All posts by Shannon McMaster

Batman: White Knight–The Best in a Generation

This is, without a doubt, one of the best Batman stories ever. It stands on its own merits, and Sean Murphy masterfully controls his story. He leads the reader and attentive viewer on a fresh take on the Joker, his capacity, and motives. For decades, readers have been enthralled by story-telling decisions made by a generation of masters, and working through deconstructions of those and past visions of these characters. Murphy shakes thirty years’ worth of powerful story-telling free from the burdens of continuity, and delivers that rare thing: a comic book even the people who don’t read comic books can love.

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics…

Entering a narrowly open door, Michael Pollan explores the history–and current state–of psychedelics in mental health and brain science. Pollan brings his signature style of deep research, developing interpersonal connections with specialists, pressing his subjective experience for deeper understanding, and carefully constructed speculation.

Personally, while the history sections and the memoir portions were interesting and necessary to get a grasp on the topic, I found the brain science sections most interesting.

Pollan wisely stays within the parameters of how psychedelics work, or at least appear to work, on portions of the brain. He mostly stays there, anyway. The material is very exciting, the changes in social and medical perceptions of psychedelics, combined with contemporary discoveries in neuroscience, make it difficult to resist the urge to make hopeful extrapolations about how these chemicals can help the wounded, the fearful, the addicted, and even those whose only problem is a mundane existence in a solitary life.

Dream Academy 

The Dream Academy did not have a very long career as a hit-making group. However, they linger in my mind as a timeless grasp. Sonically innovative and vocally evocative, I’d say, with some striking lyrics if you can make your way to them.

“The Edge of Forever” appears in a few places in Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, and when we watched it again recently, I thought, “hey, this song is really cool. I like it. I wonder what band this is.” Well. There here you are.

 

Dark Nights: Metal–A Huge Crisis Crossover

If it’s an even-numbered year, it must be time for a multiverse-shattering cross-over event!

It certainly often seems that way. Dark Nights: Metal is so huge that it takes four collections to pull everything together. On the whole, it’s an amazing run with some remarkable observations about some of the DC Universe’s most important characters and their relationships.

In the history of DC crisis crossover events, Dark Nights: Metal is likely to stand out as the one which most freaked out the readers. Metal takes elements from the history of the DC universe, literally upends them, adds fresh perspectives, and then pushes them through a meat grinder of terror and villainy. Dark Nights: Metal is not for the faint of heart, an success has an unexpected look when it is–as it must be–snatched from the slavering jaws of apparently certain and irrevocable defeat.

Dark Days: The Road to Metal introduces the reader to the huge multiverse-shattering world of the Metal crisis crossover. A hard world, made harder and more difficult for Our Heroes lay between the covers of this volume. Things can get worse, as they can only in comic books, then then they do get worse. Then they get worse than that. It’s fun, but a long way from joyous. Tread carefully, but do tread. A powerful introduction to a compelling story which shakes the foundations of the DC Universe, and pokes the soft spots in some of the most important relationships among the characters.

Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Knights Rising brings you your every long-wished for nightmare Batman. Crawling up from the underbelly of the DC Universe’s multiversal dark side, This volume collects several one-shot terrors where Bruce Waye, the Bruce Wayne from several alternate horror-show worlds are given the irresistible offer to Fix the World! (This volume ships on March 26, 2019.)

Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance. A long: title: but… a lot happens. Hope is rekindled, though it remains a weak ember. This fourth volume in the Dark Nights: Metal crisis crossover brings together a variety of hero team-ups to face down the threats from beyond reality! There is a lot of failure, a little bit of success, and a lot of mayhem–just what you want from a crisis team-up!

Dark Nights: Metal winds up, as crisis crossover extravaganzas in the DC Universe must, rebooting everything, changing it all, changing nothing, clearing the decks, and preserving continuity. But that’s for the future. For the moment we can enjoy Dark Nights: Metal, an amazing and terrifying thrill ride through the id of the DC Universe.