Book Review – Nightwing vol. 1: Blüdhaven

  • Title: Nightwing vol. 1: Blüdhaven
  • Author: Dennis O’Neil, Chuck Dixon
  • Artists: Scott McDaniel, Karl Story, Greg Land, Mike Sellers, Nick Napolitano, Cathi Bertrand, Roberta Tewes, John Costanza, 
  • Line: 1990-Era (Early Modern Age)
  • Characters: Nightwing (Dick Grayson), 
  • Collection Date: 2014 (reprint) collecting issues from 1995, 1996-1997
  • Collected issues: Nightwing #1-4 and #1-8
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 3/27/2015

Nightwing: Blüdhaven is two graphic novels in one. It includes a solo Dick Grayson mini-series from 1995 and the first eight issues of Nightwing from 1996-1997. Everything has been updated to heavy, glossy paper, and gorgeous colors. The art is excellent, especially the drawings of Dick in both his costumes – Dick Grayson is hot, absolutely. He’s built, strong and muscular and gorgeous to boot. Plus, Dick doesn’t have the arrogance of so many superheroes – if anything he’s constantly doubting himself, constantly worrying about Bruce (Batman) Wayne’s approval, and in both series he’s trying to break away from his foster father’s shadow and become his own man.

The first Nightwing story I really liked. Dick, having been Batman for awhile and hating it, retires completely and hands his old Nightwing costume to Bruce. However, he quickly needs to go back to being Nightwing and Alfred has Bruce’s costumer build him a new costume. This is the one I associate with Nightwing, a tight, black, form-fitting, leotard with a blue V on the chest that continues up the shoulder and down to the finger tips. And yes it compliments Dick well. Some of the best panels throughout the book show multiple Nightwings, each in a slightly different position, illustrating Dick’s remarkable acrobatic and gymnast skills, and I really like how it shows the fluidity of Nightwing’s movements. Dick then travels to a foreign country to find out about his parent’s past. He gets somewhat involved in a struggle between a corrupt but jailed prime minister and an even more corrupt dictator-king. The situation does not go well, and it’s even sad. But I liked it – the story really shows Dick’s character, and his past, his parents – there’s even flashbacks to his parents teaching him how to fly on the trapeze and his mother calling him Robin.

Dick returns home, and heads to Blüdhaven – actually, the second series starts with Dick in a perilous situation, and nearly dying – and flashes back to he and Batman finding 21 dead mobsters in an estuary and the trial leads to Blüdhaven. In Blüdhaven, Dick discovers he has a problem – he doesn’t “really” exist. He has no birth certificate, no prove of employment, no previous bill paying history, no job history, no credit. Even getting his electrical service turned on in his cheap apartment will cost him $1000.00. Still, he does find a cheap apartment, and even gets a job at a nearby cop’s bar so he can pick-up news and gossip. And at night, he goes out on his second job – as Nightwing. Nightwing investigates the killings in Gotham, and a mob war in Blüdhaven. I also liked the second series, which is part of this new Nightwing series. He has a less definitive end because it’s part of an on-going story, but I plan on getting the next volume. Robin, Tim Drake, makes an appearance for one issue. And at the end, Dick meets up with Batman, who actually tells him he thinks he’s doing a good job – something Dick desperately needs to hear.

Dick Grayson is a great hero – he has some insecurity about his position vis-a-vis Bruce Wayne, and a different method of working. The two stories in Nightwing: Blüdhaven showcase his story – first in a self-contained mini-series, then in the beginning of a new series (both from the 1990s). This volume is copyright 2014 by DC Comics, and is therefore a reprint. I think it was smart to include both stories in the compilation. I highly recommend it!

Book Review – Doctor Who: Evolution

  • Title: Evolution
  • Series: Virgin Publishing Missing Doctor Adventures
  • Author: John Peel
  • Characters:  Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 1/17/2015

Doctor Who Evolution is part of the Doctor Who The Missing Adventures published by Virgin Publishing, it features the Fourth Doctor as played by Tom Baker and Sarah Jane Smith as played by Elisabeth Sladen. And it’s a very fun read. The only reason it took me so long to read the book is my e-book didn’t have flowable type (at least in the first e-reader I tried) – since the print was incredibly small, and attempting to enlarge it meant I had to scan horizontally across the typeface – I found it to be physically exhausting and irritating. I finally tried reading the book in Adobe Reader and then I could get the print to a reasonable size without having to scan back and forth on each line. Some of the lines double-printed, though, with the type over-lapping, so I had to go back to other e-reader and squint to read the type then go back — that was exhausting. Publishers CHECK YOUR COPY! And don’t assume everyone can read micro-sized 6-point type! OK, rant over.

The story itself was a fun romp. Sarah is exploring the TARDIS, checking out the wardrobe, then the swimming pool, but she eventually gets bored. She goes to the Doctor who asks her if there’s someone she wants to meet – and Sarah says, yes, Rudyard Kipling.

The TARDIS then arrives in Victorian Devon – where a horrific giant hound is haunting the moor, and a fisherman’s been killed by some extra-ordinary creature, and Sarah meets Kipling – but he’s a schoolboy. She and the Doctor also meet Arthur Conan Doyle, not yet “Sir”, who’s just finished a tour as a doctor on a whaling ship – that’s also pulled into the port in Devon. Yes, this story is as fun as you might expect. The Doctor and Sarah are quickly caught into events because several local schoolboys and street children have disappeared, and Kipling and a couple of his friends are trying to find them.

The plot involves a scientist who’s lived in his older brother’s shadow his entire life and has a terrible inferiority complex who’s determined to prove he’s smarter than his brother – and a deluded industrialist, who thinks he’s on the side of progress – but actually he’s promoting slavery and lack of self-will and self-determination. The arguments of the scientist and industrialist to defend what they are doing are fascinating. Totally wrong and awful – but fascinating none the less.

I really enjoyed this book. The first half, as the Doctor and Sarah meet all the locals in the small village – the lord at the manor, his daughter, her fiancé, Conan Doyle, the local doctor (Dr. Martinson), Kipling and his friends, a local boy from the village, the local fishermen, the whaling boat captain, etc and find out about the mysterious hound on the moor is just plain fun. The second part, as it becomes clearer and clearer just what is going on is also pretty cool. It should be horrifying but it’s not really, it was just very, very neat. And I loved the end!

Highly recommended, especially to classic era Doctor Who fans!

Adding My Book and Graphic Novel Reviews – Update 2

The project to add my already-written book and graphic novel reviews from GoodReads is going well. I spent this weekend adding bibliographic information from my graphic novels. Needless to say, I have a lot of graphic novels, which are currently stored in stacked, plastic boxes. Finding a particular book, therefore can be a bit hard. However, I want to make sure the best information possible is included. I post these reviews in the morning, before work, adding a photo-header, categories, and tags. I’m also checking the HTML and line spacing and fixing any typos that I happen to spot. I don’t want to slow down the one book and one graphic novel post per day rate, so what I’m going to do for now is put in the information I have, and update it on the weekend, when I can search for the books. It should only be five graphic novels that will need to have their bibliographic information block updated at the end of the week.

Second, I wasn’t sure what information would be most useful for the information block. I’m including artists in a single line, including the letterer, inker, penciler, etc. Should this information be broken out by job description? Some of my older graphic novels aren’t very specific or detailed about credits. Yet, I want the information to be as accurate and helpful as possible. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

And again, thank you all for your likes, it means a lot to me. Feel free to post comments and questions as well.