Thursday, April 11, 2013

Good Graphic Novel Reads from The Swamp and More

Hi all,

Ronin Bill has been wondering the lands of literature and has stumbled across some pretty great Graphic Novels. You know I remember when comics where just 25 cents an issue. Guess that dates me a bit, but I still love them. The first comic that I ever bought was Flash 235 by Cary Bates (writer), Irv Novick (penciller), Tex Blaisdell (inker) and the wonderful Dick Giordano (cover artist).
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Giordano several times late in his life. On one occasion he was invited to an event where no one knew who he was except me. Needless to say I made sure he was properly taken care of at this event. We talked a little and he asked me who was one of my favorite heroes that he had drawn. I immediately said Batman and before the event was over he gave me a drawing of Batman that I will treasure forever. He was a class act. Here is the synapses from "The Flash and Green Lantern find that both Iris Allen and Carol Ferris have been kidnapped, and both go to Earth-Two to help the Flash of that world battle Vandal Savage, who has kidnapped Carol." Man not only do you get the Silver Age Flash, but a team up with the Silver age Green Lantern and the golden age Flash against the iconic Flash Villain Vandal Savage. I was hooked!!!!!!

Well enough reminiscing lets talk about my recent reads:

Saga of The Swamp Thing Volumes 1 and 2 by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben and others (no disrespect intended) - The Swamp Thing was created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson and the work they did with the character was phenomenal. During the second run of the comic series at issue #20 Alan Moore and crew took over. The world of comics was about to be changed forever. Collected in Volume 1 are issues 21 thru 27. The mind blowing stuff starts right off with the famously titled "The Anatomy Lesson." The Swamp Thing appears to be dead an frozen in cryochest as a result of a battle with the evil General Sutherland. Southernland hires Jason Woodrue, otherwise know as "The Floronic Man," to decipher how Alec Holland was transformed into The Swamp Thing. The Floronic Man is considered an expert in this field due to experimentation on himself in which he transformed himself into a plant/human hybrid. What he discovers blows the roof off everything we thought about The Swamp Thing. From there The Floronic Man comes into contact with "The Green," the worlds plant life and goes on a rampage in which the earth's plants turn against mankind. The mighty Justice League looks on helplessly as there is nothing they can do. Of course The Swamp Thing plays a pivotal part in the outcome. We are also treated in Volume One to a very new interpretation of The Demon as he joins up with The Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane to fight the ghostly evil of The Monkey King (a supernatural entity that preys on the nightmares of children).

 The Floronic Man

                                                  The Demon, Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane

Wow that was only about Volume 1! Well Volume 2 covers a deadly vendetta by Abby's Uncle Arcane, once a man now something so vile and wicked it makes the denizens of Hell shutter. Following that story, The Swamp Thing has to actually travel to the afterlife to save Abby's soul which Arcane has doomed to Hell. The Swamp Thing Travels to Purgatory, Heaven and Hell in search of Abby's soul, but gets a little help from his friends such as Deadman, The Phantom Stranger (one of my favorite DC characters), The Spectre and once again Etrigan The Demon. There is much more included in this volume and it cooks!!! These Graphic Novel deal with some mature topics so I would recommended it for teens 13 and up. Great stuff!!!!!!!

Swamp Thing, Deadman, The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre and once again Etrigan The Demon. 

X-Force, Old Ghost, Volume 2 by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Mike Choi and others - If you have not checked out any of The X-Force GNs boy you are missing out. This entry is about Volume 2, but if you find it interesting you need to check out Volume 1 and the ones that follow also. X-Force is a secret team of mutants put together by Cyclops to take care of mutant threats before they can harm other mutants. The team as of this volume consists of Wolverine, X-23, Wolfsbane, Archangel, Warpath, Domino, Elixir and The Vanisher (although in his case it is quite against his will). Basically there are two story lines one following Warpath as he goes to visit his brother's grave and ends up confronting a Demon Bear. He soon finds himself in need of help and The Ghost Rider enters the fray. The other part of the team sans Wolfsbane is trying to locate the dreaded Legacy Virus that has already killed many mutants in the past. They need to find it first and also figure out who is after it. It does not help matters that Warren in his Archangel identity is fighting to maintain control of his more violent tendencies toward friend or foe and that Wolfsbane is left behind because in her wolf form she only wants to kill Angel/Archangel. Highly recommended for older teens!!!!!

Well that was quite a bit. Hope I didn't get to long winded. Until next time, keep fighting the good fight.



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Atomic Bombs and Shadow Ops

Hi all in The Land of Blog it is your Ronin Librarian Bill reporting in once again. I have 2 very cool books to tell you about, so let's get this show on the road!!!!!

BOMB, The Race to Build - and Steal - The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin - It is stated on the inside of the book cover: "In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a uranium atom split in two." This of course led to the discover of what atoms can do to make one of the deadliest, destructive weapons ever created - The Atomic Bomb. This is a fascinating story showing the race between Germany, America and the Soviet Union to make the first atomic bomb or through espionage steal the secrets needed to catch up with each other. It is a story of brilliant men such as physicist Robert Oppenheimer who gave The United States the first atomic bomb and upon realization of what he had created stated: " Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." It tells of stories of brave soldiers sneaking into occupied German territories to destroy plants and operations that were vital to them developing an atomic bomb. It is a story of men and women put into extraordinary circumstances and moral dilemmas in a race to invent something that should never have seen the light of day. This is really a great piece of non-fiction that I would recommend to all 12 years and older.

Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole - This book is a follow up to "Shadow Ops: Control Point" which you can read my review Here. In this instalment Colonel Alan Bookbinder, who works at the Pentagon and never actually seen active combat discovers he is "Latent" meaning he has manifested the ability to do magic, but not what kind as yet. He turns himself into the appropriate military authorities as "Selfers" those who do not turn themselves in are hunted down and either imprisoned or killed. Bookbinder soon finds himself transported to "The Source" another plane of existence where magic is everywhere along with magical creatures both friendly and definitely unfriendly. Things soon fall apart due to events in the previous book and the U.S. Installation in the Source finds itself cut off from the home plane, our plane of existence, and under siege from enemies that far outnumber them. Oscar Britton is back as he pursues and tries to take down a very dangerous witch know as Scylla. Bookbinder soon finds out what his magical power is and boy is it a big one. The Frontier Fortress under constant siege and running out of everything puts Bookbinder on an adventure to find Britton, a Portamancer (the ability to open and close gates to different locations and dimension) so that he can save the men and women serving at the Frontier Fortress. He forms a squad an some very interesting allies and enemies along the way. Just as good if not better than the first book! As before with the first book I must caution that this really is an adult book (language and violence being the strongest issues). This book is recommended for older teens. Great stuff!!!!!

That's all for now. Remember, war at time may be necessary, but it should never be the first choice of action.