Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stuff I've Been Reading

Jonathan Hickman's epically cosmic Avengers' tale Infinity finally ended this week, for once with a wholly appropriate bang.  A lot of times, the Big Two comic companies tend to use these big events to launch ideas and/or new series going forward--and this one did that, too--but Infinity was also a self-contained story, magificent in breadth and scope and yet detailed enough to provide all of the characters with their own moments.

I dug it.

The cover for Infinity #6.
Granted, the Marvel Universe (MU) is still in peril, and we now have a world-wide Inhumans epidemic, but even so, the Avengers saved the world thrice over--first from the foul extra-dimensional Builders, then from their own end-of-the-world doomsday device, and finally from an invasion from Thanos.  For a six issue mini-series with what can only be called an assload of tie-ins, that's at least an appropriately enormous plot structure.  A lot happened.  Which is good because the damned story ran to probably two-hundred fifty pages.

As an aside, the MU badly needed an infusion of super-power origin stories, and the Inhumans' angle provides that.  Why?  Because 20th Century Fox has the movie and TV rights to the X-Men and all things mutant in the MU, and as Stan Lee discovered back in the sixties, you can only have so many weird-ass science-experiments-gone-wrong to provide your universe with super-powers before the basic idea starts to get strained.  If you've been watching Agents of SHIELD, then you already know that the Marvel Movie Universe is reaching that point as we speak, which in turn means that we'll probably see Inhumans on TV and in the movies any day now.  

The Infinity event provides a comics-based source material for the coming alien-powers emergence.  The fact that it was actually good is just an unexpected bonus.

Count Zero was William Gibson's follow-up to Neuromancer.  It's not as famous as Neuromancer, probably because it doesn't break any new ground despite the fact that it followed what was at the time one of the most imaginative sci fi novels to come out in a decade, but I still enjoyed it.  If nothing else, there's quite a bit of anti-corporate paranoia in there, and the story has a pretty great ending.

If you haven't read Neuromancer, then I recommend that strongly.  If you read that, and you like it, then by all means, feel free to check out Count Zero for more of the same.

Finally, all my favorite podcasts took a break last week, so I had to buy a book-on-tape for today's drive to Albany-and-back.  I wound up trying Paul S. Kemp's The Hammer and the Blade, and boy is it cool.  Kemp is a lawyer who has written for both Wizards of the Coast and the Star Wars extended universe, but The Hammer and the Blade is the start of a creator-owned series of which I definitely plan to read more.


  1. The only concern I have about the Inhumans is that they can so easily be described as Not the X-Men.

    1. I think that's the point. But it'll be interesting to see how it goes.