Thursday, June 25, 2015

Slow Week

I didn't get many comics this week, so I've started on the enormous stacks of graphic novels and comic book compilations I've got all over my apartment (okay, in the den and in the bedroom only, but the stacks are high!). First, the week's comics.

Black Widow 19
This is mostly a flashback to Nat's days as a Soviet agent. Part 1. It's set in Cuba and nicely done as Nat is not only on an assignment, but she also finds herself forced to report on her friend and fellow agent Marina.

Legenderry Red Sonja 5
The concluding chapter. I definitely prefer this steampunk version of Sonja over the regular one. The Doctor Frankenstein story concludes satisfactorily.

Legenderry Green Hornet 5
While not as good as the Red Sonja mini-series, this was also entertaining and was brought to a nice conclusion.

So, the GNs

I finally got around to reading Leaves on the Wind, the Firefly/Serenity follow-up to the movie, in which Zoe gives birth, ends up in prison, gets rescued by the gang, and lots of other action and emotional stuff happens. *sniff* I miss the show so much, damn it.

Thanks to the movie "Captain America: Winter Soldier," I've become obsessed with Bucky Barnes, helped in great part to Sebastian Stan's wonderful performance as Bucky. I was never much of a Marvel reader, and though I read a few Marvel titles now, Captain America was never on my radar. I did know a lot about the book thanks to storylines like the Death of Captain America making the news, and comics blogs covering the Winter Soldier storyline. So I decided to read the whole Ed Brubaker run from Winter Soldier on, because I love Brubaker's writing even though my preference is to read before I watch an adaptation. Sometimes, the adaptation inspires the reading. It happened for me with "Game of Thrones," and now with this. (I'm getting tempted to read iZombie because of the wonderful TV show based on it, but I have so much to read as it is.)

Captain America: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection is everything I'd hoped for and more. The differences, some of which I'd known before reading this, are striking and enough to make this a new experience for me. Brubaker effectively wove in flashbacks and nicely builds up the emotion along with the stakes as Steve slowly fears he's going nuts as his memories can't be trusted. But that's the doing of a cosmic cube, and the moment when Steve has to accept that Bucky is alive and has been an assassin packs a lot of emotional punch. And when they first face off against each other, I was thrilled to discover the classic "Who the hell is Bucky?" line uttered by Bucky in the movie comes directly from the comic. Now to move on to Captain America: Red Menace.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Some Reviews

We're now in the post-Nu52 era, aka DC You, or who the hell knows what. Since continuity isn't a big deal right now, I've decided to think of each book as being part of a different part of the multiverse. This approach will influence which DC books I read.

I have to stick with Red Hood/Arsenal (and can a title be worse?) because it has Roy Harper, he's being written decently, and while the book could be a lot better, it doesn't suck. I'm giving Starfire a try, even though it seems to be featuring a version of Kory who recently arrived on Earth, not the one who Roy is pining for in Red Hood/Arsenal. I'm sticking with Gotham Academy because it seems to be in its own bubble within the DC books.

I'm also sticking with Harley Quinn because it's a continuation of the book I've been enjoying, no changes evident. And because of that, and because I love the way Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner write it, I'm going with Harley Quinn/Power Girl. This is a limited series, I believe, covering the time Harley, in full fangirl mode, convinced an amnesiac Peej that they were a crimefighting duo. It was a fun sequence in the main Harley book and this is more of the same, but for some reason, it felt redundant to me. I'll continue reading it, but the regular Harley book is better, always moving on to the next wacky thing or, more accurately, always adding on more wackiness, rather than sticking with one thing. A joke can get old kinda quickly.

Black Canary 1
I love the art. Annie Wu brings a simple, edgy, cartoonish style to one of my favorite characters, yet puts a lot of expression in the faces. Brenden Fletcher is handling writing chores. I figure this is a new approach to the character and if it continues anything from the Nu52 books, I don't know it, so this is all new to me. Dinah is singing with a group of gals called Black Canary, and violence seems to accompany all their gigs. There's some mystery about Dinah's past that she doesn't want to talk about and even more mystery surrounding the youngest member of the group. I'm intrigued. Confused, but intrigued and willing to give this time to find its groove.

Ms. Marvel 16
The world seems to have gone wild, and Kamala has her hands full, especially when her decidedly former boyfriend Kamran shows up and tells her her brother might be an Inhuman, too. Things are spiraling out of control, but then, someone special shows up to help. Next issue should be awesome! This one was really good.

Black Canary and Zatana: Bloodspell
Paul Dini and Joe Quinones did a wonderful job with this in a story that includes flashbacks to their first meeting as teens. The story involves a past case of Dinah's that's come back to haunt her, literally, and she needs the help of Zatana's magic to end the threat. Originally published in 2014, this seems set in its own part of the multiverse, one with Dinah and Ollie as a couple (or was that going on in the Nu52? I have no clue.). As entertaining as the actual case is, better is the friendship over the years between Dinah and Zee. Definitely worth reading.

Astro City 24
This is one of the books that routinely brings tears to my eyes at the end of nearly every story, tears of joy. Sticks, the super strong, intelligent, music loving, ex-soldier gorilla just wants to be a professional drummer, but old enemies keep threatening his bandmates. A solution is found, one that has so much heart. I hope we see Sticks again sometime.

Lazarus 17
With her father in a coma he's not expected to survive, Forever Carlyle prepares for war with Hock and his allies. This is a dark book about a dark, dystopian future, but oh, so good.

Empty Zone 1
I like most of the books Image publishes, so I decided to give this a try. The art is nice and evocative, the writing good, the story confusing but interesting. Jason Shawn Alexander handles writing and art chores and while I want to really love this, I'm not quite connecting with it. I'll give it a few more issues to see where it's going, but1 so far, all I know is that is has to do with talking to the dead. Which I got from the inside back cover, where the subtitle "conversations with the dead" appears.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Shipload of Comics

There's a commercial that when it airs on a cable network, uses the phrased "shipload of..." and when it airs on network TV, it uses the phrase "boatload." That tickles me no end, hence the title for this review post.

Astro City 23
Chapter 1 about an intelligent gorilla called Sticks who just wants to drum for a rock 'n' roll band. The writing on this is so strong, you'll believe Sticks really exists.

The Big Con Job 4
The concluding chapter of this heist caper tale doesn't disappoint. Not an earth-shattering story, but one with lots of heart and plenty of warm fuzzies.

Black Widow 18
Natasha finds her way home, then goes off to find herself. A small gem of a comic.

Broken World 1
I thought I'd give this near future Earth story a try. A giant asteroid is about to hit Earth and humanity is escaping to arks in orbit that will soon take off for safety. But not everyone can get a pass to one of the arks in this mostly setup introduction. Prof. Elena Marlowe is one of them who can't due to some secret in her past and her attempts to hide her identity don't pan out. This shows promise, so I'll stick with it for now.

Chrononauts 3-4
Corbin and Danny have not only screwed around the timestream, they're also screwed, themselves. But Corbin's got a plan to save them both. This mini-series was a fun romp, but also a bit too much "boys will be boys." Most of the time, I just wanted to smack 'em both upside their head.

Copperhead 8
I have no idea what's going on in this book's second story, but the deputy's been taken hostage and bad things are afoot. An entertaining if odd book.

Descender 4
Dr. Quon has patched up little boy bot Tim-21, but the UGC ship they're on is attacked by a squid ship (yeah, I'm not following all this perfectly, either) and for some reason, the squids really want to get their tentacles on Tim-21. So, the mystery deepens. An oddly appealing book.

Gotham Academy 7
Guest-starring Damian Wayne. Does more need to be said? But I'll say it, anyway. Fun stuff.

Harley Quinn 17
Harley's team of Harleys go into action and Harley convinces the mayor to let them play vigilantes. Or is he just pretending? This is one crazy fun book.

Why yes, I do sometimes take a selfie.

Me in a Harley Mask with Some Comics

Legenderry Red Sonja 4
I've decided I much prefer steampunk Red Sonja to the actual Red Sonja. And the battle with Dr. Frankenstein is not going well.

Red Hood Arsenal 1
Well, that's an awkward title. Roy is playing vigilante on his own, trying to keep safe a Washington fixer who's trying to broker an exchange in the middle of nowhere and things don't go as planned. The story is decent enough, the fixer, Tara Battleworth, is a fun character (power fixers are in vogue these days, I guess, thanks to the TV show "Scandal"), but the book sure could use Kori. But I love Roy, he's being handled fairly well, and so, I'll stick with this.

Rocket Girl 6
Dayoung tries to fit in in 1986, but it isn't easy when you're a teen cop from the future. A crazy, wonderful book, and I love Amy Reeder's art.

Saga 29
Can things get worse for our heroes? Why yes, yes they can. Argh! The rebels holding Alana, Hazel, and Klara try to work out a deal for Hazel, Marko and Prince Robot have their own troubles, and... well, Hazel's narration talks about sacrifice and she isn't exaggerating.

Starfire 1
A delightful first issue, written by Conner and Palmiotti, with nice art from Lupacchino and McCarthy that clearly is not the Starfire that Roy is still pining for in Red Hood Arsenal. I know continuity isn't as strict as it was before Convergence and I told myself I'll just buy books for characters I want to read about and not worry if they connect or not, but it is disconcerting.

Wonder Woman 77 Special
Two delightful stories based on the TV series that starred Lynda Carter. Gorgeous cover, lovely interior art, fun stories. A pure joy.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ads

So, DC Comics is starting to put ads in their comics that are split page ads?! Sheesh. This is a horrible idea. I'd sooner not buy their comics anymore than have to look at these things. I'm disoriented enough by full page ads breaking up a story; half-page ads will be worse, especially if they're as hideous as the ones the articles shows. How anyone thought this would be a good idea is beyond me. Way to go, DC! Just when I was thinking of expanding the total number of DC comics I buy due to my being genuinely interested in the new direction come June, especially with so many characters I like getting books written by some of my favorite authors, like Starfire, for instance. Now I'm going to have to rethink this.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slew of Reviews

When I fall behind, I really fall behind. Reviews in reverse order read.

Copperhead 7
The sheriff (for some reason, I keep forgetting her name) goes on a date and it doesn't end well. Bad guys attack. Don't you hate when that happens? This quirky space western might not be great, but it's entertaining.

COWL 10
This is ending next issue, which is a shame because it's attempting something different, an intriguing spin on the standard superhero genre, focusing on unionized heroes in an era when women had to work four times as hard as a man to get recognition.

Legenderry Green Hornet 4
In this penultimate issue of the steampunk version of the Green Hornet, the Hornet and Kato have teamed up with a female version of himself out for vengeance against their mutual enemy. Not as good as the Bill Willingham adventure that started it all, but a pleasant diversion none the less.

Shutter 12
Kate's reunion with the mother she thought dead doesn't go well, since Mom isn't human and the plans she has for Kate involves world domination. The end of issue, which turns out to be the end of the first act, is a game changer, and the epilogue genuinely surprised me.

Captain Marvel 15
Carol's return home is a good, old-fashioned tearjerker as she arrives too late. Her friend and mentor Tracy has already died, and the issue is a celebration of Tracy's life. A truly moving character piece.

Saga 28
I hate hate hate having Marko and Alana separated, but it does make for exciting storytelling. Things are going from bad to worse, and little Hazel is a pawn in the mess Alana is in. Damn, I love this comic, but it sure fills me with anxiety. Hazel is narrating, so I know she survives, but what about her parents? Her grandmother? The Will? This book is a damn emotional rollercoaster.

Ms. Marvel 15
Now that her first love has gone sour, Kamala must escape the clutches of the not-so-nice Inhumans. Fun stuff in one of Marvel's best books.

Legendary Star-Lord 12
I read this long enough ago to have forgotten the details, but the story involved Peter's half-sister and their father's frozen body. Truly, Peter is more fun when he's with the rest of the Guardians.

Descender 3
TIM-21, on the brink of his data being lost, is repaired and found by his maker. Only, during the time his systems were failing, he seemed to meet the harvested and discarded 'bots in some other worldly realm. Is it real? Can AIs dream? This is an intriguing science fiction series. I'm not sure I know what's going on, but I'm eager for each new revelation.

The Big Con Job 3
One issue left to this tale of aging actors on the con circuit who are convinced to pull off a big theft at SDCC. This issue involves the planning of the heist, and a wrinkle our wannabe thieves don't know about. Fun stuff.

Bitch Planet 4
Kamau, one of the inmates at the prison for non-compliant women, prepares for competition in the male sport called Megaton. There's the obligatory shower scene female prison stories are known for, with a twist, of course. This book might be in-your-face feminism, but it's so necessary today as misogyny seems to be everywhere. And as with everything that gets exaggerated for fiction, it makes a point, ore a few of them, that women are people, too. Feminism is not about women wanting to beat down men. It's not about being or wanting to be superior. It's about equality, something too many men, and women, don't seem to get. This is an important book.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Big Week for TV Comic Book Shows

I've read some comics. I've got more comics to read. When I finish the new ones from this week, I'll post a review.

Meanwhile, I'm buying the trades of Captain America that brought back Bucky. There are a lot more of them than I realized, so it'll take me a while to read 'em all. I've gotten a bit obsessed with Bucky and it might have to do with Sebastian Stan playing him in the movies. Maybe. Possibly.

I also loved the season finales of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (Wowzers!), Arrow (Nicely tied up a lot of plot points, and Thea as Speedy!), and we've got the Flash finale on Tuesday, which looks like it will be awesome, too.

Other TV items made me very happy this week. Not only did Supergirl get picked up by CBS for the fall, but the trailer was released and it looks fantastic. This is the Kara Zor-El I loved growing up in the '60s. I don't mind any changes they make. I just want the characterization to be right and from what I saw in the trailer, it's perfect. And since CBS owns the CW, there could possibly be crossovers with Flash and Arrow.

Another DC show is heading for the CW as a mid-season show, also from the makers of Flash and Arrow, using characters from those shows and more. The trailer has spoilers but it has me so jazzed, I can barely contain my excitement. Legends of Tomorrow features Arthur Darvill of Doctor Who (Rory!) as Rip Hunter (!!!). The DC TVU is expanding at a nice rate. I wish Constantine hadn't been canceled, but I'm pleased with all the DC we'll be getting on TV next season, because Gotham, though in a different part of the DCU TV 'verse, will also be back.

Also, Agent Carter will be back, along with Agents of SHIELD, so that's a relief. I really enjoyed Agent Carter.

Other news that made me happy this week is the promise of more crossovers between Flash and Arrow. While crossovers can be annoying in the comics because they're so overdone and involve too many titles/issues these days, they're so much fun on TV.

Also, a fan came up with a wonderful female Avengers team, with a token male, basically a gender reversal for the actual Avengers of the first movie.

And finally, after 33 minutes in NYCC's queue from hell, and another 70 minutes trying to actually buy tickets, I managed to get a 4-day pass. Which was a better outcome than last year when I missed out on the 4-day pass and had to buy dailies in order to get Thursday.

Saturday, May 02, 2015