Saturday, October 29, 2016

What I bought October 2016

Okay this is a new thing I'm going to do here.  My local comic shop Secret Identity Comics gets their delivery monthly rather than weekly,  so after I make my monthly pick up I'll blog about what I bought and other purchases during the month.  Some items will have a quick capsule review others especially longer items will just be mentioned with a possible review down the track.


I'm a huge fan of the Arrow which has been aired here in Australia on Fox 8 express from the States.  This has been an issue in the past when the show was on Free to Air and season 2 took sooooooo long to air.  (let's not get me started on Agent Carter) .

I'll admit that the seasons have had a few missteps - the focus on a magical enemy in Season 4 being one but overall I love the show.  It's gritty and street level, it deviates from the source material but I can live with that.    I have been collecting the various tie-ins, four volumes of Comics and a novelisation. (I'm yet to read Arrow Vengeance but I was a little disappointed to see it was a novelisation of season two as I was hoping for an original story.

The comics are interesting, they started as digital comics and they expand the world of the TV series, letting us know more about other characters behind the scenes of the episodes.

The Dark Archer is a really interesting idea John Barrowman, who plays Malcolm Merlyn The Dark Archer, and his novelist sister writing a story that expands on the background of that character.  The story jumps between the present (just after season 3) and events in 1985.

We discover that Malcolm's real name isn't actually Malcolm Merlyn but rather Arthur King (and we are left to wonder if this another pseudonym).  We learn more about Malcolm and his history and we get a rather good action adventure story with young Arthur hunting down a mystical artefact and the consequences of that coming back to haunt him.  These flash backs mimic the show but are tied into the present day story more effectively that the TV show does in some cases.

This is a solid story firmly set in the world of Arrow.

JAMES BOND #10 Eidolon part 4 Dynamite

So we are over halfway through Bond investigating Eidolon and this issue finally brings things to a head.  We discover that SPECTRE had planted sleeper agents in various agencies around the world.  Bond gets some very good action pieces as M and Moneypenny.  I'm enjoying this series and look forward to the next issue.

Peepland #1 Hard Case Comics imprint of  Titan Comics

Christ Faust and Gary Phillips co-wrote this 80s noir story set in the peepshows of New York's Times Square.  Oh man this is what I wanted to read - a gritty sexy story that would sit beside Control Freak, Money Shot and "The Foot Job".  This first issue sets everything up for a great ride in the rest of this miniseries.


Gary Phillips' second entry in this list.  When I heard that Vigilante was getting a new series and that Adrian Chase was appearing in Arrow season 5, I wondered if as part of Rebirth they were bringing back Adrian Chase.

The solicitations soon dispelled that notion and that we would be reading about a new Vigilante (which makes him the eighth person to use the name in DC)

I love Vigilante,  I have nearly all 50 issues of the 80s series, and the other attempts at reviving the character after that.  I found this issue a bit of a challenge to read and I suspect that rereading will reward me with things that I missed the first time.  There's a jump in time that took me off guard in the start of the issue which took me out of the story and perhaps coloured the rest of my reading of this issue.  I'm on board for the rest of the miniseries but I was left feeling that things hadn't been set up enough in this issue.  I like the characters and the LA setting is a refreshing change for comics  especially an LA away from the glamour strips we normally see.

Last but not least

THE STORY OF THE PHANTOM novel by Lee Falk published by Hermes Press
Back in the 70s Avon books published 15 Phantom novels.  Over the years I've looked unsuccessfully for these books so I was super excited that Hermes Press is reprinting these books.
I'm really looking forward to reading this.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly

I don't think I've reviewed any Matthew Reilly on this blog which is something I will have to rectify in the near future.  Let me just say after reading my first Reilly book he immediately leapt into my top ten authors.

I was lucky enough to meet him at the 2014 Supanova and I will be seeing him again at this year's as well as attending his talk at the Brisbane City Hall.

He has two series The Scarecrow series and the Jack West series with several stand alone novels.
The Four Ancient Kingdoms is part of the Jack West Series (although some of his other characters make a guest appearance in this book)  Jack West Jnr is an Australian Soldier with a bent for archaeology.  This is Indiana Jones ramped up to eleven with a team of special forces soldiers racing the world looking for ancient knowledge.  The Four Legendary Kingdoms is the fourth in the series following on from The Seven Ancient Wonders, The Six Sacred Stones  and the Five Greatest Warriors.  Reilly has said that this series is counting down to something and I'm now super keen to see where this is going. 

Reilly is such a good writer each of his books is typically four hundred odd pages but they fly by.  I've spoken to other fans and they've all mentioned that they start one of his books and before they know it, it's 2am.  It doesn't feel like there is any padding in the books, yet each book tells an complete story and in the case of Jack West Reilly is able to seed the ideas for future books in an organic way that doesn't feel shoehorned in like some big blockbuster movies I could name **Cough Dawn of Justice***Cough**Iron Man 2**cough.

The story opens with Jack awakening in a world of trouble and we discover that he has been kidnapped to participate in a contest of champions.  There are similarities to his first book Contest which features a similar reluctant participant in a contest but in many ways it's like the final round of American Idol where the contestants sign their audition piece again and we see how much they have grown as an artist.  Similarly we see how much Reilly has grown as a writer  in this book by his utilisation of a similar idea to his first work. 

In the same vein characters from earlier Jack West books reappear and we discover that there is a larger history and back story than we first thought.  Jack is pitted in a series of challenges that explain why certain heroes like Hercules and Gilgamesh have similar stories.

I'd recommend all the Jack West books hell, I'd recommend all the Matthew Reilly books and The Four Legendary Kingdoms is a slam bang action ride and worthwhile reading