Exciting news! I’ve finally got a partner for The Amazing Race. It’s none other than my old former Transporter nemesis and current rival blogger Tara Yelland (http://tarayelland.wordpress.com/ – Check out today’s entry for her most shocking grocery line confrontation yet. You won’t believe the last five minutes!). Earlier today, she sent me an email cryptically titled “So?”. Normally, I redirect her missives to my spam folder but this one intrigued enough for me to check it out. The message: “Should we team up for amazing race? “. I told her of course. We both have complimentary skill sets to bring to the table. She could handle all the navigating, manual driving, puzzles, and heights while I handled all the eating challenges.
Now that I have a partner, Step #1 of my dream to compete in The Amazing Race is complete. Step #2 is a little trickier and involves one of you guys adopting Tara and me since we, as non-American citizens, aren’t technically allowed to compete on the show. Kindly post your reasons for why you think you would be a good parent to Tara and me. We will consider all candidates and make a decision and official announcement before Christmas.
Did High Tea today with my friend and former Stargate publicist Kim Cowan. I hadn’t really planned on doing High Tea but we met up too late for lunch so I had to settle for tiny sandwiches and desserts fit for an elderly Lilliuptian socialite.
Continuing my perusal of almost every ongoing comic book series out there…
SECRET AVENGERS #16-19
Back when I was first reading comic books, I collected both the Avengers and X-Men. Today, there are so many variations of both teams that it’s difficult to keep up with all the titles and the various roster moves. The Secret Avengers are made up of Black Widow, the Beast, Moon Knight, Sharon Carter, War Machine, Valkyrie, and Shang-Chi under the command of Steve Rogers (formerly Captain America). Their mission: “Locate hidden high-level threats to population safety. End threat by any means necessary. Get out without being identified.” Each of the issues I read was a self-contained story and while, on the one hand, they were very clever and offered the satisfaction of a beginning, middle, and end, on the other hand, it felt like they wrapped up a little too quickly and conveniently at times. 22 pages doesn’t offer a lot of space to deliver a complete tale yet Warren Ellis avails himself nicely. Still, the necessity to focus on story doesn’t leave much room for character development and ongoing arcs, and these were elements I missed.
Verdict: Well-written but, ultimately, the standalone nature of the stories makes it a tough series to get into. The line-up raises a couple of questions as well: Is Beast splitting his time between the Secret Avengers and one of the numerous X-Men off-shoots? And what’s with Moon Knight? I was never a fan of the character because he always felt like a light-weight Batman but suddenly he’s psychotic? I recall that his secret identity was Marc Spector and, in fact, at one point somebody calls him “Marc” – and yet in issue #19, he’s Steven Grant. What gives? Finally, I have to make mention of those two gorgeous covers by John Cassady and Paul Mounts. Beautiful.
Barbara Gordon is wearing the cape once again. And walking! What the what? I’m a big fan of Gail Simone’s work (especially her run on Secret Six), so I’m interested to see where she takes the character. The villain, Mirror, struck me as conspicuously old school and felt a little out of place in an otherwise sharp narrative.
Verdict: Looking forward to seeing what Gail Simone does with the character. On we go…
Tales from WWII featuring Bucky, Captain America’s sidekick. I’m a huge fan of Brubaker’s work but didn’t love these Bucky stories. He does a nice job of capturing that old-timey comic feel but, at times, it all feels a little hokey. Coincidence and convenience seems to be the linchpin of our hero’s successes and, after a while, it really stretches credulity.
Verdict: I’d probably move on if not for the fact that the title changes direction next issue with a new creative team and arc. A fresh start. It’ll have another three issues to win me over.
Hmmm. In past installments, I’ve voiced my concerns about Green Lantern’s potential for silliness. The two previous titles I read, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, surprised me by eschewing the sillier elements in favor of darker, more mature narratives. New Guardians, however, is the flip side of the coin. It’s over the top and, at times, clearly feels like its geared toward a much younger audience.
Verdict: Two for three for the GL titles. Pass.
X-Factor was one of the last titles I followed before life got in the way of comic book reading. I very much enjoyed Peter David’s writing, the detective agency backdrop, and our oft-put upon protagonist, Jamie Madrox. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the other characters quite as engaging. At times, Rictor and Shatterstar feel like they’d be better suited to 90’s title.
Verdict: A good book but, unfortunately, most of the characters don’t appeal.
Outside of Alan Moore’s take on the character, I’m not that familiar with Swamp Thing so I was all sorts of curious to check out this updated version, especially given that Scott Snyder is at the writing reins. The three issues do a nice job of laying out the backstory while still advancing an interesting narrative. Surprisingly dark and downright creepy at times. While not exactly hooked, I am intrigued.
Verdict: Pretty good. I’m on board for now.