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Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#21
BOOK 20

Persona 5 volume 4, by Hisato Murasaki, from the video game by Atlus.

So, here we are with the fourth volume of the Persona 5 manga adaptation. This manga marks the end of the Madarame Palace arc, and the beginning of the Kaneshiro Palace arc. But how would it go?

The confrontation between the Phantom Thieves and Madarame is hard-won, but they prevail, ensuring that Madarame confesses his crimes. But now, even as the Phantom Thieves celebrate their victory, other forces have taken notice. Driven and ruthless prosecutor Sae Nijima of the SIU believes there to be a link between the Phantom Thieves and the Mental Shutdowns affecting Japanese citizens. Meanwhile, her boss has coerced the oleaginous Principal Kobayakawa into investigating who the Phantom Thieves may be, something Kobyakawa delegates to Sae’s own sister, Makoto. With the offer of a university recommendation at stake, Makoto must decide between her ambitions and her conscience…

After the Madarame battle, this volume pretty much adapts a transitional stage between story arcs from the game. For that reason, once that battle is over, it’s more about the fallout. In addition, this is the part where Ryuji begins to get increasingly irritating as a character, and it shows.

Still, this stuff is still adapted fairly well. Madarame’s fight has some interesting moments in the adaptation, and Makoto is portrayed significantly more sympathetically from the get-go. And we have the proper debut of Goro Akechi, a pivotal character in the story.

Overall, this was a good adaptation of an excellent game. I’m looking forward to more…


****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#22
BOOK 21

Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii by James Moran.

The recent release of a number of new series Doctor Who stories as novelisations has been something I anticipated. But how well would this adaptation of The Fires of Pompeii fare? Let’s find out…

The Doctor and Donna land in Pompeii in the distant past, and soon discover, to their horror, that the infamous eruption of Mt Vesuvius is imminent. But their arguments about the ethics of allowing the inhabitants to die is curtailed when the TARDIS is sold off. And soon, the Doctor and Donna learn of strange miracles of prophecy being foretold by soothsayers and priestesses, all true…but none accepting that Vesuvius’ eruption is nigh. Behind it is a plot by the Pyrovile, a race of volcanic aliens who intend to usurp humanity on this world, and the Doctor and Donna will soon be faced with the ultimate dilemma…

The plot of the original was a touch on the lightweight side, a side effect of the episode being only 45 minutes long, as well as being a mostly-generic story on the whole. Certainly, there’s no significant expansion like there was for the novelisations of Dalek or Rose, which I think could have helped this novelisation immensely. And the coda at the end of the story, after the final televised scene, feels unnecessary.

That being said, it’s still an entertaining yarn with a very poignant moral dilemma, with the Doctor and Donna clashing over the morals and ethics of allowing the inhabitants of Pompeii to die. There’s also some small expansion on the story, giving some further, albeit minuscule, insight into the characters. And certainly, Donna’s POV, while it could easily have been as grating and annoying as the character herself in her debut, actually gives some perspective to one of the most human of the Doctor’s companions.

Overall, this was a pretty good novelisation of a Doctor Who story. Here’s hoping there’s more quality novels around…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#23
BOOK 22

Persona 5 volume 5, by Hisato Murasaki, from the video game by Atlus.

Once more, I’ve come to the manga adaptation of Persona 5. But how well would this volume turn out? Let’s find out…

Makoto Nijima is on the tail of the Phantom Thieves. But after learning of a crime boss entrapping students into doing his bidding, she decides to test them. In order to see whether they are just, she blackmails them into discovering who the crime boss is, and giving them a Change of Heart, lest she give evidence to the police. As the Phantom Thieves discover the crime boss’ name to be Junya Kaneshiro, Makoto, spurred by heartless remarks from her sister, takes matters into her own hands. But will she prove to be a liability to the Phantom Thieves, or their greatest asset yet?

It feels like the pace has gotten bogged down somewhat in this volume. I feel more than a few scenes could have been abridged a little. In addition, as noted before, Morgana’s Metaverse form’s design in this manga isn’t that great, and I feel that Sae is shown as too cold and not sympathetic enough, as she was in the game.

However, the character moments present in the game are still mostly present here. Makoto is portrayed more sympathetically from the get-go, her smug nature in the game reduced. Her Persona Awakening is portrayed with all the gravitas and awesomeness required.

Overall, this was a good volume of a good adaptation. Here’s looking forward to more…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#24
BOOK 23

Dr Who & The Daleks: The Official Story of the Films, by John Walsh.


The irony is, I actually watched the movie adaptations of the first two Dalek stories from Doctor Who long before I watched the TV serials themselves. While the movies are still controversial in the fandom to some degree, they are also remembered fondly by many. So, how would this book work out?

1965, and Dalekmania was at its height. The movie industry has taken notice of the Daleks, and of Doctor Who. An ambitious attempt at adapting the first Dalek serial is undertaken, starring Peter Cushing as Dr Who, with a second film later adapted. This, then, is the story of those films…

I’ll be honest, I was somewhat disappointed. I thought there’d be way more anecdotes about the filming of these two films, as well as comparing them to the original serials and discussing those original serials. Instead, it felt somewhat like everything was glossed over and abridged, with this book more about the gloss than the substance.

Still, this book is very well-presented, and what information there is is good. We have insight into the films via interviews not only with the cast and crew (including the late, great Peter Cushing), but also with Jason Flemyng, the actor son of film director Gordon Flemyng. And we do have some acknowledgement of the source material and how it was adapted.

Overall, this was a decent book, but a disappointing one. A shame, really, as the tale of these films should be told…

***½
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#25
BOOK 24

Persona 5 volume 6, by Hisato Murasaki, from the video game by Atlus.

So, here we are with the sixth volume of the Persona 5 manga. But how would this new volume of this video game adaptation stack up? Let’s find out…

Having gained the power of a Persona and newfound confidence in herself, Makoto Nijima opts to join the Phantom Thieves in earnest to stop Junya Kaneshiro. But tangling with a crime boss won’t be easy, especially when his Palace is a bank with all sorts of security protocols. Can they give this vicious crime lord a Change of Heart?

As before, this volume has a few issues. As mentioned before, Morgana’s Metaverse form seems out of whack, and he is joined by Kaneshiro’s Shadow after he transforms, the effect no doubt intended to look grotesque, but instead seemingly too comic. And the pacing issues mentioned before come into play, with the rest of Kaneshiro’s Palace feeling a touch rushed.

However, it’s still a very enjoyable volume. The fight against Kaneshiro and his Piggytron mecha translates surprisingly well to the printed page, and the All-Out Attack finishing the fight off also manages to translate well enough. It also showcases more of Makoto’s character arc in this part of the story, and to her benefit.

Overall, this was still quite an enjoyable volume of an enjoyable adaptation. I look forward to more…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#26
BOOK 25

Doctor Who: The Androids of Tara by David Fisher.

As mentioned before, David Fisher went back and wrote special novelisations of two of his Doctor Who stories, previously adapted by Terrance Dicks, for audiobooks. These audiobooks have since been published as new novelisations. The Stones of Blood was disappointing, but how would The Androids of Tara work out?

The next segment of the Key to Time is on Tara, a world where the feudal system exists side by side with androids created by the lower classes. The Doctor intends to do a spot of fishing, while Romana is confident she will find the next segment with no trouble at all. Unfortunately, both get unwillingly embroiled in the politics of Tara, with Romana kidnapped by Count Grendel of Gracht for her resemblance to Princess Strella, while the Doctor is forcibly conscripted into helping Prince Reynart and his guards fix an android double. Can the Doctor and Romana disentangle themselves from this web of intrigue?

The story is still something of a lightweight one, and fairly obvious a pastiche of The Prisoner of Zenda. I also noticed that David Fisher, rather unnecessarily in my opinion, trimmed or abridged various pieces of dialogue. And I feel the Doctor and Romana could have done more in this adaptation to address the inequalities of Tara, even if it was only by persuading the royals after all is said and done.

Still, unlike the new adaptation of The Stones of Blood, this novelisation actually manages to be quite the improvement over the original adaptation. Fisher actually takes the opportunity to expand on the lore of Tara and its culture, as well as the history of Grendel, Strella, and Lamia, giving some much-needed texture to these characters. What’s more, despite the lightweight plot, it’s still a fairly entertaining story.

Overall, this was a good adaptation, a marked improvement not only over the original novelisation, but over The Stones of Blood. Not great, but entertaining enough…

****
 

Quatermass

Sergeant-at-Arms
Dec 7, 2010
7,424
2,950
#27
BOOK 26

Invincible Ultimate Collection volume 1, by Robert Kirkman et al.

I had been aware of the comic series Invincible for some time, but I’d never gotten around to reading it. With the advent of the recent animated series, it seemed like as good as time as any to begin actually reading it. But would it do well?

Mark Grayson is the son of Nolan Grayson, aka Omni-Man, the world’s most powerful superhero. Omni-Man is a Viltrumite who has chosen to defend Earth from all kinds of threats, fighting alongside many other superheroes. Mark, meanwhile, is stuck in a part-time job, the hazards of high school, and fumbling through attempts at romance, the trials and travails of being a teenager. Of course, when his powers finally kick in, this changes. Mark begins revelling in his new powers, using them to stop crime and help others. But even as Mark enjoys being a teenaged superhero, he not only has to deal with new threats, but a dark secret his father has been hiding for years…

I have to admit, in some ways, Invincible was a touch disappointing. Some of the characters weren’t as developed as I had been hoping, especially Debbie Grayson, the mother of the titular character and the wife of Omni-Man. I also think more could have been done to flesh out the Guardians of the Globe, who get one chapter to themselves before being unceremoniously killed off, and I feel the plot could have been a bit more dense.

Yet there’s no denying that this book was an enjoyable one. The relationship between Mark and Nolan in particular is the highlight of the volume, and the twist around Nolan’s true purpose on Earth, even knowing it’s coming, still hits with a hammerblow. Other characters like Eve and Cecil are interesting too, and I’m glad that the story isn’t just about the darker corners of superheroism, but also about some of the lighter stuff as well.

Overall, while not as great as I had hoped, this volume of Invincible was a very promising start to the series. Here’s hoping it goes from strength to strength…


****
 

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