Category Archives: reviews

Actionverse: Witness the Birth of a Universe

I love a good crossover. Who doesn’t love seeing their favorite characters from different shows, books, movies, or comics team up? Team-ups have been a staple of superhero comics for decades and, for my money, one of the strengths of shared universes like the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe. This year, Action Lab Entertainment throws its hat into the ring with Actionverse, a six-issue miniseries that brings together many of Action Lab’s creator-owned superheroes. I was lucky to get my hands on the first three issues of Actionverse and, trust me, you will want to pick this up when it hits your local comic shop.

Readers got their very first glimpse of the Actionverse in Actionverse #0 (still available on Comixology for under a buck!), which saw Molly Danger (created by Jamal Igle), Stray 306368._SX640_QL80_TTD_(created by Vito Delsante), and Midnight Tiger (created by Ray-Anthony Height) team up for the very first time. Actionverse #1 reveals that the Actionverse is really a multiverse. Action Lab’s creator-owned characters live on different Earths. The first issue, written by Anthony Ruttgaizer and drawn by Marco Renna, introduces us to Kyle Scordato, a dimension-hopping wannabe supervillain who’s willing to destroy every other Earth in the multiverse if it means returning to his own. Scordato runs afoul of Jake Roth, the main character of Ruttgaizer’s The First Hero. Roth is the only hero on his world, a world where everyone who has developed superpowers has also gone criminally insane. Scordato also discovers that whatever energy fuels Roth’s powers can also be used to fuel his interdimensional portal. The first issue ends with Scordato and Roth stranded on the world shared by Molly Danger, Stray, and Midnight Tiger, which I’ve decided to call Actionverse Earth-Prime.

Actionverse calls to mind DC’s classic Crisis on Infinite Earths and Marvel’s recent Secret Wars event. All three involve a multiverse in danger and a promise that something new and different may be on the horizon. Will the Action Lab multiverse collapse, leaving all of these characters existing on a single Earth? Will the characters currently stranded on Actionverse Earth-Prime find their way home, preserving some version of the multiverse? Will we see a company-wide Actionverse crossover every year? Only time will tell.

I’m a fan of several of Action Lab’s books, including Stray, Midnight Tiger, and Hero Cats of Stellar City, and I’m super-excited about the prospect of a shared universe featuring all of these characters. Now, I know the idea of taking a step into a new universe full of unfamiliar characters can be a daunting prospect. But, never fear! The Action Lab editors have your back: Each issue ends with a handbook-style entry (or two) of key characters.

If you want to support creator-owned comics, but also crave the shared superhero universes of the Big Two, then Actionverse is for you. Go to your local comic shop and have them pre-order the first three issues of Actionverse today!

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Barsoom.

Full disclosure: I had no intention of seeing John Carter in the theater, and I certainly had no intention of seeing it on opening night. But, a friend was all “What are you doing Friday?” and I was all “Nothing, what’s up?” and she was all “Wanna see John Carter?” and I was all “Yeah, okay. Why not?” Long story short (too late): I’m glad I did.

I’m a fan of a pulpy space opera–whether it’s Star WarsFlash Gordon, or Farscape (all of which owe their existence, in one way or another, to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom series)–and John Carter delivers a pretty pulpy and splendidly spacey opera. The movie captures the very essence of pulp fiction: a thrilling, action-packed adventure.

I’m a fan of prosthetics, animatronics, and various and sundry other practical effects, so I was worried that the CG effects would be overwhelming, like the opening space battle in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; however, they whelmed just the right amount, like pretty much every second of The Lord of the Rings. Of course, like Tolkien’s epic, I don’t think you could have done Burroughs’s story justice without computer effects.

John Carter–like the novels on which it is based–combines aspects of sci-fi, fantasy, romance (in the classic sense) and westerns. Like the novels, John Carter is a frame story, introducing us to Carter through his “nephew” Edgar Rice Burroughs, who inherits Carter’s journal upon the titular character’s death. I imagine this might strike some audience members as being a bit twee, but you have to remember it was a common literary device at the time–for example, The Shadow stories were said to be factual accounts “told to” Maxwell Grant by the Shadow.

John Carter of Virginia was a cavalryman in the Civil War; when hostilities came to an end, Carter headed west with a desire to find his fortune and live out the rest of his life in peace. Events conspire, shenanigans occur, and Carter finds himself on Mars…which, coincidentally, resembles the United States that he just left–there are two warring Red Martian city-states vying for dominance, while tribes of nomadic Green Martians control the wilderness. If you’ve ever seen a western, you know that the one man who wants to be left alone is the guy who’ll end up right in the middle of things when shit goes down. There’s also a princess, who’s a scientist and pretty good with a sword (okay, you don’t often get that in a western).

John Carter has everything: action, laughs, the aforementioned sword-wielding scientist princess, Taylor Kitsch in a loincloth reenacting the scene in Return of the Jedi when Leia escapes from Jabba the Hutt and blows up his sail barge. Basically, I’m already looking forward to the day John Carter comes out on DVD.

(True story: the only problem I had with the movie was finding out that the voice of Tal Hajus was Thomas Haden Church and not Lance Henriksen.)

Grimm Can Be Great

It’s usually not a good idea to judge a show based solely on the first episode. Few shows premiere with zero kinks and many shows can take an entire season to find their footing. Taking that into consideration, I think Grimm has the potential to be pretty damn good.

The set-up is a simple one: Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a homicide detective in Portland, Oregon. While investigating the disappearance–and subsequent dismemberment–of a co-ed, Nick learns from his Aunt Marie that he comes from a long line of “Grimms.” Grimms are profilers, of sorts, keeping tabs on the supernatural whatchamacallits that plague humanity. Of course, Nick has to keep his secret from his fiance (played by Bitsie Tulloch) and his partner (Russell Hornsby), luckily he’ll be able to call on his supernatural informant, a reformed Big Bad Wolf (Silas Weir Mitchell).

If this sounds a bit familiar, there’s a good reason for that. Two of the men responsible for Grimm, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, come to us from Buffy and Angel. In fact, Grimm feels a little bit like a blending of the two shows: you have the Chosen One of Buffy and the sleuthing of (early) Angel. I’d also argue that the “family of hunters” angle ties Grimm to Supernatural, which makes the fact that the two shows are airing against each other kind of annoying. Given Grimm‘s Whedon-y pedigree, I wasn’t the least bit surprised by Mitchell’s reformed Big Bad Wolf (0r Blutbad, if you will). The feeb-demon–a noticeably un-demonic and comically humanized demon–was a hallmark of Angel and, later, Buffy. Grimm‘s Eddie Monroe is a Blutbad who has given up on his bestial tendencies, which allows him to tag along on Nick’s cases and offer exposition with a healthy dose of wry asides. Clem would be proud.

I think the biggest hurdle Grimm has to overcome is how people will ultimately compare it to Once Upon A Time, despite the fact that the two shows could not be more different. In Once…, the characters are actual fairy tale characters who now live in the real world. In other words, Snow White is real. Grimm goes down a different road. Here, the Brothers Grimm were criminal profilers of the supernatural. So, while there is no actual Big Bad Wolf, there are Blutbaden, wolf-like creatures who appear to be attracted to the color red. Folklorists tell us that fairy tales, like those collected by the Brothers Grimm, were used as teaching tools, showing people how to behave and that acting incorrectly had consequences. Grimm takes this and runs with it, claiming that the dangers depicted in fairy tales aren’t metaphors: if you leave the path in the woods, something will eat you. I love this hidden world aspect of Grimm and, if you enjoy the occasional urban fantasy novel, you might love it, too.

"We Have to Astonish Them": Revisiting Astonishing X-Men

The gang over at Fantastic Fangirls declared September to be Revisit Month. With so much new stuff coming out every damn day, I don’t always get a chance to go back and re-read favorite books; however, as luck would have it, I happened upon the Astonishing X-Men Omnibus and couldn’t resist giving Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s epic run another read.

I remember when I first heard that Whedon would be writing X-Men. I was pretty much on board before I finished reading the sentence. Then I found out that Whedon’s team would include Kitty Pryde–neither that fact nor my reaction to that fact should surprise anyone who’s been paying attention. All I had to do was sit back and wait.

Astonishing X-Men came along at a time when I had all but given up on the X-Men. But, as a Whedon fan, I figured I couldn’t go wrong checking out the first issue–even if it meant putting up with Emma Frost (more on that later). I wasn’t disappointed. And, even when I was disappointed, I felt Astonishing X-Men was still better than a lot of other books I was reading. Now that I’ve read the entire run again, I can say that the thing holds up. In fact, it’s possible that I enjoyed it even more the second time.

Since I already sort of knew what was going to happen–mutant cure, Breakworld, Cassandra Nova, S.W.O.R.D.–I was able to focus more on the smaller things. The character moments. Case in point: I hate Emma Frost. A lot. She was the villain in the very first X-Men story I ever read and, no matter how heroic she may or may not be these days, when I look at her I see a villain. However, when Whedon pairs Frost with Kitty Pryde (who, coincidentally, shares my feelings towards Miss Frost)–

–the resulting scenes are pure gold:

(I could easily sit here and do nothing but post images from Astonishing X-Men of Kitty being awesome…but, I won’t. I swear. Moving on…)

Whedon probably could have swept in and done whatever crazy-ass shit he wanted with this book. He’s a name. The book would probably sell solely on that. However, Whedon–a geek at his core–found time to pay homage to the history of these characters, whether it’s the return of the Fastball Special:

or a nod to a classic panel from Uncanny X-Men 132:

Of course, that isn’t to say that  Astonishing X-Men didn’t bring anything new to the table. There was Danger–the physical embodiment of the X-Men’s Danger Room–a storyline which left me somewhat cold during the book’s initial run but was slightly less annoying when it was just a small part of the larger narrative. There was the whole thing about Cyclops losing his powers and essentially becoming Wesley from the later seasons of Angel:

I’m still trying to figure out exactly why this happened. Scott’s lack of control over his incredibly destructive power has always been an important part of who he is as a character, especially when it plays off of the fact that Scott is a huge control enthusiast, so not being in control of his own power must really suck for him. But, I don’t really see that happening this time. Really, the only reason I can think for this to have happened in Astonishing was to have Scott run around with a gun for a while and then to have an awesome four-page-long optic blast:

But, I think the greatest thing that Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men brought to the table can be summed up in two words: Abigail Brand. The agent in charge of S.W.O.R.D., another of Marvel’s Amazing Acronym Agencies, Brand’s tasked with keeping Earth safe from alien threats. Also, she apparently has a thing for furry blue guys:

I’m really amazed at how much more I enjoyed Astonishing X-Men the second time. I honestly thought I had experienced maximum enjoyment the first time around…but, I was wrong. Sure, like everyone else, I loved Wolverine’s time as Percy Dovetails (MOOSE!!) and the reunion of Kitty and Colossus choked me up more than a little bit. And, yes, the ending positively killed me. But, something just didn’t click when I was reading it in single issues–a huge chuck of which came out bimonthly. No. I wasn’t truly astonished until I was able to sit down and read the story from the first page to the last in a single (well, okay, double) sitting.

They Are The Night: Batwoman, Batgirl, and Red Robin Swing Into Action

About two years ago, Grant Morrison did the unthinkable: he killed Bruce Wayne. Okay, okay…he sent him back in time or some weird shit. It doesn’t matter. The end result was the same. With no desire to read about a Batman who was not Bruce Wayne, I packed a suitcase and left Gotham City, vowing not to return until Bruce did. Well, the day has finally arrived, Bruce Wayne is returning to his rightful place in the here and now.

Unfortunately, a lot’s been going on in Gotham City since I left. There’s a new Batgirl. Tim Drake has abandoned the Robin identity and become Red Robin. And, who’s this mysterious new vigilante calling herself Batwoman? If I’m going to start following Bruce Wayne’s adventures again, I’d have to familiarize myself with the new status quo in the Bat-Family. With that in mind, I spent a large chunk of yesterday reading Batwoman: Elegy, as well as the first trades of Batgirl and Red Robin.

Batwoman: Elegy

by Greg Rucka (writer) and J.H. Williams, III (artist)

We first met the modern Batwoman in the pages of 52, however a lot of her backstory wasn’t revealed until she became the featured hero in Detective Comics. Elegy collects the first seven issues of Rucka/Williams run. I have to say, of the three trades I read, this one may be my least favorite. Of course, when something like this is your least favorite thing you read in a day, it’s still a pretty damn good day.

I’m just not a fan of the whole Religion of Crime thing that DC has going on these days. And, since a lot of Batwoman’s time seems to be geared towards fighting this organization, you can understand why I didn’t completely love this trade. I did enjoy the flashbacks that explored Kate Kane’s childhood, time at West Point, and eventual transformation into Batwoman. I think Kate is a great addition to the Bat-Family, the DC Universe, and the general world of comics. I love that her dad–the Colonel–is serving as Kate’s Alfred. I’d also like to think that in her new ongoing series, Batwoman will have a werewolf sidekick.

Batgirl: Batgirl Rising

by Bryan Q. Miller (writer) and Lee Garbett (artist)

That image pretty much says it all. Former Robin and Spoiler Stephanie Brown takes over the mantle of Batgirl in a new ongoing series. While I didn’t hate Cassandra Cain (the previous Batgirl), I positively love Steph. Always have. Steph’s Batgirl is a throwback to the adventures of the first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon–and it’s fitting that Babs appears in this first trade to mentor the newest Bat. Between hiding her double life from her mom and trying to juggle being a college freshman and a costumed crimefighter, Steph’s Batgirl reminds me a lot of Spider-Man, and that’s a good thing. And, as much as I hate that little shit Damian Wayne, I love the antagonistic pseudo-sibling rivalry between Steph and the new Robin.

Red Robin: The Grail

by Chris Yost (writer) and Ramon Bachs (artist)

I love Tim Drake. He was “my Robin.” But, I guess no one can be a Boy Wonder forever. So, when Dick Grayson becomes Batman, he chooses Damian Wayne as the new Robin and tells Tim that Robin is “Batman’s student” and he sees Tim as “his equal.” Convinced that Bruce Wayne is still alive, Tim becomes Red Robin and goes on a globetrotting quest to prove that his former mentor isn’t actually dead. While Tim adjusts to his new identity (“What should I call these things? They look like ammo belts. Utility straps?”), he must decide whether or not to accept a deal with Batman’s greatest enemy–Ra’s al Ghul.

Red Robin: The Grail shows Tim using his strengths–his intellect and keen detection skills–but it also shows him struggling with maturity, as both a person and as a hero. With Bruce returning, I’m not sure what role Red Robin will play in the Bat-Family, but I’m excited to find out.

Top 10 Books of 2009

It is once again time for the Internet–that glorious collection of tubes–to overflow with “best of” lists. This year, I actually kept a list of every book I read, which caused an interesting problem when it came to picking just ten to include on this list. So, because I am the king of this little kingdom, I’ve decided to cheat. If I happened to write a review of a book during the year, it will not appear on this list and will, instead, appear as a link at the end of this post. It’s good to be king.

What follows is a list of the ten (remaining) books that I read this year and thoroughly enjoyed. And, like always, they were not necessarily published in 2009, I simply read them in 2009. So, in no particular order:

1. Hunt at the Well of Eternity, by Gabriel Hunt

I grew up on the Indiana Jones movies. I love ridiculous globe-trotting adventures of a pulpy nature. That’s what this series, from the good folks at Dorchester Publishing, is all about. If you’re adult enough to realize that sometimes a book can just be a rippin’ yarn without trying to teach you anything, then follow treasure hunter Gabriel Hunt as he straps on his Colt revolver and rescues damsels, punches thugs, and searches for the Fountain of Youth.

2. Dull Boy, by Sarah Cross

Dull Boy is the story of Avery Pirzwick, a typical teenager who just happens to have superpowers. As he learns to deal with his abilities, Avery is unwittingly drafted into a team of similarly gifted teens. Cross is obviously a hardcore comic fan and not just following along with the latest popular trend, and it shows in her writing. If you like YA fiction or superheroes, you should read this book. Stat.

3. The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, by Robert E. Howard

I really love Howard’s Conan stories, so I was looking forward to checking out one of his other characters. Solomon Kane, the Puritan swordsman, is a great character: equal parts Conan and The Man With No Name. The only problem I had with this collection was the lack of variety in the stories. Kane is a wanderer, but the bulk of the stories take place in either England or Africa.

4. City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare

The second book in Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy (or, is it a tetralogy now?). Clary Fray–who continues to be one of my favorite characters in modern literature–is still trying to find her place in the world of the demon-slaying Shadowhunters. If the angsty teen love triangles aren’t for you, the Buffy-esque humor and action scenes will probably make up for it.

5. Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher

The latest book in Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. Get used to seeing these books on my end of year list, since a new one comes out every year and they continue to be awesome. This time around, Harry finds himself trying to save the reputation (and life) of someone who has made most of his adult life a living hell.

6. Death of a Doxy, by Rex Stout

Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe, and Archie Goodwin never disappoint.

7. Black and White, by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge

An interesting counterpoint to Cross’s Dull Boy, Black and White is set in the near future, where superheroes are trained, branded, and owned by corporations. Jet is the hero of New Chicago; Iridium is a wanted vigilante. But, these two rivals used to be best friends. Alternating between Jet’s POV and Iridium’s, the narrative bounces back and forth from the present to the past, when hero and villain were both students at an elite academy for superheroes-in-training.

8. The Last Oracle, by James Rollins

Another in Rollins’s Sigma Force novels. This entry finds the scientist-soldiers of Sigma facing a radical faction within the former Soviet Union that’s intent on bringing forth a new Russian Renaissance, even if it means irradiating the world’s leaders with the remaining fallout from Chernobyl. There are also gypsies, psychic twins, and a chimpanzee with a brain implant.

9. Heretic, by Bernard Cornwell

For my money, no one writes historical action scenes like Cornwell. The final book in his Grail Quest Trilogy is just as action-packed as the first two volumes. Heretic follows Thomas of Hookton on his reluctant quest for the Holy Grail, but does so in a thoroughly realistic manner. While Cornwell’s characters may believe that the Grail is real and possesses supernatural powers, he never once lets that hocus-pocus invade his historically accurate prose.

10. The Lightning Thief & The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan

         

Riordan’s series about Percy Jackson is not a rip-off of Harry Potter (or, if it is, than the Harry Potter series is a rip-off of Oliver Twist). Percy isn’t a wizard, he’s a demigod. That’s right, Mavis, a demigod. He’s the son of Poseidon, the motherfucking god of the earth and sea. Percy (short for Perseus–yeah, he’s not sure why either) fights monsters, goes on quests, and trains at a summer camp called Camp Half-Blood. There’s a lot of fun world-building going on in this series to explain how gods and monsters from Greek myth are currently residing in the United States–Mount Olympus appearing atop the Empire State Building? Hades ruling beneath Los Angeles? Sure, why not. If anything, I’d say that these books are more like a middle grade version of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods than the story about the Boy Who Lived.

Very Honorable Mentions:

My Soul to Take, by Rachel Vincent

Magic Lost, Trouble Found, by Lisa Shearin

The Codex Alera series, by Jim Butcher

 

Rome, Tolkien Style

I have a problem with fantasy. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I think what I really have a problem with is epic fantasy.

In theory, I should love anything with magic, swords, monsters, and ridiculously heroic types. In theory. But, much like Communism, I find that epic fantasy works much better for me in theory than it does in practice. Thankfully, when I need a magic or monster fix, I can go to urban fantasy; if I want to read about a bunch of guys hacking at each other with swords and spears, I’ll pick up a historical novel or one of Robert E. Howard’s Conan collections. So, what the hell is wrong with epic fantasy?

Most of the epic fantasy that I’ve tried to read falls into one of three categories. First, the author has clearly scanned Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and simply ran a find-and-replace on some of the character and place names. Second, the author has pulled together transcripts from several games of Dungeons & Dragons and is using them as “research.” Third, the author tries to do something so “different” and “unlike everything that has come before” that it becomes too convoluted to even begin to read. There are exceptions, of course. Personally, I enjoyed the first Dragonlance trilogy. I also really enjoy Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series. And, apparently, I really love Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series.

I’ve been irrationally obsessed with a devoted fan of Jim Butcher for a few years, ever since I read his first Harry Dresden novel, Storm Front. I won’t go into just how much I love Butcher’s private eye and professional wizard. I won’t. Suffice it to say, it’s enough that when I found out that Butcher also had a series of “epic fantasy” novels, I was significantly intrigued. Intrigued enough to run out and buy the first two books in the Codex Alera series, but still reticent enough that they remained untouched for over a year. Last week, I finally picked up the first book in the series, Furies of Calderon, and immediately hated myself for waiting so long.

The first thing that stands out about this series is the setting. Most epic fantasy that I’ve read is set in a world that is loosely based on Europe during the Middle Ages. However, Butcher’s Alera is patterned after the Roman Empire. Or, to be more specific, a Roman Empire that has had one thousand years to evolve and develop, creating something that’s a blend of both Roman and Medieval politics and society. Alera is a realm of Lords, Senators, Citizens, and Centurions. The Aleran countryside is divided into Steadholts, large farms akin to the feudal estates of Europe.

The magic found in the series is unique, as well. It’s not the usual wizened old guy with a beard and a floppy hat or some staff-waving mumbo-jumbo. I’m not even totally positive that it can be classified as magic. The Alerans possess a seemingly innate ability to control the elements or, more specifically, the spirits–what the Alerans call furies–that inhabit the elements of earth, wind, fire, water, wood, and metal. Most Alerans become skilled in manipulating one or two elementals, aided by personal furies who act like familiars. In addition to being able to control the physical aspects of a given element, furies also bestow certain super- or preternatural abilities upon their wielder. For example, those who possess watercrafting abilities can use them to heal, read emotions, or alter their appearance, while earthcrafting can grant increased strength, tracking skills, and the ability to inspire lust in others. And, like a game of rock-paper-scissors (or Battle Beasts), specific elements can negate or counteract another.

In the first book of the series, Butcher introduces readers to Tavi. Tavi is a young man living on his uncle’s Steadholt in the Calderon Valley–sight of a great battle between the Alerans and the Marat, a savage people who bond with wild animals the way Alerans do with furies. Tavi is your typical fantasy hero. He’s intelligent, loyal, brave, and has an uncanny ability to get himself into and out of trouble. Tavi stands out because, unlike everyone else in Alera, he has absolutely no furycrafting ability. Everyone, including Tavi, view this as a huge handicap. Of course, this wouldn’t be an epic fantasy novel unless Tavi learns that he can overcome his apparent weakness and tap into his own strength and intelligence.

Just like the Dresden Files, Butcher’s Codex Alera series doesn’t shy away from the usual tropes of the genre. Butcher is a self-professed fan of traditional fantasy literature, and his love for the genre is evident in this series. Codex embraces and plays around with the motifs of fantasy literature without insulting them. There’s a lot of Frodo, Wart, and Harry Potter in Tavi. These similarities might lead some people to criticize the character, calling him stereotypical or clichéd. These people need to pick up a dictionary and look up the word archetype, and then commit ritual suicide to atone for their stupidity. As a fan of Butcher’s other series, I think Tavi is an interesting counterpoint to Harry Dresden. In Harry’s world, he’s the one with the power, while his friends have to get by in the real world like everyone else; in Tavi’s world, everyone has power and he’s forced to stumble around, grasping and groping, like someone locked in a dark room.

Furies of Calderon does an admirable job establishing this new world, from the decent and hardworking steadholders to the backstabbing skullduggery and political infighting of the Lords and Senators. And, as always, Butcher manages to excel at both life-and-death combat and lighthearted personal moments. There are a few bumps along the road, though. Some of what the furies are capable of doing doesn’t always seem to fit logically with their given element. Also, it sometimes falls victim to bouts of Tolkienitis, stringing together a bunch of words to make a more fantastical word to describe something fairly common in the real world, or using a completely fabricated word for something rather than the perfectly good English word that we’ve all agreed upon. There’s even a siege towards the end of the novel that was very reminiscent of the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers–but, that’s okay since that was my favorite part of Tolkien’s trilogy.

Minor quibbles aside, as soon as I finished Furies of Calderon, I immediately picked up the second book: Academ’s Fury. And, it’s entirely possible that I’ll need to run out and buy the third book before Christmas.