Time Heist and Parallel Get Reviewed!

I don’t like using the One Lazy Robot blog to tout my own books too much, but every now and then I get a review that makes me smile and I have the irresistible urge to share with ya’ll. This week I had two such reviews.

First came a review for Parallel from loyal reader, and author of the Agatha Christie’esque murder mystery, Death in a Red Canvas Chair, Noelle Granger. Noelle is one of my most favoritest (that’s totally a word) people to interact with on OneLazyRobot. Go check out her review and you’ll see why. (Hint: it’s because she’s awesome.)

Parallel - High Resolution

Click the Pic!

The other review came from Ted Cross, author of one of my favoritest (see, told you that’s a word. I wouldn’t use it twice if it wasn’t.) debut novels of 2014, The Immortality Game. Way back in December I did a review of TIG and Convergence from Michael Patrick Hicks. CLICK HERE to see why you should pick up these books. (Hint: it’s because they’re awesome).

Anyways, Ted reviewed Time Heist which is incredibly similar to his own book. If you like one, you’ll probably dig the other. Might as well do yourself a favor and pick both of them up. But don’t take my word for it, check out Ted’s review.

Time Heist

Psst.. also, did you know for a limited time only you can pick up your very own copy of Time Heist or Parallel for the low, low price of FREE? It’s truth. Pop on over to Barnes and Noble or Kobo and grab a copy.

Parallel Barnes and Noble Link!

Parallel Kobo Link!

Time Heist Kobo Link!

Time Heist is actually $.99 on Barnes and Noble ’cause they are slow to price match, but here’s that link anyways. LINK

You’re Not Really Gonna Wear That Are You?

Time for another confession: I love superheros. Yeah, in all shapes and sizes, skills and abilities, traumatized pasts or billionaire playboys, doesn’t matter: I love them. I’m a sucker for a guy or gal in a spandex suit, wearing their undies on the outside and doling out good ol’ vigilante style justice.

So, naturally, I tinkle a little whenever I hear about a new superhero movie or television show coming out. Whether you realize it or not we’re sort of living through a second golden age of the superhero. DC and Marvel have both outlined their intent to release huge blockbusters on a yearly basis for like the next century. If you’re a fan, like me, then this is great. Unless it’s not.

Wait, what? Really, Anthony? What are you going to hate on today?

Good question. I’m gonna pick on one of the most important decisions a movie maker can make when it comes to creating a kick ass superhero movie: the costume. Now, you haven’t kicked my dog, or put a hex on my family tree, so I won’t torture you by going all Cosmo on you, but seriously, what your main character is wearing on screen will make or break a movie.

With that said, let’s go through some of the worst superhero costume designs of all time and see what useful nuggets we can gleam from this heaping pile of turd-a-geddon.

First, let’s all give Edna Mole a second to explain some basic costume functionality.

Still not convinced? Well, fine. Let’s ask Madonna’s opinion.

 

Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about the next no-no.

This is something I never, ever say, but… NO NIPPLES!

batman and robin

Ugh, Batman and Robin will go down in history as one of the all-time worst reincarnations of Batman.

First, check out those nipples on Robin. Batman was sporting some nips as well, but thankfully you can’t see them in this picture. Seriously costume-designer guy? How did you even think this was a good idea?

Second, chrome Batman? No. I like creative new takes on old costumes, but you strayed too far on this one.

Despite all the negatives there is one thing I’ll give kudos and a fist bump for–Alicia Silverstone is showing practically zero skin.

Wait, what? Yeah, that’s right. I don’t like seeing skin on my superheros. Boys or girls, doesn’t matter. When you’re rolling in the dirt with bad-guys exposed skin is a very bad idea. Unfortunately, where superheroines are concerned, this is a common problem. Let’s take a gander at some of the more egregious examples.

 catwoman_458

Halle Berry is beautiful, no doubt, but this is the least functional outfit I’ve ever seen. And that’s something that needs to be considered when drawing up designs for a superhero outfit. For the most part, movie makers and the like do a good job of this where male characters are concerned, but those poor, poor ladies are gonna have some wicked road rash after one good tumble to the pavement.

Here’s a good example of how male superheros are treated differently than the females. Same movie, different theories on functional outfits.

elektra1

daredevil1

I had my problems with Daredevil the movie, but I will say that his costume was pretty cool. Not only did it look badass, it was cut entirely from leather so that dude could do high-speed somersaults down the street all day long and still have all his skin to show for it. But Elektra? Oh, god… that outfit couldn’t even stop a stiff breeze.

This is where the comic purists will say, “Yeah, but atleast her costume is staying true to the comic book.” Which is true, I concede that point. But let’s take a look at the costume in question shall we?

elektra2

Ugh…Seriously, sometimes it’s okay–nay, required!–to stray from the source material. This would be one of those times!

With that said, there are some exceptions to the scantily clad rule.

You’re bulletproof…

wonder woman

 

Or you can turn into a diamond…

emma frost

 

And that’s it. If you’re not a larger than life engagement ring, or Wonder Woman, you need to be showing a bit less leg.

Oh, I hear your cries of outrage. You say, “But what about if I were a Warrior Princess? Could I skimp on the trousers and body armor then?”

What, a warrior princess sort of like this?

xena

Alright, fine… do what you want. See what I care. But don’t come crawling back asking for bandaids and neosporin when you get all cut up fighting The Porcupine!

Wow, I bet you didn't think The Porcupine was a real character, did you? Well, guess what? I didn't either. Thank you google.

Wow, I bet you didn’t think The Porcupine was a real character, did you? Well, guess what? I didn’t either. Thank you google.

Now that we know to steer clear of capes, nipples, and cleavage, let’s tackle a problem we’re only going to see more of in the near future: CGI costumes. Technology is capable of some real neatorific things these days. And I get it, the temptation to do a costume entirely by means of CGI wizardry is damn near irresistible, but please, please, please… before you walk down that Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day reference here is timely only because of the word green. You don’t understand why, yet, but give it until the end of this sentence and you will!) take a note from the blockbuster dud, Green Lantern. (See! Told you that reference would make sense. Sort of.)

Ryan Reynolds played the Green Lantern in what could have been a fantastic movie. Instead, they screwed up two fundamental things and the whole kit and kaboodle started hydroplaning out of control.

First: the plot was pretty loosey-goosey. You can sacrifice a lot, but not story. Never story.

Second: the costume was entirely CGI which, could’ve been cool, but instead looked cheezy and made Ryan Reynolds look anemic. A bad look for a superhero. Don’t believe me? Take a look.

green lantern

Actually, you know what, I’m a big Ryan Reynolds fan and I could’ve found it in my heart to forgive the costume, but that mask. Oh god, that mask is atrocious.

For comparison purposes, here’s Mr. Reynolds rocking an awesome Deadpool costume.

deadpool2

Granted, you can’t see his face, but that’s the point. Superhero’s need to do a better job concealing their concealables. If there’s a lesson to gleam from this post thus far it’s this: full leather suits ala Deadpool and Daredevil = awesome.

I love leather. Don’t tell Peta. Or Katniss. (<– Oof.. that’s… that’s not a coherent joke.)

Full body suits are great, they offer a lot of protection which I think should never be underestimated whilst fighting crime. But there are some big no-no’s one should be aware.

One: full body spandex or leotards are questionable even under the best of circumstances.

fantastic four1

Notice how your eyes are immediately drawn to the crotch-al regions. But hey, it could be worse.

fantastic four2

Is Sue Storm wearing a superhero turtleneck? To my knowledge, only one person has ever pulled off the tactical turtleneck.

archer

Don’t know who this is? Watch Archer. Now.

Anyways, the one piece leotard is hard to pull off, but it can be done.

catwoman1

Ignore the high heeled boots for two seconds and realize that this outfit is actually incredibly functional for a cat burglar. Much better than that Halle Barry nonsense earlier.

But you got to tread cautiously ’cause one misstep and you end up looking like this guy.

phantom on a horse

Is that Barney riding a horse through the jungle? No, but it might as well be. Oi, I don’t even know where to start with this one.

Ack, well… this is as good a time as any to call it quits. End on a high note so to speak. Now, forget everything I just said and get down to the comments and tell me what you think. What are some of your favorite superhero costumes? What are your least favorite? Did any of them make my list? I’m dying to know, don’t leave me hanging!

Roche Limit

Oof, it’s been a couple weeks since I did a book review. Let’s see if I can remember how to these things are supposed to go. *fiddles with the magic box inside of which I keep all my reviewing super-powers*

Uh… hrm… Who put a dead cricket inside my magic reviewing super-powers box? Oh, wait. Nope, wrong box. Forget you ever heard anything about the cricket.

Alright, here we go. It’s been a couple months since I read a good ol’ graphic novel and I admit that despite all the bad press the Hugos have been getting this year, the nominees for this particular category actually looked pretty good. If you’ve read my previous post you know how I feel about the Hugos and all the drama surrounding that particular sideshow, but there are two graphic novels (Saga Volume 4 and Sex Criminals Volume 1) that I’ve been interested in reading for quite sometime. The fact that they got nominated only reinforced my desire to go out and pick them up.

saga foursex criminals

So I did. Or, atleast, I tried to. I went to my local comic bookshop which typically has a pretty good selection, but lo and behold, they had neither of these two books. What? How is such a thing possible?

I couldn’t bring myself to walk out empty handed so I snagged a copy of Roche Limit Volume 1. It had a snazzy cover from a publishing house I typically like, with a story that sounded right up my alley. I was geeked and had totally forgotten about my failed mission to procure either Sex Criminals or Saga by the time I sashayed out of there.

A’ight, so let’s give ya’ll a synopsis 8th grade book report style:

Roche Limit is a book about space. People fly far away to a different galaxy. A billionaire pays for this. He builds a death-star type colony next to a black hole.

Ugh, this is dreck. Quick aside, why do schools make writing book reports (or writing in general) a painfully horrific exercise in futility? Seriously, writing is fun, but thinking back on my middle and high school years and the writing exercises inflicted upon our poor innocent minds. I dunno, it’s almost as though we were prisoners of war being punished preemptively for atrocities yet to be committed. I mean, they weren’t entirely wrong. Text messaging pretty much ushered in an alphabet genocide.

But still, I’d rather take a forest’s worth of bamboo shoots up the fingernails than go back to 8th grade English.

Anyways, that’s my baggage. Back to Roche Limit. Here’s the skinny, (or the chubby, depending on your preference. I don’t discriminate. I’m like Burger King, have it your way.)

mcdonalds

Shut up, Ronald. Yes, I can! This is my blog!

Anyhoo, we got ourselves an enigmatic billionaire who dreams of exploring the cosmos.

So what’s he do?

Oh, you know. He goes out into space, locates himself what the smart folks back home refer to as a “mysterious energy anomaly” (no shit, this is what the back-cover says), and sets up a colony. They call this colony Roche Limit which is the distance a moon must be from its planet so as not to get guzzled down said planet’s gravitational well. Honestly, the name really has nothing to do with anything occurring in the story.

This colony is built on the cusp of this “mysterious energy anomaly”, which is their way of saying “a black hole that doesn’t behave like a black hole”. Nobody knows what the hell this thing is, but that doesn’t stop them from setting up shop right next to it. And, also, let’s not forget that this is clear across the galaxy so getting there isn’t exactly a leisurely jaunt.

use the force

Now Roche Limit has issues right off the back, mostly on account of the fact that there are no police and the company who built the colony decided to hire exclusively ex-convicts to work the station. Okay, now this is some more of “my” baggage, but it really bothers me when writers use “ex-convicts” for an easy out. I readily acknowledge the fact that there is a high re-offending (Now I know how those Storm Troopers felt in Star Trek Gate ’cause I’m not entirely sure this is the word, or droids, I’m looking for) rate but that doesn’t mean they should be the automatic scapegoat for “oh shit, this society over here collapsed in on itself and itr’s all because those ex-convicts are falling back on their well-established patterns of behavior!”

Okay, come to think of it, maybe I don’t have much leg to stand on here, but it still bugs me. Not nearly as much as the fact that this company investing billions of dollars in interstellar travel and cross-galaxy colonization is manning these stations with convicts. Who’s dumb-ass idea is that anyhow?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t give the con’s a chance, but, I don’t know, maybe a couple people with technical skills would be useful?

Let’s forget about the convict slathered colony for a moment and focus on one of the main driving points of the story. A girl has gone missing so her sister has flown out from Earth to find her. We discover along the way that Roche Limit has devolved into a cesspool of crime. It’s being run by the slumlords and you’ll pretty much get shived with a toothbrush the moment you step off your shuttle.

Moral of the story? Don’t go to Roche Limit. If you do, maybe consider wearing some stab proof clothing.

We’ve got ourselves a real lawless state of affairs over here and nobody really cares, until we discover that more than one girl has gone missing and now, you know what, one of our crime lords simply finds that unacceptable. She’s got one eye and a heart of gold.

Oh, and also there is this other guy who was dating the sister who disappeared, so he’s helping to find her ’cause he’s not your stereotypical quick wit, hard to love, easy to hate rogueish good guy who pretends he’s badass but secretly deep down he’s got a soft nougat center. Nope, he’s not that at all. He’s a genuinely original character. Promise.

I literally could have put any male character written in the past decade here, but Nathan Fillion is beautiful and Firefly is Da Bomb. Also, I rarely use the phrase "Da Bomb", so you know it must be true.

I literally could have put any male character written in the past decade here, but Nathan Fillion is beautiful and Firefly is Da Bomb. Also, I rarely use the phrase “Da Bomb”, so you know it must be true.

Ha! Just kidding, I totally lied! He’s a walking cliche.

Ya know, I’m getting carried away, and for that I apologize. There is more to the plot, but I don’t really feel like talking about it anymore ’cause the whole damned thing is so disjointed. It bops all over the place with no rhyme or reason, dropping you in and out of situations with characters you’ve never met and have hardly any sympathy for killing them off, or they go into some monologuish diatribe about their life and motivations.

And that might be the thing that bothered me the most about Roche Limit. The dialogue (which, excluding the artwork, is the most important part of a graphic novel) was just horrendous. Everybody spoke in these long drawn out speeches about life and death and space and exploration and dreams and chasing dreams and butterflies and what happens when you stop chasing dreams and misguided desires and what it means to be human and blah blah friggin’ blah.

Jesus, just hold up a skull and give us a breathy soliloquy while you're at it!

Jesus, just hold up a skull and give us a breathy soliloquy while you’re at it!

In the end the story fell flat for me. The artwork was passable, but not nearly good enough to pull its weight and that lame-sauce storyline.

Save yourself the trouble. Stay away from Roche Limit.

Fantastic Four Trailer!

I’ll be honest, the first couple Fantastic Four movies kind of sucked. That’s not helped by the fact that in the grand pantheon of Marvel Superhero’s the Fantastic Four are kind of lame, but hey, what can I say? I’m a sucker for a superhero movie (yes, I watched Daredevil with Ben Affleck multiple times, and yes, I still hate myself for it. Shame doesn’t wash off easy).

Anyways, here’s the trailer for the new Fantastic Four. A couple things right off the bat. I like that they went with a younger cast. From the looks of it, they tried to diversify, by which I mean they added a token black guy as The Thing. <– Sarcasm.

At some point Hollywood is gonna catch up with the rest of the world and realize adding a single minority character doesn’t make a story diverse. *sigh* Some day.

Also, if quizzed, I couldn’t possibly tell you what this particular film is about. Looks like an origin story, but beyond that? *shrug*

East of West

Alright, let’s keep this quick and dirty. I picked up this fairly new comic series called East of West a few weeks back. So far there are three books in the series, but I’ve only managed to read the first two. I plan on picking up the third one, but the other day on my weekly run to the comic bookstore they were unfortunately out and I had to settle for Civil War.

images (1)                            images

Boo-hoo. Poor me.
Not!
Anyways, East of West is pretty awesome. Ya got Jonathan Hickman working the pencil, and Nick Dragotta working the crayon.
Dragotta gets the tip o’ the cap from me. The artwork is stellar. I could spend days just staring at the pictures. They’re intricate with a stylization that I really dig.
The series is a science-fiction Western set in dystopian America. Part of the story follows the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who, no surprise, are trying to bring about the apocalypse. In another part, you got Death riding around like Clint Eastwood kicking ass and taking names trying to regain that which was taken from him. Then there are the Chosen, “a group of elites from the Seven Nations who are working to bring about the end times, as well.” There’s your cast, now go.
I personally really dig this story. Hickman’s done a great job building an interesting/unique world while filling it with some truly oddball characters.
If you’re in the market for a cool new comic series, go check it out.
There, I’ve said my peace. Now stop staring at me.
Go away.
Or stay and read something else. Go on, I dare you!

Update:

images (2)

I read the third volume the other day and am happy to report that the story just keeps getting better. The world keeps expanding in jaw dropping new ways. The characters gain new-found depths that really pull you in and make you root for them. Take for example Death who’s just out there looking for revenge on the jack-jaws who stole his son.
I love it when writers take on a challenging character (like Death who’s sort of sociopathic) and make them sympathetic and likable. Well, actually I don’t know how likable Death is, but he sure is sympathetic.
The art, as always, is phenomenal. This is one of those stories that you can spend an afternoon just staring at the gorgeous art. Highly recommend.

Anyways, that’s officially all I got to say. Before you leave how ‘bout you drop down to the comments and give me a comic recommendation. What are some of your favorites?

Ooh, also, if you haven’t already, get over to Goodreads and sign up for your chance to win a FREE SIGNED COPY of TIME HEIST! If you miss out, you’re gonna be bummed. Just sayin’…

Anthony