Saturday, August 24, 2019

Sweet Freedom: FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to ...

Sweet Freedom: FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to ...: This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of som...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Have You Heard? Julie Hyzy's Affairs of Steak

Lesa's Book Critiques: Have You Heard? Julie Hyzy's Affairs of Steak

KRL: King's River Life Magazine for 8/24/19

Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Grave Expectations on Dickens Dune" by Anna Celeste Burke

And a review and giveaway of "Claws of Action" by Linda Reilly 

We also have a review and giveaway of "Toxic Toffee" by Amanda Flower along with a fun guest post by her about bunnies

And a review and ebook giveaway of "Two Sleuths are Better Than One" by Gin Jones and Elizabeth Ashby

Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Cliff Hanger" by Mary Feliz 

And a review and giveaway of "Booking the Crook" by Laurie Cass 

Happy reading,
Lorie 

Scott's Take: Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia by Brian Michael Bendis


Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia by Brian Michael Bendis is a spin off from the Man of Steel miniseries also by this author. Superman is dealing with the gossip at work about why is wife left while dealing with the fact someone is setting fires across Metropolis. This is the work of a new group of villains called the Invisible Mafia. Their plan had been to get away with stuff while working by not drawing attention.

Instead, they have been dropping bodies because of the actions of “Red Cloud.” She is a meta-human who is young, arrogant, and believes she is powerful and smart enough to hang with Superman. She thinks she can fight and beat Superman because she can turn into a red toxic cloud. She also now has the attention of Lex Luthor.

This means Red Cloud and her origination, Invisible Mafia, have the attention of the two powerful people of Metropolis. Before now, neither dealt with them because they never noticed and never cared about them. They now do. Instead of leaving town, they double down on the stupid and start covering up what they are doing. That just makes their situation worse.

In addition to the great artwork, there are a lot of little jokes throughout the story. One example is when as Superman investigates a crime; his clue is that a bad guy who is bald did it. Some he checks his multi-page catalog listing of bald bad guy villains and does so with this oh so serious look on his face. Another funny moment is when he is question one criminal who claims he barely knows the other criminal he is with. The other guy shouts out about how the two are cousins. 

A lot of new characters are introduced in this book and most of them will most likely be ignored by future writers because there just not that interesting and kind of stupid. One of the better parts of this story is Perry White, the Daily Planet Editor, who points out why people are stupid throughout the read. This is especially true in regards to the rumors the Invisible Mafia is trying to spread about Superman. They are pushing the story that Superman killed somebody though Superman has a perfect and very public alibi. At the time in question, Superman along with several other heroes, were fighting an alien invasion in Seattle and the whole deal was broadcast on live television. This was going on at the same time he supposedly was killing a low level criminal. Instead of killing Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Brainaic, and other powerful villians, he allegedly killed some random low level criminal. Yeah that makes sense… Lol.  

This story is a good place to start for new readers and is fairly enjoyable. Red Cloud has the ability to turn in to a toxic red cloud and she thinks she can beat Superman who is busy shattering asteroids and stops an alien invasion from space. She seriously over estimates her abilities. What does not work so well is the fact that Lois makes some questionable parenting decisions that Superman is very cool with for some reason. While I can’t go into it without giving spoilers, it is clear to this reader that she is a pretty bad parent.

Despite the flaws, Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia by Brian Michael Bendis is a funny story with original villains and interesting plot. This Superman story is not the best, but it is enjoyable and fun.

Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia  
Brian Michael Bendis
DC Comics
April 2019
ISBN# 978-1-4012-8872-3
Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)
160 Pages  
$24.99


Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System. My copy came from the Dallas Martin Luther King JR Branch.

Scott A. Tipple ©2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

Writer Beware: UNIVERSAL BOOK SOLUTIONS: ANATOMY OF A BOOK-TO-SCREEN SCAM

Writer Beware: UNIVERSAL BOOK SOLUTIONS: ANATOMY OF A BOOK-TO-SCREEN SCAM

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson: Reviewed by Kristin Amy Whey has the kind of life that looks a little boring from the outside; she’s a wife and mother who hosts...

Beneath the Stains of Time: Terror Tower (1935) by Gerald Verner

Beneath the Stains of Time: Terror Tower (1935) by Gerald Verner: Several months ago, I read two detective novels by the prolific " Gerald Verner ," a penname of John R.S. Pringle, of which the...

The Rap Sheet: The Robust Rise of the “Regionals”

The Rap Sheet: The Robust Rise of the “Regionals”

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and A Dog Days of August Giveaway

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and A Dog Days of August Giveaway

FFB Review: THE LAST BEST HOPE (1998) by Ed McBain Reviewed by Barry Ergang

After his all new review of The Big Bad City by Ed McBain last week, it seemed appropriate to run again Barry’s review of THE LAST BEST HOPE.  For the full list of reading suggestions, check out Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog.

THE LAST BEST HOPE (1998) by Ed McBain


Jill Lawton comes to attorney Matthew Hope's law office in Calusa, Florida to get a divorce—with alimony—from her long-gone husband Jack. Nine months earlier, Jack had gone north, ostensibly in search of freelance graphic design work, and she has not heard from him since. Jill hopes to invoke the Enoch Arden Law, but Matthew explains that not enough time has passed for this to apply, and that they'll have to find Jack and serve him with the divorce papers.

It's not long thereafter that a man's body is found on a beach in Calusa, the face gone from a shotgun blast. A driver's license and Visa card in the man's pockets suggest he's Jack Lawton. But when Jill is summoned to positively identify the body, she instantly determines from the absence of a miniscule blue dot on his Adam's apple that the man is not her husband.

Matthew puts a firm of private investigators on the case, and on his own phones a precinct in the city where Jack was last known to have been. The city is unnamed; the precinct is the 87th; the detective Matthew talks to is Steve Carella.

Thus McBain melds two series and the sleuths therefrom, each working in different locations on the same case.

As the body count increases and surprises unfold, McBain with the skill his fans know and love conveys the story's past and present from different angles and viewpoints, switching among the various investigators and multiple villains. The reader is taken into the heads of the characters, all of whom are believably fleshed-out, and comes to know them from their conversations with others and their internal monologues—another McBain trademark.

The Last Best Hope never lets up—it's a superb example of a "page-turner"—as characters and events converge in a wild climax tense with excitement but leavened with humor situational, coincidental, and authorial. The lyric from a song in a James Bond movie aptly sums up Ed McBain: "Nobody does it better."




Barry Ergang © 2007, 2019

Some of Derringer winner Barry Ergang's work is available at Amazon and Smashwords.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Advocates: Janet Rudolph and J. Kingston Pierce

The Advocates: Janet Rudolph and J. Kingston Pierce

My Service Animal


In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 8/22/19

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 8/22/19

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Buried Child by Sam Shepard

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Buried Child by Sam Shepard: Reviewed by James Baur                Buried Child is a Pulitzer prize winning play written by Sam Shepard that seeks again to ta...

SleuthSayers: Made in the Decade by Robert Lopresti

SleuthSayers: Made in the Decade: by Robert Lopresti Back in January, when I produced my yearly thing I wrote: "I was somewhat surprised to discover that this is ...

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Did You Know?


Lesa's Book Critiques: The Truth Behind the Lie by Sara Lovestam

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Truth Behind the Lie by Sara Lovestam

KRL Update: Only days left to win books from KRL

Only days left to win a copy of "A Charming Misfortune" by Tonya Kappes and while there check out an interesting interview with Tonya

And to win a copy of "Spirit Wind" by Marilyn Meredith

Also to win a copy of the first in a new series, "And Then There Were Crumbs" by Eve Calder, and while there check out a fun guest post by Eve about how she came to write a food mystery

On KRL News only days left to win a copy of "A Genuine Fix" by J.C. Kenney

And to win a copy of "The Stories You Tell" by Kristen Lepionka

And to win a copy of "Love and Death Among the Cheetahs" by Rhys Bowen

And win an ebook copy of "Better Than Nun" by Alice Loweecey

Happy reading,
Lorie

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Lost Garden, Sensitive Crimes, Heart G...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Lost Garden, Sensitive Crimes, Heart G...: Reported by Christy In Helen Humphreys’ The Lost Garden , Gwen Davis is put in charge of the farming of potatoes for the war effo...

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: The Killing Thing by Janis Patterson

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: The Killing Thing: by Janis Patterson Perhaps it is the logical outcome of a disordered mind, but after several years of writing mysteri...

Guest Post: Dialogue Attribution in Prose – An Opinion or Two... by Thomas B. Sawyer

Please welcome author Tom Sawyer back to the blog today.

Dialogue Attribution in Prose – An Opinion or Two...
By Thomas B. Sawyer

Coming to narrative fiction somewhat in reverse from most writers – in that I began as a screenwriter – afforded me more than a few attitudes. And definitely not least was/is on the topic of dialogue attribution.


In novels and short stories I had long been struck by what I see as the rampant, mindless use of “he said,” “she said,” “said he” and the like. I know that many highly regarded and/or successful writers and teachers believe such usage as a kind of pinnacle of simplicity. I agree, but not in the affirmative sense of “simple.”

As I began to contemplate my first venture into the form, I started to question such things more actively. Why, I wondered, would experienced, quality writers who otherwise (rightly) bust their humps to avoid repetitions and the use of clichés, surrender to these without guilt? Or, viewed another way, when does a particular phrase cease being “economical,” and morph into a mindless cliché?

And how many millions of trees, I asked myself, have given their lives for such conceits?

To me, even worse – no, make that dumber – is “she/he asked.” It’s dumber because, since it so often follows a question mark, the reader knows it’s a question, right? So why repeat it?

And then there are “he blurted,” “she exclaimed,” “he queried,” etc. If you must attribute, rather than committing those atrocities, I guess “he said” begins to look attractive.

Almost. 

Did I have a solution? Yeah. When I prepared to write my first novel, THE SIXTEENTH MAN, I set as a goal/challenge for myself – a little secret bar-raising pact, if you will – that I would never use any of those phrases. Ever. And I never have.

The result? While hardly revolutionary – I’ve since learned that numerous novelists do it – I’m convinced that it has made my writing better, more readable, and certainly more visual.

Here’s my approach, and the way I teach it.

Work on attribution the way you work on the rest of your writing, with the care you give to your dialogue and your descriptions. Will it make a dramatic difference to your readers? Not likely. Will they even be aware of it? Probably not. But – will it make a difference to you as a writer? Emphatically, yes. It’ll force you to think. To challenge yourself about stuff from which most narrative writers take the day off. So that all of your writing will become fresher. And importantly, more visual about stuff that really matters: your story’s drama.

And for me, in the process, I found that it contributed to finding my “voice.”

It also contributed to some criticism from certain literary types who warned me that as a novelist I could not “write for the camera.” I submit that they are mistaken. The reader is the camera. The reader is seeing the pictures. Imagining the scene.


Think about conventional, by-the-numbers dialogue attribution for a moment. “She said,” does almost nothing to help the reader envision the scene. It says nothing about the body-language of the speaker, or her inflection. Where were her hands? Was her head cocked to one side? Did she, during the speech, touch her face, or the person to whom she spoke? For me, settling for “said” implies that the speaker is delivering lines with arms hanging at his/her side. Again, for me as a reader, a brief description of body-language counts for a helluvva lot more than knowing what the person is wearing, or hair-color, or the texture of sofa-upholstery.

Or merely, identifying the character who is speaking.

Admittedly, noting such detail isn’t always important, but when it helps the reader “see” the action, it seems to follow that it will also help the reader “hear” the words.

In my own case, as with most-but-not-all writers, when it’s obviously clear for the reader which character is speaking, I omit attribution. But when the speaker is gesturing to emphasize a point, or is revealing, say, insecurity or anger or even an emotion that contradicts his or her words, that is worth communicating to my audience. Further, when a character’s response to another’s words isn’t spoken, but is rather a gesture, or a look, that can be good storytelling. And effective theater.

I think of it as directing my actors – just as in my scriptwriting, describing when necessary those actions that augment their speeches – or – as in non-verbal responses – replace them entirely.

I urge any writer to try it. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


Tom Sawyer ©2019

Edgar & Emmy-nominated, Tom Sawyer was Head Writer/Showrunner of the classic CBS series, MURDER, SHE WROTE, for which he wrote 24 episodes. Tom sold, then wrote 9 series pilots, was Head Writer/Showrunner or Producer on 15 network series. Tom wrote/directed/produced the feature-film comedy, ALICE GOODBODY. He is co-librettist/lyricist ofJACK, an opera about JFK which has been performed to acclaim in the US and Europe. Tom authored bestselling mystery/thrillers THE SIXTEENTH MAN, & NO PLACE TO RUN. His latest, a mystery/thriller-with-humor: A MAJORPRODUCTION!, 2nd in a series featuring NY PI Barney Moon, who doesn’t drive, sees  LA as an Alien Planet, and is stuckthere. www.thomasbsawyer.com


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Relevant History: Volcano House: Sharing Aloha on a Crater’s Rim

Relevant History: Volcano House: Sharing Aloha on a Crater’s Rim

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Case of the Hanging Rope (1937) by Christopher...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Case of the Hanging Rope (1937) by Christopher...: Christopher Bush 's The Case of the Hanging Rope (1937) is the seventeenth detective novel in the Ludovic Travers and Superintendent...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Murder at Whitby Abbey by Cassandra Clark

Lesa's Book Critiques: Murder at Whitby Abbey by Cassandra Clark

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 5 Paying Markets for Short Historical Fiction and ...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 5 Paying Markets for Short Historical Fiction and ...: Pixabay Westerns were all the rage in the 1920s and 30s. Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour wrote dozens of books featuring rugged gun sli...

Monday, August 19, 2019

Buried Under Books: Review: Shamed: A Novel of Suspense by Linda Castillo

Buried Under Books: Review: Shamed: A Novel of Suspense by Linda Castillo

Gravetapping: The Name of the Game is Death / One Endless Hour b...

Gravetapping: The Name of the Game is Death / One Endless Hour b...: Dan J. Marlowe.   The name alone brings an echo of the hardboiled— “I’ll be leaving one of these days, and the day I do they’ll never f...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold: Reviewed by Brenda G. Arnold, Catharine. Pandemic 1918: eyewitness accounts from the greatest medical holocaust in modern histo...

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 8/19/19

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 8/19/19

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8/19/19

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8/19/19

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar August 19-...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar August 19-...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of August 19-25, 2019 compiled exclusively for  Lone Star Literary Life  by Texas Book Lover. ...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Bad to the Bones by Rett MacPherson


I was delighted to learn that Torie O’Shea has reappeared after a long hiatus. Rett MacPherson published 11 mysteries between 1997 and 2008, the most in any series I know of that uses genealogy as its theme. Torie lives in fictional New Kassel, Missouri, a small town on the Mississippi River about an hour south of St. Louis. Like many cities that sprang up along a river, New Kassel used its historic past to develop a thriving tourism industry. Torie is a docent in a local museum, giving tours of a restored mansion and researching family histories. And, since these books were written before Ancestry and other online research sites existed, she conducts her genealogy the old-fashioned way, by reading census records and visiting courthouses and checking ship passenger lists.

Bad to the Bones (Word Posse, 2018) brings Torie back, older, chunkier, with her children more or less grown. Torie is happy that New Kassel is still thriving but she is bored with life. In addition, her doctor told her she needs to lose 30 pounds, and the idea that she has to give up sweets is more than she can bear. Why can’t she eat pie twice a day every day? So unfair!

Torie rarely is asked to assemble a family tree these days, as most folks are using the online sites. So when the local Catholic church asks her to compile birth, marriage, and death records and cross-reference them against the cemetery inventory, Torie jumps at the task. While taking a break one day, she notices a coyote who seems to be interested in a particular spot on church grounds. Torie wonders what’s there and finds a bone that she is sure is human. She calls the police, and they unearth a recent skeleton; a few yards away they discover several sets of older bones. The presence of Civil War uniform buttons and belt buckles places the age of the older remains, but the newer set is harder to pin down.

Torie throws herself into the mystery of identifying the bones, older and newer. While genealogy does play a part, local and state history during the Civil War is more prominent. This latest story in the series has all of the same characters from the earlier books, a little older, but the dialog is similar to the previous books and the characters relate to each other in the same way. Torie uses her research skills to identify key clues, despite being warned away by the police, as usual, and ends up nearly getting killed along with her son and their newly acquired bear-sized dog. A satisfying read and a welcome return of a favorite series.


·         Paperback: 234 pages
·         Publisher: Word Posse (May 16, 2018)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1944089071
·         ISBN-13: 978-1944089078



Aubrey Hamilton ©2019

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Locked Room Reader XI: A Return to the Phantom...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Locked Room Reader XI: A Return to the Phantom...: Back in 2016, I compiled a brief overview, under the title " A Selection of Lost Detective Stories ," listing a number of examp...

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin

Bitter Tea and Mystery: City of Shadows: Ariana Franklin: City of Shadows is set mostly in Berlin, starting in 1922 and then picks up the story again in 1932. I find Germany in the years between W...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Champion Dog Prince Tom by Jean Fritz and Tom Clute

Lesa's Book Critiques: Champion Dog Prince Tom by Jean Fritz and Tom Clute

The Week That Was.....In Case You Missed It

It was a busy week and not just with links and news items. There were new reviews and guests posts.

Monday saw the return of Aubrey Nye Hamilton with her latest review. This time she reviewed FOGLAND POINT by Doug Burgess.

Tuesday I reviewed THE BEST LOUSY CHOICE: AN ED EARL BURCH NOVEL by Jim Nesbitt. This is the third book in the crime fiction series set here in Texas.

Wednesday author Thomas B. Sawyer offered a guest post titled, MOVIES: PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS DISTRACTIONS.

Thursday I reviewed SHAMED: A NOVEL OF SUPSENSE by Linda Castillo. This is the latest in the Kate Burkholder series despite the cover art that does not really fit the book.

Friday saw the latest FFB Review from Barry Ergang. The previous week he reviewed BANK SHOT by Donald E. Westlake. Yesterday his all new review was on BIG BAD CITY by Ed McBain.

Every Saturday my son, Scott, offers his take on a book he has read. Today he reviews SUPERMAN VOLUME 1: THE UNITY SAGA: PHANTOM EARTH by Brian Michael Bendis.

Aubrey Nye Hamilton and Thomas Sawyer already have guest posts set up for this coming week.

More to come.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

You Are Warned....


Sweet Freedom: FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to ...

Sweet Freedom: FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to ...: This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of some ...

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Flimflam Affair (2019) by Bill Pronzini

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Flimflam Affair (2019) by Bill Pronzini: The Flimflam Affair (2019) is the seventh, full-length historical mystery novel in the John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter series, a p...

KRL: Kings River Life Update for 8/17/19

Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "A Charming Misfortune" by Tonya
Kappes along with an interesting interview with Tonya


And a review and giveaway of "Spirit Wind" by Marilyn Meredith


We also have a review and giveaway of the first in a new series, "And Then There Were Crumbs" by Eve Calder, along with a fun guest post by Eve about how she came to write a food mystery


And an article about Dick and Felix Francis and their mystery novels set in the world of horse racing


For those who prefer to listen to the podcast directly on KRL, you can find a player here for our latest one which features an excerpt of "A High-End Finish" by Kate Carlisle, read by local actor Casey Ballard


Up in KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "A Genuine Fix" by J.C. Kenney


And a review and giveaway of "The Stories You Tell" by Kristen Lepionka


We also have a review and giveaway of "Love and Death Among the Cheetahs" by Rhys Bowen


And a review and ebook giveaway of "Better Than Nun" by Alice Loweecey

Happy reading,
Lorie

Writer Beware: FROM THE PHILIPPINES, NOT WITH LOVE: A PLAGUE OF PUBLISHING AND MARKETING SCAMS

Writer Beware: FROM THE PHILIPPINES, NOT WITH LOVE: A PLAGUE OF PUBLISHING AND MARKETING SCAMS

Scott's Take: Superman Vol 1: The Unity Saga: Phantom Earth by Brian Michael Bendis


Superman Vol 1: The Unity Saga: Phantom Earth by Brian Michael Bendis is a spinoff from the miniseries Man of Steel. The main things one needs to know from Man of Steel are spoilers, but you need to know them before reading this book. One such deal is the fact that Lois and Superboy, aka Jonathan Kent, left with Jor-El, Superman’s father (who is now alive as he was brought back by a cosmic god to test Superman so that they would remain safe. Another is the fact that the miniseries introduced a new villain called Rogal Zar who was an alien that claimed he killed Krypton and everyone on it. Rogal Zar destroyed the Fortress of Solitude, destroyed Kandour killing everyone in it, and wanted to kill everyone on Earth. Ultimately Superman and Supergirl were able to defeat him by throwing him into the Phantom Zone.  Supergirl then left to investigate Rogal Zar’s claims and what really happened to Krypton. Superman sent Krypto along with her to protect her on her space trip. This leaves Superman alone on Earth and since the communication device he had to talk to Lois and the others was destroyed, he has no way to know if his family is safe or where they are. He is alone.

Superman Vol 1: The Unity Saga: Phantom Earth helps establish the new status quo for Superman in that he misses his family and has to create a new headquarters to replace the Fortress of Solitude. He has to do that while dealing with problems that only he can handle. One such problem is that the Earth was thrown into the Phantom Zone and the people of Earth are being poisoned by the atmosphere of the Phantom Zone. The bigger problem is that Rogal Zar has taken control of the Phantom Zone which housed the worst criminal Krpyton ever faced. Now, Rogal Zar is marshalling them under his leadership and in intends to use them to kill everyone on Earth. Luckily Superman has help in the form of various members of The Justice League such as The Flash, Martian Manhunter, The Atom, and more.

Overall the action is impressive and the story is pretty good. There are scenes that struck me as funny though I am not sure they are actually intended to be funny. For example, the scene where Batman reports he is too busy throwing up from the poison air came across as funny to me.

At times the dialogue seems a little off. For example, in a scene where Superman confesses to his son that he has a love/ hate relationship with Batman, Superboy says that it is just like his relationship with Lois. There are two ways to take the scene depending on how you wish to read the dialogue. Clearly, one way would be to see it as that Superman likes Batman in a romantic way and Superboy is asking his Dad if he is gay. I don’t think the writer intended that, but the way the dialogue is written, one could easily come up with that belief.

Bendis has a good understanding of Superman, however I still don’t think Rogal Zar is that great of a new villain for Superman’s Rogues Gallery. The author tries to hype him up. This is especially true in regards to how strong and smart he is and yet the grand attack plan is to lead a cavalry of flying charging monsters at the Earth while Superman stands in front of the charge. Rogal Zar is supposed to be considered stronger than almost any foe Superman has faced, but considering what Superman has faced in the past, it is hard to understand why he would be scared of Rogal Zar. It is also hard to understand why Superman tries to be merciful to him throughout it all despite the fact that Rogal Zar has threatened to kill his son and wife. In the previous stories where Superman’s family has been threatened, Superman has not responded this gently. The fact that Superman bends over backward to be merciful somewhat diminishes the idea that Rogal Zar is a match for him.

Despite these flaws, Superman Vol 1: The Unity Saga: Phantom Earth by Brian Michael Bendis is enjoyable and a good place to start reading Superman. One should probably read Man of Steel first, but one could start here easily enough.



Superman Vol 1: The Unity Saga: Phantom Earth
Brian Michael Bendis
DC Comics
March 2019
ISBN# 978-1-4012-8819-8
Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)
168 Pages  
$24.99

Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System. My copy came from the Dallas West Branch.

Scott A. Tipple ©2019

Friday, August 16, 2019

Not Well

Made the mistake of going out this afternoon in the heat  to run a couple of errands. I did this after being out and about in public for awhile this morning. I overdid me, and then with the heat, am not well at all tonight. It did not help that we had an issue with the house AC this afternoon which is now theoretically fixed.

Will rest at home tonight with several fans blowing on my carcass, and hope to be better tomorrow. If you have sent me something or have news for SMFS, please be patient.

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Book Artist by Mark Pryor

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Book Artist by Mark Pryor: Reviewed by Jeanne Bibliophile and ex-FBI profiler Hugo Marston usually finds his job as head of security for the U.S. Embassy ...