Saturday, October 25, 2014

Liking - "Gotham" - DC Comics TV Series (2014)

I find I'm quite liking Gotham, the DC Comics TV series about the early years of Batman, post the murder of his parents, but prior to becoming the Batman.  The primary character is a young Jim Gordon (Commissioner Gordon in the 1960's TV series and the comics) and his semi-corrupt partner Bullock, with Gordon new to a corrupt police force in Gotham City.
I was surprised how dark the series was, though - darker than Arrow, and much darker than the other new DC Comics series "The Flash".  I like it, but it might be a shocker to young viewers.

jokerThe show is great for those new to the Batman lore, and those versed in Batman history.  There are lots of glimpses into the future (e.g. Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin) that show up in major or minor ways (Penguin is certainly the most visible, and portrayed excellently by Robin Lord Taylor, who is nicknamed "Penguin" immediately, though hasn't adopted the name, or identity yet.

The Bruce Wayne/Batman storyline is always in the background and shows a serious and stoic Bruce studying documents and trying to understand what happened to his parents, Wayne Enterprises and Gotham.

I haven't been reading any of the "Behind the scenes" stuff, but I am suspecting that Bruce will not really show up as Batman until the series is done (like Superman in Smallville).  The power of the series comes from the stumbling along, learning what is going on and becoming who they are fated to be, not necessarily in the ascendance of Batman.  Part of Batman's success is the oddity of his rogues' gallery - that is what is being built here.

Finished (E-Reader) - "Edge of Eternity" - Ken Follett (3rd in Century Trilogy)


I have read all three books in Ken Follett's "Century Trilogy", the most recent being "Edge of Eternity".  These books are not typically what I seek out, but I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them.
I "accidentally" ran across Follett's "Pillars of the Earth" series, as I had known Follett from his WWII spy novels.  That was the first historical fiction-type book I ran across and I found it difficult to put down.

The Century Trilogy runs the gamut from the Russian Civil war () to WWII to the 1960's.  In each era, there are family members in several key countries, so their is a link backward through time (or forward, depending upon which book you are looking from), but the stories are independent, and no requirement to be up to date on each book is necessary to enjoy the others.

The "Edge of Eternity" is the most recent book in both publication and historical period.  The key storylines are East Germany during the building of the Wall,  Kennedy's White House and Kruschev's Kremlin during the Cuban missile crisis, the civil rights activities in both Washington and Alabama and the Vietnam war.

Follett's strengths is to portray the issues from the perspectives of both sides of the conflict(s), reminding the reader of what they would have known at that point in time and what their motivations were.  The issues come alive, almost as if they are being relived and maintain an appropriate sense of urgency.  As a novel, it is excellent, though I suppose as a true history it does slant in the Western direction (e.g. the Wall is evil, Communism is flawed...  the hardline East German police are portrayed as thugs - I don't disagree, but I suspect there is a viewpoint from that era that they were heroically protecting the motherland).

All in all, a captivating series, really worth the time to read.

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