Monday, November 29, 2010

comics for the week of 11/24/10.

All DC, nothing pressing, but some surprisingly good stuff from a small stack.

Action Comics 895 - Following Lex's pursuit of the Black Ring Energy, we get a look at Vandall Savage in this issue. This issue wasn't as fun as the last romp through Gorilla Grodd's territory, nor did it have a charming cameo from Death, but it was a good read. To be honest, I don't give a shit about Savage, nor am I intrigued by this city that's been built as a trap, but I do like the idea of Lex chasing something that'll make him even more powerful (and evil) than he already is. Cornell does a good job with the story, but it's going to need to jump a bit more next issue to keep me on board. This is strictly a trial at this point.

Batman and Robin 17 - I bought this without even noticing (or remembering) that Grant Morrison was off the title, and I thought that might be a bad thing the first few pages, but this turned into a solid read. I'm gonna say some good things about this book, but I also want to say that, with Tony Daniel here and on regular old Batman, I'm not sure I see the need for the two books. That being said, this was a good book. It surpassed the regular Batman book and also, via the preview in the back, made me realize I was wrong not to pick up Detective Comics. I love the fact that, all across the Bat lines, they're introducing new villains, and they're running with those. I hope the concept sticks and we can have some good new stuff as opposed to defaulting back to Harvey, the Joker, etc.

Batwoman 0 - I don't give a shit about the character of Batwoman, but JH Williams III on art means that I will buy this book! The run that he and Rucka had on Detective Comics was phenomenal and I love the idea of Batman (was that Bruce or not?) bringing her more officially into the fold. The art on this one was split, which was fine with me, but it seems clear that Williams III is doing the layouts for the entire book. It just looks better than almost anything else on the market at this point, other than maybe Manapul's pencils. The Crime Religion is still a stupid angle, but I guess they've got to go with it for a while, based on where Rucka started, took, and left this character. I'll be happy when she's fully integrated into Gotham and gets to play in the bigger sandlot, as opposed to fighting people that think they're living Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Book of the week almost went to Batman and Robin for being a nice surprise, but I can't take that honor away from Williams III on his great looking new book. Go get Batwoman!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving.

I'm thankful for everyone who's ever taken the time to read anything I wrote, whether we're best friends in real life, friends that don't get to talk too often anymore, or I've never met you before. I'm definitely in love with all of you. (Some more so than others, I won't lie.)

Jenny Lewis - Trying My Best To Love You

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

worst news of the day.

One of the worst-kept secrets in the sporting world is that the major leagues are in trouble. Billy Hunter, the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, has let things get worse: he recently said that there will probably be a lockout in the NBA. This is old news to NFL fans who, back in February, heard their Players Association Executive Director say that on a scale of 1 to 10, the chance of a lockout was a 14.

We've seen what strikes do recently. The 2004-2005 National Hockey League season was lost to the dispute and there are many people who claim that was the end of hockey's chances of being a true member of the elite club of American sports. Basketball's had its share of semi-lockouts and no one's arguing that was good for the sport.

So what's the hold up? Why are the Player's Associations and the owners so far apart in their interests and desires that they'd let this happen? From the outside, it might look a lot like greed and it's hard to empathize with someone making 1 million or 2 less when they're still pulling down at least 10 million per season.

One of the basic problems with lockouts, then, is this idea that rich people like being rich and want to stay that way. Athletes are an extremely rare subset of people and want to be compensated as such. Owners, on the other hand, have spent most of their lives making a lot of money, and don't want those revenues to decrease at any time for any reason.

Obviously, both sides are going to have to do a lot of compromising. The simple facts are that the American economy is not in a great place right now and that sports contracts have gotten more than a little excessive. However, tossing around huge numbers like sporting contracts is also inherently problematic, because we just can't comprehend numbers this big. It's extremely easy to say, "Well, 1 million, 2 million, 3 million, let's just cut this and that," and it's much more difficult to truly put ourselves in the shoes of the people who are affected by these numbers. (This is, not coincidentally, the same problem the American budget faces.)

All this being said, there has to be a bottom line and it's got to be something like this: owners become owners because they had enough money to begin with. (Or they inherited the team. Even worse.) Players, on the other hand, become players because they are phenomenally talented. They have to be rewarded at a higher rate than the owners. These leagues are a business, yes, and they should be treated as one, but the players that make up the leagues are not simply widgets produced in a factory.

These are businesses unlike any other businesses in the world. They traffic in entertainment and human value, they market people as well as events, they combine show business with a warlike attitude that has become celebrated across America. If the owners bank on being able to survive until things are resolved, it's my bet that the resolution will be quite different than they expect.

Related Reading: Yahoo on the NFL lockout. ESPN on avoiding an NBA lockout.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

my beautiful dark twisted fantasy.

Let's talk for a minute about Kanye West.

He dropped a new disc yesterday, and you might have heard of it. It's kind of been all over the place.

I'm not going to do a track by track like I have sometimes in the past, but I just want to share some general thoughts. I've had the album for at least two weeks, and I've listened to it at least 20 times in those two weeks. I've also taken in a lot of words and opinions on the album, including the (in?)famous swooning Rolling Stone review. Less famously, and less deservedly so, I dug this conversation thread, which I'm kind of thinking that I partially disagree with at the end of the day, and I was delighted to see the Rosenthal brothers get their Kayne-Stan on full-fledged in this Hypemen podcast. These words have influenced me, but I like to think that I have something original to offer.

If you want the TL;DR version, as usual, my go-to hip-hop critic Joey, sums it up best in one tweet. If you want more than that, I'm about to dig in.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

First of all, yes, it's a dumb name. Second of all, no, Good Ass Job is not better in any way, shape or form. Yeah, I've been a fan of the continuity of College Dropout and the themes continued in Late Registration and Graduation but that doesn't mean a silly title isn't a silly title.

Beyond that, the artwork was indulgent. No, it wasn't banned, and yes, the move to call it banned is totally Kanye, but I'm not a Kanye-hater. I love his music and I think I'd like him as a person. So I didn't get too bugged by that.

So past the superficial aspects, let's get to the music!

The Nicki Minaj voice that opens the album is ridiculous. I think anyone who says they love it is full of shit, but I don't think it's a deal breaker, and I don't see why anyone who's followed Nicki's career would be surprised. She's pretty consistently working in three or four different voices, and these are the same critics who love the hell out of her "Monster" verse (and deservedly so).

"Gorgeous" is better than the minimal amount it's getting talked about, and shows how good 808s could have been, if there had been some kind of musical aspirations to it, as opposed to 'Ye just drowning his sorrows in Auto-Tune.

There's no doubt that "Power" is the oddball out here, and that the album probably could have benefited from more along these lines and less of what I'll get into in a moment, but I don't think this is the killer/deal-breaker that some people are presenting it as - which is also kind of strange, as those people are then falling all over themselves to praise the whole album.

Here's where it all goes, for me: "All of the Lights" is probably my favorite track on the album, but for vastly different reasons than my other favorite. I agree with the Noz conversation that "Runaways" is probably the centerpiece of the album, if we amend that statement to include this sonic masterpiece. And there's the thing - if "All of the Lights" and "Runaway" are the centerpieces, they're vastly different than what we've gotten used to from Kanye, and they're not necessarily the Kanye that I fell in love with.

I classified College Dropout as my album of the last decade because I had never heard anything like it. The soul samples, yes, but also a rapper wearing his heart so obviously on his sleeve and loving it, and not giving a fuck if people thought he was gay or dumb for doing so. Kayne West told us how his life was, and, even if it was a bit exaggerated, it was real. It was realer than Jay talking about selling coke, even it was less auto-biographical, if that makes any sense. It was certainly realer to me, and maybe that makes Kanye the rapper for white people to like, but it is what it is. I can relate to hating school and feeling out of place. i can't relate to standing out on the corner for days at a time.

And with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy I feel like the aim of the project has changed a bit. I feel like Kayne has moved on from soul-baring honesty at all costs to arranging music at the highest level amongst his peers. There's no doubt that MBDTF stands out as art, especially compared to other music being produced nowadays, which comes across as cheap and toylike in contrast.

However, it's not the same. The Hypemen talked about how they didn't like the CD and LR skits, but to me, those were part of the point. There was an overall, cohesive message. Here, it feels like there's a message some times (especially with that narration I knocked on and from "Hell of a Game" forward) but the message is so often lost in the music that's being made.

This is not a bad thing, but it's not what I expected, and it's foolish to act as though the music of a producer can surpass some of the greatest lyricism we've ever heard. College Dropout works as an entire concept, with the lyrics and music working together to build a coherent picture. MBDTF seems at odds with itself.

Never is this more clear than the album standouts. Aforementioned "All of the Lights" and "Runaway" are destined to blow up to tremendous heights, if you don't think that "Runaway" already has. (And if you don't think it has, I don't know why you've read this far.) "All of the Lights" is like Kayne hearing Jay's "Empire State of Mind" and Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" and doing that to a bigger and better level with pure music. He decided that he could take the formula of Rihanna (or Alicia Keys) belting out the chorus (or hook, or both) and make it better by focusing more on the music and less on that female voice carrying the whole song. And you know what? He's right. It's an amazing piece of work and it should be huge.

However, it's not the best part of the album. The best part is when 'Ye finally gives us some of that unfiltered truth that we've loved from him so much for so long in "Blame Game" - it's far from the best track on the album, but it's what I've come to expect from him. (Not that artists have to remain static!) It's even got the ridiculous Chris Rock skit at the end! It's the perfect combination of Kanye West: deft lyricism, killer beat, a little indulgence (in Auto-Tune nowadays) and ridiculous over the top jokes.

MBDTF is a master's work, but what Kanye has given up to get to the point of total music mastery is the feeling of a Tribe Called Quest. We used to have this guy called West, but now we've got G.O.O.D. Music, and guest spots by Raekwon, Cyhi da Prince, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, Pusha T, Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beatz and Bon Iver. There's nothing wrong with putting on for your set, but Kanye's newest CD suffers from too much of everyone else on the lyrics and too little Kanye there. The music benefits, no doubt. This is an album that is sonically stronger than Late Registration and Graduation, which is a mean feat. But the sum total adds up to something a little bit less.

Final Word: Four Stars out of Five.

Monday, November 22, 2010

comics for the week of 11/17/10.

Sticking to my DC fanboy-ness.

Batman 704 - Tony Daniel takes over was all right. It wasn't great by any means. But it wasn't the clusterfuck that it sometimes turned into when Morrison was writing it, either. So that's a good thing, right? And Dick gets to stay Batman of Gotham City, which is a really good thing. I'm digging on Daniel's take on new characters (the Peacock looks great and could play really well with Dick in the cape and cowl role) so I'll probably stick this one out a while.

Batman Incorporated 1 - This was intriguing, but not anywhere near great. I'm down for Morrison's wacky take here and it seems like this is a good outlet for it. Batman travels the globe finding weird shit and getting a League of his own. However, I kind of wanted more Bruce Wayne in this issue, which is a weird thing to say, I know. The new characters seemed great, I only wish they hadn't killed off Mr. Unknown so quickly, but I guess that's part of the appeal. I'm in it for the first arc for sure, although, to be honest, part of me thinks it might work better as a mini-series, or as a bunch of successive mini-series. (Plural?)

The Flash 6 - Finally wrapping up the first arc, Geoff Johns left me wanting in a pretty major way. The Flashpoint arc is teased, Manapul draws the hell out of the book and I'm liking the parallels between this book and some of the classic Silver Age ideas, but it didn't add up to something spectacular. Honestly, if Manapul wasn't drawing this book, I'd think pretty hard of dropping it. I don't find myself caring nearly enough.

Green Lantern 59 - On the other hand, this book killed. Geoff Johns must be feeling the upcoming War of the Lanterns pretty heavy, because it's clear that's where his heavy interest is leaning. We learn a lot about the Indigo Tribe in this book and that's not even really the main focus. Barry guest stars in a role that he's played plenty of times before for Hal, the blue entity (Adara?) gets a bit more playing time, and Salaak has an interesting conversation with the Guardians. There's some interesting discussion between Hal and Barry about Ollie, too, which is necessary, but the best part is when the Collector shows up at the end with Parallax and gets him to infest Barry. Next issue's showdown between Lanterns and Flash is going to be great.

New Avengers 6 - After reeling me back into an arc that I really wasn't feeling at the start, this conclusion kind of left me cold. I mean, first of all, the cover is blatant baiting, and no one was surprised, looking at it, to find out that Doctor Voodoo is the one that gets to bite the bullet. (It's truly troubling to me, too, that Luke Cage gets to sing and dance in Bendis' interpretation of black culture, while Doctor Voodoo, from his first appearance in this series appeared marked for death.) Plus, I wasn't impressed with what happened. It seems like that solution could have been achieved immediately, and that, perhaps, it wasn't a win at all. I'm not really feeling New Avengers after the unevenhandedness of this arc and with the subpar teaser for the Nanny next issue, I'm thinking this might get the ax.

Book of the week goes to Green Lantern. Here's to hoping that the upcoming movie will continue inspire (or maybe it's playing no part, maybe it's just pure coincidence) Geoff Johns to knock material out of the park on that book. Now if only he could do the same with Flash.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

mike vick continues to leave the world in his wake.

In the history of comebacks, Michael Vick demolishing the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night has got to rank high up there.

As previously discussed, Michael Vick made some bad, bad choices. And when he went to jail to pay for those choices, a lot of people were writing him off. In fact, as he was getting started with the Eagles last year (reportedly at the behest of Donovan McNabb, it's worth noting!) many people still were willing to write him off.

They claimed that he'd lost a step, that his time away from the game would irreparably damage the way he played the game. He ran the ball too much to begin with anyway, people would say, and he'd never amount to much more than a decent back-up. This was quickly proved wrong.

However, what he did on Monday is on another level. If Michael Vick continues to put up numbers at this clip, there'll be very little debate about the MVP of the National Football League this year.

Vick's performance on Monday night immediately qualified him for the best individual line of the season, and thrust him into a tie for the third spot on the top fantasy performances since 2000! Beyond the fantasy line, though, the pure numbers were gaudy: Vick threw for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns. Vick wasn't the rushing leader for Philly, that honor went to Jerome Harrison, but he did carry for a mere 80 yards and 2 more touchdowns.

All this on the same day the Washington Redskins announced a contract extension for Donovan McNabb, the quarterback that's at least partially responsible for Vick's second chance in Philadelphia and it adds up to a fairytale Monday Night Football game. The two teams may be done with each other, but Vick's story, to some people's great surprise, is seemingly just beginning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

comics for the week of 11/3/10 and 11/10/10.

OK, I fell behind on this again, but I promise that I'll try not to let that happen again. This first group is from last week, and the next is current.

Batman and Robin 16 - So glad I stuck with this book; it wraps up The Return of Bruce Wayne without me having to waste any money on that mini. I think the whole thing with the Joker was wack, and this retcon of some evil mofo coming from the Wayne line (see, it wasn't his Dad but an oldass relative, with devil powers!) was beyond bizarre, but the story overall holds up. Plus, it was great to see Bruce, Dick and Damien all back together. An interesting angle at the end to start the Batman Incorporated era and, amazingly, it looks better than any of the ideas I had before these couple pages. A solid read.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer 38 - Thank God Angel's turning out this way. I don't think he'll end up dead, but, I mean, if he's gonna be Twilight and Twilight's the Big Bad all season long, he's got to do some bad shit. Not just kind of bad stuff that has ultimately good motives. Let's see some bad stuff. Buffy continues to impress and, honestly, I don't understand anyone who's saying they don't like it. If you liked or loved the show, you should be all over these comics. The only thing they've truly suffered from is an overreaching cast (bringing almost literally EVERYONE back) and the hurrying up of the storyline after a few of the seemingly-more-filler plots. But now that we're so close to the finale, the whole thing is feeling great.

Invincible 75 - To be honest, Invincible seems to be dragging a bit to me. This issue was great, I liked the oversize, but the double page splashes didn't feel overwhelmingly great. Also, the war doesn't really seem to have been hard fought yet. I mean, everyone's still alive, Invincible was recovering on a different planet for a whole issue, and the Alliance (right name?) appears to have rolled over most of the battles that I thought were going to take a toll. To that end, I liked the end of this issue, because it seems like it might finally start to get real. Maybe the Viltrumite War should have been a few issues shorter and things might have meant a bit more.

Red Hood: The Lost Days 6 (of 6) - The end of the mini puts Jason Todd exactly where we expected him to be. It was interesting to see him meeting with Hush and fully committing to being the bad guy, but the end with the Red Hood (is that really a hood? Not at all.) was more than a little melodramatic. Talia was really that bent out of shape over her Dad dying? I honestly don't know as I wasn't reading Batman at that time, but it seems a little out of character for her. The mini was good, but it could have been so much better, with Jason Todd as the main character and Winnick as the writer.

Scarlet 3 - Again, after the kind of disappointing first issue, this book gets better and better. We're getting more of Scarlet's backstory (although I hope we don't get too much, to be honest) and we see some of the characters that will (presumably) be riding with her on this journey. I gotta say, though, the ending to this issue takes the label graphic to a whole new level. I can't imagine that this book won't be getting (or is already getting) protested by a whole lot of organizations. It's tough not to hear those arguments, too. That aside, when Bendis and Maleev combine, I have no choice but to buy into that product - it's almost always amazing.

Book of the week goes to Invincible, topping Buffy, for celebrating a great anniversary, putting out a good enough product and just being honest about the delays. It was worth it. Kirkman continues to win, putting out what he wants, and being rewarded for it - congrats on The Walking Dead on AMC, too!

Batgirl 15 - Dustin Nguyen takes over art duties and I was a bit bummed, but it's obvious that the team knew this was coming and gave a little play to that in the first three pages. The book still feels the same, and Nguyen's a more than capable artist, so it's not like I think the book's going to suffer - I'm just always loathe to mess with a winning formula, which is what Batgirl felt like it had before. On the other hand, it does still feel that way, which is great. The contents of this issue weren't great or terrible, but it does feel pretty natural to see a mini-team forming around Stephanie. I like the way she and Barbara play off one another and the new addition Wendy is fitting in better than before. Detective Gage from this issue, though, seems weird, especially when we already have the default cop position filled by Babs' dad (Gordon) and Steph's semi-love interest. The cliffhanger ending fell flat with me because I know that's not going to be a real problem. Still excited for this book every time I see it in my stack.

Superboy 1 - This book actually came out last week, but I didn't care enough about it to grab it...until I heard a bunch of good press on it. The art did the trick for me, and the story, by Lemire, felt honest and original. I'm kind of against Smallville becoming the Smalliville of the TV show, and I hope that's not the direction they're going to go, but I do like the idea of Connor spending his time there and trying to learn the more important lessons of Superman, as opposed to just going out and fighting. The Luthor girl feels like pushing the envelope too far, though, I don't know why everything has to be generational and connected in the DC Universe. Some things should be organic. Lemire's got a great chance here.

The Unwritten 19 - Moby Dick rears its ugly head again. This book destroys everything in its path. (I mean that about both Melville's tale and The Unwritten.) Savoy, Lizzie and Tom are in the US, fleeing from the cops (kind of) and the insane group chasing them (more so) so, naturally, they're following Tom's idea of the map his father left him. Carey is writing something here that is going to have far-reaching results for a long, long time. This issue's big reveal, though, has to do more with the past (of Savoy) than anything else. We can tell something is wrong with him all issue, and as readers, we know what that thing is, but Tom and Lizzie don't know, and it's clear that Savoy himself is either in denial or has been brainwashed into forgetting. It'll be interesting to see if there's a parallel for this in the Tommy Taylor books, like there has been for almost every other event in his life.

Book of the week goes to the Unwritten every single time it drops. Nothing is working on a higher level. This stands as an example of what comic books could be.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

basketball stays winning.

The season is underway and it's off to a hell of a start.

The Lakers are undefeated thus far, bullying most teams other than the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a shock from last year, the New Orleans Hornets join the Lakers in the undefeated ranks. Chris Paul is playing like he's furious that everyone forgot he's the best point guard in the league, at a time when the NBA is undergoing a point guard renaissance seldom seen before.

The Miami Heat retain their title as the bully most feared when they finally get it together, but the Hornets took them down last weekend, and Paul Millsap pulled an impersonation of Tracy McGrady in dismantling them.

On the rookie side of things, John Wall posted his first career triple double and the Sacramento Kings want to remind people they've got a kid named DeMarcus Cousins. ESPN reports that Wall is the third-youngest player to record a triple-double in the League and, more than that, he's appearing to find his place. He's running the point in a way that Gilbert Arenas never did (not to say that it's better, it's certainly not worse, just different) in Washington, and he's impressive in most of the important areas. (The inevitable argument of, "If only he had a jumper," notwithstanding.) Meanwhile Cousins, who just got demoted to coming off the bench, is averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds in only 22 minutes. He's not killing it, but he's putting in work.

Tonight, the Miami Heat get another crack at the Boston Celtics, the team they were beaten by on Opening Night. The Lakers also run into the potential spoiler of the Denver Nuggets with their maddeningly ambiguous superstar Carmelo Anthony. (Seriously, how does Anthony not get fined for all this reckless talk? If he were calling into 1-900-HUSTLER Beanie Sigel would be tearing him apart! I'm not saying he's bi-polar, because I'd never mock a serious disease but dude clearly is having problems figuring out what he really wants.) With all this great ball happening, it's a great time to pick a team and go for a ride. Just, well, think about avoiding the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

first impressions.

So baseball's finally done (congratulations, I guess, San Francisco Giants fans) and football's semi-imploding. Combine these facts with the end of October and the return of the NBA, in the beginning of the most exciting season in our generation, and it's a great cure for any kind of local politics hangover you might have accrued over the last couple days.

Let's start with the basics: the Los Angeles Lakers are the reigning champions and, accordingly, the road to the top should go through them. However, you might have heard - there's a new bully on the block. The Miami Heat pulled off the free agency coup of the last ten years, certainly, maybe even of all time. LeBron James joined forces with Chris Bosh and they traveled down to South Beach to team up with Dwyane Wade.

Of course, many of the pundits were quick to remind those looking to instantly anoint the Heat that the road in the Eastern Conference has long been blocked by the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett re-invented the Big Three concept and might have something to say about the South Beach trio of James, Bosh, and Wade taking their spot.

There's more to look forward to, and more that we've already seen, as well. Blake Griffin should have been the Rookie of the Year last year, and might be this year. John Wall looks like he wants consideration for the award, too. The list of rookies is long and worth more than just a cursory glance.

And, to wrap things up where we began, let's not just assume that the road to the championship is paved with ease for the Lakers. The Oklahoma City Thunder, with their standout star, and possibily-being-stalked up-and-coming Kevin Durant look to seriously challenge. The San Antonio Spurs are always a threat, with their own version of a Big Three, headlined by Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

The NBA is going to be full of action this year, as most arenas will sell out when the Heat visit and most of those people will be heartily cheering against James, who had a lot of people on his side prior to his move. The Celtics and the Magic look to battle it out in the Eastern Conference, with the Bulls joining those ranks. The Lakers, Thunder and Spurs look pretty mighty in the Western Conference, and there's plenty of teams just waiting for one of the big guns to take a single misstep. Do yourself a favor and tune in to ESPN on Wednesdays and Fridays and TNT on Thursdays. You'll see some of the best basketball in a long time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

comics for the week of 10/27/10.

This would have been the first week where I haven't got any new comics since I turned, like, 12. However, I've been looking forward to picking up Action Comics for a longass time, and with Death making her appearance, this was the time. However, it's definitely coming, the time where I officially become a weak comic fan and get no new books in one week. Sad. But I guess it means I'm growing up?

Action Comics 893 & 894 - Lex Luthor has been running through Action Comics and people have been swearing to me that it's dope. And, finally, I picked it up and they're right; it's been great. Lex is searching Gorilla City (?), the realm of Gorilla Grodd, looking for the Black Ring? To be honest, I'm not 100% on that, but I'll tell you this: the Lois Lane robot, Grodd with his battle spoon, and Death showing up have made these books worth the price of admission. In 894, we have Death directly telling Lex that he's not dead, but rather that he's being checked up on. He asks the right question upon waking up (what could possibly be happening for her to check up on him?) and we're all intrigued and following along for the ride. Great stuff from Paul Cornell utilizing Death as a character, but, honestly, it felt like more of a gimmick than anything else. She only sort of spoke and behaved like she did when Gaiman wrote her and if this is all we get from the scenario then it was cute, but not super important. If, however, this is leading to something larger, then consider me hooked. Lex has been moving up in the world and he was already pretty significant to start with, so this is a good thing.

No book of the week for only one book, that's a cop out.