Hellboy: The Dragon Pool

It should come as no surprise by now that if there is another Hellboy book out, I’m buying it. This time around, Christopher Golden returns to helm The Dragon Pool. Of all the authors to come to Hellboy, Christopher is my favorite, with Tim Lebbon coming a close second.

The Dragon Pool is about the legend of King Dragon, who has been depicted as a tyrant and all around bad guy. Eventually his reign was ended and his temple and city faded into history. But archaeologists have come to a mountain plateau and lake to excavate what they think was the King’s long lost city. The leader of the expedition (Anastasia Bransfield), however, believes that the legends obfuscate the truth, and that King Dragon wasn’t just a clever name, but he was, in fact, a dragon. When she turns out to be right, its bad news for everyone because their digging has reawakened the once defeated sleeping dragon and his followers, and she makes the call to bring in the BPRD.

Christopher actually has two tales here. The first is the dig, the dragon and all the mystery that surrounds it all. The second story is that of Hellboy and Anastasia’s history together. Once the closest of friends and lovers, they parted ways because their close association was affecting Anastasia’s credibility in professional circles. Now working together again, they can’t help but be conflicted by their feelings. One of the reasons why Mr. Golden stands out to me in the Hellboy series of books, is that he manages these two stories without them stepping on each other, they flow together well, compliment each other, and each is resolved.

All in all, The Dragon Pool is a fine addition to the Hellboy series, and like all the others I recommend it.

The Fall Season Preview Review

Over at Laurel’s TV Picks, she’s gotten up her annual Fall Season Grid.

I’ve spent the last week taking a look at the various clips and plot summaries of all the new shows and returning shows… what follows is my opinion of the new fall season as it currently stands. Keep in mind, some schedule juggling and even show re-tooling happens, so take what I say with a grain of salt.


The returning shows worth watching are How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 8pm), Two And A Half Men (CBS, 9pm), Rules of Engagement (CBS, 9:30pm), Prison Break (FOX, 8pm), and Heroes (NBC, 9pm). Gone are The Class, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and a couple shows that get canned early on. Of the 5 new shows on Monday, it goes like this: Sam I Am (ABC, 9:30pm) is about a girl with amnesia who wants to be a better person that she used to be, so basically My Name is Earl about a woman with head trauma, might be funny so I’ll give it a look see. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:30pm), two nerds live next door to a hot chick, since I’m already watching the other 3 shows in CBS’s comedy block, I’ll give this a chance. Journeyman (NBC, 10pm) is about a journalist who travels in time… yeah, I thought it sounded stupid too until I watched the preview for it, now I figure its weird enough for me to like and to get canceled, I give it 6 episodes, max. K-Ville (FOX, 9pm) is about police in New Orleans working in a city still recovering from Katrina, pass. Aliens in America (CW, 8:30pm), something about a Pakistani Muslim exchange student, and like everything else on UPN.. I mean the CW’s Monday night comedies, I won’t be watching it.

Five shows from last season, three new ones… total of five and a half hours of TV.


Returning shows worth watching on Tuesday… The Unit (CBS, 9pm). Shows not returning: Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Standoff and the Knights of Prosperity. Much hate for the networks for what they did to my Tuesdays. New show breakdown: Cavemen (ABC, 8pm), the Geico commercials are not funny and I predict this show will be no better, pass. Carpoolers (ABC, 8:30pm) is about businessmen who carpool together and I presume will tell stories about their lives… what better show to pair up with the suckfest Cavemen will be than another show that sounds like a suckfest, pass. Cane (CBS, 10pm) is the story about a Cuban American sugar and rum producing family, a plot which sounds like it would be a great daytime soap, but as a weekly nighttime drama, I’ll pass. Chuck (NBC, 9pm), about a guy who gets a government server downloaded to his head so suddenly they need to use him as an agent… reality check, they’d actually throw him in Gitmo and torture him until they got their info back, I predict this show will last just as long as most other robot/computerized human shows, less than a season, not worth my time. New Amsterdam (FOX, 8pm) is the name for Old New York, and this show is about a guy old enough to have lived there, he’s immortal, he’s a homicide detective, and only true love will make him mortal again, but it looks interesting enough to garner a viewing or two. Reaper (CW, 9pm) stars the kid from The Loop (another unfairly canceled show, but not from Tuesday) as a kid who winds up being the devil’s bounty hunter, now some of you may be old enough to remember Brimstone, this doesn’t look at good, but might be funny, so I’ll watch it.

One returning show and two new shows… three hours.


Returning shows worth watching: ‘Til Death (FOX, 8:30pm) and Bones (FOX, 9pm). New shows: Pushing Daisies (ABC, 8pm) about a guy who can bring people back to life, some more permanent than others, I don’t really understand, I might watch it, I might not. Private Practice (ABC, 9pm), where Dr. Addison Montgomery from Grey’s Anatomy runs off to California, to be honest, a spin off hasn’t looked this good in ages, definitely a keeper. Dirty Sexy Money (ABC, 10pm) could be interesting and has a great cast, I might watch it, but I suspect the name, if kept, will be its downfall. Kid Nation (CBS, 8pm) has a bunch of kids living in a pioneer ghost town making their own rules… interesting sociology experiment, awful TV show idea, pass. Bionic Woman (NBC, 9pm), I am hoping this is great, but I’m worried it won’t be, I’ll be watching to see. Life (NBC, 10pm), a wrongly convicted cop is freed and returns to the job… totally unrealistic, in the real world he would sue for millions, win, and retire deservedly, but the show might still be okay. Back To You (FOX, 8pm), Kelsey Grammer returns to TV in front of the camera and it looks to be pretty funny, it will round out my two hours on FOX nicely. Gossip Girl (CW, 9pm)… my hatred for this show known no bounds, seriously, I hope it gets worse ratings than Veronica Mars ever did and they cancel it in under six episodes.

The round up… two returning shows, three definite new shows with two or three maybes… four to six hours.


Shows from last season worth watching: Ugly Betty (ABC, 8pm), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 9pm), My Name is Earl (NBC, 8pm), 30 Rock (NBC, 8:30pm), Scrubs (NBC, 9:30pm), Smallville (CW, 8pm), Supernatural (CW, 9pm). Gone are The O.C., Six Degrees and Happy Hour (the show so good they canceled it twice). New shows: Big shots (ABC, 10pm) just doesn’t look good. Kitchen Nightmares (FOX, 9pm), I didn’t watch Hell’s Kitchen, I won’t watch this.

Seven old shows and no new ones keeps me at five and a half hours for the night.


Returning shows: Men In Trees (ABC, 8pm), Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8pm), Numb3rs (CBS, 10pm), Las Vegas (NBC, 9pm). Gone to the big schedule in the sky are… well… nothing I watched. New Shows: Women’s Murder Club (ABC, 9pm) is based on a series of books by James Patterson, I enjoyed the first book, the wife enjoyed them all, but what I’ve seen of the show so far was… unimpressive. Moonlight (CBS, 9pm), I really liked Forever Knight, but I’m not sure about this new telling of the (now tired) vampire trying to do good tale, may give it a shot though. The Singing Bee (NBC, 8pm), pass. Search for the Next Great American Band (FOX, 8pm), I’ll give it a chance since I always thought American Idol with groups instead of solo artists would be cool. Nashville (FOX, 9pm), pseudo-reality TV like Laguna Beach annoys me, pass.

So I keep four hours from last season and gain maybe three more… six or seven hours.


Saturdays are a dead zone of repeats and encores, where they don’t even try to schedule new shows any more since people don’t watch… or maybe they would if anything worth watching, aimed at the people who don’t go out… I’m thinking Sci-Fi and Horror shows would do well here, but the networks obviously don’t want to change a good (bad) thing and aim to continue their rerun filled Saturdays.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Returning shows worth my time: Brothers & Sisters (ABC, 10pm), Shark (CBS, 10pm) and the Family Guy (FOX, 8pm). Nothing lost here for me… as for new shows: Viva Laughlin (CBS, 8pm) at first glance sounds uninspired, a guy going to run a casino loses his funding and has to turn to his enemy for help, especially once you know its a remake of a UK show, but with Hugh Jackman involved and the mention of the integral part music will play… my interest is piqued and I may give this a chance. Life is Wild (CW, 8pm), about a family that moves to Africa, can jump in a lake, pass. The CW’s other Sunday offerings, CW Now and Online Nation are going to get a pass from me as well.

Three shows kept, maybe one gained… two and a half or three and a half hours for the night.

Not On The Schedule:

You might have noticed that there are many shows I didn’t mention, like Lost, Medium, One Tree Hill, October Road, and Notes From the Underbelly, all shows that were not canceled, and yet they don’t appear on the schedule… it seems that the networks are hedging their bets, holding shows in reserve until they cancel some early failures or waiting until the schedule shakes out a bit to find a place for their shows to get good ratings. There are also new shows picked up but not on the schedule. I’m not going to touch any of the reality shows, most reality shows are crap and you people should stop watching them so they’ll stop making them, but there are no less than SIX new reality shows and game shows waiting in the wings, and each of them sounds worse than the canceled Thank God You’re Here. On the comedy side there are four: The IT Crowd (NBC) is a spin off of the Office, or so it seems, and like the Office it is an import from the UK. Miss Guided (ABC) looks funny, and its got Judy Greer in it and I want to see her on a show that doesn’t get canceled for once, but ABC doesn’t have a spot for it until Dancing with the Stars ends or if one of its new Tuesday shows fail… lucky for Judy, both Tuesday shows look like stinkers. FOX has two half hours waiting for a chance, The Return of Jezebel James comes from the people who brought you Gilmore Girls, and The Rules for Starting Over comes from the Farrelly brothers, both are proven good writing teams, but both shows seem a bit iffy, I’ll watch them if they ever make it to the big leagues. On the Drama front you’ve got all sorts of stuff… NBC is holding Lipstick Jungle, from the woman who gave us Sex in the City and starring Brooke Shields, I’ll pass on it, but the wife will probably want to watch it, so I expect it to come in and replace something I want to watch, like the Bionic Woman. CBS, the network that used to be for old people, has Swingtown in its bullpen, and it has to be the oddest show I’ve ever read about… set in the 1970’s, a couple moves to a new “swinging” neighborhood… and if you don’t know why “swinging” is in quotes, then this show is probably not for you, even if you do know, this show is probably not for you. ABC is holding on to Eli Stone and The Cashmere Mafia, the former, about a lawyer who begins hallucinating and doing good things, might be quirky enough to succeed if it gets a chance, the latter is basically the Lipstick Jungle but on a different network. And lastly, FOX is keeping two shows off the schedule for now… the first is Canterbury’s Law, and the best thing going for it is that its coming from the same team that does Rescue Me over on FX. The second show is The Sarah Connor Chronicles, yes, that Sarah Connor… taking place between Terminator’s 2 and 3, Sarah and John, with the help of a reprogrammed Terminator run for their lives and try to make sure the future is safe from the annihilation of humanity.

In there, you’ve probably got another four hours of shows I’d watch if given the chance.

All in all, the new fall season is looking to be about thirty hours of TV watching per week. Of course, if the networks repeat what they did this season, with all the delays, hiatuses and cancellations, I might not ever have more than twenty in a single week.

And there you have it… Enjoy.

Thoughts of Spender

This is going to be a stretch, but maybe I won’t seem too off the mark by the end.

Monday, a man took a couple of guns to the Virginia Tech campus and killed thirty-one people. He wounded another twenty-nine. At least, those were the totals I remember from the stories I read. Immediately, before the bodies were even counted, the airwaves were full of people talking about why someone would do such a thing. Most notably, to me anyway, was Jack Thompson. I’m not going to provide a link, if you want to know exactly what he said you can find it. He certainly doesn’t need my help getting his message out there.

Jack, and he probably was not alone, came forward immediately to lay the blame heavy at the feet of video games, violence in the media and today’s popular culture. I’m sure if pressed he’d blame music and television and movies, but his favorite target is video games. He believes that violent video games are a training ground for violent action. He was blaming video games before the gunman’s body was cold, before we even knew the name of the shooter. Jack is a fool, but he’s a grandstanding fool who knows how to work his audience.

People… and I do mean to make a sweeping generalization here, because from time to time I’ve been known to do it too… seek out external sources for problems. They want to point a finger and say, “Ah ha!” They want to be able to identify a specific action or object that can be blamed for the problem so that it can be removed. But issues like these are usually more internal, more specific to the individual than can be dealt with by calling for blanket legislations and bannings.

People hate cancer. Cancer comes in three forms. The one cancer that everyone hopes they have if they get it is the kind that is someone else’s fault. Be it living next to power lines, or cell phones, or second hand smoke, or radiation they were exposed to at work, they want it to be not their own fault. That kind of cancer is, unfortunately, the rarest kind. The other two forms are the most prevalent. The second is self-inflicted cancer, the kind you get from smoking, the kind that comes from laying out in the sun too long too often, and people hate this cancer because they could have avoided it, probably knew the risk and ignored it. The third is the unknown cancer. You are in perfect health, don’t smoke, don’t lay out in the sun, don’t work with radioactive materials, live far away from power lines and cell phone towers, you’ve got no reason at all to have cancer, then one day you go to the doctor for an indeterminate pain in your gut only to find out you’ve got cancer. This is the one that scares the crap out of people.

It is scary because there is not anything you could have done to prevent it.

When there are shootings, like this one at Virginia Tech, or previous ones at other schools or other public areas, when one person just kinda flips their shit and kills a bunch of people, it is important to examine that person’s life and try to understand what the hell went wrong. But it is the kind of thing you cannot go into with an existing theory. If you approach it with the idea that video games did this to him or influenced him, then if you find video games you will assume that they had an effect. Jack Thompson would love nothing more than to find out this guy had a PC full of First Person Shooters or a couple of Grand Theft Auto titles for his PS2 because it would justify his theory. But the reality is that the games themselves are not justification, they are just evidence. The gunman is dead and can’t tell you if he even played those game. Now, of course, we know that he was an English major, and a playwrite, who wrote some very disturbing works and was even thought to be the school shooter type by his classmates. But at the time of the shootings, as all these talking heads took the airwaves, no one knew that. Now we know that he made videos and wrote things and had a sketchy medical history and previous encounters with faculty and staff, but even though from here it looks like a giant pile of “Hey! Look am me! I’m a nut job who is going to shoot people!!” you have to keep in mind that all this information, all this stuff, was in different people’s hands. No one saw a complete picture until it was too late.

There was a guy at my high school, he was a creepy kind of dude. Very tall, shaved head, ROTC gun nut kind of fellow… not that all ROTC guys are nutjobs, but I’m trying to paint a picture here… in addition, he was standoffish, not a whole lot of friends. I didn’t really know him that well. After graduation, during that first year when I was going to college and working full time, I woke up one morning to a horror story. This guy I didn’t know very well killed his parents and his sister. Sure, he was weird and a loner, but kill his family? His brother had escaped, jumping out of a second story window. This guy got caught, they piled up the evidence against him and his accomplice and threw him in jail. About a year later, I hired a new kid to work in my department down at the Kroger. It was the brother. After working with him a while, one night while closing up, I asked him about it. He paused, then after a couple minutes he finally spoke. Now this isn’t an exact quote, I mean, hell, it was nearly 15 years ago, but… “My brother killed my parents and my sister, and he tried to kill me. There is no question he did it. I don’t think I’ll ever understand it. No one really expected it. He was weird and all, but the truth is all the stuff they found in the garage, the knives, the bows and arrows, the kerosene and stuff, it wasn’t his. He kept all his stuff in his room. The stuff in the garage was mine. Nobody ever asked me if it was though. Isn’t that funny?” And I clearly remember all the newspapers from back when it happened talking about all the things they found, the “indicators of violence.” But this kid, the brother who got away, he just liked target shooting with the bows, collecting knives and setting things on fire. Dangerous? Sure, but he was no killer.

I remember at the time thinking of a quote, that really doesn’t apply if you consider the context of the story that it comes from, but the words, the phrasing, fit. It comes from Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles:

“And last—if it helps any, just think of me as a very crazy fellow who went berserk one summer day and never was right again. It’ll be a little easier on you that way.”
-Jeff Spender

And I thought of this again on Monday. Maybe this guy had his reasons. People will view his tapes and read his words and look at the pile of evidence and try to understand it. And maybe somewhere, somehow, it will make sense. But maybe it won’t. Perhaps it is impossible to know why he did it until you are afflicted like him, troubled like him, and if you are that troubled, that afflicted, would you act the same? Even if it somehow made sense, would you really want it to? Would knowing all the hows and whys lead us to the magic moment where his life could have been fixed if just one action had been taken, and one person could be blamed for not seeing the problem? I’m not sure that’s a road I want to go down.

You really can’t prepare for the extreme. You can’t prevent it, you can’t legislate it. You can try to keep the middle ground large and even, but nothing we can do can stop the determinedly broken from doing what they do, not without compromising the rest of us.

I think perhaps I’m better off believing that he was just a crazy fellow who went berserk one day and never was right again. It’ll be a little easier on me that way.

Next week I’ll return you to our regularly scheduled game design and commentary; book, movie and TV reviews; and the rest of the usual random crap that comes from me emptying my brain onto the internet…

American Movie

This is one of those movies that people will tell you that its one of those movies you either love or hate, there is no middle ground. Only, I kinda found the movie to be… meh.

I suppose I can see their point. Much of this film is irritating, and its the kind of irritating that either you laugh at or that you go see a doctor about. If you don’t know what American Movie is, well, its a movie about this guy who wants to make this movie called Northwestern, only for some reason he feels he needs to make this short film called Coven (that’s pronounced “koh-ven” so that it doesn’t sound like “oven”). Northwestern is supposed to be the excellent drama type film, while Coven is a horror flick.

These guys, they are stupid, and their lives are stupid, but only in an “Hi, I’m an average American” type way. Its not that they are actually mentally deficient, but its like that friend of yours who insists that he’s good at basketball despite losing every game he’s played, of which no one you know has actually witnessed so you can’t be sure he’s ever even played at all.

The best thing about this movie is the feeling that if I had the money he had access to, I’m sure I could make a better movie than Coven… or even American Movie. Unless you are interested in the painful telling of not quite making it, I’d suggest you pass on this one.

To Wii or not to Wii

That is the question… sort of.

I was a console kid growing up. We had a PC, and I loved the Sierra games: King’s Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, and the rest. But I still longed for the days of my Atari and marathon sessions of Yar’s Revenge and Pitfall. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) changed all that. I finally got one and spent endless days playing Super Mario Bros. and Pro Wrestling, Duck Hunt, and every other game I could get my hands on.

After the NES, well, I never got into the Sega Genesis or any of the other systems, and by the time my NES broke, the PC had finally caught up, and in my opinion, surpassed the consoles. It was computers all the way after that.

A couple years back, I was gifted with a Nintendo GameCube for my birthday, and I enjoyed a number of the games I got, but I was really still a PC guy, so I never got too far into it. And while I thought the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Xbox were cool systems… I was still a PC guy.

These days, my career is computers, steeped in programming, and frankly, many days I get home and don’t really want to sit in front of the keyboard. My PC at home has fallen behind… and I think that perhaps gaming technology, video cards and processor needs, are excalating too quickly. I really don’t have the desire or the extra cash to keep up any more. So, my eyes have turned back towards consoles.

Thanks to this article at the New York Times, I definately think I’m going to hold off on the PS3. I’m hearing good things about the Xbox 360, except that whole thing where lots of people have to return theirs due to hardware and firmware issues. I am, however, extremely interested in the Nintendo Wii. First off, I’ve always loved the Mario and Zelda games, then there is the fact that people are already confirming that it is 100% backward compatible with GameCube games, but the most interesting feature is the ability to download old NES, Super NES and N64 games from the past. That’s just awesome.

Now, I didn’t go camp out and pick one up this weekend, but I figure in the next month or so I’ll be able to snag one. So, I guess the answer to the question is… To Wii.


Holy F*ck!

He f*cking flew! He f*cking FLEW!!

I remember back a couple of seasons ago on Smallville, when they had Clark get possessed by the red kryptonite version of himself and he jumped into the air… they had him go in slow motion and they CGI’d the air current ripples around him. It was pretty cool.

But it just got trumped.

Previously in Heroes, you sorta saw people fly. Peter Petrelli jumped off stuff, Nathan Petrelli kinda swooped in from the bottom of the screen, and later Peter “walked” on air. But this week… Nathan freakin’ flew. He was trapped by the “bad guys” and he crouched down like he was ready for a fight… then he jumped straight up and was off like a shot. Sonic boom! Holy mutha f*kka!

You have the flying guy, a guy who paints the future, a woman with some sort of split personality, a cop who reads minds, a guy who erases memories, a girl who can heal from any wound, a guy who can bend space and time, and guy who appearantly can copy the powers of anyone he’s physically close to. Oh, and the guy who paints the future has painted New York getting nuked, and the guy who bends space and time made an accidental side trip to the future where he saw it happen.

This has all the makings of what a comic book come to life might really be like. Seriously, if you like comic books and superheroes and you aren’t watching Heroes on monday nights, you are crazy! This is simply the best superhero type show that has ever been on television.

Personal Responsibility in Transit

As always in the afternoon, I’m riding the bus… At the MARTA station, a man gets on and asks the driver what is the best way to get to the Gwinette DMV. The driver tells him to get off at the Buford Highway/Beaver Ruin Rd stop and transfer to the 30 bus (we are on the 10) and the 30 will take him there. So the guy says, “Tell me when I need to get off.” And the driver replies, “Sir, I can’t be responsible for every passenger’s destination, so just list for when I announce the Beaver Ruin Road stop and get off then.” The guy just nods his head and says, “You let me know.”

Of course, we get on up Buford Highway, the driver calls out that the next stop is Beaver Ruin Road and transfer to the 30 bus, and of course when the bus stops, the inquisitive passenger doesn’t get up. I wish I had been paying attention because I might have told the guy about his stop, but I was reading my book.

A few stops later, the guy gets up and asks the bus driver, “So how much longer until my stop?” “Which stop?” “I got to go to the DMV.” “Sir, I told you that you needed the Beaver Ruin Road stop, I announced it a while back. You must have missed it.” The guy stomps his feet, “You didn’t tell me to get off!” “Sir, I can’t be responsible for the destinations of every passenger, I told you the stop you needed, I announced the stop, it is not my fault you didn’t get off.” The guy is furious, he starts stomping some more and yelling obscenities and banging his hands on the hand rails.

The bus driver remains calm, “Sir, you have two choices, you can either stay on this bus and we will come back around to that stop in about a half hour or so; or you can get off at the next stop, cross the street and catch the southbound 10 and take it back to that stop.” The guy is screaming, “I don’t want to wait, I don’t want to switch buses! I wanted you to tell me when to get off this bus!” “I did.” “No you did not!”

This “Did not”/”Did too” argument went on for a while, then finally the guy decides he’s had enough of this “Nazi bus driver” and his “flagrant racism” and gets off the bus. The driver tell him he’ll need a transfer to which he replies, “You can take your transfer and shove it!” As we pull away the driver is shaking his head and says, “Now not only did he miss his stop, but he’s going to have to pay for the bus again.”

A couple of people behind me started talking in hushed tones about how mean the driver was being, and all I could think to myself was, “What?” Seriously, how hard is it to pay attention for your bus stop? And really, do you expect the driver to remember which stop thirty different people want to get off at and to individually remind them that it is time to get off? Sure, the driver could have done it, but I’ve ridden the bus with that driver before and he never does it, but he does clearly announce every stop, local destinations, transfers, and all that, which some drivers don’t.


Openning today is a new Adam Sandler film, Click. Last night, the wife and I went to a Sneak Preview of it.

Click is about Michael Newman, a typical guy with a wife and two kids who spends a little too much time at his job working to provide a life for his family that barely shares with them. Frustrated when he can’t even figure out which of his dozen remotes turns on the TV, he sets out to find a universal remote to replace them all. The only store open is Bed, Bath & Beyond, and wandering into the Beyond section he meets Morty who hooks him up with a truely universal remote, one that controls his universe.

If you’ve seen the trailers then you know he does some silly stuff with it, but the movie isn’t all about the jokes. There is also the story about deciding what’s more important: work or family. Michael keeps picking work, and soon enough the remote’s built in intelligence starts skipping moments in his life for him base on the decisions he’s been making… and everything spins out of control.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie if you want slapstick comedy. If you are looking for a Wedding Crashers or a 40 Year Old Virgin, this one isn’t quite as balls out funny. But, like Robin Williams “Bicentennial Man” from 1999, this movie is funny (riotously funny in moments) with a sentimental undercurrent that surges to the surface as the story unfolds. And if that is the kind of film you want to see, Click is an excellent movie.

Last Sons

I hate Lobo. In the DC Universe, which is my preferred major comic universe (Marvel and their Million Mutant March with Wolverine on every team can go su… I won’t get into it right now), there is no character that I loathe more than Lobo. He is a childish excuse for an anti-hero. See, the idea of an anti-hero is that while they may be a bad guy the story you are reading places them in a situation where you feel for them and begin to root for them to overcome the larger evil even though you understand that the “good guy” here is actually evil himself. Contextual goodness. Lobo, on the other hand, is a guy who likes to blow stuff up unnecessarily, smoke, drink, womanize, etc… basically every bad quality you can imagine in a person. His one redeeming quality is that he is a bounty hunter who hunts down bad guys, but his good quality is overshadowed by the fact that he will wantonly kill hundreds of innocents to do his job. That combined with the dick and fart joke mentality of his character makes him an absolute bore to read.

Despite this, I actually enjoyed Last Sons, but I’m fairly certain its because Alan Grant is a great story teller. The story is this… Lobo is sent to arrest J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, for some unnamed crime. So he does, and J’onn, being the good guy that he is, goes along because it is a valid warrant even though he can’t remember doing anything wrong. Superman is suspicious, and he hates Lobo, so he decides to go look into this whole thing. In case you missed it… Lobo is the last Czarnian, J’onn is the last Martian, and Superman is the last Kryptonian… Last Sons. So, Lobo takes J’onn and heads to Vrk, and Superman heads off to get more info on the warrant. Vrk is a little backwater planet in a system that hasn’t invented space travel yet. Its people, if they can be called that, are a barely sentient race of beings who excel at digging in the rocky surface of their planet, completely subterranian. But an artificial intelligence calling itself the Alpha has come and taken over their minds and is using them to turn them in to an army with which it will destroy all life in the universe. Much genocide, violence, and sleuthing ensues.

It was a good book, and as much as I hate Lobo, his introduction to the story lead to one of the more interesting facets of the story: Bounty Hunters double-triple-quadruple crossing each other for money. In the beginning of the book, Lobo is on an assignment to capture a gang headed by a guy named Xemtec or something like that. During the fight with the gang, his space bike, a Spazz-Frag, is damaged and the semisentient computer system (SSCS) is broken So Lobo cuts out Xemtec’s brain and installs it in his bike (one of the things I hate about Lobo, aside from being an unkillable monsterous lout, he’s also a technological genius… *sigh*). For the rest of the book, the arguments with the bike and the plotting of the bike to meet back up with the remnants of his gang and double cross Lobo for the reward, first on J’onn and later on the Alpha, makes for entertaining stuff.

All in all, I think Grant has written a solid story that despite the crapfest that is the character of Lobo manages to rise above it and be fun and enjoyable. Yeah, I’d recommend it.


Another Christopher Moore book down, and once again he had me laughing out loud. Soon I’ll simply be known as “the crazy reading guy” on public transportation.

So, Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, is about guys who study humpback whales trying to understand why they sing. They don’t know why, only someone must think they are getting close because their office gets trashed. But their work continues on… and things get wierd.

Its a good book. Nice message in it too, sort of the same way I felt after reading Lamb. Now on to Practical Demonkeeping…