Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guest Post at The Discriminating Fangirl

Wee! The fabulous Discriminating Fangirl has been gracious enough to host another one of my reviews! Check it out and leave some love!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fear Itself: Wolverine #2

Cover by Jorge Molina

Fear Itself: Wolverine #2 (August 3, 2011)
Writer: Seth Peck
Penciller: Roland Boschi, Robbi Rodriguez
Colorist: Dan Brown
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

I’m happy to say that I’m still enjoying the Wolverine’s run in Marvel’s Fear Itself series. I was really worried to start reading Wolverine comics but based on my extremely limited experiences, I have been pleasantly surprised.

While Fear Itself: Wolverine #2 is definitely not groundbreaking or even particularly smart, it is a well-paced and decidedly entertaining read. I’m not learning anything by reading this or even being particularly challenged. It’s just fun to read without being embarrassing and sometimes, that’s all I want from a comic book.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Power Girl #26

Cover by Sami Basri

Power Girl #26 (July 20, 2011)
Writer: Matthew Sturges
Penciller: Hendry Prasetyo
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Jessica Kholinne

If I may judge a book by its cover (which I know is a cardinal sin), Power Girl appears to be just awful.

I have a pretty high tolerance for skimpy outfits on female superheroes, but there is absolutely no logical reason for Power Girl’s costume. What function does it perform? That cut-out… perhaps it’s used to distract her attackers or something. No matter the reason, I instinctively and actively dislike Power Girl. It also doesn’t help that she seems like a poor man’s Supergirl. Also, the first comic I read starring her was terrible. 

So I did not have high hopes for Power Girl #26.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Mighty Thor: The Galactus Seed 4: To Duel Against Galactus

Cover by Olivier Coipel,
Mark Morales,
Laura Martin
The Mighty Thor: The Galactus Seed 4: To Duel Against Galactus (July 27, 2011)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciller: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

I’m impressed, Matt Fraction.

You actually gave me a Thor comic that didn’t feature him leering at a woman or demanding sex. I get that as a god, he was a very big sexual appetite (I guess… I mean, I have always heard some crazy kinky stories starring different gods in world religions classes but that doesn’t excuse Thor’s level of creepiness) but it does get exhausting to read over and over again.

Instead, Fraction went down the other classic Thor route: cosmic battles and a pissed-off Norse god.

I’m going to be honest and admit that I keep reading Thor comics for two reasons: Loki and more importantly, the Silver Surfer. If either of these guys were absent from this arc, I would’ve given up on it long ago.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guest Post at The Discriminating Fangirl

I’m so excited to have one of my comic book reviews featured as a guest post at The Discriminating Fangirl. This is an awesome site run by a fabulous group of writers and fangirls with a huge array of interests and stories. Please check them out and give them some love!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Red Skull: Incarnate #2

Cover by David Aja

Red Skull: Incarnate #2 (August 3, 2011)
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Mirko Colak
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

The Red Skull: Incarnate series once again provides a solemn and thought-provoking comic book that forces the reader to take it absolutely seriously. This is not always the easiest thing to do as a comic book fan, especially when you are reading so many that are, to be succinct, silly.

Pak’s work on this arc, however, is anything but and with this second installment, it’s proving itself to be one of my favorite discoveries this summer. Once again, the reader is presented with a short window of time in the young Johann Schmidt’s life. He is living off the street and quickly learning how to survive in a cold and dangerous world as Nazism grows and Communism struggles to help the working class.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Black Canary: Hero Worship Part II

Cover by Trevor von Eeden

Black Canary: Hero Worship Part II (February 2, 1993)
Writer: Sarah E. Byam
Penciller: Trevor von Eeden
Inker: Bob Smith
Letterer: Steve Haynie
Colorist: Julia Lacquement

Black Canary was one of my favorite discoveries while watching Justice League Unlimited and I have been sadly bereft of Black Canary-centered comics. I usually only get my fix from Birds of Prey, which is awesome but definitely not enough. You don’t read Birds of Prey for just Oracle or Huntress, but for the ensemble. Therefore, I’ve become very used to the idea of Black Canary/Dinah simply being a secondary character, a role I don’t think she deserves.

I was terribly excited, therefore, to get a hold of this issue and finally, FINALLY have a chance to engage solely with Black Canary (even her ~*~boyfriend~*~ Green Arrow was conspicuously absent).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birds of Prey #15

Cover by Billy Tucci

Birds of Prey #15 (August 8, 2011)
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Penciller: Billy Tucci, Adriana Melo
Inker: JP Mayer, Eber Ferreira
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Travis Lanham

Why is it so hard to write women?

I was plagued by this question as I read through Birds of Prey #15. What is it about female characters in comic books that seem to throw so many (typically but definitely not always) male writers? Is it because they’re resentful that they’re not writing a Batman comic instead? Is it a complete lack of understanding of how women talk and interact with one another? Is it because women are still an anomaly in the comic book world? Are we still going to think that’s true?

I honestly don’t know what it is. I will be the first to admit that there are some writers who just can’t do dialogue very well, regardless of the characters’ genders. Perhaps that’s Andreyko here. I also was unimpressed by his work in the last Birds of Prey issue, but this time I was actually annoyed by his handling of these characters.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Punisher #1

The Punisher #1 (August 3, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingworth
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, Paul Mounts

Frank Castle/The Punisher is another character that I have long been interested in reading. My rather superficial understanding of the guy was that he was a meaner, grittier and deadlier Batman; a pissed-off vigilante that suffered a terrible tragedy in his personal life and therefore has dedicated himself to eradicating criminals. Based on this introductory issue, I don’t think I’m that far from off with this assessment.

After reading so many Batman comics in my life, I assumed I would be rather nonplussed with Castle’s merciless vendetta against criminal activity. But this was like Batman with the breaks off. Upon initial reading, I was too busy being confused as to what was going on to really appreciate the plot and characterization. Furthermore, I was surprised by the graphic violence; it drawn by Checchetto in a very realistic manner by comic book standards. It wasn’t until I finished the comic that I realized how very different Castle is from Batman and also how very grim this series will be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fear Itself: Wolverine #1

Cover by Daniel Acuña

Fear Itself: Wolverine #1 (July 6, 2011)
Writer: Seth Peck
Penciller: Roland Boschi
Colorist: Dan Brown
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

After yesterday’s soul-searching and existential comics crisis, I was quite relieved and pleasantly surprised by today’s book. Wolverine is a character that I have been anxious to become more familiar with as he is so rampant in pop culture. Of course, I have also been dubious towards his characterization, as I know he can be portrayed as an inappropriate, sleazy jerk. And yet, I’m supposed to root for him.

But I know he’s an integral part of the Marvel Universe and comic book lore in general, so I decided to dip my toe into one of his single issues. Unless I have a feminist epiphany in the middle of the night or something and completely change my mind, I have to say that I enjoyed Fear Itself: Wolverine #1.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gotham City Sirens #25

Cover by Guillem March

Gotham City Sirens #25
Writer: Peter Calloway
Penciller: Andres Guinaldo
Inker: Lorenzo Ruggiero
Colorist: J.D. Smith
Letterer: Travis Lanham

“How can you read something so sexist?”

My mom posed this accusatory question to me after she overheard me describe the title and plot of today’s comic book to a friend.

 I blurted out (even after looking at the cover and Catwoman's ridiculous outfit again) rather lamely, “It wasn’t that sexist.”

“But even the title. ‘Sirens.’ Come on.”

My mom had a point.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Deadpool: The Circle Chase #2

Cover by Joe Madureira
Deadpool: The Circle Chase #2 (September 1993)
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciller: Joe Madureira
Inker: Mark Farmer
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos

I'm going to be honest. I keep reading this comics hoping I'll find another awesome ad like the Batman Returns one. Sadly, there wasn't one as jaw-droppingly insane as that one, though there were a few for Dragon Strike, an introductory Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game that featured 3D graphics on VHS. Pretty ridiculous but definitely lacking.

Anyway, on to the actual comic. This was actually more enjoyable than the previous one if only for the fact that Nicieza finally had one main storyline to focus on rather than spending the entire issue introducing multiple characters and attempting to haphazardly tie them all together.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Avengers Academy Fear Itself #16: A God-Awful Small Affair

Avengers Academy #16 - Comic Book Cover
Cover by Leonardo
Avengers Academy Fear Itself #16: A God-Awful Small Affair
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Tom Raney
Inker: Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna

Thus far, Avengers Academy has consistently been my favorite Marvel discovery. Though its previous entry in the Fear Itself series was just alright, I still enjoy reading these comics and seeing how these teenaged characters are dealing with decidedly grown-up superhero situations.

Gage's writing is stronger here than in #15, a much welcomed improvement. Rather than wallowing in melodrama as he did before, Gage up-ed the action and the characterization. He shifted the focus entirely away from the student Avengers for most of the issue, which both bothered me and yet made sense. Instead, the narrative stayed mostly with their main teacher, Dr. Pym. At first this threw me, but as the founder of the Avengers Academy, he's as integral to the series as the students themselves. Correspondingly, Gage's rendition of Pym was very strong here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Green Arrow #14: Manhunt

Cover by Joshua Middleton
Green Arrow #14: Manhunt (July 27, 2011)
Writer: James Patrick
Penciller: Agustin Padilla
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

I’ve been really looking forward to this issue as I so enjoyed the previous one. I was terribly curious to see what happened next after being thoroughly impressed with Patrick’s solid storytelling and characterization of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow as a deeply conflicted and complicated man. It was also in this arc that I was introduced to Federal Marshall Haley Donovan, a female character I was completely rooting for and loved.

So I was very excited to pick up Green Arrow #14 and quickly devoured it. When I was  finished, I felt… basically nothing. While this was still a better than average single issue, it was definitely weaker than the fabulous lead-in by #13. In fact, the entire plot seemed to go nowhere and just sort of seemed like a waste of time for Queen and the reader.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Batman Incorporated #7

Cover by Chris
Burnham, Nathan
Writer: Grant Morrison
Batman Incorporated #7 (June 29, 2011)
Penciller: Chris Burnham
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau

I have been debating whether or not to read this comic book mostly because I was always drawn to and put off by the cover. It seemed so insane to me. Batman riding a Bat-pod, as red cowl wearing kid rides a horse and another Batmanish-looking guy wearing a cowl and an American Indian headdress rides a buffalo (can you even ride a buffalo?) in the American desert. My brain couldn’t handle this cover for a very long time.

I’m going to be honest and admit that I also avoided this issue because it was written by Grant Morrison, whom I love to dislike. But my curiosity and belief that I should give the guy another chance won out, so I finally read Batman Incorporated #7.

First of all, this series is all about the franchising of the Batman symbol by Bruce Wayne, which is sort of depressing in a hipster way. Batman’s sold out, man! But it’s also sort of cool that the Batman symbol and ideals can go global and mean something to people all over the world. Truth be told, however, I inherently dislike any Batman comics that feature Batman outside of Gotham City. It seems wrong to me. They belong together. But, Bruce Wayne has decided to recruit his own network of vigilantes and leave Dick Grayson in charge of Gotham as he travels the world. I don’t know, none of these aspects about this series excited or interested me but I read the comic anyway.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1

Cover by
Joe Madureira
Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1 (August 1993)
Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Joe Madureira
Penciller: Joe Madureira
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Glynis Oliver

Once again, I have no idea what’s going on.

Deadpool is being hunted by mercenaries in Sarajevo, his whiny friend Weasel (who for some reason has straight-up blue hair… not just black with blue highlights ala Clark Kent, but blue hair) is trying to make sense of the situation as they discuss the up-for-grabs estate of Tolliver (some mutant I am not familiar with) and then suddenly a fight breaks out with Weapon X. Also, the Juggernaut is in it looking for someone named Black Tom. Meanwhile, some other guy, Nyko, wants Deadpool killed. And apparently Deadpool wants to kill his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa. I don’t know. There was too much going on here.

I once made the assessment that a comic succeeds the most when it has the simplest plot. I stand by that. I really feel that single issue comics are a medium where less is more and if the plot of this comic had simply been Deadpool escaping mercenaries as he attempts to find Tolliver’s money, I probably would have enjoyed it a great deal more. Instead, Nicieza (who, as we reluctantly know, wrote my absolutely least favorite and jaw-droppingly sexist comic I’ve read thus far) shoved as many characters and subplots as humanly possible into this hot mess of a comic.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Batman: Arkham City #4

Cover by Carlos D'Anda
Batman: Arkham City #4 (August 3, 2011)
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Carlos D’Anda
Inker: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Travis Lanham

As this series winds to an end to prepare for both the DC re-launch and the release of the upcoming video game, crucial plot elements are finally being revealed. The importance of Hugo Strange is now apparent, along with the sheer amount of danger Batman now finds himself in after his cover is blown  and he’s trapped in Arkham City.

Furthermore, the dangerous tensions between rival gang bosses the Joker and Penguin have intensified along with Quincy Sharp’s security. Therefore, this was an extremely action-packed issue with plenty of fight scenes, drawn, no doubt, to remind the reader of the brawl scenes in the Arkham Asylum videogame. Along with ordinary hand-to-hand combat, there were also plenty of trucks driving through walls, explosions and a surprise appearance by Catwoman. Quite a lot of excitement for a single issue.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Daredevil #1

Cover by Paolo Rivera,
John Romita Sr., Neal
Adams, Marcos Martin
Daredevil #1 (July 20, 2011)
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Paolo Rivera, Joe Rivera
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

I have been told to read Daredevil comics for a long time now. Apparently I would really enjoy this superhero, despite the fact that he was thoroughly butchered by Ben Affleck in that 2003 film (which, I am proud to say, I never saw). The little I knew of the guy definitely seemed interesting, such as his origin story and the fact that he’s blind. Nonetheless, I never went searching for Daredevil comics probably simply out of a lack of understanding of his history so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Marvel relaunched Daredevil this summer. Finally, a clean break to acquaint myself with Matt Murdock!

Though this was Daredevil #1, there was definitely backstory to this issue that I probably could have used. This wasn’t so much as a relaunch as return from a long sabbatical for Matt Murdock. He is attempting to fix his reputation after being outed as Daredevil all the while denying that he is in fact, the Man Without Fear.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Batwoman: Elegy

Cover by J.H. Williams III
Batwoman: Elegy (2010)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: J.H. Williams III
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein

Batwoman: Elegy has a reputation of being pretty damn brilliant. After seeing many in the comic book community praise it, I knew I had to check it out. Of course, all I knew about Batwoman was that she was only created to help dispel rumors of homosexual subtext between Batman and Robin in the early half of Batman’s comic book career. So really, I had absolutely no background in just who Batwoman is: her history, her connection to Bruce Wayne or even her real identity. This probably accounts for my extreme confusion while reading this graphic novel.

The novel follows the rather devil-may-care Batwoman as she investigates the reappearance of thirteen covens of some religion of crime. These covens have a new leader and she wants to know who they are and what they are up to. Already I was thrown by this. What covens in Gotham? This is a thing? I had no idea.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Secret Six #36: Caution to the Wind Part 2: Blood Honor

Cover by J. Calafiore
and John Kalisz
Secret Six #36: Caution to the Wind Part 2: Blood Honor (August 3, 2011)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: J. Calafiore
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Travis Lanham

The current DC Universe is slowly dying out to make way for the re-launch next month. While all the classic series will be rebooted, there are a great many that, sadly, will not be revived. Secret Six is one such series and, as written by Gail Simone, is one that fans of DC are currently mourning most fervently.

After reading #34 and #35, I knew I had to see this arc conclude and what should become of this ragtag group of villains. Though I am still struggling with keeping track of each character and their backstories, I have definitely become enamored with each of them and their ability to be engaging, dynamic, distinct, honorable and funny characters while still openly being villains. Simone’s run on the Secret Six has only emphasized her strength as a writer for me. She managed to never let me forget that these were in fact, the bad guys (and capable of terrible deeds) but she also made me care about them greatly.

It also speaks to her talent that she managed to give this series a pretty awesome conclusion, one befitting the characters’ personalities and relationships to one another.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

X-Men Legacy #251

Cover by Mico Suayan,
Marte Gracia
X-Men Legacy #251 (June 22, 2011)
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciller: Khoi Pham
Inker: Tom Palmer, Craig Yeung, Nelson DeCastro
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

My main question here is just who decided it would be a good idea to give Legion a foot-tall flattop hair cut? I was so distracted by this guy’s insane hair that I couldn’t really focus on the rest of the comic.

Also, I am still struggling with keeping all my X-Men straight. Rogue and Magneto were in this, both of which I  am vaguely familiar with, along with Dr. Xavier aka Patrick Stewart but look, this all means basically nothing to me. There is very little about the X-Men I understand and I’m just not that huge of a fan. For some reason, out of the entire Marvel Universe, I like them the least. Well, I probably dislike Spider-Man more but I haven’t read one of his comics yet so I’ll wait to pass total judgment on him.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #11

Cover by Esad Ribic,
Mark Brook,
Sonia Oback
Uncanny X-Force #11 (June 1, 2011)
Writer: Rick Remender
Penciller: Mark Brooks
Inker: Andrew Currie, Mark Brooks
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

I have no idea what’s going on here. There are way too many X-Men. And way too many references to the rest of the Marvel Universe. Also, apparently everyone’s a clone here. I’m totally lost.

Basically, the X-Force are on some suicide mission to the Age of Apocalypse to retrieve the Life Seed to save Warren Worthington from the entity Archangel. I know, I don’t get it either.

It was very much an ensemble piece, which I normally enjoy a great deal in the Marvel Universe. Here, however, there was so much exposition and surprise character appearances for me to really gain an understanding of the main members of the X-Force. Most of the comic revolved around Wolverine, Deadpool and the rest being taken by surprise by some plot point. There was very little characterization and certainly not a very strong plot.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sin City

Cover by Frank Miller
and Steve Miller
Sin City (1993)
Writer: Frank Miller
Penciller: Frank Miller
Letterer: Frank Miller

As evidenced by the above heading, this was super Frank Millery. As I was reading Sin City, I almost felt like I was being smacked upside the head by Frank Miller. I get it, dude, you’ve got a really distinct art style and you love neo-noir. There’s no mistaking you.

And look, I really don’t mind the guy. He’s one of the most important comic book figures out there and, according to most people, he’s written masterpieces and also major embarrassments. He’s done a lot for the medium and after writing a graduate paper on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (one of his apparent masterpieces though I definitely have problems with it), I have a sort of begrudging respect for the guy. Nonetheless, I often find myself side-eyeing him whenever I read something else by Miller. Yet, I have to say, I did not mind Sin City.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #539

Cover by Simone Bianchi
Is Wolverine just
screaming in space?
Uncanny X-Men #539 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Kieron Gillen         
Penciller: Ibraim Roberson
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

For some reason I’ve been avoiding the more famous comic series of the Marvel Universe. Namely, the X-Men and Spider-Man. I think my own indifference towards these characters’ films, television shows and overall pop culture identities has prevented me from attempting any of their comics. I have also been intimidated by the sheer magnitude of their histories and popularity.

I’ve talked a lot about the insanely large number of Batman series and Avengers series going on the same time, but I don’t think anything compares to the X-Men. Seriously, just trying to go through all the available comics starring the X-Men took a long time and by the end, I simply picked up a random one.

Unlike my sister, I’m not a huge X-Men fan. In fact, I rather disliked them. The idea of mutants working together and going to an American Hogwarts never appealed to me; I only saw one of the films and I never watched the Saturday morning cartoon, as my sister did. After attempting to read a couple X-Men comics from the Bronze Age and failing, I essentially gave up on them. Also, something about Wolverine inherently pissed me off. He seemed like a jerk.