Friday, July 31, 2009

Smallville Se08 Ep10 Bride

The wedding is being held in the barn??? It does look pretty though.
Lois falls for Clark, properly!
The ambulance man is Doomsday???
Lana is now an ass kicking ninja sort? I wasn't expecting that much of a departure from canon.
Justin Hartley is in it. He looks kinda spotty.
Where the hell is Dinah?
Ollie is a surprisingly sensitive soul, supporting Lois like that.

Smallville Se08 Ep9 Abyss

All in all a pretty lame episode, except for the last 2 minutes where it is revealed that Doomsday is coming! Wow!


Right, I'm getting back into watching Smallville. I only got as far as episode 8. i hear there's some VERY exciting things coming so I'll see you all in a few, with reviews.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green Lantern ramble

I’ve started reading old Green Lantern stuff. I’m got to issue 12 of volume 2, about Hal Jordan. It’s an odd experience. I’ve been reading SallyP’s, Kalinara’s and Sea of Green’s blogs for so long I reckon I’ve picked up a fair amount about the characters of the Green Lanterns. I definitely know more about key (and probably not so key events) that in all honesty I have no right knowing even exist, seeing as how I’ve only really read 2 trades and a few JLA issues featuring Kyle.

I’m finding myself going, ahh, there’s Hal, hitting on women, getting himself whacked in the noggin, yeah, he does that all the time. Then I have to remind myself I don’t actually know what he’s like as this is pretty much the first time reading him.

Anyway, back to the point. So far, so fun. I thought the writing style, plots and inevitable bad science of the 1960s would drive me crazy, but it turns out I’m fine with it. When I’ve tried to read Aquaman issues from the 60s I’ve had to give up in despair. I managed to soldier through Green Arrow Showcase (stories from the 50s and 60s) but believed that to be a one off rare occurrence.

And again, back to the point, I thought I’d share an image of Hal being not so bright, as I hear it’s a pretty typical occurrence:

(Check me out, I learned how to crop one panel. Just the one mind.)

I have to ask, what does he plan to do if he runs out of juice before he’s made the lamp visible again?

For reference, I think the panel is from issue 5.

If (when?) I come across any other exciting bits I’ll post them.

Wonder Woman Amazonia action figure review

This is my first attempt at an actual review of an action figure. Hope it’s ok.

A couple of weeks ago when I bought this stash of comics I was having a pretty rotten day (week) at work. Imagine my surprise when I headed down to the comic shop and found they’d got a batch of DC Elseworlds figures in. Not only that but they’d got the Wonder Woman Amazonia figure in! I have been after a Wondy figure for a really long time, and have rather liked this particular version. I failed to get the Ame-Comi one as it’s not available from retailers anymore, so when I saw this it took about a minute and a half of dithering before I succumbed.

Boy did this make my day. She’s absolutely wonderful. The costume is very much to my taste, it just looks brilliant. The designers have got the regality of Diana across and combined it with a Victorian influence very well. The muted colours work brilliantly for the story (highly recommended if you’re a Diana fan) and serve to set her apart from the canonical incarnation yet keep key elements of the costume – the eagle, the bracelets, the stars and the tiara.

In terms of the figure, the boots are really well done. Lots of folds and shading, little buttons and the heels have a shape to them – wide at the sole of the boot, getting thin, then widening again for the bottom.

The details on the bracelets are great – full forearm length with stars and triangle shapes etched in. The eagle on the corset is done in a similar style which makes it looks quite old and tarnished.

One of my favourite things about this is that the bodice is obviously designed as a bodice/corset. Her boobs are squashed at the top, which indicates that the body of the garment is stiff, which means it won’t fall down and her breasts won’t fall out in the heat of battle. Unlike say Arisia’s costume, or Star Sapphire’s, both of which must be held up with the power of the mind only. On second thoughts, that’s probably a bad example. Their outfits probably are held on by will power. Anyway, I reckon most comic fans will know what I mean. Unfortunately right now my mind has gone blank for other examples.

Back to Diana...The tail of the costume is a bit bendy, which is nice, even better is her hair, the pony tail of which is really flexible. I find that a really nice touch, even if I am concerned that it may come off… The main mass of hair is sculpted pretty well and is properly big. A lovely massive topknot culminating in a bun.

As for the body and face, she’s got leg muscles, which I approve of, and they’re not overly developed so there’s still a smoothness and grace to the figure. She’s got strong shoulder and clavicles. Her face is either sizing you up or confused, depending on the angle of the head. She doesn’t stand particularly well, I have to balance her by bending the right leg in order that she doesn’t topple over. Nothing new there then, none of my figures stand up particularly well.

Of the second hand ebay’d purchases, Linda Danvers is rather on the knackered side and Alex Ross’s Black Canary arrived with a broken knee joint so now has a toothpick contrived splint to keep her upright. As for the newly bought ones, All Star Batgirl is the exception, but I’ve just noticed she’s got rather big feet, which could be why. Nightwing and Flamebird need to be balanced rather carefully or they topple over. A lesson to DC in superhero anatomy maybe?

Anyway, this Amazonia Wondy is fantastic, I would highly recommend it. Especially for only nine point ninety nine of your English pounds.

Amongst the selection of Elseworlds figures on sale they also had the Flash, which I’m rather taken with. It’s an unusual version, seeing as how he’s got a pencil moustache, but the costume is gorgeous. The actual figure has lovely folds in the trousers legs and in the jacket and I’m really tempted to add it to the collection.

To finish, here's a pic of her doing a headstand:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Kid Flash title!

To be written by Sterling Gates. :D Fucking ace.
Of course this means I will have to look at losing some other titles because I cannot afford everything. I'm currently thinking of dropping Booster Gold, Power Girl (unless it*really* picks up), Gotham City Sirens, Detective Comics (depending on performance) and Action Comics (after the crossover has completed).
Those are the 5 I could lose. Then there's the 5 minis I'm currently getting, and then of course Blackest Night won't last forever.
Come November I'm going to have to seriously reevaluate what I buy. And sell on a lot of stuff I wasn't impressed by. I don't have the space for all these!

Reviews 23.07.2009

Well this is nice. I’m reviewing something the same week it came out. Spoilers ahead for Wednesday Comics #3 (so-so), Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 (tickle worthy), Green Lantern #43 (Prologue to Blackest Night), Green Lantern #44, Power Girl #3 (so-so), Gotham City Sirens #2 (tits and asserific), Supergirl #43 (wow), Adventure Comics #1 preview (double wow).
Wednesday Comics #3
The Supergirl strip continues to delight, Amanda Connor’s art is lovely and I’m really enjoying the little details she’s putting in, such as the kids petting Krypto. I hear tell that this type of story is very silver age. I wouldn’t know as I haven’t read much silver age stuff, but now I’m more inclined to give the old fashioned stories a go.
Kamandi is just an old fashioned adventure story really.
Superman is still lovely – full of emotion.
Tim’s derision of Wednesdays and the violence it brings, in the Teen Titans strip, makes me chuckle. I think it’s great how this strip contains more than one group of Titans.
The Wonder Woman story is very full of information, but that doesn’t make it bad. The colours are beautiful, the lettering is really effective and I find it really interesting. This strip has received a lot of criticism, but I’m not getting that.
Flash has just got a whole lot more interesting, what with Barry visiting the future.

I no longer have any interest in Metamorpho, Strange Adventures, Metal Men, Sgt Rock, The Demon & Catwoman, Batman, Hawkman, Deadman or Green Lantern.

Final Crisis: legion of 3 Worlds #5
Oooh this went all meta! I am a big fan of these types of stories so was very tickled by the outcome of this one. Not really much else to say. We finally saw the reunion of Superboy and Bart with the Titans and respective families - the scene was set up in the same manner as that of Green Arrows return from the dead.

Green Lantern #43 (Prologue to Blackest Night)
I succumbed and placed all Blackest Night titles on standing order. Initially I wasn’t going to bother with the prologue issues but I was told that I really should get GL #43. Post reading, I’m not that bothered by it, but I guess it’s good to see where Black Hand came from since he’ll be an integral part of Blackest Night.

Green Lantern #44
J’onn is back and beats up on Hal and Barry. John Stewart is at the site of Xanshi when all the black power rings descend and proclaim the dead to Rise. As the man says, That ain’t good.
It sure isn’t!

Power Girl #3
Ultra Humanite’s ship is powered by a giant organ. Hur hur. Innuendo aside, that’s a frickin’ great idea! Terra and cameos from the JSA made the final installment of this story more interesting. I was rather enamoured of the way in which Peej and Terra rescued Manhattan. The new alien ladies look like great fun and remind me of why Amanda Connor’s art is so good.

Hopefully now that this arc is completed we won’t see any more discussion of the use or ownership of Peej’s body.

Gotham City Sirens #2
The idea of Selina getting training from Talia Als Ghul on how to hide Bruce’s secret for the world is just terrible. An awfully cackhanded way of resolving last issue’s cliffhanger.

Although the colouring and pencils in this issue is gorgoues, the gratuitous tits and ass isn’t. The scene where the criminal blokes are checking out Harley and we only see a torso, that’s not gratuitous - we are seeing her from their perspective and they only see her as a hot piece of meat.

Every other scene of Catwoman, Ivy and Harley where their breasts, bum, legs or lips take centre stage, that’s gratuitous. It is interesting that the other women in the comic (bystanders) aren’t objectified like this, so it seems to be that the artist (or editor, whoever makes these decisions) is deliberately choosing to make the 3 heroines uber sexy. While I understand that they are all sexy and each has their own way of using their sexuality, that doesn’t mean that every.single.scene. has to objectify them. When the 3 of them are together, alone, in the warehouse they won’t be using their feminine wiles on each other. It follows that the art should reflect this. Yes, they are wearing sexy costumes, but their costumes don’t require them to arch their back or for the focus to be on their hips, groin, chest or grossly distort their anatomy. I’m thinking specifically of the first splash page with Selina tied up. What is going on with Ivy’s thigh. Legs, and joints do not work that way!

Supergirl #43
Oh my I’ve been waiting a long old time for this issue. The cover is beautiful and would make a perfect poster. Kara thinks so too as she has a photo of it on her desk. That is incredibly egotistical and weird. Who has pictures of themselves on their desks? Well, I know people do, but I think it’s bizarre. It’s similar to have a portrait of yourself up in the living room…

This issue gave us a lovely snapshot into Kara’s home life on Krypton. The arrangement of items in her room, the way the clothes are strewn across the chair and floor and the objects she has decorating her room all give us more insight to both Kara’s personality and Kryptonian life. Her white outfit that’s he’s wearing at the desk is evocative of 2 of the Tonner Supergirls doll. I wonder which design came first?

Kara is a typical teenager in this installment, by that I mean self centred and self pitying, and I don’t mean that as a criticism. She is convinced that her mother is sending her on all these chores in order to punish her. Her mother is actually doing it as a favour to her so that she can learn more about her new world and make an informed choice when it comes to choosing a guild.

I thought this was a great piece of characterisation. Who here hasn’t, as a teenager, been so convinced of their rightness and world view that they cannot fathom that their parents may have a different motivation for asking them to carry out chores.

This sub plot also served to further differentiate Kara from other heroes. Dinah Lance, Barbara Gordon, Wonder Woman would never have jumped to the same conclusion. Granted, they wouldn’t be put in that position because they don’t have the adult-teenage mother-daughter dynamic, but nevertheless as adult women they have maturity and an understanding of life that you generally don’t have as a 17/18 yr old. It tells us more about her and contributes to an individual characterisation that distinguishes her from not only adult heroes but also her teenage peers, Mia, Cassie Sandsmark and M’Gann M’orzz wouldn’t have had the same interpretations of her mother’s requests.

I am not faulting Kara for reacting the way she did, it’s something everyone goes through and it’s necessary as you grow up to be a mature, responsible adult. It’s really good to see that she’s not being treated as standard teenage hero model 3 and it also helps us see her growth from issue #1 to now.

All in all, an excellent issue.

Adventure Comics #1 preview
The art in this is ace. Colours, pencils, layout, all of it. It looks like the first issue is going to re-establish Connor’s place in the DCU, comparing him to Superman’s career, re-connecting him to his friends (hello there Bart!) and looking at how he performs with potential disasters. This is going to be a must on the pull list.

Currently listening to: Patti Smith's Easter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I have a ring!

I love my comic shop, they gave me a Black Lantern ring today! :D I guess it's fairly self explanatory what that is, but for non comic-y people sea-of-green has posted a picture of her one here. It's what the Zombie lanterns wear. I'll have to wear mine on my thumb though because I have tiny hands that evidently aren't as stumpy as I previously thought.

Still, it's made my day :D And I'm now buying all the Blackest Night tie ins. Because of the zombie action.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reviews part 8: Zombies! Swooning! Cheesecake! Angst! Zombies!

[Edited to give the post a title]

Spoilers ahead for Empowered volume 3, Action Comics # 879, Wednesday Comics #2, Superman/Batman # 62, Titans #15 (Zombie preparation), Blackest Night #1 (Zombie attack)
Empowered volume 3
This was a re-read, chosen for it’s quickness and lightheartedness. I’d left Justina Robson’s Selling Out someplace else and didn’t want anything to disturb that story.

Empowered did the trick. This is a story about a superheroine (superchica) whose powers are in her suit. She’s a rather inept crimefighter so her suit gets ripped quite often, which leads to her losing her powers. Emp then gets tied up, kidnapped and held for ransom as the plot demands it. It’s all in black and white which I find disappointing – it’s easier for me to read colour art, but having said that the art is very clear so that’s not really a problem.

Emp has a boyfriend, Thugboy, ex Witless Minion, and a best friend named Ninjette. There is also the Caged Demonwolf (who speaks in alliteration and is an eldritch starspawn imprisoned inside power-draining alien bondage gear), and the superhomeys, who are rather mean to Emp. The idea came about after Adam Warren was sick of being asked to draw sexy damsels in distress at conventions.

It is amusing and does succeed in poking fun at the superhero genre - see the sexy librarian episode and the A.R.R story. There are some genuinely touching bits - such as when Thugboy is talking about how Emp sleeps and his origin memoir.

Adam Warren draws very well but I’m not convinced about his writing skills. Some parts are very good, others seem more forced. Maybe that is down to the style though – the language of this annoys me, ‘superchica’, ‘witless minions 4eva yo’ etc. I realise that is part of the joke but it still grates. I think I take things too seriously somrtimes...

The last story features a captured Ninjette beign rescued by Emp and Thugboy. It’s good to see Emp be useful, but also notable to Linda Danvers fans that she gets wings during the confrontation. I have no real evidence that this is in any way linked to the earthborn angel story, but I like to draw parallels.

On the whole it’s worth checking out. Probaby best to start from volume 1 though – I think my reading of it suffers from coming in halfway through.

Action Comics # 879
First thoughts are that nearly a week after reading this I can’t recall much of it, that’s probably not a good sign..[swiftly opens comic and flicks through]..oh yes, the 2 crazy Kryptonians, Nightwing and Flamebird are due for a fight with some orcs.. Flamebird gets caught and the orc leader takes a peek inside her mind. We see Chris, a crystal rose, an angry Kara, Ursa, robots and some other Kryptonian folk.

Then it does get interesting, the Flamebird aspect of Thara bursts through and burns the orc folk to a crisp. She also get wings….curioser and curioser.

We also see Lois get confirmation from Mon-El that her father’s bones aren’t in his grave, proving to Lois that he’s not dead. The art shows her reaction beautifully (it’s a happy one).

Mysterious lady with the blue face reveals more of her powers – teleportation I am assuming, although as we don’t actually see it occur it could be something else (an ability to step out of time for instance).

The Super titles are gearing up for the Codename: Patriot crossover and I am not remotely interested. The back up is Captain Atom, and again I don’t care one iota. I could easily drop this title, but I won’t because I’m a completist.

Wednesday Comics #2
The format is wonderful, the art is so varied and I love the fact it’s out of continuity. Two weeks in and I have more of a handle on the stories. I do not care for Strange Adventures, Metal Men, Sgt Rock, The Demon and Catwoman or Green Lantern.

I think the strongest stories are Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Supergirl –
Superman because of the art and the way range of emotions they’ve packed in already.
Wonder Woman because of the density of it, the unusual lettering and setting of the story.
The Flash for the split panel aspect and the recent cliffhanger. Supergirl is just all out fun – nothing too serious is going to happen here.

I am pleased to see Teen Titans including all aspects of the team and a well balanced Tim. Neil Gaiman is having a lot of fun writing Metamorpho, going for an old time feel, but the strip itself isn’t outstanding. Batman has made me like Batman. Kamandi I have never come across before but am very much enjoying. Deadman has good art and layout. Hawkman is Hawkman-y - I liked issue #1s Flap Flap Flap narration and was disappointed to see this strip being told from Hawkman’s POV.

Overall, a winner.

Superman/Batman # 62
If it weren’t for the advent of the zombies this would have been hands down my favourite book of the week, nay, month. The basic premise is the junior sidekicks - Tim and Kara - hanging out for lunch, talking about their mentors and remembering their first team up.

Tim is not angsty, he’s happy, friendly and well balanced. There is such a marked difference between him in this issue and Tim in Red Robin. Nevermore999, if you’re reading this post, you’d love this issue.

There’s a truly wonderful depiction of Batman (and his teeth) fighting crime in Gotham, and Kara is in secret identity mode, meeting Tim as Linda Lang. Rafael Albuquerque is a damn fine artist. Colours are done by Rob Leigh – he’s got a really important job in this issue as he shows the different moods of both the protagonists and the rooms/places they occupy.

I think this version of Kara is the one most people wanted to see when the Supergirl was first launched. She’s not snarky or messed up, she’s heroic, honourable and pure - so pure the horrors of Arkham Aslyum drive her to a black rage. As much as I love this issue I prefer immature snarky Kara to immature peppy Kara. What can I say – pep and innocence irk me.

Robin and Kara have each other backs throughout the issue and by the end their friendship is cemented, both preventing the other from crossing the line.

They should definitely do this again or at the very least give Robin and Supergirl their own mini series. Either set it out of continuity or place it back before the crises started, before Tim went angsty and lost everyone he loves and when the Titans were still fun.

Titans #15 (Zombie preparation)
Purchased as the internet gave me a heads up about it – this issue is centred around Tempest. In it we learn that Dolphin (wife) and Cerdian (kid) have died. This right royally pisses me off because I loved Dolphin. The issue is mostly about Tempest angsting over how he brings doom to all he knows, probably linked to his purple eyes. Slizzath, Tempest’s brother, reveals himself as being on the side of the Blackest Night, Garth goes to Gotham to chat with Dick, (it’s mighty bizarre to see someone else under the cowl) and decides that he will take up the post of King of Atlantis.

The last page is a glorious image of Garth sitting on the throne, mirroring the opening page of Arthur sitting on the throne.

The story will be continued in the Blackest Night mini and in the Blackest Night: Titans mini. Which means another one to add to my pull list because, lets face it, the main reason I was interested in this was the prospect of a zombie Aquaman. Now zombie Dolphin will be added to the mix I’m delighted.

The actual issue was ok. Not great, but not bad.

Blackest Night #1
Run for the hills the zombies are coming!

I’m not sure what else I can add to anyone else’s comments and reviews. I loved the issue. I’m a massive zombie fan, a big horror movie fan actually. My favourites seem to be from the 80s (Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, the Ash movies, Poltergiest), with a few more recent ones thrown in (Cabin Fever, 28 days later, Dog Soldiers). In amongst these The Night of the Living Dead films are a favourite. Zombies are a bloody awesome concept. Anyone seen the X-Files zombie episode? At the end they all get up and dance.

So, the promise of the entire dead DCU returning to (undead) life tickles me immensely and has left me smiling whenever I have thought about it.

There’s some lovely moments in the book – in particular the Rogues graveyard and Alfred. Zombie Ralph and Sue are horrifically delicious.

I really really like the Flash’s Rogues - they seem to be a group of folks who are really just trying to get by, they’re happy to thieve and pillage but they look after their own and they’ve got some morals. They’re not out to take over the world, they aren’t out to murder needlessly and they’re not evil. They’ve got a lot going for them and I find them really interesting. Since you ask, Captain Cold is particularly interesting.

If folks are interested, The Aquaman Shrine has a post up giving info on all the dead heroes that Hal shows Barry.

[Just a minor gripe – when will we see the Caped communities first reactions to Bart and Kon coming back? I would like to see FC Legion of 3 Worlds #5 pretty sharpish please]

Now, I know I’ll end up buying the Titans, Batman and Superman tie ins, how important do you reckon it will be to get the Green Lantern and Tales of the Corps tie ins too? Pretty important I reckon. I’m just starting to read Green Lantern, starting from v2 (Hal’s first series), so by the time I’ve finished that I reckon I’ll want to read all the tie ins. Plus, it will be nice to read an event and actually understand what’s going on for once.

*sigh* This will be expensive. But Zombie mayhem will make up for a lighter wallet.

Bring on the brain (heart) eating! Zombiezombieombiezombiezombiezombiezombie!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reviews part 7: The what makes a good (comic) story edition?

Covering comics from last week, herein lies spoilers for Red Robin #2, Superman World of New Krypton #5, Booster Gold #22, Green Arrow/Black Canary #22 and Buffy #26.

I feel like I’ve been reviewing so much lately it’s getting a bit tiresome. Due to this, I have taken a themed approach to this week’s reviews, apologies if it’s a bit wanky.


What makes a good story? Everyone has their own tastes and definitions but I reckon that there are also common defining traits. You want engaging characters, you want an interesting plot, you want something to excite you and there’s that age old cliché – you want conflict. Of course, each individual defines this in their own way, which leads to all the differences in opinion.

Take Red Robin #2. nevermore999 didn’t like this issue. She feels that Tim is a complete ass. I agree, he is moody, rude, disrespectful and possibly having a little breakdown. He’s completely isolated from other heroes and this issue shows that he’s doing that on purpose.

Now, nev doesn’t say whether she thinks the issue is good or not, and i’m not going to assume anything, I’m more using her post as a jumping off point. To me, even though Tim is an ass, I think it’s a good issue. It’s illuminating (darkening?) to see how far Tim is pushing those closest to him away, and it also shows how much support he does have, should he choose to utilise said support. We are again shown Tim’s fighting skills, deduction skills and vigilante methods (the voice). With Bruce gone I think we need to see how Tim is growing into a darker identity – the costume was the first indication of this, now we’re getting the other day to day stuff. I think Tim’s anger with Steph spying on him reinforces this.

For once the cover to this book enhances the story inside. We see Tim-as-Robin fighting Spoiler, in the light, we also see Tim-as-Red-Robin fighting ninjas, in the dark. So he’s fighting everyone, in both aspects of his life.

So, this comic shows that you can still have a good story without liking the protagonist.

Superman: World of new Krypton is a different beast. Whereas Red Robin is an ongoing and therefore has more time to build plot and character etc, this book is a maxi series and has to move the plot along to a pre-determined end, within a set number of issues. Whereas Red Robin was reinforcing Tim’s ‘new’ character, brought about because of the recent events in Gotham, this Superman book has a whole new world to show us. We need to get to know, in a short space of time, as many characters as facets of Kryptonian society as possible. This issue brings us a lawyer, insights into dissident factions of Krypton, the trial system, new knowledge of how much Kal-El inspired his fellows, a traitor, the hope of a new planet and an assassination. Each factor listed above is dealt with clearly and concisely, so despite this being a packed issue nothing is confused and everything serves a purpose.

This book is borrowing much from the Superman films – I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to get chills when viewing the trial scene for the first time. The artist and inker have done a fabulous job in reflecting the mood of the text – the trial scenes are so dark and gloomy and the last few pages when the dome is lifted are so colourful and gentle, perfectly in keeping with the mood of events being depicted.

Booster Gold 22 is an exercise in nostalgia. This issue is produced for old school Titans fans and is mostly all fight. There’s not a lot of depth, there’s no insight to the characters and nothing is resolved. It may appeal to the aforementioned Titans fans but it’s not got a lot of substance. Verdict: Interesting characters, bikinis and a couple of fight scenes doth not a good story make.

Wednesday Comics is the new format comic from DC. What Booster Gold failed to do in a normal length book Wednesday Comics does in nearly all 14 of it’s one page stories.

The Supergirl strip introduced us to the action with a father and kid looking at puppies, giving us a human angle to countermand Kara’s Streaky and Krypto chase, and threw in some humour to boot.

The Hawkman strip uses very few words, most of which consist of ‘flap’ but conveys a sense of loyalty and unstoppableness from the Hawks that left me intrigued as to how it will play out.

Metamorpho is an example of an author having a blast writing something. Gaiman has such a feel for the style he’s emulating you can’t help but smile at it.

Wonder Woman is very surreal and stands out amongst the other stories because it’s very ethereal and because it depicts a much younger Diana than we are used to seeing.

I won’t go through any more, but will conclude by saying that this format showcases the variety of comic writing and art styles and gives us 14 examples of how to write comics without pandering to continuity.

Continuity brings us neatly onto Green Arrow/Black Canary #22. Looking to the stars hates this issue. I think this is chiefly because of the retconning of Dinah’s origin and the way she has been written out of character. I do not believe that this makes it a bad story in itself, although I do accept that it may be considered a bad story in view of years of continuity.

It is the concluding story of the deaf arc which has featured a lot of one Dinah Lance. I have previously written about how I thought this book was rubbish because of it’s failure to live up to the shared name, that if it was called Green Arrow it would have been fine, but with a double billing you need to reflect the title in the plotlines. That’s now been fixed, just before they revert to calling it Green Arrow and give Black Canary her back up feature.

I have enjoyed this storyline, despite the retconning of Dinah’s teenage years. I am happy for retcons to occur, believing that what is written at the time is correct for the character and to say otherwise if fan entitlement, which isn’t for me. I’m more concerned about whether the plot is done well, regardless of whether it is a good idea or not. I think the flashbacks to teenage Dinah are done well, the relations between Ted, Di senior and Di junior are believable and what’s more the art fits. Young Dinah looks like adult Dinah.

Discord’s origin was done well, Dinah’s saving of herself and Discord from the roof explosion did her credit and showcased her as a hero. The parallels between her teenage self and her adult self were drawn, although to what purpose I’m not sure. As it is, that particular aspect and one other are the only faults I have with the story.

In order to make a story good you need to have everything in place, it needs to flow and what you don’t want is for something to jump out at the reader and make them go wtf. If that happens is spoils the story. My wtf moment in this issue was the discussion between Discord and his brother about deafness.

Discord: What I do cannot be considered true hearing. The device I am wearing, of my own design, transmits audio information directly into my brain, bypassing my damaged hearing organs. Yes, I hear, but the sound in my mind is gritty and coarse. It has been stripped of tone and poetry. And beauty.
Brother: This could revolutionise the world for the hearing impaired. Deafness could be cured.

Three problems – firstly, the effect of what Discord is describing sounds very similar to a cochlear implant. Which is quite a small thing, certainly not a great hulking piece of machinery strapped to your arm and head. They’ve been around quite a long time.
Secondly, due to the existence of the cochlear implant this makes the brother’s comment redundant. Thirdly, Deafness doesn’t need to be cured. In fact, ‘curing’ Deafness could be tantamount to linguistic and cultural genocide. It looks to me like the writer has done fuck all research on Ddeafness. This exchange threw me out of the story and will discolour it for me.

The back up story, of Green Arrow this issue, presumably because the main story was about Black Canary, had Dinah confront Ollie about his violence. This has been a long time coming and is one of the nice things about comics – because they are such a long running media you can tie everything together and seemingly innocent words or actions can be shown to have great value at a much later date.

Buffy # 26 is part of season 8 and in a similar manner to DC comics has a lot of back story and universe history to build upon. Sadly, it is not doing such a good job of this as GA/BC. I have lost sense of the overall plot, the art is horrible and I have no idea where this is going. I don’t have a feel for it the way I have a feel for the TV based seasons. The writing isn’t too shit hot and the odd quips that are thrown in can seem rather forced. There are a few humourous moments but these are mainly reminiscent of incidents in previous, not a new action/event/piece of dialogue that occurred due to where the plot is now.

A (very) personal niggle about Buffy season 8 is that every issue I am liking the art less and less. In the comics medium this is going to be a problem. To get something really outstanding, you need to have that match between the dialogue, plot and art, and you need all 3 areas to be good. For me, the art just isn’t very good. This throws me out of the experience (much like the Ddeaf stuff in GA/BC).

So, now I conclude. In my own (highly personal and definitely subjective opinion) I think what makes a comic good is the juxtaposition of good art/dialogue/plot, believable characterisation and relationships and research. Sometimes this believability can exist only for that story arc (GA/BC), sometimes it comes from building on years of character history (Red Robin).

Incorporating a fight or other popular characters is not always a recipe for a good comic. As much as I’m keen on explosions and high kicking ninja shenanigans they don’t mean a lot if there isn’t any substance behind it.


Thank you for reading this exercise is self importance. Ooh heck, I feel like a bit of a wanker now. Crumbs.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Coming out in comics, or, I take my slash where I can find it: Booster Gold

From the Formerly Known as the Justice League mini. Worth a gander.

We know that Booster is not averse to the male form, at least his own, so it’s not too much to extrapolate him having feelings for Beetle. Especially when you back it up with the bottom 3 panels from Extreme Justice 14:

Although now I think about it it's fairly obvious that the Formerly Known as mini was building on all aspects of the earlier JLA stuff.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Things I love about (superhero) comics

As I'm away for the weekend and won't be online tomorrow I'm doing 2 posts today, this is the second.

A while back I thought I’d do a post listing the things that I particularly love about superhero comics. So here goes.

1) Wally West and Linda Park’s relationship
She is his rod and serves to anchor him to this plane of reality, not get dragged into the speed force. They love each other so much that even when he’s trapped in some distant place he can find his way back home by focusing on her. During Infinite Crisis (or thereabouts) he ran home to say goodbye to her as he knew he was getting pulled away somewhere unknown and her reaction was ‘you’re not bloody going without me’ and promptly hung on.

I just love the idea that you can be (mutually) in love with someone that much that they serve as a way to ground you and bring you back home when you’re in danger. I think it’s wonderful and oh so perfect.
Yes, I am a product of a broken home.

2) You don’t need words
There’s an issue of Young Justice, # 31, which has no text in it at all. You’ve got Bart’s thought bubbles which are just images and no words. The art is impeccable and flows so well it tells you all you need to know. I'm someone who didn't pay a lot of attention to stuff around her when younger. Now I'm relearning how to be observant and take everything in and part of that involves really paying attention to the images use in comics, as well as how they're used.

3) The sheer epic scale of it all
Two things about this point really. One is that because it’s epic you quite often get huge universe spanning wars and then there’s lots of lovely tragedy. I enjoy a good bit of tragedy.
The second thing is that because the Universe is so bloody large and it’s got such a lot of published history there is so much to learn. Let’s face it, as a new reader, started reading comic properly about 5 years ago, I’ve got a hell of a lot of catching up to do. Considering I get frustrated when I come to the end of a 6 book fantasy series, because I haven’t learnt enough about each character, or the world’s history, or the culture or whatever, superhero comics are a bloody godsend.

4) Powers
Flight, laser vision, ice breath, telekinesis, supra intelligence, actual wings, shapeshifter, pyschics, Godlike powers, magic, super strength, shrinking people, growing people, time travel, space travel, robots, cyborgs, super speed, talking to fish, sonic screams, magic rings.

5) Fandom
Comics fans are so obsessive about what happens, why it happens, what it means and why it's wrong. Or right, if the individual is in an optimistic mood. I love it, we get so immersed in our fandoms it all becomes so important. I love having a community I can talk to about this stuff.

6) What Avalon's Willow said

Now, fancy throwing in your favourite things about the genre?

Yet more reviews (part 6): The Justice filled edition

First of 2 posts today.

I have a new banner! Very kindly produced for me by Charles Yoakum at Ink Destroyed by Brush, who incidentally has done a very nice sketch of the Black Cat which I've been admiring.

Thanks also to ComicsAllTooReal'sChris and terrylegend42 for the offers of help. I'm sure all would have done a great job.

Onto the reviews. This post covers Justice League: Cry for Justice, Starman #43 (featuring the JLA), Young Justice 31, and Extreme Justice
Justice League: Cry for Justice
# 1

The art is gorgeous, but we already knew that from the previews and the cover. The actual plot is very much a set up issue with lots of posturing from the current JLA. Essentially, Hal has a strop because he feels the current JLA doesn’t actually do much Justice. So he resolves to form his own league, one that is more proactive. We’ve been here before with Justice League Elite. The JLE also included Ollie, which is interesting, and they spent a lot of the time undercover. The whole shebang didn’t work then so I’m a bit confused how it is going to work differently now. What does being more proactive mean? I understand that once this mini is finished the team will become the Justice League proper so I hope that they will manage to overcome this hurdle.

When Hal is talking to the JLA he is mostly talking to Supes and Wondy, which is odd considering Dinah is meant to be the leader. Yet she is just in the background muttering to Ollie.

The rest of the issue introduces us to the Atom, Starman and Congorilla. While this is useful it doesn’t really start the story. Detective Comics 854 and Gotham City Sirens were much better opening issues in this respect.

There was a nice additional text piece at the back of the comic about how this mini came about and why Robinson picked the team members. I presume this is to justify the price of the comic. Works for me. There will be a text piece about Kara in future issues too, so huzzah for that. The 2 page origin of Congorilla was nice but could have been done in the main body of the comic.

I’ll keep buying this mini but I sincerely hope the actual story starts next issue.

Starman #43 featuring the JLA
I picked this up in a second hand store because it’s written by James Robinson and I wanted to get more of a feel for him while Cry for Justice is going. The cover is also absolutely wonderful:

I really liked this book. I’ve never read any Starman before but that wasn’t a hindrance. The current Starman has just opened up a store called Knights Past and he is showing it to his Dad. I’m guessing they either haven’t gotten on in the past or that they were estranged. Anyway, the current Starman then asks his dad if he can help locate a rocket for him because he needs to go into outer space. He needs to go into space because his girlfriend, who is the sister of the previous Starman, believes that her brother is still alive in space and she wants this Starman to go find him.

And I’ve realised how ridiculous that will sound to non comic fans.

Anyway, the current Starman’s dad calls up Jay Garrick, who calls up Wally West, who speaks to the JLA and so Starman gets an invite to meet them all and state his case. They say no as they’ve only got one rocket and won’t lend it out on a hunch. At the end of the book a guy called Shade has sourced a rocket for Starman and I suppose next issue he’ll be in outer space.

The lay out in this book is great, it reminded me a bit of Promethea, and by extension the last Detective Comics issue.

This book is recommended and I shall try and read the rest of the run.

Young Justice #31 – When Mimes attack!
The silent issue! Purchased from ebay and an absolute delight. Bart is bored (as usual) and wants to hang out with Kon. Kon however is settling down to watch the Cheerleader Championship with Wendy the Werewolf Slayer. I’d forgotten about these nods to current pop culture, very funny. So Bart heads out the house to find excitement elsewhere.

He comes across a fella tying a damsel to some railroad tracks, saves the damsel then finds out that it’s a shooting of silent film. Next he goes to a book fair and imagines that everyone will want his autograph, only to discover it’s librarians book fair and they all shush him. Then he sees some silhouttes in the park, assumes it’s the trinity, then sees that they are mimes (god knows how he got confused). Whilst sitting on a step very bored some guy comes up to him to chat, Bart tells him about his crappy day then the guy produces a card saying he’s deaf and asks him to buy a card showing the fingerspelt alphabet - kudos to Peter David for bringing Deaf issues into his books, even if he sometimes gets it a bit wrong.
Next Bart finds some monks who invite him to share lunch, chuffed to bits he races over and chats, then finds out they have taken a vow of silence. Lastly, he discovers the Cheerleader Championships and finds that the mimes from earlier are thieves and are making their getaway via the competition venue.

It’s a great issue. There’s thought bubbles all the way through and it even made the boyfriend laugh. Hunt it down if you can.

Extreme Justice – last few issues
It remained rubbish. The most interesting part was at the back of issue 0 which showed what an inker does. Here’s a scan for your edification and learnings:

Pretty interesting huh? I didn’t know what inkers did before I saw that. Now I’m educated.

Currently listening to: The British summer rain and Garbage's Only Happy When it Rains. Tres apt.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Norwich North by-election

I'm being bombarded with bloody election literature. Ian Gibson was forced out because of the expenses scandal so now the 4 parties are fighting tooth and nail for the seat. I've never had so much crap shoved through my door.

Even with all this literature I don't know what the candidates actually stand for. They're all saying they won't be corrupt and won't claim anything over what is necessary, but that's not really a reason to vote for any of them. I've just emailed the Labour candidate asking him what he stands for and about to do the same for the Green party, smug Tory lady and the Lib Dems.

Their websites are all useless, there is no real info there. OK, so i'm never in a milion years going to vote Tory, but I think it would be good for her to tell her constituents what she stands for. She's done fuck all anyway. Left university and spent 5 years working for the Tory party. I prefer my MPs to have real life experience. And be over 26.

Actually, the Lib Dem lady is sending me real information through. So is the Green party. So they don't need an email.

The BBC website lists the candidates. Methinks Anne Fryatt didn't think her party name through properly. I'm ignoring UKIP and am horrified by the BNP putting a candidate forward. But not surprised. this county is so fucking insular - the 4 main candidates are making such a big deal about being local, having local connections, it's bullshit. Norfolk's bloody terrified of anyone outside the A14. There's no fucking motorways in this county.

EDIT: Speak of the Devil. The Greens just came round to canvass and brought copies of their manifesto. Great.

Just a little sigh

From Extreme Justice 16, we have a scene of some beered up boys harassing women in a car:

We are meant to think that the boys are morons and shouldn’t be abusing the girls. Then the next panel is as follows:

And the whole point kind of falls apart. Could the artists/editorial not see the hypocrisy in the art vs the text?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Black Canary choker - anyone got a picture?

I'm trying desperately to google a picture of her choker and I'm not coming up with anything. I think it's just a stylised black bird head on a yellow circle but I'm not certain. Anyone got a close up picture they could point me to? of course it's also possible that I'm getting her sigil confused with Lady Blackhawk's. Who i'm totally going as for the next fancy dress party.

Can anyone help with the Dinah sigil?


The eagle eyed readers among you may well have noticed that after my grand declaration in January I haven’t actually posted all that many accounts of my spending. There’s two simple reasons for this, one is that I got bored with writing about it and the second is that I soon forgot to keep a spending diary. It has still been in my mind though, and despite not keeping track of everything I spent I *think* I can recall where my money has gone. Even if I’m not keeping myself accountable by publishing what I spend I really do need to continue keeping a spending diary, because for those last few months where I haven’t, my budgeting has gone to hell.
As of next payday I am resolved to go back to logging my outgoings. There’s no point starting this month because I haven’t got anything to have any outgoings on.

In some effort to keep to my word I shall attempt to now recall the stuff that I’ve spent my cash on, since my last post. This comes from my shoddy memory and the few things I’ve recorded:

Comics: A no brainer.

Books: Sadly, not all second hand. *shame*

2 dresses and a t-shirt: All from a charity shop and all on 3 different occasions.

The top I saw when I was out with the boyfriend and I rather liked it. It’s black and white stripey, a combination I’m rather keen on which is how it caught my eye, but the thing that clinched it was that it has rather long sleeves – half way between my shoulders and my elbow. This is pretty unusual and means it’s an ideal t-shirt for work because it covers my scars. Then once I’d bought it I realised I have another black and white stripey top, except that the original one is made out of wool and has a polo neck. Otherwise they are the same. Damn.

The first dress I bought simply because I liked it, thereby making it a frivolous and needless purchase. The second dress I bought because I’d just walked to work in the pouring rain and was soaked. I wanted to buy something dry to change into. Great, except what I bought turns out to be far too short for work but will go quite well as a long top over shorts.

A belt – A friend bought me a Batman belt buckle, because she’s awesome, so I had to buy a belt to put it on. This has turned out well because it will be used at a fancy dress party next week. I was going to go as Batwoman, now I’m going as Dinah. I’ve also bought a few accessories for the costume but those will be used again and again.

A memory stick for the phone: My phone is shit. I was lied to when I bought it and the camera and memory is appalling. So I bought a memory stick in order to be able to save more than 50 photos on the damn thing. This isn’t something I’ll get bored of though it may become defunct when I get a new phone that actually works.

The job paper: In order to get a new and better paid job.

Anti histamines: very necessary. Medication is allowed under my pledge. As are my rags in order that I don’t bleed over my clothes. Luxury items my arse.

Dry cleaning: Not a physical thing, but quite necessary.

Shoes from ebay: To wear to a wedding because I knew my day shoes would cripple me. So not strictly necessary but in my defence my feet have shrunk and now 3/4 of my shoes are too big for me. At least they were second hand.

CDs from ebay: Because music is good for my soul. And they were second hand.

Nail varnish and base coat: Bought for vanity reasons. I have no defence for this. *hangs head in shame*

Hair dye: Allowable because it’s not physical stuff that clutters up the house. I decided I was bored with being blonde so attempted, twice, to dye my hair pillar box red. It failed. I’m now a sort of horrible peachy colour. I think I shall solve this by getting it all cut off.

Diva magazine: This was always going to be allowable. I am now trying to dispose of my stack of back issues. Anybody interested? They’re free. I’ve got about 30 of them going back to 2003 I reckon.

Presents for people: Birthdays, housewarmings, weddings etc.

Furniture: Definitely allowed. It was brand new stuff because we needed it, it didn’t replace old furniture (we had none beforehand) and will definitely be a keeper. It’s lovely. I feel so mature. Both pieces were brought from an independent shop in the city, who has kitted out most of our house actually. I’m a little scared we might look like a show room.

Non physical stuff includes taxi journeys, train tickets, beer, food and gig tickets.

So, this exercise has taught me that unless I keep a note of everything I spend I rapidly run out of money. Also that I’m so good at not buying stuff as I rather arrogantly thought I was. I can think of several occasions where I’ve gone shopping, then remembered I’m not meant to be buying things, and left the shop. But that may also have been to do with the fact I don’t like much stuff in the shops. Hardly a moral victory.

This ‘lil exercise did prompt me to look at how much I spend on my comics each month. I’ve worked out that next month I will be buying 25 individual issues, which will come to approximately £55. Before the price hike to $3.99 for some titles it was about £50 a month. I was surprised by how little it’s gone up, but I reckon the small increase is due to having most titles on standing order, which gets me a 10% discount on them and that the $3.99 ones aren’t that much more expensive than the $2.99 ones, what with the exchange rate. I think I pay £2.69 or £2 per issue (I have no idea if this is comparable to other shops in the UK). I should check that next Thursday, mostly I don’t look at the cost I just hand over my card and assume I’m not paying more than a tenner a week. Although this is no longer true because of the price hike.

I have decided that I won’t be buying the Red Tornado or Doom Patrol books. Lack of shelf space and an urge to not spend so much is the reason behind this.

Oh, and due to lack of money I now won't be going to the Phil Jiminez signing on Friday. Shit the bed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reviews part 5: 3 collections and some old crap

Slowly getting through stuff. I now have a selection of Justice related books and last week's purchases to go. Then on to the speculative posts. Whew.

These notes will cover Extreme Justice, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Marvels and Strawberry Marshmallow volume 2.

Extreme Justice
This is some old crap. Macho posturing rubbish with appalling art to match. Amazing Man inexplicably changes from black to white and back again every other panel, I think it might be dependent on the powers he’s just absorbed, or on the other hand, it could be a shit colourist. Read at your peril. Me, I must be knee deep in peril cos I’ve now read 12 issues and will be reading to the tiresome end.

Green Lantern: Rebirth
Overall I enjoyed this. The one punch reference to Giffen JLA made me chuckle as did all the bits mentioned in the preface. I think I’d have got more out of it had I known more general Green Lantern history and Hal’s history specifically. The book is one for the avid fans, not a general introduction to comics or Green Lanterns - people who don’t know much about the characters won’t get as much out of it.

This was bought (as was Rebirth actually) with the voucher my sister got me for being bridesmaid at her wedding. I got this book a good 4 weeks ago but it has been sat on the side table waiting for me to find a good time to read it. A time when I didn’t feel rushed and like I could actually savour it – I’ve had precious few of those recently.

I had already read the book as our local library had a copy. I think this book was my introduction to Alex Ross’ art and Kurt Busiek’s writing, both of which are wonderful. It follows the career of Phil Sheldon, a newspaper photographer, from 1939 to the present day. At the start he’s a young man waiting for his chance to be sent to Europe to photograph the war and make a name for himself. Then the first Marvel, the first Human Torch, appears and over the next few years Sheldon comes to believe that the real story may be found not in the war but in the Marvels back home in the USA.

The rest of the book covers the key events in the history of the Marvel Universe – the arrival of Namor the Sub-mariner, the creation of Captain America, the role of Superheroes in the war, the arrival of the X-Men, Gwen Stacey’s murder, the Sentinals, Galactus and the Silver Surfer, the forming of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. The book is told through Sheldon’s view so we get to see the general public’s view of the Marvels.
I really really like this book. It’s a great introduction to the Marvel Universe and it looks beautiful. An exemplary piece of comic storytelling.

Strawberry Marshmallow volume 2
Fun. A new character, Ana from England is added to the mix. She decides she is losing her Englishness so resolves to never speak Japanese in school, only English. A fine idea, except she didn’t account for her automatic greeting of people in Japanese or that she wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone if she only speaks English.

She accidentally speaks Japanese to Matsuri and so falls in with friendship group This is pretty much the same stuff as volume 1, just with different adventures. If you like volume 1 you’ll like this. If you don’t like this then you don’t have a soul. Fact*.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that one of the kids in this is wearing a Super Furry Animals top. That pleased me no end.

Currently listening to: Rico

*Actually, that's probably not true. If you don’t like Azumanga Daioh then you don’t have a soul. If you don’t like Strawberry Marshmallow you are merely of dubious character.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reviews part 4: The slowly catching up edition

Featuring spoilers for comics that are 2 (3?) weeks old. Namely, Superman #689, Teen Titans #72, Gotham City Sirens #1 and Detective Comics #854.
In reverse order…
Detective Comics #854
Batwoman! Na na na na na na na na na na Bat(wo)man!
Shortly to be reprinted with much prettier art. The shame.
Anyhows, we’ve already seen the first few pages in previews, so we know Kate is all sultry and sexy to the criminal. Now I’ve only come across her in 52 before but this characterisation seemed off to me. And somewhat off given that she’s gay. Now, I’d understand Catwoman being all sultry, or Dinah (in a different manner) but I’ve yet to come across a lesbian who flirts with the mens like Kate has been doing. Someone who’s bi (Poison Ivy), yeah, but not Kate, and anyway she didn’t seem all that sexual in her other scenes.
Mayhap I’m being prejudiced. Maybe she’s putting on a personae a la Bruce or Clark. Either way, it wasn’t enough to make me dislike the book. I’m mostly making a big deal out of it because Sam commented on the lack of criticism in the blogosphere.

The layout in this book is great. The art will grow on me I’m sure - right now I’m not sure about the colours.

Good things: Kate proves her detectivey skills by knowing more than Batman does. Yay, it’s good to see a Bats that isn’t all knowing. We get to see her working out. I don’t know why this pleases me so much but it does. We see her with her lover, calling her out on the late nights. I like the villain, Alice.

Bad things: I hate Kate’s short hair. I hate her tattoos, I hate her makeup. I hate her clothes. I preferred the high femme Kate from 52.

It’s a half decent opening issue and I did come away from it so excited, but to be honest I think most of that is because she’s a lesbian wearing the bat symbol. Leading the book. That is rather important to me. And yes, right now it's tokenistic, but I have faith that Rucka will make it less tokenistic and then she'll be just another person fighting crime.

Of course there was also the Question backup. As much as I love the idea of Kate I love Renee more. Butch wonder. She’s down to earth, confident, capable and tough. Gods, I’ve spent years wondering where the confident chicks in popular culture were, I shoulda picked up comics earlier.

Good things: The Monty Python and the Holy Grail joke. The art. The fact that it’s Renee and she kicks ass.

Bad things: I preferred her long hair. The fact that her hair mysteriously changes colours from brown/black to blonde. Umm what? The first story arc is about forced prostitution/porn films/rape.

Gotham City Sirens #1
My winner of last week. :) Oh so the cover is completely cheesecakey but it is called Sirens after all. The art inside is gorgeous. Ivy, Selina and Harley rock, the story is fun, (a much better set up issue than Detective Comics, but then again, here we know all about the characters), Zatanna’s cameo was amusing and Harley got her hammer.

Loved it. :)

Teen Titans #72
Titled Girl Fight, this was certainly a women centred issue. Sort of.
It opens with Eddie and Static (who I recently learned is a Milstone character nto a mainstream DCU one) playing console games. Jaime gets agitated and his scarab fires up ready to shoot the others, haw.
Jaime spends a lot of this issue checking out the lady titans and getting really embarrassed. Bombshell and Megan discuss clothes then they all (except for Cassie) go out for food and dancing. Basically they are acting like real teenagers and this ex teenager approves.

Cass meanwhile is doing the rounds checking up on the prison and then gets into a fight, and then the Calculator turns up. I hate the Calculator, enough of the freakin’ Calculator.

*sigh* I bet this bleedin storyline will carry on and on and on.

The backup feature is Ravager. Woot yeah Rose! She seriously needs to dejunkify herself.

Superman #689
This month’s cover is not so good. Mon looks altogether odd. Almost Spock like, no?
In this issue Mon fights crime around the world. He meets the local heroes and kicks some ass. He also meets Congorilla, who turns up in Cry for Justice, although I didn’t make the connection at the time.
Jim Harper defends Mon live on TV and gets some crazed anchor off of Mon’s case.
The art remains very satisfying.
Ooh, and Atlas comes back. Bring on the Super titles crossover!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Battlestar Galactica- 1st 4 episodes (spoilers)

(written with the disclaimer that I'm bleeding knackered and really can't tell if this is good writing or not, I just needed to get it off my chest)

I watched the first 4 episodes last night. On the whole it’s still good and still gripping. Episodes 1 and 2 were great, episode 3 I really didn’t like and episode 4 had a lot of flashbacks which were shot in that really bright light which makes everyone’s skin look really really smooth. A peculiarly American thing I think, or is that just cos I only watch (old) American (sci fi) shows? With no TV licence and a distinct aversion to learning how to download stuff I stick with watching only a few old shows.

Anyway, episode 3. I really did not like this. I do not like my TV shows
preaching at me
patronising me
moralising at me.

I watch TV shows to be entertained, I do not want some lesson in real life problems from them. If I want to be made to think and emote I will read a book or visit the internet, or watch the news. TV is my escapism and I dislike heavy political subjects intruding into it. With that in mind I was never going to be keen on this episode.

I heartily disliked the discussions concerning
Terrorism vs Freedom Fighters. I hate the phrase ‘we do not negotiate with terrorists’ – it’s overused and it’s too close to real life. No one came to a conclusion and it wasn’t looked at in any depth.
Whether it is prison that makes a man bad or whether he chooses to act that way. Again, no depth. At any rate, given the circumstances of the show it doesn’t bleeding matter. Just shoot the cunt.
And of course there was a lovely rape threat scene. Of course, because how else do you show the extreme evilness of men?

At least the intended victim bit the attackers ear off (good for her). On the other hand, they could have shot it completely differently – when the black lady (I’ve forgotten her name) said to the presidential aide dude that Callie can look after herself because she’s been trained, she could have sounded like she meant it. She could have been relaxed and less panicky. Callie could have been less scared and more in control. Then again, I guess that’s not in Callie’s nature, she’s a bit of a nervous one, very much like Kaylee in Firefly. It’s in Starbuck’s nature (who, if we’re going to be doing comparisons, is I guess more like Zoe from Firefly), but that’s why on these shows a character like Starbuck will never be abducted like this. Because apparently rape only ever happens to ‘weak’ women. Because apparently it will always be a threat and we have to constantly watch out for ourselves wherever we go.

I know BSG is very much about real people who haven’t changed that much between now and the year it’s set, so I’m not asking for some utopian ideal of society, I’m just asking if maybe for once we could leave the rape threats out please? There’s enough to contend with in real life, which may be why I’m taking this to heart so much.

But mostly, I disliked this episode because it brought nothing new the the 3 debates. It was lazy writing, reliant on cliches and I was expecting more. So far the show has been layered and has depth, it's been intelligent. They could have taken the stance that actually, there's a few precious people being held hostage, so we will negotiate. That would have allowed them to examine the morality and possible ways forward. The again I guess in a post 9/11 America being seen to even consider to kow tow to terrorists is an absolute no no isn't it?

Unfortunately this attitude led to a stifled, boring, trope filled plot by numbers episode that really wasn't very bright. Except for the last bit, which was...

...The exchange between Apollo and the President about the legality of her tenure and the promise of an election. That was ace. It was looked at in depth, it held arguments and counter arguments, it was an actual discussion and it contributed something to the make up of the show. It solidified the characters and add extra nuance. And it is fresh and new – how many other (sci fi) shows debate shit like this? The other 3 things that I’ve mentioned had none of that; they’ve all been overdone and overused.

The other plus point is Starbuck – is her real name Kara? If it is that’s fucking sweet. I heart Starbuck in a big way: cigar smoking, top pilot piloting, best (human) sniper in the universe, confident, butch wonder. Love love love her.

And another thing..

Novelisations of movies

In particular the Hellboy book.


Someone wrote a book of a film of a book?


First thoughts on GA/BC

Ok so I only skimmed the back up story but WTF? A BC back up that is all about Cupid?

WTF? Oh man am I pissed off.

Maybe it will be better upon reading. The main story was pretty good, aside from a few niggling frustrations about the deaf stuff. More to come later.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Phil Jimenez signing in London 17th July

At Orbital Comics (a mighty fine store) at Newport Street.
Amazingly, I'm passing through London anyway that day, so am considering going. I'll have to book Friday afternoon off work (shouldn't be a problem, I'm owed sooo much time at the moment) and change my train ticket, which means paying out more money, which may be more of a problem.

However, I'm very tempted because it's bloody rare that anyone I know and like comes anywhere near me. And I quite like the Wondy trade by Jimenez, (Paradise Lost).

If anyone wants more info on the event Orbital comics has a facebook group. In which they say artists are usually happy to do sketches. So me now = tres excited.

Is there usually opportunity to ask questions at these things? If I do go what questions should I ask?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Part 3:The batch of stuff that is 3 (?) weeks old

Because I've been so busy I'm a little delayed in posting up reviews, bear with me I'll get through them all slowly. Please excuse any typos or grammatical irregularities, I'm bloody bushed.

Action Comics annual #12

All backstory for Nightwing and Flamebird. Theirs is a love that stretches across time and space. It must be all the weddings I’m going to but I’m a sucker for this stuff. There is mention of Kryptonian religion and some pretty nice art of the mythical Flamebird. We get to see Ursa’s role in Thara’s folks’ death and the early years of Chris Kent.
I liked it.

Power Girl #2
OK I get it, they’re writing about bodies and how we view them (within the story) and therefore creating a discussion about how we (the readers) view Peej's body. How topical.
Or am I reading too much into because I'm feeling gnarly, cos the comic was ok and the art was lovely?
I preferred Liberty Belle as Jesse Quick. Just can't get enough of those Flashes. Amanda Connor draws a lovely Liberty Belle, she looks mature and adult.
I enjoyed Monkey Man's origin story. I rather like Satanna.

Green Arrow/Black Canary 21
Dear God these covers are awful. The detailing in the hair and skin is quite nice but then they go and ruin it with drawing the clothes on with what looks like a marker pen. Yeuch.

I have decided I like the art inside. Dinah looks great - she has personality in her face and looks adult, in her late 30s. For a story where everyone goes deaf, it wasn't all I'd hoped for. The depiction of widespread panic was interesting (anyone read Jose Saramago's book Blindness? I wholeheartedly recommend it)m but I'd have liked to see more actual Deafness in it if you see what I mean. I understand that America is pretty advanced when it comes to being Deaf aware, so I would have thought that maybe Ollie would have known some sign, he strikes me as that sort of guy.

Politics aside, I'm getting to like Cupid. She's so exuberant. The Ollie/Cupid scenes were pretty funny. Dinah gets to initiate the activities that will save the day, which is a nice turn up for this book. We get to see more of her back history and so the book does live up to it's name for once - being a joint story about GA an BC. So it looks like Dinah has been blown up at the end, I say yeah right, she'll get herself out of this fix, no probs. I just don't know how yet.

I'd also like to know why Wildcat is talking the young Di, I'd best tune in for the next issue.

Superman/Batman 61
The art is *so* damn pretty in this. I was surprised to see Zatanna crushing on Bruce, is this a widely known fact? Now it seems that the villain has an inkling of Supes' and Bats' real identities. Ooo err missus.

Batman 687
Bought on the basis of another blogger's reviews. It was OK. Alfred's scenes were quite touching, Dick's hair is very pretty and moody, Clark and Diana are rather dumb, Damian is brattish and Dick will have his hands full with that young fella. A good (and cheaper) summary of the Battle for the Cowl. Apart from why Tim can't be Robin.

Supergirl 42
Kara tells Lois that she killed her sister, Kara shows that she's still an immature teenager with little empathy for others. But that's fine, she is only 17 after all and it makes sense for her to still have rage in her, considering the early parts of this book. Poor Lois.
I liked Kara's outfit - bang on current teenager trend. Kara asks for Lana to call her Linda, which is good and talks about her cat, which is even better.

Not the best issue but I rather enjoyed it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Part 2 Or, the second hand stuff I bought off ebay (mostly)

Final Crisis: legion of 3 worlds #1
Well, reading this suddenly made #s 2 and 3 make more sense. It probably helps that I was reading a lot of Superboy Prime’s other appearances at the time. Either way, a good start to the mini and it even made me like the Legion a bit more.

Impulse #30 and 31
Oh humour how I have missed you. I had hoped one of these comics would be the silent issue I was asking about the other week, but as it turned out that is actually a Young Justice one I didn’t really have much luck.
Still, really good comics, as you’d expect. In number 30 everyone loses their faith in something, leading to lots of folks hugging the ground as they’ve lost their faith in gravity and fear being sucked into space. Haw.
#31 features lots of Max Mercury (hurrah!), as he’s been captured by Morlo and the dude Max stole his wife from. Bart is meanwhile running around like a mad thing trying to work out where Max is. It’s good and I approve and think everyone should seek out copies of Impulse. After I’ve got mine so that you don’t price me out of buying the issues.

Doom Patrol: Magic Bus trade paperback
Written by Grant Morrison this is surreal and anarchic, of course. I enjoyed all of it apart from the Fantastic 4 spoof which was shit and reminded me why I don’t read Marvel. I hate dialogue written in accents.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A review in 4 parts: part one, manga

An assortment of girls stuff, yaoi and horror.

Strawberry Marshmallow by Barasui
The boyfriend asked me to read this as he thought some of it might be a bit dodgy and he wanted my opinion. Well I read it, and although some parts are a bit odd I wouldn’t say it was morally suspect.

It’s a story about 4 teenage girls, one aged 16, the rest are between 11 and 12, who are all good friends. The odd thing is why a 16 yr old is friends with 11 and 12 year olds, and also that the 16yr old is drawn to look much the same as the younger kids. The last point is explained at the back of the book as the author says he can only draw kids.

It doesn’t have a plot as such, just snippets of the girls’ days. It’s fun though, quite humorous and a bit madcap. There is a ferret, and a hat with cat ears and a girl getting dumped in a rubbish bin and unable to get out. I particularly liked the panel where the 16yr old yells at the readers that a 16 year old shouldn’t be smoking.

It reminded me of Azumanga Daoih, which if you haven’t read, you should go read now. Definitely a keeper.

The Moon and Sandals by Fumi Yoshinaga

This is a really lovely and really touching story. It’s yaoi, but not focused on sex, more about a few blokes’ relationships. It’s prettily drawn, the men all look like adults which is good, and it’s just a great story. Not a lot else to say really.

Shinobu Kokoro by Temari Matsumoto and I’ll Be Your Slave by Miki Araya
Both Yaoi and merely ok. Far more sex in these than in The Moon and Sandals. They both have plots, but it’s all very teenage. When you’re just starting to work out who you like and what you like, and start constructing fantasies you’d probably come up with plots such as these.

Shinobu Kokoro is about a ninja who gets seduced by his master, in the guise of teaching said ninja about an undercover assignment which basically involves lots of sex with a bloke. I’ll be Your Slave is set in a modelling agency. The boss finds a new model and sets about doing anything to keep him happy, which turns into sex, and being his slave.
The art is pedestrian, both the younger dudes in each book look very young, which I think is a standard way of drawing yaoi, but it doesn’t do anything for me and at times makes me rather uncomfortable.

Not particularly recommended, but some scenes are good.

The Drifting Classroom by Kazuo Umezu
In the aftermath of an earthquake a whole elementary school vanishes leaving a hole in the ground. This book is mostly set inside the school where the kids and teachers are trying to find out what has happened and work out where they are.

The art is brilliant and the story is creepy. There’s a very real sense of impending doom and despair. Highly recommended.

The Embalmer by Mitsukazu Mihara
It’s about an embalmer, funnily enough. I read this quite a while ago and am having difficulty recalling the details, but I do know that I found it very intriguing. There’s some real humanity in here.
It’s split into several different stories, each about an individual how ends up dying and is then embalmed. It looks at the individual’s character and how this reflects upon their death and it looks at the family left behind.

It’s very very good.

On another note, I am going to a 4th of July party this weekend, so happy celebrations to all you American folks. I may be playing baseball in your honour.