Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013

Karen: As 2013 draws to a close, let's talk about some of our "best of" lists in entertainment. Seeing as how I am not currently reading new comics, nor do I listen to much new music, I'm going to have to just go with books and movies here, but the rest of you can chime in on any material produced during the last year.

Karen: I thought it was a fairly poor year for films. Granted, I don't get out and see a film every week, but I do go to a fair number of films. But so many I saw this year were either downright bad, or had terrible third acts, or just enough problems to keep me from whole-heartedly embracing them. Here's my short list of favorite films that I saw  for 2013:

1. Star Trek Into Darkness
2. Thor: The Dark World
3. Now You See Me

Doug:  We don't go to a lot of movies, but for some reason I did see several in the theater this year.  By no means am I qualified to give any constructive criticisms, but the following were films I enjoyed -

  1. 42 - this was the Jackie Robinson biopic
  2. Gatsby - visually stunning, but disconnect on the soundtrack
  3. Monsters University - Pixar wins again
  4. The Butler - a little too much historical fiction, but good
  5. Thor: The Dark World
  6. Saving Mr. Banks - Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are fabulous
  7. Now You See Me - which I actually just watched last night on video!
Karen: I'm much more enthusiastic about books. There are several on-going series I'm reading (although one of these, the Ian Tregillis' Milkweed series, seems to have ended) and they are all excellent. It's been a few years since I had the thrill of expectation for the next book in a series and I'm really enjoying that. So here's my list of favorite new books in 2013 (again, books released in 2013 only):

1. Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey
2. Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis
3. Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi by Mark Hodder

Karen: All of these books are parts of series and I would highly recommend them to any of you, as they are very entertaining reads.

Karen: Feel free to serve up your own lists of favorites from 2013 as we bid this year good-bye and welcome in 2014. And may you all have a fun (and safe!) New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 30, 2013

An Obscure World's Finest Story

Mythology. The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross (Pantheon, 2003)
"The Trust."
Chip Kidd-Alex Ross

Doug:  Closing time, kids.  Not only does today's review close out our month of special stories painted by Alex Ross, but this is our last review before our now-2nd annual vacation.  If you're just dropping in today to check out this post, Karen and I will be taking a break from new posts during the month of January.  In our place you'll find "classic" reviews from our library, as well as lively conversation generated by our readers.  But that's for three days from now.  Today we want to expose many of you to a nifty little story found at the very back of the luscious hardcover you see pictured above.  Designer and text author Chip Kidd teamed with Ross to produce an 8-page story featuring Superman and Batman and Robin.  What can you accomplish in only 8 pages, you might ask?  Why wait?

Karen: I was excited when Doug brought up wanting to review this story in one of our "editors' meetings". I'd read it ages ago and enjoyed it but never thought about reviewing it here. I'm looking forward to this chance to revisit it.

Doug:  It was a nice refresher -- I'd only vaguely recalled the story, and had to look it up to make sure I hadn't dreamt the whole thing!

Doug:  I'll need our DC fans to help me out with this one -- has there ever been a contingency plan in the DCU for dealing with an out-of-his-mind Superman?  I think we all know that in the Marvel Universe, through the years, there have been many a'plan to engage the Hulk when on a berserker rage.  I have no idea if this is a new idea or not, but it's going to be cool.  We open with Superman doing a right-angle smash through the center of the logo sculpture atop the Daily Planet building.  The Batman is on that same roof, weighing his options.  The media has already sent out the word that Superman is out-of-control; the military will soon be on the follow.  Batman knows what he has to do -- it's something he and Superman had agreed to at a prior time.

Karen: I know there was a story (the title escapes me) a few years back where secret plans Batman had made for taking down everyone in the JLA were stolen and used against the heroes. Of course, Batman's team-mates were not too pleased that he had made these contingency plans, but that's the way Batman operates in DC nowadays. In this story, Batman and Superman are obviously still buddies and have made plans together in case something has happened to drive Superman out of control. I like that a lot better.

Doug:  So a batarang shoots out from a pistol, and a line encircles the ankles of the Man of Steel.  Now I know Batman's much stronger than your average guy, but given the speed at which Superman appears to be flying, I would think the Dark Knight's arms would be ripped from their sockets!  But the Batman holds fast and gets one heckuva ride through the skies of Metropolis.  He suddenly gets a transmission from Robin, who is monitoring the situation while doing research into the possibilities of Superman's madness.  The Boy Wonder reports that he's isolated an unknown frequency coming from the Metropolis Observatory -- a transmission that seems alien in origin!  Batman orders him to jam it -- Robin, now sweating it hard, says he needs more time!  As Batman hears the plea of his ward, the centrifugal force from a direction change by Superman hurls his body against the side of a skyscraper.

Karen: Batman is one helluva tough guy, isn't he? But man, that's an exciting sequence! And the intensity of Batman's expression is terrific. I also liked seeing Robin, and in a very sensible role: providing tactical support.

Doug:  In the notes that preface the story, Ross remarks that he and Chip Kidd had discussed that this entire sequence should give readers the notion that they are on a rollercoaster.  I say -- success!

Doug:  We flash back to a time many years prior, in the Batcave.  Superman approaches his friend and confidant, holding a box.  He tells the Batman that inside the box is a means to stop him, should any of his enemies ever gain control of such a Super Man and use him for a weapon.  Batman opens the box, now obviously made of lead, to see a chunk of Kryptonite.  Superman remarks that he wouldn't have asked Lois to do it -- for she could not.  He knows that Batman, however, can.  Cut back to the present, where the pellmell flight continues.  Superman appears to try to shake the Batman off of him, turning at hard angles and flying near to the buildings.  Robin breaks in with another transmission -- his efforts to scramble or block the alien signal have failed.  And more... six stealth bombers are closing on the city.  Batman knows that the time is now -- no looking back.  As he draws the pistol from his utility belt, he thinks of an oath he took after the death of his parents:  no guns.  He thinks how ironic this is -- not even the Joker could make him resort to this action.  But a friend could.  He fires.

Karen: Kidd and Ross do an excellent job of ratcheting up the tension here -and the stakes: six stealth bombers -not fighters, bombers! Man, that seems like overkill. It's all up to Batman. The panel with Batman firing the gun, with his squinting eye just above the barrel, is perfect.

Doug:  Superman flies directly into an office, far above the streets of the city.  Of course, that means Batman is right behind him.  Batman scrambles to his feet and rushes to his friend's side.  He thinks that he has only 10 seconds to remove the projectile he'd fired -- a Kryptonite-tipped dart.  He pulls it from Superman's shoulder and sheathes it in a lead-lined sleeve.  He calls to Superman, who groggily reacts.  As Superman begins to stir, Batman removes a red suctioned transmitter from behind Superman's ear.  The work of Brainiac.  Batman asks Superman, now sitting, if he's OK.  Superman is weak from the ordeal, and from the Kryptonite that directly entered his bloodstream.  Batman muses, "I often wonder, Clark: Do you now what you are?  You are the original myth.  The one we'll always believe.  What would we ever do without you?"

Karen: Batman made sure his weapon was not too lethal. And of course, after saving his friend, the two go off to stop Brainiac (we only get one panel of that  but you know they cleaned his clock). 

Doug:  I loved this short story the first time I read it ten years ago (wow -- hard to believe I've had this book that long), and it's not diminished at all.  The plot and script are minimalist, and we're not really sure of the time in which it's set.  But what I love is we have a Batman untainted by Frank Miller, Bane, the "Death of Bruce Wayne", or anything else.  Dick Grayson is Robin.  And Superman?  Doomsday isn't even on the radar.  So this is an untarnished corner of the DCU.  Shoot -- given the way things are today, some new readers might think this is some sort of Elseworlds story!  But what I cherish the most is the characterization -- in word and movement and deed.  It's there.

Karen: I feel the same way. This is the Batman-Superman relationship I want to read about: one of deep mutual respect and friendship. Yes, they are very different, but essentially, their goals are the same. I miss this relationship.

Doug:  Before we part, it should be clear to everyone that Karen and I are unapologetically in Alex Ross's corner.  I received my copy of Mythology for Christmas the year it was published, and later in the spring was able to accompany a friend to a Ross gallery show in Chicago.  I took along my copy of Mythology and Alex signed it to me, on the frontispiece.  You can see that below.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Discuss: Batman:The Brave and the Bold cartoon

Karen: I recently started watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it! Although much of the show is played for laughs, they bring in a lot of characters from all over the DC universe and there's obviously a love and respect for the source material. Plus, it has a great theme song! Has anyone checked this show out?


Karen: Today is also Stan Lee's 91st birthday! Well wishes to Stan the Man -may he continue to make many more cameo appearances in Marvel films! Excelsior!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Gifting of Comic Book Love

Doug:  Well?  What did you get along the lines of products interesting to your fellow Bronze Age Babies?  Today we're going to brag on the geeky gifts bestowed upon us by our loved ones.

Doug:  In the "strange but true" category, I did not receive any Hallmark ornaments for the comic book tree this year.  I really can't tell you when the last time was that I could say that.  But it's fine -- there weren't any that I wanted.  But, if I see one at half price here in the post-Christmas clear-out I may break down and pick one up for myself.  What I did get were two tpbs: The Infinity Gauntlet by Jim Starlin, George Perez, and Ron Lim, and Justice by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Doug Braithwaite.  I also received the 2013 edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.  It's been many a'year since I estimated the value of my collection, and as I'm still strongly considering selling it in some fashion I wanted to know a rough idea of what dealers would command for the books I own.  My mom bought me two pairs of socks -- a Superman-colored blue pair with the "S" shield at the top, and a black pair with the Batman logo at the top.  Lastly, my boys bought me the Marvel t-shirt you see pictured -- it's a great shirt, nice and soft!

Karen: I got some wonderful things for Christmas, but most of them were not at all comics-related. I did however get the book I had on my wishlist, Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz and it is fabulous! I spent at least an hour on Christmas day poring over that book, and certainly will spend some more time this weekend. The graphic design elements are very cool and it's fun seeing how Ortiz incorporates certain images (like the Enterprise's saucer-shaped hull) repeatedly into the posters, but in different ways.

Karen: I also got a really goofy and cool (not to mention hefty) Frankenstein Monster mug/stein! My husband knows me all too well. I'll be taking good care of this baby, as I drink my tea, soda, and what have you out of Frankie's big green noggin!

Karen: So spill -what cool stuff did you get?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fa La La La La, La La La La

Doug:  So, what to do the day after Christmas?  For many of us, it was a White Christmas -- which means it's cold in case you don't relate.  What say we warm up with the High Priestess of Opar, La.  She made her debut in Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Return of Tarzan, and was featured again in Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (which I re-read this past summer; time well spent!).  Today we'll showcase a gallery of the mistress of the Fifty Frightful Men, as drawn by many of the heavyweights in comics and fantasy art.  Enjoy!

John Buscema
Joe Jusko
Frank Frazetta
Mike Grell
J. Allen St. John
Joe Jusko
Neal Adams
Joe Jusko
Roy Krenkel
Neal Adams (this is actually not La and is instead the cover image from Tarzan and the City of Gold, but well... you know.)

Joe Kubert
Russ Manning
Roy Krenkel
Thomas Yeates

Tom Grindberg
John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Bronze Age Babies!

Doug:  All the best of the season to our readers and their families.  May you enjoy peace now, and in the year to come.  Thanks for hanging out with us all these years!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

About Santa. We Have Something to Tell You...

Doug:  One of the rites of passage of youth, at least among those of a Christian background, is the "finding out" that Santa Claus just ain't real.  Today we're asking you to reflect on that moment, or perhaps for you it was an evolution of thought, when you found out that ol' Saint Nick wasn't really coming down your chimney.

Doug:  To be honest, and this may be hypocritical of me, I don't recall when or how I found out.  I'm going to cop out and say it was on the playground, because after all -- isn't that where many of us learned all of the important "facts of life"?  So instead of my experience, I'll relate a tale of how we informed our younger son.

Doug:  He's such an innocent guy -- really to this day as a college sophomore he's still a loyal, sympathetic kid.  So when he was around 8- or 9-years old, and still a believer, my wife and I decided that we needed to tell him before he got into an embarrassing situation at school.  What's that expression?  "The quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach"?  So we take the little guy to our local Barnes & Noble and serve him up a big hot chocolate and a huge cookie.  We sit at a counter with our backs to the other patrons and begin the process of rocking his little world.  It was humorously painful (if there is such a thing) to watch his face as the weight of our words became realization for him.  He quit eating and just sat for what seemed like a very long time.  And then we could see a light come on, and a whole new level of disdain cross his face -- "Does this mean the Tooth Fairy isn't real, either?!?"  Poor guy...

Doug:  How about you?  Got a story?  And for those of you celebrating, a very Merry Christmas from us to you!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shazam: Power of Hope, Part Two

Shazam: Power of Hope (November 2000)
Paul Dini-Alex Ross

Karen: We're back with part two of our review of this story.When we left off, Captain Marvel had been entertaining some ill children at a hospital with tales of his adventures. While at the hospital, he learns of a young girl who has had an accident and lost her sight. A doctor tells Cap that the girl's vision might be restored by a specialist in Japan with the skill to perform a complicated operation, but the girl cannot make the long trip. Cap decides to bring the doctor to her and in no time he is in Tokyo, where he locates the surgeon. He convinces the doctor he can get him there and back quickly. He puts the doc in a car and tells him to bundle up -and run the heater. You see, in order to get there as quickly as possible, Cap is going to fly them over the North Pole! He grabs the car and hoists it over him and off they go.

Doug:  Last week I alluded to my sense that the adventures of Captain Marvel always seemed to have a somewhat juvenile air about them, and that I'd even considered them beneath me.  But you know what?  I find that when I read this story I just totally suspend all disbelief, and take this for what it is -- and it's really, really fun!  For whatever reason, I don't look at this character or story through the same lens that I would a Superman or Batman tale.  And that's fine.

Karen: After he drops the doctor at the hospital, Cap begins taking the kids out to grant their wishes. Ross draws a two-page spread showing the Captain flying over the city, carrying the children with him, so they can experience the thrill of flight. In another section of the pages, he takes them to a zoo to get up close with a jaguar. And then he carries them under the ocean in a glass sphere so they can see the teeming life beneath its surface. He reflects that although he has done all of these things many times himself, doing them with the children and seeing the wonder on their faces makes it feel new again.

Doug:  My kind words above notwithstanding, I was unable to shake my reservations at these scenes of the Captain and the kids doing all of these risky things.  Yes, I know he's the World's Mightiest Mortal, and that he could probably save each and every child from whatever danger presented itself, but I still had a certain degree of parental uneasiness about these pages.  On the other hand, it was a wonderful display of one super person being able to be a one-man Make-A-Wish Foundation for these afflicted children, and that was heartwarming.


Karen: Considering what happens next, I think your concerns are well-founded! Next up is a trip to a national park. The kids pile into a van and Cap lifts them up and flies them over the countryside. It really is a breath-taking view, with beautiful green pine forests and a bright blue lake. Suddenly the placid flight is shattered by the sound of an explosion. Cap looks around and sees a rockslide and cracks in the near-by dam. He sets the van down away from the rockslide and quickly piles up boulders to slow the leak from the dam. Then there is another explosion, and when he investigates, Cap finds men trying to blast open a closed mine. He realizes the men are trying to illegally re-open the mine to get ore. Cap's appearance startles the men. He gives them a chance to surrender, and is answered with a shotgun blast to the chest, and then a bulldozer tries to run him down. Cap easily handles both, but one of the men sets off another explosion, and this one causes a massive rockslide on top of the looters. Cap manages to get them to safety, but the dam has completely sprung. He realizes the kids are right in the path of the surging water! He flies quickly to the van, which is already being carried down a newly-created stream, and grabs it and carries it away, just before it is about to plunge over a cliff. Placing the van on top of a mountain road to check on the kids, Cap mentally berates himself for not doing a better job. The kids are probably terrified. He opens the van doors and finds his young charges are thrilled -this is the most fun they've ever had!

Doug:  Well, back to me being a wet blanket.  I don't want to declare Paul Dini's script predictable, but I saw this one coming a mile away.  And I didn't like it when Cap set the van down, and I certainly didn't like it when I knew the dam was going to break.  I loved the thrill Captain Marvel was able to bring to these children, but it's sort of like being asked to go on a ridealong with a cop.  If the cop's nightly duties are working security at a high school basketball game, that's one thing.  However, if his patrol that night is through the roughest part of town in the middle of a hot, irritable summer, it's quite another.  Maybe I'm overthinking this -- of course Captain Marvel didn't know ahead of time that he was going to encounter the blasts, etc. And no, I haven't tried to shield my sons from all of life's travails.  I just thought these children were pretty defenseless in the event something did go wrong -- and when it did go wrong...

Doug:  What did you think of the way Ross drew the Captain when he was telling the miners that enough was enough?  That was a menacing countenance on our hero!  To be honest, and again this may speak to my limited experience with the character, it almost seemed out of character.  Totally in-character, however, were Marvel's facial expressions in this vignette; Ross knocks it out of the park on more than one panel. 

Karen: Oh, I would agree, the different expressions Ross imbues the character with are a highlight of the book. And my experience with the Captain is about as limited as yours, but my impression is that he is 'quick to wrath,' in an almost Biblical, eye-for-an-eye sense. Sort of a rough justice, I suppose, or Old Testament version anyway.

Karen: Back at the hospital, the kids excitedly relay their story to everyone, and Cap tells the young female doctor  in charge that if she thinks his presence is having a stressful effect on the children, he'll leave. Dr. Miller ("call me Ellen") says not to be silly -his time with the children might be the best medicine of all. She even gives him a little kiss, and that leaves the good Captain speechless. But only momentarily. Cap then asks about the boy he saw when he first arrived (back in part one of our review) who was playing catch by himself, and took off when Cap showed up. Cap suspects that this is the child Shazam told him about, the one who will look to Captain Marvel for hope. Ellen tells Cap that the boy's name is Bobby and he's been withdrawn since he arrived at the hospital. Bobby suffered a bad fall down his basement stairs -or at least, that's the story his father told the doctors. Cap tries to talk to him, but the big hero clearly intimidates the boy. Marvel -perhaps utilizing that wisdom of Solomon for once? - intuits that his imposing frame reminds Bobby of someone big who hurt him. He checks the boy's injuries and can tell they were not the result of a fall, but deliberately inflicted. He decides to try a different approach: stepping into a room, Cap disappears, and Billy Batson emerges. Bobby and Billy discuss baseball, a common interest, and soon, Bobby opens up, just a little. It's enough for Billy to be positive about the source of Bobby's injuries. He heads over to Bobby's house.

Doug:  So let's see...  Captain Marvel has to report to one of the head honchos at the children's hospital that he placed the children in front of a jaguar, flew at high rates of speed with no security harnesses, and rescued them from a locked van that was about to go over a waterfall.  Honestly, I can't see any lawsuits coming out of that.  

Doug:  I have another question for our regular Captain Marvel fans.  And no, I'm not playing dumb here for conversation -- I honestly don't know: Who is Captain Marvel?  Is he a being in and of himself, or is he more of an aura, or some sort of ethereal entity that must have a host such as Billy Batson to manifest a physical form?  I know this isn't the same situation as Marvel's Rick Jones/Mar-Vell dichotomy.  How does it work?

Karen: Yeah, I've kind of wondered that. It seems like there is a lot of Billy in the Captain. I never got the impression the Captain was a separate being but some sort of extension of Billy. But I don't really know, and I'm not sure if it was ever explained, or just suggested.

Doug:  We've remarked in each of our two previous reviews of books in this Dini/Ross series how humanistic these stories are.  While this one certainly has been up to this point, it really reaches full speed once the Captain approaches Bobby.  The switch from Captain Marvel to Billy Batson is a stroke of genius and brings the story to where it belongs.  No heroes, no super powers -- just Billy Batson wanting to confront a major social problem at its base level.  But this scene also brings one more question:  does the thunder and lightning only come when Billy changes to Marvel?  Because this switch from Marvel to Billy brings only a small puff of smoke. 

Karen: Billy reaches Bobby's house and his father, Mr. Bronsky, opens the door. Bronsky is a somewhat stereotypical view of what we expect of a child-abuser: a beefy guy in a tank top. When Billy tries to talk to him, Bronsky says he should mind his own business and slams the door in his face. The next time Billy knocks, it is much louder. Bronsky opens the door, baseball bat in hand, saying now he's going to get tough, but who should be standing there but a very stern-looking Captain Marvel. He grabs the bat and tosses it away, telling Bronsky he'll give him a chance to do right by Bobby, but if he ever hurts him again, he'll be back. So far I've really enjoyed this book but this was a big mis-step for me. Now Doug and I have already discussed our misgivings over this behind the scenes, but I'll let my partner elucidate, because he does it so well.

Doug:  Marvel didn't just toss that bat out of the way -- I think it landed in the next county!  If this was a tale of Daredevil, we know that somehow Bobby Bronsky's case would have landed in court where the DA would have convicted Bobby's father of child abuse.  But here the solution seems to come much too quickly, and is any justice really meted out?  As Karen says, this seems to show us that answering intimidation and violence in kind is an appropriate (and successful) response.  I don't think there are statistics anywhere that would support this notion.  And while the title of this story is aptly named "The Power of Hope", there is no one reading this who could possibly hope to solve the day's problems with the assistance of a superhero.  Dini and Ross seem to suggest that Bronsky is suddenly cured of whatever inclinations he has toward domestic violence.  It would be great if this is all it took.  What was Bronsky's deal?  Why does he behave this way?  Is he chronically unemployed, or an alcoholic?  Was he abused as a boy?  Is there a Mrs. Bronsky facing similar circumstances?  Is Bobby an only child?  As Karen said, we discussed this briefly via email and these concerns ran along the lines of our prior conversation.


Karen: I was thinking, they could have skipped the whole dam sequence and really built more of the story around this, delving a little more deeply into the situation. It just comes across as very poorly handled. When Marvel gets back to the hospital, he visits the children's intensive care ward and he spends time with them. While there, he becomes aware of how his special dual identity allows him to connect with the children - they recognize his child-like nature, despite his outward appearance. He sits by the bedside of a small girl who is dying and holds her hand. She smiles and they speak to each other, and she slowly passes away. Marvel knows, despite his great power, there are some lives he cannot save. This sequence is particularly touching.

Doug:  It is extremely touching, and full of dignity.  I was very pleased that in this scene it's not just the Captain at the bedsides of these terminally-ill kids, but their families are shown as well.


Karen: As the weekend comes to a close, Cap flies back to the Rock of Eternity, still feeling a bit troubled. The wizard asks him about how things went with the children. Cap struggles -he's not sure. He's glad he was able to make many of them happy but he feels bad that he could not help them all. Shazam reminds him that not even Captain Marvel can win every battle. Cap says that doesn't mean he'll stop trying - he wants to always fight for those who need him, those who are in despair.  The wizard nods and agrees, saying that Cap has given them hope. "It is a good and powerful force, one that I feared someone young and dear to me was losing. Have you not yet realized who?" Cap now realizes that the youth who was most in need of hope was himself -Billy! Shazam continues, saying that the responsibilities placed upon him are heavy ones and that by expressing kindness towards the children, they rekindled the hope in Cap's/Billy's heart. Shazam praises his protege for his selflessness.

Doug:  When there have been philosophical moments in these stories, they've been handled very well.  Each of the three books has been rife with proverbs and other bits of wisdom.  Dini's scripts for the most part have been outstanding!

Karen: Captain Marvel bursts out of the Rock of Eternity in pure jubilance (and quite an amazing painting by Ross). His heart is light again. Soon, we see Billy going over to a recovered Bobby's house, to play catch with him. Friendship is another gift that heals the human soul.

Image found at https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEgnLj0HqrK9rFxe9K-KkFKI-rgE2wE28hxkLoG4LC7swFLO6Gxu2BYVP95sIBizvabU9TwlRsVA-0OxLP9gEIsvkhaRrNYk7hp-zmnkKIzBHbQhEDvIsgLYdrMxXCQ5ISw9G9udP4rHplo/s640/Hero-Envy+Captain_Marvel_007.jpg

Karen: Another spectacular and heart-warming book, although I did feel the child-abuse angle was misplayed, surprisingly, by Dini and Ross here. But ignoring that, it really is quite gorgeous and well worth the time to read. Captain Marvel is distinctly different from Superman - after reading this, you'd never compare the two characters again, except power-wise.

Doug:  I agree with your summation.  I know that Alex Ross is a huge Captain Marvel fan, and his love for the character shines through these paintings.  This truly is a gorgeous book, and each of these stories have been wonderful all-ages reads.  And if memory serves, the Wonder Woman book, "Spirit of Truth" is no different.  But you'll have to wait 11 months to read our thoughts on that one...

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