Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review: Northlanders: Sven the Returned

Sven the Returned is the first trade collection of Brian Wood's Northlanders series. Set in 980 a.d. Northlanders follows Sven, who has returned to his ancestral lands in Orkney to claim the inheritance left by his recently deceased father. Sven's plan is to quickly show up, get his money, and head back to Constantinople where he has spent most of his life amongst the palaces, as an elite soldier. Of course, things aren't that easy. He returns to discover that his uncle, Gorm has claimed Sven's birthright. Sven however, is not discouraged by his Uncle's betrayal. Nor does he fear the small army of men loyal to Gorm who view Sven as a traitor. Sven embarks on a one man war to claim his birthright.

Filled with hardcore Viking action and gore, Sven the Returned is a pleasure to look at. Illustrated by Davide Gianfelice, the artwork is quite stunning. Gianfelice and colorist Dave McCaig do a fantastic job of nailing the harsh northern climate setting, using flat-toned hues to lend a real life quality to the beautiful backdrops and scenery. Gianfelice also manages to make the brutality of combat look beautiful, yet realistically gory. Lots of blood was spilled in this graphic novel, but considering the weapons of choice for that time, it seemed perfect.

I wish I could say as many nice things about the writing as I could the art. But I cant. Once again, I find myself let down by Brian Wood. A major snag for me was the language used. Wood completely modernized the dialog to the point that the vikings talk like cheesy modern day action movie characters. Juxtaposed with the art work which depicted period specific clothing, weaponry, tools, dwellings, etc. this felt incredibly out of place. I wouldn't have minded too much if the dialog had been moderately update so as to not be archaic, but this just felt like overkill.

Wood's plotting led to other annoyances. The first being Sven's affair with Thora, one of Gorm's love-slaves. At one point while they are banging, Sven states: "She was my first, when we were young. I suppose I made all kinds of stupid promises to get her to fuck me." However, about forty pages later while Wood is giving Sven's back-story, we see that he left his village at a very young age. I would guess, from the art depiction, the way child-Sven acted and behaved, and the other back-story events, that he was about ten years old at the time. Maybe he did have sex with Thora at age ten, but it seems highly unlikely and was an annoying flaw in the story.

Another plotting complaint is the conflict between Sven and Gorm's right-hand man, Hakkar. From the very first moment they meet, (Hakkar knocks Sven out with a brutal uppercut) the two seem to be on a collision course. For much of the book I was anticipating this eventual showdown, but it never happens, though there was plenty of opportunity for them to throw down. Instead, amidst contrived formality they become "brothers" or some lame thing like that, and it all felt like such a cop out.

I had other gripes too, including the characters, all of which were poorly developed, and the plotting, which lacked focus, and came to a uninteresting climax. As much as I wanted to like Sven the Returned, I simply couldn't. In most cases, the combo of vikings, sword fights, and sex would be a hit for me, but this just fell flat. This may be the end of the road for me and Brian Wood.

Grade: C-

Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Nine years and seven books later, I have finally (!!) finished with the Harry Potter series. The first couple books hooked me, and there was enough good stuff in the rest of the books to keep me interested, so I kept plugging along. Here, at the top of the Harry Potter summit, looking back, it was a good trip, but I'm damn glad it is over.

This one took me by how terribly boring a huge portion of it was. It seemed to me that Harry and company had a clear mission ahead of them by the end of The Half Blood Prince, but it took ages, nearly half the book for anything to happen in this one. Fun, look how weird the Dursleys are! Wow, a wizard wedding! (Which seemed very Christian). Then, finally, yippee! A very standard quest, complete with a power-sword, and evil talismans. At one point, when I was tallying up how many more horcruxes were left to destroy, and how many more pages I had to read, I was unsure I would be able to get through this book.

Luckily, things do eventually pick, up, but the first 300 pages of this book could have benefited from massive editing. When the ball does get rolling, the book is quite good. I was annoyed at how Harry, Ron and Hermoine were always on the run, so when they finally started being more proactive, I was relieved. This book had some great, memorable moments. The battle of Hogwarts was great, and I thought Snape's pensieve memory was quite interesting and put a good cap on one of my favorite characters in the series. As far as series ending books go, I thought Rowling did a good,not great, job putting this one to bed. It was satisfying.

I will point out a few gripes I had though. So, WARNING! SEVERE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

First off, when Harry "dies" and meets Dumbledore in Kings Cross, it really killed the flow for me. The book had been cracking along so nicely for a good stretch, then Rowling slowed everything down with a chapter that is essentially one long info-dump, where she ties up all the loose ends in the series...All the while Voldemort is still alive, and the fate of the wizarding world hangs in the balance. I hated this disruption of flow and it sullied my enjoyment of the final scenes.

My other big gripe is the "19 Years Later" epilogue. It was completely unnecessary. I'd much rather wonder what happend to Harry and his pals then have it be laid right out in front of me. This chapter felt way too nice. Harry marries Ginny, Ron marries Hermoine, and they name their little wizard kids this and that...CUTE! Really? For real? That is such an incredibly boring ending. I just wish Rowling had left things where they were and let the reader contemplate what happened next. Instead: "And they all lived happily ever after!" is what you get.

I'm sure there are a lot of super fans out there who are sad this series is over, but I'm kinda glad. It was fun while it lasted, but it feels good to have this in the rear-view mirror. Despite some golden moments, this book suffered from a lack of editing, which caused it to drag for long periods of time. Of course if you've made it this far and only have the seventh book to read, power through it. You wont be too disappointed.

Grade: C

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Just purchased a pair of Willie Nelson tickets. I've been wanting to see Willie live for years, so this is pretty much a dream come true for me. I grew up listening to all the country-western legends at my grandparent's and Willie's music has special meaning for me, so I'm really excited to see him live. Just have to wait until mid September...

Music Break

I was just rocking out to this song today....Thought I'd share!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Invincible: Family Matters

Invincible is a "cape and tights" comic written by Robert Kirkman, and drawn by Corey Walker. The main character, Mark Grayson, is a typical teenager: He's a senior in high school, he has a crappy part time job at a burger joint, he's interested in girls, and his dad is the most powerful superhero on earth. Ok, maybe that last bit isn't so typical, but aside from the super hero stuff...pretty standard!

Mark's father is Omni-Man, a super powerful human-like alien from a far distant planet, here on earth to protect it from trouble. Mark's mom seems like a typical American mom, but her calm, laid-back demeanor seems to keep the family anchored.

One day at work while taking out the garbage, Mark discovers that has begun to inherit his father's powers. That night at dinner, Mark's mother asks him how his day was. Mark replies that he thinks he is finally getting his Dad's powers, and his mom's response is to say: "That's nice. Can you please pass the potatoes?" Her normal response to a very abnormal statement was quite funny to me, and sets the Grayson family up as a very likable bunch. It would be hard to connect to a family of super-powered heroes, but the mother, in her normalcy, allows the reader to be able to make that connection, and it really works. I found myself liking the scenes at home the best.

As Mark learns more about his burgeoning powers, he goes though most things you might expect a young upstart hero to go thorough: From choosing a suit, to picking a name, and busting low-life crooks. Mark also kinda-sorta joins a super hero team called the "Teen Team". Pathetic name, but the babe of the team, Atom Eve, is a school mate of Mark's, and his crush.

With the help of the Teen Team, and Omni-Man, Mark works to uncover the whereabouts of some students who have gone missing from his high school, and how they may be connected to a string of mall bombings.

The art of Invincible is quite striking. The artist, Walker and colorist Crabtree, use bold lines and bright colors to make the images stand out. The somewhat cartoony artform lends a bit of lightheartedness to the story. While I enjoyed the visuals, there were never any moments that really took my breath away.

Invincible is an interesting take on costumed heroes. Mark is a likable guy, and Kirkman's writing is quite solid, but I never felt like I was fully hooked into the story. This was probably due to there being a complete lack of tension. I never worried for Mark's safety, or thought that maybe he couldn't handle a situation. You'd think a rookie hero might run across some hardship in his or her early stages of crime fighting, but that never happened here, and it was a bit boring. The "bad-guys" were chumps, and easily handled, and Mark is "Invincible" so can anything really go too far wrong for him?

All in all, Invincible was an enjoyable, light read, but not necessarily what I would consider a must read by any means. Fans of costumed hero comics might enjoy this one more than I did, but for me the rest of the series isn't exactly something i feel like I need to read.

Grade: C

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review: Preacher: Ancient History

The fourth volume of Preacher is unlike any volumes that have come before. It contains three Preacher "specials" each set in the past, giving back story on some of the more prominent side characters from the series. The other discrepancy from the previous volumes is that the art is not done by Steve Dillon, and is instead handled by three different artists: Steve Pugh, Carlos Ezquerra, and Richard Case.

The first of the three tales is titled Saint of Killers and tells the origin story of Custer's supernatural nemesis. This is the longest of the three stories and it displays just how bad ass the Saint of Killers was in his mortal life.

While on a journey to a nearby town to obtain medicine for his sick wife and child, the unnamed man runs across a vile band of crooks and killers. This meeting sets off a chain of events that leads to multiple deaths, epic shoot outs and the most amazing scene set in Hell, where even the devil himself isn't safe from the Saint of Killers.

This first story was extremely entertaining, it has pitch perfect dialog, great action scenes, and is also often very funny as well. Very few writers are able to pack so much into a story, but Ennis does so with ease. This is one of the most interesting origin stories I've ever read, and a great western tale as well.

The second story is titled The Story of You-Know-Who, starring one of Ennis' most fucked up characters: Arseface. Set in suburban Texas, an outcast teen struggles to get by while living with his alcoholic mother, and his rednecked-racist father, who also happens to be the town sheriff. His only friend is a fellow outcast named "Pube". When he isn't getting beaten by his father, the kid kills time by listening to Nirvana, smoking weed, and jacking off to porn mags. This saga of angst and woe culminates with the suicide of Kurt Cobain, which causes the two boys to form a suicide pact.

This was the weakest of the three stories. Arseface is a strange character, and one that isn't that interesting to me. I also felt like I've seen or read enough stories of teen angst and that this one felt pretty typical. Given the fact that the kid's name is "Arseface" also more or less gives away the ending, which is ok, if the journey there is great, but this one didn't do too much for me.

The third and final story is titled The Good Old Boys and stars two of my favorite Preacher characters thus far, Jody and T.C. This story takes place during quieter, happier times for Jody and T.C.

On a relaxing day for Jody and T.C.; one filled with fishing, and a death match with a gorilla, they stumble across a cop and a model turned lawyer. These two newcomers have crashed a helicopter in the bayou and are on the run from an international terrorist and his band of mercenaries. Can these two good old boys save the day and get the girl?

This third story played out like an action movie, but one full of twists and breaks from convention. Jody and T.C. are characters I love to hate, for just how psychotic they are in their own unique ways. This was probably my favorite of the three stories, simply because it was a ton of fun to read, and also quite funny.

Ancient History was an interesting break from the main story arc of the Preacher series. I enjoyed reading the back story on the Saint of Killers, and I'm glad Ennis decided to revisit Jody and T.C. That being said, I look forward to getting back to the main story line and seeing what happens with Custer, Cassidy and Tulip.

Grade: B+

Friday, May 21, 2010

Review: Reaper's Gale

Reaper's Gale By Steven Erikson

Two and a half weeks ago, with a giant intake of breath, I embarked on the seventh Malazan Book of the Fallen. Reading a Malazan novel is unlike most any other reading experience. It takes a heightened sense of attention, a large degree of dedication, and some patience as well.

As usual in this series, Reaper's Gale drops down into the middle of things with little or no explanation. At the start of this one, Erikson introduces a new group of people, the Awl. Then, in a matter of pages, he flits around between multiple story threads, with a huge cast of characters; some new and some familiar. All of this requires the reader to stay focused, and be patient, as Erikson slowly reveals just what the hell is going on since the last time the series visited the continent of Lether.

This is also a flippin' huge book, weighing in at over 800 pages. I always need to steel myself for a visit to Erikson's world, knowing that it will take me the better part of a month to read one of his books. Reaper's Gale could have been a bit shorter. There were many parts that I skimmed simply because nothing important was happening, with characters I cared nothing about, or could not remember who the hell they were.

Perhaps more so than other Malazan books, this one suffered from a truly massive cast of characters, and multiple story threads. I particularly had a hard time keeping some of the Letherii characters straight, as some had similar names, and little character development to help tell them apart. I find that after each double paragraph break, when Erikson switches to to new point of view, that I spend a minute or so placing the proper characters in my brain and figuring out where exactly shit is taking place. This is often a pain in the ass.

All that being said, like all Malazan books I've read so far, Reaper's Gale rewards the reader with some absolutely spectacular moments that live long in the memory. This book includes some of the most iconic characters from the entire series, (Karsa, Tehol, and Fiddler being favorites of mine), and does great things with them.

While I thought that maybe I had a good grip on where the series was headed after reading the 6th book, Reaper's Gale actually seemed to broaden the focus, instead of the narrowing that I expected. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but reading this book, I felt a sense that Erikson was carefully placing dominoes in preparation for the series finale, which is only three books away. In that sense, I felt slightly disappointed by the end of the book, and the outcomes felt slightly predictable, and lackluster.

I realize this may sound harsh, but while I did enjoy parts of it, this is far from a great book. I noticed dozens of grammatical errors, which is annoying as hell and break up my reading flow. It is a common complaint that the reader has to put up with certain annoyances when reading a Malazan book, but they felt more overt in this one.

There was just enough interesting things going on, and enough characters that I love to keep me going through this book. It is one of, if not my least favorite Malazan book so far. However, the end is now firmly in sight for this series, only three more books to go, and I'm excited to see where it takes me. This is a series that is massive in scope unlike any other fantasy series that has come before. The end should be a spectacle.

Grade: C-

Monday, May 17, 2010


Yesterday, the metal community got a little bit smaller. Ronnie James Dio, the voice of Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and Dio has died. Inventor of the rock horns and possessor of one of the greatest singing voices of all time. Dio truly rocked. He'll be missed

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Battle Hymns Classics: Paranoid

Regarded by many as the band's magnum opus, Paranoid is a true metal gem. Many of Sabbath's biggest hits are on this album. There is, of course, the title track, Paranoid which was actually added at the last minute because they didn't have enough material to flesh out the album. The story is that Iommi started playing the riff, and about thirty minutes later, they had the whole damn song written.

War Pigs is another of the big hits from the album, and is a great anit-war song, as well as a metal classic. Then, of course, is the Black Sabbath song everyone knows, Iron Man. Don't get me wrong, I do like this song, but I never feel the need or desire to listen to it. The reason is that it is just so popular and I hear it so often in other places, that I've reached the Iron Man saturation point. Plus there are far better songs on the album.

I actually prefer the lesser known "B" side tracks to the hit heavy "A" side. Eletric Funeral has a trudgey funeral dirge riff that hits you in your gut, and still sounds as heavy forty years later.

Hand of Doom is filled with musical changes and time signatures, which makes it a bit awkward at first, but Ozzy's wail is in full swing on this song, and Ozzy on top of his game is always a joy to hear.

Paranoid is an outstanding album. Most metal bands can only dream of creating an album as amazing from start to finish. What is crazy is that this is Sabbath's second album, and they had a bunch more great albums on the way after this. Paranoid is forty years old, yes, forty, and it is still amazing. Talk about standing up to the test of time. Metal bands are still very heavily influenced and inspired by Black Sabbath, and this album is one big reason why.

It is pretty much a given that every metal fan owns this album, but it is also one of those rare albums that has appeal to a larger fan base. There is so much good music to be had on this album, and is arguably one of the most influential albums of all time, that everyone should own a copy.

I love this live footage of Paranoid. Ozzy looks to be high as a bird and he's really fired up! The purple frills are hilarious! Not to mention the rainbow in the background. Very surreal.

Signs of the Apocalypse

I saw this over at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist the other day, and I couldn't believe my eyes.

Tyra Banks is actually writing a fantasy series! Good grief! If this isn't a sign of the apocalypse, then I don't know what is. There has to be better authors than her out there, who are waiting to be published. Is there anyone less deserving a shot at fantasy stardom than Tyra? Ok, well, yes there is but really? Modelland? Shit, I guess you need to write about what you know, and Tyra has proven time and again that she's a one trick pony.

Alright, I gotta go start digging my fallout vault.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Author Event: Guy Gavriel Kay

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an interview of Guy Gavriel Kay.

After a brutal rush hour commute, bum directions from google, and a library that had switched locations, yet retained the same address, (with the minor adjustment of a N.E. to a S.E.) I arrived ten minutes late for the event.

Being a bit late wasn't too bad. I still got a great seat, as the room was not that full, and got to hear the majority of the interview.

When I arrived Kay was discussing his Tolkien related work on the The Silmarillion. He stated that one of the major roles he played in that work was, aside from editing, to shift the presentation of the material away from being presented in a textbook format towards the more novelized format that it became.

Kay also spoke about his new novel Under Heaven and the process of writing it. Kay is not an author who scripts things out or works from an outline. He said that he begins by finding a setting that he wants to write in, and then moves on to discovering a theme that is worth writing about in that given setting. Only after he has found those first two things does he start to populate that setting with characters. Kay mentioned that during the opening scene of Under Heaven he knew very little about his main character, and only learned more about him as he wrote more of the story.

Another valued tid-bit that I took away from the interview was his advice to aspiring, or practicing writers. Kay said that a good way to write is have: "interesting things happening to interesting people, written in an interesting way". Sounds really simple, but the more I thought about it, really, how many times have a read a book that had all those qualities? A good number of books came to mind, some of them written by Kay, but there were a lot more that failed to meet that standard.

My humbling moment of the night came during the signing session. I was literally the only person in the room without a copy of Under Heaven in hand for him to sign. (I rarely can afford the price of hardbacks.) Despite that lack, I wanted to say a thank you to the man for providing me with lots of entertainment through the years, so I stood in line, and when I got to the front, I froze, and all the words I had prepared in my mind ahead of time vanished. I stammered an awkward thanks, but Kay, being the classy guy that he is, thanked me for being a reader and gave me a thumbs up! Pretty cool.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Comic Reading

Earlier in the week, I finally got around to reading a bunch of the comic singles that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. Of course, I had the freebies I had snagged at Free Comic Day sitting there waiting for me, so I read through those ones first. Not a lot to blog home about there, aside from The 6th Gun, which was an instant standout.

This one is set in the American west, post civil war era. The first issue is filled with mystery and intrigue. Six guns that each have different powers, have been created; the hows and whys are unknown to the reader at this point, but we do know that most of them are in the hands of some bad-ass sketchy looking fuckers. The first issue provides a couple glimpses into powers of two of the guns, and introduces some interesting characters. After reading the first issue, I instantly wanted to know more about the characters, and everything that is going on. Great stuff.

I'll be completely honest, I'm reading American Vampire because Stephen King writes it. Like many people, I am sick of all the vampires, and zombies, and shit that is all over books and movies these days, but I figured that if anyone can make vampires cool again, it would be King. Well, so far, it is pretty good. I read the first two issues this past week, and they are solid.

The comic is essentially split up into two parts. The first part is written by Scott Snyder. His story arc takes place in the 1920's, and follows Pearl, a struggling young actress in Hollywood. While trying to make it big, Pearl attends a show-biz party, intent on rubbing elbows and getting some face time with the Hollywood big-wigs, but those big-wigs turn out to be vampires, and you can guess what happens.

The second part of the issues is written by King, and takes place in the Colorado, 1880's wild west style. His character is Skinner Sweet, who is on his way to be hung for a series of terrible crimes. Thanks to some buddies, a train derailing, and a vicious shootout, Skinner too gets bitten by a vampire, yet is taken for dead, buried and then submerged, as his graveyard becomes a lake bottom thanks to some dam-building. However, as a reader, you already know he survives because he keeps popping up in Pearl's story which takes place nearly half a century later.

In classic King writing style, Skinner is a guy you love to hate...or hate to love. Of the two writers, King's parts feel more like a full story, and the characters are better fleshed out, while Snyder's characterizations are weaker, he has a better knack for writing in the comic medium. I get the feeling that at some point the two story arcs will converge and the characters of Pearl and Skinner will move forward from there, but I enjoy the dual story format, it is unique and interesting, and the switch never feels awkward. I'm not in love with this series, but I'm interested enough to stick it out a bit longer.

I've saved the best for last.

Early last month I reviewed the first Trade volume of The Unwritten and was not a fan. I thought for sure I was done with this series, but I got a tip that the 12th issue is one of the best single issues of any comic written so far this year, and yeah, it is pretty damn good.

The issue starts out like a fairy tale for children, but the images and the word bubbles don't quite follow the cutesy narration. The star of the issue is Mr. Bun, a severely disgruntled, potty mouthed rabbit who is sick of living in Willowbank Wood. After a failed attempt at escape, he builds a crossbow, shoots the stuffing out of some of the forest inhabitants, and sets out for Rose Tree Cottage, in search of Miss Liza, a Christopher Robin-esque girl: friend of all the little forest creatures, and fictional, little-girl-version of the author. Basically, Miss Liza runs that shit, and she is an evil little slag. She captures Mr. Bun and delivers him to a fate far worse than being the only sane creature in Willowbank Wood.

This issue was really amazing. It is hilarious, and Mr. Bun is a great anti-hero. It is also a spot-on parody of many childhood fairy tale woods stories. I loved it. If people read only one comic this entire year, you can't go wrong with the 12th issue of The Unwritten. I highly recommend this.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Review: The Judging Eye

The Judging Eye By R. Scott Bakker

The Judging Eye is the first novel in a fantasy trilogy by R. Scott Bakker. In truth this is actually the fourth novel in a series that will be at least six books, maybe more. The initial trilogy, titled The Prince of Nothing is a favorite among fantasy fans, not to mention, a favorite of mine. The Judging Eye takes place twenty years after the events of the first trilogy.

In The Judging Eye Bakker has pared things down. The cast of characters is a lot more concise, and the novel follows three distinct story arcs.

The first arc follows the The Great Ordeal, the name given a massive army that is marching into the desolate north in hopes of preventing a second apocalypse. Leading the army is the Emperor Kellhus, who has achieved a God-like quality, and the power to go with it. While Kellhus is the major catalyst in the series, he is almost completely absent in this book, appearing only in brief stretches. The lack of Kellhus seems to be a device used by Bakker to show just how absolutely powerful Kellhus is. His brief cameos always steal the scene, and his power over man and woman alike appears to be all encompassing.

Instead Bakker shows the Great Ordeal through the eyes of a young man named Sorweel. Sorweel is the prince of Sarkarpus, a northern city which is quickly absorbed into Kellhus' empire at the beginning of the book. Sorweel, though disgraced by the defeat of his home, is installed as a captain into a division of the great army and is forced to come to terms with the Great Ordeal, and what it means to humankind.

The second story arc takes place back in the Heart of Kellhus' empire, where his wife Esmenet is trying to hold the empire together while her husband is away. Not only is she is forced to deal with the day to day politics, but she also has to contend with religious uprisings, and her offspring, who all seem to possess some degree of the great power that her husband, Kellhus weilds.

The kids are all a little bit crazy too.

The one kid that is featured the most is Kelmomas, who along with his twin brother, are the youngest of the brood. It was hard to tell just how old Kelmomas is, but he is a smart, devious, manipulative little bugger. In fact, he is so smart, devious and manipulative, and don't forget a little bit crazy, that it is unclear who is really in charge of the empire, him or his mom.

The third story arc was my favorite, as it featured Achamian, possibly the only sympathetic character in the series. For the past twenty years Achamian has been in a self imposed exile, ever since he turned his back on Kellhus and the empire. In that time Achamian has been busy trying to piece together the puzzle that surrounds Kellhus, and his origins. Along with Mimara, the daughter of Esmenet (born during her days as whore, before Kellhus), he induces a band of sranc (think orcs) scalpers to help him reach Ishual,a city far to the north, which he believes will help him solve his mystery.

The journey that Achamian, Mimara, and the scalpers take is easily the most exciting part of the book. The highpoint of their journey comes when they are forced to traverse the Black Halls; a clear homage to Tolkien and Moria. Bakker skillfully executed this part of the book, as the tension mounted, the psychological impact on the characters was great, and when he finally dropped the hammer...awesome. Creepy, very visual, and intense. Great stuff.

The Judging Eye is definitely a set-up book. Bakker moves some pieces around, sets things just right, just on the edge, and then leaves it there for the next book. The Judging Eye created a lot of burning questions in my head, (most notably: "What the hell has Kellhus been up to for the past twenty years? How powerful is that fucker now? And, What is he really gonna do with that big-ass army?"), that will hopefully get answered in the next book.

Bakker is one of the big name fantasy writers, and he's on top of his game in this one. I really enjoyed it, and found it really hard to put down for the last 100 pages. If you haven't read the Prince of Nothing series, get on it, then read this.

Grade: B+

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Free Comic Book Day

Ahh, I love free stuff! Today I took part in my first ever Free Comic Book Day. Each year on the first Saturday in May, comic book shops dole out a bunch of free comics. It seems like a great way to get customers to check out new stuff, and since nearly half of the comics are geared towards a younger crowd, it also serves as a way to get kids into comic collecting as well.

The event isn't nearly as big a production as Comicon, but the two shops I visited were as crowded as I had ever seen them, and some folks did show up in costume. As for me, I kept my spending to a minimum, and tried to focus on the free stuff.

Here's my Free Comic Book Day haul:

The Sixth Gun: A comic about an innocent girl who comes to posses a pistol of otherworldly power.

Irredeemable:The world's greatest hero decides to switch it up and become the world's greatest super villain.

Atomic Robo: A robot battles giant terror birds in the South American jungle.

Storm Lion: Not too sure what this one is about, picked it up because the art look it was free!