Infected and Will Eisner's The Spirit: Who Killed The Spirit?

Infected

I was reading a medical report the other day and saw that the physician's assistant had made an error. It was supposed to say patient states she sees bugs crawling into her skin. Instead the report said patient states she sees bugs crawling out of her skin.

I don't know about you but the idea of bugs crawling into your skin is pretty bad but bugs crawling out seems so much worse. How many are there? What were they doing in there? How long were they in there? If these kinds of questions give you the willies and you enjoy being scared then you will definitely enjoy Scott Sigler's novel Infected.

I'm sure I read this a few years ago but I don't really remember what I thought of it then. My impression is that I didn't think it was terrible but I also didn't think it was terrific. This time around I really enjoyed it.

Infected is the intertwined stories of several different people who are intimately impacted by a type of parasite that is building weird little structures inside of people and making them go violently crazy. We see things from the perspective of the lead CDC agent, a Vietnam war vet who is in charge of containing the violence, and an enormous football player who has had a lifelong problem controlling his temper.

Naturally the football player gets infected. Nicknamed Scary Perry during his professional football days, he ends up with several of parasites growing in various parts of his anatomy, including the most delicate part of a man. Perry has an incredible drive to survive and, thanks in part to his football training, has an almost inhuman ability to keep going despite pain. As the parasites grow and he realizes the seriousness of the infection his efforts to eradicate them ramps up to gruesome levels.

While Infected raises a strong sense of anxiety, it's also pretty funny in parts. At one point the parasites begin to mentally communicate with Perry and they call him the same names that he's called them. So every time they speak to him they call him either fucker or sonofabitch. I don't know why but I found it completely hilarious. At one point he's watching television, which they don't understand, and he tells them that he was talking to Columbo, the television detective of days of yore. They equate Colombo with the soldiers that have been trying to eradicate them and soon has Perry also calling the soldiers Columbos, another image that tickled me.

Fairly gruesome and graphic in parts, you might need a strong stomach to finish this one. But if you enjoy horror and horrifying images that you'll love this book.

You can listen to the entire audio book for free here: http://podiobooks.com/title/infected

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Will Eisner's The Spirit: Who Killed The Spirit?

I just finished reading an advanced review copy (a free copy to read before the book comes out, for review purposes) of Will Eisner's The Spirit: Who Killed The Spirit? This is a compilation of the first few comics in the series revival. While I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Eisner and what he accomplished, I've never actually read the Spirit before so it's difficult for me to say whether this new series lives up to the old series.

But that doesn't mean I can't judge it on its own. At the beginning of the series The Spirit, who is apparently what they used to call a “a red-blooded, two-fisted,he-man”, is missing. He is a sort of a detective who wears a mask and is excellent at getting in and out of tight spots. He is believed to be dead as the story begins but no one is sure. As the balance of power is about to shift in the hierarchy of the police station, several different people set out on the Spirit's trail. The most interesting of these is probably the duo of Strunk and White (I know, all of the names are quite silly, which I assume is Mr. Eisner's doing), a pair of very young Private Eyes. I'm not sure how young they're supposed to be, but they're young enough that people are surprised to see them working adult jobs.

They start going through the Spirit's files and interviewing all the villains with whom he's interacted. This is a terrific way for the new reader to get caught up on the Spirit's background. We see a fairly wide variety of bad guys and gals but I was disappointed in the villainesses. They're all drawn wearing slinky clothes and they all seem to have the hots for the Spirit. I would think that if I were a mastermind criminal I'd have more important and interesting things on my mind then some dude who likes to punch people.

However it's still an entertaining adventure story that's worth a quick read. The book debuts on the 25th of October and is available for preorder.

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Bonus Treat:

This week's bonus treat is a one minute video of someone flying a giant octopus kite. I find it a little frightening, probably because it reminds me of War of the Worlds.