Dark Force Rising (1992) by Timothy Zahn

‘It was, Leia judged, the right moment. Glancing down at her belt, she reached out through the Force with all the power and control she could manage–‘

 

After reviewing Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire at the end of October, I was left hungry for more. I quickly followed it with the next book in the Thrawn Trilogy, Dark Force Rising. It’s taken me a while to get this review up and out there, but here it is. This could be the review you are looking for…

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My Thoughts
Is this the book you’re looking for? Well, I guess that depends on what you are seeking. It’s Star Wars, not high literature. In other words, you pretty much know what you are going to get. Does it succeed as a Star Wars novel? Yes, very much so. Like its predecessor, Heir to the Empire, it’s entertaining space fantasy. What really makes it work for me is the characters. Spending time with Luke, Leia, Han and Lando as they continue their adventures in a galaxy far, far away is rewarding as well as fun. I’m happy to admit that I’ve become invested in the new characters, particularly Mara Jade and the villainous Thrawn. I wonder how their narratives will unfold. Bring on the final book in the trilogy, The Last Command. Continue reading

Chiller Pocket Book #1 (1980)

‘Death is on wing this coal-dark eve. It soars as a silent smokey wisp through the long shadows over Boston’s Beacon Hill.’

 

Marvel Digest Series: Chiller Pocket Book #1

Chiller #1 was released in March 1980. It was part of Marvel UK’s Pocket Book series which lasted for 28 issues. Edited by Dez Skinn, it featured black-and-white reprints of Marvel Comics’ Tomb of Dracula #59 & #60 (Aug. & Sep. 1977) plus “Deathsong,”a story from Marvel Premiere #27 (Dec 1975) starring Satana, the Devil’s Daughter. The Dracula stories were written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Gene Colan & Tom Palmer. The Satana story was written by Chris Claremont with art by The Tribe.

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Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu

‘Call me Shang-Chi, as my father did, when he raised me and molded my mind and my body in the vacuum of his Honan, China, retreat. I learned many things from my father: that my name means “The Rising and Advancing of a Spirit,” that my body could be forged into a living weapon through the discipline of Kung Fu, and that it might be used for the murder of a man called Dr. Petrie.

Since then, I have learned that my father is Dr. Fu Manchu, the most insidiously evil man on earth … and that to honor him would bring nothing but dishonor to the spirit of my name.’

 

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Cover art of Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973)

 

Riding on the wave of the Bruce Lee-inspired Kung Fu craze in the 1970s, Marvel Comics launched the character Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu in 1973. He was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin and made his first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15, cover-dated December 1973. He appeared again in issue #16, and with issue #17 (April 1974) the title changed its name to The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu. The series was a success and continued for ten years until the final issue #125, dated June 1983. Continue reading

The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1 (Oct. 2019)

Written by Simon Spurrier, Art by Marcio Takara, DC Black Label

“I’m a nasty piece of work, chief. Ask anyone.”

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2019!!

Being a fan of the original run of Hellblazer (1988-2013), I was delighted to hear that DC were bringing the “nasty piece of work” himself, John Constantine back to comics. If I’m being honest, I was also wary of what it would be like after the last couple of uninspiring interpretations of the character. Well, if this special one-shot is a sign of what’s to come, I needn’t have worried. The sarcastic, foul-mouthed trickster magician is back with a vengeance. And I’m delighted to say The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1 is a powerful, dark, chaotic blast of magick from start to finish. Check it out now!

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Heir to the Empire (1991) by Timothy Zahn

“You happened to me,” she told him, her voice more fatigued than embittered. “You came out of a grubby sixth-rate farm on a tenth-rate planet, and destroyed my life.”

 

I used to be a Star Wars fan. I was only four years old in 1977 when Star Wars was released. I didn’t see it in a movie theatre unfortunately, but I can quote it line for line. I missed out on seeing The Empire Strikes Back at the theatre, too. I watched it every time it was on TV before the advent of VHS, and then wore out my taped-off-the-TV copy when my family finally bought a VCR. Third time lucky, I did see Return of the Jedi at the flicks and because of this it will always have a special place in my heart, ewoks and all! I still love the original trilogy but I’d rather have the original theatrical releases on Blu-ray than those so-called Special Editions. Why did you have to tamper with them, George?.. Anyway, onto the book.

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Hawkman Vol 1: Awakening (2019) by Robert Venditti & Bryan Hitch

SYNOPSIS

‘Carter Hall is Hawkman, the resurrected winged warrior who’s lived a thousand lifetimes. But what happens when one of his past lives comes knocking on his door?’

An explorer of the ancient and unknown, Hawkman finds himself embroiled in a long-standing mission to discover the true purpose of his many reincarnations. Carter will race around the globe trying to piece together an ancient prophecy, but will he be able to face down his own past lives lurking around every corner?’

 

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Variant cover artwork by Stjepan Sejic

This latest run of Hawkman began in June 2018. It is written by Robert Venditti and was blessed to have the wonderful drawing skills of Bryan Hitch for the first twelve issues.

Carter Hall’s past lives are catching up with him. As Hawkman, his search for the answers to an ancient prophecy brings him face to face with some of his past incarnations and the worlds they inhabit. Space cops, Egyptian royalty, the Atom, a furious T-Rex, and more, populate these chapters. Here are some brief notes I made for the individual issues: Continue reading

A Man of Shadows (2017) by Jeff Noon

“The initial idea behind the Nyquist mysteries was to have my private eye resident in a different weird city for each case, and to let the peculiar properties of that city create the case he has to solve.”

Jeff Noon, from an interview with The Forgotten Geek

 

“Weird city” indeed. If you are familiar with Jeff Noon’s writing, you will have an idea of what to expect in A Man of Shadows. This is no ordinary noir detective story. It is set in a bizarre city made up of two main districts: Dayzone and Nocturna. One is bathed in permanent light and the other filled with endless darkness. Time runs differently here, too. The city is fractured into individual time zones depending on location. It’s a cool concept that messes with your head as the citizens are forever adjusting their watches as they move from place to place.

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Our guide through this strange environment is world-weary Private Eye John Nyquist. He is replete with the common characteristics of a fictional hard-boiled P.I.: a disheveled appearance, a drinking habit, and a propensity to get involved with femme fatales. Nyquist is a well-realized protagonist but Noon makes no effort to write him as likable. It didn’t bother me but it is worth noting this detail. Does the leading character have to be likable to make the book an enjoyable reading experience? You decide. Continue reading