The Flash, Doctor Who and Constantine

Doctor Who

So I’ve been enjoying both The Flash and Constantine. Both very different shows from each other but good in their own way.

The Flash is great for family watching. I love a show you can watch with the family without worrying about appropriateness. Unfortunately I missed the first episode and sometimes the writing is a bit dicy but overall it is a good show. The writing seems to have settled down as the season progressed and honestly I’ve been enjoying it.

Doctor Who: Doctor, Doctor, Doctor; what has happened to you? I love Peter Capaldi as the doctor. I even loved Missy as The Master. What I don’t love is the way each episode has seemed to make promises it cannot or will not keep. Because of this every episode seems to end with a bit of a let down, as if the entire thing was a giant tease. That being said, still one of the best shows on television. In my opinion kill the Moon is far and away the best episode of season 8 with Death in Heaven second.

Constantine is horrible. I don’t mean it’s a horribly done show or poorly written or poorly acted just that horrible things happen to people in the episodes and the antagonists are fairly awful monsters too. This stands to reason since the premise of the show is that of a man whose soul has already been damned to hell who fights demons. This show is quite enjoyable to watch but I would not consider it appropriate for younger people. Thankfully it airs late on Friday night after prime time which seems to be the network’s big clue that it’s not considered wholesome family fare.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Of Gardening, Bettas, Mystery Snails and Monsters

Gipsy in the coral decoration

Gipsy in the coral decoration

This summer I let my garden lay fallow, which is code for not doing anything with it. My Gunnera was killed in a late freeze in the spring and I never got around to replanting. Work kept me so busy I didn’t get to my garden and after a while the weeds took over.

Fear not! This December we are going to have the trees pruned and then I will prepare my garden for the spring. I am going to plant another Gunnera or two and watch carefully for unseasonal freezes so that they don’t die.

Despite my neglect, the hummingbirds returned and enjoyed the flowers. They nested in the same tree, much to my delight. Next year I will plant even more flowers for them to enjoy.

Degarla, a golden mystery snail, center and Gipsy.

Degarla, a golden mystery snail, center and Gipsy.

I got a Betta this fall to shower with my repressed pet love. I can’t have a cat due to severe allergies. So I now have the most spoilt crown tail Betta on the planet. I named him Gipsy Danger (don’t judge me). I also got two mystery snails to keep Gipsy company and clean the tank. Degarla (named after the monster in The Rebirth of Mothra) is a golden mystery snail and Ebriah (Horror of the Deep: from Godzilla vs Ebriah (the sea monster)) is blue. Again, don’t judge me.

I had no idea that fish had personalities. Gipsy dances for me when he sees me and he breaches to eat bits of thawed pea off my fingers. I found, via the power of Google, that giving a Betta a bit of pea once a week helps keep their little digestive tracts healthy, plus Gipsy loves it.

Gipsy

Gipsy

Also, when naming mystery snails after giant monsters it seems that they take that kind of thing seriously. Degarla has doubled in size since I got him (or her, I can’t tell). Ebriah is taking a bit longer to get huge but is working on it. Everything I read about them said they need supplemental food to be healthy so I picked up some alge discs and give them one per day.

I was appalled by how hungry Ebriah seemed to be when I got him (or her) home. She (or he) ate a whole one by herself. Also Degarla loves to be inside the coral cave decoration I got for them during the day. I took it out to clean it and Degarla tried desperately do dig under some rocks for the day. Gipsy also loves the coral cave decoration. He likes to pretend he’s a moray eel. Ok maybe not but I imagine he might be pretending that when he hides in there and only pokes his little head out. It doesn’t help that he likes to pop the snails off the glass and watch them fall to the bottom of the tank.

Ebriah, a blue mystery snail, playing in the plant.

Ebriah, a blue mystery snail, playing in the plant.

Gipsy takes his name to heart too. He’s kind of a jerk to the monster named snails. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to name my Betta after a giant Kaiju hunting Jaeger and then name my snails after Kaiju.

Speaking of Kaiju, my review of Godzilla Cataclysm Issue #4 will be published on Fangirlnation. Look for it there. Rest assured I will provide a link. I’m also reading the graphic novel of Godzilla The Half Century War. I’m about a quarter of a century into it. K.

Sandman #1 is Free on Amazon For A Limited Time

Sandman Kindle Cover via Amazon

Sandman Kindle Cover via Amazon

Sandman Kindle Cover via Amazon

Whoa! The popular Sandman #1 is free on Amazon for the Kindle or Kindle Fire for a limited time. Now is your chance to get one of Neil Gaiman’s most amazing stories for free. Thank you Amazon and DC Comics.

This is the product description on Amazon:

The first issue of the first volume of Neil Gaiman’s horror/fantasy epic! An occultist accidentally traps Morpheus, the embodiment of Dreams, and holds him for 70 years. Finally free, Morpheus seeks his lost objects of power and rediscovers his place in the universe.

K.

Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #1 of 5 Advance Review

Chronos Commandos Cover

Chronos Commandos Cover

Chronos Commandos Cover

Created, Written and Illustrated by: Stuart Jennett
Logo Design and Lettering Assist by: Donna Jennett
Edited by: Andrew James
On Sale August 14th

First impression: Wow. Second impression: Wow. This comic book is beautiful. The art is fantastic. I would hazard a guess that this is a labor of love. Stuart Jennett clearly, demonstrably, has remarkable talent and it is all on display in this issue.

Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol #1 is packed full of important backstory. The pages are dense with plot, dialogue and every scene is gorgeously realized. I confess that I almost passed on reviewing this comic because, well, it is kind of gory. Beautifully rendered but lots of death and blood and some guts.

For some inexplicable reason dinosaurs find military personnel delicious. Humans must be like the potato chips of the Cretaceous and men with guns are the hot-n-spicy flavored ones. I like time travel stories and this holds true across the spectrum.

The issue opens and closes with panels that show top secret, classified documents. The opening classified document establishes “Sarge” as being assigned to the Chronos Commandos. The closing document provides a more detailed description of what the project is and what their hopes are for it. I confess that I secretly hoped to see Project Rainbow included in the final list but I can understand why it was not. Perhaps that would have been too much. Also it would have gotten into a whole weird area mixing Tesla with Einstein. This wouldn’t have been just another, “you got chocolate in my peanut butter,” kind of thing. There is plenty going on with what the author has already. Rogue conspiracy theories were not necessary and this kind of restraint shows good self-editing on the part of the creator.

Warning some spoilers ahead. Tread lightly.

Our hero, “Sarge,” takes a crack team of commandos back to the far distant past to foil a Nazi plot to win WWII. Sarge is a bit sloppy about time travel theory. He’s just not into the whole “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey” stuff. He’s a man of action. This does not end well for the good guys. However, the story is beautifully thought out. You can see what’s happening and the results are quite right. There are so many things that could be red herrings. I’m really quite hooked. I want to see what Jennett does and where he takes the story.

During the course of their mission a T-Rex who clearly has a craving eats some of Sarge’s men. Possibly she’s a mother close to hatching out a clutch of little T-Rexes because she will go to any length to satisfy her craving for crunchy commandos. Did I mention a little bit gory? Yeah.

Sarge is a bit callous about the whole thing which points to some potential interesting inner conflicts in the future. He’s a big picture guy trying to save the world from evil. He doesn’t have time to worry about one or two guys who fall during the fight for freedom.

We also are given tantalizing hints to some past injury the Nazis have done him. He seems a bit obsessive about hunting down Nazis and stopping them. There really is a lot going on with this character. Subtle is not in his vocabulary. He starts the issue with three men. Two suffer death by dino and one dies at the hands of a Nazi due to a miscount. Although that begs the question—was it the previous mission, which they reference as making a mistake during that led to the Nazis changing history and thus leading to the miscount or were they just in a hurry and got sloppy? What a delicious question to leave the reader with.

Sarge does some things that perhaps a more savvy time traveller would not do and this possibly results in bad things happening. I’m not going to spoil everything for you but I will say that it’s really not good for history, as we know it.

As promised in the press release; Einstein himself, wild hair and all, is wielding a machine-gun when Sarge returns. This is bad. First of all, Einstein, historically, was a pacifist. To imagine that gentle scientist wielding a machine-gun hints at terrible things happening to the time stream.

I’m just not spoiling the ending for you. Suffice it to say that Sarge has to immediately hop back into his chrono sphere to fix some problems that involve Nazis who have turned the tables. In the course of this one issue Sarge went from having the edge, having intel before the Nazis to the Nazis knowing things they aught not to. Time travel, go figure. K.

Titan Comics Press Release: Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol (7/10/2013)

Chronos Commandos Cover

Chronos Commandos Cover

Chronos Commandos Cover

Writer(s): Stuart Jennett
Artist Name(s): Stuart Jennett

Synopsis:
When the Allies and Nazis develop time-diving technology that could see the course of the Second World War derailed by creatures from the Cretaceous period, only the Sarge and his band of misfit soldiers can save the future – by saving history!

Dinosaurs! Giant crocodiles! Time travel! Nazis! Albert Einstein with a machinegun! All that barely scratches the surface of this astounding, fully-painted pulp spectacular!

Buckle up, ladies, it’s going to be a bumpy, cigar-chewin’ thrill-ride!

I’ve gotta say, gentle readers, this looks like a fun comic book romp. K.

Comic Reviews: B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth An Oldie but Goodie

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories Graphic Novel

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories Graphic Novel

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories Graphic Novel

Comic Reviews: B.P.R.D. (The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense)
Hollow Earth and Other Stories

Mike Mignola is perhaps best known for his creation Hellboy published by Dark Horse Comics. One of the spin offs of Hellboy is the B.P.R.D., which features Abe Sapien and others who seek out the strange, paranormal and fantastic all over the world. Personally I like the B.P.R.D. better than Hellboy for reasons of personal taste, which is that I tend to like science fiction more than fantasy or horror so the more it leans towards science fiction the better I like it. The series kicked off in 2002 with Hollow Earth.

Mignola has a very distinctive artistic style that I find suits his stories very well. I was pleased to get to meet Mr. Mignola at the 2013 Emerald City Comic Con this last March and I got a signed book of his artwork.

B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Other Stories was penciled by Ryan Sook who helped ink it along with Curtis Arnold and it was colored by Dave Stewart. These men did a superlative job of creating the tone of the story. The shadowy, muted colors and odd angles with very little crispness speak to the hidden, otherworldly dimensions that exist within our own and might even be more real than what we know as reality. The artwork hints at things we cannot see clearly without being out of focus. This works well with stories that mix hints and whispers with myths and legends to create a world where nothing is quite what it seems and what we take for granted as normal is a veneer that hides what lies beneath the floors, behind the curtains, always under the surface.

The story, written by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski is one of my favorite B.P.R.D. stories because it introduces Johann. Talk about a wild back story, Johann is just out there, even for the B.P.R.D. and we get to see Elizabeth too and she is brought in. The story starts out with Elizabeth in a monk temple and we are given a backstory that would do H.P. Lovecraft proud. This is the kind of thing I love, where an author makes their own mythology, plays with what has become embedded in the stories of different cultures and makes it new.

I know it’s been out for a while but if you’re looking for a good read, or just want to revisit an oldie but goodie I really think this is one to go to. It’s also a pretty quick read. It’s good to feed your imagination but sometimes hard to find the time to do it. This graphic novel, or these comic books depending upon what you can find, are pretty excellent. K.