A Trio of Reviews

#50. Better Days by Joss Whedon (Serenity, Vol.2) - This graphic novel takes place sometime during the regular time frame of Firefly. The crew finally have themselves a heist that ends up in uncovering a huge amount of cash. As they daydream what they will do with all the money, someone is chasing them down coming to kill Malcolm Reynolds, but little does he know that it is in fact another member of the crew who he wants. Fun romp with the wonderful Firefly/Serenity characters. Nothing too special but a bit of fun to read. The artwork is fun and an introduction by Adam Baldwin (Jayne) is an added bonus. 3/5

#51. Happy Birthday by J. Michael Straczynski (The Amazing Spider-Man, Volume 6) - This is my favourite volume so far. While engaged in a battle, Spidey (with the help of many other superheroes, including the Fantastic Four) finds himself called by Doc Strange. Seems they've made a big mistake and the world is now about to end. As Doc fights the ultimate bad guy Spider-man steps in to help and finds himself warped into the Void with the Dr. The Dr. can send him home but he must follow the trail from the beginning of his life to just before his current present so he can fix things. Lots of action and superheroes/villains abound in this volume as Spidey relives his life fighting all the bad guys of his past: Sandman, Green Goblin, Doc Oc, Electro, Hulk and many more. 4/5

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Dave McKean - Unfortunately, I can't say I enjoyed this picture book much. A cliched story of swapping one thing for another ... and so on, with a little twist that the thing being swapped is a boy's father. The father is oblivious to his repeatedly being swapped as he is immersed in reading the newspaper. When the mother finds out that father has been swapped for two goldfish she sends the son off to swap him back. Of course, when he arrives he finds out that his dad has been swapped for something else and the boy runs all over town re-swapping items until the mindless father is finally found. Can't say the story did anything for me at all and I really didn't like the portrayal of the clueless father. (A great book with a swapping theme that I highly recommend is The Seventeenth Swap by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.) However, I did really enjoy the mixed-media collage illustrations by McKean. I dabble in this artform myself and ended up studying the techniques used in each illustration. 2/5


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