The Elder Thoughts

RPGs, miniatures, books and other rants

Comic Book review: The Strain

The Strain comic book 1 cover The Strain comic book 2 cover The Strain comic book 3 cover

Comic Book: The Strain, The Strain: The Fall & The Strain: The Night Eternal

I very much enjoyed the first season of The Strain TV series: A fresh and less common take on vampires, with a great initial suspense and events unrolling. But then, the remaining seasons went a bit sideways, feeling almost boring at times, and leaving me not too satisfied with what looked as a promising script from Guillermo del Toro.

I know that, based on the initial TV script rejection, there are some books, but I haven't read them. But when I found that there are also comics, based on the books (not on the TV series), I had to read them. Spoiler alert: I am happy that I did.

I will review comparing the comics with the TV adaptation. The three comic books correspond to the three textbooks, meanwhile the TV series had 4 seasons, partially because they expanded some characters, invented others, and modified a non-trivial amount of content. At times, the comic felt advancing quite fast, maybe too much if it's your first landing on The Strain. A few characters are given much less attention, but the comics are darker, crueller, and less optimistic. It's difficult to avoid spoilers, so I'll just say that it surprised me a few times, even knowing the basic story (or at least, the adapted story).

The drawings are excellent, colourful, gory, and explicit. There is abundant text (entire chunks must come from the books because as far as I can remember, the TV series say them too almost the same), and the pacing is very rapid; There's almost always something happening, if not multiple things in different places at once.

A highly recommended comic compilation.

Comic Book review: Mad Max - Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury road comic book cover

Comic Book: Mad Max: Fury Road

I love Mad Max: Fury Road, the movie. It is not only the best film in the series, but also amazingly well done. I've also seen recently Mad Max: Furiosa, and I'm sad it even exists; Such a disappointment in every aspect, from the bad script and worse humour, to the abuse of computer-generated effects. So I needed something to wash out that bad taste... And I found that there are some comics that act as a decent prequel to Fury Road. Here is my small review, spoiler free so not telling too much.

There are 5 comics, 4 main ones telling three stories (actually four, what a numbering mess!) and an extra one about the War Rig:

  • Issue 1: Nux and Immortan Joe
  • Issue 2: Furiosa
  • Issues 3 & 4: Mad Max
  • Extra Issue: The War Rig

The first one is quite unrealistic, but interesting to learn about Immortan Joe.

The comic about Furiosa gives a much-needed context on why the movie events happen, and I disagree that it is bad, as many say. It is at times disgusting, it involves non-consensual sex, but it sets the stage for Fury Road, and I found them way softer than the Crossed comics.

The double issue about Max summarizes the first 3 movies, and then narrates a story of what happened until the beginning of Fury Road. I did not enjoy it too much, it felt less interesting than the other stories.

Finally, the War Rig special issue explains the origins of different pieces of the big trailer. Some are sad, others have a dark sense of humour, and in general I liked them. A good way of narrating mini-stories about objects.

Book review: Children of Dune

Children of Dune book cover

Book: Children of Dune

Note: I can't write about this title without spoilers from the previous ones, so jump directly to the last paragraph if you wish to avoid them.

The third book of the Dune series, Children of Dune happens 9 years after Dune: Messiah. Blind and no longer with premonition powers, Paul went to the desert to die. His sister Alia is now in command, but something is not going well, both inside her and in the imperium. Plots and conspirators are everywhere. Dune is now advanced in the terraforming efforts, with some areas quite green, rains, and Fremen are starting to become used to water no longer being a scarce resource.

Paul and Chani twins, Leto II and Ghanima are 9-year-olds with an incredible intelligence, fully aware that something is amiss with Alia, and that they must do something to regarding their aunt, the Atreides empire, and maybe even Arrakis.

This book switches the main protagonist obviously from Paul to his family. We will learn about Alia's "issues", but the real main characters are the twins. This book also departs a lot from a "mild" sci-fi setting (worms, ghoulas and prescient powers aside), to fully embrace the fiction part. Without spoiling much, the premonition and inner voices powers that both Alia and Paul's children have go way further than the powers that Paul had, and there will be other plot twists and events that will surprise you.

The first half of the book is relatively calm, pretty much focused on politics, conspiracies and developing the characters. But, once you pass the first, half it jumps into a series of events that made me spend some long night sessions reading on and on, wanting to know what would happen next. Definitely more science-fiction than the previous titles, and, in my opinion, highly recommended.

Comic Book review: Dune: The Graphic Novel books 1 & 2

Dune: The Graphic Novel Book 1 cover Dune: The Graphic Novel Book 2 cover

Books: Dune: The Graphic Novel Book 1 & Dune: The Graphic Novel Book 2

Continuing my desire for more Dune content, after the first two books and watching the movies (and now going to watch 2024's Dune Part Two), I recently discovered that there were some graphic novels based on the books; Two already published, and a third one coming mid 2024. What I did not know is that each graphic novel covers one third of the book... so be aware of that detail.

The writing is mostly directly taken from the book, so many dialogues are 1:1 matches. It sticks very close to the original content, so excepting a tiny change here and there, most of it has been ported entirely. Brian Herbert is listed as one of the authors, so that's probably why it is so accurate.

Where you will see some differences is in the visual style. After having two movies, many videogames and concept art/drawings, I at least have my image formed of certain aspects, like the Ornithopters, the Harvesters, even how the Harkonnen look (pale, bigger than normal humans, with dark clothing...). The style adopted by the illustrators is not bad, but reminds me more of the 1984 David Lynch's film than the other pre-existing materials, and sometimes feels not too elaborated; for example the Harkonnens look the same as the Atreides, and even the Baron is not very imposing. Don't get me wrong, it is not bad, just that the visual style didn't click with me.

Interesting additional material, but I'd go read the book instead. In any case, I will grab the third and last graphic novel book when comes out, and see how the more action-packed part is depicted.

Book review: Siege of Terra: The End and the Death: Volume III

Siege of Terra: The End and the Death: Volume III book cover

Book: Siege of Terra: The End and the Death: Volume III

And here we are, the third and last volume of the last book in the Siege of Terra series, which also represents the last book in The Horus Heresy series. Quite an ending, and most probably also the main reason why splitting in three the final arc of all "Warhammer 30,000" arcs.

As I expected, this title delivers way more of everything: more action, more events, more questions [1]... But we finally get all the myriad story arcs closed at once, some better than others; and, sadly, a few too dull/dry, after so many things have happened, to close certain plots in just a few paragraphs feels... unsatisfying.

But focusing on the main topic of the book, the battle between Horus and The Emperor delivers what you'd expect. It has many stages, and a few of them are a bit bizarre or not of my liking [2], but in general is energetic and exciting, with some twists here and there, despite the end being well known.

The writing is, as usual with Dan Abnett, very good, although I can now confirm that the three volumes contain too many synonyms and adjectives and at times excessively decorated sentences, that I grew tired of checking in the dictionary what some of them meant [3]. Using esoteric words to me does not make a book better, just more complex to read.

Despite the flaws, I'm happy with the read, I don't regret the purchases, and I recommend their reading for anyone wanting to get a vastly longer description of how the Horus Heresy finished.

[1] I don't want to spoil the contents, but certain actions leave questions unanswered (on purpose, of course)

[2] When they decide to play a kind of Magic: The Gathering with custom tarot card decks... 😬

[3] Funnily, My ebook reader's dictionary couldn't find a few of them.

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