Another Fine Myth, by Robert Asprin – I remember coming across references to the Myth Adventures series years ago and thinking they sounded kind of interesting (hey, I like puns), but I never got around to reading one of them until now. I’d seen them compared to Piers Anthony, whom I generally like even if I think his recent books are mired a little too much in Creepy Old Man Fantasy territory. This one really seems to be set up as the beginning of a series, as it has some quite ambitious world-building but little actual plot. A magician’s apprentice named Skeeve teams up with a demon named Aahz to try to stop a powerful wizard disguised as an innkeeper from taking over the world. There’s a heavy element of trickery involved, with most of the characters double-crossing each other at some time or other. About the only somewhat honest one is the demon hunter Quigley, who is incredibly gullible. A central concept to the work is that of different planes interacting with each other, most of them with jokey names: Deva for Deveels, Imper for Imps, Perv for Pervects (whom everyone wants to call “Perverts,” which annoys Aahz), and Klah for Klahds (basically just run-of-the-mill humans). It’s a little light on story, but it’s amusing throughout and works pretty well for a setup. I have the next book in the series on hold at the library.
Darkwing Duck: Crisis on Infinite Darkwings, by Ian Brill and James Silvani – The recent Angry Video Game Nerd review of the terrible Darkwing game for TurboGrafx 16 made me remember that I hadn’t checked the library system for volumes of this comic from Boom! Studios. You may recall that I read The Duck Knight Returns a few years ago. Since then, there’s apparently been some controversy over the authorship of the comics, and there’s been a reprint of most of the series with much of Brill’s dialogue replaced. Also, the last few issues were declared non-canonical due to such controversial elements as Darkwing and Gizmoduck both revealing their secret identities, which is kind of a shame as I understand they pit Darkwing against the Phantom Blot. Since he was essentially Disney’s first supervillain, it makes a lot of sense. Anyway, this volume collects Issues 5-8, focusing on Negaduck’s team-up with Magica de Spell to tarnish Darkwing’s reputation by bringing in and brainwashing his equivalents from other universes. These include a few versions of Darkwing who had appeared on the show before, most notably Dark Warrior Duck who was a potential dangerously overzealous crimefighter from a future in which Gosalyn had disappeared. There are also references to other comic heroes and characters with other alternate Darkwings, including the Silver Surfer, Mr. Fantastic, Aquaman, Rorschach, Popeye, Zorro, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Darth Vader, Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Winged Monkeys, and even Roger Rabbit.
It’s fun seeing how many variations they came up with. Darkwing’s girlfriend Morgana McCawber returns, as does a one-time villain who fed on suffering. While the series maintains continuity with the show (perhaps even better than the show did with itself, as it acknowledges the two Negaducks), one thing I do wonder is why it’s such a big deal that Negaduck discovered where Darkwing lived when he lives in the exact same house in the Negaverse. The next volume is apparently on order with the library, but I can’t place a hold on it yet. I’ll have to check back later. I understand it’s the one that introduces Duckthulhu.
Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis – This time travel story involves a woman from a future Oxford being sent back to time when the bubonic plague hit England. It’s definitely written and constructed quite adeptly, but it really didn’t hold my interest that much. Maybe I only like time travel when it’s used in a purposely ridiculous fashion.