Thursday, July 28, 2022

Reader's Diary #2028- Matt Owens (writer) and Juann Cabal (artist): Elektra Always Bet on Red

I like Marvel's Elektra character. Still, I realize she's never exactly been a top-tier character. Getting her own limited series maybe was an attempt to push her more to the spotlight, or perhaps to test the waters if there was a demand. 

I don't know though that Matt Owens' Always Bet on Red made a convincing case. But I'll defend on that front by saying it was a fun series, but I don't think he was given enough access to better characters. 

If Elektra's not top-tier, her adversaries in Always Bet on Red are even less notable: Arcade, with an assist from Screwball. Just the mere mention of these and we know there aren't going to any real stakes. Elektra will escape unscathed and larger ramifications in the Marvel universe will be minimal. (There are suggestions at the end that Arcade was just creating a diversion for Kingpin, a much more impressive villain, and suggesting at least some larger picture, but I wonder if that was enough to make any readers care, coming as it did late into the run and thrown out as too much of an aside.)

Juann Cabal's art is pretty good. I especially liked his play with action across multiple panels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Reader's Diary #2027 - Julia Shaw: Bi / The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality

I cannot praise Julia Shaw's Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality enough. It's well-researched, comprehensive, and yet told in a friendly, accessible way. I learned a great deal.

Covering a swath of bi topics from history, being closeted, bi erasure, political considerations, various forms of bisexual love, and more, it's a proud, inspiring, and thorough read. 

Her writing takes the stance that bi, is attraction (which has forms in and of itself) to the same and other genders (sort of how I view pansexuality and would probably use interchangeably, unless corrected otherwise). 

Perhaps more importantly, she dispels various myths about bisexuality by acknowledging there are many differences even within that community, but accepts and welcomes them all in a spirit of strength in numbers and ally-ship. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Reader's Diary #2026 - Mike Johnson (writer), Angel Hernandez (artist): Star Trek Green Lantern / The Spectrum War

While I'm a bit of a sucker for crossover comics, alas the silliness of the whole Green Lantern premise sabotaged my ability to enjoy the Star Trek/ Green Lantern crossover, The Spectrum War

It also didn't help that it was WAY too busy. All the Star Trek characters (from the Chris Pine as Captain Kirk era), including their rogues gallery, and all the Green Lantern characters, including their rogues gallery, was just simply too much. The story quickly became a convoluted mess.

Angel Hernandez's art is serviceable (I mean it looked like Chris Pine), but unfortunately he wasn't able to reign in any of the madness that was the story and the panels too became busy and overwhelming.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Reader's Diary #2035 - Stephen Crane: A Tent in Agony

 Plot-wise, I appreciate Stephen Crane's short story "A Tent in Agony." It's a surprisingly humorous tale about a bear attack on a campsite. 

However, some of the word choices are just bizarre, almost to the point where they don't make sense. At one point I stopped reading to see if it was just a bad translation. Nope, it was written in English. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Reader's Diary #2034 - John Einarson: Four Strong Winds

Ian and Sylvia Tyson's folk song "Four Strong Winds" is an undeniable Canadian classic. But I didn't know a lot more about them or their music before this book. Still, I've read many books about topics I didn't have great interest in before and often I've been surprisingly drawn in.

Not so much with Four Strong Winds, the biography of Ian and Sylvia Tyson. I learned a bit (their American success was news to me), even came to appreciate their musicianship. I listened to their albums as I read the book. Ultimately though, I found it to be a bit of a dull affair and it became a struggle to finish after a while. 

One odd annoyance? The constant references to their attractiveness. Good lord that was weird and grew old fast.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Reader's Diary #2033 - Drew Payne: Late One Night in September

In Drew Payne's flash fiction "Late One Night in September" we're introduced to a young man who's steeled himself to finally come out to his mother. The tension, the stress is palpable, and we root for him. There are hints at the struggle that's gotten him here, and we know his mother is religious. 

I wish I could say it had a happy ending, but the phone call to his mom goes even worse than he anticipated. It's crushing.

But as a story, it's very evocative with rich characterization. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Reader's Diary #3022- Naomi Kanakia: Goodwill

 Naomi Kanakia's short story "Goodwill" is full of hilarious cynicism and is also written in the 2nd person, so needless to say, I enjoyed it immensely. 

In a nutshell, it's the life of a person who tries to pick a responsible, ethical career but always seems to wind up contributing to the very ideals they rally against. But I suppose, the point is that they never stop trying. Maybe it just takes everyone else to join in to make a difference.

It reads a bit more like a parable than a typical short story, but it's too amusing to fault for being didactic. 

Monday, July 04, 2022

Reader's Diary #3021 - Clifford Beal: Shooting the Breeze

 I'm not sure if Clifford Beal's "Shooting the Breeze" owes anything to Rear Window, but plot-wise it shares enough of a similarity that I saw the ending a mile away.

That said, it was still engaging and Beal's knack for voice and setting helped sell the piece.