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Gotham Academy #4 (Comics Review)

It isn’t without reason that one of DC’s newest books, Gotham Academy, has found such success among the glut of superhero comics everywhere. A story set in Gotham that focuses on kids in a school environment with some inbuilt horror and thrills, Gotham Academy has quickly become one of my favourite comics to read every month. The writing on this is excellent, and so is the art. Plus I just adore the characters, and the whole mystery with what happened to the protagonist over the summer, something related to Batman no less, well, that’s a great hook too, I think.

In Gotham Academy #4 from last week, we see more of what is happening at the boarding school. With all the (light) supernatural things going on, it has been a pretty rough time for Olive and we are finally beginning to get some answers about the whole thing, not to mention that we are slightly closer to understanding what happened to the protagonist over the summer. More mysteries, more thrills, some answers, more questions, there’s a hell of a lot here to unpack and the new issue was just as good as the previous issues, if not better.

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Comics Picks For 03.12.2014

A third straight week this time without me hitting my magic 40 number, which I really regret since a ton of comics have been coming out these last two weeks, but no matter.

Anyway, My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, Dredd Uprise #1 from 200AD, and Swamp Thing #35-37 from DC Comics. The most disappointing comics of this week were  Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 and Hulk #9 from Marvel Comics. Comics which continued on with a good run yet again were Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 , Aliens: Fire and Stone #3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #5 , Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3, Inhuman #9, Gotham Academy #3 and Vampirella v2 #7 among others.

No graphic novels this past week unfortunately.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Advent Review #8: Gotham Academy #3 (Comics Review)

One of DC’s latest series, Gotham Academy has had a pretty good and strong start with its first two issues. The series has introduced us to lots of new readers, almost all of them high-school aged, and the unrepentant fun of the series has definitely pulled me in hook, line and sinker. Olive Silverlock and her friends and frenemies have provided lots of mysteries to sink my teeth into and the whole story developing around these characters is something that I find very compelling, especially since the story itself is of a very personal nature.

In this past week’s Gotham Academy #3, we see a bit more of the larger story as Olive and Pomeline finally hash out their differences and agree to team-up, for now. That creates an interesting mechanic between Olive and the school bully, which I find really compelling and this issue is also largely about Olive basically cutting deals with people she doesn’t really get around with. Which is great. And the art? The art is superb and spectacular as always. I can’t get over the art, ever. There’s so much damn vitality to it!

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Gotham Academy #2 (Comics Review)

While the many Bat-books over the last 75 years or so have done much to explore the younger generation of Gotham, we haven’t really seen the more… civilian side of things. The normal kids of Gotham who get caught up in the various mysteries of this city. That’s where last month’s debut Gotham Academy comes in. Written by Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan, this new series looks at a young female lead at a (possibly) haunted boarding school in Gotham, and the slivers of mystery and character offered up in the first issue were good enough for me to come back for more this month.

Gotham Academy #2 continues to explore who Olive Silverlock is and what happened to her in the summer that caused her to forget it all and even led to her having strained relationships with her boyfriend Kyle and his sister Maps. Not to mention the hazing she gets at the school from some of the other characters. This is quite a wonderful teen-oriented book, with actual teen characters no less, and it offers up some interesting stuff about life at the so-called Gotham Academy. The writing is good, if not really excellent, but the art definitely takes the top marks.

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Gotham Academy #1 (Comics Review)

October is going to be a really huge month this year. Aside from all the new comics that DC is launching this month, there are also big status quo changes in various books, such as over in Batgirl where there is a new creative team and a brand-new arc that is almost like a soft reboot of the title. Back around in June/July, DC announced a bunch of new titles when the details of Future’s End month were finally revealed, and one of the interesting changes to the publisher’s line-up was the YA-oriented title Gotham Academy, a title that I initially had no interest in.

Released today, Gotham Academy #1 explores the life of academy-girl Olive as a new school year starts and she gets to meet with her ex-boyfriend’s younger sister who is just starting her first year, and we also get introduced to lots of mysteries and thrills. Formerly an artist all the way, Becky Cloonan has teamed up with Brenden Fletcher for writing credits on this title, with Karl Kerschl doing the artwork. As a fresh new series, Gotham Academy holds a ton of promises and the YA-orientation of it is also something that is nice to see among a line of books that are 99.99% grimdark/adult-oriented.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book Review)

The Hunger Games is one of the series I wanted to read in 2013 as part of my “25 Series To Read In 2013” reading challenge. Having seen and loved the movie adaptation of the first novel in the series, and waiting with high anticipation for the second movie, this was a series I was really looking forward to reading eventually last year. And read it I did. One of the great things about it was how it added more to my movie experience than I’d thought, helping contextualize a lot of the scenes. And that I suppose, is the true strength of the combined experience.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra R. Clarke (Book Review)

In 2012, Angry Robot Books launched its Young Adult fiction imprint Strange Chemistry. One of the very first titles to be released under the new imprint was Cassandra R. Clarke’s debut novel The Assassin’s Curse. This was one of the very first YA titles I’d read at the time, and it was kind of an eye-opener since that was also a time when I was experimenting with some different genres and YA just happened to be something that I found attractive. The Assassin’s Curse didn’t exactly wow me unfortunately, but it proved to be a good experience nonetheless.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond (Book Review)

Angry Robot launched its Young Adult imprint Strange Chemistry in Fall 2012 and in the year and a half since, the new imprint has published a lot of great fiction, such as the Emilie novels by Martha Wells or The Holders novels by Julianna Scott. Some of it hasn’t been to my tastes however, and thus I didn’t enjoy them. One of these is Gwenda Bond’s second novel for the publisher, The Woken Gods. This is kind of a post-apocalytpic urban fantasy (though not quite extreme on the first half of that description), and it was certainly interesting, but in the end I didn’t come out with as good an opinion of it as I’d hoped.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Excerpt & Giveaway: Glaze by Kim Curran

First, a note. This post was actually supposed to go up last Thursday, and so is a week late. For that, my apologies to author Kim Curran and to Faye at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts who put the whole book tour together for Glaze. I haven’t been punctual about guest posts of late, and I do have quite a back log of things that need to get done. Something I’m working on correcting!

Second, having read the premise of Glaze and having followed up on all the excerpts that have been posted in various places as part of this book tour, I’m very excited about the novel. I haven’t read anything by Kim as yet, though I do have copies of her two YA novels from Strange Chemistry that I need to get through, but reading these excerpts, I’m sure that the books are gonna be great. Strange Chemistry has had a fairly good track record since their launch, as far as I’m concerned, and Kim seems to be one of their top authors and Glaze has been getting a lot of good publicity. Hopefully I will be reading it soon. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt below.

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Valvrave the Liberator Season 1 Ep 2-4 (Anime Review)

A few days ago I watched the first episode of Valvrave the Liberator, one of the newest anime shows on the mecha anime scene. It started off fairly generic, mimicking the opening of shows like Gundam SEED and Gundam SEED: Destiny but there was always the promise that the show was more, largely because of the epilogue that went with the first episode. As a huge fan of the mecha anime genre, the show didn’t appear to be offering something new but I decided to stick with it because I did enjoy the opening episode. Interesting characters and interesting plot, they both did the trick for me.

Having now seen episodes 2-4 of the first season, I can definitely say that while Valvrave The Liberator is cut from the same cloth as the above-mentioned mecha anime and bears the same tropes as those shows, it also stands on its own. The foundations are a bit rickety since the differences aren’t highlighted as much as they should, but it is developing into a fairly fun show that keeps you interested and coming back for more as soon as you are done with an episode. That’s the best kind of anime out there that is.

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Valvrave the Liberator Season 1 Ep 1 (Anime Review)

Mecha anime is one of my favourite genres of anime. Gundam, Gundam SEED, Mobile Suit Gundam, Gurren Lagaan, Code Geass, Neon Genesis Evangelion, I’ve seen them all. And yet there are countless others that I have not seen, such as some of the Gundam franchises, or Attack on Titan, or Voltron or a bunch of others. There’s something really fascinating about the science fiction aspects of mecha anime, plus the usual young adult angle with them that I really like. Gundam SEED and its sequel Gundam SEED: Destiny were my first run-ins with the genre, and I’ve loved it ever since.

One of the newest mecha anime on the block is Valvrave the Liberator, or Kakumeiki Varuvureivu to give it the more accurate Japanese name. When I went in, I had no idea what to expect from it. All I knew was that it shared some similarities with Gundam and that it was mecha anime. I saw the first episode last night, and I have to say that I’m a bit underwhelmed with it. The opening is trademark Gundam style, with little to mark it as different, and that was disappointing. But the characters themselves were fun, which matters significantly, I think.

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Divergent: Not Different Enough

After the incredible success of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight franchise and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games franchise in recent years, Hollywood has gone crazy with Young Adult adaptations that feature female characters in the lead, or original movies geared to that crowd. Many movies have come and gone, such as the adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s first Mortal Instruments novel City of Bones or Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy novel. There are others of course, many of them, but these two adaptations stand as two of the biggest box office failures, the latter more so since it failed to break even the $10 million mark. And now we have the adaptation to Veronica Roth’s Divergent, the first in a trilogy.

Divergent is set in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world where we glimpse a very small slice of humanity, living in Chicago with the city walled off from the rest of the world, ostensibly because of some kind of monsters or some such. This small slice of humanity has divided itself into five different factions, based on their work priorities and once children reach a certain age, they are placed into one of these actions, either by choice or through a… test. What follows should be clear enough I hope. As such premises go, Divergent is mildly interesting. But the story doesn’t hold water, and the acting is also quite sub-par, meaning that the final result and my verdict is a big zero.

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