Monday, January 23, 2006

Recent Reading

Let's take a quick peek at the stack on the nightstand, shall we?

Superman and Batman, Jeph Loeb and assorted artists
I've been getting these through my county's library lending system, and I have to say, I have been very disappointed. The Long Halloween is easily one of my favorite comics, (see my review here) and I've liked most of Loeb's other stuff very much--the Marvel "color" series, the Halloween sequel. But these have just been convoluted, boring, and just way-overwritten. Loeb indulges in his love of narration to much, methinks, letting both Superman and Batman narrate at the same time (unattributed word balloons abound, with Batman's in dark blue and Superman's in yellow--a nifty graphic solution that can't fix a bigger problem). This leads to many parallelisms that come off as very forced and repetitive. If/when there is a volume four (not sure if this series is still going on), I don't think I'll grab it.

Identity Crisis, Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales
This I liked. And I'm typically more of a Marvel than DC guy. I'm sure I missed a lot, not really being up on my DC history or characters, but the writing was sharp, the characterizations excellent, and the art a gorgeous and just-right blend of "realism" and super-heroey goodness. I understand from some brief skimming through some comic blogs that many disagreed, but I loved this.

The Best American Magazine Writing 2004
Great. Highlights included "Foaling Season," a very touching short story by Aryn Kyle; "American Communion," a profile highlighting the relationship between Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin; "Home," an account of the return of two American astronauts post-Columbia by Chris Jones; and "Walking His Life Away," the heartbreaking story of a would-be Olympic speedwalking athlete.

Next on the stack is Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, Zadie Smith's On Beauty, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2005, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, most likely in that order.

Until Whenever

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