never did get but it was fun trying.  

I recommend this game ... it was a ton of fun and worth checking out.   10 out of 10

Monday, March 14, 2016

Comic Adventures Issue #37

read a lot of comics and rarely review them here on the blog. That's because I really don't have a lot to say for an entire post.  So I thought I would review several comics on one post.  I will still review graphic novels on their own now and then, but this is where I will talk about super-hero type comics (DC/Marvel) or sequels to some that I have already reviewed.

This issue I talk about Star Wars Marvel: Princess Leia vol. 1,  Thor Vol. 1:  Goddess of Thunder,  Batman:  The Battle for the Cowl,  and  Batman and Robin vol 5 The Big Burn.  

So... I have been quite interested in reading these comics. I recently read Vader and really enjoyed that comic.  Princess Leia has been one of my ALL time favorite ladies since I was a little girl.  My mom loved Star Wars so of course I was introduced to Star Wars at a young age.  I just loved Leia.  Her whole look and personality.  This comic series follows Princess Leia on her solo adventure after a New Hope. Leia heads out in the galaxy to find the other Alderaans that are still remaining after Leia's home planet was destroyed.  Honestly... I found this comic a little boring.   We get to see Leia trying to be the Queen she needs to be now that her parents are gone. But otherwise just chasing around Alderaans who don't even want to go with her to find a new home is just flat. There was no villain unless you count the people who don't want to go with Leia anywhere. There is a nod to the prequels in this book which is a NO... well I try to pretend those movies didn't happen.   I loved the artwork, I thought that made up for the boring plot line.  Hopefully vol. 2 is better (if there is going to be one) 
2 out of 5

With the new launch of a few titles over at Marvel, I've been able to begin reading some of their series.  I love how they are really really mixing things up.  Like Thor being a female. I thought this revamp was going to start from scratch with her, but the comic actually continues on from some sort of story line with Thor where he isn't able to lift the hammer anymore.  So we read a few pages about some sort of battle that happened but no real information on why he can't pick up the hammer.  That was a little annoying.  This woman (whose identity is hidden) suddenly ends up on the moon where Thor's hammer is and is able to pick it up. We don't know how she ends up on the moon (another mystery).  Then we go on Lady Thor's first adventure with the Frost Giants.  Thor shows up and tries to get the hammer back from her and it is kind of funny.  There is humor in this comic and I loved it. She isn't actually called Lady Thor in the book.  She is going just by Thor and Thor (the original) is now going by Odinson. I don't know... she just needs a name. I don't read a lot of Marvel so I don't even have a guess as to who this new Thor is.  But I am excited to find out.
5 out of 5 

Frankly I really enjoyed this comic.  I hadn't read it before (it was published in 2009) and am glad I got a chance to.  We recently bought the movie Bad Blood from Best Buy (it's an animated DC movie).  Whenever we buy the DC animated films we always try to get them from Best Buy because they typically have a special edition just for Best Buy that comes with a mini-figurine.  This particular movie also came with a graphic novel, Battle for the Cowl.  In the comic Batman is dead.. though it's not revealed how (in other comics I assume).  So there is kind of a battle on who will become the Batman. There is a "bad" Batman running around town and Dick Grayson and Tim Drake fight over what to do about it. All the Robins are together in this comic, I love to see it when the Batman family is together.  There are a couple of random stories at the end of the comic which confused me a little... I hate when side stories are thrown in. The movie is quite good.  It follows the comic pretty well but does throw in more about what happens to Batman before he "dies" and then after. If you haven't started watching the DC line of animated movies that come out I would recommend it.  Your library should probably get copies in.
5 out of 5

So... I recently read Batman and Robin volumes 7 and got to trying to remember volumes 5 and 6. I went back to Goodreads to see what I rated them and I couldn't tell if I had read volume 5. The reviews on it were so good that I thought I should get it from the library and see if I did read it or not.  I hadn't read it previously and I am glad I went back and read it.  Fabulous! There is no Batman and Robin story till the very end (spoiler: Damien dies in vol. 4).  There is a great story about Two Face in this comic.  It was kind of Harvey Dent's origin story in the New 52. I am still confused why the hell this was in a Batman and Robin comic.  Did they feel like they just needed to squeeze a Two Face story in somewhere???  The art work is good.. though on one of the panel's Two Face's scars are on the wrong side.  Though he was in water so maybe it was a reflection??  Confused. In one part of the comic Harvey Dent calls Batman Bruce.  If this is the first time Two Face is introduced in the New 52, then how did he know Batman was Bruce?  This is never told to us.  Well it was still an enjoyable comic.
5 out of 5

This counts for 17 comics towards my 2016 Graphic Novels Challenge.

Monday, March 7, 2016

In the Shadows by Kiersten White-Review

Title: In the Shadow
Author: Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo
Pages: 384
Published: April 29th 2014 by Scholastic Press
Source: Library
Links: goodreads,

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures. Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch. Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, so when the March #weirdathon came along I finally pushed it up in my TBR pile.  I have enjoyed Kiersten White's series Paranormalcy so I knew I really enjoyed her writing.  This story is presented in text and an art story.  Both telling a different story at the same time.  The story is about 5 teens who get into some strange things back in the early 1900s.  There are a few love instances in the book but at least for once there is no instalove which is common in a lot of young adult novels.

The art work is really great.  Dark and spooky, makes it feel like a gothic novel.  Though since it was telling a different story (though all tied together) then the text at times I was a little confused.  Honestly.. I still don't really know who was in the art work???  I had to look to see if there was a scare or a hair color to determine who I was looking at. After I finished the book I went back looked at all the pictures again to see the story again. to maybe get a better understanding.  The story and the illustrations are two different time periods.  The text part of the book wasn't amazing.  I feel like the story was just average.  There was no world building.  I also felt like there were too many questions all the way to the end of the book.  Some of the answers maybe should've been revealed a little sooner.  I am still confused about a few things after finishing.  I can't stand being confused once a book is over.

Still it was a neat book.  I love books that have formats that are different and make me think outside the box. What I really like and hope that comes out of this book is that it will introduce more people to graphic novels. I know a lot of people are kind of nervous about trying one out so I hope this will help them take the plunge.

This is book 2 for my #weirdathon.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Title: Tricky Twenty Two
Author: Janet Evanovich
Pages: 292
Published: November 17th 2015 by Bantam
Source: Library ebook
Links: goodreads,

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute. Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks. As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.
I always say I'm going to quit reading these Stephanie Plum novels but I can't stop. Honestly.. this book was great so I'm glad I've kept going. These books are easy reads and just fun. If you read reviews about any of these books you'll learn that they all follow the same format.  Stephanie will never make any decisions regarding her love life.  Nothing.  But I guess I've settled with that now.  There is no character development with any of the characters.   If you are reading these books I'm here to let you know that this was way better then the last two books.  I almost gave up on this series because of those books.  But I am glad I didn't since this one was decent again.

For a minute there in this book Stephanie thought about a new career.  For about one minute.  She messes around with Ranger and Morelli, blows up some cars, goes to a wake, and all that same stuff. Honestly though people who are still reading this series at #22 should expect all this same stuff.  If you are reading this series still and thought this book was going to be different then the last 22 then I don't know what to tell you.  As I read through reviews all of us do want a little something different.  Something to mix up Stephanie's life.  Take her out of town on a big adventure chasing a bounty.  Add a third guy into her life.

Let's hope for some change in the next book... but at the same time not too much change right?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Timeline by Peter Goes - Review

Title: Timeline
Author: Peter Goes
Pages: 80
Published: January 1, 2016 by Gecko Press
Source: Library
Links: goodreads,

From the Big Bang to the present day, illustrated scenes tell the history of our planet in one continuous story. A perfect introduction to history for young and old, this illustrated journey through our world’s culture and events travels from the Big Bang to the iPod and into the future. This is a trip through time, past dinosaurs, Vikings, Aztecs and spaceships. It looks at wars and disasters; introduces artists, explorers and leaders; shows us living in castles, yurts and skyscrapers. And it does not neglect the imagination—here too are dragons, mythical figures and TV characters, alongside world-changing inventions borne from the imaginations of scientists and explorers. Each scene puts global events in perspective, in space and time.
Every now and then I check out a book from the library that I've never heard of. My library updates it's "on order" list once a week and I glance through all the books.  If a title or cover looks neat I'll check it out and see if the book is interesting.  This was one of those books that I took a chance on that was super neat. What's also great is that this book matches up the reading challenge I am doing this month for the #weirdathon.  I like books with formats I may have never seen before.  This book illustrates history with a few captions on the pages. Of course... this doesn't cover all the history of the time periods but tries to capture some of the bigger events. I read it cover to cover.

Close up of a section of the above picture

The pages will show either a century, an empire, a decade, ext. I really enjoyed looking at the decades closer to my lifetime trying to spot if I remember those events.  I think this would be a fun book for a child.. though they might not be able to follow exactly what's going on in the history of the world.   The book starts with the big bang and ends in the 2010s.  The sections talk about governments at the time, pop culture, wars, climate, and technology.

Close up of a section of the above picture
This is a wonderful book for all ages.  If you look at the above close up picture you can see how the illustrator mixed in Martin Luther King, Jr, Woodstock and protesters of the Vietnam War all mixed into one group.  Just fantastic.   When reading the book... it made me wonder what will come next in the world.  What will the next century bring?  What will be important enough to draw on the pages.  The illustrations are all connected in the middle of the pages where all the black flows together through the entire book.

This is book one for me for the month of the #weirdathon.  Can't wait to read more.  Do you have any suggestions for a fun/weird formatted book???  Let me know!