📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 3, Death of Spider-Man Prelude, by Brian Michael Bendis

- kudos:

I miss the earlier art, and there’s still plenty of comic book nonsense, but this series has found a good groove. I don’t know a whole ton about main Marvel continuity, but I do feel like Bendis has the freedom to do his own thing here, and I gather that was the point of the Ultimate universe. Kind of wild to have the next volume’s big event spoiled in this volume’s title, but I guess it’s been long enough for it not to matter.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Adventuregame Comics 2: The Beyond, by Jason Shiga

- kudos:

I’ve been meaning to read (play?) this for months, ever since we bought it for kiddo after she recovered from being sick. Today, she’s sick again, so we went through it together. This continues to be a great series by Shiga! I might like the first one more, but only slightly. The Beyond is surprisingly thinky for a kid’s book, has interesting puzzles, and there’s a hidden ending that I know exists but need to figure out.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Kingdom of God is Within You, by Leo Tolstoy

- kudos:

This book took a while to finally get through. After two failed attempts at an ebook, I finally succeeded thanks to a LibriVox audiobook! I have mixed feelings about the book, though I ultimately liked it. Tolstoy’s ideas are radical, and though I aspire to a certain radicalism in my faith and politics, that is certainly not my nature, so I brought some resistance with me into the text. Even accounting for that, though, I don’t think Tolstoy’s argument is as self-evident or well reasoned as he thinks it is.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 2, Chameleons, by Brian Michael Bendis and David Lafuente

- kudos:

Fun arc! I like the whole range of characters at Bendis’s disposal, and even though it strains credulity sometimes, it is fun to have Peter and friends as teenagers. Lafuente’s art isn’t bad, but I’m not used to it, so I have trouble recognizing Peter as Peter sometimes (especially in this arc!). Nearing the end of this journey, though I ought to read the Miles Morales volumes after that.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Taskmaster (Series 7)

- kudos:

We got really into this show during the height of the pandemic and then left it alone for a while. This was a great season to come back to and provided a lot of laughs. Probably won’t come back to the show for a while (we have a few other series we’re behind on now), but this was exactly what I needed.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 1, The World According to Peter Parker, by Brian Michael Bendis and David Lafuente

- kudos:

I don’t know how to deal with the renaming and renumbering going on in this series, and trying to read up on it on Wikipedia is just making me more confused. This is very clearly a “reset the status quo” effort, but it’s not entirely bad? Bendis continues to mistreat Mary Jane, and I feel like it’s actually getting worse, so that’s not great. I do like the dynamic of Aunt May taking in more and more superheroes, though, so we’ll see how that turns out.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 22, Ultimatum, by Brian Michael Bendis

- kudos:

I’d heard a lot about Ultimatum before, but this was my first time actually reading the arc. There are things I don’t like in these issues—including some of the low-level misogyny I pointed out in previous volumes—but for a major crossover event filled with comic book nonsense, it was actually pretty good.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol 21, War of the Symbiotes, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

- kudos:

I really shouldn’t like this volume. I don’t care that much about Venom or Carnage, and I think their Ultimate origin stories are dumb. Gwen Stacy got treated terribly earlier in the series, and this comic book resurrection is as silly as her death was stupid. Yet, I thought the framing story was interesting, Venom is compelling as an eldritch villain, and I… enjoyed myself? Dunno what to make of all that, but four hearts it is.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Queen & Country Definitive Edition, Volume 03, by Greg Rucka

- kudos:

I think this might be my least favorite of the three volumes I now own (need to track down the fourth to complete the collection). The first arc was good enough (and felt straight out of The Sandbaggers—Rucka borrows HEAVILY from a couple of episodes), but the second seemed like supplementary material to Rucka’s novels. I like this series when it’s riffing off of The Sandbaggers, but when it feels like its own thing with lots of continuity, it’s harder to enjoy.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 20, And His Amazing Friends, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

- kudos:

This volume also feels like a step in the right direction! It seems like Bendis is willing to stretch with and fill out the universe some: What he did with Liz Allan and recurring villain/joke The Shocker are especially interesting. I’m having fun with this series again!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 19, Death of a Goblin, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

- kudos:

I feel like this series found its groove again! I miss Bagley’s pencilling, but Immonen makes a fine replacement. A lot of the stuff that bothered me in recent volumes has been redeemed here: Kitty Pryde is interesting instead of just a drama device, Norman Osborn gets some depth, S.H.I.E.L.D. is engaged with as the creepy organization they are, and it turns out that comic book nonsense can actually be fun sometimes.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 18, Ultimate Knights, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

I’ve complained a lot about comic book nonsense in recent volumes, and there’s plenty of it here, too, but this pulled a lot together in a way that just plain works. Interesting crossover action, classic Spider-Man morality of superheroes, good art, interesting stakes. I guess this is why I keep reading this series.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 17, Clone Saga, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

I almost gave this four hearts because I kind of like how it turned out, and it did touch on some good Spider-Man themes. However, I then remembered all the comic book nonsense that happens here—and the way that so many of these issues demonstrate how terrible it would be to live in the (Ultimate) Marvel universe.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 16, Deadpool, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

As has been the case for the past few volumes, this has some genuinely interesting stuff in it (the X-Men crossover was more engaging than I’d like to admit), but for the most part, this feels like advancing a broader Marvel landscape than doing actual Spider-Man stuff.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

- kudos:

Over the weekend, I watched The Muppet Christmas Carol with kiddo for the third year in a row. That makes three years that I’ve been meaning to read the source material, so I went to LibriVox and found a free audiobook. It was an excellent read! It’s aged, and not always well, but the message is just as biting, and I appreciate the Muppet adaptation all the more. Dickens has clever writing, which I appreciated, and it was nice to read the original after seeing so many adaptations.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Muppet Christmas Carol

- kudos:

It has puppets, Christmas, and social justice—what more can you ask for? This is at least the third year in a row I’ve watched this with kiddo, and it still makes me laugh and cry when I watch it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Fall: Volume One, by Jared Muralt

- kudos:

I picked up this comic about a post-pandemic-apocalypse from the library on a whim. I have mixed feelings about this genre—especially since it’s hard to believe that it was begun before COVID-19. The story is somewhat interesting but choppy, and the characters are compelling but flat. The translation is rouuuugh, and I wonder how much better it might be in the original German. What saves this for me, though, is how clearly Swiss it is.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 15, Silver Sable, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

There’s some interesting stuff here, including Bendis’s riffs on power and responsibility and how that relates to secret identities. However, there’s too much welding to the broader Ultimate universe, including introducing characters I just don’t care about. I also still feel like Peter’s attitude toward MJ is more low-level misogyny than anything justified.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 14, Warriors, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

Definitely not my favorite of the series. Lots of crossover nonsense with characters I don’t really care about. Way too much casual misogyny (Peter toward MJ and creators toward the women they put in impractical fanservice costumes). Starting to question my commitment to this series binge.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Queen & Country Definitive Edition: Volume 02, by Greg Rucka

- kudos:

This volume was excellent. Much more of the Sandbaggers vibes and less saving the world spy fiction. I ordered the third volume today!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Queen & Country Definitive Edition: Volume 01, by Greg Rucka

- kudos:

I’ve been wanting to read this since binging all three series of The Sandbaggers, since I’ve seen it repeatedly referred to as a spiritual sequel. They weren’t kidding—the first story arc feels like a remix of the show! The third story arc was the least interesting to me (and probably the reason this didn’t get full marks). The first two deal with the cynicism of espionage and the brokenness of spies in the way I expected the series would, whereas the third arc felt more like a traditional spy story with maybe some furniture moving for future arcs.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 13, Hobgoblin, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

Peter and MJ’s relationship is one of my favorite things to follow in this series, and that makes this volume a real disappointment. It seems like so much of the story is built around forcing drama and idiot balls into these two characters for the sake of adding twists and turns to the plot. Plus, it really comes through in this volume how often MJ is treated as an extension of Peter instead of a character with her own depth and agency.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol 12, Superstars, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

This is mostly crossover nonsense, but it’s actually kind of good? The Doctor Strange issues feel overly dramatic at points, but Peter’s nightmare is classic Spider-Man responsibility angst, so I’ll give it a pass.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 11, Carnage, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

Gwen Stacy gets done dirty in the Ultimate continuity, and I have even less interest in Carnage than I do Venom. What saves this volume for me, though, is the throughline of the classic Spider-Man theme of power and responsibility.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 10, Hollywood, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

This is a shameless attempt to profit off of whatever Spider-Man movie was coming out at the time, but it’s still a pretty fun story. It continues to strain credulity that this kid could keep up superhero hijinks without Aunt May finding out, but it’s enough of the mythos that I can deal with it (mostly).

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 9, Ultimate Six, by Brian Michael Bendis

- kudos:

This story is interesting, but it suffers from too much of superhero continuity bloat. I also miss Mark Bagley’s illustration—this artist’s faces all look alike, whereas Bagley’s characters are distinct and familiar to me. It’s just meh.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 8, Cats & Kings, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

The first few issues of this are just about peak Spider-Man, and I came very close to giving this full marks. By the end, though, there was too much treating female characters as fanservice—and I have never liked temptation to infidelity as a plot device. So, some ups, some downs.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 7, Irresponsible, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

I finally got access to my spouse’s hoopla password so that I can continue my binge of this series without waiting for my loans to refresh in December. There was a lot that I don’t like about this volume: 2000s language that doesn’t age well, oversexualization of costumes and characters, and crossover nonsense. I like the characters, though, and the issue with Aunt May in therapy was good enough on its own to bump my rating up a heart.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for The Book of Herbal Teas: A Guide to Gathering, Brewing, and Drinking, by Sara Perry

- kudos:

I like herbal tea, but there’s only so much interest I can show in a cookbook on the topic. The only reason I read this was because reading a cookbook is one of the squares on my local library’s 2023 reading challenge. It could be interesting to grow my own herbs and make my own blends, but I just don’t see myself doing it.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Wish

- kudos:

So, the thing is that I don’t really love the genre of the classic Disney movie, and this suffers from a lot of the issues of that genre. As a somewhat self-indulgent anniversary celebration, though, I think it’s a good homage to the past 100 years of Disney, blending the tropes of the genre with modern sensibilities and interesting animation.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Lost Cause, by Cory Doctorow

- kudos:

I’ve read a LOT of Doctorow in 2023—including Walkaway twice, Red Team Blues twice, and relistening to Little Brother—so I can’t help but place this hopeful solarpunk novel in the context of these others. Even though The Lost Cause touches on some of the same themes as Walkaway, I like the latter book a lot better, though perhaps because it feels less “real” than a book about paramilitary Maga Clubs and impending climate catastrophe.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 pour Power from on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood, par Gregory A. Prince

- kudos:

Rereading this book after a few years, and it continues to be great! The organization could be more clear, and it sometimes feels repetitive, but it provides important historical detail that allows the reader to understand Latter Day Saint priesthood in new ways.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The September Six and the Struggle for the Soul of Mormonism, by Sara M. Patterson

- kudos:

This is an excellent, thorough book on the purity system of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the excommunications of the “September Six” and many others for their violations of that purity system. I bought the book out of personal interest, but I think it will be professionally valuable as well. I knew much of what was in the book, but what I didn’t know was important, and I am grateful for the volume and hope that many will read it to learn about this important period in Mormon history.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 6, Venom, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

I keep going back and forth on whether I’m going to rag on these comics for having silly comicbook logic, and now’s the time I’m really going to do it. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really cared about Venom, but this reinvention of the character feels especially silly. There’s a great conversation between Peter and Nick Fury that feels like it really gets at teasing apart superhero stories in fascinating ways, but as a whole, this was just not my favorite story in the run.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 pour Lupin (Partie 3)

- kudos:

J’aime bien la plupart des personnages dans cette série, et c’est cool de voir un plan se dérouler. Pourtant, la logique narrative ne tenait pas hyper bien, et on avait parfois l’impression que les personnages faisaient des choses juste pour avancer une certaine histoire (et, d’ailleurs, qu’on inventait de nouveaux personnages pour la même raison).

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ultimate Spider-Man: Vol. 5, Public Scrutiny, by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley

- kudos:

Superhero stories continue to be kind of silly, but this one continues to be fun, so I’m going to keep reading. I’m starting to realize just how little of this series I’ve read, and it’s fun to catch up with things I’d heard about but never actually seen myself.