Tag Archives: book reviews

Turn Back the Pages: Thor The Mighty Avenger

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Thor Cover

I can’t wait to see Thor: Ragnarok.

The trailers have been fantastic, and every time I see a new clip or image, I’m like:

Thor Gif

If I feel any more hype for this movie, I’m going to explode, and if you feel the same way, you’re probably looking for some good Thor stuff to keep you occupied until the movie comes out. Well, I’ve got a recommendation.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a complete collection set in its own self-contained world outside the normal Marvel Comics universe. You don’t have to know 60 years of Thor and Avengers comics history to understand what’s happening. It’s great for new readers, but long-time comics fans will appreciate the distillation of Thor’s story. Continue reading

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (10/12/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

Karen Diem revealed the cover for Power, the third book in her Arca series, and it’s sooooo awesome.

Daily Camera has a detailed and great review of Transference by Kate Jonuska, if you’ve been thinking about checking that book out. The more reviews of it I read, the better it sounds.

C.B. Lee had a launch party on the 8th for her YA superhero novel, Not Your Villain, and I wish I could’ve gone, because it looks like it was so much fun. Fortunately, there are more upcoming events that you should attend if you’re in the area—if for no other reason than a chance to eat these adorable Not Your Villain cupcakes. (The book cover is edible!) And if the cupcakes don’t make you want to read Not Your Villain, then maybe The Illustrated Page’s interview with C.B. Lee will.

If you’re in the Southwest, Super Powered author Drew Hayes will be at Phoenix Fan Fest and Austin Comic Con in November. You can see his events schedule here.

Mad Scientist Journal has a good review of Serpent’s Sacrifice by Trish Heinrich, which I’m about halfway through and am loving so far.

Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

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Turn Back the Pages: Batgirl Rising

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Batgirl Rising Cover

I don’t know which Batgirl is more underappreciated—Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown.

In my review of Cass’s run as Batgirl, I said that I’d be getting to Steph one day, and friends, that day is today. So get ready for the fun Batgirl! (Sorry, Cass, you’ll always be my favorite, but Steph just looks like she’s having the best time ever when she’s fighting crime.)

Who the heck is Stephanie Brown?

If you’ve never heard of her before, Steph is the daughter of a supervillain and Riddler-wannabe by the name of Cluemaster (who’s a jerk). She turned vigilante in her teenage years (as one does), and took on the hard job of being a non-Batman-affiliated crimefighter in Gotham City.

She called herself Spoiler, because she spoiled crime, I guess? In any case, it leads to her appearing in some fun“Spoiler Alert” gifs and images in real life, which is a cool claim to fame.

Her costume can only be described as the color eggplant.

Spoiler Costume ImageShe was Tim Drake’s love interest during his time as Robin, and though she didn’t have his training and experience, she made up for it in determination and resourcefulness. What I liked about her character was that—in contrast to Tim—she was from the wrong side of the tracks. While he got access to all of Batman’s cool, high-tech toys, Steph had to work a crummy part-time job in fast food delivery to afford crime-fighting equipment. Continue reading

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (9/21/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

September 18th was Hide a Book Day, so keep your eyes peeled for books in random places when you’re walking around. You may find a copy of Midnight by Stephani Chaney if someone else hasn’t grabbed it first.

The superhero novella Serpent by Trish Heinrich is currently available to download for free on Instafreebie. Both this and her upcoming debut novel look really cool, and they both have kickass covers.

Speaking of awesome covers, author Dale Ivan Smith has revealed the one for the fourth book in his Empowered Series. I like the cover of each new book more and more.

SuperheroNovels has a review of Echo and the Sea by Matthew Phillion, a superhero novel about a girl who discovers she’s an Atlantean princess.

The Autumn Bookshelf did an interview with J.D. Wright, author of Masked, where she talks about her inspiration for the novel as well as her dream casting for a movie adaptation. There’s also a giveaway you can enter to win a Masked mug and Amazon gift card.

And in case you missed it, you can now get a sneak peak at the first chapter of Almost Invincible, which comes out on September 30th.

Any news I missed? Have a superhero fiction recommendation you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

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Turn Back the Pages: Runaways

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Runaways Cover

With a TV series in the works and Marvel relaunching a new monthly comic written by Rainbow Rowell, now seems like a good time to talk about Runaways.

The comic’s premise is simple and fantastic: six kids learn their parents are in a supervillain cabal after spying them murder a girl in an occult sacrifice. The kids then make the very reasonable decision to run away from home.

Run Away Gif

It’s definitely a high-concept premise, but what made the series so great was it’s relatable, complex characters. The six original Runaways are:

  • Alex Wilder: geeky gamer and teen genius, he’s the leader of the Runaways and the son of two mafia bosses.
  • Nico Minoru: goth girl and the daughter of two evil sorcerers. She comes to wield a magic staff that allows her to cast any spell, but only once.
  • Gertrude Yorkes: sarcastic, cynical daughter of sinister time travelers. Rocks purple hair and gets a pet raptor.
  • Karolina Dean: free-spirited vegetarian and lesbian who learns she’s an alien composed of rainbow light. Daughter of two other rainbow light aliens who are evil invaders.
  • Chase Stein: rule-breaking jock whose bad grades disappoint his mad scientist parents. Steals the Fistigons, a high-tech gauntlet, from his dad.
  • Molly Hayes: adorable preteen with super-strength and invulnerability, daughter of evil mutants. She wears cute hats and totally punched Wolverine through a wall once.

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (9/7/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

Author Jenn Gott wrote a list of recommended superhero novels that inspired her while she was writing The Private Life of Jane Maxwell. The titles are definitely worth checking out—as is her debut superhero novel.

The Halloween-themed anthology Witch or Treat has a short story by Joynell Schultz, The Supernatural Life of a Superhero Wife, which ties in to the world of her upcoming novel, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives. You can grab another of her short stories, The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife, for free by signing up for the author’s mailing list on Instafreebie.

Intuitive Writing Guide recently posted an article titled Genre 101: Superhero, summarizing superhero fiction as a genre. Do you agree with the classification and list of common tropes?

Ravenclaw Book Geek wrote a review of Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which isn’t a new release but one of those acclaimed superhero novels that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet.

Blots of Ink & Words has an interview with April Daniels, author of Dreadnought and Sovereign. There’s also a giveaway that you have two more days to enter to win copies of the books.

Big congratulations to Martin Von Cannon, who has been posting superhero short stories to his website for two years as of yesterday. Here’s to another two years and beyond!

Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (8/24/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

There’s only a few weeks left to enter the Goodreads giveaway for J.D. Wright’s upper YA superhero novel, Masked.

Speaking of Goodreads giveaways, here’s another for The Phobia of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell that’s still open to enter.

Stitch’s Media Mix has posted an incredibly thought-provoking and in-depth review of the bestselling Miles Morales: Spider-Man novel by Jason Reynolds.

You can now grab a free copy of Agent: Empowered by Dale Ivan Smith on Instafreebie.

Wonder Woman: Warbound by Leigh Bardugo comes out on August 29th. You can read a review at A Cupcake and a Latte and check out the author’s tour schedule to see if she’s coming to a bookstore near you.

Dave Higgins has posted a review of Friend or Foe: A Menopausal Superhero Short Story Collection by Samantha Bryant.

Lexie Dunne announced the fourth book in her Superhero Anonymous series, titled #HeroFail. You can read the full announcement and book blurb in her August newsletter.

 

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (8/10/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

Fans of teen superhero fiction should note R.J. Ross released a new side story in her long-running Cape High series. Announcement here.

Fanbase Press has a thoughtful review of Russ Linton’s Motherland, book 2 in the Crimson Son series, if you’ve been thinking of checking that book out.

If you’re interested in the book cover design process, author Dale Ivan Smith recently shared the initial cover mock-up for his novel Empowered: Agent and compared it with the second mockup used for the final cover.

T. Ellery Hodges, author of the Never Chronicles, has launched the Never Store, an online market where you can purchase posters, mugs, and other merchandise from his popular superhero series.

I mentioned this on Twitter, but book blogger Christy Jane posted a video from San Diego Comic Con of her and Sarah Kuhn opening a FanMail box of really cool swag from Kuhn’s novel Heroine Worship.

Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

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Turn Back the Pages: Batgirl

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Cover of Batgirl Graphic Novel

Cassandra Cain is my favorite Batgirl.

I love Barbara Gordon, but honestly, I think she’s better as Oracle. And don’t diss Stephanie Brown in front of me, because she’s awesome, and I’ll probably write a review of her time as Batgirl at some point. But in my humble opinion, Cass will always be the best.

What’s so great about Cassandra Cain? Heck, where do I start? She was first introduced in the Batman: No Man’s Land story-arc. The basic premise was that after a major earthquake, the government evacuated Gotham City, cutting off those who chose to stay from the outside world and any kind of help.

Yeah. Take Gotham, which is a crime-infested hellhole on the best of days, and turn up the danger to post-apocalyptic extremes. It’s that bad.

The Girl

Enter the precious cinnamon bun that is Cassandra Cain: a mute, homeless girl who saves Commissioner Gordon’s life. She becomes Batgirl with the blessings of both Batman and Oracle (AKA the original Batgirl), but there’s more to her than meets the eye.

The Assassin

You see, Cass is the daughter of a notorious assassin. Her father raised her without ever exposing her to spoken language. Instead, she learned to read body language.

She can take one look at someone and know what they’re feeling—and exactly how they’re planning to attack. On top of her skills in hand-to-hand combat, being able to anticipate her opponent’s next move makes her one of the best fighters in the DC universe.

The Hero

So that’s the dichotomy of Cassandra Cain. She was raised to be a deadly assassin and can fight Batman to a standstill, but at the same time, her upbringing was so isolated that there’s a strange innocence about her.

Early on in her solo title, a psychic rearranges her brain so that she can process spoken language (which accidentally handicaps her combat skills for a while), but it isn’t an insta-fix. A lot of her character arc involves learning different words and how to read and write. Even once she can speak, she struggles to find the right words, and her sentences are halting and awkward. That’s something you don’t see a lot in comics—or any media, really.

The Bat

The best reason Cass is my favorite Batgirl is that she brings something unique to the Bat-family. Her mentor/mentee relationship with Barbara is nuanced and lovely. She has Batman’s respect and a nice dynamic with Robin (Tim Drake). Nightwing is the big brother figure, and she’s besties with Steph, and—well, there’s a lot to like here. If you’re a fan of characters choosing their own families, you’ll enjoy Cass’s book, because her real parents are total jerks.

And that’s Cass Cain in a nutshell (before the awful character assassination that happened later, but I won’t get into that). No Man’s Land is worth a read, but I’d recommend starting with her solo title. It’s a great introduction to the character and was the first Batgirl comic I ever read.

Are you a fan of Cass? Babs? Steph? I’ll fight you over who’s the best Batgirl in the comments!

I'll fight you gif

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