Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Comics Roundup for 2/29/12

Justice League #6 - I was worried at the end of the last issue that the conclusion to this one would feel a bit too rushed.  Well, it did, but not in too egregious of a way.  This whole opening arc was basically just a setup for the entire series, and it certainly didn't feel like the threat of Darkseid was completely dealt with.  It was also a bit too gratuitous with the splash pages, but overall this has been a fun series so far.

The Amazing Spider-Man #680 - A reunion with the Human Torch, who's back a bit sooner than I would have thought.  Anyway, nothing special here, but this series at its worst is always entertaining.

The New Avengers #22 & The Avengers #23 - I group these two together because they're basically dealing with the same storyline - the return of Norman Osborn.  I enjoyed the two of these more than the last few issues.  I'm thinking that maybe I just need to go back and reread this particular storyline.  A lot of Brian Bendis's stories work better that way.  I'll wait until it all concludes.

Lord of the Jungle #2 - It wasn't too busy of a week, so I figured I'd check out the second issue.  Not bad.  I'm familiar with the basic Tarzan story, so I'm curious as to when this is going to add and/or do something new with it.  I'll probably check out the next issue at least.

The Twelve #10 - As I stated with the last issue, I'm waiting for this series to finish before I read it all.  Also, like I said, I really enjoyed the first eight issues, so I'm hoping that the rest of the series won't disappoint.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to handle the religion question with my son

My son, Logan, is over eighteen months, and he's starting to speak now.  Sure, it's just a few words here and there, but the point is that he's learning to communicate with me.   For the most part, the conversations consist of him telling me that various cars are cars, or that he wants me to "tickle tickle" him.  In a few years though, I imagine that we'll expand our subject matter.  And sooner or later, the subject of God will come up.   Did you know that there are people out there who believe that an invisible being created the universe and has taken a direct hand in world events?  It's true!  They think that this being did things like make a donkey talk, punish a snake, and stop the sun from moving.  (Don't you mean that the Earth would have to stop moving?  SHUT UP!)

Anyway, my wife and I have discussed how we're going to deal with this many times.  Luckily, we've always been on the same page.  Neither one of us is very interested in telling him what he should and should not believe, but at the same time, we aren't too interested in hiding how we feel about things.  (My wife has recently started describing herself as an atheist as well.)

While dinking around on Facebook just a few moments ago, I saw an ad for an "atheist children's book".  The main point of the book is that there are many religions out there, and that they're ALL not true!  (Even Shintoism?  Say it ain't so!)  I was intrigued enough to check out the link, but I don't think that I'll be buying it.  After all, I don't feel the need to have a book for my son that explains that Star Wars isn't real, do I?

Giving him a book like that feels a bit too much like doing one of the things that I don't like about religion in the first place - telling kids what to think, rather than simply teaching them how to think.  In other words, it's indoctrination, and while a certain amount of indoctrination is valuable, I think it's best to avoid it when you can.  (When is it valuable?  When it comes to teaching him to treat people fairly, not steal, etc.)

Personally, I'd rather just share Bible stories with him along with stories from various religions around the world.  I have a My Book of Bible Stories that I got for him (it was free, but I remember it from when I was a kid) and I'd be willing to get him other children's books based on The Bible or any other holy book.  I'll read him those stories the same way I'd read to him the stories of Zeus and Odin out of the mythology books that I have for him.  I won't feel the need to tell him at the end of those stories, "Ya know, Zeus ain't real, son."  So why would I do that with the Jesus stories?

The big difference is that he'll no doubt run into people who believe in Jesus (and a few others).   He'll probably ask me about it.  I'll tell him that I don't believe it, and I'll tell him my reasons for not believing it.  I feel confidant that I have good reasons for not believing those stories, and I feel that ultimately he'll be more swayed with my reasoning over their dogma.  And if I'm not using reason, then he shouldn't be listening to me about that in the first place.

But let's be TOTALLY honest with ourselves though.  For a good portion of his childhood, he's going to believe what his parents believe no matter how we present it to him.  The trick is planting the seeds for critical thinking when he's young, so that way he can truly make up his own mind when he gets older.

I guess that atheist children's book would be of value for religious people to give to their children, just so their kids can see why nonbelievers don't believe.  Fat chance of that happening though, I reckon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comics Roundup for 2/22/12

The Flash #6 - I still think that the biggest draw to this series is the art, but there's still a pretty fun story going on here.  Also, there are a lot of big ideas being put into place, and that's the sort of story that fits The Flash the best.

I, Vampire #6 - Another series where the art is the draw, but the story is still pretty good.  Still, I'm a bit worried as it's crossing over into Justice League Dark, a title which I bought the first issue but lost interest less than halfway through it.  I'm really not looking to pick up other comics as part of a crossover.  So long as the story is still self-contained enough in this title for me to follow it, I'll get the next issue.

Wolverine and the X-Men #6 - I may have mentioned this before, but this series is a lot more wacky and light-hearted than what I would have expected from an X-Men series that has Wolverine in the title.  I would have anticipated a darker, more violent series.  However, it's a fun series that still keeps true to the character.

Batman:  The Dark Knight #6 - Nothing special, but an entertaining read.  I like the idea of a Bat title that regularly features other members of the DC Universe, and it was good to see Superman and The Flash in this one.  Also, Bane is back.  I'm not sure how the new continuity affects what happened before with him though, but he seems pretty intent on breaking Batman's back.

Aquaman #6 - Not as good as last issue, but still pretty good nonetheless.  We have a guest artist who does a decent job (probably because series regular Ivan Reis does breakdowns) and a story that focuses on "Don't Call me Aquawoman" Mera.  Looks like there's more to her than we might have expected.  I don't know if it's building on older stories or not though, but one way or another, I'm interested in seeing where this all goes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Comics Roundup for 2/15/12

I think that the time has come again to start dropping some titles.  I passed up Uncanny X-Men this week, even though the fourth issue was one of my favorite single issues in a while.  I also passed that one Star Wars  series that I bought the zero issue of.  Basically, the problem is that I'm not remembering what the heck happened in the previous issues of a lot of these, and it's starting to feel like a chore to read some of them.  Anyway, let's start with the stuff I really liked a lot and definitely won't be dropping:

The Amazing Spider-Man #679.1 - Even though the point of these "point one" issues is a bit beyond me, I guess that they were successful enough to do again.  Anyway, I just consider this to be another issue of the series, and it was a pretty good one at that.  It stands well as its own story, and it sets up things to come.  I guess the whole thing with The Lizard never was completely resolved, so it'll be interesting where Dan Slott takes that.

Batman #6 - I like Scott Snyder's story, and it'll be interesting to see it expand into the other Batman titles.  What really has me on this title though is Greg Capullo's artwork.  The splash page alone was pretty downright creepy, and this issue got to the heart of all good Batman stories - he's the man who doesn't give up, and just when you think you've beaten him, he's already figured out how to beat YOU.

Avenging Spider-Man #3 - This story felt entirely inconsequential, just like the last story arc.  This time, it was a team-up with Hawkeye.  But I'll be damned if I wasn't entertained with the story.  Maybe what works so well is the fact that it doesn't have to tie itself closely to continuity.  Zeb Wells can just tell a story and leave it at that.  I'd actually say that any fan of Hawkeye should definitely check this one out.

Daredevil #9 - Easily one of the best covers in some time on this one.  The story was pretty good as well, just as this whole series has been pretty solid.  I think that I'd enjoy it even more if I didn't have so many other storylines I'm trying to keep track of.  Oh, the cliffhanger was pretty intriguing as well.

Winter Soldier #2 - I liked this.  Didn't love it.  I'm worried that Bucky might be more interesting in context of Captain America's world though.  I'll get at least a few more issues though, as I feel pretty heavily invested in him considering how important he's been in so many of my favorite comics over the past few years.

Wonder Woman #6 - Meh.  Maybe it was the hit-or-miss fill-in art of Tony Akins, but this one failed to get my interest.  Still, the first four issues of this series have been some of my favorite superhero comics in some time, so I'm not quite willing to call it quits just yet.

The Avengers #22 and The New Avengers #21 - Both of these deal with the return of Norman Osborn, and I'm just not getting into this story very much.  Still, just like Brubaker's Bucky stories, many of my favorite comics over the past few years have been the Avengers stories of Brian Michael Bendis.  I hear that he's wrapping up his work on these titles soon.  Maybe it's time for some new blood in here.  I'll keep reading through the end of the story, but I just don't feel that these are as big on my "must read" list as they used to be.

Wolverine #301 - I just wasn't into this one at all.  This has been a good series for the past year and a half, but these last two issues have left me pretty cold.  I'm down with one more, and then that's it.

Who knows?  Maybe it's just a bad week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Government, get outta my life!

Just like all other real Americans, I for one am appalled...APPALLED at how the government is CONSTANTLY intruding on our lives!  The latest incident involves how a student's lunch was deemed by the food NAZI COMMUNISTS to not be nutritious enough, so she was forced to pay for a new lunch consisting of chicken nuggets.  Do you know who else likes chicken?  General Tso.  That's right, General Tso, the famous Chinese general.  And what kind of system do they have in China?  COMMUNISM.  Coincidence? I think not.

Oh sure, nobody's quite sure why it happened, and even with the current food guidelines, the girl's lunch was well within compliance.  Why don't they tell the truth?  It's because of Michelle Obama and her FASCIST SHARIAH LAW program to get kids healthier!  Well, excuse me, Ms. President. (who's fatter than a dump truck...seriously.  Is anybody in the world as fat as her?  No.  And the fact that she's fat makes her wrong.  I mean, I once met a meth addict who was at death's door, and he told me that meth was bad for me.  I told him to shut his LIBERAL HIPPY MUSSOLINI mouth!  What the hell does he know?)  If I want to give my child a Twinkie, a Snickers, a bag of potato chips, and a shot of whiskey for lunch, then that's MY DAMNED BUSINESS.  Who the hell does the government think it is to tell me what's right and what's wrong?  Bad enough I get some bullcrap CPS on my case whenever I punch my toddler in the face, now I can't let him have pork rinds for dinner?  Screw you, you LENNINIST OPRAH!

Just think, right now, in EVERY school across America, kids are told what to eat and how much to eat it.  Even if that isn't happening, it's going to happen.  I know, because I saw a documentary on Hitler that was on the History Channel, so I'm kind of an expert on these matters.

Of course, this is just the latest in the government's ultimate SOCIALIST SITH plan for complete control over our lives.  The last first lady had some kind of program about reading?   Reading?  Really?  Who the hell does she think she is telling me that my kids should read?  Read, eh?  Read what?  MEIN COMMUNIST KAMPFIFESTO?  What if I want my son to do nothing but watch TV?  Oh, suddenly I'm a bad parent because I tell him to stop being such a PINKO TROTSKYITE NERD whenever I see him read a book!

And what's with all these traffic "lanes"?  Who the hell is the government to tell me where I can drive and where I can't?  I paid for my car myself!  It's my property!  Where I drive it is MY BUSINESS.

I'm SO ANGRY I could crap myself!  And who's the government telling me that if I want to take a crap that I have to use a "designated bathroom" when I'm out in public.  I should be able to poop wherever I want!  I pay my taxes!  I bought that sidewalk!  If I want to crap there, it's my business!

Lunches, light bulbs, "spare the air" days.  Isn't this exactly the way Stalin got started?  I mean, like...exactly?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Comics Roundup for 2/8/12

Batwoman #6 - Amy Reeder is the fill-in artist for the current story arc, and while she's not as good as J.H. Williams, it's not bad.  I have a feeling that she's trying to emulate his style a bit too much, especially along the lines of page layouts.  Still, the story is solid, so I have no intention of dropping this title anytime soon.

Batgirl #6 - This issue wasn't as compelling as the title usually is, but I figure that five really good issues more than makes up for what was basically a decent issue.  Still, I'm interested in seeing where things go with Barbara's mother being in the picture.

Captain America #6 - Another solid issue, and some more good work from Alan Davis.  This series definitely has a different vibe from when Ed Brubaker started off with the character.  I guess that vibe has transferred over to Winter Soldier and now we have some straightforward superheroics with this title.

Batman and Robin #6 - This was my favorite title of the week.  I love it when you have a twist in the story that's also completely believable.  That's what we had with this one.  Damien Wayne continues to be an interesting character, and I'm eager for the next issue.

Green Lantern #6 - Perhaps it was the work of guest-artist Mike Choi, but I had a hard time getting into this issue.  He's not a bad artist, but it doesn't really seem to fit this title.  Still, there were some interesting developments between Hal Jordan and Sinestro, and I'm not going to let this little bump bother me when it comes to a title that's been one of my consistent favorites for years now.

I, Vampire #5 - I missed this one when it came out because my local comic shop got shorted on the order.  The following week, I simply forgot it.  Anyway, this was another pretty good issue, and with Batman getting involved in this vampire war, it's only getting more interesting.

Wolverine and the X-Men #5 - Another fun issue in what's proving to be a rather entertaining series.  You'd think that an X-Men book with Wolverine in the title might lean a bit toward the darker side of things, but this title has been anything but grim and gritty.  Nick Bradshaw is definitely the right choice of artist for this series.

Star Wars:  Crimson Empire III #4 (of 6) - We're starting to see the end result of the character arc that Kir Kanos has been on since the first miniseries.  Also, the major players from the classic trilogy are playing a role, which makes this seem a more critical piece of the Star Wars universe.  I feel that Paul Gulacy isn't quite up to his old standards though, but the guy's been drawing since the 70s, I believe, and even the best artists start to decline.  Don't get me wrong, it's not bad.  It's just not as good as he was on the first miniseries.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Comics Roundup for 2/1/12

The Amazing Spider-Man #679 - A good conclusion to a really fun two-part story.  I could go into details as to what happened, but it's one of those stories that sounds lame if you explain it, but you gotta trust me when I say that it was cool.

The Twelve #9 (of 12) - When the hell did the last issue come out?   I don't know, but it's been some time, and I don't remember what the hell happened last issue.  I do remember really enjoying this series though.  I didn't bother reading this one, as I just might wait for the whole series to come out before I read them all straight through.

Fatale #2 - I found this issue more compelling than the last one, and this is another one of those stories where it sounds lame if you explain it, but reading it is intriguing.  As I've said before, this creative team has churned out some of my favorite comics over the past few years, so I'm eager to see where this all goes.

Action Comics #6 - This two-part story was kind of a jarring transition from what the story has been doing so far.  I don't know, but I'm a bit disappointed with the Superman reboot.  I was hoping that this would be a good time to be a Superman fan, but I'm just so unsure that I like where this is going.  If Grant Morrison hadn't written so much of my favorite stuff, I probably would have quit a while ago.  I'll at the very least pick up the next issue though.

Star Wars:  Dawn of the Jedi #0 - This isn't really a comic.  It's more of a guide to the upcoming series, which will deal with just what the title implies.  It's in the really, really, really early days of the Star Wars universe - so far back that they don't even have hyperdrive yet, and the Jedis don't carry lightsabers.  I'll check out the first few issues at the very least.