Sunday, January 29, 2017

Meet the New School Same as the Old School

Paul S Kemp “A Conversation in Blood” (Del Rey, 2017)

This is the third Egil & Nix book by Kemp.  The good thing is that the books seem to be episodic enough that you don’t have to have read them all.

I think I read the first of these, but really I’m not sure. And truthfully, I don’t think it mattered to my enjoyment.

There’s a school of thought that says that we need more old-fashioned storytelling.  I’m not sure that those people are right. (Actually I’m pretty sure that they are not). But Kemp is a modern writer that those fans would do well to read. A Conversation in Blood calls back to the days of fantasy as short fiction, to Leiber et al.  

It’s hard to find a lot to talk about with this book because it’s not trying to change the world. It’s trying to tell you a good adventure story.  And it accomplishes its goals.

If you are a fan of the old school or the new, I’d recommend checking out Kemp.  This was a very fun fantasy romp with a couple of loveable rogues.

Not Much of a Rebirth

Dan Abnett, Brad Walker, Philippe Briones, Gabe Eltaeb “Aquaman Volume 1: The Drowning” (DC Comics, 2017)

Hot on the heels of Green Arrow, I jumped on this Rebirth title.  I’ve always like Aquaman, though it feels like he hasn’t gotten a fun run since I was a kid.

If GA felt like a modernized version of the classic, Abnett’s Aquaman felt like more of the same Nu52 stuff.  There’s an undercurrent of being apologetic for the character, rather than celebrating the cool stuff he does.  Hey this guy rules all the oceans! Think about it – that’s cool, and should create a ton of opportunities for psychedelic adventures.

Instead we get what feels like a retread story with Black Manta.  It just feels like the same old stuff to me.

Visually, I felt like this book suffers from less than A list talent.  It’s all a bit too 90s, if you know what I’m saying.  And I have to wonder if that’s to somehow compensate for it being an “uncool” character.

I don’t see how this book as it now stands is going to pull in any new readers.  It needs a creative revamp to make it fresh & exciting.  Right now it’s just more of the same.