Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello






Genre:  Action / Adventure / Alternative Universe / Superheroes



Year Published:  2005



Year Read: 12/31/2014



Publisher: DC Comics





Introduction:

Lex Luthor is well known as Superman’s greatest enemy and I have been wondering what his ideal world would be like if Superman is viewed as a terrible force of nature rather than the good natured savior of Earth.  Well, we finally get the answer to that in Brian Azzarello’s story “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel” and it was truly one experience that I would like to relive over and over again!

What is this story about?

In this graphic novel, we are treated to the world of Superman through Lex Luthor’s eyes. In this universe, Superman is shown as a red eyed alien menace that covers his true intentions by acting as the world’s greatest savior and Lex Luthor believes that he is actually the world’s only savior.  This story also goes into detail about how Lex Luthor tries to create a female clone of Superman called “Hope” who also saves the world, but under Lex Luthor’s watch.

What I loved about this story:

Brian Azzarello’s writing: Now, I will admit that when I first heard about this book and saw on the cover that Lex Luthor had a blood stained “Superman” sign on his chest, I actually thought that this story was going to be about Lex Luthor literally becoming “Superman” and we would see what the world would have been like if he was Superman.  However, Brian Azzarello turned my expectations on its head by actually making this story about how Lex Luthor himself viewed Superman as a person and how he knows that Superman is not really a human being and that he believes that Superman is tricking the public into thinking that he is mankind’s savior.  This line of thinking really brings so much depth to this story as we finally get inside Lex Luthor’s head and see how he views Superman and how he wants the perfect world for the citizens of Metropolis and we get to see a more humanized side to Lex Luthor in his quest to make a better world for people, according to his views.  There were actually some parts in this story where I actually did sympathize a bit with Lex Luthor about how he truly believes that he is the true savior of the world and not Superman and it makes me see his viewpoint of Superman in a new light.

Lee Bermejo’s artwork:  Probably the best part of this graphic novel was Lee Bermejo’s artwork as they look truly gorgeous and I really loved the way that the characters’ bodies and facial expressions look so real that I actually found everything in this story to be believable!  I also loved the way that Metropolis is being drawn as it feels like I am exploring the insides of an actual city!

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

For anyone who does not like language in a graphic novel, there is some language in this story, but it is not as strong as some other graphic novels out there.  Also, there are many moments where people are put in real danger and the scenes that involve the Toyman might either be too frightening or intense for some people. 

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel” is probably one of the best Lex Luthor stories out there and I would highly recommend this comic book to anyone who is a huge fan of Lex Luthor!



Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling









Genre:  Gardening / Family / Animals / Snakes / Adventure

Year Published: 1997

Year Read:  2014

Publisher: 
  Morrow Junior Books


 


Now, I have actually gotten into the story of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” when I was little through Chuck Jones’ classic cartoon and I must say that I still enjoyed that cartoon to this very day.  So, when I finally picked up this book of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” which this version has illustrations by none other than Jerry Pinkney, I was absolutely blown away by how faithful this story was to the original tale and to the Chuck Jones cartoon!

The story starts off with a small mongoose named Rikki-Tikki-Tavi being found by an English family living in India after he was washed away from his home when a summer flood hits.  It was then that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi found a new home with this English family and became a close companion with the family’s son, Teddy.  But, when Rikki-Tikki-Tavi discovers that there were two snakes named Nag and Nagaina in the garden and that they were planning on killing the entire English family in order to take over the garden for themselves, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi will do anything to protect the English family from the clutches of Nag and Nagaina!


I have always enjoyed the story of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” ever since I was a child and reading this classic tale that has illustrations by Jerry Pinkney definitely added more depth to this story than what I was usually used to.  Rudyard Kipling has done a brilliant job at writing this story as this story is full of adventure, intense moments and heartwarming moments, especially the moments shared between Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and the English family as it shows that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi truly does care about the family and is willing to do anything to protect them from harm.  I also loved how villainous both Nag and Nagaina are as their plan to kill off the entire family to take over the garden was truly vicious and it showed how far they were willing to go to take the garden for themselves.  Jerry Pinkney’s artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at as all of the characters look truly realistic, especially of the images of the English family and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as they really bring out so much realism to this story.

Parents should know that there are some scary moments in this book, especially concerning Nag and Nagaina and their plan in killing off the entire family to take over the garden.  Children who are scared of snakes in general might feel a bit uncomfortable in reading this book, especially since the images of the snakes look pretty realistic and the fact that they keep threatening the family would scare small children.


Overall, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is a truly remarkable tale for anyone who is a huge fan of Rudyard Kipling’s works and who loves reading books about India and mongooses!  I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the scenes with the snakes might be too frightening for some children and the length of the book might be too tiresome for some small children.



The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe






Genre:  Classics / Poetry / Horror / Animals

Year Published: 2006

Year Read:  2014

Publisher: 
KCP Poetry     

 


Now, I have been dying to read some of Edgar Allan Poe’s works for a long time and now I finally got the chance to reread Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem called “The Raven” in graphic novel format!  The eerie atmosphere and haunting artwork by Ryan Price really made this story enjoyable to read!


Basically, this story is about a scholar who starts remembering many things from his past, including losing his lover, Lenore.  Suddenly, a knock is heard at the door and a mysterious raven flies into his home.  When the scholar keeps asking the Raven questions about his life, the Raven would only reply:

“NEVERMORE!”

This constant response from the Raven then causes the scholar to go a bit insane as the Raven constantly reminds him of the horrors and deep layers of humanity.


Now, I will admit that when I first read this book, I was a bit confused about what was really going on because of how the language of the poem tend to be pretty old fashioned (just like how you try to read William Shakespeare’s works, but have a hard time understanding the work due to the language being written from a much older era).  But, once I read the summary at the back of this book that detailed what this poem was really all about, I started to understand this poem and its much deeper meaning of madness and grief.  Edgar Allan Poe had done a beautiful job at detailing the scholar’s descent into madness after the death of his lover Lenore and when the Raven comes in and starts driving him insane by constantly telling him “NEVERMORE!”  It really brought in so much fear to the story and I was seriously sitting on the edge of my seat in seeing the scholar go insane from the Raven’s constant “NEVERMORE” statements. Ryan Price’s artwork complements well with this poem as they are dark and spooky and I really loved the images of the raven looking menacingly at the scholar as it keeps yelling out “NEVERMORE!”  I also loved the black and white colorings of the artwork as they really bring out the spookiness of this poem and the madness that the scholar is going through.


This book might be a bit too creepy for some readers, especially whenever it delved into the madness of the main character and the Raven constantly bothering the main character through its endless usage of “NEVERMORE!”  Also, Ryan Price’s artwork might be a bit too scary for some readers, especially the images of the Raven taking up most of the pages and looking pretty menacing towards both the readers and the scholar.  Also, since this book was written during the 1800s, the language of the poem might be a bit hard to understand for modern audiences.


Overall, “The Raven” is truly one classic poem from Edgar Allan Poe that fans need to read over and over again! I would recommend this book to children ages ten and up since the language might be hard to understand and some of the imagery is pretty scary.