Saturday, March 28, 2015

Quick Reviews

I had such a great chat with one of the gals who works at Forbidden Planet NY this past week. We chatted about Roy Harper and Donna Troy and all sorts of other stuff. It was nice to find someone who shares my love of Roy and Donna, and understands how devastated I was when the original Supergirl was killed off. It was just really, really nice.

Ah well, on with the reviews.

Black Widow 16
Some flashback scenes fill in background info on Natasha that adds to our understanding of her personality. Even as a child being trained as an assassin, she showed an independent streak. At the issue's end, she receives an unexpected offer. I'm intrigued by this plot twist.

Chrononauts 1
This new book by Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy gets off to a strong start as two intrepid explorers test out a time machine. When the scientist heading into the past goes off course, his adventurer friend rushes through the time portal to rescue him. A lot of time and setup is pushed at the reader with time jumps, giving us just enough to follow the premise and get us to the actual story. Now with the follow-up issues, the book needs to really deliver the goods, but judging by this first issue, that shouldn't be difficult. The pace is good and the art is sketchy and fun.

COWL 9
This political take on superheroing continues to fascinate me, with the few female characters starting to make their presence felt. If you want something different than the usual superhero book, this is definitely worth trying.

Dream Police 6
Thank goodness they put a summary of what's already happened in this book because with so much time between issues, I forget where things were left off. Dream Police Joe and Kate make their move, heading for the Verge to seek answers to what the dream realm truly is and why Joe had a partner he can't really remember. Not much happens to further the story, just Joe and Kate making their move and their Captain sending the troops after them. Hopefully, next issue, we'll really get more actual plot developments.

Gotham Academy 6
Olive is saved by Croc, learns a bit more about her mother and the connection between the Academy and Arkham, and it looks like Damian Wayne will soon be a classmate. Such a fun book.

Legendary Star-Lord 10
Since I'm not reading the other Black Vortex issues, this made little sense, but it featured a nice scene between Peter and Kitty.

Legenderry Red Sonja 2
The next chapter of this steampunk Red Sonja story finds Sonja helping the Bride of Frankenstein. I like this version of Red Sonja more than the original version.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sadness

I just deleted a whole lot of comic blogs from Feedly, the place I read blogs. They hadn't been updated in at least a year. For some, they hadn't been updated in years. Yikes! I really should check my blogroll annually. But it was sad, to formally say goodbye to blogs I'd loved, from their comics-y titles to the insightful, funny, thought-provoking posts. I miss them.

As for reading, the only thing I've read was Red Hood and the Outlaws 40 -- yeah, yeah, I bought more this week, but I got new action figures to play with: Hot Toys 12-inch-ish Star-Lord and Tony Stark, so well, I've been busy playing.

As for RHATO 40, it was okay, clearly a setup for the post-Convergence Red Hood and Arsenal title, maybe even the Starfire title. But I'll miss Kori and Roy as a couple. They really were cute together. I am glad Jason and Roy will stay friends, though, and share a book. Roy and Dick were always friends who were close as brothers, and yet, Roy and Jason are a better fit as friends. Both are pretty screwed up but rise above it, especially when they support and are supported by each other. So, I'm looking forward, not backward. This far removed from the end of the old DC and the start of the New 52, I can leave my obsession with the past, and continuity, behind. Reading a wider variety of comics can do that for a person. Every title in Image books is its own universe, after all, and I'm okay with that. I can be okay reading a few DC titles and a few Marvel titles, and the Image titles I love and some Dynamite and.... well, you get the idea. Variety is good. Good comics is better.

Here are the new toys, Star-Lord and Tony Stark, both from Hot Toys.
Peter Quill, Star-Lord

Tony Stark, ARC Reactor Creation Figure

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Latest Reviews

Let's just plunge into the reviews, shall we?

Astro City 21
Thus concludes, maybe, the story of Quarrel and what a wonderful story arc it's been! This look into her background, as well as her dealing with aging and losing a step or two in the present has been nothing short of amazing, but what really elevated this above the usual awesomeness of this topnotch comic is the character development. A middle-aged woman, she still shows emotional growth, learning some important lessons, and the most important one came from her former criminal father. One of my favorite comics keeps hitting it out of the ballpark.

The Big Con Job 1
First of a 4-part miniseries by Jimmy Palmiotti and Matt Brady. Aging characters seems to be the next big thing! This first issue is mostly setup, introducing us to the aging actors who once played superheroes and science fiction heroes on TV and are now relegated to the diminishing adulation and pay they can find on the convention circuit. Dominke Stanton's art is light and playful and perfectly suited for what's shaping up to be a kooky caper story. Add this to the titles of comics that are fun.

Captain Marvel 13
Carol has her hands full as she's searching for Tic and Chewie while her ship is failing. Needless to say, if you need help, you can't do better than having Carol Danvers on your side!

Descender 1
Image continues its record of bringing readers stellar science fiction stories in the comic book format. Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen bring to life a realm of nine planets, lots of high tech, and a mysterious attack by a giant robot (as in planet-sized!) that changed everything. At its heart, the story seems to be about a little boy, or rather, an AI in the form of a little boy and his robot dog. I couldn't help being reminded of the AI boy of "Extant," the science fiction TV show from last summer that will return this summer, though the story here is much different. The first issue is just a peek at what will come, but it's safe to say that Lemire and Nguyen have created a fascinating, complex realm and I'm happy to go along for the ride.

Ms. Marvel 13
Kamala in love? Maybe! When her parents' friends visit, along with their son, who's close to Kamala in age, sparks unexpectedly fly. But then an Inhuman attacks people while Kamala and Kamran (with Kamala's brother chaperoning!) are out buying DVDs, and Kamala risks her secret identity to stop the woman. Guest artist Takeshi Miyazawa perfectly captures the fun feeling of this book. I'm looking forward to seeing how this storyline plays out.

Shutter 10
This weird book keeps getting weirder, but with a short back story and a couple of pages for a lettercol, there seems to be less and less actual main story from issue to issue. This is especially true this time as Kate and Kalliyan enter a dream realm, with many pages filled with what seems like hallucinations which look cool but don't advance the story much. Still, I'm sticking around because I want to know what this is all about. It's not a story, however, that I care enough about to buy the collected editions the way I do with others.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Some Comics I Read

Ah.... I've got pre-season baseball (Mets) on the TV, the window is open, the sun is shining.... there might truly be an end to this seemingly endless winter. At least I've had plenty of comics to curl up with.

Harley Quinn 15
Harley gets a visit from Ivy who helps her deal with her over-extended schedule, by suggesting she advertise for help. No good can come of this, but we need to wait for the next issue for that. In this one, Harley goes full hero to save people in a burning building. The usual, fluffy, fun.

Gotham Academy 5
Olive uncovers some secrets that only pose more questions in this fun, quirky book.

Legenderry Green Hornet 1
I'm not going to read all the Legenderry spinoffs, but I decided to try this, having liked this take on the character in the Legenderry mini-series despite never really liking the character previously. Green Hornet and Kato work well in a steampunk realm though not much happens in this first issue, which is mostly setup for some sort of gang warfare story. Daryl Gregory does well enough with Bill Willingham's realm and Brent Peeples does a nice job on art. Not great, but not bad, so I'll keep reading.

Legenderry Red Sonja 1
The star of the Legenderry mini-series tries to enjoy a visit in the Big City, but events and people conspire to make that difficult for her. This spinoff has the advantage of being written by Marc Andreyko who has proved himself more than capable in the past at writing strong female characters and the art by Aneke is nice, though more in keeping with the look of the current Red Sonja books than the Legenderry mini. Whatever is going on here, I want to know more, which is a good thing, so, a promising start.

Saga 26
Noooo! How could it end the way it did and make me wait a whole month for the next chapter?! Few comics deliver emotional sucker punches the way this book does. With Marko separated from his wife and daughter and partnered with Prince IV, while Alana, Hazel, and Marko's mom deal with Dengo and a band of terrorists, no one is in a good place. And then, things get worse. Damn, I love this book. It's a rare comic that gets me this emotionally involved.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Week in Reviews

Image Comics continues to dominate my pull list, though this batch of reviews includes 3 Marvel titles, 2 Image titles, and one from DC. So Marvel wins this round, but only due to the timing of publishing schedules.

Bitch Planet 3
Every third issue is a one-off for this comic, with writer DeConnick focusing on one of the inmates' backstory, with a guest artist. This issue tells us about Penny Rolle. Penny really comes alive as an actual person via slices from her life pre-incarceration and if you don't get angry on her behalf at the injustice done her, you're just an unfeeling... well, you get the idea. This is an important comic and I can't recommend it enough.

Lazarus 15
AKA when the sh*t hits the fan. Or, when the status quo changes. Hock vs Carlyle with Forever Carlyle battling Hock's designated lazarus champion, with the actual fight comprising the bulk of the issue. Rucka's strong control of the dystopian world he's created is impressive and Lark's art is scarily realistic. Kudos, too, for the coloring by Arcas. And that ending.... Argh. I can't wait til next month.

Black Widow 15
Natasha continues to battle Chaos, with an assist from the Winter Soldier! For some reason, it never seems like much happens in each issue, and yet, a lot does. I love the art, I love the action, and I'm hoping the conclusion makes it all worth it, but for some reason, I can't completely get into this book.

Ms. Marvel 12
A one-off with Loki sent to see if any of the Inventor's minions are still lurking about Kamala's school. And Loki being Loki and this being a Valentine's Day story, Loki plays Cupid. Sorta. Fun stuff.

Legendary Star-Lord 9
I have no idea why I bothered reading this since I'm not reading the other books in the Black Vortex storyline and I have no idea who half the heroes are. But it was pretty to look at.

Red Hood and the Outlaws 39
Aside from rehashing character development from earlier in the series, Komand'r finds Kori, pretends to want to kill her, but then saves her life. Meanwhile, Rose Wilson shows up while Jason and Roy are looking for Kori because she's got a contract and then there's a big reunion with everyone, and then the baddies show up. And all of this is no big deal, just another comic book story. I'd really hoped for more depth when Lobdell returned to this book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Get Your Reviews Here

I'm really tired of hearing the phrase "Arctic Blast." Yesterday, I was huddled in my living room, under 2 layers of sweaters and a blanket and that's with the heat on. To say my apartment gets cold when the wind picks up and the temps are well below freezing is an understatement. I did read some comics, though my fingers got numb and my hands were shaking. ;)

Bitch Planet 1-2
I missed getting this when issue 1 first came out, bought issue 2, then read them both after issue 1 was reprinted. All I can say is "Wow." Kelly Sue DeConnick reaches new heights with this book and the art by Valentine De Landro is perfect. This is a smart, sassy -- and yes, bitchy -- book, a feminist manifesto in comic book form, and all too appropriate and needed given today's attacks on women's rights. Feminism, for those who believe the stereotype and propaganda, is not about women taking over or being forced to give up staying at home to raise children; it's about treating all people as equals, male and female and anything in between, however people define themselves. It's about more than equality based on sex identification, but also across race and religion. It's about all of us being in this together, all us humans. Bitch Planet takes the concept that women should comply with societal norms to an extreme, but given the political reality these days, not much of an extreme. Extremes are the bread and butter of science fiction, the way literature/art often makes a point. In this case, it's an important point, one that's wrapped in a darn good story. Women who don't comply are sentenced to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost known colloquially as "Bitch Planet," a prison where the inmates are recorded and broadcast for the entertainment of Earth viewers. The characters we've met so far come alive in just a few panels and I'm looking forward to spending time with each of them, every month.

Harley Quinn: Valentine's Day Special
Conner and Palmiotti continue their series of Harley Holiday Specials, complete with dream sequences to allow wonderful fill-in artists to help out with the art chores and give the book some extra oomph. The overall story has Harley trying to win a date with Bruce Wayne during a charity auction. Fun as always.

Shutter 9
The saga of Kate Kristopher and her mysterious family gets even weirder, but we finally get to the actual mystery. Only some members can access the magical Porticullis Hypnos of Prof. Harold Rathborn. In the next issue, we get to see where it takes her and her wacky and dangerous sister she never knew she had, as they go through the porticullis to find Kate's mother, who might be the key to finding their father, and.... Just trying to describe this story gives me a headache, but it's fairly fun. Keatinge is a decent writer and Del Duca's art is appropriately weird. I just hope the story's payoff is worth it.

Captain Marvel
Carol returns to her ship -- well, Stark's ship -- only to find Tic and Chewie missing after an attack by Haffensye ships. For some reason, the Haffensye think Chewie can help them fight Mister Knife. I can't wait for the next chapter. DeConnick shared writing chores with Warren Ellis, and David Lopez's art is a dream. I love Carol's facial expressions.

Astro City 20
Continuing the tale of aging heroes, filling in more backstory, while being an excellent character study. The thing I most love about this series is how real the characters feel. You can actually believe they're real, that superpowers exist and the heroes with them are just like us. Busiek is a master and Anderson's art is wonderful. And it's hard to beat Alex Ross on covers.


Saturday, February 07, 2015

Stack of Comics

I think this batch of reviews covers 2 weeks, or close enough.

Astro City 19
The story of an aging superhero continues, delving into her past as well as the challenges she faces as she grows older. Great stuff her, even if you're not super-powered, about trying to stay on top of your game even as your physical skills decline.

COWL 8
I have no idea where this is going, but the intrigue continues in this unique approach to super-heroing. As the COWL heroes strike, and new threats arise, tension mounts as some heroes cross the picket lines, symbolically if not literally. And the death of one of their own by a fellow hero's hand, weighs heavily. The superhero genre has never (at least in my reading) been this complicated.

Fairest 33
Goldilocks is one badass villainess, not to mention power mad and not the most mentally stable Fable. I'm going to miss this comic. Yeah, I know there's still Fables, but I haven't been reading it and there are a LOT of issues to read if I want to be caught up with it.

Gotham Academy 4
The fun continues as Olive hunts down clues in her attempt to solve the mystery of the academy and her own past. I love how this book is part of the DCU yet stands on its own.

Harley Quinn 14
Harley has a bad and busy day, when everything seems to go wrong, which can happen when you over-schedule. The usual fun nonsense.

Hawkeye 21
Fraction, Aja, and, Hollingsworth's run nears its end as things look dire for Cliff. It's been so long since the last installment, I'd forgotten where things stood, but the book nicely catches us up. I'm going to miss Fraction and Aja's take on Hawkeye, which ends in one more issue, but I'm looking forward to what the next creative team will bring to the character.

Ms. Marvel 11
Kamala embraces the power of teamwork to take down the Inventor. A totally delightful book and a satisfying conclusion to the current story.

Saga 25
It's heart-breaking to have Marko and Alana apart, especially with Marko separated from Hazel. This book continues to hit all the emotions.

Velvet 9
The more Velvet learns about the conspiracy against her, the more questions that need answers. And can she trust any of the answers she does get? Brubaker is an expert at spinning mystery yarns, and this is one of his best. He has me at the edge of my seat, waiting for the next revelation, the next installment. And I love Velvet Templeton, a spy who can stand with the best of 'em.