Saturday, January 21, 2017

Most of this Week's Comics

I still have Harley Quinn, Star-Lord, and Kill or be Killed to read. As is the case these days, I had a lot to read.

Black Widow 10
This might have my favorite cover ever! Nat and Bucky. Just adorable. In the story, Bucky takes Nat to the moon to meet with Nick Fury, but the Lion tries to double cross them, wanting all the knowledge in Fury's mind and there's a stowaway on their space ship, and Nat sacrifices herself so Bucky can stop the stowaway, but Bucky saves the day and Nat kisses him and calls him James again. They're not likely to be a couple again, but they'll always have the moon. I loved it.

Descender 18
The plot twist didn't quite surprise me, but it did make me sad. Things are not going well for our plucky heroes. I don't know what the endgame is here, or if there even is one, but this is pretty good science fiction.

(The Mighty) Captain Marvel 1
I'm just going to call this Captain Marvel from now on. The art is really nice. There's a TV show based on Captain Marvel that's paying for Alpha Flight now. And a bounty hunter grabs a Kree refugee child. An interesting start. I'm hoping Carol can regain her glory following the horrible Civil War II storyline.

Superman 15
The battle to save the multiverse Supermen begins in earnest. I'm enjoying it, but not sure I'll like where it's heading. What can I say? I worry. I don't want to lose this Superman or Lois.

Nightwing 13
The real culprit is uncovered and Dick walks into a trap. Guess visiting Bludhaven wasn't a good idea.

Green Arrow 15
A vigilante ex-cop and his cronies try to kill a bunch of baddies at the prison, so Ollie and Dinah leap into action, then get help from... Red Arrow! I love this comic and I love the art.

I also read Grayson, vol. 5: Spiral's End. Seeley wrote only the first story, so the writing was weaker in this last volume, but the Spiral storyline ended on a satisfying note. It's been a great journey for Dick, but I'm glad he's back as Nightwing. Still, I did enjoy seeing him fully out of Batman's shadow. Even as Nightwing, he has the shadow of Batman looming large. This proved how competent and skilled he truly is.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Two Weeks of Comics

What a bad start to the new year, missing a week of reviews. So, twice as many for this week. There's a lot, so I'll be brief, as I often am.

Champions 4
Fun story. The team isn't on a case, but their aircraft gets shot out of the sky over a misunderstanding of air space. The kids are just a delight.

Hawkeye 2
Kate's jump in, take no prisoners, PI license-what PI license approach to investigating makes for breezy storytelling. Her client is missing and there's more going on than it seems. This book by Kelly Thompson is refreshing in the way Matt Fraction's take on Clint Barton was refreshing. I'm loving it.

Superman 14
Someone's killing or kidnapping Supermen of various Earths and the battle has come to our Superman's Earth. I love the multiverse and I'm so happy to be able to love Superman again.

Nightwing 12
Dick's time in Bludhaven is not going well as he takes on the cause of the Runoffs, convinced they are being framed for various crimes. More lighthearted than the Raptor storyline, though the art is helping with that.

Saga 41
War does terrible things to people, and not just the ones it kills. The last page....! The last page is everything. Simply the best comic, in my opinion, being published these days.

Green Arrow 14
Things get even worse for Ollie, until the real killer reveals himself when he and Ollie go head to head, or rather, arrow to arrow. This books continues to be enjoyable.

Jessica Jones 4
I was seriously considering dropping this, but this chapter redeems the book by providing backstory that makes method out of the madness. Jessica hasn't become unhinged; she acting that way to draw out an anti-super people conspiracy! And the only one who knows is her friend and co-investigator of the conspiracy, Captain Marvel! I wish they'd given us hints sooner, though. I almost didn't buy this.

Ms. Marvel 14
I miss Bruno as much as Kamala does, but life goes on, and a player in the RPG she's in knows more about the real her than he or she should. Fun, as always.

Flash 14
Barry looks into what happened to the Rogues. And runs into a trap. That'll teach him to care, though to be fair, he was worried they were up to something. Looks like he was right.

Titans 7
Some nice character bits, including the first hints about Donna as she tells Roy she doesn't know anything from before she was adopted at age 7. Looks like we might get another version of "Who is Donna Troy"/"Who is Wonder Girl" sometime in the future. Also, Superman and Wally talk about time gaps and the team gets a new HQ in NYC that involves a lot of forms to fill out. Enjoyable.

Wonder Woman 14
The first story arc of the past concludes with Diana defeating Ares, for now, and the issue showcases some of the prettiest WW art by Nicola Scott, including shirtless Steve.

Superwoman 6
Lana, as Superwoman, finds Lex, but things are about to get worse. Naturally. Beautiful art and a lot to read makes this a book you can't just skim. I am loving it.

Gotham Academy Second Semester 5
Colton faces expulsion over a stolen map and things escalate quickly. A quirky, fun book, and Bruce Wayne puts in an appearance, because, why not?

Captain America 9
Maria Hill has to defend her actions, and in the past, Steve is given an assignment. I really like this storyline, but it's going on too long, because the Civil War storyline and aftermath is going on too long in the Marvel 'verse and I'm really tired of it. I put in too much time on this series to drop it now, but I really want to get the conclusion already and see if the time spent reading this has been worth it.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Reviews

This batch includes comics from a couple of weeks, maybe longer. I've lost track. I also noticed that even for an off week, I still have a lot from my pull list. It's a rare week, indeed, when I have fewer than six comics to read. DC's bi-monthly titles are part of the reason. Reminds me of the '70s and early-'80s when I was reading 35-40 comics a month. Also, no Saga this week because it was recalled over a bad printing of the cover. That makes me sad. It should be in stock this week. Which makes me happy. Anyway, here are the reviews.

Frostbite 4
I'm starting to wish I'd just waited for a trade with this. Things kinda hit the fan and now I have to wait another month for the next chapter. The story is fine, but I'm really enjoying the art.

Serenity 3
There's more going on than our team thought, which is no surprise. But River is in real trouble and the crew doesn't know it yet. And... wait til next month. Argh! Almost as good as having the show back. Almost.

DC Holiday Special
These holiday specials are usually rather frivolous and forgettable, but this one had some really nice stories. The Superman/Batman short was charming. They included Batwoman, to work in a Chanukah reference or two, and the Nightwing story was fun. And who wouldn't be charmed a good Detective Chimp tale, especially when he teams up with Batman! The rest were okay, so overall, a decent holiday special.

Flash 13
Barry and Iris go on a date and Kid Flash works overtime to make sure nothing interrupts them. A decent little story.

Titans 6
A conclusion, mostly, to the first arc, with Wally Flash finding his way home, again, and hopefully, for good. I'm really enjoying this, but it's time to give the rest of the team the spotlight. Not Nightwing, who has his own book, but definitely, the others.

Black Widow 9
Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier guest stars! And it looks like Samee and Waid are maintaining the continuity from Brubaker's Winter Soldier book, thanks to Bucky clearly lamenting that Natasha doesn't remember what they once were to each other. Some other story stuff happened, but it wasn't as important to me as seeing Bucky. In the current parlance, I ship Natasha and Bucky.

Wonder Woman 13
In light of her home being gone and realizing her visits there over the years weren't real, Diana has retreated into herself. Which is bad because people are after her for the secrets of Themyscira, leaving it up to Steve to save them both. I love this book.

Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special 1
Lovely cover, and some really nice art inside, with various artists and writers putting their spin on Diana. Plus, Lois Lane interviews Diana. It's a weird conceit that actually works.

Supergirl Being Super 1
I gave up on the continuity Supergirl title -- hated the art and was tired of the Kara as a high school student trope. Been there, done that years ago. Plus, the mashup of comics and TV SG realities was disappointingly annoying. So here I am, so far loving Kara as a high school student in this alternate reality story. I love that Kara is getting the Superman: American Alien, Secret Identity, and so on treatment that Superman has often gotten over the years. Told as some sort of Imaginary Tale or Elseworlds story, this supposes that Supergirl's pod crashed in a field on the Danvers' property eight years earlier and they took Kara in as their daughter. She's an average high school student who happens to have powers she keeps secret. The art is fine and the Danvers are just an average family. By the end of the first book, things are about to change. There's a lot of promise here and I'm looking forward to what happens next. I hope this truly is an alternate look at an icon who is regaining popularity thanks to the TV show, a story that really explores what makes Kara special as well as what makes her super. And it's about time!

I also read the latest Captain America: Steve Rogers. I'd hoped the story would've ended by now. I like the idea of it. The art is great. But this is just dragging on too long. I want to see Steve learn he's been manipulated, his memories replaced, by Kobik. I want to see the crap hit the fan. I'm tired of this overall foot dragging across the Marvel 'verse.



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Vision

I apparently typed the review for the first volume, but never posted it.

Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than a Man
I wasn't interested in reading this, but I kept seeing glowing reviews of the comic, so, although I didn't read enough of the reviews to get the plot, I figured I'd give it a try. I also thought these first six issues were a complete story, but boy, was I wrong. This comic is nothing like I expected. I was thinking a light, fun story arc; what it is is a dark look at what it means to be human, how being different sets someone up to be a victim of bigotry, and how the desire to fit in can lead to horrible misunderstandings. I don't know much about Vision, beyond his appearance in the movie "Avengers: Age of Ultron." I have no idea how well this series by Tom King, with lovely art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, fits into his previous comic book life. What I do know is that this story really got under my skin. Horrible things are done to and done by the family Vision has constructed and I can't wait to read what comes next.

Vision, Vol. 2: Little Better Than a Beast
This volume begins with a digression, with a whirlwind recap of Vision's relationship and marriage with Scarlet Witch. Then back to the present as Vision's brother Victor pays him and his new family a visit. The Avengers, concerned about glimpses of the future in which Vision destroys the world, so they sent Victor to learn the truth about some troubling occurrences (as seen in the first volume). King uses an interesting narrative technique, summarizing not only Victor's history, but also his ultimate fate before we see it play out. And play out it does as Vision's perfect little family life unravels. This is a poignant story, a very human story about AIs. It's about programming, and how different, really, is electronic coding over what's coded into human DNA? Perhaps only the details, the methodology, as we all do what we can to survive. And in a way, this story is also about wish fulfillment, about how trying to stop something from happening often brings it about. The two volumes together tell an amazing story, one not typically seen in a superhero book. This isn't a big "good vs evil" story but a quiet tale about trying to be normal, to fit in, instead of embracing your specialness, and a whole lot more.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Reasonably Prompt Reviews

An interesting mix this week.

Captain Marvel 0
Ah! Another, sorta reboot, at least numbering-wise. The art by Laiso and Rosanas is very nice and Margaret Stohl has a decent feel for Carol, but this is post-Civil War II Carol, who is a bit of a mess and in denial about a lot of things. It doesn't help that I think Carol was wrong about predictive justice, or that this issue doesn't do much to advance things, but it's a nice enough first issue in what I hope is a refreshed version of Carol, one who more resembles the version Kelly Sue DeConnick wrote. I did like the flashbacks.

Star-Lord 1
Best part: Peter hanging out with old man Logan. Otherwise, now stuck on Earth, Peter is acting like more of an idiot than usual. I'll give this a few more issues, but I was unimpressed with this first issue.

Green Arrow 13
Ollie and Team Arrow take on uncovering the archer who's framing him for recent arrow attacks, and as usual, Ollie miscalculates and ends up in a worse position. Pretty good, actually.

Lady Mechanika: La Dama de la Muerte 3
The concluding chapter in the latest story of this steampunk gem. I love how this book plays with myths and the art is stunning. This is a dark and gritty tale and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Superman 13
As 2-part interludes go, this story was pretty fun, and Superman and Lois get a glimpse of how badly things can go when love dies or gets ripped to shreds. The alien, former lovers battling over a wanted alien with a unique method for escaping capture were rather poignant, giving what seemed like a routine story real emotion.

Nightwing 11
Another story that borrows from Dick's history as villains from Gotham now trying to go straight in Bludhaven are being framed for murder and Dick reluctantly agrees to take up the investigation. Pretty good.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

This Week in Comics

A nice variety this past week.

Hawkeye 1
Featuring Kate Bishop. Kelly Thompson has a nice feel for writing Kate, returning Kate to LA to embark on a career as an unlicensed PI. The art by Leonardo Romero is reminiscent of the art on Matt Fraction's Hawkeye comic, so that's a nice bit of continuity.

Flash 12
The conclusion of the brief story with Shade. A fun story, and Wally is cute as he tries to guess Flash's real name.

Wonder Woman 12
Diana helps the military learn who's behind the terrorist attacks and the answer is... I love this book, and Nicola Scott's art is gorgeous.

Gotham Academy 4
This takes place before the first arc and is a fun story set around a spooky carnival. The mystery is easy to solve, but that doesn't hurt the story.

Superwoman 5
The stakes keep getting higher for Lana as she prepares to face off against Lena. I love this comic.

Nighwing 10
Dick goes to Bludhaven for some "me" time in order to restore his confidence in himself. Not much happens, but that should change next issue, because Dick always finds trouble.

Jessica Jones 3
I'm having trouble believing this is the same character I fell in love with in Alias. Jessica never learns from past mistakes, but now she's also acting like an idiot. She's also offered the chance to do something that doesn't sound all that honest. And I'm starting to think Jessica in the comics isn't the hero of her own story the way she is in the Netflix series. This Jessica doesn't ever act so much as react. Hardly an example of female empowerment I want her to be.

Descender 17
A bit of everything as various parts of the plot inch forward on different fronts. This story is definitely a slow burn, but I'm still enjoying it and am eager for Andy to finally find Tim-21, his childhood robot AI friend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ode to Local Comics Shops

I recently looked through my journals from the 1970s (small, spiral-bound notebooks) and found the answer to a question that had been bugging me for a while, ever since I found out Forbidden Planet NY hasn't existed as long as I'd thought. FPNY dates from the 1980s and in the 1960s through the early-'70s, I bought my comics at a local drugstore. So where did I buy them during the rest of the 1970s? The answer, I discovered, was Supersnipe Comic Book Emporium.

When I read that name in my journal, I got so excited. It was familiar! I hit up Google for info and was disappointed to look at photos that didn't further jog my memory. I shopped there. I wrote about going every week, walking over from college, to get my comics. I'm sure this is where I discovered comics-related publications, and yet, the actual memories of the place elude the conscious me. Still, it was clearly my first comic book shop experience, so I'm glad to finally have that mystery solved.

In the early-'80s, I got my comics from a little store called Action Comics (the owner said he'd licensed the name from DC), a few blocks from my apartment, and Forbidden Planet NY (FPNY), which had two locations for a few years and where I could also buy books (science fiction, some fantasy), calendars, and other related items. In the '90s, I alternated between FPNY and Jim Hanley's Universe before settling on FPNY and establishing a pull list there. Nowadays, it feels like a second home.

In all of these shops, never have I felt unwelcome. I might've been one of the few women who shopped in those stores, but I was never treated with anything less than respect as a paying customer. And visiting FPNY weekly is like visiting with friends, where I can discuss movies, favorite comics and characters, and action figures. And I've been able to entertain the younger-than-me staff at FPNY with my stories of going to comic cons in the '70s and getting to meet and get autographs from such big names in comics like Steve Gerber and Joe Kubert. All comic book readers should have a shop like that to visit.