On My Shelves: My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia)

     "It is all right now. Why? Because I am here." – All-Might   In a world like this one, but some undefined time in the future, civilization has been drastically changed by the emergence of strange powers, called "Quirks". At first very rare, by now over 80% of humanity has some form of Quirk – which can range from extendible fingers to invisibility, ability to project energy, and so on. In the younger generations, almost everyone has a Quirk. Due to the nature of these new powers, the profession of superhero became reality; for [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Spider-Man: Homecoming

This movie (plus small segments in Captain America: Civil War) represents the third depiction of Marvel's flagship hero Spider-Man in fifteen years. The first, starting in 2002, was Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3. Andrew Garfield rebooted the role in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Now Tom Holland takes up the webslinging role. Unlike the prior two incarnations, this version of Spider-Man doesn't bother us with the origin story. In that, I think the movie does depend on the viewer having [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Wonder Woman

(technically it WILL be On My Shelves but was On The Screen) I recently had the opportunity to see the new Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot. This means I get to post a review of something that ISN'T ten years out of date! Short and unspoilery: This is what the DC-Cinematic universe has been waiting for, a movie with a superheroic main character who's allowed to be – who insists on being – a Super Hero, one whose conflicts stem from idealism versus the real world's limits, and that refuses to accept the real world's [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Watchmen

Alan Moore and David Gibbon's Watchmen is, justifiably, a landmark in the comic-book universe, a carefully-planned attempt to analyze and deconstruct the standard superhero universe while, at the same time, staying true to some of its most powerful tropes. Watchmen was also made into a movie, which in my view managed to stick fairly close to the original miniseries/graphic novel, but of necessity had to cut out some rather important elements (discussed below). If you don't want spoilers galore, don't read any farther! The setting of Watchmen [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Doctor Strange

Well, technically "soon to be on my shelves" since the movie hasn't been released to video yet!      Capsule summary: A near-perfect adaptation of the origin of Doctor Strange, updated without losing what made it work in the first place. Excellent acting, fine pacing, and clever scripting make this one of the better Marvel offerings, with only a few relatively minor flaws marring what is otherwise a stellar work. Cumberbatch was made to play Doctor Strange, continuing an amazing streak of beautiful casting decisions by Marvel. I look forward [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Captain America: Civil War

  Shortest review: Damn good Marvel movie. If you've liked the other Marvel movies, this is one of the best.   Still short, no spoilers: While drawing basic inspiration from the comic-book "Civil War" storyline, this movie makes the conflict more personal for the characters, in all directions. As others have noted, while it's titled "Captain America", to a great extent this is the third Avengers movie, picking up a relatively short time after "Age of Ultron". The trailers haven't been too deceptive, though as usual there's a [ Continue reading... ]

Just For Fun: Superheroes Who Should Not Be Dark

  The recent release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has created a huge amount of controversy, a large amount of it centering on the almost unrelentingly grim imagery of the movie, and most specifically on the depiction of Superman. Throughout my life, there have been several times in which people dealing with the superheroic have decided – in various media – that a superhero can't be done for a modern audience and retain the four-color brightness of their origins. The arguments vary but tend to boil down to a perceived, [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: One Punch Man

IN A WORLD… where monsters and supervillains run rampant, opposed by a variety of heroes and wannabees, there was a man who had reached the point that he did not care whether he lived or died; a monster he encountered was so amused by his "I don't care" attitude that the monster spared him. But then the same monster tried to kill a child in front of him, and the man remembered that he had once dreamed of becoming a hero. After saving the child, he set out to train himself to be the greatest hero… for fun. Saitama – for that was his name – [ Continue reading... ]

Teaser Chapter: The Stuff of Legend, Chapter 2

Figured I should at least let you see the end of that particular scene! If you're coming here for the first time, don't forget to first read the Prologue and then Chapter 1 before going on!   -----     Chapter 2.      She was still in something of a state of shock, but she heard herself respond, "I… will have to think about it for a few minutes." He looked suddenly chagrined. "Look at me, coming in here with a clear plan as to what I was going to say, and then messing it up already." She blinked. "What do you [ Continue reading... ]

Teaser Chapter: The Stuff of Legend, Chapter 1

  I posted the prologue for Stuff of Legend some time back. Here's Chapter 1 of that superhero novel (based in a possible future of the world of Paradigms Lost); this book's currently with my agent Marisa Corvisiero!     ----     Chapter 1.      "I think today's session went well, Mr. Thompson," Jennifer Hsui said in her best professional tone. It was important to conclude each appointment on time, but not to make the patient – or client, as some people preferred – feel pressured or cut [ Continue reading... ]