Review – Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine

Bitch Planet vol 1Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine DeLandro

I originally received this to review, but because it’s very much designed to have double spreads and to be read across two pages, it just wasn’t readable that way. Fortunately, I’d preordered the TPB anyway. The problem is, I really don’t know what to think of it. I love the diversity of the characters, but I found myself only really knowing two or three of them for sure, each time they appeared. Part of that was the art and part of that is, hey, this is a women’s prison with a lot of inmates, and this is only five issues of the comic. There’s not really enough space to be properly introduced to everybody.

Despite the fact that I love the idea, and I love the trend of people getting the NC tattoos and how much it has spoken to many women, I don’t know if I actually like the product. But maybe it isn’t about liking — I do value the book. I like that it’s in your face and violent and, well, non-compliant. I like that it features a really overweight woman as a heroine who isn’t prepared to change to be somebody else’s ideal. I like that it offends and concerns ‘men’s rights activists’.

So maybe not my thing, but that doesn’t make it a bad comic.

Rating: 4/5

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Stacking the Shelves

Hello, everyone! Thanks for the good wishes last week — my grandmother’s operation went okay, and she seems quite well, all things considered. Hope you’ve all had good weeks too!

Bought

Cover of Murder Past Due by Miranda James Bitch Planet vol 1

Cover of Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Flying Too High by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood

Cover of Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews Cover of Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Suddenly, I’m mad about Phryne Fisher. Even considering watching the series, if it’s on the UK Netflix! I’ve read a bunch of these already.

Library

Cover of Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood

Yes. Uh. As I said.

Comics

Shield #1

I’ve been looking forward to this one since I first heard about it!

What’s everyone else been getting?

Review – The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium

Cover of The Wicked + The Divine vol 2The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson

I wish I had the first volume here, so I could have flipped through it again and got myself quickly back on board for this one. Not that it took too much to get sucked back into it, but in terms of the mystery, I couldn’t remember who I suspected of doing what and why! The characters stuck in my head, too, at least their roles, but their names didn’t. Partly my fault, because I’m not a visual person at all and I can’t ever connect names to faces, let alone in the second volume of a comic I’ve read once before. It doesn’t help that McKelvie’s style is much the same as it was for Young Avengers — I think, “Hey, that character looks familiar… no, I’m thinking of America Chavez.” Sigh.

The art is, as in the first volume, absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I could imagine The Wicked + The Divine in any other style — it’s perfect this way. In many ways, this volume complicates the plot more, introducing more characters, more background, more twists. There’s still a lot more to discover, and despite the relative thickness of the book, I wanted more, right away, right now.

Please?

Rating: 5/5

Review – Hawkeye: L.A. Woman

Cover of Hawkeye: LA Woman by Matt FractionHawkeye: L.A. Woman, Matt Fraction, Annie Wu, Javier Pulido

This volume of Hawkeye collects a bunch of issues about the younger, cuter Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. What I kinda don’t get is how much like Clint she acts — she’s not the serious, dedicated leader of the Young Avengers here at all (and she doesn’t once that I can think of contact any of her team). The volume is mostly made up of new characters, aside from Kate and the antagonist, Madame Masque.

It’s fun, and the art is okay — I don’t like it as much as Aja’s — but I like Kate Bishop self-assured and telling Noh-Varr he’s a jerk, or helping Billy and Teddy save the world with love. We don’t get to see the Young Avengers off-duty like this much, which I guess is the format of these Hawkeye comics, but… I don’t know. And I half-expected her to come out with lines from Fraction’s Sex Criminals series: “This fucking guy”, etc.

She does still kick ass, but she also gets her ass kicked a lot, and often due to naivety and inexperience. Which is great, but, uh, the Young Avengers have taken down some pretty big threats, actually. Girl knows what she’s doing — and she has a support network other than Clint and her dad. A phone call to Billy or Teddy would’ve gone down well, Tommy could have been at her side in literally seconds, and America Chavez would gleefully have stomped Madame Masque’s faces. David could probably have set her up with a database, never mind files, if she’s gonna be a PI. Like, with Clint you can get him not asking for backup, because he’s a dummy. Kate isn’t. I’d at least have liked to see her think about calling her team, especially when she believes people are dying.

I don’t know, I guess one superhero being a dummy is kind of funny. Two is apparently overkill for me. Did like the gay couple who help her, though.

Rating: 2/5

Review – Hawkeye: Little Hits

Cover of Hawkeye vol 2 by Fraction and AjaHawkeye: Little Hits, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth, Chris Eliopoulous

Clint Barton continues to be a trainwreck in everyday life. And Kate Bishop continues to care about him even though he’s really kind of a loser in many ways. And Clint has a really great dog. That pretty much sums up book two. And the whole run could probably summed up with, “Clint Barton makes poor life choices.”

I’m not 100% into this comic, but I do enjoy it, and Fraction and Aja are certainly very creative, funny, and willing to take risks. Sometimes I find that their style of storytelling doesn’t work for me — I’m not a visual person, so the 95% visuals issue “Pizza Is My Business” was difficult for me, and that’s not the only time they rely on very visual storytelling. So I think my reaction is a pretty idiosyncratic one; it’s a bit weird that I’m even into comics, since visual storytelling is hard for me, and the best comics really make use of that in combination with the words, instead of illustrating the words.

Still, reading it again helped somewhat with comprehension, and I’ll keep that in mind as I get onto LA Woman and Rio Bravo.

Rating: 3/5

Review – Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propriis

Captain Marvel vol 3Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propriis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Warren Ellis, David Lopez

There’s still some great banter in this book, and it’s a lot less silly than the previous volume felt. Unfortunately, the Black Vortex issue is pretty disconnected and random — I would’ve been interested to see more of Carol’s involvement in that storyline, and it is interesting to see her choosing not to go cosmic — but as it is, it feels clumsy, especially with all the exposition explaining what the Black Vortex even is.

The final issue is the most important, probably the most emotionally hard-hitting of this run. I love the people who support Carol in it — even if it took me a minute to realise that Steve was Steve — and the story is sweet (though I still don’t actually know much about Carol even knows Tracy). It’s a fitting return to Earth for Carol, in many ways.

I do wish Marvel wouldn’t run so many events, though. I’m not actually interested in the majority, definitely not as single issues, and it really disrupts ongoing stories with individual characters. The crossover events are going to stop being special if they keep happening all the time, and we’ve had so many lately, it seems.

Rating: 4/5

October TBR

I’ve been excited to get started on this — I think I’ve got a great line-up for this month. I’m enjoying switching the categories up a bit, and will probably do that every month, even if ‘ARCs’ and ‘library’ are probably gonna be a constant.

ARCs

  1. Made to Kill, Adam Christopher.
  2. The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu.
  3. Tower of Thorns, Juliet Marillier.
  4. The Palace Job, Patrick Weekes.
  5. Armada, Ernest Clines.

Library

  1. Ghost Hawk, Susan Cooper.
  2. Badgerland, Patrick Barkham.
  3. Ask a Policeman, The Detection Club.
  4. The Great Zoo of China, Matthew Riley.
  5. Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen.

Series

  1. The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, Catherynne M. Valente.
  2. Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie.
  3. Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier.
  4. Dragon Coast, Greg van Eekhout.
  5. The Dark Blood of Poppies, Freda Warrington.

Tor.com novellas

  1. The Witches of Lychford, Paul Cornell.
  2. Binti, Nnedi Okorafor.
  3. The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson.
  4. Sunset Mantle, Alter S. Reiss.
  5. The Last Witness, K.J. Parker.

Comics

  1. Bitch Planet, vol 1, Kelly Sue DeConnick.
  2. Saga vol 3, Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples.
  3. Hawkeye: Rio Bravo, Matt Fraction.
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Angela, Brian Michael Bendis.
  5. Batgirl: Wanted, Gail Simone.

Challenge

  1. Hard to Be A God, Boris & Arkady Strugatsky.
  2. Burning Water, Mercedes Lackey.
  3. The Colour Purple, Alice Walker.
  4. The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff.
  5. Rosemary & Rue, Seanan Mcguire.

Wildcards

  1. The Fox’s Tower & Other Stories, Yoon Ha Lee.
  2. Thornyhold, Mary Stewart.
  3. Timeless, Gail Carriger.
  4. Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo.
  5. ?

It shouldn’t be too busy this month, so I’m hoping to really chew through the list. I think I’m gonna end up with a couple books left over from September, but I’ll stick them in wildcards if I get round to them.

ETA: I’ve gone wildly off-script because it’s a difficult month. Still hoping to finish a few more of these, though!