Best Shots Advance Reviews: HULK, VELOCITY, More
Best Shots Advance Reviews
Greetings, Rama readers! Your friendly neighborhood David Pepose here! We've got an epic amount of advanced reviews for your reading pleasure, including a romp with the Red Hulk himself! Taking on books from Marvel, Image, Top Cow, Dynamite, IDW and BOOM! Studios, Best Shots doesn't sleep. If you want to read more back issue reviews, check out the Best Shots Topic Page! And now, let's let the gamma times roll, as I take an advanced look at Hulk #25 ...
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Gabriel Hardman and Bettie Breitweiser
Lettering by Ed Dukeshire
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
"Any of you geeks want to try that on me?!?"
One line is all it takes for Jeff Parker to know that there's a new sheriff in town. Forget Bruce Banner for a second — Hulk is all about Thunderbolt Ross, the crimson juggernaut known as Red Hulk. And considering that the old general isn't quite as cerebral as his jolly green rival, it's perhaps fitting that this book doesn't reinvent the wheel — but that's not what Hulks do. Hulks smash. And this book does that in spades.
I think Parker's take on the Red Hulk is a subtle thing, but it almost brings back the character to his roots. Was Thunderbolt Ross truly an evil man, or just misunderstood? That's a trope that the Marvel Universe has revisited as far back as the inclusion of Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to the Avengers, and it's nice to see that degree of uncertainty here. There's more character under the Red Hulk's massive physique than I've seen in quite some time — whether its his rage at losing it all, or his disdain for brainy "geeks" who are more challenge than he cares to admit. And that's all before the second half, which Parker cranks into overdrive with an old-school battle that both makes you feel bad for our antihero and yet makes you cheer on the fireworks.
But I think the real winner here is Gabriel Hardman. This is easily Hardman's best work yet — his scratchy style almost makes you miss some of the subtleties, but if you catch it, holy cow. His panel layout is probably my favorite part of this book — to say that the story flows is an absolute understatement, the whole look is really organic, with panels moving into each other with the greatest of ease. His design isn't the flashiest, but I also really like Hardman's use of varying body types, whether its the massive Red Hulk, or the simply stocky Thunderbolt Ross, to the leanness of supersoldier Steve Rogers, whose new costume has never looked better. Colorist Bettie Breitweiser also deserves a lot of praise, particularly with a page where Ross has a heart-to-heart with his jailers that absolutely pops with its reds and blues.
And let's not forget the back-up story with Rick Jones — excuse me, the big blue abomination known as A-Bomb. Artist Mark Robinson is a real find for Marvel, with a cartoony, distended style that reminds me a lot of Duncan Rouleau. Everything is hyperkinetic as A-Bomb takes on a sea monster, but it'd be empty hits if not for Parker. In a lot of ways, Parker's character arc with Rick is actually more satisfying than it was with Red Hulk — it draws on Rick's history as a perennial sidekick and transforms it into an interesting observation about power and responsibility ... and self-preservation. It's a great dessert after the weighty main story — and really, it does what it does extremely well. If you're looking for the smartest book on the stands, well, you're looking in the wrong place — that's not what the Hulk is about. But if you're looking for some smashing and a nice change of pace with the art, you may want to take a look at the new Hulk in town.
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Kenneth Rocafort and Sunny Gho
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Vanessa Gabriel
Something I consider to be a positive quality of Ron Marz and Top Cow is that they intentionally make their books accessible to new readers. There are subtle hints in the stories, and almost always a character cheat sheet in the book. It's the smart thing to do if you ask me. On more than one occasion, it has allowed me to enjoy a book without feeling like I missed something. Witchblade and Artifacts are on my pull list because of it.
In Velocity #2, Marz goes a little too far with the upfront exposition. I've never read Cyberforce or Hunter-Killer, only Velocity #1, and at one point I was thinking, “OK, I GOT IT! She's fast.” I hope that as the issues progress, we can get to the meat of the story a bit quicker.
I'm not sure how I feel about Carin Taylor yet. She's way snarky, and kind of a snot. That could evolve into amusing, or grind my nerves Cassandra Sandsmark style. I'm only two issues in, but it seems that her nonchalance makes way for bad things to happen to her. That leaves me to wonder if her stories will be mainly reactionary tales. I suppose most spandex books are that way; you've got to give the super-hero something to do.
There is some really amazing art in this book. It's insane … in a good way. I love the sketchy roughness of the pencils. It made my eyeballs happy, and I found myself just flipping through the book looking at the art. I imagine Kenneth Rocafort drawing, his pencil moving super fast. Whether or not that's true, for an art junky like me, I'd be thrilled to watch him work.
The rich background detail of futuristic contraptions and metal adds dimension to the story. The humans are all sort of beautiful, and clearly, Rocafort is an ass man; perhaps a bit too clearly. There are fourteen and a half ass shots, if you count next month's exaggerated cover and the panel where Velocity is bending over displaying partial derrière. I wouldn't count the half, except her pose is pretty explicit. The high cheesecake factor detracted from the story, and annoyed me a little.
The jury is still out on whether or not Velocity will grow on me. It is not immediately gratifying. I know what Marz is capable of as a writer; he's quite good at what he does. Maybe the fault lies with me, and my unfamiliarity with the characters has left me to judge only the surface. I will keep an open mind, and sit tight for some context and character development. Truth be told, at the end of the issue, I found myself rooting for Carin.
Written by Jim Zubkavich
Art by Chris Stevens, Edwin Huang and Misty Coats
Lettering by Marshall Dillon
Published by Image Comics
Review by George Marston
Skullkickers! If there's anyone who doesn't immediately want to read a comic called Skullkickers, I don't know what to tell you. It's been a while since I tried out a new book from Image, and I'm glad I did, because this one rewarded me with some energetic sword and sorcery that's more "Record of Lodoss War" than "Red Sonja." It's also surprisingly not too outwardly violent for a book with such a brutal title, so don't expect a blood'n'guts approach to action and adventure.
Skullkickers is the story of two mercenaries on a quest for, well, more gold, or "Opa," as the currency of the fictional realm is called. Opening with a fight sequence between our two intrepid protagonists and a werewolf, in which the latter is dispatched by way of silverware, things quickly progress to embroil our boys in a political mystery of macabre and malicious proportion. While the book's two mercenaries may be driven simply by a lust for gold, there's enough of a hook at the end of this first issue to justify their continued involvement in a situation that they could so easily leave behind, and it's also plenty enough to bring me back next issue.
Writer/creator Jim Zubkavich's dialogue and speech are spot on, never falling prey to the usual fantasy tropes, but also never feeling so contemporary as to be off-putting. While even the protagonists of this title are a mystery at page one, there's enough organic exposition in the dialogue as to get a good feel for the world, and the situation we're looking in on. The pacing is perfect; the story moves along without a loss for action, but it doesn't feel like its killing time between fight scenes. If I have one complaint, it's that the main characters don't come off as having much to set them apart from the standard gold-hungry fantasy adventurers, but they don't fall flat, and I don't expect the whole enchilada with the first issue.
The one area in which this book leaves me a little cold is the art. It's not that it isn't skilled, or doesn't tell the story well, it's simply just not a style that I particularly appreciate. That said, I did very much appreciate the seamless approach between Chris Stevens and Edwin Huang, the issue's two pencillers, and Stevens' cover for the book is really nice. Also, as I said, the story is well told, and the characters are expressive. For many it will hit directly home.
I would definitely recommend this title to many of my friends, most of whom, like me, are longtime Dungeons and Dragons players, and a little sick of the Elf/Wizard/Noble Knight/Dwarf formula for fantasy. That said, Skullkickers doesn't try to reinvent the fantasy wheel, it just has a great time rolling it around down some of the less trodden paths. If you aren't versed in the sword and sorcery or fantasy genre, fear not. For you, this is simply a fun, fast paced, and all around enjoyable action comic, completely lute and tights free. It's well worth a look for any fan of fun, exciting comics.
Written by Andy Schmidt
Art by Chee
Lettering by Robbie Robbins
Published by IDW Publishing
Review by David Pepose
This is it, folks — do-or-die time. But what happens when you decide to do both?
I said last week that Detective Ray Crisara was headed for a fall — and I think writer Andy Schmidt could be taking his protagonist to some seriously interesting places on the way down. Of course, now he's on the tightrope — after this issue, if the ending isn't rock-solid, it could definitely cause some backlash for the previous four chapters. But as a single issue on its own merits? I kinda like the way Schmidt is making his hero zig and zag, even if it could come back to bite him later.
As far as the actual construction of this issue goes, I think this is my favorite issue of 5 Days to Die yet — it moves fast, and it gives Crisara a chance to ask some of the questions that the audience might be asking. Is he crazy? Did the car accident that sent shrapnel careening toward his brain — hence the title of the book — also rob him of his sanity? "I'd like to say I'm thinking with a heightened sense of clarity," Crisara spits back. It all moves fast, and it doesn't hurt that Ray gives a little bit of humilation to Matt, his goodie-two-shoes counterpart that's pursuing him.
But again, what I've found most interesting about this particular issue is that you have no idea where Crisara is going. Is he going to do something he's going to regret? Has he already broken the law in ways that aren't even justifiable outside of his own brain-damaged state? What kind of story is Schmidt trying to tell here? You don't know, but if you can handle that sort of unpredictability in your storytelling, that's not such a bad thing. Occasionally, Schmidt will have characters talk your ear off and deliver the theme in ways you can't possibly escape, but there's a difference between talk and action — and it's still a nice change of pace to see Crisara walk the walk.
Chee, meanwhile, is getting better by the issue. His colorwork is improving dramatically — now instead of playing against the sorts of details that his shadowy faces would hold, his blues and reds lend a tremendous sense of mood and oppression. Everything's got a little bit more pop now, and maybe that's intentional — maybe because Ray's time is almost up, we're starting to see things a lot more clearly as well.
That said, this story could also blow up in everyone's face. If the ending is cliche or not properly set up — and there's a danger to this, absolutely — then this story could be a throwaway action drama, a cop-tale inverted with no major justification why. Ray Crisara could die for nothing, for all we know. But seeing him break all the rules — and I mean really break the rules, in a way that few "good cop" movies ever do, no matter how "edgy" the protagonist — is what's made me really sit up at attention. Let's see if Crisara's last hour can also be his finest.
Written by Ian Brill
Art by James Silvani and Andrew Dalhouse
Lettering by Deron Bennett
Published by BOOM! Studios
Review by David Pepose
If every "kid" comic book was as good as Darkwing Duck, we wouldn't have to worry about "the next generation" of comic readers. Because they'd already be coming to us.
Reading this book is almost like watching an unaired episode of the late, lamented Disney cartoon — it's got the thrills, it's got the laughs, it's got the heart. There's no two ways of saying this: I look forward to reading Darkwing Duck just as much as I would Batman and Robin or Invincible Iron Man. This is a book that truly stands on its own merits.
And I think a lot of that has to do with writer Ian Brill. He's got such a fascinating structure to look at, in the fact that he doesn't so much set up themes or arcs throughout an entire issue as he does between a few pages. It's interesting stuff, in so much that the abbreviated "air time" for these character moments doesn't detract from the strength of the storyline. And believe me when I say Brill packs a lot in there: we've got villains, we've got weapons, we've got cameos, we've got the city literally waging war against its greatest protector — and everyone gets a moment to shine! If you've ever, ever liked Darkwing Duck, this is like your dream come true.
How about the art? James Silvani is what keeps the spirit of the cartoon alive. You'd think that he'd be a bit hamstrung by having to stick with the original Disney designs, but not only does his provide some visual comfort food that still manages to kick some serious ... er, heinie. Darkwing is extremely expressive, whether its the gag-comedy moments or just the look of weary contentment as he sits with his daughter. And the guest-star in this book — well, I won't give too much away, but the guest-star really ramps up the cool factor in a way that the kids (and the adult readers) can't help but enjoy.
It's funny, because as a reviewer and a student of the process, I look at things like set-up, like structure, like characterization. In so many ways, Darkwing Duck breaks all the rules — yet doesn't seem any less satisfying for what BOOM! Studios has put in its place. But as far as "kids" books goes, this comic is really something special — it doesn't talk down to anybody, it doesn't hinge on a high-concept, it just shrugs off the self-consciousness and does what it does best. Comics has a new hero: Darkwing Duck. And if you're interested in a well-told, light-hearted romp, he should be your hero, too.
Written by Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory
Art by Scott Godlewski and Stephen Downer
Lettering by Johnny Lowe
Published by BOOM! Studios
Review by Kyle DuVall
For Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory’s Dracula: The Company of Monsters, 2 ishould be the magic number. After a cautious, almost furtive opener, issue 2 is the spot where the slack gets pulled, and things need to start taking shape. This is where the writers should be differentiating their dip into horror comics and vampire mythology; defining unique conflicts and contextualizing their world as a whole. Unfortunately, Dracula: The Company of Monsters #2 maintains the narrow focus of the first issue, just crawling to the next plot point and failing to assert itself as anything but a boilerplate horror comic.
To boil the problem down to its essence: just why the Hell is the evil CEO resurrecting Dracula? Granted, there are about a million comic book cliché reasons to bring Drac back from undeath, but Dracula: The Company of Monsters premise puts the hijinks in a corporate context, the industrial intrigue angle is its whole reason for existence in an already crowded vampire market. The reader has to ask: where’s the percentage in this scheme, and how does that shape the story? What sort of unholy powers does Dracula have over a double dip recession? Maybe the plan is to sic The Count on Timothy Geitner and make the Fed into an army of vampire slaves. Maybe he plans to make a mint by farming Dracula out on the motivational speaking circuit. Who knows?
All kidding aside though, there are some cool angles to be worked here, but the writers haven’t thrown any of them out to the audience yet. Dracula could be dispatched on corporate competitors or Intra-company adversaries? If so, we should have seen those antagonists by now, skirmish lines should already be set. We should have outlines of the big picture, the skeleton of the corporate politics. Instead, issue #2 is still hung up on the technicalities of Dracula’s resurrections and the protagonist’s rather wishy-washy misgivings about the whole affair. The Corporation’s prospective plans for Dracula are really going to determine the character of this entire series. If it’s a boilerplate “take over the world with vampires” plot, then this series needs to be staked right now. If something subtler is indeed afoot then we need to know soon. In short, are we in for sly, CEO Dracula, or just another monster on a chain?
Penciler Scott Godlewski’s art does little to liven up the festivities. Once again, there’s a lot of talking head banter in this issue, and the heads doing the talking are pretty fuzzily characterized, but even when Godlewski gets the chance to portray an action set piece involving a larval Dracula and a literal blood-bath, the results are pretty uninspired. Godlewski’s design of the partially-resurrected count is much too conventional for any sort of real impact, and Godlewski’s art never seems to really relish in the queasy moments of the sequence. The layout and pacing are well done, but the scenes lack texture and mood.
Where are the sinister details in the draftsmanship, the luxuriating in the red moment? Sure, Godlewski gets the job done, but is that enough in this genre? Godlewski’s effort only sets the reader wondering what someone like Richard Corben or Eric Powell, might have done with a scene of a feral Dracula gobbling up lab-techs in an aquarium full of blood. On his laziest day would Mike Mignola come up with something so straightforward, so by the book? Sure, Folks like Powell and Mignola are at the top of their class, but the comparisons are not unfair, because these guys are the competition. Maybe more than their spandex-drafting counterparts, horror artists today really need to step up to make any kind of a mark. So far, Godlewski doesn’t seem to have it in him.
Dracula: The Company of Monsters needs to establish more context, it needs to deliver details of its setting ,establish some supporting players and outline some novel conflicts in order to snap the narrative into focus. The book feels as if its writers jumped headfirst into their premise without fully developing or researching it and now their stalling. The corporate setting is embraced only on the broadest level, the details, the atmosphere, the lifeblood of the whole affair seem to be missing. This is not a Stephen king Novel that can meander for 800 pages before getting to the goods. This is a comic, and one that doesn’t have the atmosphere or basic building blocks of a suspenseful slow-burn. Its time to get Dracula out of the tub and into the boardroom, time to show a few cards and get to the meat of what this series is about. A tepid ethical tug of war in a vague protagonist won’t get readers coming back for more.
Written by Patricia Briggs and David Lawrence
Art by Amelia Woo and Brett Booth
Lettering by Zach Metheny
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Erika D. Peterman
The best thing about Mercy Thompson: Moon Called is the title character, a solitary, contemplative woman who fixes cars in Kennewick, Wash., and happens to be wolf. That is, she can change from human to wolf form when necessary, something that comes in handy in this book’s paranormal surroundings. (What is it with Washington state — Forks, etc. — and the supernatural?) I’m not familiar with the series of Patricia Briggs fantasy novels this comic is based on, but Mercedes (Mercy for short) is an engaging character even without the background information. She comes across as strong and likable, and she’s obviously been through a lot that has yet to be revealed.
In chapter one of “First Blood,” Mercy comes to the aid of a runaway teenage boy, Mac, who works at her garage and is a newly-minted werewolf. It seems that Mac and others have been subject to unsavory experiments, and the story hints at horrors like cages and forced drug regimens. “First Blood” turns out to be an apt title, as the story strongly suggests that wolves and werewolves have a rough relationship. Mac seems like a good kid, but Mercy has to walk a fine line between protecting him and making sure he doesn’t eat her. She plies him with sandwiches to keep his ravenous instincts at bay.
As expected with a first issue, Mercy Thompson: Moon Called is still establishing concepts and characters, so there’s a lot more ground to cover. We don’t learn much about the Gray Lords, described as “rulers of the Fae,” or the Fae itself for that matter. The most captivating supporting character is Adam Hauptman, an elegant alpha werewolf whom Mercy seems to trust. Even though he addresses her haughtily as “Ms. Thompson” and warns her to keep her cat off his property (“If I see it again, I will eat it.”), Mercy knows his bark is worse than his bite — at least in her case.
This is such a promising comic, and frankly, it begs for better art. It works OK in panels that focus on facial details, but the illustrations appear rushed in many places. That loose style may well be intentional, but combined with the muddy color palette, it hampered my overall enjoyment of the issue. Fortunately, the storyline is strong enough to merit further exploration of Briggs’ eerie, wolf-centric universe.
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Stjepan Sejic
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow
Review by Lan Pitts
Talk about flipping the script for a second. What seems like an Elseworld-type story involving the Top Cow universe in a sort of Dungeons and Dragons setting turns into something deeper and, quite honestly, caught me off guard. "Faerie Tale" recounts the Top Cow universe, but plays with medieval fantasy parallels: Sara is a member of the Queen's Guard, Jackie Estacado is a bandit living in the Dark Woods, Dani is the Queen's daughter, Kenneth Irons is a malevolent sorcerer, etc. To be honest, I wouldn't mind a mini-series in this sort of environment due to the fact that I'm drawn to that sort of thing anyway. Witchblade is a mystical book and something like that could easily be done.
The issue plays out like a storybook with Sara getting the Witchblade from a dragon's lair, and all the Artifact bearers following suit. There's an epic battle with the bearers and Lord Irons' army of demons and magic. Of course like in most stories, good triumphs over the forces of evil and they live happily ever after. I'm sure Sara would love this fairy tale ending for real. Stjepan Sejic plays to his strengths with visuals of dragons, magic, epic sword and sorcery battles and the likes as everything looks just plain fantastic. The details in Sara's armor, to the scales of dragons, you can almost reach out and touch them. There's a really good page of Sara and "Jack of the Woods" kissing and the simple things like how her hair reflects the light of the sunset is astonishing.
Ron Marz also has a bit of fun here and it shows ... until things jump back to reality and the events at the end of Artifacts #1. It's heart-breaking, touching, and something I just didn't see coming. In a world of online previews and solicitations, interesting twists like this are usually lost in the grand scheme of things. I can only imagine how things go down once Sara realizes Julie is gone (as is hinted by the next issue's cover).
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Julio Brilha and Ron Riley
Lettering by Charles Pritchett
Published by Image Comics
Review by Kyle DuVall
The last decade may very well represent the nadir of Superman’s popularity, but this age of post-modern comics may very well be the golden age of the Superman analogue. Cut superhero scribes form the purse strings of major publisher continuity and the first thing they often do is whip up a slightly skewed version of the Man Of Steel to bounce story hooks off of. You’ve got Superman as mid-life crisis metaphor in Invincible, psycho Superman in Irredeemable, and Jay faerber and Julio Brilha’s Dynamo Five posits a deadbeat dad superman, or, rather, a super-tam of his cast-offs, all fighting for truth, justice and a slew of daddy issues.
Despite the post-modern plot gimmick, this latest Dynamo Five limited series, Sins of The Fathers, seems to be more concerned with telling a traditional superhero story than exploring the angst of super-powered illegitimacy. Sure, The Five’s origins give a nice little subtext to the rumble they have with the offspring of a Thanos-esque alien their pop smacked up back in the day, and there’s a juicy paternal surprise sprung at the climax of this issue, but Sins Of The Fathers has wasted precious little panel space on angsty conversation about abandonment issues. There’s too much punchin’ to do. I can respect that sensibility. High concepts can be crutches.
Essentially, Sins Of The Fathers is straight-ahead spandex with only the tineist of twists. Faerber’s scripting has the action front and center and Brilha’s art is bold and confidenty lined, pulling out all the right moves from the time-tested and glorious superhero playbook. Villains sneer, heroes pose, and punches level city blocks. Oh, yeah, someone also gets an entire whale dropped on them.
Like I said, I dig that Dynamo 5 doesn’t overplay its plot hook, on the other hand, the titular 5 superkids seem to have little more than their daddy issues to give them character, which means, there’s not much to distinguish them when those elements are not front and center. As much fun as the fisticuffs of this series have been, I have to admit that, after 4 issues, I haven’t really got any sort of handle on any of the characters, not even in the generic Roy Thomas, classic Avengers sense. Sure Smasher is the team hothead, I got that, but, outside of their powers, everyone else seems ill-defined. Good thing Brilha’s character designs are so snazzy. You do want to watch these characters do their thing, but there are ways to bring forth actual personality in an action book, Faerber might want to study the old masters to jazz things up a bit..
Sins Of The Fathers has also spent a fair amount of page space establishing inter-continuity ties with other Image titles like Savage Dragon and Invincible. When it comes to creator-owned comics linked only by a common publishing umbrella, these crossovers really seem ill-conceived. The whole ethos of Image is creator autonomy, and the appeal of titles like this one and Invincible lie in the the way they give a creator free reign over a whole universe without editorial meddling. Sure, I like Invincible, but seeing him hanging out in Dynamo 5 is basically a marketing gimmick or an in-joke. I can’t really see that Faerber or Kirkman are really interested in establishing any sort of real cross-continuity. Mentions of big events like the Invincible War pop up just to get handwaved away, supporting charcters pop up just to explain why they can’t help. I doubt Erik Larson or Robert Kirkman are going to be swapping characters with Faerber in any significant manner, so why cross over? Likewise, Image’s editorial isn’t going to be demanding synergy form their creators the way marvel or DC does. This is crossover as name-check, not real world-building.
Quirks aside, Dynamo 5 is a stand up super-title. It moves fast, Faerber and company are expanding their supporting cast of superheroes admirably and, like I said, this issue features a dude getting a whale dropped on him. Dynamo 5 #4 also springs a whopper of a surprise at the end of the issue, and it leaves me wondering whether one more installment will be sufficient to deal with it. Then again, that’s the sort of problem you want to have in a fast paced superhero book. On the whole, Dynamo 5: Sins of The Father is another example of how Image is still the go-to alternative for superhero fans weary of DC and Marvel’s Bloated synergies and empty event storytelling. This could really serve a niche as an ongoing.
Pellet review!Click here for preview): With movies such as Takers, The Town, and The Hurt Locker gaining praise and big box office numbers (the latter took home a Best Picture Oscar), it's no surprise that crime/military dramas would start making a comeback of sorts in comics. In this year's Pilot Season, there is such a book that incorporates that type of story, and it's not too shabby. 39 Minutes tells the story of former military commander John Clayton, who is incarcerated for bogus charges, and his former team that has currently gone rogue and in the middle of a crime spree. A do-or-die deal is made with Clayton to bring his boys in, so I'm sure the violence that is shown in this issue will probably be increased later on. William Harms' dialog seems forced and cliche at times, but the story itself makes up for that fact. The art team is terrific, yet panel construction seemed flat and uninteresting. Jerry Lando's facial expressions remind me of Adam Hughes' style and Brian Buccalleto's colors really make the pages pop. From the look of explosions to the grass in the prison yard. For those of you looking for something without capes, I'd recommend 39 Minutes. While it's not perfect, it's still a hearty read.