Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Avengers Assemble

I picked up Avengers Assemble because it was listed as the first book in a series that included Avengers: The Enemy Within, which I had read as part of a Captain Marvel series. When I looked at what other books were part of the series, I saw Science Bros. and knew I had to get them. I am really glad I did and Avengers Assemble is a great first book. Brian Michael Bendis does a great job at bringing everyone together. The story could feel overloaded, but it focuses where it needs to focus and offers snippets of Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic comments, and others, where necessary. 

The story focuses on the "core" movie Avengers at first, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Thor. There's a problem. They have to solve it. The problem is really big and they need space help. Enter the Guardians of the Galaxy. Then there's some space adventures. Maybe a couple of the guys die. Also, I'm pretty sure Thor and Gamora were flirting, but that was before the deaths. I've only recently started reading comics/graphic novels more regularly, so (spoiler?) is Thor and Gamora a thing? Because that would be cool.

The art was great. Fun, spacey, earthy, expressive. The colours were great. I loved all the battle scenes. I liked how it was organized, how the art lay on top of each other. The big scenes had an epic feel, but the artist was able to bring the story back into focus for those character moments, like with Hawkeye and Black Widow.

I do think there was a good balance of character and story. Though with so many characters, there wasn't a lot of "growth" happening, we got so see characters meet for the first time and show off their personalities. Rocket and Hawkeye's interactions were great. Drax was direct. Hulk showed emotion and fierceness. There was a lot packed into this book. I didn't find it overwhelming though. It was engaging and exciting. I'm even more eager to read Science Bros. and I wonder how it will all end. (Thanos!)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Court Of Wings And Ruin

I looked at A Court of Wings and Ruin and thought, well, that's shorter than Mist and Fury. Nope. The pages are just thin. The edition I have is a healthy 699 pages. There was a lot packed into those 699 pages. I don't think I have my head around it all yet. 699 pages and I can't believe it's already over. Sarah J. Maas made me want a long book to be even longer.

[Spoilers if you haven't read the first two books in the series. Vague spoilers for A Court of Wings and Ruin] 

A Court of Wings and Ruin starts off where we left Feyre, in the heart of the Spring Court, playing Tamlin's injured love. Revenge for what was done to her sisters is on her mind. However, her duty to the Night Court rules her decisions. I thought there would be more time with Feyre at the Spring Court, but like with the last book, what I thought was going to happen and what actually did, were two different things. I liked that we got to explore Prythian. Other Courts needed attention. There was a race across the land. There was bonding, there was revenge. People got to know each other in ways that they never expected. Characters grew and changed, taking on different roles as the land around them changed. I liked that we got to know the other High Lords better. Until now, we only really knew Rhys, Tamlin and Tarquin. I REALLY hope we get to spend more time with Helion, because there are some great secrets that need to come to light.

I feel like for the most part, Feyre and Rhysand's story is over. Especially with Tamlin's final moment in the story.  I know there are more books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series to be published, but I feel like they will be about other characters. A book about Lucien and Elain, maybe one dealing with Queen Vassa, maybe the same book. A book that takes us deeper into the Dawn Court, the Day Court, Winter and Autumn. Each Court, each "royal family" has so much history, is filled with secrets, they could fill their own books. There are three novels and two novellas coming out in the next five years (according to Goodreads) and I could easily read them all.

I want to know not just about the High Lords, but about the characters I've come to love. What will happen with Mor? She revealed a pretty big secret, her reasons why keeping it silent are understandable, but they have had a cost. What will happen with Azriel? He has a bond with Elain, but where can that lead? What about Amren and Varian? Will we see them in the Summer Court? Will Tarquin see his dreams fulfilled? What will happen to Eris? I feel like somehow, he is misunderstood, and like Rhys, he's been playing a game, hiding his real self.

I really loved this novel, the entire series. I could read it all again. I was actually surprised there weren't more twists at the end. More "endings". But I suppose that also leaves us with more to explore in the future. A Court of Wings and Ruin has left me with a serious book hangover. When I think of what I want to read next, all that comes to might are the characters of the series, what could have been, what may be still, what will never be. I couldn't have asked for a book or series to grip me more.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Wonder Woman

Yes. Just, yes. Wonder Woman was everything that I hoped it would be. Diana was amazing. She was tough, determined, strong, sensitive and iconic. I don't know if I could have loved Diana more. I loved her insistence about training. I loved her directness. Gal Gadot was strong and brilliant, emotional and expressive. She brought Wonder Woman to life on screen with class and independence. Her performance, seeing Wonder Woman up there kicking ass, having a formidable presence, but also being a part of a deep, complex story, was wonderful.  I loved the emotion in the story. I loved that the story made sense, that it was Wonder Woman's origin, but that it also tied into the DC Universe and looks like it will lead nicely into the Justice League movie. I hope there is a lot of Wonder Woman in that movie.

Wonder Woman was my favourite part of Batman V Superman, and I was so very much looking forward to finally seeing her movie, but I was also worried. While I thought the DC Universe stories were okay (I don't hate on them as much as I've seen others), they all disappointed me in some way. So though Wonder Woman looked amazing, and I thought she should have had a bigger role in a movie with the title Dawn of Justice, I was still worried that this film would not live up to my expectations, that it would be like the DC films before it. Seriously though, how has there never been a Wonder Woman film before this? Wonder Woman is 76 years old. There are at least 6 Superman movies I can think of off the top of my head and 8 of Batman. Honestly, I know there are more, but looking them up will probably frustrate me. You know what, let's get back to how awesome the Wonder Woman movie was.

Watching Diana transition from her sheltered life on Themyscira to the world of man was interesting. She knows a lot, over 100 languages and she's read countless books. She's studied and trained hard. But she is not prepared for how women are treated. She is not prepared for the laws that govern the world. She is not prepared for the clothes. I would not be very happy with some of the clothes either, though the outfit Diana settled on seemed to fit her personality well. 

I loved when Diana and Steve were on the boat together. I really enjoyed Steve Trevor. He didn't take over the story. He was the guide with whom Diana could understand the world of man. Through him, she also saw how there was good and evil in everyone. She saw how people make choices and can change. Steve had the typical instinct to protect Diana, but once he saw what she could do, once he learned, she leaped into battle with a cheer; he needed her. Would it have been nice if he trusted her abilities at her word? Yes, but I also think about the World War I era and that this would be typical male behaviour. 

I also have to say I really loved that French village. Diana was amazing there (and everywhere). Her/Steve's men were great there too. In that village, they all learned more about each other, about who they really were and who they could be. It would have been easy to let them be who they seemed at first, but movie let us see more in them, see their goodness.

I want to see Hippolyta again. I want to see what happens when Diana goes home. I want to see how the relationship with her mother has changed and what other changes there may have been on the island. We deserve another Wonder Woman movie. Wonder Woman is easily the best movie DC has made in a long time. I hope they keep that going and everyone watches this fantastic story.