Guest Review: Fatale, Volume 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

The first arc of Image’s surprise hit is collected just in time for new readers to jump on board with issue 6!

Secrets, lies, horror, lust and monsters from the time before time all collide in FATALE: DEATH CHASES ME.

In present day, a man meets a woman who he becomes instantly obsessed with, and in the 1950s, this same woman destroys the lives of all those who cross her path, on a quest for… what? ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS best-selling series will leave you craving more!

Collects FATALE #1-5.

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Tentacle Monster Alert!

If I were going to start worshiping a demon, he’d have to be the sexy kind. Not some gruesome bastard with bad teeth, you know?
Also, I’d want to get some decent perks out of it.
Some sort of useful power would be nice, robes made out of that soft jersey cotton, and (most importantly) I’d like a nice insurance package. Maybe even toss in a 401k and some retirement benefits?
I’m just throwing that out there for any of you who are considering joining a cult. Don’t sell your soul to the first one that comes along.
Negotiate for the best deal.

What I wouldn’t want, for example, is for the highlight of the whole thing to be my head turning into some kind of an octopus/butt…complete with tentacles.
Some of you probably think I’m too picky about which monsters I devote myself to, but I like to think of it as being selective with my time. Devil worship can take a huge chunk out of your day, from what I’ve heard, and I’ve got a lot going on right now.
That means, in all likelihood, I won’t be joining a satanic sect anytime soon.
Although, I’m seriously thinking about giving the PTA a shot, and I’m pretty sure some of those ladies sacrifice animals in their spare time…

That being said, this was a pretty cool little graphic novel. I thought (because I didn’t read the blurb) that this was going to be a straight-up crime noirish thing.
I also thought it might be set near the ocean, since the folks on the cover look like they are being caressed by a squid.
Shockingly, I was wrong about that , as well.
This story fall into the horror/noir/mystery/paranormal crime/graphic novel category, I think.

The plot goes a little something like this:
There’s a guy who meets an irresistible girl, who used to be his godfather’s lover (there’s a story there), but for now she’s in a weird relationship with a crooked cop who love/hates her (which is another story), and the original guy wants to save her…sort of.
Oh, yeah. And she’s immortal or something.
Plus, there’s a group of Octopus-Demon worshipers who need to sacrifice Sexy Girl to their deity, in order to get rewarded with the Power of a Thousand Architeuthis (that means squids, by the way).

The art isn’t what I prefer to look at, since it’s all dark and pulpy, but it kind of grew on me by the end.
I’m doubt this one is for everybody, but I enjoyed it.

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Guest Review: Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini & Joe Quinones

Black Canary. Zatanna Zatara. Two of the DC Universe’s brightest stars join forces to combat a deadly new threat-a chilling supernatural foe that preys on their weaknesses and unleashes their awesome powers against each other.

A year ago, Black Canary infiltrated a gang of female criminals set to pull a dangerous heist at a Las Vegas casino. Its leader was skilled in hand-to-hand combat and with more than a passing interest in the occult, specifically black magic, one nasty customer. Rather than be taken by Canary or the law, she went to her death, vowing she would get revenge on Canary and her own former gang members. Now, a year to the day later, death stalks those gang members, and Canary must turn to her friend Zatanna to help investigate.

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Digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher

See the cover art?
Well, that’s the same thing you can expect on the inside.
Personally, I thought it looked goofy and overly cartoonish. So. Yeah, I was not a fan of what my eyeballs had to endure.
Does anyone else think the cover makes Black Canary look like an angry Glenn Close crossed with an even angrier Kathleen Turner?

So how was the story?
It was readable, but just barely. The saving grace of the story came from a Dinah’s interactions with Ollie. There was an easygoing humor between the two characters that made me wish this this had been a Black Canary & Green Arrow title.
Alas, it was not meant to be…
I was initially attracted to this one because of Zatanna. I’ve become more interested in her after reading volume two of Justice League Dark, which I thought kicked ass.
Yeah, yeah. A lot of you thought it sucked.

Anyway. This didn’t really scratch my Zatanna itch. It was more of a silly Grrl Power! book, complete with the requisite Bond-While-They-Shop scene. And who can forget the part where Zatanna turns the Rude Guys into fish for making comments about their fishnet stocking?!
Ah, good times, good times…
Sorry. I couldn’t work up any righteous anger over that one. More than likely it was because I was mentally asking myself why they were wandering around the mall in fishnet stockings to begin with. While I firmly believe that you should be able to wear whatever you want to wear…fishnet stockings?
Those babies are a part the universal ensemble for hookers everywhere. Throw in a pair of clear heels, and you’ve pretty much got the entire uniform.
Aaaaand….you know I’m right.

The main story is about Canary needing Zatanna’s help to get rid of a vengeful ghost. The she-devil placed a bloodspell on Dinah during an undercover operation she went on years ago.
Not exactly an inspired plot, but it wasn’t awful, either.
Throughout the volume we get lots of flashbacks that show how the two originally crossed paths, and then eventually formed a friendship over the years.
Naturally, they didn’t like each other when they first met.
On a Himalayan mountain.
Which Black Canary was climbing.
In inappropriate winter attire…
I’ve seen the pictures of people who climb Mt Everest. Parkas, goggles, and frozen mustaches are the main theme in all of them. It gets a bit chilly, after all.
Poor Canary didn’t even have a hat on! Nope. Sweatpants, a hoodie (but she doesn’t evidently need the hood ), and a tank top.
Although, you really wouldn’t have been able to get a good look at her jugs if she had been wearing a snowsuit. So, I think it turned out to be a pretty good judgement call on the part of the artist.

In the end, I’d say this was a mildly entertaining team-up story. It’s not the worst thing out there, and if you’re just looking for something to pass the time with, then this would do quite well for a breezy afternoon read.

Dear writers and artists of graphic novels,
There are a lot of gals out there (like me) who love comic books. On the whole, we tend to overlook fuckloads of stupid shit because of the fact that we’re fans of the medium.
Rabid fans.
Rabid fans who occasionally get PMS and teeter on the edge…
Are you getting where I’m going with this, jackass?
I don’t want to see Captain America climbing a mountain in a speedo. I don’t want to see Wolverine fighting in short-shorts. And I don’t want Superman’s unitard to be so tight that I can see his nutsack. So it goes to figure, that I REALLY don’t want to share my love of comics with my two little girls when the heroine looks like her name should be Super-Skank.
Straighten up!

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(Actually 2.5/5)

GUEST REVIEW: Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce

Hi. My name is Weronika, and I’m a book-aholic. So much so that I have to actively NOT read so I can maintain some normal semblance of life. My life is poorer for it I know, but I tend towards the obsessive the moment I open the cover of my most recently chosen novel. However, after a recent trip to visit my good friend tattogirlreads for an annual book convention, this has changed. No more do I stop myself from clicking the “1-click” purchase button on the Kindle Store. No more do I reply pleasantly when family members try to get my attention, but simply grunt angrily at them for interrupting my reading. And so, because of my newly reignited stalker-like obsession with books, tattoogirlreads has requested I submit some reviews as a guest blogger. I have read many recently released YA books, so I promise I will get to those with my own personal thoughts on them, but I wanted to start out with some stories that have been responsible for my love of reading, and that are books I go back to over and over again. And so, without further ado, I give you The Song of the Lioness:

“From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight.” And so young Alanna of Trebond begins the journey to knighthood. Though a girl, Alanna has always craved the adventure and daring allowed only for boys; her twin brother, Thom, yearns to learn the art of magic. So one day they decide to switch places: Disguised as a girl, Thom heads for the convent to learn magic; Alanna, pretending to be a boy, is on her way to the castle of King Roald to begin her training as a page.

But the road to knighthood is not an easy one. As Alanna masters the skills necessary for battle, she must also learn to control her heart and to discern her enemies from her allies.

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s first adventure begins — one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and the magical destiny that will make her a legend in her land.”

Though at first you may not want to pick this book up because the heroine is only 11-years old, don’t let that sway you away. Tamora Pierce has created several series in the universe of Tortall, all of which start out with our protagonist as a child, and we get to see them grow into the heroes we know they can be. Alanna is fierce, opinionated, determined, has a prickly temper, and will never back down from her goal – to be a knight of the Realm. She is probably my first girl-crush, and she’s also something that you won’t find in a lot of current YA fiction. A female character who isn’t ruled by the decisions she must make about the men in her life. But don’t despair! There’s romance a-plenty, but it’s not the cornerstone of the book, nor the series. As with her other Tortall books, Tamora Pierce created role-models any girl could look up to, ones that weren’t opposed to falling in love, nor denied it when it appeared, but also ones who knew who they were outside the scope of that love.

The Song of the Lioness also introduces us to my first ever, literary bad-boy crush – George Cooper (alway imagined he’d look kind of like Gerard Butler ;).

Alanna is a girl posing as a boy, and in her journey to achieve knighthood she is poised to create history. The four books in this series: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant. Not only is Alanna an awesome (and flawed) character, but there are oodles of people you’ll learn to love and hate in these books. If I could, I’d be best buds with George and Raoul! I really hope you take the chance to check this series out. It’s a great adventure, and it’s followed up by more. In the series’ that follow The Song of the Lioness, you get revisit with the characters you fell in love with when you first met Alanna, and see what life has had in store for them. It’s way better than having to deal with those pesky epilogues at the end of a beloved series that never really cut it.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll check out my next guest-review, and that you’ll reply with comments of your own. Byee!