Saturday, March 04, 2006

LT of "I Read Comics"

The other day, I received an e-mail from a lady who found When Fangirls Attack. She gave me a few compliments, and told me she was planning to plug it on her podcast. So, naturally, I went to her site and this was the first thing I saw.

It was nice to see I wasn't the only one to notice this.

(Oh, and the podcast is interesting, too. She links here whenever she does one)

Friday, March 03, 2006


I only read JSA #83 and Detective Comics #817. I probably would have picked up more, but all of the back issues of Manhunter that I'd asked for came in from their other store, and so did the issues of Batman and the Monster Men.

(Spoilers for JSA #83, Detective Comics #817, and Jonah Hex #4 follow)

Read on.

Detective Comics was really enjoyable. James Robinson's primary assignment seems like a return to the status quo of Batman. And by status quo, I mean a recognizable Batverse from people who know it by the movie, the cartoon, or just common pop culture knowledge. I'm actually very happy about that. Mainly this is because of Page 5 (Page 6 counting ads). Page 5 saw the return of one of my favorite Batman characters to the regular recurring cast. Someone I've been waiting anxiously to come back since the "Officer Down" storyline. When I saw his fat, unshaven, cigar smoking face I had to put the book down so I could dance my "Harvey's back!" dance. Then the little old lady downstairs pounded on her ceiling and yelled, and I had to sit back down and read quietly again.

Despite opening with a murder, it was definitely a brighter, lighter Batman than we've seen in a while.

JSA had equally dark subject matter, but the tone was also lighter than the book had been for years. I'm happy to see Power Girl, Terrific, Courtney, and Jay alive. The absence of Sand is notable and worrisome. The continued absence of Atom-Smasher is a joy. I was happy with Alan. When Jennie died, the expectation was that Alan would grieve but get on with his life, and her brother Todd would have a meltdown. Well, in the Manhunter preview art he looks perfectly well adjusted an cheerful. And decidedly not evil. Alan, on the other hand, attributes his seeing a ghost to PTSD, and references how off-center he's been since his daughter died. Credits Jay with keeping him sane. Anyone else who thinks Alan's going to get worse before he gets better, raise your hand.

Anyway, I had trouble enjoying this issue because of Dr. Mid-Nite. Pieter Cross is on my list of favorites, you understand. I went out of my way to get Batman and the Monster Men (after ignoring it) because someone likened it to the 1999 Dr. Midnite miniseries that brought us Pieter. (I think it was Chris but I'm not sure)

Anyway, firstly, what was Pieter doing in Gotham? Are they going to station him there now? I mean, I know he's not in an ongoing, but Portsmouth was set up well enough to support it. And he did have a likeable supporting cast, headed by Camilla. Johns even showed us glimpses from time to time.

Secondly, if Pieter's going to see ghosts that accuse him of killing them, why not the person he actually killed when he got his powers? Why not his mother? Why these nameless, lost patients that he didn't personally know?

Then there's his behavior. I think he panicked too much when he lost his goggles, but that could be just me. It just didn't feel like Pieter.

What really bugs me, though, is this panel. It not only implies that Pieter doesn't believe in the afterlife now, but that he never did.

Which directly contrasts previous characterization.

This annoys me. The characterization was put in place, I think, to differentiate him from Mr Terrific. Terrific, for most intents and purposes, has the same surface personality. You need to get seriously into the characterization to tell the two apart, and this was one of the big differences.

It was a little off-putting to have one of my favorite character show up so... off.

Aside from that, I got Jonah Hex #5 but haven't opened it yet. Possibly because I didn't read Jonah Hex #4 until Tuesday night. I was impressed. You've all heard my complaints about Spider-Man/Black Cat #6 and it's unfortunate plot device. Well, here it is again and it works quite well.
Jonah Hex is hired by a father to bring in the young man who sexually assaulted his daughter. When Jonah does bring him to town, the daughter, who's mute, hits him. Later on, she passes him a note saying that the young man didn't do the crime, and that she'd helped him escape. Jonah spends the issue trying to save the wrongfully accused young man, while the girl takes care of herself and ends up saving them both. In the end, when she communicates what happened very clearly, no one but the culprit challenges her story. I even noticed that in one panel where the townspeople are asking him where his explanation is (in the clear mood they won't believe it), the more prominent extra was even female. It made me think of David Welsh's complaints about victims never getting conventional justice. Mayleen got conventional justice, Western-style justice, but still, it was conventional and it relied entirely on her testimony. I wonder what he thought of this issue.

I don't think I can form a coherent review of Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5 of Infinite Crisis #5 right now, but I was very pleased with both. I'd tell you about Manhunter as I now have the entire series, but I'm not finished reading. You see, some unscrupulous person (I suspect the cat) has move issue #9. I could have sworn I had it when I left the .

I haven't read Batman and the Monster Men either. The owner of the LCS tracked down a copy of issue one for me, and it was a copy signed by Matt Wagner. 'm not much of a collector, but there's something intimidating about a signed copy. Especially when it's one with a certificate on the back of the board, with a scary looking silver seal holding the bag together. Chris assures me it won't hurt it, it's meant to be read, but it's still intimidating. I'll get past this eventually, I'm sure, but as it is I'm afraid to open it. It's the seal, I think.

Maybe this weekend I'll get a bout of bravery. Then I'll talk about it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Seeking Symbolism

I freely admit to missing the symbolism on the first try sometimes. I miss it even when it's obvious. I have my off days, you understand. Times when I bypass it. And then, suddenly, someone points out something so unbelievably simple I feel like an idiot for missing it. I've been accused of obliviousness.

More often, I've been accused of reading too much into it. You see, I'm actually obsessed with symbolism. To the point that it's unhealthy. To the point where I miss blatant symbolism looking for subtle symbolism. The thing about symbolism is once you train yourself to see it, you naturally look for it. If it's a symbol that speaks to you and applies to your life, it will pop out at you. With me, it's always been gender symbolism.

Read on.

It started with fairy tales. I found a copy of Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters in my high school library. The editor had been fed up with traditional fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White. She didn't like the thought of what they could be teaching her daughter about life. Instead of updating these familiar stories to reflect a more balanced viewpoint, like many people do, she tried a different approach. She researched and tried to dig up folktales with better rolemodels. She came out with a beautiful volume of authentic folktales that portrayed women as strong, clever, heroic masters of their own destiny.

At the end of each story, there was a little editorial note. It lays out the reasons she chose the story, what it demonstrated about women's lives, some personal impressions, and sometimes a comparison with a more traditional story. She touches on symbolism, of course, in these notes. Specifically, how it applied to women and what kinds of lessons we were getting from traditionally fairy tales. It's still one of my favorite books, and was one of the first books I sought out when I got to my first station.

While I was looking for it, I found Goddesses in Everywoman in the mythology section. The back of the book said "Psychology/Women's Studies" but it sounded so interesting I had to read it. It was on the Greek Goddesses, one of my personal favorite subjects. The writer was a Jungian psychologist (and Jung's quotes and theories were about to pop up more and more as I read about religion and mythology) who saw the Greek goddesses in women's behavior patterns. She wrote about these different sets of motives, values, personality each coexisting in all women, some more active than others. A committee of archetypes, in everyone's head. It was plainly written, accessible to the laywoman, and full of points where you could see yourself and your friends.

Now, I'm not a psychology student. I've never taken a literature, folklore or mythology course. I've never set foot in a women's studies class. But I did become a little obsessed with symbolizing. This led into more and more books analyzing more and more stories. I studied up on interpreting my own dreams. I found a really good school of thought that taught you how to reason out your own dream symbols. For practice, I started applying what I learned to my own entertainment (movies, comics, books). Relating it to your own life and experience just naturally happens.

So, if you're like me, after so many books, your thoughts become consumed by symbolism. You eat, drink and breath symbolism. Until you're sitting in a lecture on cable connector repair and thinking about the symbolism of the female cannon plug connector (sockets) and the male cannon plug connector (pins), and how the female connecter can be either a receptacle (passive) or a plug (aggressive) -- and especially what it tells you about yourself that you (the only female present), are the only one in class who wasn't confused by all of those example pictures of receptacles with sockets, when you are trying to find the mating connector to a plug that has sockets and all you need to do is find the proper size and shape and order it with pins instead of sockets. It was funny, though, when the instructor tried to clear up confusion by describing the receptacle as female -- when while it is passive it's a fairly phallic symbol that is covered by a cannon plug. And everyone knows pins are male and sockets are female anyway, so calling a receptacle with pins female is just even more confusing.

You need a break, but it's really hard to ignore by that point. Even the subconscious stuff the writers don't even realize they are writing.

Especially the subconscious stuff the writers don't even realize they are writing.

No one should need to be told comics are heavily symbolic. It's the pictures. Everyone needs at least a basic understanding of dramatic shorthand to understand a comic book. Visual symbolism is a given. The really fun part is when the plot gets symbolic. You can walk through it like a dream and isolate the hidden messages.

This isn't exclusive to the great writers. Sure, everybody knows when to expect a deeper meaning behind the action. The name is on the front cover, after all. I've learned to tune out the symbolism from Grant Morrison and Alan Moore for the first reading. It's not that I don't love it, it's that there's so many distractions I need to shut that part of my mind off to follow the plot. (Barring, of course, gender symbolism) I've learned to zero in on the plot to the detriment of the theme. Guys like Morrison and Moore understand multiple layers of symbolism. You can read their stories and find several different sets of meaning for most symbols, and work them together in ways that make sense. They're doing those on purpose. They give us exceptional symbolism.

I love the symbolism of the normal, though. Most writers have some level of understanding about symbolism, and they make up for it with instinct. That's when we get the stuff that just randomly fits together. The average work-for-hire writer who probably didn't mean to do that, but it fits and reinforces the point. The multiple writers who somehow string a secondary character's entire life under one central theme, while not even using her to further the same story objectives. And they keep falling into the same symbolic lessons. This way, the plot becomes part of the characterization. It just fits, beautifully.

That's really what I love about superhero comics. They are serialized fiction passed from writer to writer. We get to watch the continuity. We get the fun of digging the symbolism out of continuity, and making it whole so you can observe the entire picture. I enjoy having to work the little inconsistencies into a character's personality, and finding what was probably mischaracterization by an unfamiliar writer adds a deeper facet to a character. In the end, you not only get a complete picture of a three-dimensional human being, but an underlying lesson that has been reinforced repeatedly. Appearance after appearance.

It's why I prefer to ignore the writer. Elayne asked me about that in the comments once. "I persist in believing there are no bad characters," she said, "just badly-written (or badly-drawn) ones. I'm curious as to why you never mention the people who write and draw the characters you examine. These characters literally do not exist unless they're being written and drawn by a real person, so it stands to reason that any discussion of their "personalities" would need to touch on the actual people writing and drawing them." It's partly because it destroys the continuity. If something is "out of character" then a deeper aspect of the character that explains this behavior does not exist. It's pulling back the curtain and destroying the magic. It takes the fun out.

And besides, I have my favorites. I like some stories that really aren't very well-written or well-drawn because the symbolism spoke to me personally, or the plot, or just something the character did. I suspect some writers just think like I do, so their stories seem more valuable to me than arguably better crafted ones. I need to learn to stop getting defensive about certain writers, characters and stories. I usually fall back on the symbolism. That's when I can practically hear people sighing, and can see their eyes rolling from across the country. "You're reading too much into this" signals the end of a lot of online conversations for me. I also get "You're just looking for reasons to hate it!" too. When in actuality I'm looking for a reason why I hated it.

My thoughts on symbolism have gotten me blasted for the umpteenth time about a certain character. A character I examined hoping I'd start to like her again and came out much more disgusted than I was by her surface portrayal. I don't know why I'm so upset about it tonight. Maybe because no one else seems to think like I do. Maybe because I knew when I answered the question I'd get jumped on by bystanders. Maybe because I've laid out these reasons a few times before and I specifically said that they won't talk me into liking her. Maybe because earlier on the thread I expressed a small amount of sympathy for her fans. Maybe because I made a comemnt and brought it up, but I was just sick of the vitriol wasted on this character death, which probably won't even take. I just know I'm too angry to respond right now without getting into a huge fight.

(My apologies to those who saw the Helligan pics and expected a Seven Soldiers post.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

That's the Outsiders?

I'm still too tired to give you guys any worthwhile insights. Instead, you can go see Kalinara talk about ass-kicking females, Shelly talk about heroes killing, Scipio talking about Superman or Chris talk about the Hulk hitting things.

Me, I'm just going to make fun of the horrible fashion sense of OYL, as outlined in the revealed March Outsiders cover. (Devon was right on the last member)

Shouldn't be Spoilers since it's coming out this month, but here's a Warning and a cut anyway

First off, I hope Thunder's hair implies time-travel to the seventies and not just a return to that fashion. I mean, I'm not an advocate of the blonde wig (which actually wasn't bad, as wigs go, for a secret ID. The contrast of skin and hair color insured that no one paid attention to her distinguishing features, just the blondeness), but this a pretty dated look.

And if I never see that cleopatra bob on another Asian woman in the DCU it'll be too damned soon.

That must be the rumored False Nightwing. Dick's hair would never go so limp.

Grace actually looks pretty cool.

And then, there's Owen. Poor Owen. A pastel-blue bandana over an otherwise bare neck. A coat with that colllar. This outfit would work with a white shirt underneath the coat, but even for a Flash villain this is pretty bad.

And what is he doing with these people anyway? Didn't the DCU just spend two years making the Flash villains... y'know.. bad guys again? I hope he's a Sciety plant, or the whole team is evil now, because it would suck to finally get a Captain Boomerang who actually makes sense as a Flash villain ad then go and make him good

And does anyone else find his hair a bit... feminine?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Once again, too lazy for original content...

I've got dayshift again tomorrow (they have a brakes guy teaching us about electronics wire repair. It's not pretty), and it's getting late. So, here's some of the things I found instead of writing a new blog entry for you guys:

This Wednesday's Shipping List.

A good post on Emotional Predators -- I've fallen into this trap myself. A lot. I usually end up with with the paperwork at the office while everyone else goes out to the plane, because I can't tell my fat, desk-bound boss to find someone else and I haven't learned the fine art of delegation.

Kevin's thoughts.

A post from a woman trying to teach her daughter not to judge people by their clothing.

Some interesting images.

I cannot stop giggling when I watch this.

Scipio is not alone. (So far, she hasn't told any fairy tales.)

Why don't I read Blockade Boy more regularly?

A shopper stumbles across comic book culture. I'd ahve loved to have seen his face. Did he just stare at the site name and copy the link without looking, or did he explore the site and the opinions within, maybe leave with a new understanding of his fellow man.

Eh, probably not.

All of Whileaway is talking about writer Octavia Butler's death. I'd never heard of her before, but I'm inclined to track down some of her books. Surprisingly, I've only seen it discussed on feminist weblogs (that second one is Not Worksafe because of the background) so I was wondering if the rest of you guys knew.

And, to end on a brighter note. A lot of you have probably seen this, but it's become a guilty pleasure of mine. So positive. So sappy. So unlike me.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Best Let-Down Ever Written

This must be a blind first date. She's recoiling at his touch and getting an "emergency phone call."

And that is the best excuse not to stay with someone I have ever heard in my life.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Good Daughter

I've been complaining for quite some time about the female characters at DC who, because of certain aspects of their concept, send very uncomfortable anti-feminist messages and reinforce unfortunate stereotypes.

I've read about the younger, female versions of established male heroes.

I've read about a beautiful talented young woman who has strength and confidence but is so uncomfortable with leadership and direction that she turns from a warm caring person to a confrontational bitch when in a leadership position. She also reinforces the stereotype of the beautiful woman who leaves a positive, loving relationship to knock boots with a total sleeze.

I've read about a woman who became the only character in a certain franchise that I couldn't stand. The daughter of two powered parents, and the twin of a powered brother, she inherits powers from the father (as does her brother). In order to be a hero, she has to actively reject her birth mother and everything the woman stood for and embrace her father. She loses that inheritance in order to protect her male relatives, and starts to develop her mother's powers. These are immediately cast aside for a return of her paternally inherited powers, which can only happen through the help of her boyfriend! (This was still a nasty message even before it was retconned into a worse one) From there, she further descends into a symbolic cautionary tale.

I've read about the most skilled martial artist in the world, a 16 year old Asian girl. She is trained from an early age and built into a killing machine by a man who also trains her to complete silence. He is, at least implied to be, her father, and still plays a part in her life. She overturns this man's influence in favor of another father figure, and takes on the mantle of a woman -- who had taken on the mantle of that second father figure. Her mother.. Well, let's face it, this character's situation is a whole post in itself. I'm still waiting on my own copy, but it's got me more incensed than the above character (and I like this one!)

Then we have the female characters who started out with a bright happy future, only to have sexual trauma retroactively injected into their backstory for reasons I'm not quite sure of, but which could be: a) dramatic shorthand for female character strength, b) complete lack of respect for the issue, c) stupid writers, and d) "'Cause we kin't do that to a Guy!" Yeah, real enlightened.

And of course, there's the beautiful situation wherein Wonder Woman is forced to sacrifice everything she hopes for and believes in order to save Superman. She snapped the neck of a telepath who was (at that moment!) controlling Clark's mind. Sure, it wasn't as necessary as Superman's killing the 3 Kryptonian criminals who's power he had already permanently removed with gold kryptonite and who were posing absolutely no threat at the time, but you know, given that she was in a situation where she three options (Kill Max, Kill Clark, or get killed herself) I'd say we can give her a break. No, she gets villified. By the same guy (Holy Double Standard, Batman!) who was so accepting of Clark's confesson about the 3 Kryptonian criminals.

But that's all okay now. All of the above crap can be excused, because I have Manhunter.

(Spoilers for Manhunter #19, which I hope that you have read. If you haven't and have no intention of reading it, I hope this changes your mind.)

Keep Going

Yes, Manhunter, the most progressive female comic book character on the market.

Yes, Manhunter. Kate Spencer.

Yes, the same Kate Spencer who left her primary weapon out so her young son could find it and get hospitalized.

The remorseless killer who brutally slaughtered Copperhead.

Who blackmailed a man in the Witness Protection Program to fix her superhero equipment.

Who stole that superhero equipment from a Federal Evidence locker.

Who smokes in federal buildings.

Despite being a federal prosecutor.

Who sent a summons to the Justice League Headquarters.

Yes, that Manhunter.

Who'd you think I meant? One of the guys?

Kate's concept is awesome. She is the granddaughter of the JSA Founder, the Atom. It's possible (but not clear in any of the issues I own) that she inherited superstrength from him by way of her father, Walter Pratt. Kate's a legacy hero, but not as the Atom. She took a completely different legacy, the Manunter. She took it by way of stealing equipment from a federal evidence locker. A locker she had access to because of her career, a federal prosecuter which was her personal choice. Kate's power comes not form her paternal legacy, but from the suit and accompanying weapons that she acquired herself. Right there, she's past a conceptual problem that plagues female legacy characters.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to read the whole series (I have 7-12 and 16-17 on order right now) but I picked up 18 because of Todd Rice. I couldn't help but be struck by the role reversal inherent in the plot. Her ex-husband Peter is kidnapped, tied up and tortured (in a similar position, I believe, to Black Canary in the Longbow Hunters). He's being tormented by a predatory female villain. Kate is on the way to rescue him.

Right there I was thinking to myself, Andreyko is doing this on purpose. He's a subversive. There's role-reversal all over the place in this issue.

Kate's father, Walter Pratt, kidnaps her son Ramsey and her ex-husband Peter in the hope of getting a bone marrow transfusion. Kate's son is not a match, forcing him to go after Kate directly. This is good overturn of the cultural tradition that a male grandchild is worth more to the family than the daughter who bore the grandchild.

Usually, a gay couple in the supporting cast will be female (Maggie Sawyer and Toby, Lee and Leigh, a bunch of Amazons in Perez's run but two in particular who's names escape me). There are exceptions (Pied Piper doesn't count because he was almost always seen single, but there was Mikaal and Tony in Starman -- another comic book that liked to turn convention on its ear -- but Tony was a staunch background character with little personality other than he loved Mikaal) but generally lesbians are more prolific. Here it's a male couple, both of whom have well-developed personalities -- Todd's an established character brought in for Damon, and Damon is a resident supporting cast member tied to Kate since the first issue. They kiss in this issue, and a female secretary in the background watches with a dreamy expression. She's fantasizing.

There's other objectification of men by women in this book, mainly by Phobia, the female villain. She's aroused by Peter's fear, and goes out of her way to lay her hands all over Walter's body when he's waiting for surgery.

Like a traditional story centered on a female hero or any hero who is less than morally spotless, there is a pure-hearted huntsmen/white knight to help our hero fight her evil stepmother father. She (Cameron Chase) spent issue 18 seeking a magical technological artifact from one of Kate's allies. This ally commonly provides Kate with such weapons. Ladies and Gentlemen, the part of the Lady of the Lake in Manhunter will be played by Dylan Battles. (Yeah, that one seems like a reach, but he actually comes out ofa pool of water to give Cameron the teleportation device in issue 19 and I, with all of my reading where they drive home the point of the Goddess as Armorer in old Celtic Legends can't get past that -- I think even subconciously Andreyko is flipping stereotypes. Which, when you realize that even when they do try to flip stereotypes they usually subconciously reinforce them, is pretty damned impressive)

Any doubts I had that this stuff is on purpose were dispelled by the name of the villain's hideout -- "the old Marston place." It's a really unlikely coincidence to play with gender stereotypes in a comic book and then drop the name of Wonder Woman's creator.

And the next issue, we get to see her fight her Dad.

You see, Walt is a total bastard. He killed her mother. He's put her son and ex-husband in serious danger. He's pushing her around and insulting her.

Now, I suppose she's going to be a purehearted heroine here. She's going to be merciful and help save his life and forgive him his wrongs even as he's incarcerated for the rest of his natural life, right? That's what any child in the father emnity stories does. She redeems the family through love. That's how you keep a woman sympathetic, right?

Wrong. She gets to go all the way here. He doesn't get to be the redeemed father figure. He gets stomped like an evil mother/stepmother -- and nobody regrets his death (especially the reader).

Even better, he gets stomped personally by her. She not only denies him his lifesaving medical treatment (for which her bone marrow, and the villainous Dr Moon -- the male villain Kate killed last issue -- are necessary), she fights him to the death. And she mouths off to him during the fight. That's the fun part.

And yes, there is intervention when the fight turns against Kate. By Cameron, who delivers the teleportation device that Kate uses to fry her father.

After this, we find out that the battle caused a miscarriage. Peter Hernandez feels this was a weak story point -- "The only problem with the conclusion was with the final scene and the miscarriage. Only because it was like Walt getting the last laugh as he hurts Kate one final time...and hasn’t he already hurt her enough?"

I think it's just more of the death imagery that surrounds Kate. For starters, she smokes. Smoking is beyond simply representing someone's attitude towards society. It's beyond emphasizing crankiness (effectively done with her contrast to the optimistc, fair-haired Damon). Every message we get in our society drives home the point that cigarettes are connected to cancer and slow lingering death. Kate, most often shown with a cigarette, is toking death.

She is a dark haired woman in red. Now, I know a few of you are going "Hey, that's sex, isn't it?" Maybe with someone else, but Kate's red costume also includes really sharp clawed gauntlets and white eye-lenses. This is blood we're looking at. To me in particular this calls to mind menstration and the associated dark goddesses (Morrigan, Kali, Hecate -- You know, the death goddesses) but I may still be thinking of Shining Knight.

In her first story arc, she kills Copperhead. Copperhead's a snake villain. Snakes are heavily symbolic of rebirth and eternal life.

Her costume is a suit of armor two men have died in. She has the gauntlets that belonged to Azrael, the replacement Batman who is famous for going too far and killing people. Her primary weapon, as Chris testifies, is a "staff belonging to Deathstroke the Frigg'n Terminator"

I've heard superheroes in DC referred to as "the gods" occasionally and compared to the Greek Pantheon a few times. If this is the case, Kate's one of the dark goddesses. She's very much about endings. She's a character that takes us into the "after the battle" aspect of superheroics. She takes the villain to trial and works to get him punished for his crimes. If Justice isn't served at the bench, she takes it on herself to play executioner and end things once and for all.

Her weak spot is being a mother (she fails as a parent in the same way Golden Age male superheroes did, by her absence and dedication to justice), possibly because Motherhood is full of beginnings and middles. That's not her realm. Compassion isn't where Kate's comfortable, because compassion isn't direct and blunt like she is. Compassion prolongs things.

Does this make her unlikeable? Perhaps.

Does this make her interesting and complex? Definitely.

Does she fill a niche that is vacant in the DCU? You bet she does, on more than one level.

I've yet to see a negative review about Manhunter. I've heard several bloggers, like Scipio and Heidi recommend it (but not post on it). When I do see reviews, they tend towards the postive.

I just feel bad it took me so long to notice this book.