Thursday, June 22, 2017

Half Dozen

Oooooo.... timely reviews! I still have a couple of others to read, but they might get their reviews bumped to next week's batch.

The Wildstorm 5
I'm loving this version of the Wildstorm 'verse. Zealot makes an appearance, background on a a couple of characters is revealed, and the intrigue grows. Good stuff for today's political climate. Can anyone really be trusted?

Batwoman 4
The first arc concludes, mostly, and while I enjoyed it, mostly, I'm a bit confused by it all. Not bad, but not great.

Super Sons 6
The boys learn they need to get along. A bit of an interlude story before things ratchet up again.

Superman 25
Jon finds his inner strength to defeat Black and the Kents say goodbye to Hamilton County with a bang.

Green Arrow 25
Ollie's been arrested for a murder he didn't commit, Kate Spencer is his lawyer(!) and gets him out on bail, Dinah is on her own and working her own angles on the case, and Emi wants to be called Red Arrow. Damn, I love this book.

Nightwing 23
Dick deals with personal issues in his relationship with Shawn while working with Roland Desmond, Blockbuster's brother. Things don't go well, on either front. Things are about to get really interesting.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Two Weeks

It's been a busy couple of weeks for comics. So, here are some quick takes on what I read.

Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor Special 1
Steve takes a raincheck on a date with Diana to go on a secret mission. I really like this modern-day version of Steve. He's like a current version of the movie version.

Jessica Jones 9
Jessica runs afoul of Sharon Carter, gets tossed into jail, is sprung by Matt Murdoch, then patches things up (for good, I hope) with Luke. Not much story-wise, but it's nice seeing Jessica and Luke not fighting.

The Champions 9
Viv goes off on her own and meets Red Locust, a new hero with potential. I like her. She's exuberant and eager and fun.

Hawkeye 7
Kate goes after Madame Masque, then gets a big surprise. Next issue should be so good. Also, we got background on Kate's childhood.

Superman 24
Background on the aliens living in the town Supes and family had made their home, along with the plan the aliens have for Jon. This issue was mostly about furthering the plot.

Nightwing 22
Blockbuster shows up and needs Dick's help. This should be fun.

Green Arrow 24
Ollie tries to reclaim Queen Industries. I'm really enjoying this book.

Superwoman 11
Mostly the backstory about Steel's brother/Natasha's father and Natasha's long missing younger brother. The new creative team is doing a decent job so far, especially in building up the character relationships.

Wonder Woman 24
The bittersweet ending to Rucka's long story told over two time periods. I'm really going to miss him on this title.

Titans 12
Lilith tries to learn where Karen's memory engram is and the rest of the team deals with personal issues. Oh, and one of them is a traitor. Hasn't that been done before? The traitor bit? Why yes, it has. I'll reserve judgment until I see where things go.

Flash 24
Reverse Flash has kidnapped Iris. Never a good thing in any version of Flash.

Gotham Academy Second Semester 10
Things get complicated as Olive/Calamity works with Two-Face to go after Penguin. Meanwhile, the other students are looking for Olive. I love this book.

Ms. Marvel 19
A ripped-from-the-headlines type story as Kamala's neighbors go after people who are different, including the ones with super powers, and Lockdown is behind it.

Copperhead 14
The sheriff investigates the murder of the mayor. This book is an appealing science fiction/western with feminist leanings.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Wonder Woman

Two Wonder Woman Covers
My non-spoilery review of "Wonder Woman." First, just to get it out there, while I started reading Wonder Woman comics in my teens, she wasn't the female character I idolized or identified with. That was Supergirl. The original Supergirl and I were of an age. We overlapped in life experiences at various times, or at least shared them at different times: high school, college, first jobs, back to college/grad school, trying to figure out what we wanted as a career. When DC killed her off in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985, I was devastated and pretty much stopped reading nearly all comics for a decade. I never had that kind of relationship with Wonder Woman. I cared more for Donna Troy/Wonder Girl, actually, because she was in the Teen Titans, which I loved. So I was completely unprepared for how deeply and emotionally the Wonder Woman movie hit me. It got me in the feels, to use current vernacular. I started tearing up fairly early on with Diana's training scenes and pretty much had to force myself to not cry so I wouldn't miss seeing anything due to too much moisture in my eyes. More on this at the end of this review.

Second, this was the most fun DC movie since the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie and the best DC movie since the Nolan Batman trilogy. Disclaimer: I passed on Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman, and Suicide Squad.

Third, the inevitable comparison with Marvel movies, mainly those from Marvel Studios. I love the Marvel movies. My favorites are Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and both Guardians of the Galaxy, with Ant-Man and Captain America: First Avenger, The Avengers, and the first Iron Man as runners-up. Deadpool was awesome, too. But even at their very best, they felt like comic book movies. Wonder Woman felt real, just an ordinary adventure movie set in WWI that just happened to focus on a mythical woman with superpowers. And that's due to the tight, focused script and the brilliant direction of Patty Jenkins. The story felt intimate in the middle of a war. It was a coming-of-age tale, a good vs evil story that wasn't quite about good or evil but more about love and human nature and how those two are often in conflict but not always. At its hard, it was about real people. Very believable people, and for all my love for Bucky Barnes, Scott Lang, Steve Rogers, and every member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, I don't believe I could meet them in real life the way I felt I could meet Diana and Steve Trevor and Etta Candy and all the rest. The humor in the film doesn't come from intentional quipping but from normal human interactions, including Diana's encounters with things in man's world she'd never encountered while growing up. The human interactions didn't feel added on or like interludes they way they do in some superhero movies. Every moment felt earned and justified.

This was a perfect origin story for Wonder Woman, a good reworking of the various versions in the comics that felt right. The casting was amazing, and the two young actresses playing younger versions of Diana were great.

The movie not only met but exceeded my high expectations. When I got teary-eyed, it wasn't just because of the emotion on screen, but more due to the iconic comic book shots Jenkins gave us. Just seeing Wonder Woman leap, shield in hand, sword held high put a lump in my throat and moisture in my eyes. The DC TV-verse has become the epitome of a filmed DCU, something the movie-'verse couldn't compete with. That will change if DC keeps giving us movies like this one.

Two More Wonder Woman Covers

Saturday, June 03, 2017

This Week's Reading

Another short week. I did read Paper Girls Volume 2 and it left more questions than it answered, but it was fun, especially when Erin encounters her grown-up self. I'm eagerly awaiting Volume 3.

Wonder Woman Annual 1
Worth it for the Nicola Scott cover, which is stunning. Diana looks so exuberant, so joyful. The first story, by Rucka, is a cute Diana-meets-Kal-and-Bruce story where they go check on the new super-powered hero and she turns the tables on them. The rest of the stories are by a bunch of newbies, I believe, including one gal who used to work at my LCS. They're okay, but as with all such short pieces, they really don't go anywhere, but they are nice celebrations of what makes Diana special.

Kill or be Killed 9
Dylan's ability to get into and out of danger is almost impossible, and in this one, he walks into a trap set by the Russian mob who are pissed at him for killing one of their members. Life as a serial killer does have its problems. Nice and plot-twisty with lots of character bits as usual.

Flash 23
It's Barry's birthday and Hal stops by and trouble happens because of course it does. A nice start to a new story.

Saga 43
The new arc starts off in the middle of things as Alana seeks to rid herself of her dead fetus. That sounds far more crude than it is, but with its usual sensitivity and emotion and humanity, this book is now dealing with abortion, a too-well-timed storyline given the current political climate in the US. Knowing Saga, we're in for an emotional roller-coaster. I'm stocking up on tissues, just in case.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wonder Woman

The Wonder Woman movie opens on Friday and I can't wait to see it. But I won't see it opening weekend. I prefer to wait for the crowds to thin; usually midday the following week is good. I loved the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series, but a movie has been a long time coming. After all, Superman had movies starring Kirk Alyn, a TV series starring George Reeves, movies with Christopher Reeve, another TV series with Dean Cain, Smallville with Tom Welling, and another movie with Henry Cavill. Batman had a TV series and a bunch of movies, too. (I'm not counting animated versions here.)

Charlie Jane Anders, over on Tor.com, writes about her hero worship of Wonder Woman. And that made me think of my own relationship with Diana of Themyscira. I didn't start reading about Wonder Woman's adventures until I was in my teens, though I'd been reading comics since I was 7. My first real exposure to the character was in Justice League of America, which I started reading when I was 13 -- I was in junior high, so that age is approximate. I started buying her comic a short time later, maybe a year or two later as I needed a bigger allowance as I was already buying a lot of comics by then. And I loved her, but I'm an anomaly. I actually loved her more when she renounced her powers for a brief time and partnered up with the enigmatic I Ching. I loved, and still do, spy and adventure intrigue more than stories based in myths.

The character I idolized and looked to as a role model was not Diana, but Supergirl. She was the one closest to my age (until I discovered Donna Troy in Teen Titans). Kara Zor-El and I kind of grew up together. She was still in high school when I got there. We overlapped for a while in college, then grad school. We both grappled with indecision over our careers and our future. And while I doubt I'll ever see her get a movie, I'll always have the excellent TV show starring Melissa Benoist.

But on Friday, Wonder Woman comes to the big screen and that's a BIG DEAL. It's something I never thought I'd see. Marvel might be doing a Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers movie (Yay!) and maybe even a Black Widow movie someday, but DC is giving us a Wonder Woman movie, directed by a woman, NOW. And that means everything. So let's make this movie a success so we'll get more. Because in the current political climate, we need heroes, especially female ones, for all the kids -- boys as well as girls -- to see and admire, so they can all grow up to see possibilities, that girls can be heroes, too, and that's how it should be.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Just Two

I can't believe I had only 2 comics to buy this week. Only one was on my pull list: Wonder Woman. The other, Deathstroke, I needed because of the crossover with Titans and Teen Titans.

I'll start with Deathstroke 19
We get the backstory behind Slade's scheme involving both Wally West speedsters, and to be honest, this was better than the Titans and Teen Titans entries so far in "The Lazarus Contract" thus far. The art was rather ordinary, though.

Wonder Woman 23
Wow. I read this on the subway ride home from my LCS, and was hardpressed to not cry aloud. Tears did fill my eyes, but I willed them not to fall. The dovetailing stories in the past and present merged in a brilliant, beautiful resolution. This is Wonder Woman at her finest. Liam Sharp's art is gorgeous as usual, especially for the climactic sequence when Diana confronts Deimos and Phobos not in an epic battle of swordplay but in an honest display of emotion, disarming them with love. It's amazing and it sets Wonder Woman apart from pretty much every other superhero book. I don't know what direction the book will take once Rucka officially signs off, but this run will remain as a testament of how good Wonder Woman can be.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

More Reviews

I'm nearly caught up, which means I can soon get back to the stack of graphic novels and collected editions.

Bitch Planet 10
I'm glad there's a synopsis in the front of this because, given the time between issues, I sometimes forget where the story left off. This picks up with a riot at the prison for non-compliant females. More and more, reading this satire feels like reading the news.

Descender 21
The end of the current storyline has the robots with the upper hand, so to speak. I'm not sure where this is headed, but it's still intriguing. I suppose, as with a prose novel, this would work better if read all at once.

Kill or be Killed 8
Dylan is closer to the edge now that the police are on the lookout for the vigilante killer. This is a fascinating look into the mind of a killer and I still can't decide if the demon behind it is real or a figment of his own mind.

Astro City 44
This focuses on a super kitty with enough powers to give Streaky, Supergirl's pet, some serious competition. Cute story.

Wildstorm 4
I'm as confused and entertained as with previous issues. There's a familiar feel with the Wildstorm characters, yet they also feel fresh.