This Week in Geek (17-23/08/09)


Despite having a number of Jack Kirby books on the "to-read" shelf, finishing Devil Dinosaur just made me want to buy more Kirby. Thankfully, DC could hook me up with the Losers Omnibus. Is Jack Kirby as crazy in World War II setting? I guess I'll find out. And I grabbed the Jack Kirby Reader Collection vol.1 for good measure. On the DVD side of things, I finally found Michael Palin's Full Circle on DVD, and being a fan of his travelogues, I'd been looking for it a while. And right next to it was one I didn't even know about, Hemingway Adventures/Great Railway Journeys. Hey, I travel without going abroad. That's my style.

As you'll see below, I've been watching Life on Mars, and in my usual "branching" fashion, it's made me interested in its influences. So you can add the original Get Carter to my collection.


DVDs: Flipped the tape on Life on Mars Series 1 (the UK version of course), starring John "The Master" Simm as a 2007 cop who wakes up in the 70s. Is he time traveling? In a coma? Just crazy? I can't wait for Series 2 to come out in late November to find out. Needless to say, I loved this 8-episode gem. Well crafted, with great music and a solid double act. The DVD also features a commentary on each episode and about an hour an a half of making of materials.

Kung Fu Friday! We watched Sammo Hung's Shanghai Express AKA Millionaire's Express, a genuinely funny (if nonsensical) Chinese Western (how's that for an oxymoron?) from 1986. There are wayyy too many cameos and subplots (many left on the cutting room floor) and not enough fighting (though the 15-minute finale is excellent), but it wasn't ever anything short of entertaining. The Dragon Dynasty DVD features the usual Bey Logan commentary, a few deleted scenes and some good interviews with three of the many stars.

As you'll see, this is one of those periods in the year when I'm in constantly in the middle of three Doctor Who adventures - television, novel and audio. I just finished The Rescue/The Romans, the first replacement companion Vicki's first two adventures with the 1st Doctor, Ian and Barbara. In both stories, Vicki is a charm, the latter two characters show great chemistry and humor, and the Doctor is starting to be more of an action hero. The Rescue is simply meant as an introduction for the new cast member and has a barely thought through plot, but The Romans is a joy. The farcical elements really work, as does the dark humor, even though it looks like it really shouldn't. Lots of extras as usual, the best being a cool, mod piece on writer David Spooner. There's also a fluff piece on the Who Girls of the 60s, "making of" documentaries (with discussions on the historical underpinnings of the second story), a Blue Peter Roman banquet and a few other bits.

Doctor Who Books: After a string of dense New Adventures, I picked up a quickly read New Series Adventure, Justin Richards' Martha in the Mirror. It's a perfectly readable NSA, with lots going on, maybe too much for the format, about a peace conference in a castle floating in space, an invasion by glass warriors, a paradox in the making, a little girl without a reflection and a robot double act (the NSAs sure love their comedy robots). Sadly, it's not really about the book's title or cover. I'm not wild about the science fantasy justification for what happens and there's a danger when writing the 10th Doctor that he come off as a jabbering douche (line crossed!), but it's Richards' usual, competent runaround.

Audios: I've gotten way behind on my Doctor Who Big Finish audios, so it's about time I start getting back into the radio play groove. Picked up where I left off, just after C'rizz joined the 8th Doctor and Charley in the Divergent Universe. The Natural History of Fear is Doctor Who does Dark City, and is quite well-crafted by Jim Mortimore, with the lead characters playing most everybody in the course of the story. Like all memory-snafu stories, it relies on a final twist that is weaker than the story preceding it. Still, one of the most engaging 8th Doctor stories yet, despite the fact that, you know, the newly-arrived C'rizz gets almost zero development.

The next audio, Will Shindler's The Twilight Kingdom, isn't quite as good though. In this "season finale", the Doctor, Charlie and C'rizz (who has one of those standard audio voices, so I can't yet pick him out of a crowd, sorry) enter a jungle Zone full of rebels without a cause. I won't mention the twist, because it's the most interesting thing in there, but it's just a lot of running around and body horror until then. Feels like the ending, a "look ahead" to the next season of 8th Doctor audios, could have been tacked on to any story, and this one disappoints.

Comics: For various reasons, I hadn't read a single comic in something like three weeks. I'm back on the wagon and twittering my miniature reviews as I drive through the pile. Trying to read the spoiler-sensitive stuff first...

Hyperion to a Satyr entries this week include:
Act I Scene 2 - The Wedding Banquet according to the text

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: Only two, but they happened to be #2999 and #3000. I've made a LOT of cards in the past 5 years. Sheesh! So for these two, I decided to make them a look ahead and a look behind.
Someone Else's Post of the Week
This is the end, beautiful friend, the end... Master blogger Mark Engblom closed up shop on Comic Coverage yesterday to pursue other projects and get some well-deserved rest. He leaves us with three years worth of quality blogging, and I'm sure we'll be perusing his archives for some time still. Good luck, Mark!



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