Super Sons Vol. 1: When I Grow Up (Rebirth) by Peter J. Tomasi

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

This volume collects Super Sons issues 1 – 5.

It tells the story of Jonathan Kent, the son of Superman and Lois Lane, and Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul. Damian has taken on the mantle of Robin while Jonathan is called Superboy.

Both boys are amusing and likable. Their personalities make them obvious who their fathers are but the boys are able to easily show that they are unique. While Damian is annoyed Bruce is trying to keep him out of the field, Jonathan is struggling with an impending move to the city. Damian inevitably drags Jonathan into the field to hunt down some bad guys and the boys struggle to get along just as their fathers do. They bicker and fight but still manage to rescue a little girl from her evil brother.

I personally look forward to the next issues. Definitely a comic book I would purchase as a gift.

The only flaw was there were multiple pages with blank speech bubbles. I hope it was only a flaw in the PDF and did not extend to print copies.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.

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The Martian by Andy Weir

Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars

I’ve seen the movie about 6-7 times. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book? Not so much. Maybe it’s because I knew what would happen but I was pretty bored overall. I found the characters a lot more likable in the movie than in the book. The only character I preferred the book version of is Annie, probably because she had more scenes in the book than in the movie.

I just did not find Mark Watney interesting on paper. The science was all beyond me, so I skipped many paragraphs of him and the Ares 3 crew’s explanations or discussion of their actions.

For once, I say the movie was better than the book.

DC Rebirth Batman Beyond Vol. 1 Escaping the Grave by Dan Jurgens

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Most of my knowledge of Batman Beyond is from the TV show of the same name. I have never read a BB comic book until now.

Terry McGinnis is the Batman of the future, mentored by an old, retired Bruce Wayne to protect Gotham. He has a younger brother named Matt and a girlfriend named Dana.

In this volume, Terry is believed dead (I have no idea if the cause was written about in another issue). Bruce Wayne is also believed dead. Gotham has been without a Batman for months. Terry finds the city practically overrun by Jokerz, criminal who idolize the Joker. The main plot is that the leader of the Jokerz wants to bring the Joker back to life and also kidnaps Terry’s girlfriend (now ex, since he’s believed dead) to show her what he’s doing. The leader of the Jokerz, Dana, and Terry all went to high school together apparently.

This volume has a lot of confusing references for readers who have never heard of Batman Beyond until they picked up this issue. I could only understand part of it because I watched some of the TV show. This volume is not the best introduction to a character. The art style isn’t the easiest to understand either, it’s not something I’m a fan of.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Lisa See returns to share the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha in the Yunnan province. Li-yan, her family, are all tea farmers. Their people have lived and died by the farming of tea for generations. It is not until one day a stranger arrives in a car (the first one the Akha people have seen) that their lives change. Li-yan has received some schooling thanks to a teacher sent by the Communist government years ago to educate the people and with that schooling was able to serve as a translator for the stranger. It gives her a glimmer of hope for her future as she was satisfied with her certain future as a midwife. The stranger offers her and her village a more prosperous future through the growing of a certain kind of tea he claims is worth a lot of money.

Unfortunately, Li-yan’s hope for a better education are dashed when an encounter with a young man changes her life. This sets in motion the second half of the story, wherein a Chinese girl is raised by white American parents in southern California. The adopted child wonders about her biological parents. All she has from them is a tea cake with a design on it that she cannot decipher.

As always, See writes an engaging tale. I myself was particularly invested in the young girl’s part of the story. My K-12 schooling took place in one of the cities mentioned during her tale and I recognized everything she talked about. I’m not adopted nor am I Chinese (only half Taiwanese) but I understood her feelings about many things. Frankly, if she were real she definitely could have been one of my classmates.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

Rating: 5 / 5 stars.

A riveting and thoroughly researched history of the young American women whose lives were irreversibly changed by radium. During World War I, dozens of young women, some still teenagers, were hired to paint dials numbers and hands with a magical substance called radium. No one told them it was toxic. The numbers and hands were so small, the girls only had one option to get the brush fine enough to paint them properly: put them in their mouths.

Lip, dip, paint. Over and over again.

When the girls started getting sick, no one could figure out the cause. It took some time before anyone even considered that what they did at the factory could be the cause. And when even a hint of blame was placed on the radium, the company worked as hard as it could to divert the blame to something, anything else.

It took decades for the young women, many of whom had died horrible, painful deaths decades before they were meant to pass, to get justice. Moore tells the never-before-heard story in painstaking detail. Truly an incredible book.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.

DC Rebirth Batgirl Vol. 1 Beyond Burnside by Hope Larson

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

This volume contained Issues #1 – 6.

Barbara Gordon travels to Japan to train with combat masters of the East. But on her first day she runs into an old friend who causes a whole load of problems for her and whose actions place a target on Batgirl’s back.

Gordon is in fine form in this volume, using her combat skills, technology skills, and library science skills to fight against this new nemesis. The new skills she struggles to learn also help her save herself and her friend. The only downside, for me, in this issue is the unnecessary romance between her and her old friend. Why do they have to be lovers? Why can’t a man and a woman just be friends?

It’s also not the best issue to start with if someone is new to DC because it assumes the reader knows who Babs is and what she can do. Her personality is already firmly established. There is nothing new here beyond the skill she learns from the people she meets in this issue. There’s only a brief hint to the long period where she was wheelchair-bound (the great Oracle days) and is easily missed. I personally am still torn whether it’s tolerable or bad that she is no longer paralyzed.

Overall, it’s an acceptable iteration. Issues #7-10 are already available.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.