This blog kinda wafts around, full of announcements and reviews, much like a summer breeze.
First up is an announcement: the long-promised second book in THE SPUR series, HELLDORADO is now available, both as an ebook and an affordable paperback!
It took me long enough since the release of the first book, LOKI’S ROCK, but I became sidetracked by various and sundry creative projects from THE JUSTICE MACHINE to KING SOLOMON’S MINES and a couple of other deals. In case you don’t know, THE SPUR is an action-adventure series, combining elements of spaghetti westerns with SF. One reviewer referred to the first book as “Firefly crossed with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”
You can order both the paperback and ebook edition here:
If you missed the first book, LOKI’S ROCK, don’t fret…I’m running a special promotion to celebrate the release of HELLDORADO…from June 24th to June 26th, the Kindle edition of THE SPUR: LOKI’S ROCK is the low, low price of –FREE! That way you can pick up both ebook editions for only $2.99!
Now for some reviews–
BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
Partly what made this film so painful was the fact there was a germ of a good idea here. But the germ was very quickly buried by sloppy shovelfuls of over-the-top special effects, dim lighting throughout, ham-fisted direction and a total misunderstanding of both title characters.
Henry Cavill’s bleak and bland Superman is about as far from Christopher Reeve’s definitive portrayal as it’s possible to get and still be the same character….especially when he allows a bomb to destroy the Capitol building and kill Godknowshowmany people while he’s standing about six feet away from it. After the smoke clears, he looks kind of embarrassed, as if he’s fallen for a very obvious practical joke.
Even if you could accept Batman still being enraged by the cataclysmic events of MAN OF STEEL three years before, portraying him as an obsessed psychopath who spends almost the entire movie plotting the brutal first degree murder of Superman shows just how profoundly director Zack Synder misjudged why these pop culture icons have lasted for over 70 years.
Yeah, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the best thing about this movie but she couldn’t come close to saving it. Nothing could save a movie so thematically, fundamentally flawed. And yes, Ben Affleck was probably the best screen Batman…too bad he had to make his debut in this thing.
CAPTAIN AMERICA 3: CIVIL WAR
In direct counterpoint to DC/WB, Disney/Marvel Studios continue to knock their movies out of the park. CAP3 is an incredibly rich movie, full of life, color, surprises and raw emotion. The conflict between the two factions of The Avengers is believable within context and perfectly fits with the Marvel Comics tradition of heroes who don’t always see eye-to-eye.
Spider-Man’s brief appearance was a jolt of unnecessary adrenalin, but presented so well any sense of ennui about yet another Spidey movie in the future was completely replaced by anticipation.
CAPTAIN AMERICA 3: CIVIL WAR is a great film that totally lived up to the hype while remaining faithful to the spirit of the source material…and is the polar opposite of Dawn of Justice.
Although not made by Disney/Marvel, Fox’s sixth entry in the X-Men franchise was a very solid, very enjoyable chapter in the film series. Although it doesn’t have the delirious energy of CAP3—or the emotional undercurrent—X-MEN: APOCALYPSE was exceptionally well made and even fun, particularly the sequence with Quicksilver using his super-speed to save the students of Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters from an exploding bomb (a stunt Henry Cavill’s Superman was unable to duplicate) and of course, the cameo by Old Man Logan, although not unexpected was definitely appreciated.
DOC SAVAGE: GLARE OF THE GORGON:
Glare of The Gorgon, Will Murray’s latest book in THE WILD ADVENTURES OF DOC SAVAGE series is another celebration of the iconic character and the 1930s pulp milieu from which he sprang.
When a man dies literally on the doorstep of Doc’s Manhattan headquarters, there are few clues as to what happened to him—other than green silhouette of a serpent-haired woman impressed into the wall and the fact the man’s brain has apparently been turned to stone—by none other than Medusa.
Investigating the man’s death leads Doc, Monk Mayfair and Ham Brooks to Chicago to meet up with another of their crew, electrical engineer Long Tom Roberts. Long Tom is one of the speakers and exhibitors at the Scientific Exposition which becomes an important setting for many of the pivotal moments of the book.
Glare of the Gorgon has a large cast of colorful characters, many of whom are weird like corpse-faced Malcolm McLean and Dr. Warner Rockwell …and some of whom who are vile like gangsters Duke Grogan and Joe Shine—who is OCD about keeping his shoes buffed to a high shine. All of them, even the distressed damsel Janet Falcon are suspects at one time or another.
As the novel progresses, fear of falling prey to the Gorgon is pumped up, echoing a similar growing terror in the Doc Savage adventure, The Annihilist.
Glare of The Gorgon takes place only a month after that book, so between eyeballs popping out of people’s heads in The Big Apple and brains turning to stone a few weeks later in The Windy City, Doc and his pals have a pretty grisly time of it. No wonder Doc looks so grim on the cover.
As in The Annihilist, the line-up of suspects are slowly winnowed down but the exposure of the mastermind still comes as a surprise…as does the explanation of how human brains are transformed into the consistency of stone—and it’s not quite as off-the-wall as you might think.
Glare of The Gorgon is a headlong plummet into everything that makes pulp—well, pulp…sneering gangsters with flaming Tommy-guns, car and motorcycle chases, fistfights, submersible cars, a plot full of twists and turns and a deadly, killing force that cannot be explained…at least at first.
This book is a showcase for more great work by Will Murray—he is to be commended for almost single-handedly maintaining Doc’s profile as a pop culture icon…I tend to think that without his efforts over the years, a new, big-budget Doc Savage movie would not now be in works.
All for now—don’t forget THE SPUR: LOKI’S ROCK ebook giveway from June 24th to the 26th!