The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller with Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (10th Anniversary Edition)Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written by Frank Miller with Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley in 1986, The Dark Knight Returns is an epic story of a retired Batman taking up the Cape once more. Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the story is set long after the heroes of the Justice league have retired and disappeared from the public eye. However, when the crime rates in Gotham reach a new high due to the actions of a gang known as The Mutants and Harvey Dent is released from Arkham, Bruce Wayne decides that he his work isn’t over and dons the cowl once more. As the story progresses it builds in momentum and danger (including a face off with an old enemy) leading to the final confrontation between Batman and Superman.

Many pages within the book utilise small panels with text above them -particularly for the news reports- which took me a few seconds to adapt to, but once I did, it was easy to follow. I particularly liked the different coloured boxes that were used to indicate which character was thinking those thoughts, for example, Batman had grey boxes while Robin had yellow boxes and Superman had blue boxes. The artwork as a whole is nicely done and has some very nice pages, such as the moment when Bruce Wayne decides to come out of retirement.

The Dark Knight Returns isn’t considered part of mainstream Canon, but rather part of Earth-31, which is where all of Frank Miller’s Batman comics take place. If you enjoy Frank Miller’s interpretation of Batman, a more violent and brutal crime fighter, then you’ll probably like this as well. It’s also worth reading if you simply enjoy reading about Batman, this is a classic Batman story and has some very interesting ideas and story developments within it.

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Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair and Richard Starking

Batman: HushBatman: Hush by Jeph Loeb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hush was written by Jeph Loeb and tells the story of a mysterious adversary that seems to know a great deal about Batman and is manipulating many of the classic rogues gallery in a bid to seek vengeance. I found the story to be highly engaging and exciting to read. There’s a great deal of action with confrontations with the likes of Killer Croc, The Joker, Ra’s Al Ghul, Catwoman and even Superman. The action is balanced with a healthy dose of mystery as Batman tries to uncover the truth and a romantic relationship with Catwoman that has been hinted at for years.

Jim Lee (penciller), Scott Williams (Inking), Alex Sinclair (Colouring) and Richard Starkings (Lettering) did a great job of creating a comic that is aesthetically pleasing, vibrant and easy to follow. The panels are generally quite large, which is great for the level of action present in the comic.

I highly recommend Hush to Batman fans who enjoy his more action heavy stories and like crisp and clean art style of modern comics. I think it is probably a good idea to read Hush only if you have read some of the older comics, especially “A Death in The Family”, as it does refer to some key events from that story.

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I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

I, Robot (Robot, #0.1)I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I. Robot by Isaac Asimov is a collection of nine short stories that outline the development of robotics and Artificial Intelligence. There are a few recurring characters through the stories, most notably Susan Calvin, who also appears during the introduction and links all of the stories together. The stories are quite varied and at times thought-provoking, which is exactly what I want from good science fiction.

The language used by Asimov is very to the point and straight forward, but this is not to say poorly written, rather it does exactly what it needs to without being flamboyant and excessive. This makes the stories very easy to follow, especially when the characters discuss the science and technology involved.

It should be noted that if you’re expecting a story along the lines of the film by the same title, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. The film is rather different to this book and although there are hints of inspiration, the film is pretty much an entirely new story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it to be a welcome change to have stories where the problems the humans had to resolve using the robots was less to do with a violent uprising but more an analysis of the intricacies of the three laws and how a logical brain could interpret them.

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You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) By Felicia Day

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s not often that I read a biography, or an autobiography, at least not anymore anyway. There’s just far too many fictional books that I want to read, however when I saw that Felicia Day was releasing an autobiography I knew I had to read it; and I’m very glad I did. For those of you who don’t know, Felicia Day is a writer, actress and YouTube personality. She is well known for her roles on Supernatural and Eureka (This is where I first encountered her) as well as her breakout web series, The Guild and the wonderful, Geek And Sundry.

Joss Whedon describes the book brilliantly in his foreword with the words “Reading this book is like spending an afternoon with Felicia, hearing breathless tales…” as that’s exactly what it feels like. Anyone who has watched her videos on YouTube will have a sense of how she presents herself, her mannerisms, language and sense of humour. All of this is presented wonderfully in the way the book is written and thus makes for a very enjoyable read.

More than this though, it was nice to read about the journey of someone who I admire and be able to relate to them. Okay, so I’ve not had the same kind of upbringing where I was home schooled nor are some of the quirks I could relate to, exactly the same, but it was nice to see an element of me in there, and that it’s possible to overcome , or at least embrace the quirks and become highly successful.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Felicia and her work, or anyone who feels like they’re just a bit weird compared to the rest of the world.

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