Agents of SHIELD is a show that often tests my patience. One episode will be good, another not so much. And this flip flop continues in a loop every two weeks. There’s almost a regularity to it. It is one of the most uneven shows that I’ve watched, which is saying something since I’m quite a fan of Joss Whedon’s other shows and the ones I’ve seen have all been excellent, losing steam only about the time that they hit their final seasons. The show is extremely promising, but it just doesn’t capture the imagination as well as it should be.
Last week’s episode was kind of a bore. It lacked all the excitement and character drama of the episode the week before. But this week’s episode somehow turns it around. It is better than last week’s episode, primarily because it makes a strong effort to tie-in to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. And there is some interesting character development as well, with regards to Agent Ward, one character on the show who desperately needs that kind of development.
Managed to read a handful of more comics this week, since there were a lot of titles released that I was really interested in, and a couple from previous weeks that I hadn’t been able to get around to at the time. As usual, it was all a mixed reading experience, with some really good comics mixed in with some bad ones and a few that straddle the fence between the two extremes. More positive ones than negative ones.
No graphic novels this week sadly, since this week was a real slog in reading, again, and I was struggling for time in general with everything else too. Perhaps this coming week can be different!
Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder has been one of the biggest successes of Marvel’s line-wide reboot. A lot of that undoubtedly has to do with the Thor franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe being such a big breakout success as well. The second movie, Thor: The Dark World, which launched last week has so far proven to be another big hit and has broken several box office records of its predecessor already. Jason Aaron has been going all-out with the series and its an approach that has clearly worked out.
The current arc stars the long-forgotten Thor villain Malekith, one-time leader of the Dark Elves of the realm of Svartalfheim. Broken out of his prison in #13, he has been waging a guerrilla war across the Nine Realms and it has fallen to Thor and representatives of some of the other realms to hunt him down and bring him back in chains. In #14 we see the League of Realms form, an Avengers-like team-up of warriors from across the Nine Realms, and we see their first outing together. In #15, we see them a second time and this time, a lot of emphasis is placed on the character drama between the characters, rather than on the action.
To think, when I picked up the first issue of this series back in December last year, that I had considered the series to be of only passing interest. A full twelve issues later, here I am, a complete fan of Jason Aaron and the incredible spin he’s done on everybody’s favourite Thunder God. From a bit of a shaky beginning, Thor: God of Thunder has a come a long, long way, and is right now one of my favourite comics to read month after month. I love the character, I love the three-part narrative divided between Thors of the past, present and the future, and I love the whole mythic quality of the series. Plus that art, which has really, really grown on me.
The series wrapped up its first major arc a couple week ago in #11 as the Thor trinity finally defeated Gorr the God-Butcher in a most spectacular fashion. The arc, in totality, has been one of the most fun stories I’ve ever read and it really was an incredible experience. Quite to my surprise, this past Wednesday, Marvel released the #12th issue in the series, a sort of interlude as the Thors get back to their regular lives and Jason Aaron begins his next big arc, whatever it may be. I don’t really look at solicits so I have no idea what’s gonna happen next. Except more awesomeness. That’s one thing I can always count on Jason Aaron for these days.
Note: Some spoilers for this issue, although nothing… major.
I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
It’s back to comics for another day of Advent Reviews. This time I take on one of Marvel’s latest reboots, Thor: God of Thunder #1, which is written by Jason Aaron and is part of the publisher’s Marvel NOW! staggered line-wide relaunch. The recent movie piqued my interest in the character, and as a fan of Norse mythology, I couldn’t really pass up an opportunity to “start from the beginning” as it were.
The actual manuscript word-count is 64,001 words at the moment. I ended mid-scene to wrap things up and get my validation in before the clock hit midnight. The extra ~1,500 words there are from the chapter synopses and the little backstory stuff I wrote in Scrivener. Another year, another win. I call this a successful writing month.
AND NOW I CAN GO FRIKKIN RELAX FOR REALS.
In the Week 2 Update, I said that my goal for Week 3 was to hopefully complete chapter 4 by the end of the week and to have roughly 14,000 words in the bag. The first of those goals was going to be really tricky since I tend to overwrite chapters a lot and stick to my outline only in the most meta sense, but I was confident that I could do the second goal. I had done it in Week 2 and I had been traveling then, so no big deal.
Following on from my Week 1 Update, Week 2 was both better and worse for Project Cloak of Secrecy. The trip to India proved to be as bad as I had thought it would be, since I had two really terrible days of writing that set me back considerably. I managed to really in the second half of the week, but that required a near superhuman effort on my part, not to mention that I even ended up breaking a writing record, one that I’m really proud of in retrospect.
As I mentioned in my October Report, I’m taking part in the National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, once more this year after my successful run with it last year. The project, tentatively titled Ragnarok Chronicles Volume 1: Cloak of Secrecy is a space opera style science fantasy with Norse Gods, Giants and Humans in an interstellar and pan-dimensional power struggle. The concept was borne out of a want to do something with the growing body of work in this subset of science fiction/fantasy featuring gods in contemporary timelines such as James Lovegrove’s “Age of” novels or M. D. Lachlan’s Claw series.