Wrath of the Eternal Warrior
Vol. One: Risen
By Robert Venditti & Raul Allen
Collects Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1-4
Review by Josh Brandon
The first thing I desperately want to get across is how jaw-dropping-ly beautiful Raul Allen’s art is within the pages of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior. I have been excited for month to get a chance to sit down and read this book purely based on flipping through and see the beauty that lies inside this volume. Okay, now that that's out of my system…
I have been debating for a while as to where to start my reviews when it comes to Valiant Comics. Ever since their company re-launch a couple of years back I have fallen madly in love with every title I can get my grubby little hands on, and this book is no exception. That said, I do not recommend this book as a solid starting place for some one new to get into a Valiant state of mind, and here’s why.
While this book is the first volume of the latest series to star Gilad Anni-Padda, it spins heavily out of the earlier mini-series Book of Death (which is another fantastic read that will be reviewed soon). For the start of this book you need to know one massive spoiler from that mini-series, so if you want to avoid it, now is the time to look away.
Are you ready?
Seriously, look away now…
At the end of Book of Death the Eternal Warrior dies defending the earth. Wrath of the Eternal Warrior however centers on the after life our eternal warrior deserves and how he must, yet again, leave paradise to return to a world that desperately needs him to save it. Over the course of the four issues, Robert Venditti delves deep into both the reasons why Gilad must leave his paradise and all the temptations that could keep him there. Paired perfectly with this sentiment is Raul Allen’s beautiful art that captures both the intimate family moments and the massive battle scenes in a way that could leave even the most jaded comic lover stunned.
Reflecting on a new Valiant trade becomes difficult for me as a fan because it is hard not to fall completely in love with each new character you are introduced to in this universe, which is no small feat for a company with so many properties to explore. It can be certain, however that any comic reader will be more than happy with which every aspect of this universe they decide to explore first.
For Fans of: Vikings, Conan the Barbarian, Dante’s Inferno
In addition to creating a lot of art for this website, Josh has been reading comics for as long as he can remember. An avid fan of the craft, has has a degree in English Literature and works to get his own work off the ground. He is also found of movies and his dog. (He's the one with glasses, if you're wondering.)
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
by Carrie Brownstein
Published October 2015
Review by Roy Peak
What do rock stars like Keith Richards, Justin Bieber, and Beyoncé do when they take time off from touring and recording? Go on drug-filled trips to lush islands with an entourage in tow. Rent the entire floor of a Manhattan hi-rise for all-night, every-night debaucherous parties for them and their friends. You know—the usual. So, what did Carrie Brownstein from the rock band Sleater-Kinney do while on a hiatus from her band? Take college courses and volunteer at an animal shelter. She bought a modest house in Portland, Oregon. This is my kind of rock star.
Sleater-Kinney (pronounced “Slayter-Kinney” for those who don’t know) is considered one of the best rock bands of all time by noted music critics Greil Marcus and Robert Christgau, releasing 8 albums of incendiary and fun and noisy rock ‘n’ roll. They were linked with the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s and played the 2006 Lollapalooza festival. Sleater-Kinney was highly influential, fearless, and a true rock ‘n’ roll force to be reckoned with.
Now, most musician autobiographies leave me wanting more. Rock musicians aren’t usually noted for their written prose, but rather how they command a stage. Writing songs and writing books are two differing entities entirely. So even a fantastic writer such as Patti Smith left me hungering for more details on the recording of her albums, especially Horses and Easter. Bob Dylan’s Chronicles left gaping holes in his story, leaving the reader asking more questions at the end than he answered. Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon was written too soon after Gordon’s breakup with band mate and ex-husband Thurston Moore. Gordon should have given it more time and distance before telling her story as it came off too angry and bitter in places. Dishing dirt is one thing, not letting go of blame is something else. Juliana Hatfield’s book When I Grow Up is much like Hatfield’s music—a bit hit and miss. She comes off as trying too hard and just barely misses her mark, mistaking detail for energy and candidness for openness.
So when I started Brownstein’s tale of her days in the great Northwest, playing in one of rock’s best bands of all time—I was hoping for greatness but not holding my breath. This ended up being one book I couldn’t put down and that I wished would have been at least as twice as long. Brownstein’s passion for her art is clearly evident, she writes honestly and openly in an intelligent and candid manner, telling her story with an easy grace. Talking about personal issues—life’s failures as well as triumphs—can be difficult, but Brownstein pulls it off wonderfully, sounding like the sort of person you could sit down with at a dinner table or on a bus ride to nowhere and have an awesome conversation with. As a musician myself it was uplifting to read of Brownstein’s early struggles with identity and making musical friendships. Of the learning curve involved when you start out. What’s a stage monitor? Must you use standard tuning just because everyone else does? How do you start a band? More importantly, how do you break one up that just isn’t doing it for you anymore? This is the tale of a musician who hungered to play music, on her own terms, and to make a difference with her music and her life.
I have a few music related books that are essential reading for me, books I re-read every few years. Mystery Train by Greil Marcus. Peter Guralnick’s Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley. Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. I’m adding Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein to that stack.
Roy Peak is a musician and author. His album All Is Well has been reviewed by Sacred Chickens and he is pictured wearing the shirt that he won in a contest after naming the village of Whistlestop.
by Han Kang
Review by Jarad Johnson
In this dark and disturbing novel, the reader is presented with the story of Yeong-hye, who, before a series of nightmares, led a distinctly ordinary life. She was married, and, if not happy, at least content. Until the nightmares. Horrible images of blood and gore, haunted her thoughts night and day. To cleanse and purify her mind, she decides to stop eating meat, much to the dismay of her overbearing husband. And in a world where societal norms are strictly obeyed, this subversive act causes a spiraling sequence of violence and scandal, taking ever more alarming and violent forms, including her own father physically assaulting her, knocking her to the ground and shoving pork into her mouth. Her simple rejection of meat unfolds a series of events that threatens to sever her ties with reality and send her spiraling into an ever-more present fantasy world.
This book was a complete surprise. I expected it to be about the ordeals of being a vegetarian in South Korea, since vegetarianism seems to be somewhat taboo there. It turned out to be so much more, a powerful and disturbing book about a woman who feels that she has lost complete control of her body, that she has no free will. The breaking of a cultural taboo is an attempt to explore the boundaries of her own reality. This is an odd book, but worth the trip over the cultural divide to consider the boundaries of human self-determination.
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!
The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the End Times
Theology After You’ve Been Left Behind
Jeffrey C. Pugh
Review by Julie Carpenter
The Homebrewed Christianity Guidebook series is an outgrowth of the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, a theology based discussion created by Tripp Fuller; it has an audience of nearly fifty thousand unique listeners. The guidebooks, like the podcasts, are meant to be provocative and to make the reader think. And perhaps, like the Hitchhiker’s Guide, prevent panic in readers faced with theology of all kinds.
Now sometimes, theology seems like a rather tedious and academic quest. Even those who identify as Christians don’t often become deeply involved in such arcane pursuits. But there may be times when theology affects all of us, including you, some of my dear agnostic and atheist friends. And end times theology is one of those occasions.
Jeffrey C. Pugh, the author of this particular guidebook and a Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University, (and also a former professor of mine at Tennessee Wesleyan ) helps guide his readers through the history and impact of End Times Theology, largely without panic.
The book discusses Pugh’s own history with what he terms, Rapture Culture, and his time with The Children of God, an apocalypse obsessed group in the early seventies. Pugh became disillusioned with the group but realized what a firm grip the idea of the end times had on the imagination of Western Culture. In fact, he realized the strength of the End Times Theology is such that it even affects major political decisions. For instance, much of the recent foreign policy of the United States has been at least somewhat influenced by the idea of the rapture. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The book is easy to read, slightly snarky, and well written. If you are a Christian and you have never seriously considered the foundations of your belief about the rapture, whatever that may be, this is a very good book to start with. If you are not a Christian, you should probably be aware of how deeply felt and well rooted this belief system is and how very much it affects your life, whether you want it to or not. This is a book for everyone that wants to delve into an unusual but foundational feature of Western Culture that’s not only important but weirdly entertaining.