Thursday, February 27

Justice League: War (Warner-DC 2014)

Directed by Jay Oliva

Okay. This is actually my second attempt at writing a review of the latest DC Animated Movie, which reportedly sets up a prospective series of animated versions of the 2011 Reboot “New 52” Universe. My initial reaction upon viewing Justice League: War, which is based upon the opening story arc (issues #1-6) of the New 52 Justice League comic by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, there entitled Origin, was a visceral revulsion that verged on physical sickness. Although for whatever reason I felt compelled to share my reaction and envisioned it launching a full-bore diatribe about how it exemplifies all those things I do not like about the New 52 in general, in truth, I really do not like writing negative reviews and could get nowhere over the course of several days in trying to put my feelings into words to bring those ends about. My son pointed out my reluctance to be a negativist and wondered why I was trying to do so here. He could not understand the seething rage that needed some kind of release in this case, and as I got further and further away from the experience neither did I. That was when I decided to subject myself to it again for fairness' sake, determined to be more objective. I'm glad I did so. The resulting review is, I believe, far more balanced.

Monday, February 24

Captain Midnight, Volume 1: On the Run (Dark Horse, 2014)

Collects story from Dark Horse's Free Comic Book Day 2013 offering and Captain Midnight #0 and 1-3 (2013)

I've been aware of the name “Captain Midnight” all my life. It confused me somewhat when I was a kid, but already familiar with the DC Comics Golden Age character “Doctor Midnite” from the annual Justice League/Justice Society cross-overs as well as reprints featuring the “Earth Two” heroes, that my father would occasionally make reference to “Captaaaaaiiiinnn Midniiiiiight!!!” All I knew then was that he was an old radio serial character from Daddy's youth, and until just the last few years that remained all I knew.

In my rediscovery and exploration of the wondrous world of pulps a few years ago, I found that many of those old closely-related radio serials are now available free on the Internet in various places, including iTunes. The Internet is a wonderful thing!! At the time, I was doing a lot of driving, and over the course of a few months I listened to a fair number of old shows, including Captain Midnight. I also came upon a copy of Moonstone's Captain Midnight Chronicles at a book store, a collection of modern prose short stories by various comic-book and neopulp authors, which I greatly enjoyed while observing that there are significant differences between the classic audio and modern prose stories – the latter are, I believe, more in line with Fawcett's Golden Age Captain Midnight comic-book adventures (of which I've only read a couple, although they are available for free from the Digital Comic Museum [link]); I presume the same to be true of this new series from Dark Horse Comics.

Friday, February 7

No Dawn For Men: A Novel of Ian Fleming, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Nazi Germany (2013)

By James LePore and Carlos Davis

This book has a fascinating premise – two important writers of the 20th century meeting in October 1938 Germany under cover of a putative consultation between J. R. R. Tolkien and a prospective German publisher for his recent novel, The Hobbit, journalist Ian Fleming being there to document a meeting Tolkien would also make with an eminent medieval scholar. Of course, with the Shadow of Nazism about to descend across Europe, nothing is as it seems; Tolkien's meeting with his fellow academic has been arranged by British Intelligence – with Fleming as his MI-6 “minder” – to discover what historical secret the professor has uncovered to so embolden the Nazis. In the end, Fleming and Tolkien – with the help of a group of allies collected over the course of their adventure – thwart the unleashing of diabolical forces that would have otherwise assured Germany's quick victory in the imminent global conflagration. Moreover, having witnessed True Evil, Tolkien is wrenched from a state of depressed writer's block to a new determination to direct the clamored-for sequel to The Hobbit toward a similarly epic confrontation between Good and Evil.