Monday, February 27, 2017

She Wolf #6

She Wolf #6She Wolf: Black Baptism, Issue #6 sees the return of Gabby from college. She's looking for her sister Lizzie, who's been missing from home for a couple of days. She hears from two guys in a Trans-Am that Lizzie's at a party, so she goes to the party to find Lizzie turned into a werewolf. Lizzie has been mauling and eating the guests, so Gabby turns into a werewolf herself to battle her sister, who apparently has been possessed by the demon Gabby and her friend conjured in the first arc.

There's a five-page short comic at the end of the issue called “Jacob Morrow: A Head for Business.” I almost didn't read it, but the artwork by Patrick Dean caught my eye. Sometimes the back matter of comics can be tedious, and I generally avoid “teasers,” where the first six pages of a new comic is added to thicken out the issue and advertise the new comic, but I liked every page of this issue. I'm planning on getting the full collection of Dark Corridor in trade paperback, also by Rich Tommoso, also advertised in this issue.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Detective Comics #951

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Batman: Detective Comics, Issue #951 sees Gotham eerily quiet.  Batman is training his army, as he talks with Batwoman.  Orphan, the ballet dancer turned villain turned Bat-hero, is overwhelming the rest.  Batman even admits that she could best him.  In Issue #950, Azrael beat the program that Batman couldn't.  And there's Clayface, a Robin or two, and of course, Batwoman, who's working with Mayor Hardy to clean up the corruption that had infected Gotham.  Their new enemy?  The League of Shadows, led by Shiva the Destroyer, but what if it's not?

I love Batwoman's role in this series.  She's Batman's right hand, giving him advice, watching over the rest of the Bat-heroes.  There's a lot I like about this issue, Clayface was very well introduced as a hero in the previous issue, as were Orphan and Azrael.  I also like the way the title of the comic isn't introduced until the final page, so the reader isn't sure who the new enemy is.  There are hints that it's someone else, even Batman himself.  Recommended.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Berserk, Vol. 1

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Berserk, Volume 1 is the first of a long series by Kentaro Miura.  I first read the opening three volumes of Berserk three years ago, but I never really got into the series.  I've constantly heard good things about it, so I thought I'd get back into reading it.  The opening volume is about Guts's battles against demons and other monsters.  He has a giant sword and a mini-automatic-crossbow attached to his left arm.  His main offense is shooting people to death with a dozen or so arrows or chopping them up into little people with his giant sword.

The main story, which begins with Guts's childhood, starts midway through Volume 3, which is exactly where I stopped.  Before that, Guts merely chops through baddies with little to no rhyme or reason.  It's fun stuff, but not really the makings of the 38-volume epic that I've heard so much about.  If the price tag puts you off - a full, used set of the 38 volumes can run $500 or more - don't let it.  That just means that you can sell the full set on eBay when you're done.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Spider-Gwen #17

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Spider-Gwen, Issue #17 is the fourth issue in the "Sitting in a Tree" crossover event.  It's a little hard to understand, but here goes.  Earth-616 is the main Marvel universe, the one with all the mutants, inhumans, superheroes, puns, and stuff.  Earth-65 is Spider-Gwen's Earth.  Normally, these universes stay somewhat separate, but just to mix it up, they come together now and then.  This is one of those times.  S.I.L.K. is... oh, what's S.I.L.K. again?  Some Spider-organization.  I can't keep track.  Anyway, they're involved.  So's Ms. Marvel, which is kind of cool.

I think the main difference between Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen is that the former doesn't require as much of a backstory understanding, while the latter rewards the experienced Marvel/Spider-Man reader.  I've read at most 100 issues involving Spider-Man, and I don't come close to getting all the references.  I read a lot of Marvel these days, but I simply didn't grow up with Marvel.  For me, in the 1980s, it was all about Batman and the Justice League.

Devils' Line, Vol. 1

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Devils' Line, Volume 1 is the first in a currently running manga series that I picked up used on the cheap.  It deals with the Akuma myth, where some Akuma are vampires, and they live among us.  Anzai is a half-vampire, and he protects Tsukasa, a college student.  He's a part of the vampire police force or something like that.  See, vampires/Akuma look mostly like humans, only more disheveled and haggard, so they like to live among the humans, sometimes even getting married with humans.  Blood turns them on, and sometimes they kill their husbands and wives.

It's pretty obvious early on that Tsukasa and Anzai are going to be a couple.  Volume 5 is coming out in a couple of days, so the series is continuing.  I did find the dialogue a little clunky; perhaps the translation of this volume isn't terrific.  The cover and story drew me in, and I did enjoy it.  I bought a bunch of manga this week, including the first three volumes Berserk.  I read two and a half volumes of it in digital format years ago, but I thought I'd give it another chance.  I'll also try to catch up with Black Butler and a few other titles.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

God Country #2

God Country #2

God Country, Issue #2  I actually bought a week from yesterday.  Although I bought nine comics just a day ago, I'm still finishing up the comics from last week.  Emmett, the former Alzheimer patient who used to be a god but now is a god again, has defeated the tornado that was actually a devil in Issue #1.  Now another god comes down, but he realizes that Emmett is actually a god, and he kneels to Emmett.  It really isn't as confusing as I make it out to be..  To make matters more confusing, Emmett might not be a god at all, but the sword he wields, Valofax, is.

God Country has an excellent blend of the fantastic, the funny, the supernatural, and awe.  It wasn't exactly on the bubble as far as titles I was going to buy last week, but it was the last one I read.  I found it very satisfying and fun, and there won't be a hint of hesitation when Issue #3 comes out in March; I'll buy it.

Kill or Be Killed #6

Kill Or Be Killed #6

Kill or Be Killed, Issue #6 is nice and thick, like a lot of Brubaker/Phillips titles, really a treasure, a classic comic.  Using long periods of prose, Brubaker writes a lot in every outing of this title.  In Issue #5, Dylan kills a police officer, and begins Issue #6 in a standoff with two other police officers. He escapes, like usual.  It's too early in this comic for him to be caught.  Most of this issue deals with introducing Lily, the police officer who suspects that Dylan's murders are all committed by the same person, a vigilante serial killer.

The last few pages are about Dylan, and his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Daisy, who he hooks up with.  This ties in with the Russian angle and the Lily angle, through a newspaper headline about the alleged vigilante serial killer.  There's another Kim Morgan article about a movie; I haven't read it yet, but her article in Issue #5 intrigued me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

U.S.Avengers #3

U.S.Avengers (2017-) #3

U.S.Avengers, Issue #3 is about A.I.M (American Intelligence Mechanics, a former rogue agency that has come in from the cold) working with a future Captain America, (Captain America 20XX, get it? She hides what year she's from) to stop a future villain called the Golden Skull, who looks like a man with a... you guessed it!  man with a golden skull.  He's replacing the world's top billionaires with robots in order to create his own empire.  He even has solid-gold armor, which as the Iron Patriot points out is kinda' stupid since gold is a soft, pliable metal.

Issue #3 is a cheesy outing.  I'll keep reading for now, but there's no edge to it.  In one of the early New 52 version of Suicide Squad, one member simply murders another member when they need a scapegoat after destroying a stadium full of zombies or whatnot.  U.S.Avengers is Avengers-lite at this point.  I liked the idea that they're all immigrants, but they have to do something different for this title to keep my attention.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Invincible Iron Man #4


Invincible Iron Man, Issue #4 begins with Riri Williams and Pepper Potts being attacked by ninjas led by Tomoe, the techno golem.  Tomoe also has an Iron-Man-like suit made up with the suits of Potts and Williams.  Fortunately, Riri escapes and commandeers a local boy's laptop, which she uses to contact the Tony Stark program.  He can't override Tomoe's programming, but he can control the other Iron Man suits, one of which he brings to Riri Williams, much to the surprise of Mary Jane Watson and Tony Stark's mother, who now run Stark Enterprises.

This is a very action-oriented issue, as a lot of Brian Michael Bendis's titles are.  I'm actually going to go back and read the rest of his Daredevil run; Daredevil: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 2 has gone back into print.  I sort of stopped reading Volume 1 once I found out that getting the rest of the series was prohibitively expensive, even used.  I spent $32 and got Volume 2 and Volume 3 in decent shape.  It's the cheapest way to read the whole run, which consists of 40 or 50 issues.

Poe Dameron #11


Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Issue #11 sees Agent Terex going rogue.  He has returned to his pre-First Order position as Lord-General of the Rancs of Kaddak, commanding a small fleet of pirate warships.  He is tracing Poe Dameron of Black Squadron back to the Resistance base, where he hopes to destroy the Resistance with one fell swoop, but Poe Dameron might be onto him.  He knows that Agent Terex has been one step ahead of him and that the leak must come from someone close to him, but from whom?

This is a fun title.  It's for Star Wars nerds like me.  The big question a lot of people have is if Poe Dameron is LGBTQIA or not; a lot of people want to see him and Finn as a couple, although with Finn being trained from childhood to be a soldier, it's hard to see him as anything other than a situational asexual.  People claim that saltpeter is put in soldiers' food during basic training, although when one is in extremis, that side of the body is shut down.  I could see a stormtrooper being put through so much shit throughout his life that the sexual side of him doesn't burgeon into reality until he's freed from those bonds.  Does this sound like slash fiction, or what?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Green Lanterns #17

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Green Lanterns, Issue #17 is the second issue in the "Darkest Knights" arc.  People are dying in Gotham after being taken over by fear.  Batman thinks it's Sinestro Corps activity, but Simon Baz thinks it's the Scarecrow.  It turns out that they're both right; the Scarecrow has a Yellow Power Ring.  Issue #1 ended with Alfred under the Scarecrow's spell, pointing Baz's gun at Baz's head.  The trigger is "Bad Batman" videos being played on YouTube, but only 12 people have been triggered, including Alfred.  It can't be random, can it?

I got a little behind in my reading this week.  Green Lanterns is usually one of the first titles I read because of the twice-a-month turnaround and because it's easy to read.  There are overlapping arcs, which is always good.  The "Darkest Knights" arc is going to be put on the back burner for just a little while, as the "Volthoom" arc is going to be more explored, at least from what I gathered reading this issue and the sixteen that preceded it.  There's also a crucial moment in the development of Baz's character.  If you haven't read this series and want to start, get Issue #16 and continue from there.

The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade

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The Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade is the downfall of Jason Todd in the "Dark Knight" universe.  Back in the 1980s, Jason Todd had replaced Dick Grayson as Robin.  His character didn't resonate with fans.  He was brutish, violent, and without the redeeming qualities of Batman or later, Damian Wayne.  So, a phone line was set up where people called in and voted whether Jason Todd would live or die.  DC fans wanted him to die, of course, but the story is more complicated than that.  According to urban myth, a certain fan set up his computer to call the hotline hundreds of times to vote "no."  That fan spent $50 or $100, and his calls allegedly swung the vote to kill Jason Todd.

I've read the original "Death of Robin," where Jason Todd is killed but not much else of Jason Todd at the time.  This is the heretofore untold story about how the Joker and Todd were killed and Batman retired, again in the "Dark Knight" universe.  Only you don't see the death of either man; it's just the leadup to that death.  Todd hears that he might never be ready to take over as Batman, and he goes out to prove himself.  The final page of the story is him being caught by the Joker's men.

The Punisher #9


The Punisher, Issue #9 starts with Frank burying Ethel, the kindly old lady who helps him recover from his wounds in Issue #8.  And again, the issue begins with a funeral scene to mark the death of artist, Steve Dillon.  Frank says, "you're going to regret this," to Olaf, while Condor operative Face is driving away with D.E.A. agent Ortiz in a stolen ambulance.  He crashes the ambulance off a cliff, crazed on EMC, and he promises to torture her the way he tortured her partner and then eat her.

This is classic The Punisher.  Steve Dillon is part of the reason I picked up this title; he helped create the look it has.  It hasn't changed that much in the two issues since his death.  I'm really enjoying it.  Becky Cloonan has helped create one of the classic versions of this character, and I'm glad that she's kept it going.  I look forward to where it goes.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nisekoi, Vol. 19

Nisekoi: False Love, Volume 19 sees the title finally picking up after a sensational Volume 18.  That volume ends with Chitoge's father announcing that he is going to take the family and move out of the area, ending the false love.  Of course, that doesn't come to fruition.  In fact, Chitoge isn't in large parts of this volume, which features a date between Raku and Onodera and Raku and Maika being stranded on a deserted island near the International Dateline.

There have been some mediocre volumes out of the 19 I've read, approaching 4000 pages total.  I've only read more of Hunter x Hunter.  This isn't one of them.  Sure, Nisekoi is silly; it's light.  The highlight of the volume is Raku and Onodera holding hands.  It's starkly different from Inio Asano's The Girl on the Shore, which features graphic sex.  The humor isn't even that advanced, mostly based on simple exaggerations of the character's facial expressions and slapstick.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Batwoman: Rebirth #1

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Batwoman: Rebirth, Issue #1 is the title I started to replace The Blue Beetle, which I just couldn't get into.  I read Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka, and I followed the J.H. Williams version of the title up until the point that he left following Batwoman's engagement (superheroes are lonely and aren't married, he argued at the time).  Add in one of my favorite writers in James Tynion IV, and buying this title became a no-brainer.  The basic story remains the same.  She attends West Point only to be kicked out because of the now-outdated Section 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which was repealed in 2013.

Rebirth, Issue #1 confirms everything up to a point.  Her kidnapping, her training with her father, her sister apparently dying.  What is missing is my least favorite aspect of the story, her getting married.  Superheroes don't get married.  They're divorced, they're single.  They get married in alternate realities or in the past or in the future, not the here and now, the real.  There are a few exceptions.  Peter Parker's story is long and complex, and for a time, he's married.

Old Man Logan #18

Old Man Logan (2016-) #18

Old Man Logan, Issue #18 is the third issue in the "Return to the Wastelands" arc, where Logan goes into space to save Alpha Flight from an alien threat known as the Brood, only to be returned to the bleak future where he came from.  It's a complex story told through intertwining flashbacks, difficult to follow, perhaps, but here's the skinny: Wolverine isn't sent to his own timeline but to an even more distant future, where the baby he saved just before being teleported to Earth-616 has grown up to become an evil monarch.  More to the point, that timeline is in question; perhaps it's just a projection done by Jean Grey under the control of the Brood.

This series continues to be a hit, and I strongly encourage everyone to read it.  This particular issue is strongly influenced by Philip K. Dick; Logan questions reality but then asks, "what if it could be true at some point in the future?"  The artwork by Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo continues to break boundaries, eschewing traditional paneling for different styles.  I'm a fan.

Faster Than Light #9 and #10

Faster Than Light #9

Faster Than Light, Issue #9 and Issue #10 came out five or six months ago, but I'm just getting around to reading them.  The series is good enough to finish (Issue #10 is the finale); I like the visuals, I like the characters, and I like the story.  In Issue #8, Sally is drunk and bragging about how she is the queen of Earth.  She gets kidnapped, of course, to be held for ransom.  The ransom?  The giant crystal they have on board, which is more valuable than they realize.

Although Issue #10 is the final issue, there is no resolution; in fact, the issue makes me just want to read more of Faster Than Light.  It's a good series.  The question now is whether or not the show makes it onto TV on Skydance Television, which has optioned the series.  I've seen a lot of promises to make TV shows from a lot of science-fiction and fantasy comics and novels, and not all of them have happened.  It was 2011 when I heard that American Gods was being optioned by HBO, and it's just now becoming a TV series on another network, so there is hope.

Friday, February 17, 2017


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DK III: The Master Race, Issue #7 begins with the Batman dead in the arms of Superman, having been hit by an errant heat ray in Issue #6.  Gotham has been saved yet destroyed.  The Kandor Kryptonians have fled, Quar's son, Baal, has been disfigured by kryptonite.  Quar's revenge?  To kidnap Superman's son.  Superman flies Bruce Wayne to one of the final Lazarus pits and revives him, so he cannot protect his son from Lara, Quar, Baal and the rest of the Kandorians.  The issue ends with the beginning of the Final Battle between Kandor and the Amazons.

I knew the Batman was going to come back because of Frank Miller talking about a Dark Knight IV.  It was actually kind of a let down that he ends the series alive, although there is one more issue to go, so that is in question.  Hal Jordan, who lost his ring hand along with the Power Ring that was on it in one of the early mini-issues, has regained his power, and hopefully he'll take part in the Final Battle.  It would be kinda' silly to leave him out at this point after dedicating two mini-comics to him.


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DK III: The Master Race, Issue #6 is the Battle of Gotham, proper.  By using the Flash's super speed, Batman and company seed the air with synthetic kryptonite in Issue #5, making the Kandor Kryptonians vulnerable.  Now the millions of Gothamites form an angry mob against their would-be oppressors.  The Kandorians flee Gotham; Lara is bested by her mother, Baal is bested by Batgirl using a slingshot and kryptonite.  Then an errant eye beam hits the Batman, who apparently dies in Superman's arms, his last words about Carrie Kelley.

I don't usually post as many spoilers as I have for this series.  I more try to interest readers into buying the comics and finding out for themselves what happens.  This series is special, and the rules break down a little bit.  Will Bruce Wayne die?  For good?  Will Carrie Kelley take over his mantle?  I think the fact that Frank Miller wants to write a Dark Knight IV (Brian Azzarello mostly writes DK III) suggests that there will be an old, decrepit Bruce Wayne running around in a costume at some point in the future.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


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DK III: The Master Race, Issue #5 is the Battle of Gotham.  The people have taken to the streets, looking for the Batman; they're tearing the city apart.  Bruce Wayne as the Batman is tending to the Barry Allen version of the Flash while the Carrie Kelley version of Robin/Batgirl is undersea, riding a giant shark with Aquaman.  There is only one Aquaman, of course.  Superman is released.  There's only one Superman, but there's a whole city full of Kryptonians, ready to take over the world.  And Superman has two children with Wonder Woman, Lara and her baby brother.

Of course the Batman saves the day, and of course it's not over.  They wouldn't sell too many issues if the Kandorian Kryptonians all gave up with three issues left in the limited series, but they look to be on the ropes right now.  That's how a lot of good series go, as I've written before: a major change around 2/3 of the way into the story.  Some of the covers have introduced the next issue.  The cover of Issue #3 has Superman frozen in black matter, which doesn't happen until Issue #4, and Issue #5 shows Superman attacking the Batman, which will probably happen in Issue #6 (cover A for each one).


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DK III: The Master Race, Issue #4 begins with the Atom shrinking into nothingness, followed by Lara, son of Superman, beating Superman around the world for hours on end.  Finally, the Kryptonians of Kandor encase him in black matter.  Now they're after the Batman, but which Batman will it be?  Each one of these comics comes with a mini-comic in the middle; this issue's mini-comic is The Dark Knight Universe Presents: Batgirl, Issue #1.  In it, Batgirl comes out to face the hordes demanding her blood, only to be overwhelmed by numbers and saved by Aquaman.

This is not a pure "Batman" story, the way The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One are; DK III: The Master Race heavily features other superheroes.  Both Superman and Carrie Kelley have almost as much page space as Bruce Wayne/the Batman  Bruce Wayne is old, barely able to walk unaided.  At its heart, DK III is a dark tale of a menacing threat that at this point can only be stopped by the Batman.


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DK III: The Master Race, Issue #3 sees Carrie Kelley returned to the Batcave following her escape from a van transferring her to Blackgate Prison, and just in time.  The citizens of Kandor have been released, and the Kryptonians, under the leadership of Quar, are wreaking havok all across the globe.  Bruce Wayne as Batman and Kelley as Robin are on a mission: find Superman.  They travel to his Fortress of Solitude, where he is frozen on his throne.

This is a Batman story, but it's also about the humans and meta-humans around him, notably Superman and Lara, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman.  Guess what?  She's sided with the people of Kandor by the end of this issue, calling her father a "traitor to (his) race."  I did read a lot of the New 52, so I knew that Superman and Wonder Woman hooked up, and it didn't surprise me that they had a daughter.  The only question is what role she'll play in this drama.  I've got the whole day off, so don't be surprised if I write up Issue #4 through Issue #7.


DK III: The Master Race, Issue #2 begins with Jane Doe being arrested for assault, dressed as the Batman, screaming, "Bruce Wayne is dead."  Next, it's been 27 days since this "Jane Doe" has been arrested, and she hasn't said a word, until now.  She simply says, "he never recovered."  She narrates a story about how the Batman was nearly killed in a fight.  Jane Doe keeps him company for three years before he finally dies, and she eats him.  At the same time, the miniaturized Kryptonian city of Kandor awaits its resurrection.

Jane Doe is obviously Carrie Kelley from The Dark Knight Returns.  She's probably in The Dark Knight Strikes Back, but I've avoided that book because it's by all accounts a poor outing.  DK III isn't a poor outing; it's fantastic so far, worthy of the hype.  I bought an 8.0-rated copy of it from for $8, as it's a somewhat rare issue, at least compared with the rest of the series, which I got for $4 or $5 an issue, up to Issue #7.This is also the one-year anniversary of my blog, which I started on 2/16/2016.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Spider-Man #13

Spider-Man #13 Spider-Man, Issue #13 takes up where the Spider-Gwen tie-in left off, where Miles and Gwen find the Scorpion, only to find out that he's Miles's father, Jefferson Morales, in that dimension.  Is he the Jefferson Morales from the other dimension, or is he the Jefferson Morales from Earth-616 pretending to be the Jefferson Morales from Earth-65 (the Scorpion) as part of an undercover operation for S.H.I.E.L.D.?  A wink suggests that he's the Jefferson Morales from Earth-616, but I guess we'll have to find out in Spider-Gwen, Issue #17.

This issue takes place almost entirely in Earth-65, where Spider-Gwen is from.  The colors are weird, the good guys are bad guys, the bad guys good guys, and Gwen Stacey got bitten by the radioactive spider, making her Spider-Woman.  For those of you who haven't followed the story, Miles Morales is from the now-destroyed Earth-1610, where he became Spider-Man.  Following the events of Secret Wars (which I still haven't read), he made his way to Earth-616.

The "Sitting in a Tree" story includes six issues:

  • Spider-Man, Issue #12
  • Spider-Gwen, Issue #16
  • Spider-Man, Issue #13
  • Spider-Gwen, Issue #17
  • Spider-Man, Issue #14
  • Spider-Gwen, Issue #18
I'm definitely going to read the rest of the series, and whether or not I'll continue reading Spider-Gwen after the tie-in is over is something I'll decide when the time comes.  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Unworthy Thor #4

The Unworthy Thor (2016-) #4

The Unworthy Thor, Issue #4 is the penultimate issue of Jason Aaron's series that perhaps will return the original Thor, now known as Odinson, back to power in the Marvel universe.  To become so, he must find the second Mjolnir, which along with the entire realm of Asgard has been taken by a being known simply as the Collector.  Interspersed in this drama are scenes from Thor's childhood, when he was still unable to lift Mjolnir.  The question remains: when Odinson finds the second Mjolnir, will he be able to lift it?

That question will be answered in Issue #5, the final issue of The Unworthy Thor.  In my previous review, of Doctor Strange/The Punisher: Magic Bullets, Issue #3, I talked about the Golden Mean structure of a good series.  This series has it as well, with the climax coming at the end of Issue #3, with the return of Thanos's Elders of the Universe and Thor finally concocting a solid plan for getting at Mjolnir.  This issue puts that plan into action, ending with a cliffhanger, leading to the ultimate issue.

Doctor Strange/The Punisher #3

Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets (2016) #3

Doctor Strange/The Punisher: Magic Bullets, Issue #3 teases a Phantom Eagle appearance in the beginning with a backstory based on Ghost Rider, Issue #121.  But neither Ghost Rider nor Phantom Eagle appears, only the latter's World War I biplane and its big gun, which the Punisher soon is carrying around the streets of New York.  See, magic has been weakened because a bunch of aliens called EMPIRIKUL have taken magic away from the Earth, forcing Doctor Strange to use magic artifacts instead of magic itself.

I'm beginning to see the structure of this four-issue, 120-page team up.  Every story has a point where it all goes south or all starts to get better about 2/3 of the way in (61.8% of the way in, according to the Golden Mean).  Think of the end of The Empire Strikes Back, for instance.  Han goes into the carbonite, Luke gets his hand cut off, and Vader turns out to be Luke's father.  The structure of this particular story has the peak a little late, at the end of the third of four issues, but it's there.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Curse Words #1

Curse Words #1

Curse Words, Issue #1 is a title I had a little trouble starting.  I bought it a couple of weeks ago based on it being a first issue and written by Charles Soule.  Thing is, I'm not a big fan of fantasy.  I read a fantasy novel here and there, and I love a few series, like The Autumnlands and The Lord of the Rings, but I much prefer science.  I do like the idea that the difference between fantasy and science fiction is that sci-fi is meant to escape reality while fantasy is meant to confront reality (Jack Vance said this, I think), but I find that in the current world of sci-fi and fantasy, the opposite might be the case at times, if the distinction is even valid (Animal Farm is fantasy, and 1984 science fiction, but both confront reality).

These days, everything is about Trump.  I go to Facebook.  Trump.  I go to Twitter.  Trump.  The news.  Trump.  TV.  Trump.  It's hard not to see the wizard who comes in, promising to fix everything as a version of Trump.  Of course, Trump is evil, but is the wizard?  And how can someone evil have a talking koala named Margaret that's so damn cute?  I have to admit, it's a unique comic.  The coloring is just a little bit different from anything I've seen.  I'll keep reading it.

Doctor Aphra #4


Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Issue #4 begins with Aphra, her father, and company fleeing stormtroopers and Imperials in an ancient temple on a forgotten moon, but did they get what they needed from the archaeological site?  They escape, but hot on their tail is Captain Tolvan and Admiral Ozzel, who think Drs. Aphra, Beetee, Black Krrsantan, and a homicidal protocol droid might be Rebels.  Of course, they're just fortune hunters and pseudo-academics.

This is a particularly easy-to-read comic with more action than dialogue.  Comics like this are harder to produce than it may seem to the untrained eye.  Take the new character for instance, Captain Tolvan.  With a few frames of dialogue and a certain look, her character has been established.  Action movies, action TV, action comics, and action novels only work if the characters work, and the characters definitely work in this issue.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War II

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Ms. Marvel, Volume 6: Civil War II contains issue #7 through Issue #12 of the 2015-present version of the comic starring Kamala Khan.  It's also the only current Marvel/DC/Image title I read in trade-paperback form, and I'm wondering if I should make the jump to comic books.  It was only late last year that I read Volume 5, but I'd only have to buy Issue #13 through Issue #15 to catch up.  So, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, and Nova have are still in the Avengers (they strike out to form the Champions with the All New Hulk, Cyborg, and Viv Vision following Civil War II), but Miles Morales and Kamala Khan find themselves as enemies... on opposing sides of a science fair!

Most of the collection deals with Civil War II: Ms. Marvel's participation in and her reaction to the precognitive policing done under Captain Marvel's watching eyes.  It's definitely a more engaging read than Volume 5, which took me ages to finally finish.  I'm a big fan of Civil War II, although I haven't read as many of the spin-offs as I have of the original Civil War.  Part of that has to do with me not wanting to spend the money on a bunch of titles I don't already read.  Maybe I'll pick up a few more trade paperbacks and see how the other spin-offs go.

The Blind Banker #2

Sherlock: The Blind Banker, Issue #2 is another home-run by Titan Comics, which published the comic I reviewed last night, Showman Killer 3.  It's the English version of the manga adaptation of the second episode of BBC's Sherlock, with dialogue by the original authors and art by Jay.  In this second issue, Sherlock Holmes has traced the recipient of a message graffiti'ed into an ultra-secure banking facility and found that recipient dead of a gunshot.  Was it murder or suicide?

It's manga; it reads right-to-left, and it's in black-and-white for those that aren't used to the medium.  Jay does a great job capturing the action and characters.  I probably will buy Sherlock: The Lady in Pink in book form (it's $12 in tankoban-sized paperback instead of the $30 it would cost to buy all the issues), but at $5 a month, it's a little more palatable to buy the issues as they come out instead of waiting until 2018 to buy the paperback.  I bought Cover C.

Detective Comics #950

Batman: Detective Comics, Issue #950 I picked up because I'm dropping Blue Beetle.  It starts the "League of Shadows" arc, and it's written by James Tynion IV, whose work I've enjoyed for years.  Marcio Takara does the art, and Dean White does the colors.  I particularly enjoyed the lettering by Marilyn Patrizio, notably her use of italics in the narration.  I bought the variant cover by Raphael Albuquerque (not shown).  It's a solid 48 pages of content to celebrate the milestone of 950 comics in the long-running series.

Now's a good time to jump into Detective Comics, if you haven't already.  There are three characters that are new to me featured in this comic, which contains very little of Batman and more of the three.  I'd read about Cassandra Cain before, but this was the first time I'd seen her as Orphan.  Batwing I'd heard of before but hadn't read, and Azrael is totally new to me.  This comic is an excellent introduction to all three characters.  Red Robin is also featured, but I'd read plenty of him before, notably in the New 52 version of Teen Titans.  Anyway, read this.  It's one of the good ones.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Showman Killer 3

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Showman Killer 3: The Invisible Woman is the final installment of Alejandro Jodorowsky's 2010-2012 work.  Originally published in French, it is available in English for the first time on Titan Comics, which has published some of Jodorowsky's other work.  In the previous two volumes, the Showman Killer was conceived of a brutal killer and the daughter of the Omnimonarch.  He grows up and becomes an invincible warrior only to find himself unable to kill the son of the OMnimonarch, a baby child who is actually his uncle.  They must battle the Superheirophant, a mysterious woman from another realm who has assumed control of the galaxy.  Her goal?  Kill all humans!

There's so much I love about this comic.  It seems to take place millions of years in the future, judging by the curse, "Paleochrist!" and of course the majority of characters being human.  The three volumes of Showman Killer are each about 50 or 60 pages long, so each one is much like reading a double- or triple-issue comic.  The art is as amazingly good as you'd expect from a Jodorowsky comic, and Nicolas Fructus joins the ranks of Moebius, Manara, Bess, Liu and the rest.

Spider-Gwen #16


Spider-Gwen, Issue #16 is Part 2 of the "Sittin' in a Tree" crossover event, the first one being Spider-Man, Issue #12.  The general story is that Miles Morales's father went missing between dimensions, and Miles Morales as Spider-Man followed him to Spider-Gwen's dimension (Earth-65), where they met and kissed.  In this issue, I haven't read much of Spider-Gwen, but here's the skinny: Matt Murdoch isn't Daredevil in her universe; he's a bad guy, and he supplies Gwen with "power ups" to let her be Spider-Woman.

I don't know if I'm going to continue reading Spider-Gwen on a monthly basis.  I do dig the comic, its writing, and its art - I even read one of the trade paperbacks - but damn, there's so much to read these days.  Also, most people read Earth-616-based comics.  It's great the way Doctor Octopus and the other New York based heroes and villains are echoed in Earth-65, but it takes a while to get used to them.  I don't know; I was leaning toward not reading Spider-Gwen after this crossover event before reading this issue, but I'm kinda' leaning toward reading more of it after reading it.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Woods #29

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The Woods, Issue #29 continues the story where several of the Bay Park students have returned to Earth, over two years after their disappearance, and they have brought Doctor Robot, a creature from the moon they were marooned on, with them.  Sanami explains the situation to Senator Ramirez, that they were sent to an alien moon, that they fought to survive, and that aliens are going to come to Earth.  Meanwhile, back on the moon, Karen and company are trying to sneak into the Horde's fortress.

I've been a big fan of The Woods ever since the first two trade paperbacks came out on ComiXology.  I quickly bought all of the old issues for $1.99 each and began reading all of the new issues as they came out.  My only fear is that this series seems ripe for an unsatisfying ending, such as the aliens being defeated simply, like in an old Star Trek episode where they reconfigure the transporters.  With seven issues left and James Tynion IV at the helm, though, I don't see that happening.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hawkeye #3


Hawkeye, Issue #3 begins with Kate Bishop being chased by the T.B.C., an organization dedicated to... uh, scaring women?  That isn't really explained in the first two issues.  Anyway, she's saved by Detective Rivera, who pushes her off a pier when everyone's chasing her.  Detective Rivera doesn't want to explain much to Kate, but she does mention that there's mind control involved.  Bishop is all on her own, without the Young Avengers or Clint Barton to back her up, a simple private eye who shoots arrows.

I don't like Hawkeye quite as much as I liked the now ended Mockingbird, but it's got its own charms.  I love Jordie Bellaire's colors in particular; her use of purple is ubiquitous but reminiscent of Matt Hollingsworth's colors on the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye while still being unique.  I do like this version of Hawkeye.  I think the people who like female leads are similar to the people who like women's mixed martial arts.  Some are down with it, and some simply aren't, for their own reasons.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saga #42

Saga #42

Saga, Issue #42 is the series in a dark place.  Alana, Marko, Prince Robot IV, Hazel, and the rest are getting ready to flee the comet they've been living on for the past year or so because the comet is on a course with a time suck which will most likely destroy it and everything on it.  They've grown to have friends on that comet, have a life.  They try to fit all their friends on their tree-ship, but the patriarch of the family convinces the rest that the Lord will protect them or some stupid shit like that.

Saga suffers from the same problem that Stephen King's The Stand suffered from during its writing: too many characters.  Brian K. Vaughan might be emulating King's solution: killing off half the characters.  While King killed off characters that he didn't know what to do with, which is a somewhat lazy but effective way of writing, Vaughan culls characters we all love, that all the characters love.  It's painful, especially the last four pages of the comic, which are left black on purpose.

Old Man Logan #17

Old Man Logan (2016-) #17

Old Man Logan, Issue #17 takes place partly in the Wastelands, where Logan is stuck; there he is out to save Bruce Banner's grandson who is a baby.  It also takes place in space; there he and Puck are fighting the Brood, a gang of mindless aliens who have Brand and Sasquatch trapped aboard a dilapidated space station.  The key to the story is Puck, who appears in both timelines.  How is he there, when all of Alpha Flight died in the Villain Uprising?  There is also a third timeline, where Banner's grandson grows up to be the Warlord.

The artwork, which includes pages made up of small panes, is beautiful, like always.  I'm a huge fan of the three main creators of this comic, as I have mentioned in previous reviews.  The third timeline in this arc is more something you feel rather than can explain.  Logan gets sent to the past, and in doing so, somehow the Warlord is born.  See, the Wastelands don't exist in the main Marvel universe, in any timeline, but because of Old Man Logan going there, they do.

Darth Maul #1


Star Wars: Darth Maul, Issue #1 is a title that I'm excited about.  It's the story of Darth Maul's time with Darth Sidious as a Dark Lord of the Sith.  Written by Cullen Bunn (Deathpool Kills the Marvel Universe), with art by Luke Ross (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), it tells a little-known story.  It begins with Darth Maul hunting a rathnar, the creature Han Solo and Chewbacca were smuggling in the seventh installment of the Star Wars series, and Darth Maul is doing so with only a bladed weapon.

There's a nice little story which I won't reveal in this review.  I do post some of the story, but I don't post complete stories except on rare occasions.  I generally like what I read - comic quality is much higher than it was 10 or 20 years ago with a few exceptions - but this is one of the good ones.  You should be reading this if you're a Star Wars fan, either in comic-book or trade-paperback form.  Although I wasn't a huge fan of The Force Awakens and Rogue One (the movies), I do love the various comics and novels out there, particularly the works of Chuck Wendig, Charles Soule, and Jason Aaron.  I hope this title will be one of the best.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Green Lanterns #16

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Green Lanterns, Issue #16 begins an arc that I'm excited for, "Darkest Knights."  Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, the two Green Lanterns guarding Earth, are in Gotham City.  In Gotham City, there is a string of crimes that Batman and the Gotham City Police Department can't explain.  Normal people are suddenly gripped by fear, attacking the ones they love.  And with all of the Bat-Friends away, the two Green Lanterns are the ones who are left to solve the crimes, which seem to have been committed by the Sinestro Corps.

Green Lanterns is the best-kept secret in DC, and Issue #16 is as good a starting-off point as any.  The Batman presentation is classic.  He's always a little bit smarter, a little bit ahead of everyone else, but there's a twist; there's always a twist.  If you're a Green Lantern fan, you're probably already reading this title, but if you're into Batman, check it out as well.  I bought the alternate cover.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Arab of the Future 2

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The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984-1985 details Riad Sattouf's life in Syria, as he starts to go to school.  His teacher is mean, the kids are mean; it's a rough time to live in Syria, even though his father has a good job, has a good education, and comes from a prominent family.  Riad does manage to make friends and do somewhat well in school.

This book would be so sad if it weren't so funny.  For instance, when the children's hands are beaten by the teacher, a woman, the children's eyes bug out, and I can't help but laugh.  Sattouf uses traditional comic techniques throughout the book: exaggerations, irony, and most importantly, the truth.  I look forward to The Arab of the Future 3 coming out in September; it'll find its way on my bookshelf next to 1 and 2.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Blue Beetle #4 and #5

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Blue Beetle, Issue #4 and Issue #5 might be the last I see of Blue Beetle.  I liked the "New 52" version of Blue Beetle, but the "DC Universe Rebirth" version hasn't caught my fancy.  Issue #4 starts with some teen drama, not that it's always a terrible thing.  I do read Nisekoi and other teen-drama series.  Then it goes into a short origin story, as Jaime Reyes tells it to a doctor under Ted Kord's supervision.  The doctor has news that he kept secret from Jaime: the scarab is making Jaime's body mutate, and it can't be removed without killing him.

I bought Issue #5 because it finishes the arc; Blue Beetle, Volume 1 contains Blue Beetle: Rebirth, Issue #1, and Blue Beetle, Issue #1 through Issue #5.  In Issue #5, Jaime's mother, Dr. Reyes, is treating a superpowered teenager when Mordecai enters the clinic and chases everyone out.  He fights with the Blue Beetle, and yeah.  I'm done with this series.  I just don't care anymore.  Maybe Batwoman will be better.

East of West #30

East Of West #30

East of West, Issue #30 somehow got printed without me noticing it, and I had to buy it from the "back issues" section of my local Comics n' Stuff.  Issue #29 ended with a revolution and several main characters dying.  Issue #30 begins Year Three of the Apocalypse, 2066, and is titled, "The Machine City Must Fall."  The Machine City, of course, is the major metropolis of the Endless Nation, where the Native Americans live and produce the most advanced weaponry known to the Eight States of America.

I have a decent memory, and I can remember a lot of the characters and situations of East of West.  If you can't, try going to the Wikia page of East of West it or Wikipedia.  I have in the past, and it's helped out.  Issue #31 actually was supposed to come out last week according to Diamond Comics, but I somehow missed that as well.  If you're reading the trade paperbacks, try reading each issue as a separate entity rather than trying to read the trade paperback as a whole.  This comic is worth the effort.

The Autumnlands #14

The Autumnlands #14

The Autumnlands, Issue #14 conclude the "Woodland Creatures" arc and is titled "Touch of a Goddess."  The basic story of the arc is that Learoyd and Dusty have left the floating city to go out into the world.  They come across a number of different creatures, and the sheep-men and -women they meet are dying.  They go to the top of a mountain, where they find mechanical women polluting everything.  Then the goddess comes down, saying that she will destroy the mechanical women, but by then, Learoyd and Dusty liked them, so they're fighting the goddess.

I'm a pretty big fan of The Autumnlands.  I don't read much fantasy, but I make an exception for this series.  I started with it when I was buying a lot of Image comics in trade paperback, and I saw The Autumnlands, Volume 1 for about $6.  I really liked it, and I started buying the comic as it came out the month Issue #7 came out.  I love the gradual changes in the series, like Dusty's power gradually becoming stronger and stronger.  You also learn more and more about Steven Learoyd and his origins, but not too much.