Thursday, December 31, 2009

Living with Cannibals and other women's adventures

Let us usher in the new year with some excitement shall we?  2009 has been pretty dire so lets hope that 2010 is better.  Onwards..

As I write this I am sitting in my living room on Boxing Day, filled with overwhelming yearning for the day when people will make regular space flights, a day when space travel is open to all, in a similar way to bus transport is now open to all.*

Why do I feel like this?  Well, I've just his afternoon read Living with Cannibals (an unfortunate title).  It's a collection of 16 short pieces on women travellers experiences, lives and achievements since 1797.  The particular piece that so interested me was the retrospective on Shannon Lucid's career.  She went to space for 188 days in 1996.

I cannot ever decide if the idea of space travels exhilirates or terrifies me.  I would love to experience zero gravity conditions but sometimes when I look up at the stars I'm crushed and awed by the, well, bigness, of it all.  That's crushed and awed in an 'I'm terrified' sort of way.  But, the sci-fi fan in me thrills at the thought os space travel.  Who wouldn't?

Will we get regular cheap tourist flights in my lifetime?  I'm 29 and imagine being an old lady, ina rocking chair, on the porch (it's a very American image, British houses don't have porches in the same way), looking at  the sky and seeing the shuttles lift off, taking travellers to far flung destinations.

It's a very romantic image.  I'd be too old to travel, of course.  With all this in mind, I put up a poll on 28th December.  If you haven't already voted, go do so.

*Open to all those who don't live in the rural English countryside and expect more than 2 buses a day that is.  I am well aware of this country's public transport problems.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Redness and screams and Christmas and hearts and cracktastic fun

Spoilers ahead for Green Lantern Corps # 43, Supergirl # 48, DCU Holiday Special 2009, Superman/Batman:  Blackest Night # 67, Power Girl #7.
Green Lantern Corps # 43
In the aftermath of Kyle's death Guy really doesn't cope very well.  Natu pleads with Guy not to succumb to the rage, because Kyle wouldn't want it.  Guy replies 'But I do'.  Which is a somewhat unusual way to deal with death isn't it?  At least, it is unusual in cultural depictions.  In real life, the (thankfully) few funerals I've been to there is always the emphasis on what the deceased wants for the living, both immediately and for the future months.  Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, the fact is the living are left behind and they are the  ones hurting.  I'm not one to live your life according to the how the dead would prefer.  Honour them, yes, but I can see why Guy reacted he way he did and I think it's perfectly legitimate.

Aside from that, there are plenty of other good moments in this book.  If you are in any way interested in Guy Gardener I recommend you pick this issue up.

Supergirl # 48
At last, a Kara centric issue.  Some have described this story as rushed and a bit forced.  I disagree.
We open with Kara bawling Lana out for not telling her about illness - she goes through self righteous anger, disbelief and fear.  Kara is then called away to meet with Inspector Henderson.  We get exposition regarding the Silver Banshee and her curse and then we get the cofnrontation.  Silver Banshee arrives to reclaim one of the lost treasures that will restore her humanity, and through a series of twists and turns Kara is transformed into a second Silver Banshee.  My guess is she has manifested as a sister of the original Banshee.    She has a subtly different costume to the original Silver Banshee and it looks great.

I should mention I am a big fan of the Banshee and her outfit.  When she's cropped up in previous Supergirl issues I've loved it.  Sty35st5ca33, (or stylistically, if you don't have your num lock on), I think the contrasting colours between the Banshee and Supergirl's outfit work really well in any panel or piece of art.

As for the issue, I adored it.  As mentioned above it has been a long time since we had an actual Kara story and not a crossover.  Add to that the good art and some interesting layout, and this is a winner.

DCU Holiday Special 2009
Overall, this was pretty weak.
Batman has very good boots.
The Wally west story was fun.
The Doom Patrol art was good (pity about the story)
The Deadman story was moving - but only because I'm a schmuck.
I should have liked the Huntress story more, but it was a bit dull.

Everything else was utterly forgettable.

Superman/Batman: Blackest Night # 67
Crap.  Solomon Grundy, Man-Bat and Bizzaro are possible my least favourite characters.
I did discover that Man-Bat became so due to an experiment - he was trying to develop a cure for deafness but it somehow backfired.  I suppose this could be read as a just punishment but on the whole this angered me.  It ties into cultural assumptions that to be deaf is to be incomplete, not whole and that deafness is similiar to a disease that needs curing.  Man-Bat was created in 1970 (according to Wikipedia, so it could be wrong), but this view is still prevalent today.  It's part of the medical model, wherein able bodies are to be aspired to and all other types of bodies are wrong and something to be fixed.

Ddeaf people don't need your pity.  To be Ddeaf is not to be automatically deserving of pity.  I know there are Ddeaf folks who would prefer to be hearing, there are also Deaf folks who are proud to be Deaf and wouldn't want to be hearing.  To eradicate deafness would be to eradicate all the sign languages of the world and to eradicate Deaf culture, which, incidentally is very different to hearing culture.

Recently the disability activist movement has sprung up, should you be interested in learning more about this topic may I recommend FWDforward - standing for feminists with disabilites forward.  It is a new site, launched in October 2009 and is updated several times daily.  It has become an excellent resource for disability information and views.

Power Girl #7
Well, wasn't this just cracktastic?
A villain who speaks in the third person, who has travelled from another galaxy to woo Peej and convince her to bear his children.  All because a contraceptive bomb was dropped on his city rendering all other inhabitants infertile.  He wears thigh high boots, little pants and sort of fluted shoulder pads on his waistcoat.  He is convinced of his desirability and sexiness.  Need I say more?

I associate Amanda Connor so strongly with this title I forget she doesn't write it.  Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti do writing duties, Paul Mount does the colouring, John J Hill letters.  Credit must go to all of them.  This is a great title.  Download a preview here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In memorium

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shien warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
Until we meet again
May Love hold you in the hollow of her hand

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas time and meme time

This Christmas, I have: cooked three heavy dinners, cleared the kitchen three times, received a lot of woollen clothes, read one and a half books since boxing day (Ben Goldacre's Bad Science is highly recommended), watched the Incredibles, worked my way through more of Evil Inc. and been tagged in an end of the decade meme.  The meme goes thusly:

Created by Ami Angelwings the idea is to: "come up with 3 categories and who you think wins that category! Be creative!"
Categories can be anything, serious like political event of the decade or ridiciulous like worst hair of a world leader, weirdest food trend... etc etc)

And then you tag 3-5 other ppl, who then come up with 3 categories.. and so on.  The main part is to be creative!

Here goes my thoughts:
Tea of the decade:  Rooibosh, or redbush.  Best. Tea. Ever.  If I run out I go into withdrawal.  Sooo goood.

Useful appliance of the decade:  Tweezers.  Without them I'd be going stir crazy.  It turns out that women aren't as naturally hair free as you'd imagine.

Personal discovery of the decade: Learning how varied work can be, and that gosh darn heck, I can actually be good at it.  The thought of the work place when I was 19 was terrifying - the few temp jobs I'd had back then didn't go great and I reckon it's just in the last few years that I've found my feet, my confidence and have realised that I'm capable.

Well, that was an uncreative and me-centric list.  I tag and challenge the following people to come up with more creative stuff:

James Ashelford

And I've put up a new poll, inspired by a book I read on Boxing Day, more info will be posted in a few days.  Meanwhile you've got till the 7th January to cast your vote.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

3 sentence reviews

Of comics a week old..I'm giving myself a little bit of a break from blogging as I need to recharge and think of topics for posts (!).  I will be back in about a week.  Meanwhile, happy holidays everyone!

Spoilers ahead for Red Robin #7, Batgirl #5, Green Arrow/Black Canary #27, Action Comics #19, Adventure Comics: Blackest Night # 5.
Red Robin #7
I'm really liking this addition of Tam Fox, she is really very good.  There's a big spider beasty, Alfred and Lucius Fox having a quiet afternoon cup of tea, and then Ra's Al Ghul is killed!  There's something about this title that keeps drawing me back, even though I when I do read it I feel it isn't really an obvious book for me.

Batgirl #5
Laugh out loud comic of the week with some very clever digs at Damian - one made through the choice of art style and one an off panel gag.  There's also a shock ending which contrasted strongly with the humour of the book.  I'm eagerly anticipating the next issue!

Green Arrow/Black Canary #27
This issue is very much focused on Cupid.  She gets her Dark Arrow and we discover more about her past.  The regular artist is far too fixated on giving Dinah an unzipped costume, but other that that, a cracking issue.

Action Comics #19
When you consider how I was debating whether to drop this title a few months back, I think it has really improved in the last few months.  I won't debate the content, if you're not reading it it won't make sense, if you are you don't need my description.  A solid issue.

Adventure Comics: Blackest Night # 5
I am sick and tired of covers paying tribute to the dead Supergirl crisis cover.  It's lazy, boring and reduces the impact of the original.  Having said that I thought the comic was lots of fun - I like books that break the 4th wall and this had plenty of that.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice everyone!

To those of you living in the Northern hemisphere, today is the shortest day of the year.  As of the 22nd the days start getting longer again.  Thank fuck.  I do not like it getting dark at 4pm.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Band aid - do they know it's christmas

EDIT - In a timely manner I;ve just found out that Rage Against the Machine beat X-Factor's Joe to the number one spot int he UK Christmas chart!  Listen to the song here.

Anyway, back to Band Aid:

Such a ridiculously horrible smug song.  It's written by rich people with fuck all empathy and understanding of anyone different to themselves.  Emphasis is mine.

It's Christmastime
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish sa shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer

Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging
chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

(Here's to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here's to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Feed the world
Feed the world

Feed the world

Let them know it's Christmastime again

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again

Ugh.   Let's see:
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom - really?  only ever doom?
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you - oh that's a lovely sentiment.

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime - Snow doesn't make christmas. We don't get snow in England either.

Where nothing ever grows - what never? never ever ever?
Do they know it's Christmastime at all? - if they're Christian, yes, I expect they do. If they're not Christian I expect they don't care.  However I think the song is asking whether they know it's Christmas as in a period of spending stupid amounts of money, putting up shiny plastic, stuffing yourself silly and generally being smug and self centred.

I've finally got Christmas songs this year.  My sign choir has done a a few performance recently and it turns out I love Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Mistletoe and Wine. Ahem.  But that bloody Band Aid song is horrible.  Grrr.

Apologies for the lack of comics posts recently.  Life has got busy and I don't have time to do lots of interesting things.  If you want comics thoughts head on over to New readers....  The first manga review has gone up, along with other superhero books.  Non superhero titles will be up before Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Battlestar Galactica season 2

[Rape trigger alert]

I watched episodes 9, 10, 11 amd 12.  The ones with Admiral Cain and her fleet of hideous people.
That was uncomfortable viewing wasn't it?  Actually uncomfortable doesn't quite cut it, they were horrible and disturbing.

For those of you that haven't seen it, the protaganists ship finds a second human run ship, who take command due to military protocol.  This new ship has a cylon (enemy robot) on board, as a prisoner, and has been beating, whipping, starving and gang raping her since the start of the conflict.  I say her, because the cylons look and feel exactly like humans, and if you were to do medical tests on them, they would appear to be humans.  They have feelings, morality, can think, reason and interact just as humans do.  They also want to wipe out the human race, which is the premise for the show.

Anyway, Admiral Cain's fleet takes over Commander Adama's fleet  (the good guys), and initially this is fine, because it's how the military works.  Everything's cool.  Then we learn about how Cain's soldiers have treated their prisoner, and we cut to the good guy's cylon prisoner and the chief interrorgator (of the bad guys) is beating her up and starts raping her.  Then a couple of good guys storm in, kill the rapist and attack the other soldiers.

It's a fucking horrible scene and throughout the episodes it is made quite clear that the bad guys do not think that the cylons are human, and they say you cannot rape a machine.  Which is odd, because the way they are talking about her indicates that they know her reactions and they want to cause her pain.  If you cannot rape a machine why do it?

In contrast the good guys also know that the cylons aren't human, and although they give their prisoner no respect, she is fed, given clean clothes and is well cared for.  She is not beaten, or raped, or abused.  She is given looks of disgust and comtempt and isn't accorded any friendliness.  The good guys are quite specific that they think she is other than human, but I don't think they think she is less than human.  Just other, and dangerous, very dangerous.

It's horrible viewing.  But I don't feel that it shouldn't have been done, I don't feel that it is gratuitous, and I don't feel like I do about most rape scenes or tropes.  That says a lot about the quality of the show.
But the gods help you if you have been raped and you watched this, because I imagine it would be very triggering.

Last day to download RATM's Killing In The Name...

Just a quick reminder to the UK folks!  I've just downloaded mine and they are currently only 9000 ahead of the X factor boy.  Make a vote for honest, political music made with integrity why don't you?

Oh and a Welsh rugby player comes out.  Good for you mate, I hope you're happier now, and please ignore the homophobic asshats.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wonder Woman trades review (and UFOs!)

I bought two Wondy trades.  By Gail Simone.  They're rather good.  I knew she'd read better as a whole rather than as seperate monthly issues.

Anyway the two trades are The Circle, Simone's first arc, and Rise of the Olympians, with the Manazons.

In The Circle we get to see the circumstances surrounding Diana's creation, talking clever gorillas and Captain Nazi.  And Etta!!  Although I'd prefer it if she was fatter she does pretty well.  A new Amazonian enemy is brought in and there are flying horses.  The art is great, Diana's not in thong and there's a reasonably good intro by Mercedes Lackey.  I've never read any of her books, but it seems that DC is trying to attract the female market with this trade.  Works for me.  I think this is good enough to be reviewed over on New readers..

Unfortunately I couldn't pick up the next chronological book, so missed some stories between The Circle and Rise of the Olympian, but nevermind.  In this trade the Gods come back - I've no idea where they've been, I can only think their abscence is linked to a Crisis.  They look pretty darn good, design wise.
Wondy gets another enemy and dons her awesome winged battle armour.  There's a giant squid and Ares shows up.

Yes, these books are reccomended.

AND!  UFOs over Moscow!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ares!!! And Rings!

These two things make me one happy fangirl.

Back in August I entered the Action Figure Blues comment of the month contest, and won!  I was very very pleased and I selected the Adama figure, because I had been very much loving Battlestar Galatica, and I'd just watched the end of season 1 when August's prizes were announced.

Anyway, it turned out that release of the Adama figure was delayed..and delayed...and delayed.  So Mike (who sends the figures out) very kindly offered me a replacement, and I selected Ares.

I love it.  He's so, blue!  I'd been wanting to buy him for ages but couldn't quite allow myself.  I was intending this post to be a review, but it may turn into more a gush.

Let's see:

He has accessories!!  A sword AND an axe!  My first figure with accesories!  My first male figure at all actually.   He stands up pretty well too.

Another view:

The armour is quite detailed, and nicely done.  It looks solid, and protective, which is fairly suitable for a God of war.

I'm quite proud of this picture generally, but you guys can look at the brush on his helmet.  It's not flexible or actual brush, but that doesn's matter.

My favourite bits...check out the gloves.  He has skull motifs on them!  How cock rockingly hair metal fantastic is that!  And his knee protectors are also skulls.  (Knee protectors?  Shin pads? What would you call them?)  [EDIT: The boyfriend informs me they are called Greaves.  Not shin pads.  Greaves is from the old French for shin or shin armour.  According to wikipedia.  Don't say I never teach you anything.]

He looks pretty good with my Victoriana Diana too:

She's not taking any shit.

In conclusion I fucking love this figure, he is made of awesome.  Thanks Andy and Mike!

As I forgot to post the picture of my rings when I meant to, I shall include them here:

How cool am I, eh? eh?  Not very.  Anyway, I'm pleased with them. Anyone recognise the comic?  Leave the correct answer in the comments and you get a prize..

And cos this is a photo happy toy related post, I will also include a picture of my Star Wars model thing that the boyfriend got me a year or so ago for Christmas.  I had to put it together and it has a little man inside.  I'm crap at these things and have no patience so was quite pleased when I managed to put the thing together.

Someone once told me I have a creative, arty house.  I don't think arty was the correct word..

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coming out in Comics - Buffy Summers

Except, she isn't really coming out as gay, she's coming out as enjoying sex for sex sake, and not needing a big relationship or feelings behind it.  Have a peek:

Now, the thing about Buffy is that she tends to get awfully emotionally involved with anyone she has sex with.  First there's Angel, but as her first love and first shag we can forgive her that.  Then there's dickwad at college who exists for her to learn that men only want one thing.  Then there's Riley who was so jealous and insecure about her power he went off to himself sucked by a vampire.  Then there's Spike, which could have been guilt free sex had she not been rather messed up about being dead and alone and was using him.

Throughout all this we can comments about slutty women, from Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies, and we get the show positioning women who enjoy sex as 'bad'.  Until maybe season 6 where Buffy realises, with Spike, that sex can be just enjoyable.  So, I reckon that we've seen some character progression from her.

Finally in season 8 Buffy matures enough and is confident enough to realise that sex doesn't have to come with emotional baggage, it can just be sex.  This is a massive leap forward for her.  And she does it with a woman, one of the other slayers, Satsu.  Maybe this was just a cheap shot by the writers and artists.  Some would say it denigrates bisexual women.  I say nay.  Buffy aint bisexual she's just having sex.  So that aint got anything to do with bisexuality, it's just to do with sex.  Now I believe that you can shag someone and not fancy them, and still get something out of it.  Which is what I reckon Buffy was doing.

Later, we see Kennedy giving Satsu a pep talk about how this doesn't mean Buffy's been turned:

Now, ignore the awful art and how that looks nothing like Kennedy.  It's a little odd how the above scenes seem to infer that Kennedy and Satsu are the only lesbians in the slayer group - I don't know, maybe the slayer potential gene only likes hetero folk..

So.  An interesting way to approach this topic.  Which isn't really an end to a post but I seem to have run out of steam.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let me point you somewhere excellent...

Lucy over at Catspaw has written an excellent post dissecting Julie Bindel's transphobia.  Here I shall crosspost the first few paragraphs and then urge you all to go read the rest of it:

Just when I was hoping that Julie Bindel had moved on from being actively transphobic, she's appeared in an, at-best, centre-right magazine called Standpoint (What the heck is a feminist, especially a self-proclaimed radical lesbian feminist, doing cosying up with the right?) with an article entitled "The Operation That Can Ruin Your Life".  Three guesses as to what operation she's referring to and the first two don't count.  I hate being a puppet dancing to strings being pulled by Ms Bindel, but I also can't let this sort of hate pass by uncommented.  I'll mostly be snarking, so fair warning.  I'm skipping large parts of the article because a full fisk would be interminably long.  It's also worth noting that in many ways this article is sort of her "greatest hits" on trans stuff in that she's stitched together material from previous articles she's written.  She even includes the quote about trans people and Grease that she later apologised for, showing just how insincere she can be when apologising.  That said, let's get to her article.

Almost immediately one has to wonder what world Ms Bindel lives in.  Referring to last year's Stonewall awards she says that "I, along with a police escort, walked past a huge demonstration of transsexuals and their supporters, shouting 'Bindel the Bigot'."  This should concern everyone.  In that I mean it should concern everyone that a protest of about 150 people is a huge demonstration in Bindel's eyes, that she remembers a chant that was not chanted, and that she also remembers having a police escort while others don't.  Of course since she also refers to the demonstrators as a "powerful lobby" who have been "hounding [her] for "five years", the real point here is to establish that: a) trans people are possibly dangerous, b) there are a lot of trans people, c) trans people are not activists trying to assert their rights (as feminists might be described) but are like industry lobbyists, and d) trans people are personally out to get her.  Notice how this is reinforced at the end of the same paragraph: "I now find that a number of organisations are too frightened to ask me to speak at public events for fear of protests by transsexual lobbyists."  Trans people are boogeypeople that scare people away from Bindel with their lobbying, ehr, protests.

"Feminists tend to be critical of traditional gender roles because they benefit men and oppress women."  Yes, yes, we do.  I couldn't agree with you more, Ms Bindel.  Glad we could find common ground.  Of course, then she completely rips that ground away by immediately following up by saying that "[t]ranssexualism, by its nature, promotes the idea that it is 'natural' for boys to play with guns and girls to play with Barbie dolls."  By talking about the "nature" of transsexualism (as though it somehow exists independent of actual transsexual people) and what is "natural", Bindel is trying to hit us over the head with the usual "You naive fools, you don't understand it's all socially constructed!" thing.  Just in case we were unclear on that she goes further with: "The idea that gender roles are biologically determined rather than socially constructed is the antithesis of feminism."  Again, I couldn't agree with her more since I am a feminist.  Gender roles are socially constructed.  How could they not be?  Of course the problem is that as a feminist and a transsexual woman, I see a difference between gender identity, gender expression, and gender roles.  For Bindel, like other radical feminists, gender identity, if it even exists, is the result of the imposition of gender roles as is gender expression.

Please go read the remainder of the post, and the comments.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Zombie zombie zombie zombie! (revenant?) (and rings!)

Blackest Night reviews.  Spoilers ahead for Teen Titans #77, JLA #39, Blackest Night: The Flash #1, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1, Green Lantern #48 and Blackest Night #5.
Teen Titans #77
Let's be honest, this didn't really advance the Blackest Night story any.  However, as it was all centred around my beloved Rose Wilson, I rather enjoyed it.  It definitely advanced her and Slade's story.  The start of the story is narrated by William Randolph Wintergreen, an excellent character who I am very glad to see back, even in a Black Lantern guise.  We are told about Slade's early and married life, how he hurts everyone he is close to, and we see Rose catching up with him ready to exact revenge.  She doesn't initially believe him about the Black Lanterns, and then her dead brother Grant turns up.  Grant starts burning Slade and Rose decides she should probably save her father.  Wade (who I can't quite recall as a living character) and Wintergreen also arrive.  The issue ends with Rose throwing Grant into the fire and Joey (Jericho), her brother emerging, but not as a Black Lantern.  I got pretty confused with what has been happening to Jericho months ago, so I have no idea what the explanation for his re-appearence will be.

Joe Bennett did the pencils and he draws Rose very well.  She becomes athletic and he doesn't make her breasts massive.  She is lean and solid muscle and so her breasts are drawn correspondingly smallish.  She's not drawn cheesecake sexy, she's drawn like a fighter.  If you find that sexy, so be it, but sexy isn't the first thing on the penciller's mind.  Full praise to Bennett!  According to Wikipedia he's also done Buffy, Birds of Prey, Hawkman, 52, Terror Titans and Teen Titans.  Shows how much I notice.  His art page is here.  He does commissions!

All in all a great issue.

JLA #39
Bought to get the ring (photos below).  An ok issue.  Wobbly Plastic Man, Dr Light vs Dr Light, Zatanna vs Zatarra, crappy art but no mention of the word rape.  Evil Dr Light does lick Firestorm’s Girlfriend’s salty head though.  This will be fine to re-read but isn’t a world changer.

Green Lantern #48
Oooh oooh ooh we like this!  It's Larfleezetastic!  And the 7 colours unite together together!  I love it when folks who don't really like each other have to band together to fight the big unstoppable evil.  And in comics it's just so damn colourful!!

Blackest Night #5
Oooh we like this too!  6 spine tingly (if you are a sucker like me) oaths and a confused Larfleeze.  Wally!Flash sports his new costume, so it's a good thing Flash Rebirth #6 came out on time, eh?  The living Lanterns plan to destroy the black battery doesn't go quite as expected, Donna's infection gets worse, Bruce Wayne comes back (briefly), and those heroes that have come back from the dead are turned into Black Lanterns.  So, to recap, thats:
Animal Man
Wonder Woman
Kid Flash (Bart)
Green Arrow
Donna Troy
And Superman

Black rings are chasing Hal Jordan and Barry Allen.

The DCU is fucked.

Blackest Night: The Flash #1
Heh heh heh, this is a reverse cover of Rebirth number 1.  The art is by the same guy who did Rogues Revenge, excellent!  I think this wil be a cracking read.

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1
Diana versus Max Lord, with a cemetary full of dead soldiers in the way.  Diana is full of love.  As for Flash, I have hopes for this series.

And now, the rings!

EDIT - shit, just noticed I didn't post the picture....oh well that will be another post then!

Da da da daaaaaaaaaaaa!

Who hopes they'll release a white one when this is over?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Robots and swords and batgirls, oh my..

Onto the back issue edition...Spoilers ahead for Hawkgirl #62, The Hedge Night: Sworn Sword #4 and Batgirl #4.
Hawkgirl #62
A wee while ago I was reading the Hawkgirl series and I remember particularly enjoying this issue, with the giant robot Hawkgirl.  The story is that an old Apokolisian weapon has been reactivated on earth and has used Kendra Saunders as a template, creating itself in image of her.  The female furies are also on earth at this point so they band together with Kendra to stop the weapon.
It turns out that this issue is a pile of crap.  It is poorly written (like the rest of this run) and exploitative in regards to the furies' costumes.  Even the existence of robot Kendra cannot save it.

The Hedge Night: Sworn Sword #4
Based on a George R R Martin novella, which is in turn set amongst the Song of Ice and Fire series (if you like fantasy you *must* read this series), I was a bit dubious about the quality of this comic.  It turns out my worries were unfounded, as this is actually a very good read.

Ser Duncan the Tall and Egg are in character in line with the novella and the political set up of the land slots in well with what I know of the books.  A fine accompaniment  to the books.  Taking a further look at the creator credits, I see that is because Martin wrote the comic.  Definitely reccomended.

Batgirl #4
I opted to purchase this after seeing several scans on the internets. I do like Steph, a lot.  I'm not sure I've really got much to add to the masses of reviews already circulating on the internet.  We see Steph getting credit and acclaim from a little girl on a bus, Wendy of the Wonder twins fame dealing with her paralysis and bereavement and beign comforted by Babs, and a Steph vs Livewire fight.  It's good.  I was going to start picking this up from issue 6, but I see that issue 6 is the second of a two parter.  Sigh.  Another ones gets added to the pull list then.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In honour of Guy's impending rage

Here is the magnificent alternate cover from Warriors /29:

So simple, yet so elegant.

Here is a majestic depiction of Ice, in ice, in her parents palace:

She looks so disdainful.  Not in character at all.  I quite like it though.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What, no crying?

And so begins my catch up comic reviews.  To make this manegable I shall split them into 4 areas: Superman/Batman themed, back issues, Blackest Night issues and finally Wonder Woman trades (yep, I bought some Simone books).  And there'll be a post gushing about my super cool awesome new Ares action figure (complete with skull motifs!!)
Anyway, spoilers ahead for Cry for Justice #5, World's Finest #2, Superman: World of New Krypton #10 and Gotham City Sirens #6.
Cry for Justice #5
 No tears to be shed, none at all.  The shame.  The writing is somewhat improved from previous issues, however Batwoman's dialogue is oddly stiff.  I get the impression Robinson was going for a noirish feeling, but something is not quite right.  On the other hand, the art is far less static than in previous issues and it is a joy to watch Batwoman operate.
Speaking of the art, I found the bikini scenes gratuitous and uneccessary.  Zatanna's leotard is cut far too high to be comfortable and Kara's top should be riding up.  The only way it wouldn't ride up is if she never moved her upper body or if it was made baggier.  However Batwoman is drawn fairly sensibly and the men have knob bulges, which is a very unusual.  Why Red Tornado gets the biggest bulge when he's an android I have no idea.

Edit: On this subject, what bothers me about the art is he has a fairly realistic style, but this doesn't translate through to the women's clothes.  Alex Ross also goes for realism but I can believe that his Dinah is held in by the basque/leotard she wears.  I cannot believe that Vixen's breasts, as drawn in Cry for Justice, can stay in her top.

Back to the plot and Oliver Queen is treating Dinah like dirt - in an earlier issue where he and Hal Jordan were acting like frat boys it was amusing, but this is going further and he is being a vile person.  Then Red Arrow, Ollie's adopted son, arrives with his right arm torn off at the elbow.  Gruesome scene, but oh my, this artist can paint.  The last page shows Congorilla and Flash defeated on the floor, with Kara and Freddie facing off against each other.  Kara is mad as hell with glowing red eyes and looks utterly dangerous.

There is a good discussion of the various red herrings/art problems going on with this issue over at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary, so I won't delve into them here.

My final area of dissatisfaction with this issue concerns the cover.  Although beautiful, it is a lie.  Harrumph.

World's Finest #2
I was initially put off by the cartoony art, but as I read the issue I think that actually it fits the story rather well, mostly due to Damian.  I find Damian to be something of a comedy extra anyway, so buggy eyes and overlarge heads suit his character.  I also enjoyed the panel where Damian is leaping off a roof and gliding downwards - it very much reminded me of one of the Batman and Robin (new series) covers.

Sidenote - whilst (unsuccessfully) searching for that cover I came across this.  Pretty cute huh?  They'd probably make a terrible pairing but I do like the image.

The final page reveals the Toyman building a giant Superman/Batman robot.  Now, I like me a giant robot as much as the next fun lovin' sci fi fangirl, but we've seen this before in the Superman/Batman storyline.  In this book, a Japanese teenage boy genius built a ver-ry similar giant robot to deflect and destroy the big kryptonite asteroid hurtling towards earth.  The robot was then manned by Captain Atom (I believe), who purportedly died in the robot.  The asteroid contained our beloved Supergirl, mark 2.  With this in mind, I hope this mini addresses the similarities.  Preferably in the next issue, with Kara and Steph!Batgirl.

Overall this is a good fun issue.  I've completely forgotten how it ties in to issue 1, but when it's this fun, I don't care.
Ouch. That last sentence is very bad writing.  My apologies everyone.

Superman: World of New Krypton #10
This title is still coming up roses for me.  Adam is a very good choice of guest star as we can experience surprise and frustration through Adam's interactions with the Kryptonians, particulalry regarding their lack of knowledge about basic CSI techniques.
The art's great, the story is great, the plots are coming together and I'm really interested to see how it will all end.

Gotham City Sirens #6
Wow, that's a boobilicious cover.  Still, this book isn't meant to be high literature, it is fluff and is intended to partly focus on sex.

Harley gets to shine in this issue, outwitting the villain, Mr Gagsworthy, an old silver age character that was around in the Joker's early career.  More retconning takes place and we find out Gagsworthy used to work in the same circus as the Flying Graysons and was there when the elder Grayson were murdered.  The background was quite useful to me, as I'm not familiar with these old stories.

Selina and Ivy get a few panels to themselves and prove to be engaging characters with sharp wit.

Still a good book, still well worth buying.

PLUG: Reviews for Wonder Woman - the Hikieteia, Batman: the Bat and the Cat and Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade are now up at New readers...start here!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I have a new comics review site!

It's located here, is called 'New readers..start here!' and is designed with...well i'll just cross post from the first welcome post:

Welcome everybody, to this new project with the lofty aim of recommending comics to people who have never read one before, or who haven't read one for a long time.

We will cover superheroes, manga, alternative and web comics.  We will not recommend anything where it is necessary to know decades of continuity.  We will only recommend books that are available in a trade (collecting 6 to 8 of the monthly magazines) format so that you can get them from regular bookshops.  We are keen on people using their local comic book shop but understand that they can be somewhat intimidating if you've never been in one before.  To aid this, there will be a list of recommended local comic book shops made available.

We will aim to avoid comics with sexist, racist, homophobic or ableist overtones or intent.  If there is some background to the comic, the writer or the art team that could contradict this policy, the issue will be mentioned and discussed within the review.

The contributors are Saranga and James Ashelford.  For more information on either of them please visit their fun and lively blogs for the latest thoughts of the day.

For further information on what this site is trying to achieve please read this intro post and look at the Aims, objectives and information box located at the top right of the site.

The first book to be reviewed will be about Wonder Woman and we will be also be covering books that would make great Christmas presents, so be sure to Follow us or stop by at a later date to see what else has been posted.

I hope you enjoy, please leave comments on the posts and let us know your opinions!

Please go and have a look, especially if some of you haven't read a comic before and are interested in them - the first review is up now and concerns a Wonder Woman book - and if you consider it to be useful, please publicise the site to your networks!

Rage against the machine for Christmas no.1! UK readers take note!

I interrupt my usual comics posts to bring you a highly exciting bit of news:

From the facebook group:



this year the Christmas No.1 will be announced on Sunday 20th December

Which means...
ONLY buy the track from 7Digital / iTunes / between these dates:

SUNDAY 13/12 from 00:01am -to- SATURDAY 19/12 at 11:59pm

ATTENTION TWITTERERS: The trending topic for this is #ratm4xmas

Copy and paste this post into your Tweets:

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE FOR XMAS No.1 #ratm4xmas See here for details PLEASE RT


Who's up for doing this?  I'm personally sick of our usual inane top ten crap and I would love to get Rage to the number one spot for Christmas.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'm baaack..with some Homemade comic themed stuff

Not made by me, I hasten to add.  Anyway I got back from my week away and have now caught up on the DID all write interesting stuff while I was away, rock on!  Now before I get round to writing up new posts, have an old one.  here:

On the weekend (well, now about 4 weeks ago but still), I was browsing round one of my fine city's many art and crafty type indoor markets on and I came across something rather special.  It's a clock, about 3 and half foot high, made entirely out of recycled materials and covered with cuttings from DC comics.


 If you look closely you cab see Ice, Maxima, Wonder Woman, Power Girl, Green Lantern, Fire, Elongated Man  and Dr Light (the good one).  This makes me think the cuttings all came from 80s/90s era JLI/JLE/JLA books.

At 65 pounds and with Christmas coming up I couldn't afford to buy it, but I do think it is immensely cool.  Particularly as I could never bring myself to cut up comics that way!  I also doubt that the boyfriend would want such a thing in the house.

The lady who made it also had tables and chests covered with comic cuttings.  All themed, so there was a Beano one, a Marvel one, a Batman one etc.

I then submitted photos to The Aquaman Shrine as the clock does feature our favoutire Atlantean, and the pictures have been accepted, posted here, and has made me a F.O.A.M. member.  See my lovely shiny certificate:

Anyway, I think the clock is pretty cool.

Ok I admit it, I emailed the pics in partly to see if I could be accepted to FOAM status.  Such a fangirl.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oh my poor head

Last day of work yesterday, drank a lot of red wine, off to visit the family for the weekend and then start my new job next week.  Still got to pack as i'll be away from home for a week, still got to do some last minute shopping.  Won't have much internet access so my emails will be through the roof in a week, and I'll have a lot to catch up blogwise.  Write me lots of interesting things everybody!

And to give you something more interesting and on topic to read about, the government yesterday released their strategy on domestic and sexual violence.  In 2 years time, if all goes well, kids will be taught at school that it's wrong to abuse partners and family members.  Read about it here and here.

Wikileaks has published all the pager messages sent within America on 9/11.  Read about it here.  Or if you're American you may want to enjoy Thanksgiving first, and then read it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Flash: Rebirth (spoilers)

I tell you what, this series makes a whole lot more sense and is much more enjoyable when read in one go.

I’ve never been a Barry fan, I didn’t know too much about him until recently and in my head he was an old fashioned 1D character that represented the old guard with all their stuffy ideas and out of date thoughts.  Not that I knew who this old guard is, but in my head, there is one.

Then I picked up Rebirth, and for the first two or three issues I still didn’t care for Barry.  He seemed self involved, moody, ungrateful and with no awareness of anyone else’s feelings.  Then we found out that these weren’t actually Barry’s thoughts, he had become infected with the Reverse Flash’s peculiar version of the speed force.  A-ha, all of a sudden Barry became more likeable, more heroic.  I began to see what all these old Flash fans were harping on about.

Then he brings Max out of the speed force.  And at this point I wouldn’t have cared what the rest of the mini was like, they’ve just reunited Bart and Max and I couldn’t be happier. 

Then finally, in issue number 5 we get a new speedster.  We get little Iris West taking responsibility for her brother’s pain and taking steps to end it.  She’s all of 8 years old?  6?  She shows greater maturity than a lot of adults in this universe.  As a result, she passes out and Jesse Quick arrives.  Jesse, newly rejuvenated and part of the speed force once more.  She brings Irey West back to us and it becomes clear that Irey is the new speedster.  With little lightening grips in her hair.

Then, as if that wasn’t good enough, when all the speedsters are racing along in formation (for anyone else this would be a Bad Ass Power Walk, but as they’re speedsters, they are running for the sheer joy of it), Wally uses the speed force to give everyone new uniforms.

Jesse Quick gets some new threads.  Wally gets a shiny, darker, more modern version of the Flash uniform.  And little Iris is in Bart’s old gear.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have another Impulse!  And Bart doesn’t look non too happy about it.

Thank you DC.  You’ve made me one very happy fangirl.



(Although why is Linda Parks drawn more Caucasian than Asian?  Is it just me?  Have I forgotten what Asian people look like?)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Poll results!

8 votes received and thanks to all who took part!
The question was Which team should Supergirl join? and the results were:
1 for the Teen Titans
1 for the JSA
3 for the Birds of Prey
3 for her to stay solo

I think the Teen Titans are the obvious choice for her, and I would love to see Kara interact with Bombshell and Aquagirl.  Bombshell doesn't take kindly to anyone much, and I think she'd view Kara as a peppy cheerleader type and hate her on sight.  Plus Kara and Cassie are friends so that would probably set them apart before they'd even met.
As for Aquagirl, I just don't think she'd like Kara.  I think she'd view her as immature, inexperienced and a liability for the team.  We all know that Kara has moved on a lot since her stroppy days, but I don't think Aquagirl would acknowledge her newfoudn (semi) maturity, at least not at first.

I don't read the JSA, but I'm guessing that the person voting for this team was going for the mentoring young heroes aspects of it.  If I'm wrong, tell me in the comments.  I'm not convinced this is the right team for Kara, but as I said I don't read the title.  I wonder how Kara gets on with Power Girl now?  I reckon if Kara met Terra Kara would be very surprised by Terra's naeivty and would gently tease her and wind her up.  Peej probably wouldn't approve of this.

As for the BoP choice, well Kara would be ace in the Birds of Prey!  With Babs leading, Dinah as second in command, Helena, Zinda, Misfit, Steph and Kara all working together, we'd be for a fabulous book.  If anyone important at DC is reading this, (which I highly doubt, but if you are, Hi! Stay awhile!), please reform the Birds and put Kara in with them....pretty please.

As for the none choice, you're all spoilsports :p  Seriously, I think Kara would be good on a team.  She'd be fun to write and interact with.

I'm glad no one said JLA (I'm guessing this is partly to do with the new JLA team and the Cry for Justice fiasco), and the Outsiders (bunch of boring D listers).

Kara *could* work well on the Titans - it would reflect her powerhouse status and give her more respect and status than being on the Teen Titans (young people who still have a lot to learn) team.

And compeletly off topic from this, London's Reclaim the Night march happened on Saturday and a female marcher was sexually assaulted whilst on the march.  How full of hate do you have to be to do that?  I went on last year's march and nothing like that happened, but then again it was the first march in a reaally long time.  I guess this time around more foks were prepared for it.

In betetr news, you can view pictures of the march and a short write up here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Comic reviews – week of 20th Nov 2009

I’m in something of a peculiar position this week.  I bought 6 comics, and have no desire to review any of them.  All but two were Blackest Night related, and overall, not particularly good.

Superman/Batman # 66 is a BN tie in, and by bringing it into current continuity it immediately lost it’s charm.  In addition to this, it centred on Man-Bat, Solomon Grundy and Bizzaro.  3 characters I loathe. Too bad we’ve got another issue of it.  The Outsiders #24 is also a BN tie in, and was utter crap.  D list characters I have no feelings for and a dull story.  But at least I got a ring.  REBELS #10 was interesting, but I haven’t been convinced into buying any more issues.  Again, I bought this to get a ring.  The last BN tie in is Adventure Comics #4, and at last!  A worthwhile issue!  It centres on Superboy Prime being his usual bratty self, back on earth prime, and is fun!  Alexander Luthor returns as a Black Lantern and breaks through the space-time barriers to torment and kill Superboy Prime, bringing a few other Black Lanterns with him.  I wonder how the regular folks of this earth, essentially our real world earth, will react?  Will they think it’s a reality TV show with good special effects?  Will they think it’s a film?  Will they run in fear?  Will they ignore it all?  What would you do?

As for the non BN ones, Supergirl # 47, the one with the Hamlet cover, was a good read and all, I just miss reading about Kara.  The last Kara centric issue was where she developed the Linda Lang identity, but since then it’s been all about New Krypton.  I want to read about Supergirl again.

For all that griping, the very final purchase was spectacular.  It was The Flash: Rebirth #5, and was so good I am going to re-read the mini and then do a special post dedicated to it.

I hope your comic weeks were better than mine.

On the plus side I expanded my ring collection.  This is a picture of what I like to call my tree o' stuff.  It's a candle holder, that isn't very secure for candles and now gets everything hung on it.  There are 6 rings hung there, although the Black one is sort of camouflaged.

The Wonder Woman circle (at the bottom) is made out of felt and was given to me by the lady in my comic shop last January - she made loads of them with varying hero symbols and hung them on their Christmas Tree in the window.  When I asked if she was selling them she made one specially and gave me one!

The rest of the stuff is mostly for my hair, although the lil witch was a Christmas prsent from a friend last year, and looks unannily like me.

Y'know, my tree o'stuff shouldn't be more interesting than my comics.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wonder Woman and Lois

I was re-reading the Wonder Woman trade Paradise Lost a while ago and came across the story at the end where Lois accompanies Diana on one of her day's work.  Lois starts off the day skeptical and uncomfortable because she feels inferior to Diana.  During the day Diana lets slip that she and Clark, (or Kal as Diana refers to him) spent 1000 years in Asgard together.  Here is the scene where this occurs:

I particularly enjoy this because it seems to me such an obvious thing to feature.  Of course Lois is threatened by Diana, she's Wonder Woman!  And of course Diana and Superman have adventures and fights that Lois will never ever be a part of, not in the same way.  There isn't a huge amount of (DC superhero) comics discussing female friendships (it was a hot topic a while ago) so it's really good to see something like this.

At the back fo the trade was also this cover from presumably the same issue:

Done by Adam Hughes and I just love it.  By Clark's expression you just know that Diana and Lois are swapping embarrassing stories and they aren't gonna finish for a really long time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

11th interntional Transgender day of remembrance

Is today.  For those who have been killed for being (or perceived to be) trans.

Memorializing 2009.

Other sites have said it better than me.  May I direct you to:

The F Word



Rebellious Jezebel

Ami Angelwings

Seeking Avalon

Thursday, November 19, 2009


All nicked from FWD/Forward.  Which is a great site that y'all should be reading.

“Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, disabled women, Jewish women, lesbians, old women–as well as white, economically privileged heterosexual women. Anything less than this vision of total freedom is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement.”
–Barbara Smith, “Racism and Women’s Studies,” 1979 (text is available at JSTOR; unfortunately, it’s subscription-only)

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ”
- Paulo Freire, “Pedagogy of freedom: ethics, democracy, and civic courage” (1998).

"Being discriminated against or exploited because one is female may be painful and dehumanizing, but it may not necessarily be as painful, dehumanizing, or threatening as being without food or shelter, as starvation, as being deathly ill but unable to obtain medical care."
- bell hooks, Feminist Theory From Margin to Center

 "Definitions of disability affect people’s self-identity. Recognizing yourself as disabled and identifying with other people who are disabled and learning about their experiences can all contribute to understanding and interpreting your own experiences, and to knowing that you are not alone with problems you may have believed were unique to you. But being identified as disabled also carried a significant stigma in most societies and usually forces the person so identified to deal with stereotypes and unrealistic attitudes and expectations that are projected on to her/him as a member of this stigmatized group."

- Wendell, Susan. The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability. New York: Routledge. 1996. pg 12.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coming out in Comics: Runaways

It's another coming out post.  I have quite a few of these lined up and not a lot of energy to think of other topics.  I'm manically busy at work trying to finish everything before I leave and start my new job.  Arrggh!

Here are some scenes from Runaways where we see that Karolina is gay.

We have seen hints seeded throughout the previous 4 volumes that Karolina may be gay, however the first 2 scans are where she officially comes out.  We see Karolina, an alien, hitting on Nico, a witch:


It is unclear whether Karolina thinks she is a freak because she is gay or because she has just been turned down by Nico.  Note also that Nico is unconcerned as to Karolina's lesbian status.  Then think how this is a book aimed at teenagers and featuring teenagers!

Skip forward a few pages and we have a strange new visitor named Xavin.  He is a super skrull, but a good guy, who is betrothed to Karolina and has come to Earth to find her to arrange the marriage and start working on putting their worlds back together.  This could come off as really creepy and forced, but it doesn't.  Karolina is asked simply to join Xavin and to get to know her fiancee before any sort of romantic relationship is formed.  Before this can happen however, Karolina says she can't mary Xavin because she likes girls.  To which Xavin, as a shapeshifter, simply morphs into a female form:

Note Chase Stein's reaction and Gert's comlete lack of a reaction.  It is very cool that Xavin doesn't give a stuff about the gender s/he presents as, but then as an alien, presenting as human would probably be the main issue.  At any rate we have a gender swapping person added into the mix.  Later volumes look at what it means for Xavin's identity to present as female vs male and human vs skrull.  It is made clear that Xavin wishes to learn how to be human and that she identifies as female first, so she is not a male masquerading as female and therefore tricking Karolina.

Runaways is an awesome set of books.  How I wish I'd has these as a confused teenager!

Scans taken from Runaways Vol 5 Escape to New York.

[And don't forget about my poll!  More than 3 of you must know who Supergirl is and have an opinion, c'mon, make your voice heard!]

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coming out in Comics - ordinary folks of the DCU

Check this out, from GA/BC 24:


So, what we have here, right,  is a couple who just happen to be out on a first date.  They could easily be a hetero couple, there is no big deal made about their lesbianism, there's no politics, there's no message, there's no punishment.  They just happen to be gay.  This is how it should be, in rl and in the media.  Representations of us as normal, as just like the other folks, representations where queerness is not an issue.

I am fully aware of why there has been, and there still needs to be political examinations of sexuality, privilege, et al.  Those kind of depictions did a hell of a lot for me when I was growing up.  they served as role models, they served to show me that you could be gay and proud.  You didn't have to be ashamed.  Course, the irony is that I'm not gay, but I can't think of a single sintance as a teenager where there was any sort of bisexual representation in the media.  Certainly nothing positive, at any rate.  Which probably explains why for years I veered between gay! straight! gay! straight! gay! straight! depending on who I crushed on at the time.  It took years to click that actually I could like both sexes.

Anyway, the more normalised, positive images there are in the media the more non heterosexuality will be accepted and not questioned.  Which is one the reasons why I'm doing this series.

Lastly - I know there's the tired old cliche of girl on girl action, but if you just look a lil deeper there, that's not how the couple is depicted, that's what Cupid is saying.  And y'know, she's tacky, she's a bit ridiculous, we're not meant to agree with or root for her.  She probably thinks she being really friendly and supportive.  We're meant to be laughing at her.  Ahh, Cupid, how I luff you and your endearing craziness!

(Hey! PS! I'm still after reviewers)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Calling all reviewers

An invitation to all comic book reviewers, actual or potential.

I am starting a new review blog intended to focus on books that could be read by people new to comics.  So, focusing on books that can be read as standalone pieces, and those that you don't need to know about the comics continuity to be able to understand and enjoy them.  Just good solid stories that read well.

I want the site and the books reviewed to be accessible to those people who have never read a comic before, or maybe not read one for a long time, and are interested in finding out more but don’t know where to start.

I want it to cover superheroes, manga, alternative and web comics, and to review only those books that are collected in trade format, or available online.

I want it to avoid avoid comics with sexist, racist, homophobic or ableist overtones or intent.  This means no books with Rob Liefield as an artist and nothing like the latest Booster Gold issue (#26), where Lady Vic's trousers mysteriously dissapeared for 3 panels.  I want it to be  as accessible as possible, and I hope that I can branch out into non-English versions.

In order to showcase a diverse range of books and to reflect a wide range of views and opinions I would like to invite people to be reviewers for the site, particularly women, trans people,disabled people, people of colour, UK comics fans and people for whom English is not their first language.  As I mostly read DC comics, I am also keen on Marvel fans and Manga fans getting involved.

If you would like to be involved with this project, (or if you would like to find out more) please can you email me at paicomics [@] and submit an example of your writing, or point me towards your website/blog.  Some indication of where you stand on feminist/race/ablist/trans issues in comics would also be nice, and some idea of what you would consider suitabel for review would also be helpful.

If anyone would like to take on translating duties that would also be great.

I can't pay anyone, this will very much be a labour of love.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wow! I don't think I've ever OMG'ed so much over one book

It's review time.  Spoilers ahead for Green Lantern Corps #42, Booster Gold #26, Action Comics #883, Titans #19, Red Robin #6 and Green Arrow/Black Canary #26.
Green Lantern Corps #42
Oh my starry nights.  I did not expect that.  Pretty much like everyone else I was somewhat stunned.  I then decided to re-read the GLC Blackest Night issues and now the whole thing makes a lot more sense.  GLC is not an ideal book to just pick up and dive into.  But back to #42..
All the threads from issues 39 to 41 have now converged with horrific results.  Dead children attacking the Corps!  Indigo Lantern Munk joining the Green Lanterns to fiht off the dead!  I particularly like that the Indigo Corps are not sappy and friendly to everyone.  They may be the colour of compassion but they have a solid core to them and are quite capable of being angry.
The panel with the children demanding 'Feed us' made me chuckle.
Poor Kilowog - he's taken the reappearence of his mentor and the death of his recruits rather badly.
Soranik's hand was stuck in dead Lantern Jade's head - Kyle blasting her out was a veyr nice bit of team work.
Then, the double page spread of the Black Lanterns descending on the Green Power Battery!  Oh my.  Oh that is a powerful image.  The cropping of the scene, with the black blocks across the top and bottom reinforces the cinematic aspect of the story, and criminy, it does work well.
The Black Lanterns form a dark construct to lift and break into the power battery..a red lantern is released and goes apeshit on the black lanterns..and this is where I got a bit lost.  Not knowing Green Lantern lore all that well I don't understand why an alpha lantern has a power battery inside them.
At any rate, this uber power battery is compromised and is set to explode..and then..oh Kyle!

What a heroic death.  My favourite kind of death.  Some wonderful panels showing the event itself - these artists are really very good - and no qualms or questions from Kyle.  He knows what he's got to do and he does it with a little knowing grin on his face.  I know he'll be back - and that doens't diminish the quality of his death.

Oh Kyle.  I may not know you very well but I am greatly saddened and shocked by your death.

Booster Gold #26
Bought for the return of (Black Lantern) Ted Kord.  I shall get next issue but this won't be put back on my pull list.  It was good readings, and it was nice to see Ted's funeral and to get an insight into Booster's feelings at the time.  I particularly liked Booster calling out the other heroes for their ill treatment of Ted, even if it was only his head.

Ted is (most) excellent as a Black Lantern.  I feel a little aggrieved that there is no Blue Beetle back up this issue though.  I could have done without the JSA All Stars preview.

I didn;t get a ring this week.  Apparently the rings don't hit the UK till next week.  Does DC think we are the ugly ginger stepchild or something?  I didn't pick up REBELS but i'm really hopeful I'll be given an orange and indigo ring next week.

Action Comics #883
I'm very glad I haven't dropped this.  What an uplifting cover.  Chris and Thara's relationship is lovely to behold.  Chris is so damn proud of Thara, well they are both equally proud of each other.  I'm enjoying seeing the little tricks they are using with their powers - Thara 'kissing' the firey being and putting out his flames with ice breath.  I'm relaly enjoying getting to know Chris an Thara.

Back at the Planet, Jimmy Olsen's sort of girlfriend goes looking for him and admits to Perry that she hasn't seen him for ages and is worried.  Am I correct in thinking that Jimmy is siupposedly dead?

This sleeper agent, Jax-Ur, is an interesting one.  I've no idea if we are supposed to know who he is but he's got my attention.

Captain Atom's backup feature was ok.

Titans #19
Bought because the cover intrigued me.  Not a bad read.  Lian is quite adorable - I'm a fan of parent-child relationships in comics.  I don't understand what happened to Lady Vic's trousers.  One page she's fighting Speedy and is clothed, the next page her trews have magically disspeared and she's wearing a thong.  Next page she's dressed again.  WTF?

The teachers at the school are rather rubbish aren't they?  Thankfully Mia arrives to save the day and pick up Lian.  Roy eventually arrives home and starts painting Lian's bedroom, as he promised at the start of the book.

All in all a nice snapshot into Arrow family life but I won't be buying this regularly.

Red Robin #6
I have a feeling that the Red Robin books will read better collected as a trade.  At the moment each issue is a bit slow going.  I am enjoying them , but I am a big Tim Drake fan.  I don't know what the more casual reader would make of this series.  I am intrigued by this Spider faction and I have a feeling that in the long run this will be an aborsbing and engrossing read.
We get some reference to continuity as we learn that the Batman: Blackest Night events took place between RR issues 5 and 6.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #26
Well, that was an odd setup. The back up section came first and we get about 5 pages of Oliver daydreaming he's meeting himself back on the island he was shipwrecked on, then a prompt stating ' Not the end! Turn the page for what goes down next!'
You know, after just 5 or 6 pages of a book that's clearly at least 22 pages long, I hadn't thought I'd got to the end.
The art in this first section is great, with the parts on the island being the best.  The colours really work well in these panels, and really complement the scratchy feel of the pencils.

Back to the main section and the art has changed, but still works.  This time I see it's Renato Guedes doing the pencils, with Jose Wilson Magalhaes.  That would explain why I like it so much!  Guedes is a great penciller.  His gives his characters builds and faces, you can see their personality in their bodies.  He draws Mia very aquiline.  My only complaint is Dinah's costume is unzipped to below her breasts.  Shame on you Guedes.  You did so well at making Supergirl look like a normal humanoid being, without sexualising her, I cannot see why you are involved with this.  On the plus side, her costume does at least cover her arse.

The story itself is fine.  Everyman is somehow back from the dead and he thinks he's Olliver Queen.  Dinah knew, without needing a test, which one is her real husband, which is as it should be.  I'm sure we'll find out in time how Everyman survived Bat's exhaustive autopsy.

DC's editorial said that there would be a Super addition to the Teen Titans.  As much as I expect it will be Superboy I've used it as an excuse to set up a poll (on the right, below the about me box).  Which team do you reckon Kara should join?

Currently listening to: Patti Smith - Gone Again and Morcheeba - Big Calm