On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness The Wingfeather Saga #1

That… was not at all the book I was expecting it to be.

If I were reading this book to my children, I imagine I would have liked it quite a bit more. It’s got the zany sort of weirdness that really appeals to children–it’s in some ways much easier for them to jump from insane to imaginary, while at the same time not needing that much of a reason for things to be like they are.

The whole land of Skree was green and flat. Except for the Stony Mountains in the north, which weren’t flat at all. Nor were they green. They were rather white from all the snow, though if the snow melted, something green might eventually grow there.

The entire prologue is like that. Prologues. There are 3 of them. And they’re all like that.

It’s amusing… and then it’s too much.

That evil was a nameless evil, an evil whose name was Gnag the Nameless.

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Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 6: Venom Ultimate Spider-Man #6 Ultimate Marvel Universe #15

Well that’s another packed volume. A dash of memory on tape: Peter’s father. And… apparently childhood friend Eddie Brock?

Of course one thing leads to another, they find the venom formula (SCIENCE this time, not alien; at least not that we know), and we very Venom suit Spider-Man. Only for a few moments and he’s already done with that.

It’s a bit quick to go from ‘oh hey, childhood friend you forgot’ to fighting Venom in the street, but I expect we’ll see more of him.

Plus, an aside with Fury! And references to the events of the Ultimates!

Onward!

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Neuromancer Sprawl #1

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

It’s the Matrix decades before the Matrix. Or at least a Matrix?

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…

It’s cyberpunk in a nutshell. A gritty dark world where computers and virtual worlds play first class. In this case, there’s the Matrix. Basically the internet, but with better visuals. And of course, because this was written in the 80s, the only way to access it is jacking in.

The terminology is at once futuristic and dated, but there’s only so much you can do when you write about ’near’ future worlds. Even the better racial stereotype (that’s a way to start a sentence…) are dated if not outright cringe inducing.

Characterwise… it’s mostly an action story. I didn’t care much if our protagonist lived or died… but that’s okay, because he’s really just a vehicle for the story. Such is life.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the descriptions and characterizations of the AIs. We live in world where AI is advancing in leaps and bounds, doing things AI creators in the 80s wouldn’t have imagined possible, while at the same time proving just how hard a problem it still is. In the case of Neuromancer though, the AIs feel almost Urban Fantasy style Fae. Alien, at a totally different scale, and terrifying. It works.

Not my favorite entry even into this sub-genre, but it’s also not at all a bad book. Worth a read.


Ultimate Spider-Man, Volume 3: Double Trouble Ultimate Spider-Man #3 Ultimate Marvel Universe #12

Lol.

He’s so young.

Here we have them introductions of Gwen Stacy and Eddie Brock, Doc Oc—back from the dead, Kong being not quite so dumb as everyone thinks—but no one believes him, and… for some reason a guy in a fur cloak wants to hunt Spider-Man.

I feel like these are by far the best paced of the Ultimate Marvel Universe comics so far. Plenty of action, but also time to see Parker being a kid, working a job, and introducing new characters.

I’m looking forward to what’s next!

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The Ultimates, Volume 2: Homeland Security Ultimate X-Men #2 Ultimate Marvel Universe #11

The one where we process the fallout from the first volume. Hulk on a murderous rampage. Hank Pym’s domestic abuse. Hard topics and certainly worthy of discussion…

Just kidding. Invasion of the shape shifting Nazi aliens.

As one does.

It’s another intense story line and maybe actually shaking up a few things. I really am curious how they’ll continue to deal with Banner and Pym. Slowly I expect. But that works.

Onward!

Also: The fact that in this continuity, Thor is thought crazy is thoroughly amusing.

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The Ultimates, Volume 1: Super-Human The Ultimates #1 Ultimate Marvel Universe #10

Let’s get the team together! Iron Man! Bruce Banner! Thor? Nah. The Pyms!

And of course…

Captain America!

Now… we just need someone to fight…

That’s a solid opener. Enough with the meet and greet to know who is who (even if it does rely somewhat on previous superhero knowledge) and then let them fight.

I’m looking forward to seeing where else they go from here!

(Side note: holy crap that last issue they threw in there—that’s really setting us up for some interesting story lines…)

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Ultimate X-Men, Vol. 3: World Tour Ultimate X-Men #3 Ultimate Marvel Universe #9

First off, Gambit. Hard to understand with a heart of gold. Then a quick look at what’s the Professor actually did to Magneto. Here’s a hint: actually killing him might have been kinder in the long run.

And then finally, we’re on to the World Tour! It’s all about proving that mutants do good for the world.

What could possibly go wrong…

I really do fall on the ‘Professor is being an overly pacifist idiot’ side of times things. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next.

On the other hand, these plots really could use some more time to breath. In the span of a single volume, we’re introduced to the idea of Professor X having a wife and child to said child trying to kill everything to their eventual defeat (for now? it's unclear) . Such is comics life?

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Ultimate X-Men, Vol. 2: Return to Weapon X Ultimate X-Men #2 Ultimate Marvel Universe #8

Rogue. Juggernaut. Sabertooth.

Good times.

It’s another crazy action packed volume. I’m amazed at how much they’re fitting into these. Almost as amazed at how any of them are supposed to fit into those outfits…

In any case, Weapon X, S.H.I.E.L.D., what’s left of the Brotherhood, and a few new friends all together. Learning just what lines they’ll each be willing to cross…

Onward!

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