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It's probably a bit of a cheat to include a comic book in this year's book blog. But it's a sheaf of papers between two covers which I read, so I'm just jolly well going to.

I'm not normally much of a comic reader, although I have read and enjoyed a few in my time. And I think that meant I struggled to follow this at some points, where someone more practised with the genre wouldn't have done. Quite often the setting switched abruptly from one place / character to another, and while I have no problem at all following that sort of transition in televised Buffy, in this comic I found I often wasn't getting enough in the way of visual cues to tell me where the hell we now were, and what was going on. So I spent quite a lot of time having to flick back through the pages to pick up previous threads and work it out. It also didn't help that several of the female characters (particularly Amy and Buffy) looked rather a lot like each other, so that sometimes what seemed at first like sudden unexpected changes in people's priorities and motivations actually turned out to be a completely different character speaking.

Despite the unfamiliar territory, though, the story was fun, and Whedon seemed (in my limited experience) to have made good use of the comic book format for the most part. There were some interesting sequences, like a battle between Willow and Amy, Buffy trapped inside her own nightmare and Willow shifting onto another plane while her body was being tortured. It was also nice to see where some of the characters had gone to after the end of the televised season 7, although of course their stories feel incomplete to me now, because this volume only constitutes episodes 1-5 of the new season.

But, I don't think there was enough here to guarantee that I will buy the next volume when it comes out. A lot of the story seemed to rely on the return of old enemies - Amy, Ethan Hawke (oops!) Rayne, Warren from the Trio - and while there's obviously some larger plot developing around the evening star design carved into several people's chests, I'm not intrigued enough by it yet to feel I must rush out for the next instalment. Besides, comic books are expensive for what you get! This cost £7.35 on Amazon for about an hour's reading, and that included the time I spent getting confused, as well as subjecting individual frames to intensive scrutiny in search of interesting clues or background information - there were a few, but not as many as I'd have expected. For the same price, an ordinary novel would keep me amused for about twenty times as long.

So, I've satisfied my curiosity by finding out what this was like. But I'm not a convert.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 25th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
Not related but have you watched the Dr who episodes "Frontier in Space" and "Planet of the Daleks"?
Jan. 25th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
No, I don't think I've seen either.
Jan. 25th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Fair enough -- I wanted to hear your thoughts on them. I haven't forgotten your DVD -- which doesn't mean I've done it -- but I haven't forgotten it.
Jan. 25th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
Cool - please don't, as I'm really looking forward to those Mandrels!

I have a few more write-ups of Tom Baker and William Hartnell stories to post soon, but no Pertwee as yet.
Jan. 25th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy some of the Pertwee era ones -- big budget (for Dr Who) absurd adventure and he clearly wanted the role to be a kind of 60s action adventure spy, a sort of time-travelling James Bond. He's the Dr Who most likely to use Venusian Karate while somersalting to avoid machine gun fire from an oncoming hovercraft and helicopter.
Jan. 25th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
I've got The Claws of Axos queuing up, but have a couple of other stories to watch before I can get on to it. I've enjoyed Pertwee stories in the past (The Sea Devils, for instance), but now that I'm learning more about the style of his companions by comparison to both earlier and later ones, I'm not sure I will so much these days. The impression I've gathered is that some of his companions were a bit lacking in spirit and independence, while he got to be all patriarchal and a bit patronising in return. If that's true I think it might annoy me now in a way it didn't when I was fifteen. But then again, I might find I'm wrong once I actually start watching it, anyway.
Jan. 25th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Claws of Axos wasn't a particular favourite of mine but I hope you enjoy it.

I guess it's partly a "spirit of the age" thing. Of his companions, you know Sarah Jane of course who is independent from the start. Liz was I think his first companion and is an accomplished scientist and embroilled in work of her own. She is sometimes sceptical of the Doctor (which is usually a mistake as he pretty much always is correct) but generally is pretty feisty. When she leaves she says it is because the doctor "only needs someone to hand him test tubes and tell him how wonderful he is." Jo Grant suffers from begin between Sarah Jane and Liz. She's introduced as being a bit clumsy and not really terribly useful to the doctor (having got there because of a high-placed relative) and as a contrast to Liz. She's sort of scatty but passionate and determined. My take on it is that she starts out young and a bit dizzy which annoyed some people but through the stories becomes mature and strong enough to make her own mind up about things. (She's the one of the few assistants who leaves the Doctor for another man, it must be said an intelligent and charismatic man -- the only other one I can think of is Leila but I'm not an obsessive so there may be other examples).

However, as the doctor he is quite patronising and rude and there are times when you think "ooh, you can't say that" about some of his attitudes. Then, if you notice the Tom Baker Doctor is sometimes horribly patronising to Sarah.
Jan. 25th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
if you notice the Tom Baker Doctor is sometimes horribly patronising to Sarah

Yes, it's quite true - although the fact that he's consistently portrayed as very alien, and so not entirely au fait with human interaction, partly makes up for that, as does the fact that she's often prepared to tick him off for it.

I remember really liking Jo Grant when I was younger, but I've a horrible feeling I'll cringe about that when I meet her again from an older perspective. But we'll see - I may be entirely misjudging both her and him. Liz I know nothing about, but she sounds quite cool from what you say.
Jan. 25th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
Ethan Hawke

Ethan Rayne, maybe?

My brother got two copies of this for Christmas and gave one to me; I thought it was OK, but not brilliant. I may just not really be a comics person.
Jan. 25th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
Ethan Rayne, maybe?

Oops, yes! That is what I meant.

Bizarrely, when I Googled the name 'Ethan Hawke' to find out where I'd got it from, I was actually quite surprised to find that a real person of that name even existed. I didn't recognise him, and had not consciously been aware of him at all. Subconsciously I obviously was, though. Weird.
Jan. 25th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
I vaguely recognised it as the name of an actor, although I couldn't tell you anything he's been in...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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