Friday, November 25, 2016

So Many Comics

I have so many comics I'm reading these days, I might need to cut back. Some will end soon or are limited series, but that still leaves a lot. This batch of reviews covers at least two weeks and I still have the new Harley Quinn to read.

Frostbite 3
This dystopian story based on a world trapped by a new Ice Age is intriguing. Characters are dropping like flies and there's a cat-and-mouse chase on the ice and I really want to see where this ends up. And I love the art.

Eclipse 3
This dystopian story is set in a reality where a solar flare has made the surface of Earth deadly during the day. There's a mystery, but the characters aren't as interesting as Frostbite's, and while the art is nice, I like the art on Frostbite more. They do make a nice duo, though.

Bitch Planet 9
Grieving her death, and angry, too, Meiko's father has taken control of the prison's computer system and opens the cell doors. The expected chaos ensues. Given the current political climate in the US, and even elsewhere where women's rights are concerned, this comic is more timely than ever. "Non-Compliant" means so much right now.

Captain Marvel 10
And this book mercifully comes to a conclusion as we move on to an issue 0 next time. Carol ended up not being quite the uncaring bitch she's seemed lately, but I'm still not happy with this take on the character. The art was bland, too.

Blue Beetle 3
Jaime wants rid of the scarab, so reluctantly goes to Ted for help. If I had a clue where this is going, I might enjoy it more, but right now, it's just a mess with not much having really happened to this point. I'll give it a few more issues to charm me the way the original did.

Titans 5
Still focusing on Wally. I want to see more of the Titans team, and maybe, given Wally's sacrifice in this, we will see the rest of the team deal with things next issue. Still, they're the Titans of the past, true to character, and that makes me happy.

Flash 11
The Shade needs Barry's help fighting his trouble-making shadows. This book continues to entertain.

Wonder Woman 11
Things on Themyscria aren't what they seem. Meanwhile, Etta is suspicious of Sasha, apparently with good reason. I so love this book.

DC Bombshells 19
Featuring the Batgirls. Usually, the standalone Batgirls chapters are my favorites, but this was a bit off. Mostly, Harvey got his Two-Face look.

Jessica Jones 2
I have no idea what the heck is going on here. Jessica is acting more dysfunctional than usual, her mother is taking care of the baby, and Jessica's latest case fall apart. This book is on the cusp for me, and that makes me sad. I wanted it to be great. I hoped it would be great. Right now, it's just meh.

Kill or be Killed 4
The first arc ends in a cliffhanger. Noir at its best.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Some Comics

I'm falling behind again. I think I'll need to drop the borderline titles. I've got to many to read each month now.

Anyway, here's what I did read these past two weeks.

Nightwing 9
An odd little story between story arcs, with Dick having some really bad dreams and the new Superman helping out. Not bad.

Green Arrow 11
The dangerous train ride nears its end. Good stuff here.

Superman 11
Supes and Bats force their sons to work together. It goes about as well as one would expect, which is, not well, at all. Fun.

Gotham Academy 3
Concluding chapter for a fun witchy tale.

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte 2 
For a normally darkish comic, this story took a darker turn than previous stories, as Lady M gets to the bottom of the evil plaguing the town and that evil plots vengeance on her and the town. I really like this steampunk comic.

Captain America: Steve Rogers 7
This is slowing down as, I suppose, it has to keep pace with the rest of the Civil War tie-ins. More flashbacks, more hints of Steve's plan, but I'm ready to see where this will end up.

Supergirl 3
I really hate the art in this. Supergirl learns what her bizarro father's plan is. Supergirl is my all-time favorite character, but I'm considering dropping this. I hate the art and the story hasn't grabbed me. Did I mention I hate the art?

Lumberjanes Gotham Academy 6
A heart-warming conclusion to a fun story about arrested development and teen angst/disappointment. If I wasn't looking to drop comics, I might start reading Lumberjanes.

Flash 10
Kid Flash tries to prove himself by taking on the new Shadow villain. Kind of made me think of the story arc in the TV show where Wally is trying to get super speed so he can be like Barry.

Superwoman 4
Lana confronts the new Lois while the dead Lois haunts her. I love this comic and I love this version of Lana.

Wonder Woman 10
Set in the past, Diana and her new friends go to a mall, where trouble, naturally, forces her to show off her mad skills. Just wonderful, as usual.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Weekly Reviews First Batch

Another big week for comics. I might soon have to drop the iffy titles -- I'm looking at you, Blue Beetle! -- so I can better keep up. Especially, since I keep adding titles.

Champions 2
The newly formed team goes camping so they can bond. It's as cute and precious as you'd think.

Superman 10
Jon Kent/Superboy meets Damian Wayne/Robin and it's as explosive as you'd think, especially when their dads get involved. Damian thinks he needs to keep an eye on the super amateur, especially given that Jon is still in the process of discovering his powers. This storyline is intended to lead into the upcoming Super Sons book, another title I plan to add to my reading list.

Action 966
I'm not reading Action. Really. I just bought this and the previous issue for the Lois-centric story. This is the concluding chapter and it's pretty emotional, with Lana telling the other Lois what happened to her Lois, and the other Lois uses the password Lana's Lois had sent her to access a file on that Lois' computer. (Confused yet?) The file is a doozy, with that Lois saying she's probably gone if Lois is watching the video and asking her to continue her work. Which Lois decides to do, taking the deceased Lois' place at the Daily Planet. A nice interlude in the midst of whatever else is going on in this book.

Green Arrow 10
Nothing beats an assassins-on-a-speeding-train story. Things get complicated quickly. I love this book.

Frostbite 2
Our wanted trio gather supplies and a vehicle for their trip north in this new ice age story. I'm still not sure about this, but the art is really nice and I feel cold just looking at it.

Nightwing 8
Wow. I can't say enough good things about this. So many writers have tried to fill in or alter character backgrounds over the years, and the New 52 was a DCU-wide attempt at it, and so many of those efforts fail or fall flat or get ignored. At least, that's how I usually feel about stories altering reader perceptions of Batman or Flash or Superman. But for some reason, when it comes to Dick Grayson, there are more successes than failures for me. The New 52 Nightwing was one of the few New 52 titles I read, and I loved how the circus Dick grew up in became part of the Owls storyline that permeated the Bat books. It enriched the character without diminishing his history, and of course, this was a different Dick Grayson than pre-New 52, yet he remained so recognizable. I didn't read the Grayson comic in single issues because I was annoyed by his secret identity being outed and his death faked, but I've been reading it in trades and loving it because Dick gets to be the best version of himself. And now in his Rebirth Nightwing book, we get the best of all versions. The way Raptor tied into Dick's history, the way Dick remains a positive, hopeful character despite everything Raptor has tried to do to change that, the way the story concluded with this chapter has made it one of my favorite Dick Grayson stories ever.

I'll admit, I was skeptical when I heard Dick was getting a new mentor, but I've learned to not believe hype all that much. So much of it is misdirection. But I remained wary as I read the first chapters, unsure where things were going, but I soon realized this was really personal for Raptor. He seemed to have a real stake in bringing Dick to his view of the world, to force Dick to choose his way over Batman's way. But Dick, bless his heart, despite a few missteps, never wavered. His flaw, as always, was trusting too much and yet, that proved to be not a flaw, but his, and Bruce's, salvation. That's what Dick has always represented in the Batman and Robin dynamic. Hope. Dick tries to find the best in people. He doesn't always succeed, but I don't want him to ever stop trying. And that last page was everything.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Superman American Alien

Superman: American Alien
by Max Landis and various artists

I've seen this on a number of suggested reading lists, and it sounded interesting, so I gave this compilation of the mini-series a try. It's a wonderful story re-imagining Superman's origin story, with the focus on key points in Clark Kent's life as he discovers his powers at a young age and slowly grows into becoming Superman. In this version, he doesn't know he's from a planet called Krypton, and his friends and at least some of the people in Smallville, most notably, the sheriff, know he's super-powered. As a teenager, he encounters Oliver Queen when he's mistaken for the almost never seen, rich playboy Bruce Wayne. As a journalism student/Daily Planet intern, he meets Lois Lane and gets to interview both Lex Luthor and a young Dick Grayson, new ward of Bruce Wayne. And during it all, he comes to terms with his abilities. It feels like a smaller, more personal story than Busiek's "Secret Identity." That story also hit on key points of Clark's life, but more clearly had a larger story in mind, as Clark had to grapple with trying to keep his privacy in a world that sought to understand and control him. That story also benefited from one artist handling each chapter. While I liked all the art in this one, the change of artist from chapter to chapter -- or issue to issue -- is jarring, and disruptive to the narrative flow. At times, it didn't seem to be one long story, but more a series of vignettes, which is fine, but a bit less than it could have been.

I really enjoyed this, but I don't think it quite lives up to hype. This Clark seemed to not be as serious, as earnest, as dedicated as the Clark I know and love and during so much of the story, I didn't feel as if I really knew him. His journey to maturity is worth reading, but I'll admit I was hoping for something a bit more.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Comics Galore

First, though, Happy Halloween!

Now to the reviews, late as usual.

Steve Rogers Captain America 6
More reworked flashbacks to fill out Steve's backstory, plus some Civil War II scenes that mean little to me because I'm not reading Civil War II. Apparently, Spider-Man is predicted to kill Cap in the future. This issue felt like it was mostly just treading water, filler in service of the Civil War II storyline. Not the strongest issue in the series.

Serenity 1
"No Power in the 'Verse" begins. Mostly, we get caught up with the crew as they take on a new mission. Nice start.

Ms. Marvel 12
Kamala tries to regroup on a vacation in India, visiting family, but she can't help playing hero, which, of course, leads to her learning something about herself. Still one of Marvel's best comics.

Blue Beetle 2
So far, this is such a disappointment. Lots of Jaime/Ted banter, almost no sightings of Jaime's friends and family, and, well, I'd comment on the story, but nothing much seems to have happened of consequence, other than Jaime finding out his mother is playing medic for the posse. To be honest, I can't comment much without reading it again. It's been only two days since I read it and I've already forgotten most of what happened. Not a good sign.

Wonder Woman 9
Back in Washington, DC, Diana and Etta take Barbara Ann shopping, then Diana and Steve spend some quality time catching up and talking about feelings. And it's all wonderful.

Flash 9
Wally West the second meets Wally West the first. The art could be better, but the cover is nice and the story was fun.

Titans 4
So far, this is a Wally Flash book, but that's okay. I hope once we get past Kadabbra trying to erase Wally again, using a captured Linda as bait, we'll get to more character development for the rest of the team.

Saga 39
The best comic ever (I really think of it that way) covers a bit of territory. Hazel deals with losing Izabel, Petrichor heads out to try to find her, The Will is fired, and there's the usual overload of feels. (I can't believe I wrote "feels.")

Descender 16
Mostly a flashback, filling in Driller's backstory. The actual story is moving at a glacial pace, but the universe is fascinating.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Quick Takes

Every week, it seems these days, I have a stack of new comics to read. Thanks to Rebirth, I'm reading more comics than I have in decades. And thanks to New 52 which turned me away from DC and inspired me to try all the other comics (Marvel, Image) titles I'm still reading. So, it's been an eclectic week.

Astro City 40
The end of a delightful 2-part story with the moral that being an ordinary (mostly) person (lawyer) doesn't mean you can't be a hero, especially a hero for a superhero. Still one of the best comics being published.

Black Widow 7
I'm enjoying the story. I'm not enjoying this depiction of Natasha as much. If I could meld the Natasha from her most previous book with this story, it would be perfect. It's not the cold, nasty edge to Natasha so much as the lack of emotional depth, something the previous book had explored.

Doom Patrol 2
I love Doom Patrol, so I'm giving this DC's Young Animal title a chance, but I'm coming to suspect I'm far from the intended audience. I have no idea what's going on and worse, I don't really care. I'll give it another issue or two.

Gotham Academy 2
A witch's coven is causing trouble as the rest of the students report for the new semester. Fun, as usual.

Green Arrow 9
Dinah, Ollie, and Diggle find themselves in the middle of a weird domestic dispute on the mystery island. Not bad, but I'm looking forward to a return to civilization.

Harley Quinn 6
Harley and gang go undercover as a rock group and it's as weird as you'd think. The book is still the wacky mess it's always been, but I think I'm starting to tire of it.

Kill or be Killed 3
Dylan obsesses over his first kill, then hangs out with Kira, his best friend and the woman he loves, but she's with someone else and that's driving Dylan crazy, too. Ed Brubaker, the king of comic book noir, is at his best here and Sean Phillips is acing the art. A compelling read.

Mockingbird 8
The last issue of this odd little book. I would've liked a more serious comic for Bobbi, but the light touch here with really made the book fun. I hope they bring Mockingbird back in her own book at some point.

Nightwing 7
And... we're back to the real story! Dick discovers Raptor's obsession with him goes way back, to before he was born, all the way to Dick's mother and the Flying Graysons. I can't wait for the next issue.

Superman 9
Supes and Jon try to escape from Dinosaur Island. It helps to have read Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier, but it's not a requirement. A nice conclusion to the story. I love Superman's relationship with his son.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Comic Reviews

Comic reviews, but still not all I have here to read.

First up is Champions 1, which SallyP reviewed favorably and said I would like, and she's right! This junior Avengers, or rather, junior non-Avengers title is charming. Featuring Ms. Marvel, who quit the Avengers when she feels the Avengers aren't taking their responsibilities as seriously as they should when it comes to the destruction left in the wake of their rescues, the first issue follows her as she puts together a new team with Spider-Man, Nova (who is new to me), Hulk, and Viv Vision. This is a fun start for a new title.

Lumberjanes Gotham Academy 5 (of 6)
It's looking less likely by the issue that the gang will be able to break free of the stuck in time house, and now they've ticked off their hostess. Plus, Maps has been hurt! I hope there are more team-ups of these two groups after this concludes, because I'm loving it.

Supergirl 2
Kara makes a friend at school, maybe, and deals with her Bizarro dad. The story is meh, but the art sucks. I love Supergirl and want to support this, especially since they're making a sincere attempt to reboot her properly, meaning in a non-sexualized way, but I don't think I can put up with this art much longer. Too many sharp angles on the bodies, long fingers that look like claws, heads that look like carved blocks of wood.... Yuck!

Lazarus 25
While the battle for Western Europe rages on, Johanna tells Forever the truth about her creation as the Carlyle family Lazarus. This book is so damned good.

Superwoman 3
Lena explains her revenge plot to a helpless Lex, while Lana and Steel deal with a power failure. I'm really enjoying this and the art by Lupacchino and McCarthy is really nice.

Action Comics 965
I haven't been reading this, but it features Lois, so I picked it up. I love that they restored its original numbering. Lois goes undercover as this Earth's Lois at the Daily Planet to investigate that Lois' disappearance. I've been looking forward to something like this, and so far, it's as good as I'd hoped.

In graphic novels/collected editions, I read Pretty Deadly volume 2. While it's not as much fun as the first volume, it's still a great story, exploring life and death and war. If you like your comics with a heavy dose of myths, a sense of oral storytelling traditions, and a feeling of parable, you can't go wrong with this.