Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Weekly Stack

A lot this week, so let's dive in!

Astro City 37
The Broken Man is back narrating, this time two tales from Astro City's past that focus on music. Not my favorite type of Astro City story, but a nice overview of race relations history that is all too relevant now.

Superman 2
Somewhat confusing for me as I haven't read any New 52 Superman stories, but the gist is that something called the Eradicator wants to purify Jon's mixed genome to be all Kryptonian. This can't end well.

Adventures of Supergirl 6
This digital-first series based on the show turned out to be quite entertaining. Kara and her family and friends find a way to defeat Facet in a satisfying manner. I don't know if more stories are planned, but I wouldn't mind seeing this continue.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth 1
This ended up being half recap of Babs' life, and while there's a fair bit of deviation from the pre-New 52, I can live with it, though the lack of a bigger BoP team than just Babs and Dinah does bug me. At any rate, Babs is back as Batgirl thanks to experimental surgery and she coaxes Dinah into helping her find the hacker claiming to be Oracle, a role that belonged to Babs. Then Huntress shows up, seeking the same guy Babs and Dinah are after in hopes he can provide a clue. Not bad, and it shows promise.

Green Arrow 3
The hits keep coming. We learn a bit more about why Shado and Emiko are going after Ollie. Ollie discovers his company has been seriously co-opted by evil, while Dinah works her own investigation into Ollie's death. The art is nice and I'm really enjoying this.

Thunderbolts 3
I am not enjoying this. Seriously, the only reason I'm reading this is for Bucky. The Thunderbolts battle the Inhumans who think the Thunderbolts destroyed a batch of Inhuman pods, but they weren't Inhuman pods, just some nasty alien pods, but who cares about details when a full-out battle can be fought. This book is a bit of a mess.

Black Widow 5
Wowzers, this is a good book. I loved the previous version, but this is just as good, with an intriguing mystery. Just what is Natasha's darkest secret that she'd steal files from SHIELD and the Red Room for the Lion to protect that secret? Not that it matters after things go sideways. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Lazarus 23
The war between families rages on, Johanna is fully in charge, with her father's blessing, Forever continues to heal while Eight, her younger clone that she doesn't know about continues to train, and things continue to get more complicated. And what is Sonja Bittner, the Bittner family Lazarus, up to? I don't know what the endgame is here, but I'm sure Rucka has one. This does feel like a science fiction novel in graphic form. I half want it to have an actual ending and half want it to never end.

Velvet 15
The first Velvet Templeton story comes to a satisfying close, and more anchored in real life politics than I'd expected. This female James Bond deserves her own movie. Or TV series. I hope we don't have to wait too long for the next story.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Weekly Reviews Part 2

To finish out this week's excellent comics reading...

DC Bombshells 15
This isn't my favorite comic by any means -- it's too crowded, for one, and I don't like all the subplots, for another -- but it does have its moments. The cover with Mera and Arthur is a delight, very romance-novel-ish. Mera spends time with Arthur's people, but of course, trouble catches up with her. Meanwhile, Selina helps the cause, Kate runs into Renee, we get Raven's backstory, and Harley is Harley in any universe. So, things are chugging along fairly nicely.

Lumberjanes Gotham Academy 2 (of 6)
While the gang tries to come up with a plan to rescue Olive and Jen regain consciousness in a weird house with objects from the '80s! A fun, utterly charming story.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Weekly Reviews Part One

I've still got 2 comics to read, but figured I'd just go ahead with reviews for what I've read because the comics are awesome.

But first, apparently, Frank Cho was doing variant covers for Wonder Woman. I hadn't seen them, and after issue 6, there won't be any to see, because he quit. He was having problems with Greg Rucka, the current Wonder Woman writer, and it seems Cho got fed up with what he sees as Rucka's attempt to censor his art. Seeing the three variant covers in the article, I'm glad I didn't see them in my LCS. The first two aren't bad, except that Diana's upper half seems a bit small and out of proportion with her lower half, especially those beefy legs. But the third cover... that pose... I'll never be able to unsee it. It's a perfect candidate for a Hawkeye Initiative makeover. So, I'm on Team Rucka all the way. Sorry, Frank Cho, but not everyone other than Rucka loves your covers.

Which brings me to...

Wonder Woman 2
This is the first chapter in the Year One storyline that's alternating with the present-day story and which, I assume, will fill in background re: Diana and Steve's relationship in the present. These Year One chapters are being illustrated by the amazing Nicola Scott and her cover is very nice. The issue alternates between Diana's pov on Themyscira and Steve's pov as he prepares for the mission that will bring him crashing into Diana's world. So, another retelling, but an important one given how many times Diana's origin has been mucked with. Although, we don't have Diana's birth here. What we do get is how the Amazons live and interact with implied romantic relationships because, well, it's not like there are many options. It is a lovely, peaceful existence, but Diana keeps looking outward, beyond Paradise, and the end of the chapter is when everything changes. I'm glad this book is being published bimonthly; it means each story can keep the usual monthly comic book pacing. I'm so happy to get back a Wonder Woman comic I can enjoy reading.

Flash 2
The Speed Force is now in Barry's detective friend, Iris is in danger while pursuing leads on the science thieves, and Barry warms to the idea of having a new partner to teach. This is pure fun.

Nightwing Rebirth 1
Dick is back in Gotham, but apparently, not for long. He has work to do to take down the Parliament of Owls. I'm not caught up with Grayson because I'm reading it in trades, but this issue ties up loose ends from that, seemingly, and there's a lovely page with Helena Bertinelli in her old Huntress outfit that sets up her joining the upcoming Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Dick is at his best, and his scenes with Damian are delightful. Just having Dick back in the black and blue costume makes me happy. I never liked the black and red one.

Descender 13
Tim-21 might be in deadly danger, but this issue takes a step back and gives us Telsa's backstory. A good issue, but I want to get back to the action.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Jessica Jones

While I await this week's comics, this news that Jessica Jones is returning to Marvel comics in the fall has me very happy. With DC's Rebirth giving me new comics to enjoy, Image continuing to publish quality titles I love, and Marvel giving female characters some respect with their own books, reading comics has hit a high point for me.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Another Week of Reviews

I love being able to read DC comics again. Not as many as I once did, but more than during New 52.

Superman 2
Not much actually happens, but there's a fair amount of setup for an upcoming threat. Clark gets to spend quality time with Jon and impart some superheroing advice. Fun.

Green Arrow 2
This is so intriguing. In the old, old days, the time came when millionaire Oliver Queen lost his fortune. I believe that scenario happened again during the time I wasn't reading DC comics. Even the TV show has covered it. So here we are once again. Ollie's fortune and company is gone because Ollie has been presumed dead in a boating incident, all part of some plot that we're seeing only glimpses of so far. Somehow, Shado is involved. And Dinah is suspicious, which can't be a good thing for the conspirators. I'm eager to see where this is going.

Adventures of Supergirl 5
This comic based on the TV show continues to impress as the storyline deepens. In this issue, Kara confronts the construct with her mother's memories and learns more about the guard from Fort Rozz trying to... well, that is the mystery. Facet is hellbent on completing a mission with regards to Kara. This is another story where I'm eager to read more.

SuperZero 6
The last page says "End Chapter One," but I don't know if there are plans for more. If not, this story of a girl who desperately wants to be a superhero, so much so that she stows away on a rocket to the International Space Station, comes to a reasonably satisfying conclusion after she takes on the aliens that took over the ISS. I really hope we get more of this book.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Big Week for Comics

Along with my comics, I picked up a few trade collections and Paul Dini's Dark Night, which I forgot to get last week. As I've managed to get my complete batch of new comics read tonight, I hope to get to that soon.

As for the comics, they're a mixed bag, but mostly good.

Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis 5
The penultimate issue. It's been a while, so I kind of forgot where things had left off, but a quick summary up front and reading a few pages got me back on track. We're close to finding out what caused the city's heroes to go crazy while our good guys are in quite a mess, hoping to get help from the city's villains to defeat the crazy heroes. Only Gail Simone could've cooked this up. And J. Calafiore's art is just stunning.

Mockingbird 4
This has been much fun, but I think there's just one more chapter to the story. At any rate, Bobbi teams up with her ex Clint, after rescuing him, and it all has to do with whatever toxin is killing her. Despite the dire situation she's in, the tone of the book is fairly light. Chelsea Cain gives us an entertaining Bobbi Morse. The art by Niemczyk and Parsons is lovely, too.

Lady Mechanika: The Lost Boys of West Abbey 2 (of 2)
M.M. Chen's rather creepy story concludes without much by way of surprises -- golems and Jewish magic and metal bodies to achieve immortality are hardly new ideas -- but still manages to entertain. I hope we see more of Insp. Singh. He matched up nicely with Mechanika. The art by Benitez and Montiel is intricate and gorgeous.

Star-Lord 8
After last issue's surprisingly entertaining bickering of Peter and Kitty while captives of the Collector, this issue's conclusion of the story is rather flat. Kitty relates how she and Peter broke up, then Rocket and Groot show up for a rescue, which feels like it came out of nowhere despite Peter (or was it Kitty?) having sent them a message last issue that they were too busy playing a game to notice. The whole story felt inconsequential and ultimately uninteresting.

Captain Marvel 6
Carol spends some time with Rhodey, then has to face Alpha Flight's Board of Governors who seem annoyed with her not having handled the recent threat fast enough. Which gets Carol thinking about the Inhuman Ulysses who can predict crime before it happens which of course is the focus of Civil War II. It's a valid theme to explore, but having just finished watching the last season of "Person of Interest" which dealt with opposing AIs trying to do just that, this feel rather insubstantial. I'm not reading Civil War II, only the few comics I usually read, so I'm getting this piecemeal. I also can't wait for it to be over and we can see how it all shakes out.

The Spirit 12
The long story comes to a satisfying conclusion, though the evil Mikado Vaas gets away. These twelve issues seemed to touch on everything that makes The Spirit great.

Steve Rogers: Captain America 2
Pretty much Red Skull telling us what's going on. By now, everyone interested in comics, especially Marvel comics, knows the controversy of the first issue ending with Steve Rogers saying "Hail Hydra" and meaning it. That pretty much sent social media denizens into total meltdown mode. I'm a fairly new Cap reader, so I don't have the long history with the character. I've not read many Superman and Batman storylines that didn't suit my view of those characters and I've avoided the recent Superman movies because that's not the Superman I know and love. But I don't begrudge anyone trying something new with beloved characters even if I have no interest in what they're doing. I am more willing to go along with experimentation involving characters I'm not so invested in, like Steve Rogers. I'm also intrigued by where Spencer is taking this story and am waiting for the story to finish before passing judgment on it. It's an intriguing story.

People are upset this time because Spencer and Marvel lied. They denied Steve was brainwashed, and now it's revealed he was. People are upset that the whole thing was a publicity stunt, and yeah, it's been clumsily handled, but my feeling is that it's comics and that's how they operate and nothing is forever. Superman didn't stay dead. Steve Rogers didn't stay dead. He didn't even stay old and weak. So I never really thought he was Hydra. Which is why it didn't bother me that this was done to a character created by two Jews (and I'm Jewish). I did take Spencer at his word that this wasn't going to be brainwashing or a clone. I wanted to see what else it could be. And here's something I realized upon reading the issue: Spencer didn't really lie. It's not brainwashing in the usual sense. Steve wasn't tortured, he wasn't subjected to mind control techniques. No. He simply had his memories replaced by Kobik, the Cosmic Cube who thinks, thanks to trusting Red Skull, that Hydra is good and making everyone Hydra will make them better people. So I'm letting Marvel and Spencer off the hook, even though I never put them on the hook. And I want to know how this is going to be resolved. It's the story's conclusion that will make or break this story, not the first chapter. There's some good stuff in this second installment, about hubris and manipulation on both sides. Spencer, in my opinion, is writing a good story.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Two Reviews

The final two reviews for the past week.

Harley Quinn 29
Harley and Tony embark on a scheme to earn some money, which Tony is sure is legit, but well, is anything ever really legit in this book? But Harley does gain a new toy: A car that converts into a super robot. The usual lunacy with humor suited for a 12-year-old. But somehow, also fun.

Bitch Planet 8
Seems like forever since the previous issue, making me grateful for the summary on the inside front cover. At any rate, Meiko's father wants to see his daughter now that he's at the prison to oversee construction of the new stadium, but since she's dead (a fact no one seems eager to tell him), he gets a virtual visit with her or rather, a construct of her and let's just say he isn't really fooled. So, he has something planned. Meanwhile, security guard Whitney is now in a cell with Kam and let's just agree that they'll never be besties. And with all that going on, we get to meet the first prisoners, the trans folks. Things are getting even more interesting, if possible. A hard hitting social satire keeps hitting all the right notes.