What I Just Finished Reading

Loki: Agent of Asgard vol. 2 – Al Ewing, Lee Garbett & Jorge Coelho
This volume suffers from typical Marvel Tie-In disease. If you haven't read the issues in other Marvel lines published concurrently with those collected in this volume, you aren't going to understand what's going on. That said, the story was still cohesive and engaging, and Coehlo and Garbett's art complements Ewing's narrative nicely. There are moments of surprising humor and drama. This is one of the better Marvel runs.

Loki: Agent of Asgard vol. 3 – Al Ewing & Lee Garbett
I entered this series hoping to be entertained, but holy crap, what Ewing has written here is freaking transcendent. Dear god, this is the first time I've ever had to put down a Marvel book to catch my breath. Unbelievably good. Unbelievably damn good.

Sandman: Overture – Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III
This was very well done, and may even have replaced World's End as my favorite run in the Sandman series.


What I Am Currently Reading

Journey Into Mystery: The Complete Collection vol. 1 – Kieron Gillen et al.
Because Ewing's conclusion was so freaking good I had to backtrack to everything post-Siege. Alas, this collection is no longer available and used copies cost 1.5 to two times more than the volume's cover price when it was still in print. But wait! Hadn't I seen a copy of this on the shelves of my local comic book store not two weeks ago? I had, and you better believe I marched myself down there directly after work to buy it before anyone else realised what was what.

Three issues in, I'm very much enjoying this run. Unlike many of Gillen's titles, the story doesn't feel rushed. If anything, I feel it's fleshing out some of the superficial elements in Siege. I'm digging the mythological tone, and Doug Braithwaite's art and Ulises Arreola's colors perfectly complement the narrative.

Young Avengers vol. 1 – Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
Started and then put on hold after I got my hands on Journey into Mystery. The story does feel a bit hurried and the Gillen-McKelvie combo makes it feel like a Wicked + Divine cameo is always just around the corner, but Gillen's Loki and Wiccan are spot on, and there are some delightfully funny moments.

The Legacy of Lhasa – Anna Hestler
This is certainly a visually attractive little book, which one would expect of a volume from a series on Asian furniture (which I did not realise this was when I acquired it). Having said that, it's a disappointing volume. Tibetan art is richly symbolic, but Hestler either isn't sufficiently familiar with its iconography to explain it, or for whatever reason chose not to. We're thus left with a book that's long on “mystic Tibet” tropes but lacking in educational value.

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
Still bursting at the seams with adjectives. Maybe I should try reading this one earlier in the day.

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom – John Pomfret
A very well written survey of US-China relations from the 18th century to the present. I'm currently in the lead-up to World War I and thus far have found nothing to disappoint.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones – Paul Reps & Nyogen Senzaki
This Tuttle volume collects two volumes of koan, an exegesis of Kakuan's 10 Bulls paintings, and a translation of a Sanskrit text the authors claim influenced Zen. The Zen volumes were published in the mid- to late-1930s, and the Sanskrit translation in 1955; thus far, they're about what you'd expect from Western writing on the subject from that period.

Inda – Sherwood Smith
I wrapped up part 1 of the novel this week; what happens to Inda next has pretty much been telegraphed regularly through the first half of the narrative.

The Light and Shadow Tarot – Brian Williams & Michael Goepferd
Spent time with the fives this week.

プラネテス 2 – 幸村 誠 (Planetes vol. 2 – Yukimura Makoto )
In which volume one's terrorists make their reappearance, with some interesting twists.

천수・금강경–무비스님 (Thousand Hands & Diamond Sutras – Mubi-seunim )
In contrast to Japanese sutras where the Japanese glosses the original Chinese, here the hanzi gloss the hangul, which is kind of fun for me. I've started with the modern Korean translation of the Diamond Sutra and plan to work my way backward through the Chinese and then on to the Thousand Eyes and Hands Dharani.

Martin & John 1 – 박희정 (Martin & John vol. 1 – Pak Hui-jeong)
This was the first manhwa I tried reading, way back in the day (when the title was still rendered Martin and Jhon!). I learned a lot of coarse language from this book. It's also an interesting contrast to Earthian, which is definitely a relic of its time, while Martin and John does not feel like something first published in 1988.


What I'm Reading Next
I have so many in-progress volumes this week I doubt I'll start anything else until I wrap up more of the above.

これで以上です。
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