Tag Archives: book reviews

JUSTICE SOCIETY 20: A CURE FOR THE WORLD

superman golden ageBalladeer’s Blog’s examination of the Justice Society’s World War Two-era stories continues. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE 

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 22ALL STAR COMICS #22 (Fall 1944)

Title: A CURE FOR THE WORLD

Heroes: DOCTOR MIDNITE, WONDER WOMAN (Original), THE SPECTRE, HAWKMAN (Original), STARMAN, THE ATOM (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER

Villains: CAVEMEN, WITCH-HUNTERS, BLUE-BLOODED OPPRESSORS, LUDDITES AND CENSORS

Wonder WomanSynopsis: A mystical female figure who embodies “The Conscience of Man” summons the Justice Society of America.

She sends them forth to battle the forces of intolerance no matter what form those forces take. Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 19: MORE TIME TRAVEL

StarmanThis examination of the Justice Society’s World War Two-era stories continues. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE 

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 21ALL STAR COMICS #21 (Summer 1944)

Title: THE MAN WHO RELIVED HIS LIFE

Heroes: HAWKMAN (Original), DOCTOR FATE, SANDMAN, WONDER WOMAN (Original), STARMAN, DOCTOR MIDNITE, JOHNNY THUNDER

Villains: SAPPHIRE SLIM, BIG MIKE MCCULLUM & PANCHO VILLA

Hourman 4Synopsis: Lab assistant Joe Fitch has volunteered to be a guinea pig for experimental medicine but winds up dying. To reward the man for his selfless contribution to science the Justice Society of America is called in (talk about overkill) to act on Joe’s request to make amends for his secret criminal past.

Dr Everson (From 500 Years into the Future) uses his time-travel technology to send the heroes back in time to straighten out Fitch’s past life, apparently not caring one bit about the danger of altering history by doing this. Continue reading

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FLASHMAN NOVELS: NINTH PLACE

For Balladeer’s Blog’s Number One Harry Flashman Novel click HERE . For background info on George MacDonald Fraser’s infamous anti-hero Harry Paget Flashman you can also click that link.

Flash for Freedom9. FLASH FOR FREEDOM (1971)

Time Period: 1848-1849

Favorite Book Blurb: “Only Harry Flashman, that swashbuckling gremlin in the works of 19th Century history, could start out running for a seat in Parliament but wind up fleeing England over a gambling scandal, extortionately shanghaied onto a criminal slave ship, clashing with one of the African kings selling his own people to slavers, conning the American government, reluctantly working for the Underground Railroad and ultimately facing down a pack of southern slave-hunters side by side with a young Congressman named Abraham Lincoln.”  

Synopsis: Wealthy John Morrison, Flashman’s hated father-in-law, still has Harry under his thumb money-wise. Morrison decides he wants a Member of Parliament in his control and figures Harry’s war hero status will make him a can’t-miss candidate.

Flash for Freedom 2For his part our scurvy protagonist gleefully anticipates all manner of graft money and getting to vote to send other people off to war for a change rather than being sent himself. With Morrison’s financial backing, Flashman finds himself in the political arena – an arena where other people are more skilled at cheating than he is.

Harry being Harry he also finds himself snogging in the grass with the real-life Fanny Locke (later famous as Fanny Duberly) and trading parlor-room insults with the likes of Benjamin Disraeli and Lord George Bentinck. At length a card-game scandal coupled with a charge of violent assault wind up forcing Flashman to flee the country for a few years.

Flash for FreedomWith very few transportation options open to the on-the-lam scoundrel, Harry ends up on an outbound ship owned by his father-in-law but finds that he has once again gone from the frying pan into the fire. To Flashman’s great shock he learns that the ship he’s stuck on is a slaver – and that the illegal trade is a large part of John Morrison’s shady fortune.

Amid all this bad luck fate at last smiles on our protagonist when a crew-member that he befriends turns out to be an undercover Royal Navy Officer assigned to infiltrate and bring down Morrison’s sizable slaving operation. That officer – Lieutenant Beauchamp Comber – has clandestinely assembled a mound of incriminating evidence against Morrison and his agents.        Continue reading

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A TERRIFIC BOOK ABOUT HOW THE ELITE BLAME THE REST OF US FOR THE PROBLEMS THEY CREATE

Anand GiridharadasRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that I often write about the way that the callous, comfortable elites love to blame the rest of us for the problems they have created in the world.

The way the corporate media and Democrat “educators” (LMAO) distort history one might think that there was once an age when the poor and the working class ruled the world and caused colonialism, wars and all the other plagues that were really caused by the Powers That Be among the rich and politically connected. The people who STILL run things, in other words.

The elites and techno-fascists of Silicon Valley love to lecture and talk down to the poor and the working class as if those elites had to “overthrow” the rule of the underclasses so they could try to “save” the world from destructive policies implemented by … the classes that have never held any political or economic power. (?) How would that have worked, exactly? Seizing the world they always controlled from the people who never exercised any control over it?   

Anand Giridharadas 2

ANAND “DICE” GIRIDHARADAS

At any rate Anand Giridharadas has released Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing The World. It’s his new book dealing with the way in which wealthy leftists pretend to be saviors while obscuring their role in causing all the problems they loudly rail against. Giridharadas reflects the genuine revolution in thinking that is marking the 21st Century because – like me – he approaches the issues from a left-wing background but grows increasingly critical of the political left’s hypocrisy and abuses.

To quote from some reviews: 

“Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can — except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. “

“We see how they rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; how they lavishly reward “thought leaders” who redefine “change” in winner-friendly ways …”

“We hear the limousine confessions of a celebrated foundation boss; witness a former American president hem and haw about his plutocratic benefactors; and attend a cruise-ship conference where entrepreneurs celebrate their own self-interested magnanimity.”

As always, guilt-stricken rich white people who want to think of themselves as “progressives” are shown to be fools.”

“(T)he problem is that affluence begets arrogance, including a we-know-what’s-best attitude where these overprivileged people act as if they’re missionaries and the rest of us are ignorant savages in need of their “enlightened” supervision.”

“This kind of preachy liberalism — folks who imagine themselves to be neo-Platonic archons because their Daddy could afford to send them to Harvard — offends me as an expression of snobbery.” Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 18: THE MONSTER

green lanternThis superhero-hungry world can’t get enough of these looks at the very FIRST superhero team in history: DC Comics’ Justice Society of America. This examination of their World War Two-era stories continues. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE 

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 20ALL STAR COMICS #20 (Spring 1944)

Title: A MOVIE THAT CHANGED A MAN’S LIFE

Heroes: WONDER WOMAN (Original), DOCTOR MIDNITE, HAWKMAN (Original), STARMAN, THE ATOM (Original), THE SPECTRE, JOHNNY THUNDER

Villain: THE MONSTER

Synopsis: Jason L Rogers is a wealthy industrialist who periodically transforms – without his knowledge – into a super-powered being called the Monster. This is due to a freakish set of medical circumstances regarding him and his unborn twin brother in utero.

SandmanThe Justice Society of America is called in to stop the Monster’s crime spree. They battle the villain as he robs banks, dynamites factories, steals payrolls, muscles in on the steel industry and threatens to blow up a dam if he is not paid extortion money.

Our heroes also shut down some of the Monster’s more elaborate plans, like raiding high society get-togethers, gassing the attendees and stealing all their jewelry and cash. In addition the JSA defeats the villain’s racket of kidnapping the wealthy, having their faces surgically changed to make them hideous, then demanding money to have their faces fixed. Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 17: THE COMPOSER

batman golden ageSuperhero fans want more JSA, so here we go with this latest look at the world’s OLDEST superhero team: DC’s Justice Society of America. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE 

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 19ALL STAR COMICS #19 (November 1943)

Title: CRIMES SET TO MUSIC

Heroes: WONDER WOMAN (Original), STARMAN, THE ATOM (Original), DOCTOR FATE, SANDMAN, THE SPECTRE, HAWKMAN (Original), DOCTOR MIDNITE AND JOHNNY THUNDER

Villain: THE COMPOSER

Doctor FateSynopsis: The Composer (Hector Bauer) kidnaps Hawkman and commits a series of music-related crimes. The Justice Society members try to thwart his crime spree and free their captured teammate.

Our heroes prevent the Composer from destroying a priceless Stradivarius violin, restore the voice of an opera singer after the Composer mutes him and stop the villain from cutting off the fingers of a pianist. They also save another composer from the supervillain’s attempt to inflict brain damage on him to rob him of his talent.   Continue reading

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BLACK PANTHER: PANTHER’S RAGE

 

Black PantherHere’s Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of Don McGregor’s 1973-1975 Black Panther story Panther’s Rage. I’m no comic book expert but in my opinion Panther’s Rage surpasses much of the work done by the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore.

As always, since I’m neither a liberal nor a conservative I was surprised by some of the intense political reactions to my reviewing this Black Panther story. Many people who call themselves conservatives seem to think this Marvel Comics character has some connection to the hate group called the Black Panthers.

Actually this figure came BEFORE the Black Panthers. In fact Marvel flirted with changing the character’s name a few times – once to just simply “the Panther” and once to “the Black Leopard” – to keep their character separated from the racist hate group.

Erik Killmonger

“Memes … memes, everywhere.”

On the other side many people who call themselves liberals huffed and puffed indignantly that I was covering a 13-part story written by (GASP) a white guy about a black character! Hey, a white guy even CREATED the character. I wonder if that invalidates the Black Panther entirely in their narrow minds.   

Anyway, here are chapter by chapter links to my review –

ONE: PANTHER’S RAGE – Prince T’Challa, the Black Panther, returns to his isolated African kingdom of Wakanda to try to put down a violent rebellion led by a Wakandan calling himself Erik Killmonger. CLICK HERE 

TWO: DEATH REGIMENTS BENEATH WAKANDA – The Black Panther battles Venomm, the supervillain in charge of Killmonger’s operation tunneling toward Wakanda City while simultaneously mining and stealing the nation’s vibranium reserves. CLICK HERE 

THREE: MALICE BY CRIMSON MOONLIGHT – Killmonger sends a super-powered woman called Malice to help Venomm escape from the Royal Palace’s prison on the same night that T’Challa is undergoing his renewal of the Panther Herb ritual. CLICK HERE   Continue reading

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