Favorite Book: Cryptonomicon
Favorite Movie: Young Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything: Monty Python
There are very few books that do exactly what they advertise. How to Sneak Your Monster into School, by Chris Francis, is one of those books. The story is presented in a neat format, where every page is another step in a complicated plan.
There are only two things you need to know that happened after the show ended to enjoy this trade. *SPOILERS FOR SEASON 8 in the rest of this paragraph* At the end of Season 8, Buffy destroyed The Seed of Magic. Destroying this seed causes vampire spawn to act as mindless as zombies, like zompires. *END SPOILERS*
Andrez Bergen’s novel pulls a neat trick. It is not actually about its protagonist, Wolram E. Deaps. Instead, it is the mysterious geisha, Kohana, which the story focuses on. The story uses her tumultuous life to explore the recent history of Japan. I should mention that the novel starts after Wolram and Kohana are dead. Bergen uses the “life flashing before your eyes” routine to great effect. The novel is a series of vignettes as we track through Kohana’s past and Wolram complains.
Seriously, this comic has Martian vampire bugs. Fighting Bigfoot. On Mars.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Bigfoot – Sword of the Earthman, this is the most inspired blend of Conan and cryptozoology since Red Sonja. Bigfoot, who has been stranded on a populated fantasy Mars, fights giant bugs and petty despots. This comic knows exactly what it is trying to do and does it perfectly. Perfectly. It is a big, awesome, silly epic with a gigantic heart.
When vampires try to go legit, the illicit trade in captive humans goes underground and a new force threatens the undead. Noctua tells the story of the killer of vampires as he sets out to cut as wide a swath through the undead as possible.
Issue number four of Prisoners of Time features the fourth Doctor and his companions Leela and K-9 as they find themselves caught in the middle of a police action on the planet Agratis. The police in question are the comically, frighteningly overzealous Judoon (the rhino-headed guys), and they will tear the world apart looking for the stolen Jewel of Fawton. This Jewel is the chief driver of tourism for this (otherwise) poor planet. Also skulking in the background is the mysterious figure that has been kidnapping the Doctor’s companions.
I continue to be impressed by Matt Kindt’s Mind MGMT, which is no small feat, since I expect every issue to be a revelation. The latest issue does not disappoint. In it, the plot is put on a bit of a back burner while character exploration takes the center stage (and mixed metaphors take the review). Like every Mind MGMT comic book so far, number ten is as richly layered and compelling as anything I’ve read.
And so, dear readers, our time with Todd comes to a close. This comic has been one of the biggest (and oddest) surprises for me this year. For those of you who haven’t been following this series, go and get the first three issues. They are terrific satire, and you will thank me. For those of you who have read them, let’s talk finales.
Sledgehammer 44 follows a small unit of soldiers in WWII who suddenly find themselves in possession of the most powerful weapon in the war. They are also being pursued by a much larger German force. This might be my favorite kind of story. This comic focuses on a group of regular GIs, who are out of their depth and dealing with giant robot suits and Nazi super-weapons. I love a good everyman-in-a-super-powered-world story, and I also love a good war story. This combination has the potential to be incredible and it more than delivers here.
River of Stars is a sweeping and sprawling epic set in ancient China, where bandits and politicians vie to shape the future of an empire. There, one man sets in motion a daring plan to reunite the fractured empire. A young woman finds herself defying time-honored traditions. The complex whirl of ploys and counter-ploys could be the empire's salvation or damnation.