Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book Review The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson


Everybody knows the story of Superman, right? He came to Earth in a capsule to land in a field. Jonathan and Martha Kent found him and raised him as their own. The concept is simple enough. However, questions remain.

Kevin J. Anderson attempts to provide clarity in his book Last Days of Krypton. Whether or not he succeeded is up to readers. Some will be convinced of everything which takes place. Others may take issue with a word, sentence, or paragraph and refuse to believe any of it. Science Fiction allows for doubt, and invites exploration.

The Man of Steel legend aside, this work focuses on his parents and how they faced one of the most difficult decisions imaginable. First things first though. When talking about characters, readers have to be properly introduced. The clarity is appreciated.

Lara first met Jor-El when her family was hired to work on Jor-El's house. As artists, they have both the eye and the skill to make an ordinary building into a masterpiece. Little did they know how much of an impact would be made to future events.

Can you imagine, seeing your future husband trapped in an alternative reality? I have to hand it to Lara, she stayed with the situation although she has the creative gene rather than the scientific one. The pair was required to become a team in order to set Jor-El free. However, this was also mild compared to the political mess brewing from outside.

Superman devotees will recognize Commander Zod, the bureaucrat whose inexhuastible need for power is greater than ethical considerations. Talk about a compelling character. He schemes without regard for implications down the road. What happens if somebody else catches wind of the destruction he plans? Put it this way, it's not pretty. The man has no conscience or morals. All he wants is to be a ruler over everything. Forget leading by example, Zod is nothing to live up to.

Continuing with the villian lineup, Brainiac also makes an appearance. Anderson takes the character and shows a different side. A robot? Yes, although not quite what one would expect. Remember, Clark Kent and his super powers have yet to arrive on Earth. The novel is the stuff prior, which sent Superman on his journey downward into Jonathan and Martha Kent's arms.

Obviously, the Justice League is not part of this picture. The story is about one man and how he came to be. I should warn readers, it's over four hundred pages long. Not an item which can be completed in one sitting.

Perhaps even more compelling than the story itself is the front cover. Right smack in the middle is a glowing green "S". Due to scientific genius, this is a holgram! The capital letter jumps off the page and appears to be breaking up just a bit.

also published on blogcritics.

TV Review Fringe "Bound"


TV Review: Fringe - "Bound"
Written by NancyGail
Published January 22, 2009
See also:
» DVD Review: Painted Lady
» DVD Review: Redemption
» Reality TV: Second Chances
It's baaaaack! For those of you experiencing a slow winter, Fringe has returned with a vengeance. The biggest show of the fall season is continuing to take viewers on a jaw-dropping ride, and people will be clinging to the edge of their seats.

For those who caught the last episode before the break, Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) had been kidnapped at Little Hill just before Jones (Jared Harris) escaped from prison ("Safe"). Now, I know anything can happen on television, however, she is the lead female role. Killing her off before the end of the season would be pointless.

The writers definitely agreed with that idea. They got Olivia out quickly, but cast her right into another fire. There's now a new sheriff in town, Sanford Harris, who is taking revenge on Dunham despite his role in a past incident. Lance Reddick, who plays Broyles, and Anna Torv's characters have been strong from the start, but now find themselves in a different position. They have an interloper they never asked for, yet getting rid of him is out of their control. I admit, I thought he might have been Olivia's stepfather. From what I gathered, though, that's not likely.

Even more characters have been added to the show, and they should stay around for a bit. Rachel, Olivia's sister, and Rachel's daughter, Ella, arrived in town this week and are staying with her while they take new steps on the roadway of life.

Mitchell Loeb (Chance Kelly) is still in the picture, although his role as a double agent has been exposed. Now, who does he work for? The answer might be the same group as John Scott (Mark Valley). Speaking of the latter, he needs to return. I was intrigued by his efforts to lead Olivia down the path of his hidden agenda. Traitor? I'm not convinced.

My one nit is the no-show by Nina Sharp (Blair Brown). She always adds so much to the mystery with her knowledge of secrets to which Olivia is not privy.

This was certainly an interesting start to the rest of the first season. While the question of what happened to Olivia was answered, plenty of questions remain. "Where is creepy stepdad," for example. He might turn up, but that's not the biggest question mark. Who is Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson)? Viewers know he has a dark side, but not the details of his past... yet. Which group does John Scott work for? No one can say for sure. Why would Jones and Loeb want to be on the wrong side of the law? I don't get the impression they are part of Nina's team. Keep watching...

published on blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Rush To Judgment"


Say what you will about city crime, but it always comes down to the person or persons responsible. It's one thing for someone to defend against a home invasion, yet quite another if death comes to a criminal for reasons less clear cut.

For Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill), being a cop has an advantage — those who break the law are required to deal with consequences. As the son of a law enforcement officer, he gladly followed in his father's footsteps. A badge means more to him than it simply being a job identification symbol. After a teenager dies while in his custody, the resulting investigation leaves him breathless.

This just might have been Eddie Cahill's best work in the past five seasons. He aptly portrayed a full range of emotions as the episode unfolded. Should there have been a double-check of what happened? Of course there should have. For all the department knew, they could have had a bad cop on their hands who crossed the line one too many times. However, having one's guilt assumed at the outset is hard for an innocent person to take, and I was glad to see the depth of Flack's worry explored.

How could someone who was fine when first questioned be dead not long after he got to the police station? Gary Sinise played his part to perfection, gathering evidence so doubt could be quickly laid to rest. Mac Taylor is loyal to his friends, but is willing to take down anyone if he finds them to be a bad apple. I find it hard to imagine what the scene would have been if Flack had to be arrested, but I also realize these two actors are experienced enough to handle the job.

Emmanuelle Vaugier came back to play Det. Angell again, and her acting chops shone as she defended her partner with a take no prisoners style. My only problem was when she got upset over people knowing about their relationship. Did she honestly believe no one would notice?

Mixed in with all of this was the death of a coach. You'll have to watch for yourself, but the truth was a tad lackluster. Themes from previous seasons are starting to repeat themselves. This is New York, one would think the writers could be more creative with their storylines. I will say this — using plots with a focus on the city is a smart move. It helps remind viewers of why they should be watching.

I get the impression the toned down approach of this episode is in preparation for February Sweeps. Ratings are really looked at then (and in November and May too), so expect to see some of the biggest challenges taken care of during that period.

Also published on blogcritics.