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No More Mr. Mice Guy (London, England)
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Constantine Volume 2 TP (The New 52) (John Constantine Graphic Novel)
Constantine Volume 2 TP (The New 52) (John Constantine Graphic Novel)
by Renato Guedes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another volume blighted by missing crossover issues – at least DC are warning us about the problem in the title…, 30 Aug 2014
The stories running through issues #7-12 of DC Comics’ New 52 series ‘Constantine’ are collected as Constantine Vol. 2: Blight (The New 52). Unfortunately, not all the story is collected here, which considering that the bits that are are good enough to still get the collection 4 stars tells you how great it might have been. I would seriously recommend waiting for the Forever Evil: Blight TP (The New 52) collection before reading this volume, which collects the last four issues in this six-issue collection, along with Justice League Dark #24-29, Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #14-17 and Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6-9. I read library copies of these books, so I don’t directly spend money on them, but eve so I am really annoyed at DC continually reprinting parts of crossover series in the individual titles along with one or two issues of the non-crossover stories, when (as in this case) they could have put the non-crossover ones in the previous volume and left the crossover issues in their own collection.

Anyway, back to the plot. The first two issues see the conclusion of the Cult of the Cold Flame storyline, in which John Constantine is finally defeated. No, really. However… before he can pick himself up again, the concluding events of the Justice League Trinity War HC (The New 52) (Justice League (DC Comics)) attract his attention, and the next four issues are part of the Blight crossover, in which we discover that most of the world’s mystics have disappeared thanks to the Crime Syndicate, and John has to cobble together a new Justice League Dark from a few survivors, including the Phantom Stranger, Pandora, Swamp Thing, the Nightmare Nurse, and later in the story, Deadman. Eventually, they discover that there is a mystical force that has pursued the Crime Syndicate here from their world, and the missing mystics are tied into a weapon designed to stop said force. We don’t see how the story starts or ends here, but along the way, we get to visit Heaven, see Constantine give the Dog a telling off, and have a return bout with a very old friend, who wants (and gets) his coat back. (See the secret origin of the trenchcoat in issue #0 of Justice League Dark, reprinted in Justice League Dark Volume 2: The Books of Magic (The New 52).)

Despite only seeing slices of a story that takes up 24 crossover issues, it is impressive enough for me to give the collection 4 stars. Let’s hope the full collection does not disappoint us.

In my review of the first volume of this series, I said that it felt like we were seeing the surface of John Constantine, but without the depth of the original character. This volume shows us Constantine emerging as a “Sorcerer Supreme” sort of character, as he comes out from the shadows where he used to operate, and gets his hands dirty in front of us, rather than skulking around and dropping hints. The writer appears to be turning him into a hero, and moving him away from the anti-hero he originally was. New 52, new rules, I suppose.

THE SPOILER ZONE
THE SPOILER ZONE
THE SPOILER ZONE

Issue #7 – “Game Over” – sees Constantine finding his secret stash of mystic artefacts has been emptied by Tannarak. As Mr E strolls around the globe killing magicians and mystics and stealing their powers (and recruiting an old girlfriend of Constantine’s to the Cult of the Cold Flame), Sargon comes to collect the powerless Constantine and takes him home for the night…

Issue #8 – “Spot the Hustle” – sees Mr E. pop in to Sargon’s little place in the Swiss Alps to kill Constantine. However, as they fight, John realises that Sargon and Tannarak have their own assassination plot running, and that he is the smoking gun…

Issue #9 – “Forever Evil: Blight” – appears to open just after the end of the Trinity War, with Constantine and the latest Justice League Dark, which includes the Phantom Stranger, Pandora, Swamp Thing, the Nightmare Nurse, waking up in Central Park, having just been pulled out of the House of Mystery by an unknown force. They are attacked by Blight – a creature consisting of a collection of humanity’s ‘evil’ drawn from the Collective Unconscious - and Pandora’s ‘Sins’…

Issue #10 – “Two Fingers to Heaven” – opens with the Justice League Dark transported by the Phantom Stranger to the border of Heaven, where they find Zauriel and the Spectre waiting to not welcome them. However, the Dog (from the Phantom Stranger’s series) pops out for a chat. There is much arguing and finger pointing, especially from Constantine, as the Dog has no fingers, which ends with John jumping into the void, pursued by the Angel Zauriel. They fall into the House of Mystery, where they find the rest of the JLD waiting. Zauriel reveals the dark secret in Constantine’s heart: “You fight for Zatanna. You fight for love. So I fight at your side.”

Issue #11 – “Forever Evil: Bight – Like a Bullet” – opens with the JLD appearing in Nanda Parbat, having disposed of Blight, and now looking for the missing magical folk in the Crime Syndicate’s base there. They walk into a trap and John finds himself alone with the Nurse as they search for Zatanna. They find that the missing mystics are wired into a giant machine designed to use their powers to fight a mysterious menace that is pursuing the Crime Syndicate across realities. John eventually unmasks the Nurse as an impostor – it is actually Nick Necro, the man who taught John all he knew… (see issue #0 of Justice League Dark, reprinted in Justice League Dark Volume 2: The Books of Magic (The New 52).) John is then zapped by Felix Faust, who is running the operation.

Issue #12 – “Forever Evil: Bight – Dreaming of Blood” – opens after the mystic monster that the Thaumaton Project was set up to fight has attacked and been defeated. Nick Necro and Felix Faust are arguing, as villains do, and while they do, John Constantine pulls a fast one; and after some fighting, everything goes to Hell…


Constantine (Vol 1) # 11 (Ref1242369335)
Constantine (Vol 1) # 11 (Ref1242369335)
by DC Comics
Edition: Comic

4.0 out of 5 stars “Forever Evil: Bight – Like a Bullet”, 30 Aug 2014
The stories running through issues #7-12 of DC Comics’ New 52 series ‘Constantine’ are collected as Constantine Vol. 2: Blight (The New 52).

Issue #11 – “Forever Evil: Bight – Like a Bullet” – opens with the JLD appearing in Nanda Parbat, having disposed of Blight, and now looking for the missing magical folk in the Crime Syndicate’s base there. They walk into a trap and John finds himself alone with the Nurse as they search for Zatanna. They find that the missing mystics are wired into a giant machine designed to use their powers to fight a mysterious menace that is pursuing the Crime Syndicate across realities. John eventually unmasks the Nurse as an impostor – it is actually Nick Necro, the man who taught John all he knew… (see issue #0 of Justice League Dark, reprinted in Justice League Dark Volume 2: The Books of Magic (The New 52).) John is then zapped by Felix Faust, who is running the operation.


Constantine (Vol 1) # 9 (Ref988587141)
Constantine (Vol 1) # 9 (Ref988587141)
by DC Comics
Edition: Comic

4.0 out of 5 stars “Forever Evil: Blight”, 30 Aug 2014
The stories running through issues #7-12 of DC Comics’ New 52 series ‘Constantine’ are collected as Constantine Vol. 2: Blight (The New 52).

Issue #9 – “Forever Evil: Blight” – appears to open just after the end of the Trinity War, with Constantine and the latest Justice League Dark, which includes the Phantom Stranger, Pandora, Swamp Thing, the Nightmare Nurse, waking up in Central Park, having just been pulled out of the House of Mystery by an unknown force. They are attacked by Blight – a creature consisting of a collection of humanity’s ‘evil’ drawn from the Collective Unconscious - and Pandora’s ‘Sins’…


Constantine (Vol 1) # 8 (Ref444585310)
Constantine (Vol 1) # 8 (Ref444585310)
by DC Comics
Edition: Comic

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “Spot the Hustle”, 30 Aug 2014
The stories running through issues #7-12 of DC Comics’ New 52 series ‘Constantine’ are collected as Constantine Vol. 2: Blight (The New 52).

Issue #8 – “Spot the Hustle” – sees Mr E. pop in to Sargon’s little place in the Swiss Alps to kill Constantine. However, as they fight, John realises that Sargon and Tannarak have their own assassination plot running, and that he is the smoking gun…


Constantine (Vol 1) # 7 (Ref1222996940)
Constantine (Vol 1) # 7 (Ref1222996940)
by DC Comics
Edition: Comic

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars “Game Over”, 30 Aug 2014
The stories running through issues #7-12 of DC Comics’ New 52 series ‘Constantine’ are collected as Constantine Vol. 2: Blight (The New 52).

Issue #7 – “Game Over” – sees Constantine finding his secret stash of mystic artefacts has been emptied by Tannarak. As Mr E strolls around the globe killing magicians and mystics and stealing their powers (and recruiting an old girlfriend of Constantine’s to the Cult of the Cold Flame), Sargon comes to collect the powerless Constantine and takes him home for the night…


Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy (Marvel Now)
Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy (Marvel Now)
by Kelly Sue Deconnick
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to Assemble an Avenger, 30 Aug 2014
The stories from Avengers Assemble issues #21-25 are collected as Avengers Assemble – Forgeries of Jealousy. This story takes place against the background of the Inhumanity event, in which the Inhumans have released a world-wide cloud of the Terrigen mist, triggering mutations in humans carrying Inhuman genes. This story starts with a Spider-Girl (Anya Corazon, who I cannot remember seeing before) popping in to Avengers Tower looking for help finding her teacher, who went into a Terrigen cocoon and has now been kidnapped from the hospital he was being held in. Each issue sees one or two Avengers helping Spider-Girl follow the trail of the missing cocoon, which involves Julie Covington – the former Dark Avengers mad scientist known as Toxic Doxie – as well as A.I.M. Each issue takes Spider-Girl and her Avengers closer to unravelling the mystery of what the villains are up to, culminating in a full-scale Avengers Assembly for the finale, as Spider-Girl finally realises that she has become an Avenger along the way.

It is an excellently-written and illustrated story, showing the various individual Avengers as real people not costumed characters. This is one of the most human-scale of the Avengers series, though this apprears to be the final volume.


Fearsome Reptiles (Animal Attack)
Fearsome Reptiles (Animal Attack)
by Camilla de la Bedoyere
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting and colourful guide to a baker’s dozen of the world’s top predators, 30 Aug 2014
This 36-page booklet is a very interesting and colourful guide to a baker’s dozen of the world’s most dangerous reptiles. Each chapter is packed with colourful photographs and text-pieces.

The Contents are –
P04: Taipan
P06: King Cobra
P08: Komodo Dragon
P10: Sea Snake
P12: Saltwater Crocodile
P14: Coral Snake
P16: Alligator
P18: Alligator (fold out)
P20: Gila Monster
P22: Anaconda
P24: Black Caiman
P26: Rattlesnake
P28: Alligator Snapping Turtle
P30: Puff Adder
P32: Glossary
P33: Taking it Further
P34: Index

Each two-page chapter has a large and small colour photo of its subject, with informative text pieces and captions. There are information boxes with “Killer Facts” along with “Reptile Bites” giving the relevant statistics for the creature, and a “How Scary” scale showing the level of danger you would face from it. There are a number of illustrations showing full-size photos of some of the subjects, and the Alligator gets a four-page fold-out life-sized photo looking into its mouth. Certain words in the text are in bold font to show that they are expanded on in the Glossary. This would be an excellent book for curious schoolchildren.


Panda (Watch Me Grow)
Panda (Watch Me Grow)
by Fleur Star
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A colourful and easy-to-read booklet telling you about the life of a panda, 30 Aug 2014
This review is from: Panda (Watch Me Grow) (Hardcover)
This is a colourful and easy-to-read 32-page booklet telling you about the life of a panda, in this case Jing Jing, the mascot of the Beijing Olympic Games. It is intended for the youngest readers. It consists of ten two-page chapters each containing a number of excellent photographs (mainly of cute pandas) and easy to read but informative text-pieces and captions.

The Contents are –
P04: I am a giant panda
P06: This is my home
P08: This is my mum
P10: I’m two months old
P12: Reaching new heights
P14: Time for dinner
P16: Panda’s playtime
P18: Life at Chengdu
P20: Breeding success
P22: The Circle of life
P24: Glossary


Big Cats (Eye Wonder)
Big Cats (Eye Wonder)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed and colourful introduction for younger readers to the world of the big cat, 30 Aug 2014
This review is from: Big Cats (Eye Wonder) (Paperback)
This 48-page book is a detailed and colourful introduction to various the types of big cats share our world, and is an ideal introductory volume for younger readers. The mixture of text and illustration is excellently designed to make it readable and interesting. This is a superb introduction and would be an excellent reference book for young schoolchildren.

The Contents are –
P04: Introducing cats
P06: Cat habitats
P08: Inside and out
P10: A cat’s life
P12: Super senses
P14: Cat comparisons
P16: King of the beasts
P18: Tiger tales
P20: Water cat
P22: Speed king
P24: Lounging leopards
P26: Powerful pumas
P28: Snow cat
P30: Team tactics
P32: Solitary killers
P34: Life on the plains
P36: Forest felines
P38: Cat families
P40: Undercover cats
P42: Night stalkers
P44: Caring for cats
P46: Glossary and Animal alphabet
P48: Index and acknowledgements


Papyrus Vol.2: Imhotep's Transformation
Papyrus Vol.2: Imhotep's Transformation
by De Gieter
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical adventure story, 30 Aug 2014
This is an excellent historical adventure story, set in Egypt of the great pharaohs. This is the second volume of a European comic album series, featuring excellent artwork showing great attention to historical detail while portraying a dynamic action-adventure story.

The titular Papyrus is a courtier in the entourage of the Pharaoh’s daughter, and is frequently caught up in foiling plots and intrigue about the court. This adventure begins with rescuing an old man living in the reed swamps from a crocodile, who it coincidentally turns out, looks just like the Pharaoh (the old man, not the crocodile). Later, our hero and his friends witness the spectacular arrival of a new statue of the Pharaoh at Saqqara, illustrated on a two-page panel portraying over two hundred workmen engaged in moving it. The statue is part of a plot however, and blood apparently runs from its eyes, frightening the workmen who cause the statue to topple, under the gaze of the Pharaoh and his court. The Pharaoh is then poisoned, to prevent him from carrying out a religious ceremony required to prove his right to rule. Papyrus remembers the little old man in the swamp, and there follows an adventure to foil the plotters and maintain the Pharaoh’s reign. It is a very entertaining story, suitable both for children and adults. I am now off to the library to look for another volume in the series...


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