4.15.2017

064 DC Comics: Bombshells Vol 3: Uprising


I love the Bombshells.  It's a clever re-imagining of the ladies of DC Comics.  DC has the best when it comes to super-heroines and it's fun seeing them in this context.  What started out as just cool art has taken on a life of it's own. 

This is the third volume of the Bombshells series.  And as much as I love the Bombshells, this book is a mess.  The trade paperback format is not the way these stories are meant to be read.  I say that because these are digital first stories, so they all need to be a certain length and they need tell a complete story, or at least a complete chapter, in that frame.  I think each chapter is about ten pages.  So that limits what you can do.  In a normal comic, in ten pages, you can spend a page or two per scene, jumping here to there and back and it feels organic.  And you can do that because your typical comic is 20-22 pages.  That limitation here calls for stilted storytelling.  Now, it wasn't so bad in the first two volumes of Bombshells.  They were giving us a big story there.  Now that that story has ended, we have this volume which kind of loses direction.  There's an overarching story here, but you have to look for it because it often takes the back seat.

Without a lot of focus, and with an enormous cast, this book is just a mess.  There are some neat points, there are new Bombshells introduced, but it's all too much.  What I'd like to see are tighter stories focusing on a smaller (rotating) cast.  Use them all, but only when it makes sense.  Don't cram every Bombshell (and then a few new ones) into a story for the sake of cramming them into a story.

 DC Comics: Bombshells Vol 3: Uprising
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Miraka Andolfo, Pasquale Qualano, Laura Braga, Sandy Jarrell
DC Comics

063 JLA Vol 9


This book was a real mixed bag for me.  It's the final volume in this era of JLA.  I believe it leads right into Infinite Crisis and then into the Brad Metzler run of JLA.

We have three big stories here.  And I see each of them differently.  One I loved.  One I hated.  One I liked.  The book starts off with the end of Kurt Busiek's run.  I love Busiek.  I think he's a fantastic writer.  His run of Avengers was my favorite run of the book.  Astro City is a book that is amazing to me.  But for some reason, Busiek and the DCU just don't gel together for me.  At all.  I don't know why.  The characters don't seem right to me.  The stories just don't grab my attention.  And this book starts off with a big story.  Nine or ten parts, I think.  It's massive.  And, for me, really hard to get through.  I did not enjoy it then.  I didn't enjoy it now.

The next story was my favorite.  It's a six part arc that sort of served as a sequel to Identity Crisis.  It was the beginning of the end of this era of JLA.  The team was falling apart.  Hard.  The Secret Society was going after the JLA and their loved ones.  Mind wipes were discussed.  It was a big mess for the team.  And although there was one more story arc, for all intents and purposes, the JLA was done.

The last story features the team pretty much packing it in, but before they can officially close this chapter, The Key strikes.

Despite my feeling towards the Busiek story, this is a really good collection of JLA tales from the early 2000s.

JLA Vol 9
Writer: Kurt Busiek, Bob Harras, Allan Heinberg, Geoff Johns
Artist: Chris Batista, Tom Derenick, Ron Garney, Mark Farmer, Dan Green
DC Comics

062 Batgirl Vol 1: Beyond Burnside


I don't know anything about new Batgirl writer Hope Larson, but I was expecting to not like this volume as much as the previous run.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe I was setting the bar low in case DC hired some hack to write Batgirl.  After reading this, I still don't know anything about Hope Larson, but I do look forward to more Batgirl from her.  I don't believe she's ever written comics before.  I assume that based on two things.  1) I have never heard of her before and 2) this book feels different.  I can't quite place my finger on it, but it kind of feels like all the regular superhero comic conventions were stripped away from it.  The story is kind of simple, kind of quiet, but very enjoyable.  It's a fun story.  If I had one major gripe about it, it's that there were too many coincidental things in the story.  Things were just too set up to not notice, whether it's her trainer's former home, her hostel roommate and where some of the bad guys learned to fight.  It's all just a little too convenient.  But it was still fun and I'm willing to overlook that.

The art kept pace with the style set out in the last run of Batgirl.  It's a little rougher, but still very Batgirl.

Batgirl Vol 1: Beyond Burnside
Writer: Hope Larson
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
DC Comics

4.09.2017

061 All-New X-Men: Inevitable Vol 3: Hell Hath So Much Fury


This volume of All-New X-Men: Inevitable could be named Interlude.  Not a ton goes on, but it's a nice break before the next story arc.  The first few chapters all take place over the course of the same night, each focusing on a different character or group of characters.  Wolverine gets out of the headquarters to bampf around on some missions, only to find out her boyfriend, Angel, has beaten her to the punch.  Idie and Kid Apocalypse take Iceman out so he can meet boys.  After failing miserably, he does meet an Inhuman and they kind of sort of hit it off.  Cyclops is still wheelchair ridden and going stir crazy after the events of the last trade.  He goes from playing video games to battling demons Beast may have inadvertently unleashed. Finally, the team converges as Goblin Queen shows up to test them.

It's a fun book with some real character driven moments.  And it's laying the groundwork for a big battle with the Goblin Queen.  Which I find intriguing since at one point in time, she was married to older Cyclops.  Seeing younger Cyclops battle her could prove to be an interesting thing.

All-New X-Men: Inevitable Vol 3: Hell Hath So Much Fury
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy
Marvel Comics

060 Torchwood: World Without End


I was a big fan of the Torchwood television show.  If you're not aware of what Torchwood is, it's a spin off of Doctor Who (as well as being an anagram of Doctor Who).  Captain Jack Harkness, former sort of companion, headed up an agency who investigated alien incursions in and around England.  It ran for four series on tv, with most of the original cast dying.  The two main characters left were Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper, and they both star in this new adventure.

This is my first Torchwood comic.  There was a series published by Doctor Who's former publisher IDW, but if it was ever collected in trade format, I never realized it.  And I'm not sure if this is Titan Comics' first Torchwood comic, but like I said, it's my first.  And this definitely picks up where former comics left off.  There are new characters here I don't recognize.  Jack is now operating out of a ship.  He and Gwen aren't currently working together.  But it's easy enough to put who's who in order.

I didn't enjoy this book.  It took me a minute to figure out why.  It wasn't the story.  The story (of which this collection reprints the first half) was fine.  Well, it was fine during the parts I could follow.  It was the storytelling.  It's written by John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman.  It's sooooooo choppy and that it doesn't flow.  At all.  It's too choppy to make a lot of sense.  They've written a handful of comics together by the time this book came out, so they should know how to tell a story in this format, but they just don't.  It's like they write each panel as it's own separate story or something, forgetting that you need to logically progress from the previous panel and on to the next.  It's very choppy, there are big gaps in storytelling, there are things that happen that just don't seem to make sense, they pick up one plot point and drop it just as quickly as they pick up the next.  It's just not a fun read, though it is nice to look at.

Torchwood: World Without End
Writer: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman
Artist: Antonio Fuso, Pasquale Qualano
Titan Comics

059 Power Man And Iron Fist Vol 2: Civil War II


Marvel is giving me Special Event Fatigue and I don't even read as many Marvel titles as I used to.  Luckily most of the series I do read take place on the peripheral of the main crossover heavy universe.  This book is part of the awful Civil War II event.  While it isn't directly involved in the mail crossover, this story is a Civil War II tie in.  You don't need to read the crossover to figure out what's going on here.  Basically, I guess, there's a new Inhuman who accurately sees what's going to happen in the future and Captain Marvel is going around arresting people before they can commit the crimes.  Or some such bullshit.  I really fucking hate this.  I hate how they've neutered Carol Danvers.

Anyway, enough of that.  Here Luke and Danny get hired by some former (and current) felons who need protection.  Someone is going around and beating and arresting former felons and throwing them in jail unjustly.  There's this recognition software that's finding these guys, falsifying criminal records to justify putting them in jail.  Luke and Danny get involved, Danny gets arrested and Luke considers how to get him out of jail.  That's where Captain Marvel and her posse of douche bags come in.  They want to arrest Luke for something he hasn't done and in the process manage to destroy the prison Danny and the unjustly arrested are jailed.  It's a fucking mess.  But an enjoyable story.  I really like this version of Power Man and Iron Fist.  Like most of the other Marvel books I read, it's not heavy.  It's fun and it makes me smile to read it, even when the shitty part of the Marvel Universe (and isn't most of the Marvel Universe pretty shitty these days?) crosses over.

Power Man And Iron Fist Vol 2: Civil War II
Writer: David E Walker
Artist: Flaviano, Sanford Greene, Scott Hepburn
Marvel Comics

058 Legionnaires Book One


When this run of Legion of Super-Heroes first started, I wasn't really having it.  Sure, I read every issue, but I just wasn't happy with it.  The Legion of Super-Heroes had two series going.  The main book featured the Legion and the second book, Legionnaires, featured younger clones of the original team.  Then DC decided "fuck it, let's start over."  And both books were rebooted and we started over at day one again.  We got new adventures, new motivations, new characters.  I wasn't happy because my team, a team I'd been reading since I was ten or eleven years old, was suddenly gone.  They were replaced with these imposters.

But over time, this title really grew on me.  It wasn't bad.  It wasn't done half-assed like another reboot I've complained about a lot on this blog.  And the characters slowly became old friends again.  There were new characters whom I adored (XS!!!  Monstress!!!!).  There were reboots I didn't particularly care for (Projectra.... um, no.)

What's weird re-reading these stories, especially in this format, is seeing how quickly the basis of the Legion was thrown together.  This volume reprints six or seven issues of each series and it's crazy how quickly they added and subtracted members in less than the first year of the series.  Sure, it kind of makes sense they way they did it, but it was still pretty quick how many characters were introduced after the team was formed.

It's weird to me that Mark Waid was behind the reboot of the team into this AND the reboot of this team into the next iteration.  This one worked.  The one after this so did not.  I'm anxious to see the next volume of this book.

Legionnaires Book One
Writer: Tom McCraw, Tom Peyer, Mark Waid
Artist: Stuart Immonen, Lee Moder, Jeffrey Moy, Brian Apthorp, Scott Benefiel, Yancey Labat, Chris Renaud, Ron Boyd, W.C. Carani, Philip Moy, Tom Simmons
DC Comics

057 Supergirl: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1


So, I always have comics in my desk at work to read during my lunch break.  I always eat at my desk and use my measly 1/2 hour to down my lunch and devour something graphic.  For the last few weeks, this is what I've been reading on my lunch breaks.  And man oh man, was it glorious.  I love all this Silver Age nonsense.  Comics were so much simpler back then.  And much more illogical, but that was the charm.

I've read a lot of the stories in this volume, but there were a ton I've never read before, or at least don't remember ever reading.  This book contains all of Supergirl's adventures from when she landed on Earth to the time Superman was ready to reveal her existence to the world and just beyond.  We follow Supergirl from Midvale Orphanage to a couple unfortunate adoptions to her final placement with the Danvers family.  We get to see her help other orphans get adopted (apparently back in the day, all you needed was a special talent like being able to play golf to get adopted by a famous golfer, or have a special talent like playing piano or cooking to find a loving family), we get to see her hang out with the Legion of Super-Heroes, we get lots of adventures with Streaky, the Super Cat and Comet, the Super Horse.  She's got boyfriends, both super and ordinary.  It's 600 plus pages of super cheesiness and it's absolute glorious.  I hope this whole new Omnibus series DC is pushing does well because I want more.  I want this to at least reach the Supergirl run in Adventure Comics and her own short lived title around that time.  There's a special place in my heart for that era of Supergirl.

Supergirl: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1
Writer: Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman
Artist: Al Plastino, Jim Mooney
DC Comics

3.25.2017

056 Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen


I love the idea of multi-Doctor stories.  I think everyone does.  The reality of multi-Doctor stories is quite different.  Titan Comics recently published a Four Doctors series written by Paul Cornell.  Now if Paul Cornell can't pull off a successful multi-Doctor story, no one can.  Well, he didn't pull it off (in my opinion).  But Cavan Scott & George Mann have.  This should be a training manual on how to pull off a multi-Doctor story. 

Basically, it's a 12th Doctor story, but it also stars 9, 10 and 11 with their respective companions.  In a nutshell, the Cybermen hook up with Rassilon, thereby giving the Cybermen access to time travel and all hell starts to break loose.  None of the Doctors leave their respective timelines and meet up, but instead they each have to deal with the fall-out of the Cybermen disruption of time and reality.  

This was such a well done story.  I'd love to see another multi-Doctor story done in this style, maybe featuring some of the earlier Doctors, or a mix of old and new.

Doctor Who: Supremacy Of The Cybermen
Writer: Cavan Scott, George Mann
Artist: Ivan Rodriguez, Walter Geovanni, Alessandro Vitti, Tazio Bettin
Titan Comics

3.24.2017

055 Batman: Legacy Vol 1.


Batman and I were on a break when this storyline was originally published.  I think I've managed to get most of these issues long after they were originally published, but I haven't read them in any cohesive order.  Until now.

This book picks up sometime after the Batman: Contagion storyline happened.  I wasn't a huge fan of that particular story.  It seemed forced to me.  This is a sort of sequel to that story as the virus from the Contagion storyline is back and deadlier than ever.  LOL.  This volume doesn't contain the whole story.  It's called Batman: Legacy, but the actual Legacy storyline doesn't officially start until the last issue in this book.  It's more of a prelude.

It starts with a story involving a vigilante capturing and locking up bad guys (holy Vigilante!!).  I think this is included because there's a very small plot point about the virus storyline starting up.  Next up is a Catwoman story which seems out of place here until you realize it's all tightly connected.  That realization hits during the actual virus storyline which rounds out the book.

I complained about how the Superman books during this period were all too interconnected.  That they were basically a weekly Superman book rather than four monthly titles.  The Batman books did similar things, but they never felt like the Superman books did.  It proves there's a right way and a wrong way of doing things.  The Batman books were basically all telling the same story, but it felt different.

This book also contains an art team that I still don't understand to this day.  Jim Aparo inked by Bill Sienkiewicz.  I don't know if I love it or abhor it.

Batman: Legacy Vol 1
Writer: Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, Alan Grant
Artist: Graham Nolan, Jim Balent, Mike Wieringo, Jim Aparo, Dave Taylor, Scott Hanna, Bob Smth, Stan Woch, Bill Sienkiewicz
DC Comics