Comics · Fantasy · Science Fiction

Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds

I was really looking forward to this book when it was first announced, because I’m a huge Miles Morales fan and Jason Reynolds is high on my “want to read” list. Not to mention that this would be the first story featuring Miles written by a black author.

 

For those unfamiliar with Miles: originally from the Ultimate universe, Miles is a black/Puerto Rican American teen who became Spider-Man after Peter Parker’s death. His comics were the only Ultimate universe comics I read, and after the Secret Wars event he was “moved” to the main Marvel universe. By the way: Aaron Davis, the character played by Donald Glover in Spider-Man: Homecoming, is Miles’ uncle!

Continue reading “Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds”

Romance · Science Fiction

The Last Beginning by Lauren James

I was very eager to start on The Last Beginning, which is a companion novel to, rather than a sequel of The Next Together. While the first book was a reincarnation/romance SF story, this one focuses on time travel, which I am more into. The main character is Clove Sutcliffe, someone from a future where The Next Together‘s “present-time” Katherine and Matthew had long ago vanished without a trace.

A relation of theirs, Clove was determined to find Katherine and Matthew, especially when she discovered that they had been reincarnated at key moments in history. As her scientist parents’ experiments in building a working time machine was pending for approval for human trials, Clove decided to sneak away to become the first time traveler, and find out what really happened to Katherine and Matthew. Continue reading “The Last Beginning by Lauren James”

Romance · Science Fiction

The Next Together by Lauren James

“I don’t think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy.” – The Next Together, Lauren James

This is a book that my friend Rainbow, who happens to be one of the sales reps I work with, asked me to read. I read the synopsis and didn’t feel like reading more – I did have a phase in which I enjoyed stories about reincarnation, but I just wasn’t sold on the whole “reincarnating lovers who are meant to be together in every lifetime” thing. The words on the cover put me off – “how many times can you lose the one you love?” and “a powerful and epic debut about the timelessness of first love.” I wrote this off as a romance and didn’t think much about it until I finally picked it up to read. Oh, how wrong I was.

It was powerful, all right. And epic. And very romantic. But it’s not really about that, or just that.  Continue reading “The Next Together by Lauren James”

Fantasy · Romance · Science Fiction

A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

A Million Worlds With You is the third of the Firebird series in which the characters can jump between multiverses. The protagonist is Marguerite, whose parents are famous scientists and the inventors of this dimension-hopping tech. When her father is murdered, Marguerite has to go after the killer as he jumps from dimension to dimension. She’s determined to get her revenge, but with each jump, Marguerite learns of the life of another alternate Marguerite, and it makes her wonder if there’s such a thing as fate.

Honestly, I went into this series not knowing what to expect (besides the typical YA thing) and was happy to find it reminiscent of one of my favourite books as a kid, Continue reading “A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray”

Science Fiction

Thoughts on Ninefox Gambit & Too Like the Lightning

Year 1438
Month of Jumada
al-jum’a (Jumaat) the 13th

Dear reader,

The Sci-Fi Experience (hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings) is a challenge that isn’t really a challenge, in which readers “a) continue their love affair with science fiction, b) Return to science fiction after an absence, or c) Experience for the first time just how exhilarating science fiction can be.” You can read/watch/play anything SFnal for it, between December 1st and January 31st. While I usually participate when it comes to reading and watching, these days I realise that the reviewing part of challenges get harder to do. Because I’ve been busier lately, yes. But also because I find these books so mindblowingly amazing and I don’t really know what to say other than “I find this book mindblowingly amazing.”

So I’m not going to write a review. (And I’m not even posting this within the challenge dates!) Continue reading “Thoughts on Ninefox Gambit & Too Like the Lightning”

Comics · Science Fiction

Mari Reads the Marvel Universe, Part 2

In which I read the first volumes of the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe, or at least the ones that caught my attention! (Part one here.)


All-New X-Men Vol. 1: Ghosts of Cyclops by Dennis Hopeless & Mark Bagley

allnewxmen1While I enjoyed the first couple of volumes of Bendis’ run of All-New X-Men, I have to admit that I haven’t read the whole run, so I started this new volume with no idea as to what the characters are up to. Turned out that by this time Scott Summers has died (I knew this part, having read mentions of it elsewhere), and the young!Cyclops have decided to no longer use his powers (I didn’t know this). When a group of new mutants began to commit crimes under the name of the older Cyclops, going as far as to call themselves the Ghosts of Cyclops, Scott Summers may have to get back on the superhero wagon… this time, with young!Beast, young!Iceman, young!Angel, the new Wolverine, Kid Apocalypse and Oya.

Things I liked: The new group. The only one in this new group that I really liked is Laura (Wolverine), but I’m enjoying their group dynamics so far. I’m starting to like Kid Apocalypse and Oya a lot. And yes, I like reading about the young!X-men because they’re the X-Men I remember from my own childhood, rather than the people they ended up becoming. Oh, and Pickles! I love Pickles.

Things I disliked: the fact that I’m still in kind of a blur over what happened to the other X-men? Do I have to read Extraordinary X-Men to get to the rest of the story? Because I tried the first volume, and couldn’t make it past the second issue. Which is sad because I love Storm.

Will new/old fans like it? Well. I like it, and I’m a mix of both old (I read X-Men as a kid) and new (I’m not really up-to-date with the X-men/mutant stories). But it’s not my favourite, either. Continue reading “Mari Reads the Marvel Universe, Part 2”

Comics · Fantasy · Science Fiction

Mari reads the Marvel Universe, Part 1

Well… not quite the entire Marvel Universe. I did think about trying every single volume ones that came out from the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe, but I’m a lot busier at work than I ever was these days, and I barely have time to catch up with work-related reading. Luckily, checking out promising Vol 1s is also a part of work – so I decided to go with selected titles that caught my eye at our New Arrivals.


Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1: Reboot by Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez

ironmanI like Tony Stark (even though he annoys me sometimes), but I haven’t checked out any of his solo titles until now. The reason I’m finally reading this? Bendis, of course. And also the fact that it’s a Volume One – I wonder why a simple renumbering made me more apt to pick up a title. Anyway, in the post-Secret Wars world, Tony (1) is no longer as rich as he used to be (but is still pretty rich), (2) makes a new Iron Man suit, and (3) has a new love interest (and I really like her). There are also other spoilery twists that I won’t share, of course. Also in this volume: Doctor Doom! Doctor Strange! Madame Masque! Mary Jane!

Things I liked: Friday, Tony’s A.I. I really do hope that Friday in the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be at least half as snarky as the one in this comic. And I know the fact that the Tony Stark in this run is more RDJ-like than usual, but I don’t really mind that one bit (in fact, I love it), because RDJ was the reason why I started to give his character a chance in the first place.

Things I disliked: Dr. Doom. Not one of my fave villains, and although the depiction of the new him is refreshing, I know it can’t last very long.

Will new/old readers like this? I think this is a good volume for newbies to start with, and a fun one for older readers, unless they hate the RDJ-fication of Iron Man’s character, of course.


Uncanny Avengers Vol. 1: Lost Future by Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman

uncannyavengersThis is a title I didn’t think I’d pick up at all… but rather enjoyed, anyway. Old man Steve Rogers assembles a new team of superheroes, consisting of humans, mutants and inhumans! The Avengers Unity Squad’s agenda is to promote peace between the races, but this doesn’t really work out all that well – there’s some tension between the mutant and inhuman members, and in the beginning a prominent member decides to leave the team on account of the fact that Steve Rogers allowed Deadpool in.

Things I liked: the exploration of the mutants/inhuman tensions, how each group are treated differently by humans, and the consequences of Black Bolt terrigen bombs. The fact that many of these characters are outsiders or don’t quite belong elsewhere, which of course was why I loved Uncanny X-Men, the first Marvel series I ever followed as a kid. Rogue and Human Torch sniping at each other. Quicksilver being Quicksilver. Deadpool!! I enjoy the Deadpool in this run, although I don’t know how long he could last as a non-killing member of Avenger.

Things I disliked: not quite a dislike, but the plot points could be convoluted for new readers, who wouldn’t know about the terrigen bombs or the disease infecting the mutants because of it. Oh, and there’s a storyline involving Red Skull and Xavier that I didn’t like.

Will new/old readers like this? I think yes, if you’re reading for the characters. Newbies would have to look up some stuff on their own, or read previous comics, which I suppose can be a turn-off. Older fans of X-Men might enjoy this more than fans Avengers, maybe.


The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1: Worldwide by Dan Slott & Giuseppe Camuncoli

spiderman1Parker Industries is doing well (much better than Stark Industries, one might say) and Peter Parker is traveling all over with his “bodyguard” Spider-Man in tow. Lots of meh villains, including a group that calls themselves the Zodiac, and some awesome heroes show up. I really, really, really was hoping to fall in love with this series, but judging from this volume, it isn’t going to happen.

Things I liked: Peter’s tribute to the (now-defunct) Fantastic Four. Peter’s friendship with Johnny Storm. The fact that Peter finally gets to be the genius he’s always been.

Things I disliked: The villains and the running plotlines in this volume just failed to interest me.

Will new/old readers like this? The current Peter/Spider-Man may confuse newbies, especially if they’re only familiar with the film adaptations – there’s a lot of catching up to do. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t like it! As for older readers, maaaaybe fans of early Iron Man would enjoy this more than fans of early Spider-Man?


All-New All-Different Avengers Vol. 1: The Magnificent Seven by Mark Waid and Adam Kubert

avengers1Mark Waid! Kamala Khan! Sam Alexander! Miles Morales! This is a must-read for me, definitely. In fact, this is one of the two titles I’m currently subscribed to (I really can’t afford to subscribe to more than two titles, although sometimes I cave and buy random issues). In the post-Secret Wars world, there hasn’t been a functioning Avengers team (somehow nobody counted the Unity Squad?), until an alien threat surfaces, and a group of heroes had to work together to counter it. The new team: Captain America (Sam Wilson), Thor (Jane Foster), Vision, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Nova (Sam Alexander), and Miles Morales (Spider-Man). With three new super-young members, I wonder if the ex-Young Avengers are a little bitter. As far as this volume goes, I was a little indifferent to the adult members of the team (despite liking their characters, and solo comics), and found that it was the younger members that really drove the story.

Also, now that Tony had to sell off the Stark Tower, and can’t fund the team the way he used to, being an Avenger doesn’t have the same perks as before.

Things I liked: All the Nova/Ms. Marvel/Spider-Man bits, definitely. And the bits where they’re limited by their low budget. And Captain America/Thor revelations.

Things I disliked: I am obviously very, very biased, but I can’t think of anything.

Will new/old fans like this? It could go either way. Sometimes this title may seem to be more like a Ms. Marvel or Nova comic with a supporting cast of heroes than an Avengers comic, which I have absolutely zero complaints about, but I’m sure fans of the other heroes will be dissatisfied about. BUT I’ve a feeling that Waid will focus more on the other characters in due time, so it might be worth it to continue reading.


Guardians of the Galaxy: New Order Vol. 1: Emperor Quill by Brian Michael Bendis & Valerio Schiti

guardians1In this series, we find that Peter Quill is no longer with the Guardians, having taken on his new role as the emperor of the Spartax. Rocket Raccoon is the new leader (yay!) with Groot and Drax, plus Kitty Pryde (the new Star Lord!), Ben Grimm (The Thing), and Flash Thompson (Venom). Now, I LOVE Kitty Pryde – she was my absolute favourite X-Men – and everyone knows I adore Rocket, and I even liked the Peter Quill/Kitty Pryde romance awhile back, but. Somehow, this run doesn’t seem to entertain me as much as I thought it would.

Things I liked: Kitty Pryde. She is maybe even more awesome when in space, as much as she claims to hate space.

Things I disliked: I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found it hard to follow all plotlines – partly due to the fact that I haven’t read Guardians before, I’m sure, but also because I kept getting distracted, and despite liking all these people, this title doesn’t seem to make me care all that much about what happens to them.

Will new/old fans like this? Maybe not. Newbies may want to read older Guardians titles first, and older fans may prefer the older runs anyway.


 

Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird by Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo

doctorstrange1I have to confess that Doctor Strange is one of the characters that I hardly ever read before this. I’ve never read his solo titles, and he so very rarely makes an appearance in the comics I do read, although he’s been appearing more often recently (thanks, upcoming movie?). So I didn’t have any idea what pre-Secret Wars Doc Strange was like. I did like him in the Secret Wars comics, and I liked what I’ve seen of Chris Bachalo’s art for this series, which were my main reasons for trying it. I’m so glad I did! This title starts with a (slightly confusing) bang: Stephen Strange finding himself fighting monsters while naked, and without any weapons or spell books. It’s okay, though, because he’s confused about the whole thing himself – and when he finally gets clued in as to why, we learn that everything mystical in the multiverse might be in great danger.

Things I liked: I have to say that I REALLY like Stephen Strange in this run. And the fact that the new character introduced is a librarian. And the art, oh so gorgeous in some parts. The majesticness of Doctor Strange’s cape. The fact that the main plot hinges on the price of magic, too. The sheer weirdness of his sanctum sanctorum. (WHY haven’t I read any Doctor Strange before this, again?)

Things I disliked: Can’t think of anything!

Will new/old fans like this? The writing catches you up without being clogged up with backstory, so it’s probably the perfect place to start reading Doctor Strange.