Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 33 week scan and a bit after

My 33 week scan went OK.  The baby is growing and blood flow etc is fine.  I agreed to being prescribed antidepressants after the birth as I think it's a good precaution.  They'll take a couple of weeks to kick in, so won't save me from the baby blues that I have been told kick in 3 or 4 days after birth, but they should stop me from giving up after that.  I have requested paroxetine as that seems safest for the baby, if I can breastfeed.  I'm planning to try to breastfeed, but if I can't I won't beat myself up about it (hopefully).  I'll get a carton of formula in just in case.  At least I know I can express colustrum so the baby will be alright for the first few days.

The day after the scan (at 34 weeks exactly) I decided I needed more checks, to keep my anxiety down.  So I booked CTG traces for that day, and more for the following week, with the end result that I have medical appointments (community midwife, growth scan, CTGs) booked for pretty much every day between that 34 week point and when I'm booked in for induction.

My mistake was in not making appointments for the weekend directly after the 34+0 point, because I spent that weekend super anxious.  Saturdays and Sundays have bad associations for me.  So now I'm going in on the remaining two weekend between now and induction, and conveniently enough CTGs on the weekend are done on the ward where I'll be induced.

I ended up having an emergency check at Delivery Suite (it's still vile visiting there) because the baby was moving far too much - increased movements are as concerning as decreased movements.  But at least when they are moving you know they are still alive.  Anyway, the check was a ctg trace and in total I was in there for 2.5 hours, which is pretty quick.

I'm now 35 + 1 and I went to the hospital today and it was pretty horrible walking into a new hospital setting, to a bay to be checked over.  I've never stayed in a hospital bay, but my partner did have a couple week stay a few years ago as he was hit by a car, and it wasn't a pleasant time.   The midwife who did the trace did tell me that for people in our situation they try to put us in a private room, which would be preferable.  However the private rooms may be being used by families in more dire need than us.  We'll see.

Physically, the baby is dropping and jeez I can feel it.  Actually I think the drop started a few weeks ago, I remember a day when I felt really heavy,  Since then I've been getting more groin pain, lower back aches and shoulder blade aches, and it's more difficult to get my legs and hips comfortable at night.  I have woken up with pins and needles in the arm I've been lying on, and it can take a couple of hours for them to stop.  My knee is playing up again.  There's a muscle on the side where it gets swollen and is painful to bend.  I think my foot arches have fallen even more as my feet ache in a new way when I walk.  When I leave the house in the morning, to go 10 minutes to the bus stop, my calves are awfully tight and I can't walk at any speed, it's pathetic.  However I'm not getting cramps at night, thankfully.  This hot weather is a shit because my feet heat up ridiculously, but at least they aren't that swollen. I guess that's all the water I drink and the sandals I'm wearing.

I've finished work now, and that's really helped with the physical stuff and my anxiety.

I can see the baby wriggling away under my belly, it's reassuring.  Even the thumps in the groin and the shifts onto my bladder are reassuring.  I got to show a friend the movements in my belly the other day, and she got to feel the baby too.  I'm glad I could show her.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Let's write up some comics

This week I bought and read this lot:

Black Canary 1
Much more interesting than I thought it would be from the preview.  It doesn't really feel like my Dinah though, but I guess I'm looking for a Dinah in her 30s ready to settle down with Ollie (who to be fair would never be a rock star).  So this version not feeling like her isn't a criticism.  It is a good comic.  The only thing that pulled me out of it was that I don't buy her wearing her Canary outfit  on stage.  If they'd given her shorts or a skirt it would work much better.

Harley/Peej 1
This was a lot more fun than I expected.  I've been underwhelmed by Harley's main series but this was far better.  The two of them work well together. Unfortunately the cover is not Amanda Conner's finest hour.  The inks are rather heavy and it just doesn't flow very well.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman 11
Another bad cover,  Yeeuch.  Badly composed, badly pencilled, badly inked and badly coloured.  Inside is Jamal Igle's pencils which are much better but the inks are a bit too heavy handed.  The colours are OK.  Overall, this lacks the finesse of the Gates/Igle Supergirl work, but that's not Igle's fault.  In the issue Di goes to Africa to try to get two sides of a warring nation to reconcile.  It sounds a bit white saviour-ish doesn't it.  I don't think it comes across that way but I'm willing to listen to other opinions.

Princeless book 4 issue 1
The story is good but I hate the art.  The composition of the panels is good, the actions (and interaction) of the characters are good, but the style of faces, the inks and the colours are horrible.  It won't stop me buying this series, but if you do pick it up please be aware that this art is not indicative of the rest of the series' art!  And on the plus side, we do have killer squirrels:

Battleworld: Thors 1
I think I bought this for horse Thor.  It's OK.  I suspect it's more for Marvel aficionados than me.  It seems like a bit of an industry vanity project, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Battleworld: Runaways 1
The only actual Runaway in this is Molly Hayes.  The rest are mutants, Cloak and Dagger and some other randoms who I expect regular Marvel readers will know.  They are all attending a school to train them as Doom lackeys, or some such.  I tell you what, I do like the premise for Battleworld.  It works far better than Convergence, at least for these two titles.  This was a fun enough comic.  It also queered up Jubilee and Pixie, which was good to see:
Are they gay in the regular 616 universe?

Ms Marvel: Crushed (trade)
This is volume 3 of the current Ms Marvel run.  I really liked it, it's a good young adult comic about teenage crushes and the pitfalls that come with it, with added superpowers.  The only thing I didn't like was the thinly veiled lesson about consent.  It just seemed a bit too obvious to me, but maybe that's because I've been seeing this sort of stuff discussed for years and given where I am at the moment, I really could do with not having these conversations.  Quite frankly, I don't care.  That sounds awful doesn't it.  But I don't.  I'm concentrating on my pregnancy and everything else that requires energy, or passion can piss off.  So, I'm wondering who the teenage audience this is aimed at would take this lesson. If they don't find it too much, then I guess it's a good thing.

Batman: The Ring, The Arrow and The Bat
I've been meaning to get this for about 2 years.  Despite the name, it's a Green Arrow trade, not a Batman book.  The first story is Hal and Ollie meeting for the first time.  Hal is working for the government and doesn't realise he's being used, and Ollie is out for a good vigilante time, until he realises the wrongs being done, and then he gets all angry about it.  It's quite a quick change.  Hal and Ollie argue but end up friends.  Art is by Greg Land, before his porn tracing days.  If you like these two, and you like these trades, then you'll like this story.

The second story is Green Arrow and Batman meeting and working together for the first time.  There is lots of snark and one liners.  The villains in the story are stereotypical/generic Asian bad guys, which makes me wince, and plot development is a bit obvious, but apart from that, it's good fun.

I've also been watching Arrow season 1, and while I'm kinda enjoying it, it's a bit bloody miserable isn't it?  Oliver Queen enjoys life, but Ollie in Arrow doesn't.  Granted, he has just come back from the island and is traumatised, but by all accounts he doesn't get any happier over the seasons.  Le sigh.  I like the flashbacks to the island the best.  He looks and acts more like 'my' Ollie there.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Commissions by Princeless artists

I promised I'd put something up about this weeks ago, so here goes:

Ted Brandt and Rosy Higgins, the artists of the most recent Princeless volume, The Pirate Princess, (and who I interviewed here), are doing commissions.

They came up with this rather excellent way of showing their rates:

I've not seen a graphic quite like that before, and I think it's ace.  Consider asking them for a commission why don't you?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

An alphabet of favourite words

I've been thinking about my favourite words and decided to come up with an alphabet of them.  These are words that I enjoy the sound of and enjoy forming with my mouth, not words that mean something.  My list will probably change from week to week so this is today's ideas.  Here we go:

Effie, Emberella
Imbibe, Intrepid
Sunflower, Susurration

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ten characters from literature

My old podcast mate, @feemcbee for you twitterers, put up a tumblr post listing ten characters from literature she's in love with.  So I decided to do the same.  I came up with six and then got stumped:

Black Canary
Green Arrow
Susan Sto Helit
Young Granny Weatherwax
Wonder Woman

I don't know who else I'd put on there.  Granny and Green Arrow are there because I like cocky bastards. Canary, Susan and Wondy I'm in awe of.  And Supes is, well he's Supes.  Who isn't a little in love in with him?  My first thought on seeing this list, was yeesh, I'm so gay.  Except I'm obviously not and then a little while later I thought ooh this could be seen as bi erasure by the self and then I started snoring because conversations like that bore me senseless nowadays.

Fee and I decided that comics totally count as literature.

Who would be on your list?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Captain Marvel jumper.

Look at my new thing!
Pay attention to the lovely box it comes in.

This is it on, a size large I believe.

I got it from We Love Fine.  It was £40 (UK) for the jumper and postage, and then I got hit with a  nearly £20 customs fee, that included £8 payment to parcel force for paying the customs fee on behalf of me.  Bah.  Still, £60 isn't *too* bad.  It's a nicely made jumper too.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon

I just finished reading books 2 and 3 of the Deed of Paksenarrion.  I found the first book (Sheepfarmer's Daughter) several years ago and really enjoyed it, as it's a female led military fantasy story.  The magic is few and far between and most of the book is about Paksennarion's military career, which consists of her joining a company of soldiers and getting trained up to private level.

Paks isn't a supremely talented soldier, she's good because she trains hard.  She's not the most popular in the company.  She's ordinary.  I liked this.  She's not the only woman there either.  If I remember correctly there is one scene where she's nearly raped, but the important thing is that it's not gratiutious and it's told from Paks' point of view. It's about her.  She's also in a relationship with another woman, without any fuss being made of it.  I like that too.

In the second book (Divided Allegiance), Pak's leaves the company because she's uncomfortable with the work they are hired to do, there's too much cruelty for her taste.  She agonises over what to do, because her life is with the company and she respects their leader, the Duke.  She gets permission to leave, and sets out on her own, encounters some elves, nearly gets killed, and ends up training to be a Girdsman.  Things go wrong, she gets tortured (but it's not sexual) she loses her courage, and leaves the safety of the Girdsman's Grange in search of work.  She remains her ordinary self and slowly recovers.

I like the ordinariness of her.  I like that these books are so focused on the military life, they feel grounded.  It's a good change from fluffy fantasy stories where the hero is a man and is destined to become the greatest in the land.  That's boring to me now.

The third book (Oath of Gold) falls down a bit for me, because by this time Paks has become a Paladin, an instrument of the Gods with special powers, and she is no longer ordinary, she even speaks differently.  So the appeal (for me) is lost a bit.  Nonetheless I finished it and enjoyed it, mostly.

I've just found out there are more books in Paks' world but gods almighty that is no an easy website to understand.  The wikipedia page is much more useful.  Interestingly, the wiki page includes the following information provided by Moon on the development and basic ideas for the series:

"Source material, as well as inspiration, for the Paksenarrion books might be of interest to some.  The various legal systems are taken from the following:
F. S. Lear's Treason in Roman and Germanic Law (specifically for the dwarf and gnome races), K. F. Drew's The Lombard Laws and The Burgundian Code, and other sources on medieval law, including a difficult-to-find translation of the Visigothic Code by A. Wilhelmsen.
The development of the Code of Gird derives from the development of "barbarian" legal codes adapting Roman Law, shifts in English law during and after the Norman Conquest, and the development of "human rights-based" changes in law in and following the Enlightenment.
Different city-states and nation-states were given different "balances" of the source material. Military history sources for both military science and military psychology included HerodotusXenophonThucydidesCaesar, and other classical sources, Conan Doyle's novel The White CompanyTuchman's A Distant MirrorSherman's Memoirs, and many others.
Village life and crafts, in outline and detail, are taken from multiple sources on medieval/early Renaissance crafts and life, including the Surtees Society's collection of historical sources for that period.
Further influences on the social and political aspects came from cultural anthropology sources. Historical sources suggesting the development of a paladin character ranged from Xenophon and Caesar (on the military side) and PlatoAristotle, and Plutarch (for both military and general character consideration) to the "Chanson de Roland" and the Grail legends, with side journeys into other cultures (ScandinavianAmerindianIslamic).
The history of Christianity and especially the incorporation of local heroes into "saint" roles (Joan of Arc in France, others in many other Catholic countries) provided historical background for development of Paksenarrion, Gird, and other hero-saints in that fictional universe.
The inspiration for "doing a paladin right" was the definition of paladin outlined in the D&D game; the specific character of Paksenarrion derived from historical figures (including Joan of Arc) and a mix of individuals known to the author.
The specific character of Gird-farmer had roots in historical and fictional accounts of peasant/slave/worker uprisings; Gird-legend shared characteristics of several legendary (mythical and fictional) folk and religious heroes.
Questions explored in the books include the nature of the military mind, the character of the good soldier and the good commander, the essential characteristics of a hero and a paladin, the potential conflicts between what it takes to be a good soldier and what it takes to be a great hero, relationship between a paladin and his/her co-religionists (clergylaity) and between a paladin and those not of the same belief, the source of a paladin's "commission" (e.g., who decides that someone is a paladin? how is that marked?), the essential characteristics of a hero-saint, the internal characteristics and outward influences that shape a hero-saint's actions and effects, the ways that subsequent generations redefine the meaning of earlier events and how that interpretation influences their actions."

I like that Moon has been so thorough in her research.  I think I might try and pick up some of the other books in Paks world.

Is it worth reading any of Moon's sci-fi stories?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pregnancy after stillbirth: 33 weeks 3 days

I've been a bit quiet.  It's been a difficult few weeks and I've not had anything to say.  Then I realised a few days ago I'm now in the gearing up for labour period and the getting ready to look after a baby period.  Writing the latter part of that sentence makes me feel sick.

I've had conversations with my consultant/registrars about labour, and also with my midwife.  At my last midwife appointment she talked to me about skin to skin contact and how long the baby would be on me, and if I couldn't hold the baby then my partner will have to do skin to skin.  We get an hour alone with the baby then they come do the blood sugar checks and other checks that I can't remember.  Then she talked me through how to express colustrum and milk, using a knitted boob (a white boob, which made me wonder if they had black or indian boobs for mothers who are not white).  She told me to try practicing now, to get the hang of it.

She gave me a labour information pack, which includes a booklet on labour and birth.  I flicked through it and there's loads of pictures of sticky and cleaned up newborns.  I really wish someone would make packs for pregnancies after loss, preferably with no pictures, because our needs are *so* different to happy parents' needs.

I found this appointment pretty traumatic.  It brought back memories.  I didn't like it.  But I know that it has to be done.  We have to act like this baby is coming home with us.  All signs so far say that the baby is healthy.  I'm having weekly CTG traces and they are fine.  So I have to prepare.

I did try expressing, and it was really easy, which made me happy. I felt excited, for possibly the first time this pregnancy.  I feel like my body is working right.  At the moment I will only try for a couple of times a week, and for only a few minutes each time, because doing this can bring on labour.  So in the week and a half before my induction date I will do it properly, and consider saving and freezing the colustrum, in case I have trouble breastfeeding.  Although I'm not sure I can bring myself to freeze the colustrum, because if the baby dies having to chuck out the frozen colustrum will be worse than having to get rid of all the nappies, like we did last year.

I packed my hospital bag 6 weeks ago.  So far I have packed just stuff for me.  I was going to check and then list what I'd put in, but since having a quick look and adding some toiletries I decided that going through everything would be horrible.  So from memory, this is what I have packed, or intend to pack, for me:
A pyjama top made by Bravissimo with boob support, like these ones. A second one would probably be good.
Maternity pads
Breast pads
Pjyama bottoms.
3 pairs of pants (knickers for you Americans)
My travel maternity pillow.
Socks x 3 pairs

I need to add tea bags (hospital tea is crap and I'm fussy), snack bars, something to read (will load books on my kindle, induction might take while), a nursing bra (I have a fitting booked for 2 days before my induction date). I might add straws as it will be easier to drink from them than from a glass when I'm in active labour.  My phone and charger needs to be packed too.

If anyone has any thoughts on what else I should bring, please leave a comment.

I also need to include stuff for the baby, which is a horrible thought.  My midwife told me that to bring them home we need only a few things - vest, baby grow, cardigan, hat and a cellular blanket.

I refuse to go through C's clothes so I will have to grit my teeth and go into mothercare and buy some clothes of roughly the right size.  Edit - Marks and Spencer do a newborn starter pack that will do, and I can buy it online.
I might be able to use one of C's blankets though. Not sure about that yet. Edit - I'm using one of his.
We can order more stuff online once the baby is out.  I also need to pack nappies, a friend has saved newborn nappies for us so we don't have to go buy any.  Lansinoh needs to go in.  Shampoo, conditioner, soap, sponge for me.  Perhaps cotton wool balls to clean up baby poo.

On the physical side of things, I can no longer sit on my exercise ball for very long because my back muscles aren't up to it.  At night my hips can be incredibly painful, more than likely caused by ligaments relaxing which allow sacro-illac joints to move, which they normally don't do as they attach your pelvis to your spine.  They need to relax in pregnancy so you can get the baby out, but they cause havoc with your comfort levels.  Exercise (walking, cycling etc) makes it worse, but pelvis stabilising exercises like pilates improve it (even though I'm bloody terrible at pilates at the moment).  So to help me I have constructed more pillow support for my back, shoulder and neck, because lying on my hips is horrible, but lying flat on my back is not good for the baby or me (the baby and your uterus would press on a major artery and your lungs and then you can't breathe).

I've bought some bra extenders to try and make some underwear fit better, as I really don't want to buy something that is only going to fit for another 4 weeks.

On the anti-depressants, I talked to a friend who has taken a lot of drugs for mental health over the years, and after discussing things with her I think I have decided to ask for paroxteine to take immediately after labour (you know who you are, thank you).  The registrar said that they would keep me on them for 6 weeks, checking in on my mood to see if the dose needed to be adjusted and then wean me off them at 6 weeks, if needed.  I will have the GP, midwife and health visitor looking out for me so people will know if they cause me to go loopy.  And my partner will be at home for the first 4 weeks too.  I figure it's a good precautionary measure and I feel better having everything set up ready to go.

I get to meet my health visitor in a couple of weeks.  They usually visit at 36 weeks but I'm a special (batshit) case, so she's coming round at 34 weeks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Comic reviews

I bought this lot this week:

Quite a change from the piles of Convergence stuff I have been getting.

Starfire 1 was very good. I think I'll continue getting this.  I am surprised to see Kori so clueless about earth stuff, but no matter, it's a good issue, skillfully done.

Batman/Superman 21 made me wince.   I have not got any interest in a grim Supes with moody inner dialogue.  He's not even expressing undiluted angry, he's just draining and the anger is self absorbed. He's bitter and resentful.  Supes can be angry, of course he can, but there's a world of difference between this anger and the anger of the pre 52 Superman.  It's not a fun thing to read.  I'll be cancelling this.

Harley Quinn 17 was OK.  It passes the time but I'm not too fussed about it, I think I'll cancel it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

28 week and 30 week care plan

28 weeks
This was a really hard week where I felt really, really low, and was concerned about my mental state.  Or about as concerned as I could be, given that I didn't care.  I mean, I can recognise when I'm not well and I can tell people that I'm not well.

So the scan was fine and the baby was fine.  The baby measures about the 20th percentile, which is in stark contrast to my bump, which measures the 90th or 100th centile (ish) but I am assured that  all is fine.  the sonographer wasn't going to do a doppler scan, but I said the consultant said I should have one.  So he did one, and the blood flow is right in the middle of the healthy range.

I didn't meet with my consultant, instead it was a senior registrar, but she was the right person for me to see at that time, as she was warm and friendly.  She suggested I take anti depressants either now or after I've given birth, as a preventative measure against post natal depression.  I was at risk of PND even before we lost C, so now I figure i'm doubly at risk.  She recommended fluoxetine (brand name prozac) or Citalopram as safe to take in pregnancy.  She also offered me a referral to the mental health team and psychiatrist but said all they'd do is prescribe me anti depressants and give me a number to call if I felt at crisis point.  My midwife can also refer me to the mental health team.

Once home, I found some info about these drugs:

We changed my scans so I would have them at 30 weeks, 33, weeks and 35 weeks.  As I'm having them at week + 6 days this means I have one 1 week before induction.  I also booked weekly CTGs for those weeks when I'm not having scans.

She said that if the baby is breech or transverse at 35 or 36 weeks they'd give me steroids (2 injections 24 hours apart) and do a c-section just after 37 weeks.  When I go in they'll do a scan and if the baby has turned they'd give me the option for an induction.  If the pessaries for induction don't work (and we'll know if anything is happening within 48 hours)  they'll give me a c-section.  Both options I'm happy with.

I didn't go into work that afternoon.  I was too much of a mess.

Addendum - I ended up back at the hospital for an emergency CTG the following day, because I felt so awful I couldn't tell if the baby was moving properly or not.  It took me a couple of weeks to get back to feeling normal, but obviously my normal is not everyone else's normal, as I'm terrified of the baby dying overnight, so whenever I wake up I got to the toilet, drink a pint of water and lie awake till I feel enough movements to satisfy me.

30 weeks
The baby is fine and growing at the right rate.  This won't be a big baby, I don't think I can grow them big.

I saw the same registrar as before and we discussed post natal anti depressants again.  She got out the big book of drugs and looked up info for Citalopram and Paraoxteine (brand name seroxat).  More stuff seems to be known about paroxetine and it seems to be passed through to the breast milk more readily so I think I'm more keen on taking that.  She said that these drugs are considered so safe the neonatal doctors don't even want to know that the mother is taking them, as they see no side effects in the baby.  This is reassuring and means I can discount the info in the links above.

My notes from the meeting also say that we discussed induction, but I can't remember what we talked about.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Convergence week 8 (the final one!)

Man, I cannot believe I've managed to write about every single issue in this event.  I know some reviews have simply been 'I can't be arsed to write about this', but they are still words, about each and every comic.  Woo, go me, ect, ect.

Now to do the final week's batch.

Convergence: World's Finest 2
Not bad. The cartooning journalist is a high point, again.  Sir Justin is alright, but I prefer Sir Ystin from Paul Cornell's Demon Knights.  At least these guys are all heroes, acting heroically.  There's a couple of panels with Telos' giant hands too, which makes for a fun read,  Probably not a keeper though.
The We are Robin preview was dull.

Convergence: Justice Society of America 2
Also not bad.  The JSA are young again with all their powers, and easily defeat the enemy.  Then they lose their powers and get old again, giving us this panel:
This is not good art, because although the guys look marginally different (if you really look) you cannot tell who is who.

It's a shame, because the comic also has this crowd scene, which is a marvellous piece of comic art:

It was nice to see the old guys up and at it again, but I'm not sure whether this issue is worth keeping/  I def preferred Hawkman in the Convergence: Hawkman issues.

The preview is for Superman/Wonder Woman and it is violent and dull.  Supes looks rather like pre 52 Conner Kent and tells Diana he doesn't love her anymore.  I'm still not interested in this Truth storyline, despite Anj's praises for the first Greg Pak penned issue.  Sorry Anj, I'm just a cynic! Wondy has nice armour though.

Convergence: Action Comics 2
This was good, with a great Amanda Conner cover:
Seriously, how great is that?  Doesn't Peej look angry?  I love it.  Especially the stars around their feet. It's just really, really nicely designed.

The issue itself is also very strong.  Earth 2 (?) Peej (Kara) and Superman are fighting the Red Son universe Wonder Woman.  Lex Luthor is still bitter.  The characterisation for the Red Son characters are accurate and the two worlds are slotted together really nicely.  I really, really enjoyed this.  Keeper, obvs.

The back up preview is for Sinestro.  I flicked through it but didn't read it properly.

Convergence: Infinity Inc 2
The characters and setting for this comic feel so dated, yet I found myself enjoying it.  I'm not sure why, looking at the cover I can't quite recall what happened in it.  On reopening it I enjoy the sense of familiarity at the characters used, but it doesn't fill me with excitement.  Probably not a keeper then.

The backup is for Batgirl, which I'm already getting.  I didn't like the video game conceit of this preview, tho the art and plotting is good enough.

Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters 2
I'm still not understanding why Plas is with the Freedom Fighters.  But it reminds me that I did see this great Plastic Lady cosplay online today.
The Freedom Fighters look ridiculous, but that's not really what this comic is about.  It's about Plas stepping up and being a hero.  That makes this worth keeping, I think.

The backup preview is Harley Quinn.  Every month I enjoy the Harley comic, but I feel no affinity to it and no desire to keep it.  I pass it  on to a friend.  I cannot quite understand why it's so popular.

Convergence: Detective Comics 2
Earth 2 Huntress and Robin are up against Red Son Superman.  Supes doesn't want to fight but Huntress is all fists first, talk later.  Red Son Batman comes to their aid.  Like Action Comics, the characterisation of the Red Son Characters are spot on.  The art (and cover) is partly by Bill Sinkiewicz and it's wonderful. Def a keeper.

The preview is for the Flash, drawn by Brett Booth and it is ugly to look at.

Convergence: Booster Gold 2
I've lost track of which Booster this is.  Nevertheless, it's a fun issue until Booster turns into Waverider, which to my mind makes him far more serious with more gravitas than Booster should ever be given.  And the character design is stupid.  I'm going to keep the issue though.  The back up is for Earth 2: Society, with this terrible piece of Peej art:

I tweeted the picture and Escher Girls picked it up and will post it.  It's awful, in all sorts of ways.

Convergence: Crime Syndicate 2
I liked issue 1 far more than this.  This is mostly fights, coloured in a washed out palette that I can't decide if I like or not.  The Crime Syndicate are fighting Justice League Alpha, a future league from the 853rd century.  The character designs of Alpha WW and Alpha Aquaman are nice.  Alpha WW is the only left standing at the end of the issue.  I don't really care for this, it's uninspired, there's not passion.

The preview is for Cyborg and it's very new 52 ish.  Dull.

Convergence: Shazam 2
This comic is great.  It's homely.  It's like a bit warm hug, with thrills.  If you like Captain Marvel you should read it.

The preview is for Constantine, and although I don't know a lot about Constantine, I don't think the creators got his characters right.  I shan't be picking this up.

Convergence: Blue Beetle 2
I'm still baffled as to why Beetle is teaming up with Cap'n Shinypants and the Question.  They are fighting the Legion and there's misunderstandings galore and it looks like it's all going to pot, until Beetle and a Legionnaire hatch a plan and fool Telos into thinking one side has won.  Unlike the Crime Syndicate issue, this comic, full of costumed folk fighting, had soul in it.  Really good and definitely a keeper.

The preview was for Black Canary with art by Annie Wu.  It looks very nice, but it doesn't feel like 'my' Canary.  I've ordered issue 1 anyway.  I think this series won't last that long and if I don't get it I'll regret it.

Convergence 8
I did have a a lot of thoughts on this, mostly around the what the hell is happening variety, but it's been about 2 weeks since I read it and now I don't think I care.  I do like the choice of characters on the cover - Hal, pre Crisis Kara, Barry Allen, pre 52 Supes, Lois and son.  I think what has happened is that the first crisis may not have panned out the way we knew, Barry and Kara may still be alive, Clark, Lois and son are certainly alive somewhere, and Hal maybe didn't die.  All the earths referenced in Convergence and Multiversity are still around, or most of them anyway, and have continued to exist from when their relative timelines were last referenced in Convergence or Multiversity.  DC have said Convergence opens the doors for any and all stories to be told, continuity be hanged.  I don't think I'm really fussed about what happened. This is a dull story told with very little affection or love, but it did give us some cracking 2 issue minis.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Convergence week 7 (and a Sensation Comics)

On to the last two weeks of Convergence comics.  Reviews will be split into two posts.  Spoilers ahead.

Convergence 7
So we finally have some familiar and likeable heroes, boshing the bad guys.  There's a giant rocky triangle shaped thing with a face, disembodied arms and two curved extensions coming up by the side of his head.  I have no idea who he is.  Deimos is still around, causing trouble.  Apparently Demios is an existing character, not invented for this series.  He looks like Dr Strange,  I assume Telos was invented for this series.  I don't care about either,

I wonder what this main Convergence title would read like if read in one chunk.  From week to week, it's felt dull and by the numbers.  It's editorially driven and it doesn't feel like the creators care about the story, which is a shame because comics always read better when the creative team care about what they are doing.

Anyway, Deimos is destroyed, the chronal energy he was containing is released, triangular rock dude breaks apart and tells new 52 Supergirl and Superman that all of reality is breaking apart,  Nothing in this story has made me feel like this is a momentous occasion.  It just feels uninteresting.  I reviewed Zero Hour for New readers...start here recently, and even with all it's faults, that story felt like it existed on a grand scale and deserved my awe.  Convergence doesn't.  Flashpoint didn't either.

Convergence: The Adventures of Superman 2
Kal and Kara are in the Phantom Zone, fighting the Kryptonian criminals imprisoned there,  Kara knows she has to get Kal out so that he can fulfill his destiny in the first crisis, but he doesn't know about this and boots her out.    Kara thinks for a few seconds and contrives a way to pull Kal out, leaving the criminals behind.

Meanwhile Kamandi and his mates are trying to work out how to stop the ape army wanting to take over 'Greenwitch' - I guess this refers to an American Greenwich, not the London one. The Super cousins join in the fight and the apes actually think they can beat them. Ha.  The absolute certainty of the cousins and their skills is nice to read.  No second guessing, no tactics to hurt them, juts the knowledge and certainty that they will win, because why wouldn't they? Who could beat a pre crisis Kryptonian?  No one, that's who.  I loved this issue.  It's a keeper,

The preview is for Martian Manhunter.  I didn't like it and I don't think it does J'onn justice.  the story has a suspicious, dark tone and that's not what I'm keen on reading.

Convergence: Wonder Woman 2
Also a keeper.  Lovely, lovely art by Aaron Lopresti, Matt Banning, Tanya and Richard Horie and Tim Napolitano.  The character designs for the vampires are lovely too.  Diana is perfectly in character, heroic and a warrior,  She takes the time to talk to Athena to figure out her plan.  She's not fazed by the vampires.  She doesn't revel in her victory over them.  I want to be that sort of person.

The preview is for Secret Six but it's a different Secret Six to the pre 52 version.  I'm not interested in it.

Convergence: Hawkman 2
The Hawkguys are fighting giant bats and giant rats. Then they (Katar and Shay) get strapped to a giant rocket and Shayera frees them.  They work with the other Thanagarians to defeat the giant rodents and get a peak into the future - the first crisis.  Then they fly off into the light declaring their love for each other,
Possibly a keeper.

Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders 2
I don't care about this or the Batman Beyond preview in it.  To be got rid of.

Convergence: Swamp Thing 2
I realllly don't like how Swamp Thing speaks.  Pauses in sentences irritates me.  Swampy joins up with vampire Batman, and it turns out that this is a Batman I am interested in.  So clearly he dies at the end.  Interesting introduction to Swamp Thing, but not a keeper.

The preview is for Catwoman, I'm not interested.

Convergence: the New Teen Titans 2
These aren't my Titans and I've never cared for this era.  I can see why people like these issues, but they aren't for me.  The preview is for Robin Son of Batman.  It's an OK preview, but I won't be buying it.

Convergence: Flash 2
I am so bored of Barry Allen and this is a love letter to him.  The preview is for Suicide Squad, the new 52 more badass Squad.  I do not care.

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-heroes 2
This has Atomic Knights riding giant dalmations.  I know a winning idea when I see one.  Having said that, I think I preferred issue 1 to this.  I def preferred the art in issue 1.  Superboy does the heroic thing and the Knights don't fight the Legion.  I'll probably keep these issues, now I have discovered a fondness for the Legion.
The preview is for Teen Titans, which like most of the rest of DC's line, just doesn't interest me.

Convergence: Green Lantern Corps 2
This is not as much fun as issue 1, but still enjoyable.  Hal is being a bit stupid and using old fashioned ring constructs (hands etc) which is what I like to see.  John is John like and Guys is Guy like.  He steals Hercules' armour and then gets his ring recharged.  Good fun for Green Lantern fans.
The Gotham Academy preview shows what is probably a solid book, marketed at teens and reminds me of Gunnerkrigg Court webcomic.  As I've read Gunnerkrigg court I'm not interested in reading this.

Convergence: Justice League of America 2
Good fun for fans of this JLA team.  I guess it's nice to see Vibe, Vixen, Steel and Gypsy get credit for saving the day, even if it's Zee, J'onn and Arthur that really finished everything.
The Batman/Superman preview makes me want to cancel my standing order.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman 10
My head was full of Convergence when I read this so I don't think I appreciated it enough. I think this book is aimed at readers who want to see Diana in explicitly feminist stories, so I think it will turn a lot of people off.  For me though, it's great.  Especially with the backup story being mythological.  It's these books that make me want to cancel my in continuity titles and just get the standalones.  They are so much better,

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Robot Cheetah

There are times when I'm very proud of humanity and what we can achieve.  This is one of those times.

Monday, June 01, 2015

The language of grief

Saudade' (Portuguese) - the love that remains after after someone is gone. It can describe an emptiness, like feeling the absence of someone who should be there at a particular moment. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

'Han' (Korean) - It's been described as "a state of mind. Of soul, really. A sadness. A sadness so deep no tears will come. And yet still there's hope." Its a feeling of unresolved resentment against injustices suffered, a sense of helplessness because of the overwhelming odds against one, a feeling of acute pain, and an obstinate urge to take revenge and to right the wrong—all those combined.

'Weltschmerz' (German) - the depression you feel when the world doesn't reflect what you think it should. It encapsulates a sense of grief at how the world keeps falling short of expectations. The pain caused by the inappropriateness and cruelty of the world and circumstances.