Thursday, September 29, 2011

Swamp Thing #1

Cover by Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn

Swamp Thing #1 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: John J. Hill

For some reason, I have foggy memories of my dad talking about Swamp Thing a lot when I was a very young child. I don’t know why, because he never read the comics and if he saw the 1982 film, it never made an impression of him because he hasn’t mentioned it in recent memory.

I think we used to watch the 1990s television series together. At the very least, I recall seeing the commercials for it on the Sci Fi Channel and being intrigued by it, probably because I had managed, based only on my dad and the commercials, to equate Swamp Thing as a sort of Frankenstein’s monster and therefore felt incredibly sorry for poor Swamp Thing. When I heard this character was going to be included in the DC re-launch, the little part of me that is still a six-year-old Frankenstein and SciFi Channel fan woke up and got excited.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mighty Thor #5

Cover by Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, Laura Martin

The Mighty Thor #5 (August 31, 2011)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciller: Olivier Coipel, Khoi Pham
Inker: Mark Morales, Dexter Vines
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Joe Sabino

Okay, I admit it freely and openly.

I really like Matt Fraction’s The Mighty Thor series. Little by little, it’s been obviously growing on me and my reaction to this issue is a far cry from my first one back in July (though my feelings on Thor’s romantic strategies remain unchanged).

Fraction has managed to craft a thoroughly gripping and engaging story, along with believable and likeable characters and epic battle scenes. There’s also plenty of humor and action without feeling lowbrow at all. Also, Thor did not make stupid references to how much he wants to have sex so that was a plus. Of course, Thor was very busy locked in a cosmic battle with Odin, Galactus and the Silver Surfer so I guess when he’s not fighting in battles, he’ll be back to making leeringly sexual suggestions to Sif. That seems to be his basic character.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In which I alter time...

Well, apparently autumn begins on September 23, thus bringing my summer project of reading a comic a day to an end. I, however, will be gone all this weekend for a wedding and will most likely not be able to update. I do intend to read a LOT of comics for this trip.

Therefore, I will blur the dates a little and claim today, being as it’s the three-month anniversary of the beginning of this blog, as the end of my summer expedition into comic book land.

I’ve read 76 comics and graphic novels during this project and had my opinions changed utterly in many ways. That’s awesome. I’ve become a lot more familiar with characters I’ve long since wanted to get into and most importantly and surprisingly (to myself at the start of this blog), I’ve become a genuine Marvel fan. Whoa. I’ve got to interact with a lot of awesome people because of this pet project of mine, which was definitely another major plus.

Anyway, I’m definitely not ending Fangirling Daily as I enjoy blogging about comic books far too much. Since school is picking up, however, I doubt that I will be able to update as regularly as I have been, though I fully intend to keep reading comics to balance out my graduate studies. I feel rather silly using the word “daily” in the title of this blog, however, if it’s no longer daily. How about Fangirling Weekly? Fangirling Sometimes? Fangirling Whenever I Get a Chance? Or just keep it because I’m just being a stickler. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Green Arrow #1

Cover by Dave Wilkins

Green Arrow #1 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: J.T. Krul
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Inker: George Perez

I knew something was going to be off about this comic book simply by looking at the cover. Why does Ollie Queen look Wolverine’s collar-popping obnoxious brother? I know goatees are dated now but come on, I am not feeling this frat boy look.

Okay, on to the actual comic itself. This wasn’t a bad introductory issue for Green Arrow, it just felt like Krul was trying to establish as much characterization as possible in as short a time as possible. I know the New 52 was created out of desire to draw in new comic book readers but I felt that Krul sacrificed having a solid and exciting storyline in order to achieve this. I was disappointed especially because I so love Ollie Queen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Teen Titans: Year One

Cover by Karl Kerschi

Teen Titans: Year One (2008)
Writer: Amy Wolfram
Penciller: Karl Kerschi
Inker: Serge LaPointe
Colorist: Stephane Peru
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano

I picked up the graphic novel, Teen Titans: Year One, not really expecting much. It was the first graphic novel I’ve read in quite a while and seemed like it would be fun and easy enough. All I really knew about Teen Titans was that Robin is the leader and the animated series was supposedly pretty good (I never saw it).

So I read this fairly quickly thinking, why not, it’ll probably be silly fun.

Well, it was very silly but I wasn’t having any fun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The New Avengers: Fear Itself #15

Cover by Mike Deodato, Rain Beredo

The New Avengers: Fear Itself #15 (August 10, 2011)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Two words: Squirrel Girl.

When I was first introduced to her, I thought she was such a ridiculous concept, that she simply had to be forced to the sidelines. The super hero universe simply cannot exist with a Squirrel Girl running around. She’s half-squirrel. Also, she controls squirrels. I almost felt sorry for her.

It was like Marvel had a certain quota of stock comic book characters to fill and suddenly they realized they didn’t have an “incredibly lame character to make other terrible characters look better in comparison” one so someone scratched off Squirrel Girl really quickly. Marvel is certainly the most serious of comic book universes, but there are standards, damn it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Punisher #2

Cover by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary, Paul Mounts

The Punisher #2 (August 24, 2011)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

I guess I was super out of it when I read The Punisher #1, or perhaps Rucka thoroughly improved as a writer between issues (I shall go with the latter option) but I actually completely understood what was going on in The Punisher #2 and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The much-appreciated backstory first page by Marvel put everything into perspective for me and I was able to finally keep track of all the characters and their personal objectives and functions in the story.

So far, what I am really enjoying about these comics is the literal absence of Frank Castle; while he appears rather sparingly in the comic, his presence over hangs through out the entire issue and is felt by each character. They know he’s out there, watching and therefore, the reader knows as well. His actions can be predicted or dissected by the other characters but ultimately, they are all at his mercy, even the good guys.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Iron Age Omega #1

Cover by Ariel Olivetti
Iron Age Omega #1 (August 24, 2011)
Writer: Rob Williams
Penciller: Rebekah Isaacs
Inker: John Livesay
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

Well, I finally read a comic that featured Dazzler as a character. So I can cross that off my bucket list.

Other than that, I wasn’t bowled over this issue. Admittedly, the only other Iron Age comic I read was Iron Age #1, which I did enjoy but it’s been quite a while since I read that, so I don’t remember any real connection between this comic and that one.

I know Tony Stark is time traveling, as he is wont to do, and trying to prevent something awful happening (awful being the destruction of the world and the deaths of all of his friends) at the hands of the kind of pathetic and dying Dark Phoenix. He wasn’t pathetic as a villain, per se; it was just kind of sad to see Avengers pitted against this old, wasted, cancer-ridden guy in a wheelchair. I know he had his robots doing his fighting but still, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy when he realized his plan went awry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #667

Cover by Humberto Ramos, Gabrielle Dell'Otto

Amazing Spider-Man #667 (August 10, 2011)
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Humberto Ramos, Carlos Cuevas
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

I know I should get more interested in Spider-Man; I mean, he’s practically analogous to the Marvel Universe and everybody loves him, don’t they?

I don’t.

I don’t know what it is about the guy but something about Peter Parker makes my skin crawl. My superficial understanding of the guy makes me think that he’s a whiny jerk and probably a bad boyfriend. I worry about everyone who comes into contact with him for some reason. I think I equate him somewhat with Eugene from Hey Arnold! and he was a walking bad omen. Spider-Man seems to be the same sort of character.

After reading this issue (totally arbitrarily, I must admit), my theory seems to be true.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Actions Comics #1

Cover by Rags Morales, Brad Anderson

Actions Comics #1 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Rags Morales
Inker: Rick Bryant
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Patrick Brossseau

Was I supposed to do some reading before delving into this comic?

Because by the time I finished it, I had the distinct feeling that I was missing something. Could someone care to explain? 

My instinct is to place all the blame on Grant Morrison, a well-respected writer that I just simply cannot get a grip on. I often have difficulty following his train of thought overwhelming pretension. While Action Comics #1 was decidedly not pretentious, it was all over the place and rather trying too hard.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Avengers Academy: Fear Itself #18

Cover by Billy Tan, Leonardo Olea
Avengers Academy: Fear Itself #18 (August 17, 2011)
Writer: Christos N. Gage
Penciller: Andrea Di Vito
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

For the first time since I began reading the Avengers Academy, I found myself rather indifferent to the latest plotline. Avengers Academy: Fear Itself #18 was not a bad issue per se, or even a particularly weak one. It was just filler: an action-filled in-between moment between the cliffhanger of the previous issue and whatever turn of events occurs next.

There were some elements to this issue that I did like and I have to say, I just enjoy reading about this motley group of teenagers. The strongest thing about this issue and probably Gage’s entire run on this series is the distinct characterizations. He manages to imbue each character with individual flaws and strengths while still focusing on the group dynamics. It’s a tough balancing act that does falter every once in a while but for the most part, I am repeatedly pleasantly surprised by Gage’s skill at handling this.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Detective Comics #1

Cover by Tony Salvador Daniel

Detective Comics #1 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Tony Salvador Daniel
Penciller: Tony Salvador Daniel
Inker: Ryan Winn
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher


That’s really all I’ve got to say about this comic. It probably didn’t help that I read this at 5:00 in the morning after waking up from a nightmare. I had thought, Oh, let me read my new Batman comic, it’ll calm me down; good old trusty, reliable Batman.

I was wrong.

These comics flipped me out and now, after waking up after a few more hours of DAMN-BATMAN sleep, I have to say that Detective Comics #1 was pretty incredible.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Captain America #2

Cover by Steve McNiven, Justin Ponsor
Captain America #2 (August 17, 2011)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciller: Steve McNiven
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Joe Caramagna, Clayton Cowles
Inker: Jay Leisten, Dexter Vines

Captain America has become a character that I really want to become more invested in, which is a statement that I would have found preposterous a year ago.

I used to find the concept of Captain America as corny as Superman (it must’ve been all the red, white and blue) and had initially had no interest in his comics. Now, after becoming more versed in the Marvel universe, I have to say that he is one of the most intriguing characters out there and one with a lot of potential for awesome storylines.

While Captain America #2 was very a intriguing and strong book, it unfortunately suffered from over-indulgence and a bombardment of confusing information. I willingly admit that half of that is my own fault as I was picking up a second book in a series without reading the first. Of course, I had my trusty first-page Marvel backstory and an increased confidence in jumping right into a series arc so I thought nothing of it initially.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Batgirl #1

Cover by Adam Hughes

Batgirl #1 (September 7, 2011)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Ulses Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

Like hundreds of other DC fans yesterday, I rushed out to my local comic book store and stocked up on several of the New 52. Also like hundreds of DC fans, I all but devoured Batgirl #1, written by the illustrious Gail Simone and penciled by Ardian Syaf.

There has been a lot of speculation and controversy surrounding the re-launch of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, mostly because after over 20 years as the wheelchair-bound Oracle, Barbara can now walk, leap and pummel bad guys. There’s been a really mixed and wary reaction from fans to this change, with some actually outraged that DC is abandoning one of the few disabled comic book characters out there. The loss of Oracle is quite a blow to diversity but it’s also a lot more than that.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Arkham City #5

Cover by Carlos D'Anda

Arkham City #5 (August 24, 2011)
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Travis Lanham

As we approach the release of the new video game, Batman: Arkham City, it’s time to wrap up all the prequels and DC-approved speculation of the bridge between the original, Arkham Asylum. Having completed that game this summer, I am obviously excited about the sequel and extremely curious to see how it expands upon the first game (also how I feel about the inclusion of Robin and Catwoman). Damn, now I really want to play it again.

Anyway, Arkham City #5 wraps up the prequel series pretty neatly and without any major shockers or clues towards the game that I didn’t already know from trailers and fan boards. In fact, this comic felt incredibly different from the previous ones in the series simply because of how self-aware it was that must fade into the video game. All of the build-up has already happened and now it’s time to simply wait until the release date.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Daredevil #2

Cover by Paolo Rivera

Daredevil #2 (August 17, 2011)
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Paolo Rivera
Inker: Joe Rivera
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

If I can make a grandiose statement about all the comics I have been reading during this project, it’s that Marvel has consistently given me strong comic issues that are engaging and highly entertaining. I’m not saying there haven’t been misses with them, but what with the Avengers Academy, Red Skull: Incarnate and now Daredevil, I am definitely being converted into a Marvel fan.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Superman/Batman: Big Noise

Cover by Ardian Syaf

Superman/Batman: Big Noise (2009)
Writer: Joe Kelly, Joshua Williamson, Joe Casey
Penciller: Ardian Syaf, Jason Fabok, Scott Kolins
Inker: Derek Fridolfs, Rebecca Buchman, Walden Wong, Vincente Cifuentes, Prentis Rollins, Norm Rapmund, Marlo Alquiza
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh, Peter Pantazis, Ulises Arreola,
Letterer: Rob Leigh

This was, hands down, one of the silliest comics I’ve ever read.

The plot reminded me of something I would’ve dreamed up in my hardcore science fiction nerd days when I was 10. As a 10 year old, I didn’t exactly have the concept of conflict, character development and narrative structure down so I just made things up as I went along (I was an avid fiction writer back then and with all the naïve confidence of a type A personality first-born, thought I was quite good at it). But, I was wise enough to not let too many people see my work, which obviously did not happen with this graphic novel.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In which a fangirl laments

This post is merely a realization that The Avengers is currently filming in Central Park. Fans are getting a chance to meet and watch Captain America, Thor, Tony Stark, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Loki. You guys. Loki. Everybody loves Loki. Why am I not there? Who wants to give me a ticket to New York?

Also, why did that Dunkin Donuts free Marvel digital comics for a month promo have to end August 31st? Marvel, stop breaking my heart.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Green Arrow #15: Endgame

Cover by R.B. Silva

Green Arrow #15: Endgame (August 24, 2011)
Writer: James Patrick
Penciller: Agustin Padilla
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh

It truly pains me to say this but after genuinely loving this Green Arrow story arc, I was incredibly disappointed by the concluding issue. I don’t know what happened, but each consecutive issue I read seemed weaker and weaker than the previous one. Maybe I was just lucky to catch an extremely strong issue with #13 but it was a flash in the pan sort of thing. I would like to imagine that that is not normally the case: that comic book arcs can stay consistently well written and illustrated, especially when the same team is working on each new issue. But maybe, mediocrity really just is the norm.

No, I refuse to believe that! I believe in the comic book industry and the value of contemporary issues. Just not this particular one.