I am also trying out a new system of reviewing that's a bit more punchy, and incidentally quicker to write, so I can hopefully blast through the last few months, and still do them justice. I'd ask that you tell me if you don't think I have, but I have no illusions about the size of my readership...
I'm introducing a new 5* rating system from here on in as well; something that may make for interesting developments during the yearly review, and add a qualitative element as well as a quantative one. Re-reads are not counted in the ratings, because they're all automatically assumed to have 4 or 5 stars. Otherwise I wouldn't be re-reading them.
So here we go...
After the latest DC reboot, WW has been "updated", and I'm not especially keen on how. Stripping her of the rest of the Amazons and the haven of Themyscria was bad enough (like comics need fewer female characters) - but the worst was what they've done to the character. There is a reason WW carries a lasso. The new one is armed with gauntlets designed for punching and stamping their imprint on people; she's a thug, whose first impulse is violence and killing. And that's just not Wonder Woman; that's the exact opposite. It's like you can't have a Strong Female Character any more, unless we're talking physically strong, and using it to lash out because of some past trauma (that half the time we can't remember). It's not that WW shouldn't be able to dish out some damage - heck, I think one of the most interesting of her storylines is the one with Maxwell Lord - but WW has always been interesting because she thinks about it. She doesn't react on instinct, she doesn't lash out, she's always mindful of her actions; she's strong mentally and emotionally as much as she is physically.
Which is why she's such a challenging character, and why, I think, male writers are often threatened by her. Now she's been passed away from Gail Simone and on to three guys, they've almost completely neutered her as a character, and it's a crying shame.
I've only given it two stars instead of one because I think there *may* be the possibility of improvement... but I'm not holding out too much hope.
I'm doing these collectively because it was a while ago now, and the three seem to have blurred into one.
All in all, a good addition to the collection of any Firefly/Serenity fan, but they don't stand alone too well if you're not already a fan. They fill in the gaps nicely, but I was expecting a little more of these - especially the Shepherd's tale.
The Doctor Will See You Now - Max Pemberton
Continuation of the previous Pemberton books - a continued look at the state of the NHS, and hospitals today. It feels like this one is catching up more with the state of things as they are now - not that these were ever talking about the dim and distant past - but the relevance is clearer. Certainly worth a read.
Don't Split the Party - Rich Burlew
Compilation of OOTS comics. Hilarious, iconicly drawn strip, where the scale of the story and the depth of the characters go far and above and beyond their stick-figure avatars. Don't Split the party is the latest compilation from the actual story-line, and the most complex and in-depth so far. Brilliantly well done series, well worth re-reading.
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
The first in Fforde's series of Nursery Crimes novels. Very funny, very clever, a favourite and a joy to read.