Saturday, June 23, 2012

Birds of Prey #7

Cover by Jesus Saiz, Santiago Arcas

Birds of Prey #7 (March 21, 2012)
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Penciller: Jesus Saiz
Colorist: June Chung
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

I love Birds of Prey. I’ve said that before many times but I don’t care. I love this ragtag group of damaged, dynamic, powerful, and conflicted women. I love that they are not perfect, not totally self-sacrificing, not even all that nice. The women of Birds of Prey are some of the most real characters in comic books.

Fangirling aside, Birds of Prey #7 was honestly not one of the strongest comics I’ve read in a while. While it was definitely entertaining and had one surprisingly grim and violent moment, this issue sort of floundered and I can’t exact pinpoint why. For one thing, it started very abruptly and while I am used to issues opening in the middle of a conflict, I felt that Birds of Prey #7 didn’t handle this very well. There was very little backstory and the little that did exist did not provide any real exposition to the villain or why the Birds of Prey found themselves in the current situation. Unlike Supergirl #7, for example, Birds of Prey #7 didn’t meet the reader halfway in reminding them of the events that lead up to this issue.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Supergirl #7

Cover by Mahmud Asrar, Dave McCaig

Supergirl #7 (March 21, 2012)
Writer: Michael Green, Mike Johnson
Penciller: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Rob Leigh

Supergirl has been a character that I have been vaguely interested in ever since I saw my very first episode of Justice League Unlimited, “Fearful Symmetry.” If you haven’t seen this show or this episode, do yourself a favor and do so now. Aside from being an all-around solid work of animation and writing, it also introduced me to some of my now favorite characters, Green Arrow and the Question. Supergirl, though the focus of this episode, only piqued my interested slightly, sad to say. Therefore, I was terribly happy to read Supergirl #7 and find myself loving it.

If you’re looking for a comic book filled with action and awesome fight sequences, then you should probably pick this one up if you haven’t already. Supergirl #7 opens right in the middle of an intense fight between Supergirl and a group of genetically modified aliens, the Worldkillers. Created in a lab by Kryptonian scientists, these Worldkillers are hungry to destroy, discover their true heritages and seek revenge on the Kryptonians who stole them from their home worlds. They now set their sights on Earth as it houses the last Kryptonians.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Deadpool #55

Cover by Dave Johnson

Deadpool #55 (May 23, 2012)
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Shawn Crystal
Colorist: John Rauch
Letterer: Joe Sabino

As a huge Deadpool fan, I was confused and anxious about the recent changes that the Merc with a Mouth had undergone. The majority of what makes Deadpool Deadpool had essentially disappeared. I was worried.

Deadpool #55, however, did alleviate some of my fears; Deadpool is still crazy, he still has the fun yellow boxes, and he still has a profound love for murder and being really, really good at it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Batgirl #7

Cover by Ardian Syaf, Vicente Cifuentes, Ulises Arreola

Batgirl #7 (March 13, 2012)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf, Alitha Martinez
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorists: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

While I believe that Animal Man and Swamp Thing are the strongest books of the New 52, I still adore Batgirl. It’s well written, exciting and character-driven. Also, I will always love Barbara Gordon. ALWAYS.

Batgirl #7 has been one of my favorite issues of this series, not merely because it has an awesome fight sequence, a genuinely creepy and intriguing villain, and a perfect balancing between the personal and professional life of Barbara Gordon BUT because there’s a cameo by one of my other top favorite female super heroes: Black Canary.

I know we have Birds of Prey, which I also adore, but I sort of wish Black Canary and Batgirl had a duo book: fighting crime and trading quips and just generally being awesome and dynamic female characters. A girl can dream.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself #626

Cover by Stephanie Hans

Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself #626(August 17, 2011)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciller: Doug Braithwaite
Colorist: Ulises Arreola, Andy Troy
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

So if I can just fangirl here for a minute (and based on my blog’s title I obviously have every right to), I just want to say that Kid Loki is one of my absolute favorite things about comic books right now.

What could have been an over-the-top gimmick turned into one of the best and freshest characters in the Marvel Universe and managed to breathe new life into an old villain. Kid Loki is a funny, clever, occasionally dangerous, in over his head, desperate to please and manipulative smartass. And I love him. In fact, I have yet to meet any Marvel fan that also didn’t love Kid Loki.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt

Cover by Travel Foreman, Lovern Kindzierski

Animal Man Vol. 1: The Hunt (2012)
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Penciller: Travel Foreman
Inker: Jeffrey Huet, Daniel Green
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

I’ve been excited to see the release of the New 52 trade paperbacks recently. I’m probably just lazy but I find reading trade paperbacks so much easier. In my quest to read as many comic book as possible, issues often get lost in the shuffle or neglected so for certain series, I purposely wait for the trade paperback releases (I’m doing that now with AvX so shh, don’t spoil me). I ended up doing this with Animal Man, though I have read the first issue and enjoyed it.

Animal Man, along with Swamp Thing, has probably been the most popular and acclaimed of the New 52 by my fellow comic book friends. It’s quite easy to see why: they are both refreshing, dark, mythic, and often terrifying books. The stakes are incredibly high and our heroes are terribly vulnerable. Both Animal Man and Swamp Thing make the reader feel as if the negative circumstances could actually happen in real life and then we would be totally boned.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1

Cover by Mike Choi

Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1 (August 10, 2011)
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Emma Ríos
Colorist: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

In an effort to reacquaint myself with my beloved comic books and force myself to write on a regular basis, I’ve decided to restart my review-a-comic-a-day summer project. I’m terribly excited.

This will also give me a clear reason to finally sit down and read my increasing pile of comic books that I have been accumulating on my bookshelf for the last year. I have a very bad habit of buying comic book issues in a fury and then not reading all of them. I therefore have unread comics that are at least a year old, such as this one, Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1. Rather than ignore these and move on, I’ve decided to sit down and read and review them, regardless of how old they may be. I refuse to give up on them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Curious Case of Irene Adler

Art by Sidney Paget
Irene Adler has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

She usually is, of course, what with being one of my top favorite female characters in literary history. I fell in love with her when I first read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia” (which can be read in its entirety here) several summers ago and much like Sherlock Holmes, she is always The Woman to me.

Therefore, it is repeatedly disappointing that I have yet to see a film or television adaptation of “A Scandal in Bohemia” or Irene Adler that exhibits her full agency, her intelligence, her refusal to play by strict gender roles, and of course, her fierce independence.

Like most fangirlish Americans, I’ve been watching and re-watching the BBC production of Sherlock on PBS and with the premiere of “A Scandal in Belgravia” a few weeks ago, Irene Adler and our reactions to her have been dancing around my head. I was originally put off by this episode for several reasons, the most overt being that my beloved Irene Adler was updated into a dominatrix.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

American Vampire #24

Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

American Vampire #24 (February 22, 2012)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Rafael Albuquerque
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

I’ve been reluctant to review American Vampire #24 for the sole reason that this was the first issue in this series to make me go, “Meh.”

That was incredibly disappointing.

This is not to say that this was a poorly done or weak issue. Even a mediocre issue of American Vampire is frankly superior to the average mainstream comic out there right now. Nonetheless, because I have been so in love with this series, the fact that this issue didn’t do much for me was all the more disheartening.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Deadpool #54

Cover by Dave Johnson

Deadpool #54 (May 9, 2012)
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Alé Garza
Inker: Sean Parson
Colorist: Dommo Sanchez Amara
Letterer: Joe Sabino

I’m really torn about this issue.

For one thing, I am impressed with Way’s handling of what seemed to be a dead-end arc. While I had no idea how Way was going to conclude the Dead arc, I certainly wasn’t expecting this. Way managed to imbue new life into Deadpool so as to begin a new chapter in this character’s chaotic career. From this perspective, this is the perfect way to conclude a story arc and still pique the reader’s interest to see where Deadpool will be going after this.

On the other hand… I WANT MY OLD DEADPOOL BACK.

Okay, if you haven’t read Deadpool #54, I highly suggest you stop reading because I am about to totally spoil it for you; I need to get this off my chest.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Marvel's The Avengers

The only poster that matters.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
Writer: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn
Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johanson, Samuel L. Jackson

Here’s the thing, the first time I saw Marvel’s The Avengers, I declared to some skeptical friends that it was the greatest super hero movie I’ve ever seen. They, who did not see the film yet, argued for The Dark Knight, which I still maintain is not a super hero movie but a crime movie that happens to star comic book characters. Said friends saw Marvel’s The Avengers and relented, saying it was extremely good.

After a second and careful viewing, I have to say it is a nearly perfect movie: solid storyline, great pacing, awesome and not overbearing action sequences, fantastic chemistry between the many larger-than-life characters, plenty of Joss Whedon humor and a beloved character’s death. Also, everyone in this movie is gorgeous.

Seriously, this may be the best looking cast I have ever seen and if I can be superficial here for a moment: that is awesome.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Batgirl #5, #6

Cover by Adam Hughes

Batgirl #5 (January 11, 2012) Batgirl #6 (February 8, 2012)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Inker: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

I’ve wanted to write about these issues for a very long time now but between work, graduate papers, and exams, I never felt like I had the time to fully sit down and express myself clearly.

Now that I do have some free time, I’m not quite sure what I wanted to say.

I know these issues are months old already but they’ve stuck with me from my first readings, which, what with my rapid consumption of comic books, is quite a feat. I’ve been rather lukewarm on the recent Batgirl run (most likely from still mourning the loss of Oracle) but I’ve noticed that the storylines have steadily improved with each issue.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Avengers Academy #27

Cover by David Lafuente, Christina Strain

Avengers Academy #27 (March 7, 2012)
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Karl Moline, Jim Fern
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

It’s been a very long time since I last reviewed any Avengers Academy so I admittedly have a lot of catching up to do. I am especially a little in over my head as this issue features the Runaways in a crossover between the two Marvel teen teams. I have never read any Runaways issues and only know the fundamentals of the characters and their backstories.

Nonetheless, I was able to pick up the basic tension between the teams and the central plot fairly quickly. Gage isn’t too bad at exposition via characters’ dialogue though I occasionally found the teens’ voices a little false.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The New Deadwardians #1

Cover by I.N.J. Culbard

The New Deadwardians #1 (March 28, 2012)
Writer: Dan Abnett
Penciller: I.N.J. Culbard
Colorist: Patricia Mulvihill, I.N.J. Culbard
Letterer: Travis Lanham

If Vertigo Comics is adept at anything, it’s harvesting clever retreads of old ideas.

When I first glanced at the cover of The New Deadwardians #1, I was originally indifferent: another zombie story. Whatever.

Then I thought that a mash-up between zombies and the world of Downton Abbey could be quite a bit of fun and decided to read it (as an aside, I would love to do some more exploring on the popularity of Downton Abbey and why it so appeals to a pop culture/society that is one-hundred years older. What is it about that show that is so addicting across generations, as evidenced by the fact that during the second season, my mother, sister, two best friends and I gathered in the family room with popcorn to watch the latest episodes and spent countless hours discussing the various ins and outs of the upstairs and the downstairs? But that’s another blog entry…).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

American Vampire #23

Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

American Vampire #23 (January 25, 2012)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Rafael Albuquerque
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

After completing my review of American Vampire #22, I was so excited to continue exploring this universe and getting my hands on as much of it as possible. Luckily, I’ve been able to receive both American Vampire graphic novels and read more of the single issues.

And then I promptly didn’t write reviews of any of them.

I almost think that I’ve been enjoying them so much that I didn’t want to write about them or delve any further into these issues. Some people argue that once you critique a work of art, it ceases being a work of art. I don’t agree with that normally but I was reluctant to view American Vampire as anything other than smart, entertaining reads. But that’s rather selfish of me.

So, I revisited American Vampire #23, and fell in love with it all over again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Deadpool #52

Cover by Dave Johnson
Deadpool #52 (March 21, 2012)
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Ale Garza
Inker: Sean Parsons
Colorist: Dommo Sanchez Amara
Letterer: Joe Sabino

My God, where have I been? Can someone volunteer to finish up my graduate work so I can get back to reading comics and writing about them? I need my own intern, damn it.

Anyway, real life has been hectic so I have been neglecting my blog/personal happy place. Oh, how I’ve missed you. In order to get back into the swing of comic book reading, I decided to return to someone as all over the place mentally as I have been lately: Deadpool.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with Deadpool’s latest run, he wants to kill himself. That isn’t particularly new but he’s getting progressively closer to actually offing himself. There’s a serum out there that can negate his healing factor and make him susceptible to death’s cold embrace, which he craves.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daken: Dark Wolverine #21

Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Frank Martin

Daken: Dark Wolverine #21 (February 8, 2012)
Writer: Rob Williams
Penciller: Matteo Buffagni, Andrea Mutti, Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Guru-eFX, Rachelle Rosenberg, Riley Rossmo
Letterer: Cory Petit

I’ve been avoiding reading Daken: Dark Wolverine for very vague and ridiculous reasons:
  • I had no idea who he was
  • I don’t much like Wolverine
I know these are completely nonsensical reasons for not picking up a single issue of a unfamiliar character so finally, I took a chance on Daken: Dark Wolverine #21 (right after a quick trip to Wikipedia to see just who this guy is).

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Northlanders #42

Cover by Massimo Carnevale

Northlanders #42 (July 13, 2011)
Writer: Brian Wood
Penciller: Paul Azaceta
Colorist: Dave McCraig
Letterer: Travis Lanham

I picked up Northlanders #42 mostly because it was part one of The Icelandic Trilogy and if I love anything, it’s part ones.

Also, I’ve become increasingly interested in non-superhero comics (though my first tentative forays into graphic novels were non-superhero actually) and, as a huge history buff, I was curious to see how a period of time that I know next to nothing about would be portrayed in a comic.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Batman: Detective Comics #879

Cover by Francesco Francavilla

Batman: Detective Comics #879 (July 13, 2011)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Frencesco Francavilla
Colorist: Francesco Francavilla
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

I knew I shouldn’t pick up this random issue without having any of the others. But my profound love for Scott Snyder’s work colored my reason. And now I have to run out and pick up the rest of his run on Detective Comics. Let me just add that to my growing to-read list.

Anyway, Snyder does not disappoint: he wrote an eerie, compelling and dark story that was fully articulated. Standing alone, this comic book had a very strong narrative with plenty of suspense and dynamic characters.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Red Skull: Incarnate #5

Cover by David Aja

Red Skull: Incarnate #5 (November 30, 2011)
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Mirko Colak
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles


Six months after I first picked up Red Skull #1, I have finally read the last of the Red Skull: Incarnate series, one of my absolute favorite comic runs in the last year.

Pak delivered an engrossing and very realistic-feeling origin story for Red Skull, a character that I originally thought of as rather over-the-top. Pak’s characterization of Johann Schmidt as dynamic but ultimately having extreme antisocial personality disorder made the character seem fresh and also engaging. While I didn’t like Schmidt as a character (which I doubt Pak wanted from the reader anyway), I cared about what he did and what happened to him because I knew that he would carry every experience towards his darker end as Red Skull.