[67/75] Blood+ Volume 1 by Asuka Katsura: I go to an anime society on Mondays, and someone always brings the anime of this series. Our awesome description monkey can summarise most series in one sentence - and for this one, he's chosen "KILL DEMONS WITH YOUR AIDS!"
... Seriously, that's pretty much it. It's your standard "amnesiac-girl-with-mysterious-past-discovers-she-has-powers-and-destroy-monsters" manga (and yes, that is so a genre in it's own right. If it's not, it should be because I read CRAPLOADS of manga with that plot) with less hiding the powers and more hatred from the community, more government officials, and family swearing their eternal devotion.
It's not necessarily BAD, it's just - I kept getting the feeling I'd read this story before. And it had been better that other time.
[68/75] 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen by Keith Giffen, Pat Ollitte, and John Stanisci: I have to preface this with an admission: I don't really read DC comics. The only one I'd really read and enjoyed before this was Kingdom Come (And I loved it, actually, even though I had NO KNOWLEDGE of who anyone but the big three was.). Partly because I'm a Marvel fangirl - okay, they're not really mutually exclusive, but I think they handle things differently - and partly because when I'd read other TPBs from DC, the big three bored me to tears. Gotham Central was right up my street because it had normal people affected by superheroes. The actual superheroes aren't so interesting to me.
So when I read this and found myself actually liking it, you can understand I was more than a little confused.
The backstory/context went RIGHT over my head, so why Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent were slumming around with an army, or why there's a woman who hates Wonderwoman so much, I have NO IDEA. I can't comment on how well it fits into the rest of the timeline or whether the characterisation is noxiously offensive to someone who's read more of the respective series, is what I'm saying.
This is a CANONICAL ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Oh god, you KNOW I'm going to fangirl it excessively just because of that. CANONICAL ZOMBIES. The Four Horsemen possessing corpses! The Four Horsemen possessing the heroes! Plus, once one body had been neutralised they just went to another one. YAY FOR CRAZY MANHUNTS!
The zombie apocalypse is EXPLAINED. In a way that at least vaguely makes sense in context. A+!
As I recall, the art was pretty decent, but DUDE WHY DOES BRUCE WAYNE HAVE POINTY EARS?
I love the guy who showed up half way through and kept calling Superman "Clark." I really, truly do. Especially when Batman ends up dragging him around. ♥
I love that when Batman finally loses his temper and smacks that guy, it's because of the calling-Superman-Clark thing.
Actually, I think that's why I liked Batman and Superman in this one. In Kingdom Come Batman was a snarky manipulative bastard - and BFFs with Superman. In The Four Horsemen he's a snarky bastard AT Superman, and I promptly said "Okay, maybe you're awesome after all!" And then Superman was snarky back, and putting Batman safely out of harm's way even as Batman was telling not to. And Batman actually being concerned about Superman! I ♥ these two when they're together.
... Plus Batman's a smart bastard. A thousand hearts for the smart bastard!
I actually liked the Woman-Who-Hates-Wonderwoman by the end. Mainly because she was a manipulative bitch and didn't care, and because she was the one to save the day and get rid of the Horsemen. Everything's going to hell, it turns out she'd secretly been planning for this eventuality the whole time. I mean, come on, she swallows the thing that traps the Horsemen and staggers out to deal with them herself! That gives her back any points she lost for general WTFery and evilness during the book, seriously.
My favourite thing about this story though is at the end. When Wonderwoman and Superman get possessed by two of the Horsemen - War and Plague, respectively - it's obvious because they get overpowered and become a vessel for the Horseman. But they get the Woman-Who-Hates-Wonderwoman, she gets the Horsemen out of them and between them they manage to take out Death (Superman THROWS the woman at Death, it's the best thing ever.) - and then everyone looks round and goes "... Where's Yurrd?" (Famine.)
Cue Batman walking up, calm as you please, completely normal and asking "How soon can she get this nattering thing out of me."
Like the woman said, "Your hunger... Greater than Yurrd's. Almost funny." *flails* WAY TO MAKE ME ADMIT THAT BATMAN MIGHT BE AWESOME, DC. WAY TO GO.
[69/75] The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born: This is as far as I can tell, the comic version of the FLASHBACK OF DOOM in "Wizards and Glass" - the fourth book in the Dark Tower series. With what I think is a completely different flashback at the start to give it some context.
... Having read that book (And pulled faces at the flashback because GOD DAMMIT, WHY ARE THE PEOPLE WITH MY NAME NOT AS AWESOME AS I WANT THEM TO BE?! I had this objection to Fool Moon too, only slightly less with the inarticulate keysmashing over what HAPPENS to the Susan. Fool Moon's Susan needed more interesting things to happen to her. ALSO the thing at the beginning, with Eddie and the riddle-game against the demon train is FAR MORE AWESOME than the flashback o'doom, just for the record), I have to say that this? Is not a good adaptation.
Don't get me wrong, the art is GORGEOUS and... Lush. But even by the standards of adaptations, where I KNOW they have to cut out a lot to fit it into the space they've got, they left out a metric crapload. To the point where unless you really remember what happened in the flashback o'doom in the book, it doesn't really make sense. When that happens, the adaptation is a failure. No matter how pretty it is, IT FAILS.
... On the other hand, this is another one where the guys (Cuthbert and Roland in particular) need to make out. ANY TIME SOON.
[70/75] The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld: Really, I have nothing to say about this book. All I want to do is POINT AND LAUGH at it. It's a sequel to Parasite Positive, and instead of coughing discreetly and pretending that the last third of the book never happened, it gleefully embraces it. Uses it as the foundation of its entire plot! All the characters sound roughly the same, to the point that if they're in a relatively neutral location I have to check the chapter title to find out who's POV it's supposed to be in, and most of the characters make me want to beat my head against the desk. I admit, the idea of how mundanes treat the vampirism (as in, attempt to cure) is interesting, although... Rosa, I think her name was, made me want to ask WHY THE HELL IS THERE A STEREOTYPICAL WITCH-DOCTOR HOUSE SERVANT? WHY?
... I think I actually did at one point. I may be wrong.
Another thing that made me want to throw things was the "Ohhhhhh, we play MAGIC TREMORS-SUMMONING MUSIC that our crazy singer HEARD FROM UNDERGROUND." Just. No. Really, no.