42 Word Reviews

The Black Archive #29: The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon

The Black Archive #29: The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon by John Toon (Obverse Books, 2019) A slim volume given the double episode. Toon touches on conspiracy theories (as a tonal setting) and the nomenclature of historical stories, while concentrating mainly on the moral ambiguity of the Doctor’s actions. Some easily digestible philosophical points are tabled for discussion.…


Zombieland dir. Ruben Fleischer (2009) Zombieland strikes that hugely unusual balance between the serious and the comedic to produce—go figure—an enjoyable zombie apocalypse. The violence is graphic and over-the-top but Harrelson and Eisenberg play well off each other; plus there’s a cameo for the ages.    

Doctor Who: The King’s Dragon

Doctor Who: The King’s Dragon by Una McCormack (BBC, 2010); audiobook read by Nicholas Briggs (AudioGO, 2011) Somewhat drawn-out, like an old four-parter told over six episodes. Nonetheless, McCormack tells a steady tale amidst the obligatory befriendings, betrayals and plot-twisting volte-faces. The support cast has some depth and the Doctor, Rory and Amy are spot-on. Nick Briggs reads well.  …

Reaper, Season 2

Reaper, Season 2 created by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters (The CW, 2009) In its second season (and last before cancellation), Reaper sheds the underlying credibility necessary to carry its oddball humour. The storylines feature too little reaping and too much of Bert and Ben’s bromance and relationship issues. A dash more seriousness was required.    

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Ice Age: Continental Drift dir. Steve Martino & Michael Thurmeier (2012) The Ice Age family continues to grow, affording each member no more than a rudimentary character arc. The latest storyline is equally superficial, yet packed with comedy moments. Continental Drift disappoints as a feature film; as a 90-minute cartoon, it succeeds brilliantly.    

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Books 1-5

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Books 1-5 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (Simon & Schuster, 2003-2004) audiobooks read by Mark Hamill (Random House Audio) A middle-grade series about magical creatures and sibling relationships. Each individual book is quite slight but when read together they build into something of a page-turner. The audiobook editions afford an appropriate outlet for Mark Hamill’s characteristic,…