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J LHLS Archives: September 2004
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Tales of the Dominion War
Edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido
384 Pages, $14.00 (paperback)
Published by Star Trek Books
Reviewed by Laurel Sutton
Ah, Deep Space Nine. My favorite of the Trek series (next to the original). People said it was dark and complicated and angsty and all about the characters and you know what? That's why I loved it. There were a lot of characters, so if you got tired of one, there was bound to be someone else you wanted to watch. I think DS9 had the best selection of character actors in secondary parts; they consistently stole the show from the regulars. Just watch Andy Robinson as Garak, if you don't believe me. [more]
Posted by Laurel Sutton @ 08:58 PM PST [Link]
Friday, September 24, 2004
House of Reeds
By Thomas Harlan
Publisher: Tor Books
Review by Jessica Groper
(This review contains plot and character details, please proceed at your own risk. Ed)
One of the great things about science fiction is how far away the reader can be transported. Alien cultures, superior technology, conflicts between species; they take the reader to a reality in which anything can happen, because the imagination is unlimited. Sometimes, though, the science fiction author gets a little too caught up in the boundlessness of the imagination. The created world becomes complicated with politics, histories, and too many characters. I canít help admiring any author who can bring so many details into an imagined universe, but when thereís so much going on it can be hard to jump into the plot and really know whatís going on. This is a big challenge in Thomas Harlanís House of Reeds. [more]
Posted by Jessica Groper @ 08:44 PM PST [Link]
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Written and Directed by Kerry Conran
Actors and blue screen, mostly blue screen.
Review by Ginger Mayerson
Grrrrrrr. What are they teaching these boys in film school? [more]
Posted by Ginger Mayerson @ 11:05 PM PST [Link]
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Enigma (Star Trek Stargazer, Book 5)
Written by Michael Jan Friedman
Published by Pocket Books
272 pages, $6.99
Reviewed by Kathy LaFollett
A mysterious alien agressor is attacking Starfleet ships. It has the ability to bypass all Federation shields and defensive techonologies. It attacks, renders the Starfleet vessel lame, boards the Starfleet vessel, leaves all aboard alive but unconscious, and then retreats without taking anything or anyone.
Enter our intrepid Commander Picard, at the age of 28, captaining the USS Stargazer. Even at this age Picard has created the famous ability to be inserted in the most trying situations only to come out victorious. Picard and crew are ordered to help form a line of defense against the alien aggressor, as it seems hellbent on plunging directly into the heart of The Federation - Earth.
Onboard the Stargazer, unnoticed by fellow crewmembers, is a spy, the key individual who can solve the question of the alien's motives. A witness to the spy's secret data transmissions puts the criminal in a holding cell. Unfortunetly, as interrogations and incarceration go on, the spy cannot remember why he was sent or who sent him; in fact he can barely remember his real name. Trailing one of the alien attack formations is a tiny Starfleet shuttle with a half dozen crewmembers aboard. One of them is Picard's first officer and best friend, Gilaad Ben Zoma. Another is Arlen McAteer, an ambitious admiral with an ax to grind against Picard.
Enigma is an entertaining weekend read on the beach, with a number of absorbing personality storylines that prove to be a solid rip current to the main tidalwave of excitement.
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 11:58 AM PST [Link]
SpecWar - Special Warfare
Issues 2 - 8
By Frank A. Lauria
Published by Peter Four Productions
Review by Kathy LaFollett
The author, Frank Lauria, is a retired NavySEAL which lends an inside thread of authenticity to this timely military comic series. For all intents we are led through the missions, lives, and personal viewpoints of the SpecWar Team, commanded by Lieutenant Anthony DeBolla.
The author skirts the reality of current military events by presenting the SpecWar Team in the field and out. This is actually a very addictive series. The reader is left wondering if they were allowed a view into the hidden world of our special forces in the 21st Century.
At times the testosterone levels get kitchy, particularly in the bar scenes depicted. "Townies" seem quick to start fights with the Team members. It all seems a bit stereotypical if not "Top Gun-ish". I found myself thinking it not likely a member of such an elite group of highly trained men could be baited so easily in public. At one point a Team member hits a woman in a local bar to start a fight. I hope this wouldn't happen, and I would find myself rather disappointed if it were true. I found the civilian scenes somewhat distracting.
The mission scenes were exciting and very well laid out both artistically as well conversationally. The art itself is impressive and very expressive. Excellent coloring and line wieghts leave a clear, crisp explanatory visual to complement the writing.
SpecWars offers a lot in story and art. It's a great read. I recommend the series for all military buffs.
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 11:55 AM PST [Link]
The Collected Gothic Nights: A Tale of Scarlet Passion
A rendered concept borrowing from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's "Frankenstein"
Dramatized by: David Barbour
Scenes by: Timothy B. Vigil
Background Paintings by: Timothy B. Vigil, Adam McDaniel, and Stephen Ryan
Inscribed by: Brent Carpenter
Published by: Rebel Studios
Reviewed by Kathy LaFollett
A werewolf, a Countess Vampire, Baron Frankenstein, angry villagers, retribution, bloodlust, Burgomaster, sex as a powertool, horror, and goth; therein lies the core coolness of Gothic Nights. Every aspect of this comic challenges it's counter to a new strength in timing, layout, syntax and story development.
I cannot say enough about the art. Ink work blessed by the gods and demons alike. ASTOUNDINGLY precise, vivid to the point of insane it pulls the reader in and traps the imagination in a death grip. The dramatization and rework of Shelley's "Frankenstein" gives a sexy new twist to a sexy old twist.
The opening lusty scene grabs the reader by the throat and sets the tone for the rest of the book. You haven't seen or read twisted cool until you've read the first 4 pages of this comic. Our Countess is the lover/mistress/servant of Anton our Werewolf. In the night they meet for a gothic tryst. We are introduced to the scene with a fullpage rendition of the Baroness' Castle. SWEEEEEET. Incredible art. The scene is brought to a climax, literally, as our couple orgasm together as Anton turns at that same moment. A new definition to fetish. What a scene. What a storyline. What a comic.
If you are a horror, gothic comic aficionado, do yourself a favor and GET THIS COMIC BOOK.
A Note from the Editor: We here at J LHLS try very hard to provide links for our readers to buy the stuff we review, if they are so inclined. However, this one stumped us. So, if any of you readers know or find out how to buy this comic, please post that information in the Comments section. EVERYONE will thank you. Thank you. Ed.
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 11:51 AM PST [Link]
Gone South, Issues 1 and 2
Created and Written by Mike Wellman
Art and Cover by Guy LeMay
Lettering and Production by Johnny Lowe
Published by Atomic Basement
Reviwed by Kathy LaFollett
Gone South presents Victoria and Sylvia, vampiresses trying to find their way and place alongside the mortals of the world and among their peers.
The guys at Atomic Basement have a really well rounded storyline laid out. Victoria and Sylvia as individuals present unique views into their way of the living death. Politics of the Vampire Nation are expressed as the girls fight their tendancies, vampire comformity, and grudges. I dig the characters and the writing.
Now comes the confusion and disappointment. The artwork is lost unto itself.
Issue One utilizes an inking style that is reflective of expected comic book practices. Stylized to a point that, at times, distracts from the read, the art did carry its weight. Issue Two offered such a drastic change it took half the comic before my mind settled on the new look of the characters. I never was able to feel comfortable and "at home" with this art. Heavy, chunky and childlike the art does not carry the expression of sensual vampires and their world. Basically, Issue Two is a disappointment strictly due to the art.
Gone South is a great story presented with distracting simplistic artform. If they can get the art undercontrol, this would be a solid comic book.
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 11:44 AM PST [Link]
Berserker: The Wild Hunt #1 (of 4)
Story by Jens H. Altmann
Art by Harris O'Malley
Published by Studio Underhill
You can preview this comic online
Reviewed by Kathy LaFollett
According to the originator of the Berserker character the history of this character and storyline goes as follows:
In the mid-1980s, a young man and his girlfriend went on vacation in Haiti, to see if they could salvage their relationship. They were entrapped by an evil Voodoo priest. The young man escaped, but his girlfriend was killed and turned into a zombie. Guided by Merlin (who used an alias), the young man found the Norse war-god's sword Tyrfing at an antiquities store. He got the sword, was afflicted with the curse of the Berserker, and went on to massivley trounce the evil Voodoo priest. [more]
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 11:34 AM PST [Link]
Star Trek: A Time to Kill (Book 7)
By David Mack
Published by Pocket Books (a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
368 pages, $6.99
Available as a downloadable eBook!
Reviewd by Kathy LaFollett
There is a creepy familiarity in this book to current events. There seems to be a drawn reference to our current political and military goings-on. And I like it.
At the apex of the Dominion War and only known to a select few at the top innercircle of the Federation Command, the Federation secretly armed the neutral planet Tezwa with horrendous weapons of mass destruction. Created as a contigency plan against the Dominion if the front lines collapsed, the WMDs lay at the border of the Klingon Empire in direct violation of the fragile peace treaties between the Klingons and the Federation. The placement of the WMDs guarenteed final success at all costs, but also guarenteed scandal if the Klingons and other Federation members found out.
Tezwa's prime minister, hungry for power, if not a dictatorship, uses the WMDs as leverage against the supplying Federation as well as menacing his neighbors.
Sound familiar? Sure it does.
The Federation calls upon Captain Picard and the Enterprise crew to take on a "diplomatic mission", without revealing the full truth about the WMD origination point. Without that knowledge the Enterprise crew is put in the crossfire as the crisis quickly escalates amid the lies and deceptions of the Federation, Klingons, and the Tezwa Elite.
Sound familiar? Sure it does.
As time runs out to a full war between the Klingons and Tezwa, Ambassador Worf is asked to choose between his heritage, honor, and loyalty to Martok, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire and for all intents and purposes Worf's mentor and fatherlike friend, and his new role within the Federation.
Sound like a familiar political figure now? Sure it does.
Book 7 is an EXCELLENT read.A Time to Kill is surely my favorite within the series to date. David Mack's first attempt at spearheading a Trek Book proves to be a benchmark in my opinion. I hereby declare myself his biggest fan.
Of course the ending is not like the ending we are currently heading toward in our timeframe: Picard doesn't liberate Tezwa with more WMDs and misguided initiatives. Although he did cause the removal ofthe soon-to-be-dictator and set up a promising peaceful end and new government in Tezwa sans WMD. Mission Accomplished.
George could learn a thing or two from Jean Luc.
Book 7 is an outstanding addition to an already impressive Star Trek series.
Posted by Kathy LaFollett @ 11:12 AM PST [Link]
Sunday, September 19, 2004
From the Les Toil Collection of Big Beautiful Pin-Ups:
Review by Allan Landow.
Clothing of the period was quite realistically portrayed. The lowcut breastplate was significantly suggestive, but yet left just enough to the imagination. She effectively exhibited toughness and sexiness at the same time.
Her legs, although largely proportioned, were not overly muscular. They conveyed just the right amount of femininity. Her torn skirt could be symbolic of the perfect blend of sexuality and power.
The weapons that she used suggested a strong preference for dominance -- not only in battle, but in other areas as well. I pity the man that would try to get in her way!!
Posted by Editor @ 04:26 PM PST [Link]
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