Comic Book Corner — Star Wars, The X-Files, & Princess Ugg

Star Wars #1 (Art by John Cassaday) © Marvel
Star Wars #1 (Art by John Cassaday) © Marvel / Lucasfilm

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week the Force is with Kelly as she checks out Star Wars #1. Sophie tackles the latest in The X-Files. Meanwhile, I take a walk on the barbarian side in the world of Princess Ugg.

Kelly Knox — Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday (Marvel)

I didn’t plan on liking Star Wars #1. Oh, sure, I’m a diehard Star Wars fan, so of course I bought it, but I was already skeptical about another comic series re-treading the same ground that I enjoyed so much when Dark Horse Comics released their Star Wars books in 2013. After all, Princess Leia kicked some serious butt, and the entire series just felt like Star Wars. No way that could happen again, I decided.

I was wrong.

© Marvel
© Marvel /Lucasfilm

I highly recommend picking this book up in print, because once you flip the pages and see STAR WARS blazoned across the two-page spread, you can practically hear the Star Wars theme. The story even opens similarly to A New Hope with a ship floating above a planet to give readers the familiar feeling of being back in the galaxy far, far away, while it sets up our favorite heroes’ current escapade on Cymoon 1.

If you can’t tell by the images above, I needn’t have worried about Princess Leia sitting back and not getting in on the action. She’s unabashedly bashing, punching, shooting, and giving Han Solo a hard time, and doesn’t hesitate to make the right calls. And Darth Vader… I won’t spoil it for you here, but Darth Vader is properly ominous and ruthless.

While I’m still far more excited about the Princess Leia mini-series coming up in March, this first issue of Star Wars has given me a new hope for the ongoing series. (Groan, I know, but I had to say it.)

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Dakster Sullivan — Princess Ugg #6 and #7 written and drawn by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press)

Princess Ugg continues to be my favorite series with a strong female lead. The last time we saw our heroine, the carriage carrying her and her fellow princesses was being attacked.

Princess Ugg, never one to stand down from a fight, kicked their tails and then some. Unfortunately, in the end, the bad guys got away and Princess Ugg was left standing with the Captain of the Royal Guard.

The attackers wanted a ransom for the safe return of the princesses, and while the Captain was happy to do things in a diplomatic way, Ugg was less inclined and took after the men.

After a bloody battle between Ugg and the men who attacked them, the girls are back on their way to see Queen Astoria of Atraesca, Issue 7 opens up and we immediately see how the other princesses have changed their opinion of Ugg. She’s a valiant warrior and by saving their lives, apparently has earned their respect and friendship.

Julifer is the only one that doesn’t want to give Ugg a chance and despite saving their lives, is still against her. Tired of Julifer’s bickering about Ugg, one of the other princesses reveals that Julifer is the least royal of all the princesses (her father is a Prime Minister). Ugg on the other hand, has more royal blood than all of them combined.

Once in the audience of the Queen, each perform a talent to entertain the court.

When it comes time for Ugg to entertain the Queen, she is embarrassed because her instrument and her dress were destroyed saving her classmates. One of her fellow princesses convinces her to go back to her roots and hands her the original outfit she wore to the school. Since her instrument was destroyed in the fight, the Queen asks Ugg to sing instead. Princess Ugg obliges and sings a lullaby common to her people. It’s a depressing song about loss, and it summed up why Ugg went to the princess academy to begin with and what she wants to prevent when it’s her turn to rule. Her voice blows everyone away and they see that Ugg can do more than wield a sword.

The issue doesn’t end well for our heroines and with Princess Ugg’s story ending in March, I’m interested to see how the issues following this one tie up her story with how this issue ended.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up due to some flying heads and bloodshed.

Princess Ugg: Vol 1 is available in comic book stores now.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of this title. 

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Season 10 #20 by Joe Harris with art by Tom Mandrake (IDW Publishing)

Following up last month’s issue focused on government experiments with hallucinogenic drug G-23 comes The X-Files: Season 10 #20 and a conclusion that I think I needed to be high to fully comprehend.

The X-Files Season 10 Issue 20 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 Issue 20 \ Image: IDW Publishing

The last we saw of Agent Mulder he had been dusted with G-23 and was hallucinating an image of Scully smoking a cigarette and wearing fishnets. Rather than picking up immediately where we left off, #20 begins with a flashback to a younger Mulder visiting a head shop with his then-girlfriend Diana Fowley and spotting a certain iconic poster. It’s a scene once very vaguely described in an episode of the TV show and it’s nice to see that note picked up, however briefly. Of course we then realize that this might too be part of a hallucination and not an accurate recounting, as Mulder wakes up back in the desert. The hallucination-Scully whom Mulder takes to calling Red is still around, only now with significantly less fishnets and more cleavage. The story takes a surprisingly violent turn for the series until Mulder blacks out again.

Mulder and Red take a confusing drive filled with bizarre occurrences, presumably imaginary cliff edges and ballet moves on top of a moving roof, before ending up at the ruins of the facility we saw last issue. The artwork here is spectacular, all black, haunting silhouettes against beautiful skies as Mulder discusses his father’s work with Red before finding himself in the dark depths of the old facility. Mulder finds something he believes is his final truth, only to wake up back on the surface with nothing. It’s a fairly typical X-Files resolution, only this time, thanks to the hallucinogens, we have no idea how much of what we just witnessed happened anyway. There’s also a minor subplot involving Langley waking up in the desert and having some hallucinations of his own, however these play absolutely no part in the storyline and seem at best pointless.

There are a lot of unanswered questions going on here. Mulder clearly moves from the site where he was sprayed with G-23 to the location of the old facility, but how? Did he drive himself while hallucinating Red entirely? Was Red actually a real person and Mulder projected the image of a warped, buxom Scully onto her? If so, who was that person? And as for the G-23 that supposedly “brings out the worst in people,” why did Mulder seem pretty much himself while on it? Where other characters have turned horrifically violent, Mulder just had a few visions. Does that mean Mulder is already so close to his own “worst” incarnation that we fail to see a difference? The concept of something causing people to see their worst fears has a strong precedent on The X-Files: We’ve seen it in Wetwired and again in X-Cops, but G-23 wasn’t explained well enough to really deliver the high it could had done.

Age Recommendation: 18+

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of this title.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Aquaman #38
Arkham Manor #4
Batman #38
Batman Eternal #43
Bodies #7 (Of 8)
Catwoman #38
Deathstroke #4
Earth 2 World’s End #17
Effigy #1
Flash #38
Flash Vol. 5 History Lessons TP
Gotham Academy #4
Gotham By Midnight #3
Green Lantern By Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 HC
Harley Quinn #14 GM
He-Man The Eternity War #2
Infinity Man And The Forever People #7
Justice League Dark #38
Multiversity Guidebook #1
New 52 Futures End #39
Red Lanterns #38
Secret Origins #9
Showcase Presents Blue Beetle TP
Sinestro #9
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #6
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #12
Vertigo Quarterly Black #1
All-New Invaders #14
Amazing X-Men #16
Cataclysm The Ultimates’ Last Stand TP
Deadpool #41
Deadpool The Ones With Deadpool TP
Guardians Of The Galaxy / All-New X-Men The Trial Of Jean Grey TP
Inhuman #11
Marvel Previews #138 (February 2015 For Products On-Sale April 2015)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Web Warriors #3 Kid-Friendly
New Avengers #29
New Warriors Vol. 2 Always And Forever TP
Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Classic Vol. 2 TP
Nova #26 GM
Secret Avengers #12
Spider-Man 2099 #8
Spider-Man And The X-Men #2 New Series GM
Spider-Man Big Time The Complete Collection Vol. 3 TP
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man Vol. 3 Game Over TP
Thor #4
Uncanny Avengers #1 Reboot
Uncanny X-Men #30
Wolverine And The X-Men Vol. 2 Death Of Wolverine TP
Wolverines #4
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Angry Birds Comics #8 Kid Friendly
Angry Birds Transformers #3 (Of 4) Kid-Friendly
Creature Cops Special Varmint Unit #1 (Of 3) New-Mini Series
Doberman #5
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #210
G.I. JOE The IDW Collection Vol. 5 HC
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #20
Judge Dredd #27
Judge Dredd Classics The Dark Judges #2 (Of 5)
Katabasis I TP
Life Eaters TP
Maxx Maxximized #16
Maxx Maxximized Vol. 3 HC
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #27 Kid-Friendly
October Faction #2 New Series
Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #1 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Rot And Ruin #5
Skylanders #5 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Squidder TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Vol. 3 #2 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #4 (Of 4) Final Issue Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 10 New Mutant Order TP
Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #3 (Of 4)
V-Wars #10
Winterworld #7
X-Files Season 10 #20
Captain Midnight #19
Captain Midnight Vol. 4 Crash And Burn TP
Colder The Bad Seed #4
Conan The Avenger #10
EC Archives The Vault Of Horror Vol. 4 HC
Eerie Archives Vol. 18 HC
ElfQuest The Final Quest #7
Eye Of Newt HC
Father’s Day #4 (Of 4)
Halo Escalation #14
Mind MGMT #30
Predator Fire And Stone #4 (Of 4)
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 18 TP
Sundowners #6
Tomb Raider #12

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

Comic Book Corner — Ant-Man and Squirrel Girl Take Over

Squirrel Girl #1 (Skottie Young Variant) © Marvel
Squirrel Girl #1 (Skottie Young Variant) © Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we climb the trees to check out Squirrel Girl and take a closer look at Ant-Man.

Dakster Sullivan — Ant-Man (2015 – ) #1 by Nick Spencer with art by Ramon Rosanas (Cover by Mark Brooks)

With Ant-Man’s movie coming out right around the corner (July 17th, 2015 to be exact), it’s no surprise that Marvel would kick off a new series staring the insect-abilitied hero. The series is already showing its similarities to the movie in the fact that it’s Scott Lang that bears the name of Ant-Man rather than Hank Pym.

Ant-Man Issue 1 \ Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
Ant-Man Issue 1 \ Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Scott’s main mission in this issue is to get a job that will allow his ex-wife to see him as more than a bum of an ex, which will in turn allow him to spend more time with his daughter, Cassie. Nick Spencer’s writing along with Roman Rosanas’ art really made me feel for Scott and by the end of the issue, I didn’t care that he wasn’t Hank Pym, the Ant-Man I’m more familiar with. It was a serious story with moments of lightheartedness that reminded me of Spider-Man.

I’m not sure where the comic book series will fit in with the movie, or even if it will fit in at all, but I’m excited to see more of this hero in the future.

Ant-Man (2015 – ) #1 is in stores now.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Kelly Knox — The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

© Marvel
© Marvel

You’re probably asking yourself, “Who?”

It’s Squirrel Girl, Marvel’s part-girl, part-squirrel, all-fun mutant who has defeated the likes of Thanos, Wolverine, and Doctor Doom. And now, she’s a new college student! Doreen Green decides to move out of the Avengers Mansion attic and into a dorm room as she embarks on a new stage in her life. But that doesn’t mean she’s giving up being a superhero, as Kraven the Hunter finds out when the two cross paths on campus!

I love everything about this book, from the moment it kicks off with Squirrel Girl composing her own theme song, to North’s fabulous one-liners and sense of humor throughout the book. (Kraven’s trading card, don’t even get me started.) Doreen wants to earn her degree because there’s “more to being a super hero than just punching the strongest,” a message that won’t be wasted on young readers. While the book is rated T for teens, elementary age kids will find plenty to like—and Henderson’s art style is perfectly suited for young readers.

This unexpected addition to my monthly pull list is nutty (I had to say it), witty, and just plain fun.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Looking for something else, readers? Check out ComiXology’s website for a complete list. Personally, I’ll be grabbing SpiderVerse #2 and Star Wars #1.

Comic Book Corner — Guardians of the Galaxy, Kingsman: Secret Service

Guardians of the Galaxy \ Image: ComiXology
Guardians of the Galaxy \ Image: ComiXology

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I find myself disappointed in Guardians of the Galaxy, but excited to see where the next issue will take us. Meanwhile, Lisa finds a new love in an old classic turned movie, Kingsman: Secret Service.

Dakster Sullivan — Guardians of the Galaxy (2013 -) #22 by Brian Michael Bendis and Valerio Schiti

The latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy was my first real let down since the series began two years ago.

We open the issue to see Venom attached to Groot. There’s some fighting, random shooting by Rocket, and a weird flash to the Spartax Empire talking about needing a new leader. By the end of the issue, we are still on the ship and watching Venom go from one member of the Guardians to another with the ending being almost a copy of the previous issue. With this now going on for two issues, it feels like a running gag gone bad.

Every series has its dud issues, so I’m looking forward to the next issue taking the story in a direction other than Venom playing Duck, Duck, Goose with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Age Recommendation – 12 and up

Lisa Tate — The Secret Service: Kingsman by Mark Millar and Matthew Vaughn with art by Dave Gibbons

Kingsman: Secret Service \ Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
Kingsman: Secret Service \ Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

I can’t believe I let this Mark Millar comic spy thriller, illustrated by Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), slip by me when when it was originally released as a six-volume series in 2012 and 2013. I first got wind of the story with the announcement of its movie adaptation hitting theaters next month. It was nice to find out the collected six issues were released in trade paperback form in February of 2014.

From the beginning, this was a fun, crazy take on the British super-spy genre, with a horrible-yet-hilarious plot twist that occurs in the first few pages. (I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it involves Mark Hamill…yes that Mark Hamill).

It turns out, several sci-fi icons are being abducted, and it’s up to one of the world’s greatest spies, Jack London, to figure out how this is connected to some other shocking mass murders. This would be a thrilling story for any James Bond lover, myself included, but the true heart of this story is Jack’s taking-under-his-wing of his street thug nephew Gary (AKA Eggsy) to help him channel his street smarts for the greater good.

I tend to go hot-and-cold on Millar, who can be an incredible storyteller when he doesn’t feel the need for inserting so much shock value profanity and violence into his work it overwhelms the story. Kick-Ass had some great characters, but frankly left me cold. This may be the reason I first ignored the series, which I may have assumed would be not much more than Kick-Ass with a British accent.

Yes, it had its over-the-top gruesome moments, but they were certainly less prominent than Millar’s better-known series. I found this story much more satisfying, especially since there was a very real and redemptive quality to the character evolution of Eggsy. I felt myself wanting to see good things happen for Eggsy and his family. I was embarrassed for him when bad choices were made, was heartbroken for him when his was judged harshly for his less-than-favorable upbringing, and was impressed with his transformation. This type of sympathetic attachment isn’t something I usually get from Millar’s stories, and I salute him for showing this side of his writing talents.

If the current trade paperback is hard to find, Marvel will reissue it in February featuring a movie tie-in cover.

Age recommendation – Mature readers.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Absolute Batman Incorporated HC
Action Comics #38
Aquaman And The Others #9
Batman Eternal #40
Deathblow Deluxe Edition TP
Detective Comics #38
Earth 2 #30
Earth 2 World’s End #14
Fairest #33 (Final Issue)
Flash Season Zero #4
Green Arrow #38
Green Lantern #38
Hinterkind #14
Injustice Gods Among Us Vol. 2 TP
Justice League 3000 #13
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super-Spectacular #5
Lobo #4
Names #5 (Of 9)
New 52 Futures End #36
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #8 Kid Friendly
Showcase Presents The Unknown Soldier Vol. 2 TP
Sinestro Vol. 1 The Demon Within TP
Superboy Vol. 5 Paradox TP
Superman The Power Within TP
Swamp Thing #38
Wolf Moon #2 (Of 6)
All-New X-Factor #19
Amazing Spider-Man #12
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 Edge Of Spider-Verse Prelude TP
Angela Asgard’s Assassin #2
Ant-Man #1 New Series
Avengers No More Bullying #1
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #3
Death Of Wolverine HC
Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Hawkeye Vs Deadpool #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Hulk #10
Iron Fist The Living Weapon #8
Legendary Star-Lord #7 GM Recommended
Marvel Masterworks The Fantastic Four Vol. 1 HC
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars Prose Novel HC
Marvel’s The Avengers #2 (Of 2)  Final Issue
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #4 (Of 5)
Miracleman #14
Operation S.I.N. #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Punisher #14
Punisher Vol. 2 Border Crossing TP
Spider-Man 2099 #7
Storm #7
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 New Series / Kid Friendly
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 5 Axis Prelude HC
Wolverines #1 New Series
X-Men #23
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Angry Birds Comics #7 Kid Friendly
Edward Scissorhands #3 (Of 5)
Judge Dredd Vol. 6 TP
Maxx Maxximized #15
My Little Pony Friends Forever #13 Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Vol. 6 TP
Shadow Show #3 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Skylanders #4 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Steve Canyon Vol. 5 1955-1956 HC
Sunglasses After Dark Full Blooded Collection HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Vol. 5 Choosing Sides TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Vol. 9 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures Vol. 4 TP Kid Friendly
Tom Sutton’s Creepy Things Chilling Archives Of Horror HC
V-Wars #9
WEIRD Love #5
Angel And Faith Season 10 #10
Drug And Drop Vol. 1 TP
Ghost #11
Ghost Fleet #3
Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. 1952 #2 (Of 5)
Lady Killer #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Vol. 7 TP
Pariah Vol. 3 TP
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #6 (Of 6) Final Issue

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

Comic Book Corner — My Little Pony, Bitch Planet, The Tenth Doctor, and Multiversity

bitchplanet_01a
Image via Image Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. It’s better late than never in my coverage of the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Holiday Special and Lisa reads up on what the Tenth Doctor is up to. As for Corrina, she gives us her take on Multiversity and Bitch Planet <excuse my French>.

Dakster Sullivan — My Little: Pony Equestria Girls Holiday Special by Ted Anderson with art by Tony Fleecs

MLP Equestria Girls Holiday Issue \ Image: ComiXology
MLP Equestria Girls Holiday Issue \ Image: ComiXology

Sunset Shimmer finds herself in a depressing situation during the holidays at Canterlot High. Someone has set up a “MyStable” account and is spilling the secrets of every student at the school. It sounded a lot like an episode of the show when the Cutiemark Crusaders were running a gossip column and it got a bit out of hand.

I enjoyed the show version of this scenario, but not so much the comic book. It was more depressing than I would have liked in a kids’ holiday story and was layered with life lessons of being careful what you post on the internet. It felt like the entire issue was more of a PSA about cyber-bullying. The story itself wasn’t bad at all, but the timing for the theme wasn’t the best in my opinion and I think it would have better served the “back to school” season.

My son was really bummed to see that Twilight Sparkle didn’t make an appearance at Canterlot High and was only in a couple of panels in her castle, but since this is an Equestria Girls issue, I’m not that surprised.

If you’re looking for a warm and loving holiday story, skip this one. If you are looking for a story that teaches a valuable lesson about cyber-bullying, this one is for you and must read on the subject.

Age Recommendation: All ages!

Lisa Tate — Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #5 by Nick Abadzis with art by Elena Casagrande

Tenth Doctor \ Image: Titan Comics
Tenth Doctor \ Image: Titan Comics

The first Titan Comics Tenth Doctor story arc with the creative team of Nick Abadzis and Elena Casagrande wraps up promise of more to come from The Doctor and his latest companion, Gabby. After helping The Doctor defeat an alien invasion on Earth, Gabby is on what is supposed to be a one-time “thank you” trip in the TARDIS. As a aspiring artist, The Doctor takes her to see a a favorite other-worldly artist, Zhe Ikiyuyu. Of course, these trips never seem to go smoothly, and they find Zhu missing and her gender-merging and jealous Apprentice on the hunt to kill them. While The Doctor is having his own trouble battling the Apprentice, Gabby finds her friendly, inquisitive nature and diplomacy get her farther to defeating this foe and saving Zhu.

There were a couple of pretty cute elements in this final of the five-part series, including the commentary from Gabby’s subconscious and a visual cameo by the Fourth Doctor (make sure to look for it).

The next series will have a whole new creative team, but the first story has done a great job setting the stage for this Doctor/companion team up.

Age Recommendation: 12+

Corrina — Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

It was appropriate that I finished Jill LePore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman on the same day that I read Bitch Planet #1 because this comic has to be the most unabashedly feminist comic I’ve read since those early Wonder Woman stories.

But it’s so much more than that. I expected a story of a woman working against a patriarchy in a comic about a planetary women’s prison. That concept is there but, far more, this is an classic science fiction tale of how a future society culls its independent (non-compliant) members. The world set up is startling. Even the various human reactions of those entering the prison are already anticipated by those in charge and those reactions are choreographed for maximum effect. It reminded me of the way the Capital manipulates publicity and images from The Hunger Games.

This is great storytelling and a must read for any science fiction fans. Bonus: Read the back cover.

1450_bitch_planet_1_splash
From the back cover of Bitch Planet #1, image via Image Comics

Age Recommendation: 17+

Multiversity by Grant Morrison and various artists

I wanted to love this maxi-series. Morrison taking a journey through the various eras of DC superhero worlds? Sign me up. But, so far, I’ve been underwhelmed. Part of it may be that Morrison’s stories are frequently better read when finished, when all the puzzle pieces fit, but part of it is that Multiversity seems far more interested in meta-commentary on the current start of superhero storytelling than in actual storytelling.

Take Multiversity: Pax Americana, for instance. It’s the story of the Charlton Comic heroes who were used as inspiration for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Watchmen. But instead of Morrison’s take on the heroes, what readers get is not so much a homage to Watchmen as a retelling of the story, complete with Gibbons’ then-groundbreaking panel-by-panel designs. Unfortunately, while the work and effort that went into this retelling is clear, especially by the artist, Frank Quietly, the story buried under there is impenetrable.

So far, the stand-out issues have been Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes, which is an old-fashioned pulp hero story, and Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures, which focused on the Shazam! characters of Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, and their whole supporting cast. But even the latter is marred with a lot of meta-commentary on how today’s comics are just grim and sad. I sympathize with Morrison’s ire with the current often-grim state of DC Comics but I’d rather not be reminded of it when I’m reading a story that I hope is different.

Age recommendation: depends on the issues but generally, 10+. though some kids might not understand some of the concepts in various issues.

Looking for something else, readers? This week’s books are pretty slim but include:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Batman Eternal #39
Earth 2 World’s End #13
New 52 Futures End #35
All-New Miracleman Annual #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Star Trek Planet Of The Apes #1 (Of 5) Massive Vol. 4 Sahara
X Vol. 4 Better Off Dead

 

Comic Book Corner — The X-Files, HQ, Wonder Woman and Batgirl

STK6585271
Image: Copyright DC Comics.

Happy comic release day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Lisa and Corrina check out how Harley Quinn spends her holidays, while Sophie picks back up with The X-Files #19, and Corrina also walks us through Batgirl #37.

But first, a panel so egregious, only the image can do it justice. WARNING: SPOILER for Wonder Woman #37.

A favorite Teen Titan returns in Wonder Woman #37. You won’t be glad to see her, especially given this panel. When Corrina posted the image on Tumblr, she was sent a message calling her narcissistic, prudish, and a cheesecake hater. Insults, no worries, but she’s tired of women calling out objectified poses being classified as “prudish,” so she responded on that matter. (Warning: NSFW for foul language.)

Onto the reviews!

Lisa Tate — Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1  by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

This three-story collection of holiday mayhem and madness by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner is a crazy Christmas package only Harley can deliver. Part of the New 52 series, the issue’s two Christmas tales and one New Year’s story aren’t the most thoughtful and well-crafted yarns in this month’s DC offerings. However, they really aren’t meant to be. The first story is my favorite, as it lets Harley’s well-hidden humanity show just a little bit, as she attempts to find homes for amassed pets and ends up as a “toy” for a spoiled kid.

The most impressive art is from the third story, “Killin’ Time,” in which Harley seeks out Father Time to confront him about a new-found grey hair. It features beautiful illustrations by Darwyn Cooke. Mauricet and Brandt Peters contribute art to the first and second story, respectively.

It’s a fun one-shot, for anyone who wants a sampling of Harley’s endearingly psycho ilk without committing to the entire series, and it’s a great way to blow off some holiday season stress without actually going crazy.

Conner offers two cover choices: the main Christmas-themed and a variant with a New Year’s. I prefer the main cover and feel that  is missing out on a big money-making opportunity, if they don’t release these as Christmas cards next year. I’ll take four boxes, please!

Age Recommendation: Rated T.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #19 by Joe Harris with art by Tom Mandrake

The X-Files Season 10 Issue 19 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 Issue 19. Image: IDW Publishing.

With #19, The X-Files returns to doing what it does best—cooking up nefarious government schemes being tested on an unsuspecting public. This time, we’re talking drugs and a conspiracy that dates back to the 1960s. The issue opens with a flashback to 1966, starring the Cigarette Smoking Man and Mulder’s father, who are dealing with the aftermath of a breach at a government facility. It’s an interesting start that introduces the key weapon in all of this: A government named G-23 that can “bring out the worst in people.” Whether or not Joe Harris is a fan of Firefly/Serenity I can’t say, but that’s quite a coincidence if he’s not. Could we be looking at a shared fictional universe? There’s nothing I’ve seen to say no!

Jumping forward to the present, and Mulder receives a tip off about this drug from the Smoking Man himself whilst waiting for a dinner date with Scully. I like that they have a dinner date. It reinforces that they’re an actual established couple now, without letting the mushy stuff overtake the plot. What I actually like more though is that the date doesn’t happen. It allows Scully to be upset at Mulder and for him to make amends, but in a way that keeps the plot moving forward. It also gives us some great banter, a piece of the X-Files puzzle that had been somewhat lacking in S10.

There are only three people you might turn to when investigating “government weed,” so it’s not long before The Lone Gunmen are on-board. It’s great to see them again, even if they are being used for some classic exposition scenes, and they naturally give Mulder all he needs to continue the investigation out in Nevada. It’s interesting that Scully doesn’t appear to follow him on this trip, although no explanation is given as to why not. Mulder isn’t alone, however, and we soon discover that Langly has decided to follow him. I have to admit that decision bugged me. For a man so paranoid about the government and who in the eyes of many is supposed to be dead, suddenly deciding to go flying halfway across the country just on the promise of “government ganja” seems way out of character. The final panel is… interesting. Even though it’s more than strongly insinuated that this is a hallucination, it’s inclusion feels weird and unnecessarily pervy.

This is a really strong issue with a solid plot and good character interactions. Tom Mandrake’s artwork is not at all to my taste, but I have to give it to the man; he can draw trippy well. I’m looking forward to see how this one concludes!

Age Recommendation: Age: 15+

Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina— Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Conner and a host of guest artists

We liked this so much, we reviewed it twice.

Reading a Harley Quinn comic by Conner and Palmiotti never fails to make me smile. I know that’s odd for a comic starring one of Batman’s more insane villains, but while Harley lacks inhibition, she can sometimes have a warm heart. She just kinda expresses it all wrong, like in the opening story, where she gives away her excess kittens and puppies by choosing among people out Christmas shopping. Or when she can’t quite say goodbye to the last puppy, so she terrorizes an entire police precinct to track the license plate number of the car where she left the puppy. This leads to her breaking and entering the home where the puppy is, just to make sure he’s okay. (Which he is.)

And then the bratty daughter of the family decides Harley is her Christmas present and… it becomes surprisingly touching. I forget sometimes that Harley is a psychiatrist. There’s also a number of fabulous pin-ups and two more stories—with one featuring Harley trying to stop the New Year from coming. All of it is sheer (though twisted) fun. This issue would make a great stocking stuff for any geek.

Age Recommendation: 13 + for adult situations

Batgirl-37 cover
Image: DC Comics.

Batgirl #37 by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, art by Babs Tarr

As it’s clear from my previous reviews, I’ve enjoyed this creative team change for Batgirl. I still do, but I’m starting to have some serious niggles that are interfering with my enjoyment of the fabulous art by Babs Tarr.

One is, as I said last time, Black Canary being such a jerk. That continues this issue, where she leaves Batgirl in the lurch. I hope this is a plot point that’s wrapped up very soon. The second is that this Babs is a little more carefree than I’m used to seeing her behave. Of course, the creative team wanted to add more fun into this, and they have, but still, Babs is a disciplined and careful person by nature, and I don’t think the writers have yet grasped that fully.

The third (MINOR SPOILER WARNING) is that at one point, the villain is mocked for cross-dressing. I believe the creators meant to mock the character himself for being over-the-top, but it comes across as slamming transgender people. The creative team has already issued an apology for this, so I won’t belabor the point. What I will say is that for the last three issues, Babs has taken down three minor and semi-forgettable villains sent against her by a mastermind. I’d like to have more story progression. Three times the same plot is at least one time too many.

Still, it’s great to see Babs in action against a doppleganger, well able to take care of herself, and seizing her own destiny. I like the new cast that’s been introduced and there’s one chilling panel, a callback to Babs in the wheelchair, that shows Tarr can do scary as well as fun. Also, there’s a great panel of the cast in civilian formal wear, which is fantastic. But I’m ready for this story of someone behind the scenes sending enemies at Batgirl to be done. My guess is Jim Gordon Jr., Babs’ brother, who has never quite been able to let his story succeed at anything.

Age Recommendation: 10 +

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Arrow Season 2.5 #3
Authority Vol. 2 TP
Batgirl Vol. 4 Wanted TP
Batgirl Vol. 5 Deadline HC
Batman #37
Batman And Robin #37
Batman And Robin Vol. 5 The Big Burn HC
Batman Eternal #37
Batman Kelley Jones Gallery Edition HC
Batman Superman #17
Batwoman #37
Catwoman #37
DMZ Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 HC
Earth 2 World’s End #11
Fables #147
Futures End Five Years Later Omnibus HC
Green Lantern New Guardians #37
Identity Crisis Tenth Anniversary Edition HC
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #6
Justice League #37
Kitchen #2 (Of 8)
MAD Magazine #531
Multiversity Thunderworld #1
New 52 Futures End #33
Red Hood And The Outlaws #37
Sandman Overture #4 (Of 6)
Smallville Season 11 Continuity #1 (Of 4)
Spectre Vol. 2 The Wrath Of God TP
Supergirl #37
Superman Batman Vol. 2 TP
Swamp Thing Vol. 5 The Killing Field TP
Teen Titans #5
Teen Titans Go #7
Trinity Of Sin #3
Wonder Woman #37
All-New Captain America #2
All-New X-Men #34
All-New X-Men Vol. 4 All-Different TP
Avengers And X-Men Axis #8 (Of 9)
Axis Hobgoblin #3 (Of 3)
Axis Revolutions #4 (Of 4)
Black Widow #13
Captain Marvel #10
Cyclops Vol. 1 Starstruck TP
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 7 TP
Deadpool Vs X-Force #1-4 Master Set
Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #4 (Of 5)
Deathlok #3
Elektra #9
Fantastic Four #14
Guardians Of The Galaxy #22
Inhuman #10
Marvel Firsts The 1980s Vol. 3 TP
Marvel Masterworks Famous Firsts 75th Anniversary Slipcase Set (2nd Edition)
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble Season Two #2
Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #8
Moon Knight #10
Ms. Marvel #10
Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe Avengers NOW
Powers Bureau Vol. 2 Icons TP
Scarlet Spiders #2 (Of 3)
Spider-Woman #2
Storm #6
Thunderbolts Vol. 5 Punisher Vs The Thunderbolts TP
Uncanny X-Force By Rick Remender The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
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Bigger Bang #2 (Of 4)
Borderlands #5
Complete Junior And Sunny By Al Feldstein HC
G.I. JOE #4
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #209
Ghostbusters Vol. 9 Mass Hysteria Part 2 TP
Ghoul Treasury Edition
Godzilla Cataclysm #5 (Of 5)
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #19
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 4 TP
IDW Winter 2014 Archival And Art Books Sampler
Killogy Halloween Special #1 (One Shot)
My Little Pony Equestria Girls Holiday Special
Ragnarok #3
Rot And Ruin #4
Shadow Show #2 (Of 5)
Star Trek #39
Star Trek New Adventures Vol. 1 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #2 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #18
Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #2 (Of 4)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #36
True Blood Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
Winterworld Vol. 1 La Nina TP
Angel And Faith Season 10 Vol. 1 Where The River Meets The Sea TP
Athena Voltaire Compendium HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #126
Brain Boy #1 (#1 For $1 Edition)
Brain Boy Vol. 2 The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. TP
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #4 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #5
Dream Logic HC
Eerie Comics #6
Lobster Johnson Vol. 4 Get The Lobster TP
Predator Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4)
Trilogy USA HC

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

Comic Book Corner — The Return of Secret Six, Grimm Fairy Tales, and Groot!

secretsixcover1-1--106115-640x320
Secret Six #1 cover, copyright DC Comics. The question “What is the Secret?” is a literal one in the book.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, we welcome the return of the Secret Six, learn the history behind Grimm Fairy Tales‘ “Krampus,” and read an entire comic with “I am Groot” as the only dialogue.

Dakster Sullivan — Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition 2104 by Anne Toole with art by Butch Mapa

Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition \ Image: Zenescope
Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition. Image: Zenescope.

Grimm Fairy Tales Holiday Edition 2014 is really cool and gives readers an insight into the history of the Krampus and his role in the Grimm world. Sela takes center stage this year, as Shang tells the students about the creature who kills children during the holiday season. It’s kind of touching, in a Grimm Fairy Tales way.

It’s a story that shows what it means to be a parent and what the death of your child can drive you to.

The new direction the Grimm Fairy Tales series has taken has been a fun and refreshing ride, compared to the stories they used to turn out. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend you do.

Age recommendation: 17+

Corrina — Secret Six #1 by Gail Simone, Ken Lashley, and Drew Geraci; Gotham by Midnight #1 by Ray Fawkes and Ben Templesmith

Of the titles lost in the reboot of the DC Comics universe several years ago, Secret Six may have had the most fervent fanbase. Simone’s collection of losers, villains, and just plain odd characters made for compelling drama. These people wanted to do the right thing, especially by their teammates, but often had little conception of what that “right thing” meant. Still, they ended up a family, if a dysfunctional one.

Now they’re back. Some of them, anyway, and trapped (quite literally) inside a box, fighting each other and fighting a deadly countdown. Catman has the spotlight for the issue, as he’s grabbed and dumped in said box that also holds several characters created by Simone: the assassin Strix, the surly and powerful teenager Black Alice, the female Ventriloquist, and a couple that seem to be original to this issue. As I jokingly said to Simone on Twitter, this issue is better than canned beer and sliced bread at the same time. Lashley’s art is gritty and makes terrific use of shadows to increase the rising menace.

My only complaint? The issue is too short and by the time the reader realizes just how bad the situation is, the issue ends on a cliffhanger. Argh.

Age Recommendation: 12 +

GOTHAM_BY_midnight
Gotham by Midnight #1 cover by Ben Templesmith. Copyright DC Comics.

The Bat-office continued their hot streak last week with the release of the creepy and compelling Gotham by Midnight, which focuses on the supernatural threats to Gotham. This reads like an independent comic rather than a mainstream superhero title, and the reason is largely Templesmith’s moody and stylistic panels, something with part of them deliberately murky or even undone to simulate the menace just lurking out of sight.

The setup is that someone from Gotham Police Department’s Internal Affairs has come to shut down the special unit, lead by Jim Corrigan, who’s also secretly the supernatural spirit of vengeance called The Spectre. In the meantime, the team investigates a crime that Corrigan can sense is supernatural in nature: the disappearance of a number of children.

Age Recommendation: 15 + for mood, not gore, and for children in danger.

Lisa Tate — Rocket Raccoon #5 bySkottie Young

Rocket Raccoon #5 \ Image: Marvel Comics
Rocket Raccoon #5. Image: Marvel Comics.

Artist Skottie Young answers the question “is a comic consisting almost entirely of one phrase worth reading, much less worth the $4 cover price?” If that phrase is “I am Groot,” yes it is.

Written by Young with artwork by him and Jake Parker, this Marvel stand-alone story is purely for fun. Readers don’t need to have read any previous Rocket Raccoon or Guardians of the Galaxy titles to fully understand, appreciate, and enjoy this tale.

Slightly embarrassed and disgruntled to retell a story about the search for treasure to a group of eager young space scouts, Rocket tells Groot to share the story himself. Groot takes on the task with gusto. The “Groot-speak” becomes such a part of the comic, even the background signage gets overtaken by it with delightful results. There’s also a brief comic cameo, but I won’t give away who it is.

Young’s infectious style is at its best in this story and is so filled with character, charm, and details, I almost found myself wanting to hug the issue when I finished. I also read this aloud to my five-year-old and finding different ways to say “I am Groot” to fit the story had us both laughing at the end. If there’s any furry little militant mammal and his sentient tree friend who can bridge the generation gap, it’s Rocket and Groot, and this is the issue that completely nails it.
Age Recommendation: Teen (although this one shot is suitable for all ages)

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Action Comics #37
Aquaman And The Others #8
Batman Essentials Batman Hush #1
Batman Eternal #35
Batman The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 TP
Detective Comics #37
Earth 2 #29
Earth 2 World’s End #9
Fairest #32
Flash Season Zero #3
Gotham Academy #3 GM
Grayson #5
Green Arrow #37
Green Lantern #37
Hinterkind #13
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Three #5
Justice League 3000 #12
Lobo #3
Looney Tunes #222
Marshal Law TP
Movement Vol. 2 Fighting For The Future TP
Names #4 (Of 9)
New 52 Futures End #31
New 52 Futures End Vol. 1 TP
Nightwing Vol. 1 Bludhaven TP
Pride Of Baghdad Deluxe Edition HC
Red Lanterns Vol. 5 Atrocities TP
Secret Six #1 New Series
Sinestro #7
Swamp Thing #37
Wolf Moon #1 (Of 6) New Mini-Series
All-New X-Factor #17
Angela Asgard’s Assassin #1 New Series
Axis Revolutions #3 (Of 4)
Captain America Peggy Carter Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (One Shot)
Captain America The Trial Of Captain America Omnibus HC
Captain America Vol. 3 Loose Nuke TP
Deadpool #38
Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #3 (Of 5)
Guardians 3000 #3
Hulk #9
Inhuman #9
Invaders Classic The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Iron Fist The Living Weapon #7
Legendary Star-Lord #6 GM
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #3 (Of 5)
Thanos A God Up There Listening HC
Thanos Vs Hulk #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
X-Men Inferno Prologue HC
Young Avengers By Kieron Gillen And Jamie McKelvie Omnibus HC
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Adventures In Oz Vol. 1 TP
G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 6 HC
X-Files Season 10 #19 GM
Alien Vs Predator Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4)
Angel And Faith Season 10 #9
Essential Kurtzman Vol. 1 Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book HC
Ghost #10
Ghost Fleet #2
Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Mighty TP
New Lone Wolf And Cub Vol. 3 TP
Tiger Lung HC

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Axis, The 10th Muse, X-Files, and Penguins of Madagascar

Panel from Avengers and X-Men: AXIS by Terry Dodson. © Marvel Comics
Panel from Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5 by Terry Dodson. © Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I have a few words for The 10th Muse artist.  Meanwhile, Lisa dives head first into the world of the Madagascar Penguins, Sophie says a final farewell to The X-Files: Zero Year, and Kelly finds herself in the upside-down world of Avengers & X-Men: Axis.

Dakster Sullivan — The Odyssey Presents: The 10th Muse #1 written by Paul Storrie with art by J. Bruce Bogle (Bluewater)

I’ve never read much from Bluewater, but one book I enjoyed thoroughly was The Muse. As part of the reboot, we meet an old ally, Morgan Wulf, and watch as she gets use to high school and her new powers as The Muse.

After dying at Grayson Bishop’s hands, Morgan has been given a second chance and was reborn into a teenager and then adopted by The 10th Muse’s parents.

The story was great and I enjoyed reading Morgan go through her first day in her new life as an adopted teen starting a new life in a new place. She handles her first day relatively well, even after a crazed teenage girl with a chip on her shoulder interrupts her lunch period by attacking a classmate.

I’m all for heroines for the younger generation to look up to and the story itself was straight out of the high school yard, but the art… Well, let’s just say I have a few comments about that.

The original 10th Muse series was beautiful in terms of art and how the story came across. The reboot, however, has high school girls dressed in clothes that would make a hooker go “WTF?” The rest of the cast isn’t much better in terms of overall appearance and appeal. The only word I have to describe the art is “messy.”

For the time being, I’m debating on whether or not to continue reading this series. While the story was great, for me, a comic needs to have at least decent art to keep me excited about it.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Lisa Tate — Penguins of Madagascar #1 by Alex Matthews Lucas Fereyra​ (Titan Comics)

Penguins of Madagascar \ Image: Titan Comics
Penguins of Madagascar \ Image: Titan Comics

Honestly, the only real reason I watched the any of the Madagascar sequels was for the penguins. Those militant little flightless birds had me hooked at “Cute and Cuddly, Boys” and “Well, this sucks!”

With the fearsome and feathery foursome own big screen feature opening Nov. 26, just in time for Thanksgiving weekend, Titan Comics will release the first in its four part Dreamworks’ Penguins of Madagascar all ages comic series by Alex Matthews, with art by Lucas Fereyra, that same day.

In this first issue’s story, “The Great Drain Robbery,” Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private attempt to refine their culinary offerings by rerouting the disposal lines of high end restaurants to their bunker…a fine plan until the King of Rats gets word of the heist.

For kids, this issue has plenty of those little extras that make all ages comics fun, including a “Which Penguin Are You” game, puzzles, a mini-poster and bonus story by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art by Anthony Williams and Dan Davis. Parents know, however, these extras are just fluff if the story itself isn’t appealing.

Fortunately, it bears the same appeal as the other adventures of the penguins in both movies and their television series, funny—and punny—adventurous, fast-moving and just plain silly. Stories are short enough to be easily digestible (no penguin diet pun intended) by younger readers. This is one series parents won’t mind picking up the entire series for their kids and themselves.

Age Recommendation: All ages

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Year Zero #5 written by Karal Kesel with art: Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra (IDW Comics)

The X-Files: Zero year #5 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files: Zero year #5 \ Image: IDW Publishing

It’s with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to The X-Files: Year Zero. The five issue mini-series has been consistently excellent and thankfully this fifth and final installment doesn’t break that trend. Mulder and Scully have solved the question of Dell’s mother and it’s her second sight that leads them to the Pine Barrens and to Dell. Plus, there’s also a very funny little moment when one of Mulder’s outlandish theories turns out to be something far more mundane.

Mulder and Scully’s part of the story wraps up in a classic X-Files conclusion with Mulder bluffing his way out of a potentially life-threatening situation, some answers being given, but other questions being presented too. I hope the answer to one of those is that we’ll be getting more of Ellinson and Ohio in the future.

Speaking of whom, back in 1947 we see Ellinson and Ohio taking on their new assignment and a new, rather familiar office, of their own. There’s some great parallels with Mulder and Scully and the relationship we’ve seen grow between them (oh crap, I think I’m starting to ship these two now—I’m naming this Ohellison), and a little mention for next month’s Christmas special in which we’ll get to see these guys again. It’s a nice, neat ending with just the right dose of mystery thrown in thanks to Dorothy’s letter.

There are a few things that don’t sit quite right with me throughout. Mulder reading Ms. Savoy’s private journal while she was unconscious felt a little off – although I have to admit I wouldn’t put it past him – and Scully seems just a little too accepting of the crazy stories she’s being told, although again times have indeed changed. The last few panels too, which appear to contradict something we saw on the show, didn’t quite sit right, but all in all it’s a well written conclusion to a great storyline.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Kelly Knox — Avengers & X-Men: Axis by Rick Remender and Jim Cheung, Terry Dodson, Adam Kubert and Leinil Yu (Marvel Comics)

© Marvel Comics
© Marvel Comics

It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten into an event comic series, but thanks to the Women of Marvel podcast, Avengers & X-Men: Axis has me hooked.  With a standalone weekly series and only a few optional crossovers into other books, Axis is an accessible nine-issue series that’s perfect for marathoning over the holiday weekend.

Axis #1 kicks off in the middle of the action, but readers new to the party are quickly caught up in the prologue. Red Skull has taken the brain of dead-again Charles Xavier (eww, I know) and grafted it onto his own (double eww). This has granted him Xavier’s staggering mental powers. Red Skull declared war on mutantkind, but when Magneto retaliated, Red Skull transformed into the horrific Onslaught. Axis #1 begins as the Avengers and X-Men team up to take down one of the most powerful foes they’ve ever faced.

As they grow desperate in the fight to defeat him, their tactics have unintended consequences. I won’t spoil too much, but let me just tease you with: Stark Sentinels. Hulk’s Hulk. The Superior Iron Man. All of this and more is born from the events in Axis. Rick Remender keeps the action moving quickly, and his take on Spider-Man in Axis #5 is simply fun to read. The art in Terry Dodson’s issues is exquisite as always.

If you’ve been wary of event books that are confusing and a little too grandiose for their own good, consider giving Avengers & X-Men: Axis a try. The limited series seems to stand alone just fine on its own, and you’ll get to see the new Captain America (Sam Wilson) in action.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Absolute Batman Haunted Knight HC
American Vampire Vol. 6 TP
Aquaman #36
Arkham Manor #2 New Series
Batman ’66 #17
Batman And Robin Vol. 4 Requiem For Damian TP
Batman Beyond Universe #16
Batman Eternal #34
Batman Eternal Vol. 1 TP
Batwoman Vol. 5 Webs TP
Bodies #5 (Of 8)
Catwoman #36
Catwoman Vol. 5 Race Of Thieves TP
Dead Boy Detectives #11
Deathstroke #2 New Series
Earth 2 World’s End #8
Flash #36
Gotham By Midnight #1 New Series
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #19 GeekMom Recommended
Hinterkind Vol. 2 Written In Blood TP
Infinity Man And The Forever People #5
JSA Omnibus Vol. 2 HC
Justice League Dark #36
Justice League Trinity War TP
New 52 Futures End #30 Weekly Series
Punk Rock Jesus Deluxe Edition HC
Red Lanterns #36
Secret Origins #7
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #4
Superman #36
Trinity Of Sin Pandora Vol. 2 TP
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #11
All-New Ghost Rider #9
All-New Invaders #12
All-New Invaders Vol. 2 Original Sin TP
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1.1 Learning To Crawl TP
Amazing X-Men #13
Avengers #38
Avengers And X-Men Axis #1 New Event
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #2 New Series
Captain America Epic Collection Vol. 1 Captain America Lives Again TP
Cyclops #7
Deadpool Vol. 6 Original Sin TP
Deadpool Vs Carnage #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Death Of Wolverine The Logan Legacy #5
Deathlok #2
Edge Of Spider-Verse #5
Inhuman Vol. 1 Genesis TP
Marvel Masterworks Golden Age All-Winners Vol. 2 TP
Marvel Previews #136 (December 2014 For Products On-Sale February 2015)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Web Warriors #1 Kid Friendly
New Avengers #27
New Warriors #12
Nova #24 GeekMom Recommended
Oz Road To Oz TP
Painkiller Jane The 22 Brides TP
Savage Wolverine Vol. 4 The Best There Is HC
Scarlet Spiders #1 New Series
Secret Avengers #10
Spider-Man 2099 #6
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #17
Superior Iron Man #2 New Series
Wolverine And The X-Men #12
Wolverine By Jason Aaron The Complete Collection Vol. 4 TP
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Angry Birds Transformers #1 (Of 4) New Kid Friendly Series
Edward Scissorhands #2 (Of 5)
G.I. JOE #3 New Series
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #18
Judge Dredd #25
Nelvana Of The Northern Lights HC
Samurai Jack #14
Shadow Show #1 (Of 5) New Mini Series
Skylanders #2 (Of 5)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #40 GeekMom Recommended
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #2 (Of 4)
Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #35
Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #4
X-Files Year Zero #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Aliens Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4)
Arkwright Integral HC
Axe Cop Vol. 6 The American Choppers TP
Bad Blood TP
Baltimore The Wolf And The Apostle #2 (Of 2)
Borgias HC
Captain Midnight #17
Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 28 Blood And Ice And Other Stories TP
Colder The Bad Seed #2 New Serires
Conan The Avenger #8
Elfquest The Final Quest #6
Father’s Day #2 (Of 4)
Grindhouse Doors Open At Midnight Double Feature Vol. 2 Bride Of Blood And Flesh Feast Of The Devil Doll TP
Halo Escalation #12
Hellboy Weird Tales HC
Massive #29
Mind MGMT #28
POP #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Satoshi Kon’s OPUS TP
Sundowners #4
Tales Of An Imperfect Future HC
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle Vol. 1 TP
Tomb Raider #10
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #5 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Vandroid TP
White Suits TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

Comic Book Corner — Batgirl, My Little Pony, Teen Titans, Scooby Doo, and More!

The women of The Kitchen, art by Ming Doyle, image via Vertigo.
The women of The Kitchen, art by Ming Doyle, image via Vertigo.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we have a little bit for everyone from My Little Pony to The X-Files, Batgirl, Teen Titans, and Scooby Doo!

Dakster Sullivan — My Little Pony Omnibus Vol. 1 by Katie Cook with art by Andy Price

This past Saturday, one of my local comic book stores was hosting a “Toys for Tots” event, and I showed up to support my fellow cosplayers in attendance for the cause. While there, my son took his usual spot on the floor in the kids area and picked up whatever he thought looked interesting. After an hour of walking the store and mingling, I went back to retrieve him and it was like I didn’t exist. He was so engrossed in his book that I think it would have taken a fire to get him moving.

The book, was My Little Pony Omnibus Vol. 1. I’m not surprised that this caught his attention because of how much he loves the series, but what surprised me was that not only did he refuse to leave the store without it and spent his own money to buy it ($24.99), he also read it all the way home. Even when we got home, if he saw me reading it, all of a sudden he had to pick up where he had left off.

Image: Dakster Sullivan
Image: Dakster Sullivan

As a parent, to find a book that your child likes to read is worth it’s weight in gold. And for my son to be in a comic book store and openly reading My Little Pony when he usually hides his pony love where no one can see it just blows me away.

I was curious to see what was holding his attention and after an hour, I realized it had my attention as well. The return of Nightmare Moon, Big Mac’s crazy day, the story of how Princess Cadence met Shining Armor (and his geeky past) were too much to put down.

If you haven’t read any of the My Little Pony series yet, it’s a a real treasure to have and I highly recommend you check it out.

Age Recommendation: All ages

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lisa Tate — Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1 Special Edition featuring Batman and Robin Written by Sholly Fisch and art by Dario Brizuela

Batman and Scooby Doo Team-Up \ Image: Halloween ComicFest
Batman and Scooby Doo Team-Up \ Image: Halloween ComicFest

Of all the Halloween ComicFest offerings this year, my five-year-old was more excited abut getting DC Comics’ Scooby-Doo Team-Up than any of the others, even over favorites My Little Pony and Vamplets.

In this free special edition of this title’s first issue, Man Bat and Robbin’, Scooby and Mystery Inc. run into the Dynamic Duo, who are in town searching for the menace known as Man-Bat, the genetic hybrid accident who was once brilliant scientist Kirk Lagstrom.

In true Scooby form, the gang run into a trio of other man-bat-like robbers in the middle of a mall heist, while trying to get the antidote to the real Man-Bat. With a little Scooby Gang help and Batman ingenuity, as well as a well-timed sale at House of Rope, this super team-up saves the day.

Everything about this book screams retro, from the simple, brightly-colored art, to the smiling Batman and bare-legged Robin. There’s even a quick glimpse at a restaurant dangerously similar to Bob’s Big Boy. That’s what makes this appealing to several generations. It’s a great story for kids, but it’s also a reminder of the Scooby-Doo crossover shows of the 1970s, where guests like Batman and Robin, The Harlem Globetrotters, The Adams Family, Kiss, and Phyllis Diller helped out with the mystery of the afternoon. The thought of it is so face-palming cheesy, it is hard to resist another peek in comic form?

This comic’s easy-to-follow, Saturday morning-style plot is ideal for reading to beginning readers. Older kids will enjoy a quick read, and the Tiny Titans puzzles in the back, as well.

Parents, don’t be surprised if you find yourself reading this sans kids. You might event find yourself involuntarily uttering “Ri’m Ratman.”

Age Recommendation: All ages

Corrina — Batgirl #36 written by Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart and art by Babs Tarr, Teen Titans Earth One, Vol. 1, written by Jeff Lemire and Rachel and Terry Dodson, The Kitchen #1 (Vertigo) written by Ollie Masters and art by Ming Doyle.

I love the new art style on Batgirl. I like the way a diverse cast was introduced this week. I love that Barbara’s main superpower is her intelligence and coolness under fire. The anime references were cute and a welcome addition to a universe that often seems to believe this brand of television shows don’t exist. But I have one pet peeve for the creative team: Dinah Lance (Black Canary) has never been mean or hateful, no matter how badly she’s been written. She is here. Please stop. I had such high hopes of seeing Dinah and Babs be friends and this nastiness is harshing my mellow for the series.

Age recommendation: 10 +.

Teen Titans Earth One continues the re-imagining of the DC Universe by DC’s top talent. Lemire and the Dodsons tackle Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Teen Titans, a property I’ve loved for nearly 30 years. Did I like this new version? Well, it’s a terrific and involving story that reminded me somewhat of Marvel’s The Runaways, in that all the soon-to-be Titans are about the same age and most know each other through school, and that there’s something mysterious going on with their parents. It’s a fine story in which the plot is held together by a mysterious psychic call from the Starfire of this world.

However, it doesn’t feel very Titan-ish. The main premise of that series was young heroes growing into their own, while trying to live up to their mentors. There are no mentors here, just bad and worse parents. And Dick Grayson/Robin/Nightwing, the calm center of the group, is missing as well.

In conclusion: fine story, great art, and a cliffhanger ending but it’s best to put the Wolfman/Perez Titans out of your mind before reading. Due out 11/25.

Age recommendation: tweens and above.

I was pleased to see Kitchen #1 in my review pile this week because I love Ming Doyle’s art and I even have a commission of Jim Gordon that she did for me hanging on my wall. The Kitchen series is about three women living in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, in the 1970s. Their mobster husbands have been sent to jail, leaving them to hold things together for their families and to make sure their husbands’ businesses doesn’t fall apart.  I love the darker color palettes Doyle uses in different scenes and the sense of a neighborhood half-falling apart that oozes out of each page. These are desperate women who’ll have to be at least as violent as their husbands to survive.
Age Recommendation: Adult situations

Sophie Brown —The X-Files Season 10 #17 & 18 written by Joe Harris (A) Colin Lorimer

Issue 17 wraps up September’s Immaculate story with some strange choices, including the sudden and improbable arrival of former FBI Agent Frank Black. Frank was of course the protagonist for the TV show Millennium which shared a fictional universe with The X-Files (Frank himself appeared in a single episode of the show). He’s introduced quite cleverly here by using a throwaway line from Mulder over a full page dramatic portrait, but unless you were familiar with the character you would easily fail to recognise him and so the drama is lost. The same goes for Scully’s mysterious communique which arrives in a bag stamped with the logo of the Millennium group, something only die hards would recognise.

I also found it strange that Mulder was the one toeing the FBI line and being given the strange, paranormal version of the story by another source. The religious storylines were always the episodes where Mulder & Scully switched sides in the believer/skeptic playing field, but here the sudden intrusion of a third party makes the whole thing feel off, not to mention the hinted at sexual relationship between a preacher and an underage girl which is not given the weight such a serious subject deserves. This could have been a truly great issue, but it never quite stepped up to the plate.

Issue 18,, meanwhile promised to resolve the now 18-month-old mystery of what happened to Agents John Doggett and Monica Reyes during the first arc of Season 10. For those needing a refresher, Doggett was apparently killed in an oil pipe explosion while Reyes disappeared when she investigated the Van de Kamp family – adoptive parents of the currently missing William Scully. The issue certainly delivered what it claimed it would.

However, that’s all it did. The entire 22 page book could be easily condensed down into a single sentence and just when you think it’s about to really get going, it ends. And there were a few out of character moments that niggled me, including Scully’s huge hug for Doggett and the awkward crowbarring in of a mention for January’s upcoming Millennium series.

But there’s also some great moments here too. Doggett & Reyes’ basement reunion is drawn beautifully, in fact the artwork throughout is some of the most cinematic and interesting from the series. Unfortunately the issue itself feels like filler and as this was a standalone, we won’t even see any resolution to the new questions it has raised next month.
Age Recommendation: 12 plus.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books on ComiXology!

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — My Little Pony, Astro City, and DC Comics

My Little Pony Halloween ComicFest 2014. Image IDW Publishing.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I enjoyed the Star Trek references in My Little Pony, Lisa flew high with Astro City, and Corrina has a few words with DC Comics and their current quality of work.

Dakster Sullivan — My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – Halloween ComicFest edition by Jeremy Whitley and Tony Fleecs

The comic book I was most excited to check out during Halloween ComicFest this past Saturday was My Little Pony. I’ve never been disappointed by any of the My Little Pony stories, and I was sure that this would be a joy to read.

I’m only on the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic right now, so the Cutie Mark Crusaders and especially Discord are still new characters for me to digest. Discord is played by Star Trek: Next Generation actor John de Lance, whose character on MLP is like a ponified (is that a word?) version of his character “Q” on Star Trek. As I was reading this issue, I could hear de Lance’s voice and see his mannerisms in the character.

When the Cutie Mark Crusaders run out of things to try for their cutie marks, Discord shows up to “help” them out. The story is full of bouncing back and forth between various activities, with a special “Trekkie” scene that made me laugh out loud.

It’s no surprise that at the end of the story, the Cutie Mark Crusaders still don’t have their cutie marks. I’d have to say that my favorite part was the warm fuzzies I got on the last couple of pages between the Crusaders and Discord.

It’s rare for me to find a free comic book that I would actually pay for to get in my collection. This one not only hits the mark, I can honestly say if I had not been able to get a copy, I would have searched high and low for one on eBay.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lisa Tate — Astro City #16 by Author Kurt Busiek, art by Brent Eric Anderson, and cover by Alex Ross (Vertigo)

Astro City #16 \ Image: Vertigo
Astro City #16. Image: Vertigo

The beauty of Astro City creative team of Busiek, Anderson, and Ross, is that they have been consistently together since the creation of the title. As a result, their familiarity has given them the opportunity to fine tune and explore more and more aspects of the Astro City universe. This has taken them to Markham High School in a nearby community, where a teenage super villain and hero have come to a shaky arrangement. The villainous genius Simon Says, who we learned was the product of bullying, sets a brief truce and asks an unusual favor of the kindhearted town hero, Starbright. When Starbright grants his wish, Simon betrays him in true super-villain form, later to discover the secret that makes him look deeper into his own personal prejudices.

What struck me about this story is that it began with an often-visited theme of bullying those who are different. I am by no means criticizing this, but it sheds a new light onto those who are often accused of being the bullies. Simon learns to accept who he really is only after realizing his own tendency to stereotype. It is a nice twist on the usual bullying scenario, while still sharing the message of loving who you are in Busiek’s well-crafted gift of storytelling.

Age Recommendation: Teen +

Corrina — A Gotham Resurgence in Quality?

I’ve jokingly referred to DC’s reboot of their entire comic line three years ago as the “anti-Corrina” reboot, because it has done basically the exact opposite of what I love to read in comics. All the terrific stories and familiar character interactions and even character growth were tossed aside. In their place was some weird amalgam of gory violence and cynical happenings. Not heroic, not interesting, and not for me, aside from a few outliers.

Harley Quinn Comic Con
Harley Quinn at Comic Con. Image via DC Comics.

But lately, things are changing. That was evident to me when I opened the last two packages of books that DC sent me to review. Last week, I enjoyed all but one title. This week, all the titles. Granted, I only get a sample, but those of you who read my reviews know how rare that it. Usually, I find a gem in a bunch. Now, I find a few shiny stones and a few gems.

batman eternal
Gordon gets arrested in Batman: Eternal. Image via DC Comics.

Leading this resurgence is Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Chad Hardin, the most twisted and the most fun comic I’ve read in a long time. It’s also one of DC’s top-selling titles, which no one expected. For the regular Bat-books, the weekly title Batman: Eternal brings in all that wonderful Gotham history surrounding an over-riding mystery.  Gotham Academy continued the trend of innovation from the Bat-comics, with its Hogwarts-meets-Gotham approach and distinctive art and voice, along with the new direction for Batgirl. But I considered those outliers until last week, when I also received Catwoman #35 by Genevieve Valentine and Garry Brown and Arkham Manor #1 by Gerry Duggan and Shawn Crystal.

The new direction in Catwoman features her taking over Gotham’s crime families, in an effort to bring some order to a Gotham now falling apart due to the events in Batman: Eternal. I approached the idea with skepticism, but was won over in this issue by the portrait of a Selina, who does care about Gotham and the people in it, but because of who she is, takes a much different approach to helping them than the police or heroes like Batman. Selina is smart, resourceful, courageous, and ruthless—and it all works.

Arkham Manor’s premise is that Wayne Manor is taken over by the city as the new criminal asylum, since Arkham Asylum has been destroyed and the mentally ill patients are sleeping in tents in the city’s stadiums. A cool idea, especially as Bruce lets this happen, because these people do need a roof over their heads and a place where they can be helped. However, this being Gotham, something goes awry and people are murdered inside the new facility. Bruce steals the identity of a homeless man and gets admitted to Arkham Manor as a patient. The story promises not only a mystery, but a chance to flesh out the history of Wayne Manor and, thus, Bruce’s own history.

Grayson Futures End
Grayson: Futures End issue. Copyright DC Comics.

The one title in the Batman line that I’m not enjoying is Grayson, with its trippy Prisoner-like stories. I don’t understand the characterization of Dick Grayson, nor do I always follow the trippy logic. However, I give high points to the creative team for doing something different and original, even if it’s not to my taste.

I can only hope that this quality lasts, because DC does still have two weekly titles that seem obsessed with death and destruction and heroes being not-very-heroic, and that’s the apostrophe-less Futures End and Earth 2: Worlds End.

The first concerns a horrible future five years in the DC future and the second is about the events that led to this future. My fondest wish is that by the end of these titles, those bleak futures are swept away and the titles that result are a change in the overall tone of the line.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

100 Bullets Vol. 1 TP
Batman Eternal #30
DC Comics Zero Year HC
Earth 2 World’s End #4
Green Lantern Vol. 4 Dark Days TP
Green Lantern Vol. 5 Test Of Wills HC
Harley Quinn Annual #1
Justice League Dark Annual #2
Justice League United Annual #1
New 52 Futures End #26
Preacher Vol. 6 TP
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #3
Sinestro #6
Swamp Thing Annual #3
Vertigo Quarterly Yellow #1
Wonder Woman #35
All-New X-Men #33
Amazing Spider-Man #6
Axis Carnage #1 (Of 3) New Mini-Series
Axis Revolutions #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Deadpool And Cable Omnibus HC
Deadpool Annual #2
Death Of Wolverine Deadpool And Captain America #1
Death Of Wolverine The Logan Legacy #3
Deathlok #1 New Series
Elektra #7
Fantastic Four #12
Guardians Of The Galaxy #20 GeekMom Recommended
Hawkeye Vs Deadpool #0
Howard The Duck Omnibus HC
Inhuman #7
Iron Man Epic Collection Vol. 1 The Golden Avenger TP
Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1
Marvel Masterworks The Avengers Vol. 6 TP
Marvel Previews #135 (November 2014 For Products On-Sale January 2015)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #31
Miracleman Vol. 2 The Red King Syndrome HC
Nova #22
Original Sin HC
Savage Wolverine Vol. 2 Hands On A Dead Body TP
Thanos A God Up There Listening #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Thunderbolts #32
Uncanny X-Men Iron Man Nova No End In Sight TP
Wolverine And The X-Men #11
Wolverine And X-Men Vol. 1 Tomorrow Never Learns TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Anne Rice’s Servant Of The Bones HC
Basil Wolverton’s Weird Worlds Artist’s Edition HC
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #5 (Of 6) Kid-Friendly
IDW Fall 2014 Kids Comics Sampler
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #2 Kid-Friendly
Rot And Ruin #1 New Series
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #34
Aliens Fire And Stone #2 (Of 4)
Baltimore The Wolf And The Apostle #1 (Of 2)
Blackout Vol. 1 Into The Dark TP
Blade Of The Immortal Vol. 30 Vigilance TP
Captain Midnight #16
Chronicles Of King Conan Vol. 9 The Blood Of The Serpent And Other Stories TP
Conan The Avenger #7
Deep Gravity #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
EC Archives Tales From The Crypt Vol. 5 HC
Goon Occasion Of Revenge #3 (Of 4)
Groo Vs Conan #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Massive #28
Mike Norton’s Battlepug Vol. 3 Sit Stay Die HC GeekMom Recommended
Mind MGMT #27
Project Black Sky Secret Files TP
Sundowners #3 New Series
Vachss Underground HC

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Power Ponies, Lumberjanes, and Doctor Who

Meet the Power Ponies \ Image: ComiXology
Meet the Power Ponies \ Image: ComiXology

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I dive into the world of the Power Ponies while Lisa tackles Doctor Who, and Sophie has a sleepover with the Lumberjanes.

Dakster Sullivan — My Little Pony Annual 2014 by Ted Anderson with art by Ben Bates

MLP Annual 2014 \ Image: IDW Publishing
MLP Annual 2014 \ Image: IDW Publishing

My Little Pony Annual takes us on a journey to Maretropolis, a world that the Mane Six and Spike visited briefly in season four of the TV series. Maretropolis is the home of The Power Ponies, a superhero powered group similar to the Justice League. The issue takes off running with a robbery by the Pharaoh and his mummy minions (say that six times fast). The Power Ponies rush in to save the day and after the glamor of their victory is complete, we see their true nature at Power Pony Headquarters and it’s not pretty. They are the most disagreeable group I’ve seen. It’s a wonder they can cooperate when taking on the baddies.

Their lack of friendship is what ultimately puts them at the mercy of their rouges gallery.

Looking back, the entire issue reminds me of an episode of the Justice League: The Animated Series when Gorilla Grodd formed the Legion of Doom and they almost took out the Justice League. The way the Power Ponies ultimately overcame the evil Mane-iac and her evildoer team was fun to read. Taking down the bad guys took least amount of play out time in the book, but the lack of time involved in the final battle didn’t bother me.

Overall it was a very fun read and well worth the money I had to fork out for it, which was a little more than normal because of it being an annual issue.

Age Recommendation: All Ages

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lumberjanes #7 \ Image: IDW Publishing
Lumberjanes #7 \ Image: IDW Publishing

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #7 by Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson with art by Brooke A. Allen

Lumberjanes #7 answers a lot of questions for us but leaves plenty to be going along with as well. The issue opens with the girls, now teamed up with Camp Counselor Jen, attempting to retrieve the mysterious crystal from Rosie’s office. There’s some great old-fashioned farce comedy and a lot that will appeal to adults too as Jen flips from exhilaration at going against the rules to terror when she realizes she’s probably about to get fired!

In the woods the secret identity of Diane is confirmed, and if you were paying attention last issue then I doubt it will come as much of a surprise. There’s some drama when parts of the group realize others have been keeping things from them, and nothing runs smoothly while suspicions are flung about, but that never stops them from working together. Friendship to the max after all! Of course it’s not long until something happens that draws them all together once again and leaves us on yet another cliffhanger.

My favorite thing about this issue is the art during the walk through the woods. As Diane explains her story the background shifts behind the girls from the dark woods to artwork reminiscent of Ancient Greece. The panels give the impression that the girls are walking around the side of the sort of ancient pottery you’ve probably seen in a museum. It’s subtle but beautiful and really adds to the background of the story without the need for adding in forced flashbacks. It’s these details that really make Lumberjanes a cut above so many of the comics currently on shelves.

Age Recommendation: All ages

Lisa Tate — Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Adventures #3 by Rob Williams with art by Simon Fraser and Gary Caldwell

Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Adventures #3 \ Image: Titan Comics
Doctor Who Eleventh Doctor Adventures #3 \ Image: Titan Comics

Like the difference between the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors’ on-screen incarnations, the Eleventh Doctor’s new Titan Comics Series takes on a style completely its own.

While the Tenth’s Doctor’s first adventure is fast, sarcastic, and slightly dark, this series is a little more wild and lively with an edge of melancholy. It certainly is more colorful, both literally, in the characters and aliens portrayed, and in the storytelling style.

This story takes place soon after the events in Issue #2’s story (penned by Al Ewing with the same art team). In #2 Doctor’s mis-timed attempt to treat his new companion, Alice Obiefune, to the unspoiled paradise of the planet Rokhandi, he lands in the planet’s new, garish, and over-the-top-happy theme park where unhappy or disagreeable guests are handled in a sweetly sinister way. He “corrects” this dilemma, in a way, but actually makes things a much worse for Rockhandi.

In this third issue, the same entity behind the theme park fiasco seems to taking on a more devilish role in helping struggling musicians get their big break. This includes one young, talentless little performer in the 1960s, John Jones, who seems vaguely familiar in a pre-Bowie/Ziggy Stardust, David Jones kind of way. As in true Doctor/Companion formula, the pair have to figure out when, how, and if this performer blossoms to his superstar status… and who’s behind this music history hiccup.

The Eleventh Doctor has always been one of the more childlike incarnations of The Doctor, and the humor, some of it a little sophomoric, keeps that sense. However, the most interesting character is Alice. I like Alice as a companion quite a bit. She’s resourceful, smart, and not two dimensional.

The Doctor took her on board as a way to help cheer her up after a series of tragic turns in her life, but she doesn’t spend much time either wallowing in self-pity or following The Doctor around like a goggle-eyed loyal puppy.

She lets The Doctor know where he stands in her opinion right way, and it is definitely not in front of her. She even comes across as a protector and savior for Eleven a time or two in the first three issues alone. I know companions come and go, but I hope they keep her around awhile…for the sake of both the reader and The Doctor.

Age Recommendation: Tweens and up

Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor #1 \ Image: Titan Comics
Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor #1 \ Image: Titan Comics

Doctor Who Twelfth Doctor Adventures #1 by Robbie Morrison with art by Dave Taylor

Titan Comics’ latest Doctor Who Adventures series featuring the Twelfth Doctor has just been released, and it more than keeps up with the other two Doctor series.

The Doctor and Clara, thinking they are about to land on a frozen, snow-filled planet, find it has been recently—and artificially—changed to a tropical, hot jungle. Finding the one responsible for the environmental interference is only part of the problem, as The Doctor also investigates the source of an unsettling distress signal he received before landing on the planet.

Unlike the new series for The Doctor’s two previous incarnations, The Twelfth Doctor is still in his inaugural television season, and doesn’t have too many “lost adventures” yet to work with. This comic sticks with his current companion, and familiar face for Whovians, Clara Oswald, who is undergoing the same “real life” and “life with Doctor” juggling as she is in television series. This gives the reader a chance to jump right into the story, without a quick introduction to new characters.

The current Doctor, Peter Capaldi himself, should be pleased with his first comic book portrayal. The dialogue is smart, snappy, and funny. The comfortable interchange between The Doctor and Clara plays well in this story, and even includes The Doctor’s own jabs at his former incarnation.

When The Doctor scolds Clara on caring too much about people’s “packaging” rather than what’s on the inside, she reminds him his last “self” didn’t mind the “odd bit of pretty packaging.”

“The ‘Me’ that thought a fez—an item of apparel resembling and upturned plant-pot—was cool?” he replied, noting a sense of “sophistication and timeless sartorial elegance” has been restored with his current self.

I’ve been keeping up pretty religiously with Titan’s Doctor Who series, and so far this first Twelfth Doctor series has been my favorite. It’s exciting, fast-moving, funny, and mysterious.

I’m looking for that to change when the first of the five-part Ninth Doctor mini-series comes out in March 2015. Even with the Doctor’s changing face, personality, and battles, one thing remains constant: We never know what’s going to be on the other side of the TARDIS when you open that door.

Age Recommendation: Tweens and older

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Adventures Of Superman Volume 2 TP
Batman ’66 Volume 1 TP
Batman ’66 Volume 2 HC
Batman And Robin #35
Batman Eternal #28
Batman Superman #15
Batman Volume 5 Zero Year Dark City HC
Batwoman #35
Earth 2 World’s End #2
Fables #145
Green Lantern New Guardians #35
Hellblazer Volume 9 Critical Mass TP
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #4
Justice League #35
Justice League 3000 Volume 1 Yesterday Lives TP
MAD Magazine #530
New 52 Futures End #24
Red Hood And The Outlaws #35
Supergirl #35
Teen Titans #3
Teen Titans Go #6 Kid Friendly
Trinity Of Sin #1
All-New Ultimates Volume 1 Power For Power TP
All-New X-Factor Volume 2 Change Of Decay TP
Amazing Spider-Man Volume 1 The Parker Luck TP
Avengers And X-Men Axis #2
Avengers World #14
Daredevil #9
Daredevil Volume 1 Devil At Bay TP
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu Out Of The Past TP
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet HC
Deadpool’s Art Of War #1
Death Of Wolverine #4 Final Issue
Death Of Wolverine The Logan Legacy #1
Edge Of Spider-Verse #5
Fantastic Four #11
Hulk #7
Loki Agent Of Asgard #7
Magneto #11
Marvel Masterworks Ms. Marvel Volume 1 HC
Marvel Zombies The Complete Collection Volume 3 TP
Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #6
Ms. Marvel #9
Ms. Marvel Volume 1 No Normal TP
New Avengers #25
Original Sin Annual #1
Painkiller Jane The 22 Brides #3
Powers Volume 1 Who Killed Retro Girl TP
Spider-Man 2099 #5
Spider-Man Newspaper Strips Volume 2 TP
Storm #4
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #16
Thanos A God Up There Listening #2 (Of 4)
Thor Epic Collection Volume 1 The God Of Thunder TP
Uncanny X-Men #27
Wolverine And The X-Men #10
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Adventure Kartel HC
Blaze Brothers Volume 1 TP
Judge Dredd #24
Skippy Volume 3 Complete Dailies 1931–1933 HC
Skylanders #1 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #16 Kid Friendly
Action Philosophers HC
Art Of The Evil Within HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #124
Black Sky Sampler (One Shot)
Bride Of The Water God Volume 16 TP
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #2 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #3
Prometheus Fire And Stone #2 (Of 4)
Star Wars Legacy II Volume 4 Empire Of One TP
Star Wars Volume 4 A Shattered Hope TP
Station 16 HC
Strain The Night Eternal #3
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #10 (Of 12)
Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1 HC
Usagi Yojimbo Saga Volume 1 TP
Veil #5 (Of 5)
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #5 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback 

Disclaimer: Some of the writers may have received review copies of the titles they reviewed.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Doctor Who, Metal Gods, X-Files, The Flash, and Batgirl

batgirl-351
Cover to Batgirl #35. Copyright DC Comics, art by Babs Tarr.

Happy comic release day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Corrina tells us all about the new Batgirl and Metal Gods, while Lisa goes on a journey with a time lord, Sophie visits with The X-Files, and I continue my journey into The Flash!

Dakster Sullivan — The Flash: Season Zero #3 by Brooke Eikmeier, Andrew Kreisberg, and Katherine Walczak with art by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur

In issue #3, Barry continues in his “new to the hero” ways and takes on a “Jumanji” of a situation in Central City. With tigers, monkeys, and gorilla jokes running rampant through this issue, I kept expecting our main villain to be of the talking-gorilla persona. Instead, we are left with a cliffhanger that is making me believe our main villain is of the “mad” persona and one that I didn’t expect to see out of Gotham (you see where I’m going with this?). If the villain is who I think it is, then this series is about to get a lot more interesting.

If I’m wrong and it’s not who I’m thinking, then the series still has its beautiful art and occasional Spider-Man-like jokes to keep it going.

This issue didn’t clear up anything about who knows about Barry’s new double life, but the subtle knocks at Barry by a few individuals is helping me sort it out for myself.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lisa Tate — Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures #2 by Nick Abadzis with art by Elena Casagranda

Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures #2 \ Image: Titan Comics
Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures #2. Image: Titan Comics.

When Titan Comics first announced the first story arc for its new Tenth Doctor series, I was excited by the prospect of The Doctor among the pageantry of the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. However, in true Doctor Who form, the intended celebration becomes a jumping-off point for a completely different type of adventure, as something threatening has entered the planet via a laundromat’s washing machines.

Comic-book veteran Nick Abadzis has done an excellent job with the dialogue, especially the hyper ramblings of The Doctor’s Tenth incarnation. It’s hard not to hear David Tennant’s voice when reading, but that seems to be the intended result. Artist Elena Casagrande captures facial expressions with simplicity and beauty.

Although the first issue of both Titan’s Tenth and Eleventh Doctor series had more alternate covers than I’ve ever seen for a single issue, the cover art on Alice X. Zhang’s issue #1 and #2 is by far the most stunning.

Those used to the fast-paced frenzy of the latter-day episodes of Doctor Who may have felt like grabbing someone’s hand and pulling them along a bit. After all, this issue is primarily dedicated to getting to know the story’s companion, Gabby Gonzalez.

The second issue moves at a much more swifter pace and also keeping with the spirit of Doctor Who, the “monsters” are not what they seem. Keep with the story and there will be excitement, perilous situations, and “an outrageous amount of running involved.”

Age Recommendation: Young readers to adult (If they are old enough to watch the series, they can enjoy the comic.)

Metal Gods Issue 2 Cover
Copyright Von Allan.

Corrina — Metal Gods by Von Allan, Batgirl #35 by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr

Know those creators whose words you read and you think: Why isn’t this person better known? That’s how I feel about Von Allan’s work. From his poignant comic-of-age story The Road To God Knows, his fun all-ages book, Stargazer, and now, Metal Gods, Allan’s a multi-talented artist-writer who’s been the recipient of the Coral Endowment for the Arts Award.

Metal Gods is his latest work. It’s about Nick and his girlfriend Lo, battling a cult that seems to have control of Nick’s wayward and slightly nutty parents. As Allan’s website says,”If you like action, adventure, ‘splosions, and good old fashioned storytelling, we think it will be right up your alley.” You can find the first three issues on Comixology.

Age Recommendation: Adult situations, so at least 14+

Batgirl #35: This has been the eagerly awaited first issue of not only a new creative team, but a look and feel that’s part of DC’s effort to do something new and different with their monthly comics. The first of those books to hit stands was Gotham Academy #1 last week and it’ll include the upcoming Arkham Manor.

It’s hard to describe what this issue of Batgirl is like without showing you all the interior pages, but to me, this felt like a story set in the DC Animated Universe—and I mean that as high praise. It’s fun, fast-paced, features a Barbara Gordon who uses her intelligence to defeat the villain, and the artwork reminded my younger son of some of his favorite animated universe tie-ins. I was worried this Barbara Gordon would feel like a completely different character, but she’s still Babs, focused and smart, but a little bit more relaxed. I was even more pleased to see Black Canary as part of the supporting cast, though less thrilled to see Canary so angry throughout the issue. The reboot DC did three years ago hasn’t been kind to Canary, so I’m hoping this anger dissipates and she’s back to the more mellow, impetuous, and kick-ass Canary I love. But she’s in the hands of an excellent creative team now, so I have hopes.

As for Barbara, as much as I loved Gail Simone’s first 34 issues of the title (and I did love them), I’m glad to see DC giving this new take a chance too, especially as it’s appealing to all.

Age recommendations: Rated 12 + for sexual situations, though it’s all implied, nothing shown.

The X-Files Year Zero Issue 3 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Year Zero Issue 3. Image: IDW Publishing.

Sophie Brown — X-Files Year Zero #3 by Karl Kesel  with art by Vic Malhotra and Greg Scott

Last week, saw the release of issue three of the Year Zero X-Files spin-off and it was another great installment to an already impressive run.

Last month left Ellinson and Ohio in grave peril, as the Manitou attacked out in an isolated cabin. This month picks up right in the action, as Ellinson explains how they escaped in the form of a written report. As is often the case, the local law enforcement is all too willing to accept the explanation that’s easiest to palette, even if it doesn’t quite account for all the facts—and it’s good to see Ohio’s obvious discomfort with the situation. The first 40s section of the comic ends off with a nice scene between the pair that mimics Mulder and Scully beautifully, as they discuss the events they just witnessed and come to the realization that they might be more alike than they first realized.

In the future, Mulder and Scully are working to convince Mr. Spoon that he is indeed in danger, but he is more concerned with the well-being of the animals at his clinic. It’s a strange scene that has me wondering if there is more meaning than I’m currently seeing embedded within, as it doesn’t function to move the plot very far along before we’re back in 1946.

Ellinson and Ohio’s report goes down as well as you’d expect from a pair of agents assigned to the X-Files, but Ellinson’s a smooth talker and she quickly gets them back on the case to chase up Mr. Zero in Long Island. Ohio gets one heck of a scene (she’s rapidly becoming my favorite comic book character) and we discover that she too has perfected the “Scully Glare”—I guess it’s par for the course when you’ve been partnered up with the bureau maverick! Things soon get interesting when they bump into Dorothy, who has just returned from what she claims was a dinner date on a distant planet, and receive a threatening call from Xero himself.

The final part of the comic is set in the present day and is one of my favorites to date, a classic X-Files stakeout, which leaves plenty of opportunity for some Mulder and Scully bantering. Karl Kesel has perfected the Mulder voice and trademark dry humor, as well as Scully’s knack of getting to the bottom of things as she deflects him. Our favorite agents get some action too (if only…) when they raid Spoon’s home, only things don’t go quite the way they’d planned, leaving us with another fantastic cliffhanger.

Don’t mind me; I’ll just be over here pre-ordering the hardback collection of this truly wonderful series.

Age Recommendation: 15 and up

Looking for something else, readers? Check out Diamond Comics’ complete list of new releases!

Disclaimer: Some of the writers may have received review copies of these titles. 

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Sensation Comics, Gotham Academy, C.O.W.L.

Sensation Comics #7
Sensation Comics #7, Art by Marguerite Sauvage © DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we have a sensational Wonder Woman, meet the new students of Gotham Academy, and find out what the C.O.W.L. is up to.

Kelly Knox — Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #7 by Sean E. Williams and Marguerite Sauvage

Wonder Woman’s weekly digital series—now moved to Thursdays on the release schedule—continues to delight fans of the Amazon princess. Issue #7 asks a “What if?” similar to the one we saw recently with Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Verse: What if our intrepid heroine was a rock star?

The one-shot story doesn’t waste much time asking why she would choose the rock star life over the life of a superhero, but it’s easy to guess why when you see how inspiring she is to her young fans. Even as a rock star in the band “Bullets and Bracelets,” Diana is true to herself and unafraid to speak her mind.

It’s the gorgeous art that really stands out for this issue, though. Marguerite Sauvage does a fantastic job of giving Wonder Woman her rock star makeover while still staying true to her costume and origin. The colors are striking, and I found myself flipping through the issue multiple times just to admire the art.

Age Recommendation: 12+

From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics
From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics

Corrina — Gotham Academy #1 by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, art by Kark Kerschl, colors by Geyser with Dave McCaig.

This is a comic I never thought I’d see from DC. One, the inventive and eye-popping art style that causes me to study every page. Two, the unusual concept of a mysterious and dangerous prep school in Gotham City, sort of a Hogwarts for DC. Three, the book is headlined by a female lead and being written by a woman.

But the real reason to read Gotham Academy is that it’s fun, fascinating, and one of the more immersive books I’ve read in some time. Olive Silverlock is our guide to the academy in the first issue, irreverently introducing us to the headmaster (“Hammer-Head”), her schoolmates, lunch period (Belgian waffles? Sign me up!) , and restricted parts of the Academy which, naturally, Olive and her friend Maps need to explore. Bruce Wayne even makes a short guest-appearance. There are hints that something awful happened to Olive over the summer, which piques my interest as well.

Buy it. There’s nothing else quite like it on the stands.

Age Recommendation: Ages 6+ but be warned there are some scares of the gothic variety.

Lisa Tate — C.O.W.L. #4 by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel with art by Rod Reis

COWL Issue 4 \ Image Comics
C.O.W.L. Issue 4 \ Image Comics

The idea of a labor union as a subject of a comic seems both dry and over-political, but if that union happened to be made up of super-powered individuals and their cohorts, it makes for a pretty intriguing story.

The Chicago Organized Workers League (C.O.W.L.), made up of both “powered” and “unpowered” individuals, has been dubbed the world’s first superhero labor union. In the first three issues of this series, the team has defeated a team of villains, had their information compromised, and has been undergoing contractual negotiations with the city over such thing as cost for uniforms and health insurance. This is not to mention the individual members’ own personal battles with spouses and children, inner demons, reputation, and feelings of inadequacy.

By the fourth issue of the Image Comics release, their union woes are evident, as the mayor’s wish to hire “non-union” heroes has resulted in a C.O.W.L. strike. This now challenges the league’s already shaky camaraderie. Add a little blackmail and civic violence to the mix and the conflict continues to escalate.

I do find the characters a little hard to find sympathetic so far. Each of their stories is interesting enough, but it has been hard to really be moved by their struggles and goals. It also utilizes much of the familiar plot points (super-powers gained by exposure to radiation, the public’s mistrust of costumed vigilantes), but it is the setting itself that helps it stand out.

This series has the smooth and sleek 1960s appeal of The Avengers (the British Science Fiction spy series, not the superhero team), but it cranks it up a notch, with a grittier tone. Reis’s art is so varied, it sometimes looks like one those double issue comics, in which several artists lend their talents to different sections. I did enjoy this environment.

Fans of the 50s and 60s “spy fi” genre will enjoy this book, as long as they aren’t looking for the next Astro City, Watchmen, or even the television series Heroes.

Age Recommendation: Mature

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Action Comics #35
American Vampire Second Cycle #5
Aquaman And The Others #6
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #5 (Of 6)
Batman 75th Anniversary Trade Paperback Commemorative Collection
Batman Essentials: Batman The Black Mirror Special Edition #1
Batman Eternal #26
Batman Superman #14
Batman Vol 4 Zero Year Secret City TP
Detective Comics #35
Fables Deluxe Edition Vol 9 HC
Fairest #30
Fairest Vol 4 Of Men And Mice TP
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics Vol 2 Wish You Were Here TP
Flash Season Zero #1
Flash Special Edition #1
Gotham Academy #1
Grayson #3
Green Arrow #35
Green Lantern #35
Green Lantern New Gods Godhead #1
Hinterkind #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Annual #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Vol 1 HC
Justice League #34
Justice League 3000 #10
Justice League Beyond 2.0 Power Struggle TP
Lobo #1 New Series
Looney Tunes #221 Kid Friendly
Names #2 (Of 8)
New 52 Futures End #22
Swamp Thing #35
Teen Titans Go Titans Together TP
Tiny Titans Return To The Treehouse #5 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Wonder Woman #34
Wonder Woman Vol 4 War TP
Wonder Woman Vol 5 Flesh HC
All-New Ghost Rider Vol 1 Engines Of Vengeance TP
All-New X-Men Vol 1 HC
Black Widow #11
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #1 New Series
Captain America #25
Dark Tower The Drawing Of The Three The Prisoner #3 (Of 5)
Death Of Wolverine #3 (Of 4)
Deathlok The Demolisher The Complete Collection TP
Edge Of Spider-Verse #4 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four Annual #1
Figment #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Guardians 3000 #1 New Series
Iron Man Vol 5 Rings Of The Mandarin HC
Legendary Star-Lord #4 GeekMom Recommended
Magneto Vol 1 Infamous TP
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #1 (Of 5)
Miracleman #11
Moon Knight #8
Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol 1 Bad Moon Rising TP
Moon Knight Vol 1 From The Dead TP
New Mutants X-Force Demon Bear TP
Silver Surfer #6
Spider-Man 2099 #4
Spider-Man Kraven’s Last Hunt Prose Novel HC
Thor #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers #25
X-Men #20
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Angry Birds Comics #5 Kid Friendly
Ben 10 Classics Vol 3 TP Kid Friendly
Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Vol 17 HC
Flesh And Steel The Art Of Russ Heath HC
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Popeye Classics #27 Kid Friendly
PUCK What Fools These Mortals Be HC
Rogue Trooper Classics #6 (Of 12)
Samurai Jack Vol 2 The Scotsman’s Curse TP Kid Friendly
Silent Hill Downpour Anne’s Story #2 (Of 4)
Skylanders The Kaos Trap HC Kid Friendly
Squidder #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Star Trek Gold Key Archives Vol 2 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 9 Monsters Misfits And Madmen TP
Transformers Windblade TP
X-Files Year Zero #3 (Of 5)
Angel And Faith Season 10 #7
Art Of Naughty Dog HC
Art Of The Book Of Life HC
Concrete Park R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2 (Of 5)
Concrete Park Vol 1 You Send Me HC
Dream Thief Escape #4 (Of 4)
Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirits Of The Dead HC
Eerie Archives Vol 17 HC
Loverboys HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir TP
Star Wars Vol 3 Rebel Girl TP
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 (Of 6) 

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — The Flash, Astro City, Lumberjanes, Red Sonja, and Futures End

Cover to Astro City: Victory courtesy Vertigo Comics
Cover to Astro City: Victory courtesy Vertigo Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we explore The Flash: Season Zero, Futures End, Red Sonja, the Lumberjanes, and Astro City.

Dakster Sullivan — The Flash: Season Zero #2 by Brooke Eikmeier, Andrew Kreisberg, and Katherine Walczak with art by Phil Hester

The Flash: Season Zero #2  \ Image: Comixology
The Flash: Season Zero #2 \ Image: DC Comics

The Flash: Season Zero, I thought, was supposed to clue us in on the TV series before it aired. This issue proves how wrong I was about that assumption.

The story itself is okay as we see Barry starting to have issues with keeping his new abilities to himself and not being able to openly be The Flash at crime scenes. He struggles with his self-esteem and realizes that even though he has started a new and exciting chapter of his life, he can only share it with a few people. I imagine he feels the same as Peter Parker when he has to let Flash Thompson beat the crap out of him in order to hide his alter identity.

I have a major problem with this issue and that’s the fact that it feels like the authors are filling us in on what is going on in The Flash TV series, even though the pilot hasn’t even aired yet. Anyone who has seen the trailers knows that Barry will have a small team from Star Labs that will know who he is, but according to this issue, it seems that even Iris’ father knows about his abilities (but to my knowledge so far, Iris has no clue).

I would love to see an infographic or something that shows us who knows what in this series. All this secret keeping on who knows what feels like Thanksgiving with my family.

I’ll continue to read the series as long as it doesn’t hurt my head, but if this issue is any indication of what the future holds, I have a feeling I won’t be reading for very long.

Age recommendation: 10 years old and up.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Corrina — Astro City: Victory by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson

If you haven’t visited Astro City yet, you’re missing out. Wholly the creation of Busiek and Anderson, it’s a superhero world filled with wonder. There are some analogues to familiar heroes but there are also many serious differences, enough to immerse me into this story, particularly, as the heroine Winged Victory’s reputation and good-standing are attacked as well as her shelters for battered women. It’s a good mystery but it’s a better character study, raising many questions about feminism, female solidarity, and the nature of good and evil. And one final note: Even in this book, where Winged Victory is involved with Samaritan (Wonder Woman/Superman analogues), Victory has more chemistry with the Confessor (Batman analogue). This amused me.

You can read this book without having read any of the past collections, so no fears on that front.

After finishing the main story, I got geeky and read all the character bios and maps and newspaper articles about the fictional Astro City in the back.

Age Recommendation: Suitable for children, but probably ages 8 and up.

Futures End: Harley Quinn #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and Chad Hardin, Futures End: Booster Gold #1 by Dan Jurgens and numerous artists, Futures End: The Flash by Van Jensen, Robert Venditti, and Brett Booth.

The Futures End event issues has some some interesting debuts this week. One, Booster Gold shows up in his own special comic. Booster’s a character who has been MIA in the new 52. It’s nice to see him back and his issue is a fun romp through the various DC universes (Kamandi, Legion of SuperHeroes). It will thrill fans of the character and confuse those new to him.

Two, Kid Flash. Wally West was a character who headline the Flash comics for years until the DC Universe rebooted and put his predecessor, Barry Allen, back into his place. He’s been recently re-introduced as a surly African-American teen but this issue is basically his origin, as he obtains speed force powers as a result of combat between the current Flash and his future, more ruthless, self. It’s enjoyable and yet also confusing but it’s nice to see Wally step into being a hero again.

You were expecting Harley Quinn to be anything but silly? Sorry, it’s more insane weirdness (in a good way), as Harley is weirdly marooned on a desert island and delusion about the Joker being there and treated as a god by the natives. I wouldn’t say it’s a glimpse into Harley’s future, more like a glimpse into her warped mind.

The Legends of Red Sonja \ Image: Dark Horse
The Legends of Red Sonja \ Image: Dynamite

Kay Moore — Legends of Red Sonja #1 by  Gail Simone, Nancy A. Collins, and Devin Kalile Grayson; Art by Jack Jadson, Noah Solonga, and Carla Speed McNeil
Although it feels a bit anachronistic, I am a fan of Red Sonja, with her strength and in-your-face attitudes. I am fond of women warriors in my fiction and comics, even more than my daughters are.

The new Legends (digital-only) series brings a stable of women creators, both writers and artists, to mix it up in the Sonja story world. This approach enjoys the bounty of other anthologized issues of favorite comics I’ve enjoyed, the joy of the known, enjoyable story-verse and characters, with new writers and artists introduced for us to sample. A recommendation from a favorite author is one of my time-honored ways to find new favorites, and what is a stronger recommendation than hand-picking someone for your own project?

Legends of Red Sonja #1 tells a single story, but it is still a three-parter: Simone writes the lead-in, with a band of “Grey Riders” on a mission to hunt down Red Sonja, each individually motivated.

In this episode, they are introduced by our narrator and we start to learn their stories in a nod to a bloodier version of the Canterbury Tales. Next, Eles the Stygian priest tells his story—how Red Sonja bested him and his fellow temple priests long ago, and how he has plotted revenge ever since. The third part has the Grey Riders continue to a sea port and question a ship’s captain about his knowledge of Sonja and he tells them a tall tale of monsters and maidens, finishing with a wink.

All three tales are admirably stitched together into one story. Even though the authorship and art change, there are no breaks; it just flows. The framing of a narrator within the Grey Riders who is writing and recording the story works well; he is invested in the actions and emotions but not reporting this all as memories informed with hard-won wisdom.

I liked the roll-call of the Grey Riders at the beginning but it is hard to imagine it will stick with the reader until each character makes his individual play.

I would have like more of Sonja’s patented wisecracking, but she Red Sonja speaks less than in a Simone issue, so there isn’t much opportunity. But each segment had interesting qualities—personalities in just a few panels in the first part, tons of detail and a typical Sonja resolution in the second segment, and great atmosphere and a wonderful narrator in the third. I am eager to take the next steps on this multifaceted journey.

Age Recommendation: Teen and up

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #6 by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis with art by Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes #6 \ Image: Boom!
Lumberjanes #6 \ Image: Boom!

The Lumberjanes are back with a sixth issue that perfectly captures the anarchic feel of an episode of Community. The camp is relaxing after last issue’s raptor attack with a nice, friendly game of Capture the Flag but, as you can probably imagine, certain factions are getting far more into the game than anyone ever intended. Prisons are erected, scouting parties sent over the river, and battle plans are drawn out in the mud giving the whole issue a backdrop of jungle warfare.

It’s against this backdrop that the main story continues as more is revealed about the mysterious Diane and the girls question Jo about the Bearwoman’s words. There’s a rather wonderful showdown in the woods that raised a lot of new questions for me and gave me some ideas about what might really be going on out in these woods. However I think I need to quote April when she stands back from the insane action and says simply, “I have so many questions.”

In a week where feminism has been the center of both good and bad news, the release of a kids’ comic that features a woman sporting visible tattoos telling a woman of color that, “Those girls don’t need you to punch a bear. They can do that on their own,” whilst polishing an axe feels like just the sort of medicine we need.

Age Recommendation: All Ages

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Adventures Of Superman #17 (Final Issue)
Aquaman And The Others Futures End #1
Batman ’66 #15
Batman Beyond Universe #14
Batman Eternal #25
Batman Gordon Of Gotham TP
Bodies #3 (Of 8)
Booster Gold Futures End #1
Catwoman Futures End #1
Dead Boy Detectives #9
Ex Machina Vol. 3 TP
Flash Futures End #1
Flash Omnibus Vol. 1 HC
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. TP
Forever Evil Blight TP
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion TP
Harley Quinn Futures End #1
Harley Quinn Vengeance Unlimited TP
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #17
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #12 (Final Issue)
Justice League Dark Futures End #1
New 52 Futures End #21 Weekly Series
Red Lanterns Futures End #1
Sandman Overture Special Edition #3
Sinestro Futures End #1
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie Futures End #1
Superman Doomed #2 New Series
Superman Futures End #1
All-New Ghost Rider #7
All-New Invaders #10
Amazing Spider-Man #1.5
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Vol. 1 Great Power TP
Amazing X-Men #11
Cyclops #5
Deadpool #35
Edge Of Spider-Verse #3 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #19
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Angela TP
Inhuman #6
Loki Agent Of Asgard #6
Magneto #10
Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Vol. 5 TP
Marvel Previews #134 (October 2014 For Products On-Sale December 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #30
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 7 Digest TP
Mighty Avengers #14
New Avengers #24
New Warriors #10
Savage Wolverine #23
Secret Avengers #8
Storm #3 New Series
Superior Spider-Man #32
Thunderbolts #31
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #4 (Of 6)
Crow Pestilence TP Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE #1
Ghostbusters #20 Final Issue
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #16
IDW Fall 2014 Kids Comics Sampler Kid Friendly
Marvel Covers Artist’s Edition HC
Maxx Maxximized Vol. 2 HC
My Little Pony Annual 2014 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #12 Kid Friendly
Star Trek #37
Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge Of Forever The Original Teleplay #4 (Of 5)
Star Trek Vol. 8 TP
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents The Best of Wally Wood HC
Transformers Robots In Disguise #33
Aliens Fire And Stone #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Baltimore The Witch Of Harju #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Captain Midnight #15
Captain Midnight Vol. 3 For A Better Tomorrow TP
Conan The Avenger #6
Deep Gravity #3 (Of 4)
ElfQuest The Final Quest #5 GeekMom Recommended
Ghost #8
Groo Vs Conan #3 (Of 4)
Halo Escalation #10
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Vol. 6 TP
Massive #27
Mind MGMT #26
Nightmare Carnival SC
Pariah #8 (Of 8) Final Issue
POP #2 (Of 4)
Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #9
Sally Heathcote Suffragette HC
Sundowners #2 New Series
Tomb Raider #8
Witcher Vol. 1 TP

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

Disclaimer: GeekMom received review copies of some of the titles included in this post. 

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Futures End, X-Files, and a Ruby Throne

batwoman futures end
Cover of Batwoman: Futures End #1 \ Image: DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we continue in the way of the freaky with The X-Files and Elric, as well as more installments of DC’s Futures End September event.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #16 by Joe Harris and art by Colin Lorimer and Francesco Francavilla

XFiles Season 10 #16 cover \ Image: IDW Publishing
X-Files Season 10 #16 cover \ Image: IDW Publishing

The X-Files always kept apace with the big news stories of its day, referencing subjects including the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges, Saddam Hussein, and Gulf War syndrome, and this issue continues that tradition.

Writing a comic about any current issue is always going to risk treading dangerous ground. Setting one that begins at a North Carolina abortion clinic in 2014 takes that risk level to new heights. Wherever you fall on the moral spectrum on this highly contentious issue, praise has to go to both writer Joe Harris and IDW publishing for tackling the subject.

The issue doesn’t tread softly through this territory.

The very first page shows protesters outside the clinic holding up placards with pictures of aborted fetuses and screaming “babykiller” and “murderer” at the young girl entering its gates. It’s shocking, more so in that this part of the story portrays nothing supernatural at all but daily life in many parts of the U.S. Once inside, the story has a chance to kick off when a bomb is detonated and Mulder and Scully are called in on what is honestly very little evidence. I found it quite incredible that the FBI would call these two into a highly sensitive case (and we all know Mulder’s history when it comes to dealing with small town folk and sensitive subjects) in on what could easily be a camera artifact on blurred CCTV footage.

My own misgivings aside, Mulder and Scully are soon in North Carolina interviewing witnesses and anyone else vaguely connected to the case.

The artwork here is stunning and the coloring is some of the best I’ve seen in the series so far, giving the entire thing an overbearing and frightening feel. It’s nice to see Scully handling a religious case again too. Her personal battles with faith and the episodes that explored that were always some of my favorite, and we see that a little once again here as she sees things Mulder is willing to explain away and assign to simple domestic terrorism.

The issue concludes with a simple yet ominous image that hints at something even more sinister coming in the story’s concluding issue next month. I hope we get to see more of Scully tackling this case and that the conclusion lives up to what is a very promising beginning.

Age Recommendation: Teen and up.

Lisa Tate — Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne (based on the novels by Michael Moorcock) by Julien Blondel and art by Didier Poli, Jean Bastide, and Robin Recht

Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne \ Image: Titan Comics
Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne \ Image: Titan Comics

Every fantasy and science fiction writer strives to have that signature world and character for which they are best known; one that fans can’t wait to read, and artists love to interpret. For author Michael Moorcock, that character is likely Elric. Titan Comics Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne, written by Julien Blondel and illustrated by Didier Poli, Jean Bastide, and Robin Recht, has gained the respect and approval of Moorcock himself.

After a thousand years of rule, Elric, whose longevity spawns from his addition of medicinal herbs, is seeing his kingdom falling apart before him, as his cousin, Yyrkoon, plots to take over the Ruby Throne.

Moorcock, who first debuted his anti-hero, the albino emperor Elric of Melniboné, in the 1960s and 1970s, gave this graphic novel adaptation his full endorsement. There are often comparisons of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, but Moorcock’s dark and gothic world of betrayal, loyalty, vengeance, and love is also a viable predecessor.

I had never read the novel version of Elric, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I did find the continual cruel and graphic torture and bloodletting of humans by the Melnibonéan race in fully illustrated form very off-putting and downright depressing. I realize it was intended to reflect early on the ruthless nature of the main race of people in this story, but after a while the piles of naked people wallowing in gore just seemed to get in the way of an otherwise interesting and well-crafted story.

Fantasy and science fiction lovers—myself included—might do best to stick to the novels, and leave the graphic novel version to those whose taste veers towards the horror stylings of Clive Barker or Eli Roth.

Age Recommendation: Mature

Corrina — Futures EndBatwoman #1 by Marc Andreyko and Jason Masters, Futures End: Wonder Woman #1 by Charles Soule and Rags Morales, Futures End: Superman/Wonder Woman #1 by Charles Soule and Bart Sears, Futures End: Justice League #1 by Jeff Lemire and Jed Dougherty, and Futures End: Batman and Robin #1 by Ray Fawkes and Dustin Nguyen

I’ve been disappointed with the vast majority of DC Comics for years now and I fully expected that to continue with the apostrophe-less Futures End issues set five years in the DC universe future. Thus, when I set down the stack sent by DC this week, it was with surprise. This were all readable. Some were fun. None were duds. Between this and new series like Gotham Academy, I may have to revise my overall opinion of the DC line.

Batwoman was the issue I’d been dreading. A pale-skinned lesbian becomes a vampire. Unimaginative. But the issue isn’t about that, not really. Kate Kane, now completely irredeemable, is hunted down by her sister, Alice, who has reformed. And so there’s a final confrontation between the sisters in a church that ends sadly but seems absolutely appropriate given their history.

A two-part story begins in Wonder Woman and concludes in Superman/Wonder Woman but this is really a WW solo story, focusing on her role as the new God of War and her battle with nemesis. Again, I expected to cringe at the use of Princess McStabby Sword as WW’s main personality but, instead, this concluded on a positive note that shows writer Charles Soule may actually get Wonder Woman. Oh, sure, the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship is in there and it’s still boring but it works as a friendship. (Which is always did.)

Futures End #1: Batman and Robin features yet another partner for Batman, a young man who was instrumental in helping Bruce Wayne survive his year-long Year Zero adventure. They’re up against Leviathan, who may or may not be a clone of Damian Wayne, Bruce’s dead son. But mostly the story is about Batman allowing people to help him. I thought it would end badly but, hey, another hopeful ending.

I’m not sure what Futures End: Justice League #1 was but it was interesting. The team seems to be an amalgam of space-based DC characters, the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Justice League. But it all works, as they stop a breakout on a prison planet maintained by the Martian Manhunter. I expected the heroes to get slaughtered but, surprisingly, yet another one where heroes win.

DC better stop this or else I’ll start thinking they might be publishing actual superhero comics again.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Astro City Through Open Doors TP
Astro City Victory HC
Batman And Robin Futures End #1
Batman Eternal #24
Batman Superman Futures End #1
Batman Unwrapped The Court Of Owls HC
Batwoman Futures End #1
Fables #144
Forever Evil Arkham War TP
Godzilla Awakening TP
Gotham Central Special Edition #1
Green Lantern New Guardians Futures End #1
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #3
Justice League Futures End #1
Multiversity The Society Of Super-Heroes Conquerors Of The Counter-World #1
New 52 Futures End #20
New Teen Titans Vol. 1 TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws Futures End #1
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #9 (Final Issue) Kid-Friendly
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #2
Supergirl Futures End #1
Superman Wonder Woman Futures End #1
Superman Wonder Woman Vol. 1 Power Couple HC
Teen Titans Futures End #1
Toe Tags Featuring George Romero TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora Futures End #1
Unwritten Tommy Taylor And The Ship That Sank Twice TP
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #9
Wonder Woman Futures End #1
All-New X-Factor #14
All-New X-Men #32
Avengers #35
Avengers Vol. 4 Infinity TP
Avengers World #13
Daredevil #8
Dark Tower The Drawing Of The Three The Prisoner #2 (Of 5)
Deadpool Bi-Annual #1
Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Elektra #6
Figment #3 (Of 5)
Hulk #6
Hulk Annual #1
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 3 S.M.A.S.H. Time TP
Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #5
Nova #21 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sin #5.5
Savage Hulk #4 New Series
Sub-Mariner And The Original Human Torch TP
Superior Spider-Man #33
Thor God Of Thunder #25
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 5 TP
Uncanny Avengers #24
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 3 Ragnarok Now TP
Uncanny X-Men #26
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 4 Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. HC
Wolverine And The X-Men #9
X-Men The Adventures Of Cyclops And Phoenix TP
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Doberman #3
Godzilla Cataclysm #2 (Of 5)
Judge Dredd #23
Littlest Pet Shop #5 (Of 5) Kid Friendly Final Issue
Maxx Maxximized #11
Super Secret Crisis War Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time #4 (Of 4)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #33
Transformers Phase One Omnibus TP
X-Files Season 10 #16
Authentic Accounts Of Billy The Kid’s Old Timey Oddities Omnibus TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #123
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #7
Complete Silencers TP
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #1 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #2
Eye Of Newt #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Ghost Vol. 2 The White City Butcher TP
Good Luck Trolls Mystery Box Assortment Series 4
Leaving Megalopolis HC GeekMom Recommended
Red Moon HC
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 17 TP
Strain The Night Eternal #2 New Series
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #4 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of some of these titles.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Bats, Speedsters, Campers, Finders, and More!

FinderThirdWorld
Finder: Third World. Image via Dark Horse Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, we have bats, speedsters, campers, and some shadowy heroes. We also have a look at a half-redneck, half-Ascian, who finds himself while just trying to do his day job.

Dakster Sullivan — The Flash Season Zero #1 by Brooke Eikmeier, Andrew Kreisberg, and Katherine Walczak with art by Phil Hester

The Flash Season Zero Issue #1 \ Image: ComiXology
The Flash Season Zero Issue #1. Image: ComiXology.

The Flash is coming to CW and what better way to get fans hyped than with a comic book series to lead up to the big premier? The first issue is what you’d expect it to be: an origin story.

If you’ve seen the trailers for The Flash, then there is not much need to read this issue, because it’s basically the trailer in comic book form. What the book has going for it is the art. I didn’t want to see something like what’s in the current Flash series because the TV shows don’t necessarily follow the comics, but more “borrow” from them. I wasn’t disappointed.

Some of the scenes in the book are pulled right from the trailer, but not all of them. We are introduced to The Flash’s first villain and he doesn’t get much of a chance to take him down, because he’s thrown into a wall before he can throw a punch. The ending of the issue tells us there is more to come in terms of freaky villains and I’m excited to follow along to see how different the comic book series based on the show will be from the actual show.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #5 (Boom Studios!) by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis with art by Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes #5 \ Image: Boom
Lumberjanes #5. Image: Boom Studios.

Boom Box is back with the fifth issue of Lumberjanes, which tells the story of five girls staying at a summer camp that belongs more in The Twilight Zone than our own mundane world. When we last saw them, the girls had just fled the nearby boys’ camp, which appeared to have been overtaken by what appeared to be vampire (or vampire-like) creatures.

Back at camp, Jo is suffering from terrifying nightmares, while counselor Jen is living through her own when she is left in charge of the whole place for a day—and just hours after learning about the supernatural creatures in the surrounding woods. Her suggestion that they should place a call to “the FBI paranormal division” is falling on deaf ears. She attempts to keep the girls safe by cancelling the trip to the Raccoon Rodeo in favor of making friendship bracelets (complete instructions are included as a nice touch so you can make your own), but did you honestly think that would work? A trip to the outhouse soon results in disaster when a number of creatures are suddenly unleashed. I’d say what they are, but that would be spoiling the awesome surprise.

This issue mixes a fantastic and funny attack sequence with more information on the larger forces at work. We learn that there’s even more going on than we initially suspected and discover a startling secret about Molly’s hat that had me scanning back over every previous issue to try and spot hints about its true nature. There are more wonderful references scattered throughout the pages, including the name of one of the cabins and a tribute to Mrs. Weasley. You’ll know it when you see it! The dialogue is some of the best so far; April’s theatrical performance while she distracts one of the creatures had my genuinely laughing out loud. If you’re not reading this comic already, why the junk not?!

Age Recommendation: All Ages
Received preview PDF for review purposes.

Lisa Tate — The Shadow vs. Grendel: Book One (Dynamite Comics) written and illustrated by Matt Wagner (colors by Brennan Wagner)

If there is any villain worthy of taking on the stylish and sophisticated Shadow, it is the graceful and brilliant crime lord Grendel. Dynamite Comics recently teamed up with Dark Horse to make sure this meeting of mind and muscle happens.

The Shadow vs. Grendel: Book One kicks off a three-issue prestige format series by the man who created Grendel himself.

A recently unearthed ancient urn found in New York Harbor is brought to Hunter Rose (Grendel) to add to his already impressive, eerie collection of “historically significant” items. When Rose reads off an incantation found in the urn, he finds himself in a “different” world (New York circa 1930s) and is ready to take it by storm. Meanwhile, Lamont Cranston (The Shadow) is wondering what the future holds if some “criminal mastermind” were to take advantage of the upheaval created by the failure of the prohibition. Thanks to Grendel, he is about to find out.

The choice to begin this tale with a few pages of Sin City-style black-and-white with touches of red was a perfect way to take the reader back in time to the golden era of film noir. It later splashes into full color, when the story—and Grendel—suddenly leap forward in time.

Grendel may not have been around as long as The Shadow (Lamont Cranston), as The Shadow debuted in pulp fiction novels in the 1930s and Grendel in comics in 1983. The characters play off each other so well, it was as if this meeting were their original intent. Fans of both Grendel and The Shadow should appreciate this dark and classy thriller.

Age Recommendation: Mature readers
Received preview PFD for review purposes.

Corrina — Finder: Third World written and illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil

I feel like I need to turn in my female geek cred by admitting that this is the very first time I’ve read any of the Finder stories by Carla Speed McNeil. That was surely my loss, because the stories in this volume, collected from shorter stories from the pages of Dark Horse Presents, are fascinating, off-balance, funny, and brilliant in their world-building. You know when a story starts to remind you of Howl’s Moving Castle that it has developed a rich world.

McNeil has been writing Finder since 1996 and the series is about a young man, Jaeger, a half-redneck and half-Ascian (Native American) who has the uncanny ability to “find” things. He can never get lost. He lives in a world that is slightly magical, slightly post-apocalyptic, and set in a far future Earth. In this world, Jaeger is tired of doing what he sees as dangerous work for those on the wrong side of the law and takes a job delivering packages instead. Since he can find anyone and anything, it’s the perfect job for him, but it’s not without challenges, such as escorting a ghost. But eventually, Jaeger is thrust outside the city for his job, and that’s when things get bizarre and even more interesting.

I need to track down the rest of the stories. In the meantime, you can find them online at Lightspeed Press, McNeil’s website.

Age Recommendation: 10+

Batgirl: Futures End #1 by Gail Simone with art by Javier Garron

Simone’s last issue of Batgirl ends with a literal and figurative hug to readers. Literal, as Barbara Gordon hugs her league of Batgirls. Figurative because this is a love letter to fans of Batgirl in all incarnations.  The big news is that for the first time since DC history was rebooted, Cassandra Cain returns as Batgirl. Cassandra has been in limbo, save for a few brief appearances in Batman Incorporated that were assumed to be out-of-continuity. She lasted over 100 issues as Batgirl and, when canceled, her series was still selling upwards of 20,000 per month. Naturally, her fans have been calling for her return, but DC has turned away requests, just as they did with Stephanie Brown, who finally turned up in her old Spoiler identity in Batman: Eternal.

So this issue, set five years in DC’s future, features all of the Batgirls working together: Babs, Cassandra, Stephanie, and a new, young Batgirl from a familiar Gotham family. The story is a bit dark—this is set in a future gone wrong—with Babs basically turning to the dark side to learn how to protect Gotham after yet another tragedy, and assembling her Batgirl team to work for her. But it ends with a hug, a fine ending for Simone’s run on the title.

While I hope this particular future for DC never comes to pass (it’s hinted that Jim Gordon is dead and that would make me very sad), I’m crossing my fingers that this means we’ll soon see Cassandra Cain appear in Batman: Eternal or somewhere else. Make it happen, DC.

Age recommendation: 10 + for violence.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Astro City #15
Batgirl Futures End #1
Batman Eternal #23
Batman Futures End #1
Birds Of Prey Futures End #1
Coffin Hill #11
Constantine Futures End #1
Green Lantern Corps Futures End #1
Infinity Man And The Forever People Futures End #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #11
Justice League Of America Vol. 2 Survivors Of Evil HC
Justice League United Futures End #1
Justice League Vol. 4 The Grid TP
Justice League Vol. 5 Forever Heroes HC
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super-Spectacular #4
Legion Of Super-Heroes The Curse TP
New 52 Futures End #19
New Suicide Squad Futures End #1
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #49 Kid Friendly
Showcase Presents Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TP Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Chaos #2 (Of 4)
Superboy Futures End #1
Superman By Geoff Johns And John Romita Jr. Director’s Cut #1
Superman Unchained #8
Worlds’ Finest Futures End #1
Y The Last Man Vol. 1 TP
All-New Ultimates #8
All-New X-Men Vol. 5 One Down HC
Amazing Spider-Man #6 GeekMom Recommended
Avengers #34.1
Avengers Undercover #10
Captain Marvel #7 GeekMom Recommended
Castle: A Calm Before Storm TP
Deadpool #34
Death Of Wolverine #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series Event
Edge Of Spider-Verse #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series Event
Fantastic Four #10
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 1 The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine TP
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act Two #1 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #17 GeekMom Recommended
Hawkeye #20 GeekMom Recommended
Inhuman #5
Magneto #9
Marvel 75th Anniversary Magazine Special Edition #1
Marvel Masterworks The Fantastic Four Vol. 16 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #12
Ms. Marvel #8 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers Vol. 2 Infinity TP
New Warriors #9
Nightcrawler #6
Powers Bureau #11
Silver Surfer #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 4 Avenge The Earth HC
United States Of Murder Inc #5
Winter Soldier By Ed Brubaker The Complete Collection TP
X-Force #9
X-Men Asgardian Wars TP
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G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #206
Judge Dredd Anderson Psi-Division #2 (Of 4)
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #1 New Series
Mars Attacks Art Gallery #1
My Little Pony Friends Forever #9 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #26 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls Vol. 2 Monster Mash TP Kid Friendly
Rocky And Bullwinkle Moose On The Loose TP Kid Friendly
Rogue Trooper Last Man Standing TP
Rot And Ruin #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #15 Kid Friendly
Transformers Primacy #2 (Of 4)
WEIRD Love #3
Abe Sapien #16
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Vol. 9 The Reign Of The Black Flame TP
Dark Ages #2 (Of 4)
Legal Drug Omnibus TP
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #4 Nightcrawler
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 6 TP
Prometheus Fire And Stone #1 (Of 4)
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #9 (Of 12)
Whedon Three Way (One Shot)
X #17

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Alien Smugglers, Zombies & A Mysterious Superman

gi zombie #2
Cover by Darwyn Cooke, copyright DC Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan — Starburn #1 by Kelly Bender and art by Brian Balondo (Emerald Star Comics)

starburn-ad
Starburn courtesy of Emerald Star Comics.

Starburn follows a group of scoundrels that make their living by smuggling, stealing, and killing (not necessarily in that order). The team consists of mostly aliens, with three humans thrown into the mix.

I get a Han Solo-like feeling when I read about Guage (human male), but I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because he had the nerve to ask the Captain if he had a plan other than for them to fly into a mission blind. Captain Aphi comes off as an alien who cares for his team, but also likes money. I haven’t decided which he would choose, if it came down to only having one or the other.

Amongst the team, there are two strong female types that know how to handle the trouble they find themselves in. The creative team gets bonus points for both women being 80-percent clothed.

After an introduction to the characters, the story picks up and takes off into their first mission. It comes off as an easy pick-up-and-deliver job, but of course, something has to go wrong and we are left wondering how they will get themselves out alive.

I’d recommend this book for anyone 14-years-old and up because of a violent scene where heads fly (literally).

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Corrina —  Star Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #2 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Scott Hampton

Futures End #17, various creators, DC Comics

One title is far too long and isn’t at all reflective of the material inside and the other title still bothers me for the missing apostrophe.

Of the two, read Zombie. It’s about an intelligent zombie who works as a federal agent and is infiltrating an American militia bent on anarchy. Zombie has a female partner and the power of not being able to die, and, as Palmiotti promised me at Boston Comic Con, he indeed rides a missile, a la Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. The book has a similar sensibility to the movie, though without the political commentary. I have no idea who’s reading this except me (sales of #1 were very low), but if you like the work of the creators or zombies or cop stories and you have a skewed sense of humor, you should be reading this. Plus, the cover is by Darwyn Cooke.

Futures End is one of the DC events books, detailing how things have gone wrong on two different earths five years into the DC future. I didn’t like the first few issues and I don’t like it much now, but the story has improved marginally and the various creators seem to be using Lois Lane fairly well. Plotwise? Lots of DC characters are doing some things that seem random that will no doubt be connected at the end, and this entire story will all probably be retconned because the future will be reset so that these events never happened and Green Arrow is alive. Killing off a character now starring in a hit television show is certain not to stick.

The bright spot in #17 is the revelation of who’s pretending to be Superman. Hint: It’s one of the popular theories.

Age recommendation:

G.I. Zombie: 12 +

Futures End: 10 +

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Adventures Of Superman #16
All-Star Western #34 Final Issue
Aquaman #34
Batman ’66 #14
Batman Beyond Universe #13 GM
Batman Eternal #21
Batman Superman #13
Bodies #2 (Of 8)
Catwoman #34
DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe TP GM
Dead Boy Detectives #8
Fables Vol. 20 Camelot TP
Flash #34
Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 4 Gods And Monsters TP
Harley Quinn #10 GeekMom Recommended
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #16 GM
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #10
Justice League Dark #34
New 52 Futures End #17 Weekly Series
Red Lanterns #34
Secret Origins #5
Sinestro #5
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #2
Superman #34
All-New Invaders #9
All-New Ultimates #7
All-New X-Men #31
Amazing Spider-Man #1.4
Avengers #34
Avengers Undercover #9
Avengers Undercover Vol. 1 Descent TP
Cyclops #4 New Series
Deadpool Vs Carnage TP
Fantastic Four #9
Fantastic Four Vol. 1 The Fall Of The Fantastic Four TP
Guardians Of The Galaxy #18 GM
Inhuman #4 New Series
Jessica Jones The Pulse The Complete Collection TP
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Tales Of Suspense Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Masterworks Marvel Rarities Vol. 1 HC
Marvel Previews #133 (October 2014 For Products On-Sale December 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #29
New Warriors Vol. 1 The Kids Are All Fight TP GM 
Original Sin #5.4
Original Sin #6
Oz: Dorothy And The Wizard In Oz TP Kid Friendly
Savage Hulk #3
Secret Service Kingsman HC (Premiere Edition)
Silver Surfer #5
Thunderbolts #30
Uncanny Avengers #23
Wolverine #12
Wolverine And The X-Men #8
X-Force By Craig Kyle And Chris Yost The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
X-Force Vol. 1 Dirty Tricks TP
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24 #5
7th Sword #4 New Series
Borderlands The Fall Of Fyrestone #2 New Series
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #3 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Ghostbusters #19
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #15
Illegitimates HC
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #3 (Of 4)
Last Fall #2 (Of 5)
Magic The Gathering The Complete Collection Oversized HC
Mars Attacks Deluxe Edition HC
Ragnarok #1 New Series
Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge Of Forever The Original Teleplay #3 (Of 5)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Works Vol. 3 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles In Time #3 (Of 4)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #32
Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #2 New Series
V-Wars #5
Archie Archives Vol. 10 HC
Baltimore The Witch Of Harju #2 (Of 3)
Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol. 6 TP
Captain Midnight #14
Conan The Avenger #5
Conan Vol. 16 The Song Of Belit HC
Deep Gravity #2 (Of 4)
Dream Thief Escape #3 (Of 4)
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan The Sunday Comics Vol. 2 1934-1936 HC
Emily And The Strangers Breaking The Record #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Goon Occasion Of Revenge #2 (Of 4)
Groo Vs Conan #2 (Of 4)
Halo Escalation #9
Hatsune Miku Unofficial Hatsune Mix TP
Massive #26
Mind MGMT #25
Pariah #7 (Of 8)
POP #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Star Wars Legacy II #18
Sundowners #1 New Series
Tomb Raider #7
X Vol. 3 Siege TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

Comic Book Corner — Fairy Tales, Cats, Sonja, Kung Fu, Multiversity & The X-Files

redsonja11
Cover to Red Sonja #11, copyright Dynamite Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. We have a full slate today, with reviews of Grimm Fairy Tales, a book with talking cats, Grant Morrison’s latest DC project, Marvel’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and, last but not least, Gail Simone’s Red Sonja #11.

Dakster Sullivan — Grimm Fairy Tales #101 by Pat Shand and art by Andrea Meloni

Grimm Fairy Tales #101 is the jumping-on point for new readers and takes place after the events of Realm War (currently happening). The dialog can be a bit confusing because Sela talks about the war briefly a few times, and the events that have changed her haven’t actually happened yet from the reader’s standpoint. I kind of wish this new point had been held for when Realm War was completed.

Despite the back-history confusion, this is a pretty good issue that sets up the next story arc nicely. The best way I can describe this issue is X-Men-meets-Grimm characters. Shang is Professor Xavier, Sela is Jean Grey, and everyone else is the student body.

Judging from the ending, I have a pretty good guess as to the next fairy-tale character our heroes and heroes-in-training will have to face. I have a feeling that this version won’t be turning anyone into a prince or singing songs about friendship.

I Was The Cat by Ben Dewey and Paul Tobin

When I first heard this title, I rolled my eyes and dismissed it as a waste of my time. Then, I received a second press emailing telling me how popular the book was. I decided to crack open the spine and see what the fuss was all about. Needless to say, I ended up learning a valuable lesson: Never judge a graphic novel until you’ve read a few pages.

I Was The Cat is an interesting story of history, mystery, and oddities. Our main character, Burma, is a talking cat on the last of his nine lives. His previous eight lives have been filled with amazing history that really gets you sucked into his story. The stories that Burma tells about his interactions with the Egyptians to Napoleon, Audrey Hepburn, and more are fascinating to listen to and make me want to revisit my history books to see if I missed any mention of a tabby cat along the way.

If you’re a cat or a history person, you will enjoy the tales that Burma has to share.

Age Recommendation: Teen + (for violent content at times).

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lisa Tate — Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 (Marvel Now!) by Mike Benson and art by Tan Eng Huat

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 (Marvel Now!) \ Image: Marvel
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 (Marvel Now!). Image: Marvel.

Shortly after my husband and I were married, we were getting all of my stuff moved into his apartment when I came across a sizeable box of silver-aged comics. I couldn’t wait to look through them until I realized they were all The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu issues. I didn’t get it. Why, of all the possible titles to hang onto, was he hoarding what I felt at the time was a secondary rip-off of Bruce Lee, and not as cool as characters like Electra, Iron Fist, or even Psylocke? Even though I tried to keep an open mind, I just couldn’t get into this title.

It took writer Mike Benson just three issues of the new Shang-Chi series to do what several years’ worth of retro comics couldn’t: get me psyched for Master of Kung Fu.

In this series, Shang-Chi has already joined the ranks of the Avengers and is out to avenge the death of his friend and romantic interest, Leiko Wu. In the process, there are battles with the likes of the Chinese Mafia, martial arts expert and crime lord Skull Crusher, and a plot-twisting family secret.

Shang-Chi also gets to fight along kung-fu super-teams Sons of the Tiger and Daughters of the Dragon, the later of which has two awesome female kung-fu characters: Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. The result is a movie thriller-worthy plot, blended with some intense on-page kung-fu fighting. If enough readers pick up this series, Shang-Chi might gain enough attention to at least make an appearance in a big-screen Marvel franchise.

Do I enjoy this series enough to go back and read all of those old Master of Kung Fu issues? No (there are just too many of those old issues). Do I like it enough to call myself a Shang-Chi fan? I’m getting there. Mr. Benson may just have to keep these books coming.

Age Recommendation: Teen + (contains a few pretty graphic images)

Kay Moore — Red Sonja #11, Digital Exclusive Edition. Written by Gail Simone and art by Water Geovanni

Red Sonja \ Image: Diamond Publishing
Red Sonja. Image: Diamond Publishing.

Sonja is an uncouth, take-no-prisoners barbarian, and she never apologizes for that fact. In this digital-only series from Gail Simone and Walter Geovanni, she also returns to wearing her chain-mail bikini. After my youth of feasting on a diet of fantasy, fable, Hercules, Xena, and maybe even Conan, I declare that Sonja is not only the Red Devil, but Queen of the Comics.

In this story arc, Sonja’s mission is to gather the top artisans from across many lands and bring them to a dying monarch’s wake. Success earns freedom for a thousand slaves and she is determined as only she can be to succeed. In each issue, she does battle for a new artisan acquisition, while trailing the targets she has already gathered.

Each of her companions has a personality and quirks, and Sonja plays off of them as unique people. She learns something at each encounter and I enjoy that she is not only fierce, but also capable of fear, loneliness, and doubt.

In this issue, a contrast between her upbringing and the conditions of her foes gave me some poignant moments. One question is always whether Sonja will overcome her challenges through her own fortitude, or through example or learning from her foes or companions.

Sonja continues brash and bold, as always, but also insightful and occasionally at a loss. Momentarily. If you want to go on a wild sleigh ride over the edge of a cliff, pick up Red Sonja #11, and then pick up all of the issues before that.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina — Multiversity #1 by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

MULTIV-01-14-15-450-CMYK-1-2-22b09
A page from Multiversity #1 by DC Comics.

This could as easily been titled, “Grant Morrison Gets Meta.” This long-rumored project from Morrison, the writer of All-Star Superman, Batman Incorporated, and many other classic works, finally comes out today. It’s a romp through the many alternate earths not only of the DC Universe, but with clearly a lot of Marvel and characters from other companies thrown in.

I expected each issue of this series to focus on a different earth and its goings-on. But instead, this is another tale of a universe-eating monster that seemingly can’t be stopped.

It’s all very knowing about comic fandom and I bet someone is going to have an annotated version up by 6:00 p.m. tonight or even earlier. It may even be Morrison’s comment on how fans seemingly hate big, even crossovers, but buy them in droves anyway.

But is it a good story?

Excellent question. As a single comic, it’s confusing, but there’s enough emotion in it to hold me until issue #2, when it may be more coherent. Or it may not. This is Morrison’s playground and we’re all just along for the ride.

The X-Files: Year Zero #2 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files: Year Zero #2. Image: IDW Publishing.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Year Zero #2 by Karl Kesel and art by Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra

It’s a rare thing indeed for something to have me so excited that I actually jump out of my seat and start crying tears of joy. It’s rarer still for that to be a comic book; yet that is precisely the reaction that The X-Files: Year Zero #2 inspired in me. Not once, but twice.

Last month’s issue established the plot and brought us Agent Bing Ellinson and his partner Millie Ohio… and I fell in love instantly. Issue #2 starts out with us back in 1946 with our new FBI friends, as they are given a cryptic message from Mr. Xero via Mrs. Sears that sends them off toward Montana. Back in the present day, Scully is less inclined to go gallivanting off cross-country until she has some more information on Mulder’s story—and who can blame her given their track record?

This particular scene is set in a diner and it’s here that my first leap-off-my-seat moment occurred, as Mulder dropped in a reference to a certain coffee-loving, cherry-pie-eating FBI agent in such a manner as to leave it ambiguous whether Mulder “knows” him from TV or as a real person. The vaguest innuendo toward an X-Files/Twin Peaks crossover is just too much for me to handle right now. Seriously IDW: If you publish it, we will read!

With clues in hand courtesy of their waitress, Mulder and Scully are off in pursuit of evidence. This whole sequence is a delight, full of the pair’s trademark wit and banter. Scully often goes unrecognized for her own dry humor, becoming lost in her partner’s shadow. However, in these pages, she gets to really shine. We also get our first really good look at Mr Zero/Xero—and honestly, I’m not sure I really wanted to!

Back in 1946, Ellinson and Ohio are in Montana investigating a series of apparent animal attacks, until reports come in of a car being taken for a joyride by a local Indian boy named Ish. The name was familiar, but it wasn’t until I spotted the location card for Glacier National Park and the mention of animals “picking off the Parker herd,” that I finally put it all together and practically screamed out loud. You’ll need to remember back over 20 years to 1994’s season one episode “Shapes,” but it’s that case that Mulder discusses what’s being investigated here: “the very first X-File.”

The issue concludes with Ellinson and Ohio witnessing first-hand the events that the now elderly Ish recounts to Mulder in 1994, and with me on cloud nine. Considering the sheer volume of history on a show as long-running and complex as The X-Files, it’s very easy to make mistakes and to unwittingly alter the show’s canon. In this issue, Year Zero has shown a reverence and respect for the original source material that went above and beyond what I expected from the series. I genuinely cannot wait for issue three and in the meantime, I’m gonna see about drafting a Twin Peaks/X-Files crossover script to pitch to IDW.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Batman And Robin #34
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 3 TP
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 4 HC
Batman Eternal #20
Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 Gotham’s Most Wanted TP
Batwoman #34
Brightest Day Omnibus HC
Fables #143
Green Lantern New Guardians #34
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #2 New Series
Infinity Man And The Forever People #3 New Series
Justice League Dark Vol. 4 The Rebirth Of Evil TP
Justice League United #4 New Series
Katana Vol. 1 Soultaker TP
Lucifer Vol. 4 TP
Multiversity #1 New Series
New 52 Futures End #16 Weekly Series
Red Hood And The Outlaws #34
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #8
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 New Series
Supergirl #34
Teen Titans #2 New Series
Teen Titans Go #5
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #14 (Final Issue)
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #8
All-New Ghost Rider #6
All-New Ultimates #6
All-New X-Factor #12
Captain America Epic Collection Vol. 12 Society Of Serpents TP
Daredevil #7
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 6 TP
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Deadpool Vs X-Force #3 (Of 4)
Elektra #5
Iron Man #9
Journey Into Mystery By Kieron Gillen The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Loki Agent Of Asgard Vol. 1 Trust Me TP
Magneto #8
Mighty Avengers #13
Ms. Marvel #7 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers #23
Nova #20 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sins #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Punisher Vol. 1 Black And White TP
Savage Wolverine #22
Secret Avengers #7
Spider Man 2099 #1 New Series
Storm #2 New Series
Winter Soldier The Bitter March TP
Wolverine Annual #1
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Airboy Archives Vol. 2 TP
Judge Dredd #22
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #1 Kid Friendly
Monster And Madman TP
My Little Pony Friends Forever #8 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #11 Kid Friendly
Sinister Dexter TP
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #6
Super Secret Crisis War The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol. 8 TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2014
Transformers Robots In Disguise #32
X-Files Year Zero #2 (Of 5)
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #122
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #6
Eye Of Newt #3 (Of 4)
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #2 Wolverine
Second Chance At Sarah HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Strain The Night Eternal #1 New Series
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #3 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—Comic Con Bargain Trades, Princess Ugg, The X-Files, and Guardians of the Galaxy

marvel70thannivcollection
Copyright Marvel Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Corrina talks about her haul from Boston Comic Con, Princess Ugg continues her journey to be a true leader to her people, Sophie looks at a rather confusing issue of The X-Files, and last but not least, Lisa dives in with a one-shot Guardians title. Dakster Sullivan — Princess Ugg #3 written and drawn by Ted Naifeh

Princess Ugg #3
Princess Ugg #3. Image: Oni Press.

Princess Ugg is one of my favorite titles to come out of Oni Press. Actually, with its strong female lead and real-life struggles of young girls when it comes to fitting in and getting through life, it’s one of my favorite titles period. Princess Ugg is not the typical princess. After the death of her mother, she goes on a journey to learn as much as she can so she can one day rule her people to the best of her ability.

Issue #3 reveals what really set her on a path to a school where she is clearly the unwelcome outsider. Princess Ugg’s people are warriors and we learn that war has been her people’s way of life for so long, they don’t know of a time when there wasn’t fighting going on with someone. This was a path that Ugg’s mother wanted to change, but died too early to see to it herself. With her dying breath, she placed the burden to find a new way on her daughter.

Princess Ugg seems to be up to the challenge, but she still isn’t sure if she made the right choice in showing up at the school to begin with. By the end of the issue, we see Ugg make an ally at the school and get her first challenge to start learning what it is she needs to know to help her people.

Age Recommendation: All Ages

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Corrina — Boston Comic Con Finds: Marvel 70th Anniversary Collection, Heralds by Kathryn Immonen, Human Target: Living in Amerika by Peter Milligan and Cliff Chiang, Invaders: The Eve of Destruction by Roger Stern and Steve Epting, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman by various creators  I went comic-bin diving at Boston Comic Con, as one retailer was offering “buy one, get two free.” I blame Sue from DCWomenKickingAss, as she urged several titles on me. She was right. One of them, the Lois & Clark collection, didn’t even make it home, as it was gobbled up by my 7-year-old nephew. It’s not a collection of stories about the television show; rather, it’s a collection of the best Superman and Lois stories and those stories are excellent. Look for it used; it’s very good. (Amazon has it for 99 cents.)

I could say the same about all of these titles. I knew that the Marvel 70th Anniversary Collection, first published five years ago, would be good, but I didn’t expect it to include a cracky Captain America and Bucky cross-dressing tale, the origin of Groot, a wonderful story from Marvels about the first Human Torch, and a classic Spider-Man tale. If you’re unfamiliar with the Marvel Universe but love it from the movies, read this book. If you love Marvel already, read this book.

And in the same vein, Stern’s Invaders collection from the 1990s was a terrific, wonderful surprise, with the three main Invaders going up against Baron Von Strucker. (You might recognize the name from the after-credits scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.) Plus: It’s an oddball Marvel super-team adventure, set in the 1950s. I love these kinds of stories. Heralds is a terrific contemporary story featuring many women in the Marvel Universe trying to help meld the former Galactus Herald Frankie Raye back into a real person. Hellcat has all of the best lines, but what starts as a fun romp ends far more poignantly, as the cost of heroism becomes clear. I haven’t read the Human Target book yet, but crime noir with Cliff Chiang art? SOLD.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #15 written by Joe Harris and drawn by Matthew Dow Smith

The X-Files Season 10 #15 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 #15. Image: IDW Publishing.

“There’s a lot of history here,” Scully tells us as she makes her first appearance in this month’s issue of The X-Files. She’s referring to Skyland Mountain, the location where she is now standing and from which, almost 20 years ago, she was abducted. However, she may as well be referring to the issue at large. This issue is a veritable treasure trove of easter eggs for fans. There are throwbacks to season two’s “Apocrypha,” season four’s “Talitha Cumi,” season five’s “Patient X,” and many many more. This issue wraps up the season’s second five-part arc, “Pilgrims”—at least it wraps it up as well as any X-Files mytharc story-line was ever wrapped up, meaning that there are a lot of questions left unanswered. During last month’s controversial Issue #14, Mulder was controlled by an alien entity named Sheltem and this month sees him quickly dump our gangly protagonist for reasons that aren’t altogether obvious. Jumping into the body of a local sheriff, Sheltem disappears into the night, but not after leaving behind a somewhat unnecessary body count for good measure.

There’s a really lovely reversal of a scene from season two’s “Ascension,” as Scully looks over footage from an in-car police video recorder to establish what has been happening to Mulder at Skyland Mountain. Her finding him safe and well (almost) at the bottom of the sky tram track feels like them coming full circle too, if we look back to 1994 when he fought his way to the top of the same track only to find her stolen away. The pair of them get to share a tender moment—and a genuine one too, as neither of them appear to be currently possessed or a shapeshifter this time. Scully strikes a somewhat heartbreaking figure as she stands alone, hugging herself and staring up the mountain as they talk briefly of their son, even if their talk is cut short all too quickly.

She experiences a terrifying flashback to the events of “Patient X,” either that or she has suddenly gained some sort of psychic super-sense as she stares wide-eyed into the forest and whispers to Mulder, “Don’t you feel it on the wind?” Away from Mulder and Scully, Krycek isn’t faring so well. Once again under the thumb of the Smoking Man, we get to see a level of violence and use of language that was omitted from the show’s TV days. We finally begin to piece together what has been going on with him throughout this arc, and when really considered, it’s altogether horrifying. Thrown into the events at Skyland Mountain by the CSM’s mysterious new superior, Krycek soon discovers that he might be about to experience a significant change in his life. I’ll be interested to see what direction his story will take now, as his character offers almost endless possibilities.

The issue ends back in the New York offices of The Syndicate. There’s a lot of old faces here, faces who even in silence pose their own questions. With one final throwback to the show, we get to see a final glimpse at the truth behind their re-appearances after the events of the movie and “One Son.” There are more questions here than answers, as always, but there are also new possibilities. Age Recommendation: Teen +

Lisa Tate — Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel 100th Anniversary Issue) written by Andy Lanning and Ron Marz and drawn by Gustavo Durarte and Edgar Delgado

Guardians of the Galaxy: 100th Anniversary Issue \ Image: Marvel
Guardians of the Galaxy: 100th Anniversary Issue. Image: Marvel

The idea behind the release of this comic is more confusing than the story. Released as if it were prediction of what the comic might be like in the year 2069 (a century after the original Guardians of the Galaxy team debuted), it is also billed as a one-shot with an ending that might indicate otherwise.

The comic manages to make The Guardians even more off-beat, and the plot even more “out there” than before, but it isn’t done in such a way that is hard to follow. Duarte and Delgado’s artwork is just plain fun, and the character depictions are well-suited for the story. It was my favorite element of this comic. I can even see some die-hard Groot fans bringing this book to their neighborhood tattoo artist for design inspiration.

The character mashups and reinventions are plentiful: Gamora is Star Lord, Rocket has a trio of alien nephews/sons at his disposal, and Drax has returned to his Martian Manhunter-like old-school look. Iron Man is Tony Stark’s disembodied consciousness in mess of nano-bots. Lanning’s influence also brings back characters Vance Astro and Charlie-72. Cosmo the space dog also makes a much-appreciated appearance.

Galactus, the story’s main threat, has absorbed the Silver Surfer, which has turned him into, not surprisingly, Silver Galactus. There are some problematic story elements, in that those who haven’t followed Dan Abnett’s and Andy Lanning’s 31st Century Guardians series might feel as if they have been dumped in an unfamiliar group with no previous introduction. It’s not too hard to catch on though, and the story is still a fun and fast read.

Those who have been seriously following all recent Guardians of the Galaxy series might not want to take this one too seriously, but fortunately, the writers don’t seem to want readers to do much more than just hang on for the wild ride. Age Recommendation: Teen +

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Astro City #14
Batgirl #34 Gail Simone’s Final Issue
Batman #34 Batman Earth One TP
Batman Eternal #19
Birds Of Prey #34 (Final Issue)
Coffin Hill #10 Constantine #17
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #13
Flash Vol. 3 Gorilla Warfare TP
Flash Vol. 4 Reverse HC
Green Lantern Corps #34
Green Lantern Wrath Of The First Lantern TP
Harley Quinn #9
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe Vol. 3 TP
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #9
Invisibles Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 HC
Justice League United #4 New Series
MAD Magazine #529
New 52 Futures End #15 Weekly Series
New Suicide Squad #2 New Series
Preacher Vol. 5 TP
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #48 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Chaos #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Superboy #34 (Final Issue)
Superman Wonder Woman #11 World’s Finest #26
All-New X-Men #30
Amazing Spider-Man #5 GeekMom Recommended
Amazing X-Men #10 Avengers #31
Avengers Undercover #8
Avengers World #11
Captain America #23
Captain America Vol. 4
The Iron Nail HC
Captain Marvel #6 GeekMom Recommended
Deadpool #33 Deadpool By Daniel Way The Complete Collection Vol. 4 TP
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #6 (Of 7)
Fantastic Four #8
Hulk #5
Inhuman #3 New Series
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #11
Nightcrawler #5
Nova Special #1 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sin #7 (Of 8) Spider-Man 2099 #2 New Series
Thunderbolts #29
Ultimate FF #6
United States Of Murder Inc #4 New Series
Wolverine #11
Wolverine And The X-Men #7
X-Force #8 X-Men #18
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Dave Gibbons Watchmen Artifact Edition HC
G.I. JOE Silent Interlude 30th Anniversary Edition HC
Godzilla Cataclysm #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Judge Dredd Anderson Psi-Division #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Littlest Pet Shop #4 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Maxx Maxximized #10
My Little Pony Animated Vol. 3 The Return Of Harmony TP Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #22 Kid Friendly Squidder #1 (Of 4)
 Kid Friendly

Star Trek #36
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #14 Kid Friendly
Transformers Primacy #1 New Series
Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #1 New Series
X-Files Season 10 #15
Abe Sapien #15
Blackout #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Creepy Comics #17 Dark Ages #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Ghost #7 Guns Of Shadow Valley HC
Lobster Johnson Get The Lobster #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #1 Storm
Samurai Executioner Omnibus Vol. 2 TP
Star Wars #20 Star Wars Legacy II Vol. 3 Wanted Ania Solo TP
Star Wars The Lucas Draft HC
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #8 (Of 12)
X #16

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Sci-Fi Love and a Strong-Willed Female Outlaw

Robyn Hood #1 \ Art by Larry Watts
Robyn Hood #1. Art by Larry Watts.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Today, I’m excited to check out a very early release of Pat Shand’s latest creation in Robyn Hood #1 and Corrina sees what happens when you take a fairy tale, throw in a touch of love, and finish if off with some sci-fi.

Dakster Sullivan — Robyn Hood #1 written by Pat Shand and art by Larry Watts

The first issue of Robyn Hood’s ongoing series was everything I could ask for and more. We get an explanation as to why Marian cut off her long locks and what she and Robyn have been doing since coming back from Myst.

Now working as private detectives, Robyn does the dirty work and Marian works the office. By “works,” I mean she has declared that everything technology is wicked and cursed. (I think I know a few people like that at my office.)

This first story arc takes us into the underground of a soul-stealing priest and the ending was enough of a cliffhanger to leave us hanging without pulling our hair out screaming, “What happens next?!?!?”

For cosplay purposes, I like how they have Robyn wearing a glamour lens during some of her escapades. It makes it a lot easier to not get trolled at conventions for not having a mystical glowing eye.

At the end of the issue, I couldn’t be happier for the adventure Pat Shand has put us on and let me say that it’s about freaking time Robyn got her own series instead of a little five-issue mini-series.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Age Recommendation: Teens for mature content

trillium
Trillium by Jeff Lemire, from Vertigo Comics.

Corrina — Trillium by Jeff Lemire, writer and illustrator, due out on 8/12/2014

This is a love story, a fairy tale, and a hard science-fiction story. It’s a story of the loss of the entire human race on one side, and the loss of innocence of a generation on the other side. It should be impossible to pack this much into one story, but Lemire succeeds, especially at knowing when to back off on words and let the pictures tell the story.

The two leads of Trillium are at opposite ends of space and time. Nika Temsmith is a botanist searching for a flower that can cure a rapidly-spreading plague taking out the human race. At the heart of her search is a mysterious pyramid on an alien world. William Pike is a renowned explorer scarred by his experience as a soldier in World War I, and at the heart of his explorations is a mysterious pyramid.

William and Nika both go into the pyramid, but they don’t go out quite the same. To say more would give away all of the twists and turns in this story. It’s beautiful, sad, and the artwork is complimentary to how jagged the worlds of Nika and William can be.

Age level: 10 + for mature themes

bodies #1
Cover by Fiona Stephenson, copyright Vertigo Comics.

Bodies #1 written by Si Spencer, art by Meghan Hetrick-Murante, Dean Ormston, Tula Lotay, and Phil Winslade

Four time periods, four highly unusual detectives, one setting (London), and one body that appears to be the same in all their worlds; that’s the premise of this new Vertigo series. The time periods are 1890s Victorian-era London, 1940s London, modern-day London featuring a multi-cultural detective, and 2050, with a detective who has trouble even remembering her own name. Each time period is handled by one writer, with the Victorian setting being the most familiar to Sherlock Holmes readers, while the future setting is the trippiest and most unusual.

It all works, at least in this first issue, with the detectives and their cases introduced well, with no one setting crowding out the others. It’s a delicate balance—but so far, so good.

Age level: Teen +

To check out what is coming to a comic book store near you today, head over to ComiXology for a complete list of new releases!

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Storm, Wonderland, and The Unwritten

Storm #1
Storm #1, Art by Victor Ibanez © Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Today on Comic Book Corner, a storm is brewing with Storm, Wonderland, and The Unwritten set to take the stage.

Dakster Sullivan — Grimm Fairy Tales verses Wonderland #1 of 5 by Troy Brownfield and art by Luca Claretti

GFT vs. Wonderland \ Image: Zenescope
GFT vs. Wonderland \ Image: Zenescope

I’m not a huge fan of Zenescope’s Wonderland series, because it’s a very dark and can be a pretty gruesome story-line to read. When I realized that Wonderland would be going up against Sela in this mini-series, I put aside my feelings about the art and started down the rabbit hole.

My curiosity was rewarded with not one, but two strong female leads, one of whom is also a mother.

The overall first book seems to be just a huge misunderstanding after Sela (Grimm Fairy Tales Heroine) decides to kick tail before asking questions. I’m not surprised though, because she states early on in the story that she hates “Wonderland crap.” The violence that was there wasn’t overwhelming like watching a slicer horror flick. Considering how this issue ended, I’m excited to see what happens next. I might even have to pick this up when it comes out in trade.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Kay Moore — The Unwritten Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld and Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey and art by Peter Gross
In this collected volume of issues (42-49 of The Unwritten), the story spirals around, with many main characters, including Tom Taylor, visiting Hades. He discovers that right and wrong and debts and gifts are not read the way we write them. Carey subverts my unconscious ideas of the underworld, minions, dark lords, sidekicks, and dozens of other tropes while simultaneously honoring them—an approach that had me wondering about my own interpretations. With The Unwritten series sprawling through all of fiction and all of the world, I was afraid that as it progressed, it would become unreadable, but this graphic novel answered some of my questions, gave me some new moves to admire, and had me breathless again for the next installment.
Age recommendation: 17-years-old and up.

The Unwritten Vol. 8 \ Image: Amazon
The Unwritten Vol. 8 \ Image: Amazon

The Unwritten Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey, Bill Willingham, Peter Gross, and Mark Buckingham is a cross-over between The Unwritten and Fables, both iconic, idiosyncratic, and entertaining comic storyverses. Our story begins with Unwritten‘s Tommy Taylor seeking to mend the wound that threatens the bonding of stories and the material world. At the same time, in a Fables storyverse, the mundane Earth and many other lands have been overtaken by a dark lord and a small surviving contingent of Fables are using spells to resist him. When Tommy’s and the Fables’ paths and purposes cross, another ingenious story is set in motion. In the Unwritten series, I enjoy the richness of literary references; in this telling, there are all sorts of childhood fables incorporated from Bill Willingham’s popular Fables mega-series. I read it as a natural marriage of stories, weaving the strands of other stories and creating one beautiful tapestry that entertained and occasionally surprised me.

Age recommendation: 17-years-old and up.

GeekMom received a review copy of these titles. 

Kelly Knox — Storm #1 by Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez

X-Men was the first title I read as a kid, and the reason I really got hooked on comics. I loved the team dynamics, and found the characters endlessly fascinating, especially Storm. Ororo Munroe is compelling and mysterious, but always seemed aloof and enigmatic. Storm #1, out last week, re-captured the feeling I had then toward the title character, but is filled with the promise that I’ll finally get to know Ororo Munroe.

Storm #1
Art by Victor Ibanez © Marvel Comics

The first issue of Storm’s ongoing series opens with her floating in the clouds, and thanks to Victor Ibanez’s gorgeous art, you feel like you’re hovering alongside her. In every panel she seems regal and powerful (which is no surprise since she was once a queen). In this first issue, you see Storm on her own for most of the story, but still get the team dynamic that I love so much about the X-Men as Hank McCoy provides support.

The action also shifts to the mansion, or The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning as it’s known now, showing you both sides of Storm’s life as a hero and a headmistress.

Storm #1 is an excellent place to get into (or back into) comic books. The story is clearly just getting started, and there are no references to other goings-on in the Marvel Universe that might make you feel like you’re missing out on something. If you’ve ever loved the X-Men, pick up Storm #1 to get back into their world.

DRM Free Backups Available from ComiXology…Sort Of

ComiXology announced the latest update to their service allows for you to download DRM free backups of “some” of your purchases. By some, they mean none of the major publishers are included. I can understand why Marvel and DC Comics wouldn’t want their customers to back up their comics. It’s like giving us a paper copy of it to pass along as they…wait…ohh that’s what we do with our regular comics isn’t it? Okay. In that case, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t let their customers have their comics in a form they can back up.

I currently have over 1,200 comics in my ComiXology account, and of those books only about 20 are available to back up. You could say I feel a little bummed and cheated by this new service. Especially since the books that I’m able to download a back up of, I don’t care about because they were free to begin with. Hopefully Marvel and DC Comics will work something out so their customers can actually own the comics they buy, but until then, I’m not holding my breath.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Adventures Of Superman #15
Ame-Comi Girls Vol. 2 Rise Of The Brainiac TP GM
Aquaman Annual #2
Batman Eternal #17
Batman Li’l Gotham Vol. 2 TP Kid Friendly
Batman The Dark Knight Vol.  3 Mad TP
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 4 Clay HC
Batwing Vol. 4 Welcome To The Family TP
Bodies #1 (Of 8) New Mini Series
DC Comics Presents Batman Adventures #1 Kid Friendly
Detective Comics Annual #3
Doom Patrol Omnibus HC
Harley Quinn #8 GM
Justice League #32
New 52 Futures End #13
Red Lanterns Annual #1
Sandman Overture #3 (Of 6)
Sinestro #4
Smallville Season 11 Special #5
Vertigo Quarterly Magenta #1
Wake #10 (Of 10) Final Issue
100th Anniversary Special Guardians Of The Galaxy #1 Movie comes out Friday!
All-New Invaders Vol. 1 Gods And Soldiers TP
All-New Ghost Rider #5
Avengers #33
Avengers World #10
Cyclops #3 New Series
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #4 (Of 7)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #17 GM
Hawkeye #19 GM
Human Torch By Karl Kesel And Skottie Young The Complete Collection TP
Iron Man Special #1
Iron Patriot #5
Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 8 TP
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy The Art Of The Movie Slipcase HC
Mighty Avengers Vol. 2 Family Bonding TP
New Avengers #21
Original Sin #3.3
Runaways The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Secret Avengers #6
Spider-Man The Complete Alien Costume Saga Vol. 1 TP
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man Vol. 2 The Crime Of The Century TP
Ultimate FF #5
Uncanny Avengers #22
Uncanny X-Men #24
X-Men #17
X-Men Magneto Testament TP
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Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #2 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Danger Girl May Day #3 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 5 HC
Ghostbusters #18
Infestation Omnibus TP
Jinnrise Vol. 2 TP
Locke And Key The Covers Of Gabriel Rodriguez HC
Metal Gear Solid Complete Deluxe Edition HC
Rip Kirby Vol. 7 HC
Samurai Jack #10
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #5
Tales Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 5 TP
Transformers Robots In Disguise #31
V-Wars #4
Well HC
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland HC
Zombies Vs Robots Z-Boyz In The Robot Graveyard Prose TP
Baltimore The Witch Of Harju #1 (Of 3) New Mini Series
Captain Midnight #13
Deep Gravity #1 (Of 4) New Mini Series
EC Archives Two-Fisted Tales Vol. 3 HC
Emily And The Strangers Breaking The Record #2 (Of 3)
Gasoline Alley The Complete Sundays Vol. 2 1923–1925 HC
King Conan The Conqueror #6 (Of 6) Final Issue
Massive #25
Mind MGMT #24
Pariah #6 (Of 8)
Star Wars Rebel Heist #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Veil #4 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Batman is 75 and Cars Turn Into Monsters!

Image copyright DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day and a special, “Happy Birthday!” to Batman, who is 75 this week. This week, we’ll take a look at Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years, the finale of the Batman: Year Zero saga, plus cars that become monsters, a new zombie book from DC, and Archie #656, which introduces Veronica’s fashion designer cousin who happens to need a wheelchair.

And if you’ve ever wanted to make a comic, we have a Tumblr just for you.

Dakster Sullivan — Monster Motors #1 written by Brian Lynch and art by Nick Roche, Leonard O’Grady, and Tom B. Long

Monster Motors \ Image: IDW Publishing
Monster Motors \ Image: IDW Publishing

What do you get when you mix Pixar’s Cars, the story of Dracula, and Frankenstein? Monster Motors of course.

Victor Franke is a new college graduate who makes the mistake of buying a Transylvania junkyard off eBay. Victor intends on turning the junkyard into a car repair shop, but his dreams are fraught with nightmares when Cadillacula comes to suck the gas and life out of all the cars.

Victor is determined to not let this freak of motor nature destroy his new life and builds his own monster motor to stop Cadillacula. Guess what he calls his creation? Frankenride!

At the risk of spoiling anything for you, I’m going to stop here. Let’s just say I’m excited to see how the rest of the monster world is portrayed and who takes Frankenride’s side and who joins up with Cadillacula.

I hesitate to recommend this title for anyone under the age of 8 years old, as the subject matter might freak out younger children.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Kelly Knox — The Comics Survival Kit from Gail Simone

If you’ve ever wanted to be a professional in the comic book industry, the Comics Survival Kit should be your first and best resource for getting started. Created by veteran writer Gail Simone, the Tumblr is designed to give advice from other pros with quick, short tips.

Gail Simone
Gail Simone Spotlight at SDCC 2009. Photo by Loren Javier, Licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0

In the Kit you’ll find tips for writers and artists alike, from how to get your book stocked in stores to what editors look for in artist portfolios. Upcoming plans for the site include:

I will be adding a couple mini-tips articles from all over the industry ever couple days. I have, with permission, used some great stuff I have found on the web, but the vast majority of mini-lessons will be new, from colorists, retailers, writers, artists, editors, and lots more. People like Greg Pak, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jim Zub, Adam Hughes, Pia Guerra, some of the best people in the industry.

Follow Comics Survival Kit to get some of the best comic book advice out there, and maybe you’ll see yourself on GeekMom’s Comic Book Corner someday!

Corrina Lawson  — Batman: A Celebration of 75 years, various writers and artists  

This thick hardcover featuring a cover illustration by Jim Lee is the best of DC’s 75th Anniversary books so far.  Superman’s book was fine, Lois Lane’s celebration left something to be desired, but this one works in every way. It hits all eras of Batman, from the pulp beginnings to the trippy era of the 1960s and then onto the glory days of Batman stories, beginning in the 1970s with Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams. I was pleased with all the creators that are represented.

Writers include Mike Barr, Steve Englehart, Archie Goodwin, Dennis O’Neil, John Broome, Edmond Hamilton, Bill Finger, Various, Scott Snyder, Paul Dini, Chuck Dixon, Greg Rucka, and Doug Moench. I was particular happy to see the highly underrated Moench in this volume.  No Alan Brennert but I’ll give them a pass on that, as the stories in this collection are uniformly excellent.

Then there’s the art. This 1970s diehard Adams fangirl is disappointed that Jim Lee gets the cover, but given Lee is recognized as the best Batman artist of the present day, I can’t complain. Also included is art by the late, great Marshall Rogers who did far too little Batman work, and, of course, Bill Finger, who is widely believed to deserve at least half of the credit for creating Batman that goes instead in full to Bob Kane. Other artists are Greg Capullo, J.H. Williams, III, Jim Aparo, Alan Davis, Michael Golden, Frank Miller, Alex Toth, Carmine Infantino, Dick Sprang, and Bob Kane, truly an all-star lineup.

This is a great book to introduce someone to Batman or for to a long-time fan who wants to revisit their favorite stories.

Age recommendation: All ages, but watch those more recent stories.

Batman #33 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Mike Plascencia

The long running Zero Year arc concludes this issue with Batman’s final confrontation with the Riddler and with Lucius Fox and Jim Gordon helping to save Gotham. This hasn’t been my favorite storyline, as it contains fantastical elements that strain my suspension of disbelief, but it all looks amazing, thanks to the art team.

But what I want to talk about are the last few pages, which feature a flashback of Bruce Wayne confessing that, when he was a teenager, he tried to get his mind-wiped via electronic shock treatment because he couldn’t stand the pain of his life. Bruce tells Alfred that he must be Batman or risk not being able to handle his life at all. The last few pages show Alfred flashing forward to what Bruce’s life might have been without Batman and concludes with Alfred telling potential love interests that Bruce is “already taken,” meaning by Gotham or Batman.

I feel like Scott Snyder and I need to sit down over a cup of coffee and talk about who Batman really is, because his view of Batman seems to be as a mentally unbalanced person who has to dress up like a Bat and fight crime to stay sane. Whereas I’m far more of the Denny O’Neil version of Batman: The driven but sane Guardian of Gotham who fights crime because someone needs to bring justice to a broken system and prevent another child from being orphaned like he was.

And these two versions of Batman aren’t the same. At all. Snyder has some evidence on his side, like the version of Batman written by Frank Miller in The Dark Knight Returns, but I’ll just point to the movie Batman Begins, which is clearly of the “Gotham’s Guardian” version.

Age recommendation: 10+

Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Scott Hampton

This is more sick and twisted fun than it has any right to be for a zombie story. To talk about the plot would give away some of the best parts but, essentially, there’s a zombie, he eats brains, and he’s kinda trying to do the right thing. It’s very violent and gory, as befits a zombie comic, but I also laughed at a couple of spots. Hampton has some great zombie facial expressions. If you like zombies or like Palmiotti/Gray, then you need to buy this comic.

Age recommendation: Teen+

Archie #656 by Dan Parent, story and pencils, and Rich Koslowski, inks

“Here Comes Harper” is the introduction of Veronica’s cousin, a fun-loving fashion designer who is also confined to a wheelchair. At first, I was worried the story would be sacrificed to the message (though it is a good one), but after a few pages of explanation about who Harper is and why she’s visiting, we movie into typical Archie territory with Harper and the whole gang attending a party and then slapstick and fun ensue.

Age recommendation: All ages.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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All-Star Western #33
Aquaman #33
Batman #33
Batman ’66 #13
Batman And Robin #33
Batman Beyond Universe #12
Batman Black And White Vol. 4 HC
Batman Eternal #16
Catwoman #33
Dead Boy Detectives #7
Detective Comics #27 (Special Edition)
Flash #33
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #15
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #8
Justice League Dark #33
Justice League Of America’s Vibe Vol. 1 Breach TP
New 52 Futures End #12
Red Lanterns #33
Secret Origins #4
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #1
Superman #33
Superman Action Comics Vol. 3 At The End Of Days TP
Superman Action Comics Vol. 4 Hybrid HC
Swamp Thing By Brian K. Vaughan Vol. 2 TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #13
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #7
Unwritten Vol. 9 The Unwritten Fables TP
Wonder Woman #33
100th Anniversary Special Avengers #1
All-New Doop #4 (Of 5)
All-New Invaders #8
All-New Ultimates #5
Amazing Spider-Man #4 New Series GeekMom Recommended
Avengers Vol. 5 Adapt Or Die HC (Premiere Edition)
Captain America Vol. 2 Castaway In Dimension Z Book 2 TP
Daredevil #6 GeekMom Recommended
Deadpool #32
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #3 (Of 7)
Deadpool Vol. 5 Wedding Of Deadpool TP
Deadpool Vs X-Force #2 (Of 4)
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird HC
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 20 Into The Timestream TP
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act One TP
Guardians Of The Galaxy By Abnett And Lanning The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Hulk #4 New Series
Loki Agent Of Asgard #2 New Series
Marvel Previews #132 (August 2014 For Products On-Sale October 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #28 Kid Friendly
Mighty Avengers #12
Original Sin #5.2
Original Sins #4 (Of 5)
Storm #1 New Series
Thunderbolts Vol. 4 No Mercy TP
War Of Kings TP (New Printing)
Wolverine #8
Wolverine And The X-Men #6
Wolverine By Jason Aaron The Complete Collection Vol. 3 TP
Wolverine Origin II HC
Wolverine Vol. 1 Three Months To Die TP
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Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #14
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #2 (Of 4)
Memory Collectors HC
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Artist’s Edition HC
Monster Motors #1 New Kid Friendly Series
My Little Pony Friends Forever #7 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #24 Kid Friendly
Ragnarok #1
Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge Of Forever The Original Teleplay #2 (Of 5)
Super Secret Crisis War Johnny Bravo #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Heroes Collection Oversized HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #13 Kid Friendly GeekMom Recommended
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles In Time #2 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Utrom Empire TP
Transformers Classics Vol. 7 TP
Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #1
Transformers Windblade #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Wild Blue Yonder #5 (Of 6)
Winterworld #2 New Series
X-Files Season 10 #14 Trigger Sensitive 
Axe Cop The American Choppers #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #5
Conan The Avenger #4 New Series
Dragon Girl And Monkey King The Art Of Katsuya Terada HC
Dream Thief Escape #2 (Of 4)
Elfquest The Final Quest #4 New Series
Gantz Vol. 32 TP
Goon Occasion Of Revenge #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Groo Vs Conan #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Halo Escalation #8
Mass Effect Foundation #13
MPD-Psycho Vol. 11 TP
Sakai Project Artists Celebrate Thirty Years Of Usagi Yojimbo HC
Star Wars Legacy II #17
Star Wars The Lucas Draft HC
Star Wars The Lucas Draft TP
Tomb Raider #6

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—TMNT, Harley Quinn, Teen Titans, The X-Files, and Pirates!

TMNT #36 Cover \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing
TMNT #36 Cover \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week Harley Quinn heads to San Diego Comic-Con, the Turtles meet a new foe, The X-Files jump into their zero year issue, and an orphan turns pirate in Anne Bonnie.

Dakster Sullivan — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36 by Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, and art by Mateus Santolouco

Preview from TMNT #36 \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing
Preview from TMNT #36 \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

As we hit issue #36 in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I’m really excited about everything that has happened so far. From the mess with the Purple Dragons, to April and Cassy, to witnessing what Leonardo went through as a member of the Footclan, and watching his brothers fighting to get him back, this series has been a crazy ride. In this issue, we see a little more of the pain that Leonardo is experiencing after breaking free of the Footclan and the relationship he has with his father.

While on a father/son walk around the sewers, Leo and Splinter have their first run in with the Rat King, a villain known for his ability to control rats. I’m familiar with the Rat King from various TMNT animated series, and I noticed a big change in the power he possesses. I’m a little confused by this revelation, but none the less it offers up endless possibilities for him in future issues. I enjoyed the character in the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Animated Series on Nickelodeon, and I’m expecting nothing less out of him in the comic book.

This title is recommended for ages 10 and up. 

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Corrina —

Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International: San Diego #1 written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, various artists including Paul Pope and Conner. 

Everyone’s favorite not-quite-a-villain goes to Comic-Con. Mayhem ensues. Go. Buy. Read. Laugh.

This title is recommended for ages 14 and up.

Robin Rises: Omega #1 written by Peter Tomasi, art by Andy Kubert, inked by Jonathan Glapion

This is the beginning of the storyline that will lead to the return of the late Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul. I’d expected the beginning of a story but what I got was the end of a storyline in which Batman was hunting for Damian’s stolen corpse.

There is a nice recap of the history of Batman and Talia’s relationship and Damian’s too-short life, and then the issue jumps right into Batman and R’as Al Ghul against an army from Apokolips. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on but it all looks great, thanks to the art team. I’m glad Damian will be back. It seemed cruel to kill the little assassin/hero but this story seems way too over-the-top to fit into Batman’s more realistic world.

This title is recommended for ages 12 and up. 

Teen Titans #1 written by Will Pfeifer, art by Kenneth Rocafort.

teen-titans-1-c63fa
Cover to Teen Titans #1, copyright DC Comics

Criticism of this cover of the Titans’ relaunch eventually led to rape threats against the writer of the article, which was a bad way for this much-needed reboot to begin. It looks a bit different. There are square boxes around each of the Titans’ faces and it looks like a search page.

It’s not much of an improvement.

The story is an improvement over what was possibly the worst Teen Titans comic ever, the previous series, but that is not saying much. This issue doesn’t waste time recapping the origins of the team and gets right to the action, allowing each Titan to show off their special skills. That’s a good thing. Not so good: the way Wonder Girl’s breasts even in the interior art seem bigger than her head, and that these young superheroes greet the deaths of their opponents with a “shrug, hey, what can you do?” One would hope young heroes would be a bit less callous, even though the deaths are not their fault.

Teen Titans was once as popular as the X-Men series from Marvel but their stories have been of dubious quality for about ten years now, and while this series is better, it’s not great.

That makes me sad.

This title is recommended for ages 12 and up. 

Lisa Tate — Anne Bonnie, written and drawn by Tim Yates (Blue Juice Comics)

This lively pirate epic, from the publishers behind the time-traveling adventure, The Accelerators, is set in a steampunk-tinged fantasy world.  Magical creatures, rock monsters,  moody ghost ships and pirates abound.

Anne Bonnie, “The Pirate Queen,” is currently thought dead, though many wish she were alive to keep the pirate attacks on civilians in check.

It’s in this world that we meet the orphan Ariana, whose fiery personality matches her ginger appearance. The closest thing she has to a family, her “Uncle” Ken, entrusts her with a copy of a mysterious key before heading out to sea. Jump ahead a few years, where Ariana is a self-proclaimed treasure hunter, with the key still in her possession. When she finds the lock the key fits, her real adventure begins.

This type of comic is a joy to read, with plenty of fun background characters and shenanigans to draw readers into this otherworldly high seas tale. Ariana is refreshing as well. She’s energetic, but not annoyingly perky, realistically clumsy, but not ditzy, and best of all, not over-sexualized.

Ariana is independent, strong and driven; a great read for girls and boys alike. Yates’ storytelling and art are perfect for younger readers, with an exciting, easy-to-follow tale and clean, colorful illustrations. Issue #1 was released in March with #2 following it up in late June. No news yet on the next issue, so there is still an opportunity of readers to jump on board and catch up with Ariana on her journey.

Recommended for all ages. 

Sophie Brown The X-Files: Year Zero #1 by Karl Kesel and art by Vic Malhotra and Greg Scott

The X-Files: Year Zero is a five issue mini-series set partly in Joe Harris’ ongoing Season 10 and partly in the 1940s. The series sets up the back story of the entire X-Files division and introduces Mulder and Scully’s predecessors; Special Agent Bing Ellinson and Special Employee Millie Ohio.

The X-Files Zero Year \ Cover: © IDW/Carlos Valenzuela
The X-Files Zero Year \ Cover: © IDW/Carlos Valenzuela

As a die-hard fan, I’m always wary of people messing with my beloved show’s history by adding new characters retroactively into the canon. This was my greatest concern regarding Ellinson and Ohio but it needn’t have been. I fell in love them both within pages of their first appearances. While the character parallels to Mulder and Scully are anything but subtle (Ellinson is even referred to as “The FBI’s most unwanted”—a title Mulder gave himself in the show’s pilot) there’s enough here to separate them rather than making this effectively a 1940s X-Files AU. The rapport between the pair is instant yet believable with both halves of this new partnership keen to prove themselves to the other, much the same as in a certain pilot episode that aired in 1993. And yes I totally ship it already.

In the modern-day, Year Zero handles Mulder and Scully perfectly, giving them some of their best comic pages so far. Karl Kesel captures their relationship exactly the way I love to see. It’s affectionate, sarcastic, and funny in equal measure, creating that brilliant banter that epitomizes why I love the show so much. It’s also great to see them physically working together on an investigation, something that has been sadly lacking in Season 10 where all too often they are separated and tackling their own areas apart.

The issue ends with a classic in-the-car-exposition scene as Mulder reveals to Scully a little more about the mysterious Mr. Xero/Zero who is at the center of both their own current investigation and that of Ellinson and Ohio many decades before. There’s an attention to detail evident here that makes the fan girl in me very excited to see how this story plays out. Roll on August 20th and issue two.

Recommended for ages 15 and up. 

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy. 

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Batman A Celebration Of 75 Years HC
Batman Eternal #15
Batwoman #33
Birds Of Prey Vol. 4 The Cruelest Cut TP
Damian Son Of Batman Deluxe Edition HC
Django Unchained TP
Fables #142
Green Lantern New Guardians #33
Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego #1 (One Shot) GeekMom Recommended
Infinite Crisis Fight For The Multiverse #1 New Series
Joker A Celebration Of 75 Years HC
New 52 Futures End #11
Red Hood And The Outlaws #33
Robin Rises Omega #1 (One Shot)
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #7 Kid Friendly
Supergirl #33
Supergirl Vol. 4 Out Of The Past TP
Tales Of The Batman J.H. Williams III HC
Teen Titans #1 New Series
Teen Titans Vol. 4 Light And Dark TP
100th Anniversary Special X-Men #1
All-New X-Factor #11
Avengers World #9
Black Widow #6
Black Widow Vol. 1 The Finely Woven Thread TP
Captain America #22 75th Anniversary Poster By Alex Ross
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #2 (Of 7)
Elektra #4 New Series
Guardians Of The Galaxy #15 GeekMom Recommended
Inhuman #1 New Series
Loki Agent Of Asgard #5
Magneto #7
Marvel Masterworks The Avengers Vol. 14 HC
Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #2 New Series
Moon Knight #4 New Series
Ms. Marvel #6
Nova #19 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sin #3.2
Original Sin #6 (Of 8)
Savage Hulk #2 New Series
Savage Wolverine #21
Secret Avengers #5
She-Hulk #6
Silver Surfer #4 New Series
Thunderbolts #28
Ultimate FF #4 New Series
Uncanny X-Men #23
X-Men #16
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24 #4 New Series
Borderlands The Fall Of Fyrestone #1 New Series
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #1 (Of 6) New Kid Friendly Series 
Doberman #1
Gate-Way Vol. 1 A New World TP
Judge Dredd #21
Last Fall #1 (Of 5) New Mini Series
Littlest Pet Shop #3 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Lust TP
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #21 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls Classics Vol. 4 Picture Perfect TP Kid Friendly
Squidder #1 (Of 4) New Series
Star Trek Special Flesh And Stone #1 New Series
Steranko Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition HC
Tarzan The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Vol. 3 1971-1974 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36 GeekMom 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Vol. 4 Mutagen Mayhem HC Kid Friendly
V-Wars #2 New Series
X-Files Classics Vol. 4 HC
X-Files Year Zero #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #121
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #3 (Of 4)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Spike Into The Light HC
Eye Of Newt #2 (Of 4)
Ghost #6
Grindhouse Doors Open At Midnight Double Feature Vol. 1 TP
Pictures That Tick Vol. 2 HC (Limited Edition)
Pictures That Tick Vol. 2 TP
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #3 (Of 4)
Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 28 Red Scorpion HC (Limited Edition)
Witcher #5 (Of 5) Last Issue
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #2 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

Comic Book Corner — New SF, A Shirtless Grayson, Lumberjanes, & A Whole Lot Of Rocket

Rocket Raccoon
Rocket Raccoon #1, Art by Skottie Young © Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Corrina takes a leap of faith into Deep Gravity #1 and checks out a shirtless Dick Grayson in Grayson #1. Kelly on the other hand, reads up on the upcoming star of Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket Raccoon in his solo ongoing series debut. Sophie heads to camp with the Lumberjanes and then dives into her first Bluewater comic book title – Amazing Storytellers.

Corrina — Deep Gravity #1 written by Mike Richardson, Gabriel Hardman and Corinne Bechko, art by Fernand Baldo 

This series caught my eye because of Bechko and Hardman, who I met at the special edition of New York Comic Con last month. Hardman did a commissioned sketch for me and I had to chance to talk to the husband-and-wife team a little bit about their work. There’s a preview of Deep Gravity’s first issue at the Dark Horse Comics website and it looks great, from the intriguing opening to the herding of aliens, and the woman who’s clearly not thrilled with the arrival of an ex-boyfriend.

Age Rec: 12+

Grayson #1 by Tim Seeley, Tom King, and Mikel Janin

DC, and the writers, clearly recognize Dick Grayson’s sex appeal in this first issue of the former Robin’s new series. Presumed dead by most of the world, Dick is now working (read: infiltrating) the spy agency known as Spyral. Helena Bertinelli makes her first appearance here in the New 52 universe and while I’m glad to see her being used, this version’s personality has little in common with her previous self. Maybe that will change.

Midnighter (the Batman analogue from DC’s Wildstorm universe) makes an unexpected but effective appearance and his battle with Dick is fun (“you fight like jazz”), Dick is acrobatic in some great art sequences, and he is shirtless in another panel of lovely art, but I wished the story was a little more focused. I’m not yet sold on the premise.

Age Rec: 9+

Kelly Knox — Rocket Raccoon #1 by Skottie Young

If you’re hoping to get acquainted with the Guardians of the Galaxy before the film’s big release, look no further than Rocket Raccoon #1. You might recognize Skottie Young’s distinctive work from many Marvel variant covers in recent years, including the joyous Captain Marvel #1 variant. Now debuting his own series featuring the one-of-a-kind Rocket Raccoon, the phrase “fun ride” doesn’t do the first issue justice.

rocket-raccoon-2
Rocket Raccoon #1, Art by Skottie Young © Marvel Comics

Rocket Raccoon #1 requires no pre-reading or even much familiarity with the characters. Even without knowing too much about the Guardians beyond the first collection by Brian Michael Bendis, I never felt lost. The first issue kicks off with action, humor, and adventure while simultaneously introducing you to the scamp that is Rocket Raccoon. And Groot. And Star-Lord. Yes, the whole gang is here, but Rocket is obviously the star of the show.

While reading—and you should go buy it right now, what are you waiting for?—keep an eye out for Young’s fantastically descriptive and hilarious sound effects in the panels. I considered those almost worth the price of the book alone.

The main character is a fuzzy raccoon, granted, but don’t mistake Rocket Raccoon for an all-ages comic book. There’s some edginess to it that isn’t quite suited to the youngest comic book fans. Says Young, “You’re not gonna see any raccoon private parts. But I definitely want to play up the attitude people have come to expect and enjoy, never confusing Rocket for a cute and cuddly anthropomorphic character.”

But if your kids are old enough that you’d consider taking them to the theater to see the film, this comic should fill in nicely until August rolls around.

Age Rec: 12+

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #4 by Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson with art by Brooke A. Allen

Since its debut in April, Lumberjanes has taken the independent comic world by storm. There is already a “Which Lumberjane Are You?” quiz on BuzzFeed, and the series’ publisher, Boom! Studios, is releasing a set of exclusive Lumberjane Scout patches at this year’s SDCC. For a series only now releasing it’s fourth issue, those are some impressive credentials.

Lumberjanes \ Image: Boom Studios
Lumberjanes \ Image: Boom Studios

Lumberjanes #4 sees the girls, and their leader Jen, out leaf spotting in the woods. Of course nothing can possibly stay normal for long and soon the gang have fallen into a patch of poison ivy whereby a group of impossibly polite young men from the nearby Mr. Theodore Tarquin Reginald Lancelot Herman Crumple Camp for Boys appear to assist them. (Oh, in case you missed it in issue one, the full name of the Lumberjanes camp is actually Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniguigul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types—try saying that after a few glasses of wine!)

So why exactly did the girls fall into ivy? Yetis of course. Walkman wearing, talking yetis with names like Janice if we’re being precise. It’s brilliant and insane but yet somehow makes perfect sense. Once treated at the boys’ camp, the girls once again sneak off in order to reach the lighthouse where they find, well you’ll have to read it and find out. Suffice to say that all is not as it seems at the boys camp and after a very nice, obscure little X-Files reference, it looks like Jen might be starting to come around to the girls’ way of thinking.

Age Rec: All Ages

Amazing Storytellers by J.S. Earls, Tony Laplume, Michael Lent, Brian McCarthy, Tom Smith with art by Luis Chichon, JM Cuellar, Marco Gerratana, Kent Hurlburt

Bluewater productions is known for their graphic novels depicting the lives of famous individuals from musicians to politicians. Amazing Storytellers collects comic book biographies of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J. R. R. Tolkien, and George R. R. Martin. Each one is written in a broadly similar style to that of the author they discuss, and covers the subject’s life from birth right through to the present day.

For those with only a vague interest in the lives of these authors, they are a brilliant introduction. However, fans are unlikely to learn anything new. I doubt there are many Stephen King fans who don’t know about his 1999 brush with death, or many Tolkien fans who are unaware of the importance of faith in his life. The comics read like illustrated Wikipedia entries that highlight the important events that shaped their lives and careers.

Sadly there are issues throughout.

The books randomly shift tense from past to present creating a very disjointed feel, they also moved between the first and third person at will, blending quotes from the subjects with the writers’ own prose. In the Stephen King comic especially, I was often unsure whether I was supposed to be reading a biography or an autobiography. There are editorial mistakes right from the first page and frustrating lack of detail elsewhere. In the George R. R. Martin story, it is mentioned that he once wrote a letter to the editor that was “published in one of the most popular comics of the time” —however the book doesn’t bother to say what comic that was (FYI, it was The Fantastic Four #20 in 1961—thanks Google.)

Regardless of these issues, and of the artwork which I found consistently unpleasant, I did honestly find the books interesting.

While I have read novels by all four of the included authors, I knew very little of their personal lives which probably makes me the ideal reader for this series. It has made me want to go out and start reading more material by these men. I do have one final criticism which is that in a book titled “Amazing Storytellers”, not one of them was female. There are so many wonderful female writers who could have been included (J. K. Rowling, Agatha Christie, and Mary Shelley immediately spring to mind) that it seems a shame to not have included at least one in this compendium. Perhaps we might see an entirely female follow up to this one day?

Age Rec: 12+

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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American Vampire Second Cycle #4 New Series
Animal Man Vol. 6 Flesh And Blood TP
Batgirl #33
Batman Bruce Wayne Fugitive TP
Batman Eternal #14
Birds Of Prey #33
Coffin Hill #9
Constantine #16
Detective Comics #33
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #12
Grayson #1 New Series
Green Lantern Corps #33
Infinity Man And The Forever People #2 New Series
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #7
Justice League Of America Vol. 1 World’s Most Dangerous TP
Justice League United #3 New Seriies
New 52 Futures End #10 Weekly Series
New Suicide Squad #1 New Series
Nightwing Vol. 4 Second City TP
Royals Masters Of War #6 (Of 6) Final Issue
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #47 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Lantern #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Superboy #33
Superman Wonder Woman #10
Talon Vol. 2 Fall Of The Owls TP
Worlds’ Finest #25
100th Anniversary Special Spider-Man #1 GM 
All-New Invaders #7
All-New X-Men #29
Amazing Spider-Man #1.3 GM
Amazing X-Men #9
Avengers #32
Avengers Undercover #7
Captain Marvel #5 New Series
Daredevil #5 New Series
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #3 (Of 4)
Deadpool #31
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #1 (Of 7) New Mini-Series
Fantastic Four #7
Guardians Of The Galaxy By Jim Valentino Vol. 2 TP
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #10 Kid Friendly
Marvel Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy Cosmic Team-Up Digest TP Kid Friendly
Nightcrawler #4 New Series
Original Sin #5.1
Original Sins #3 (Of 5)
Spider-Man 2099 #1 New Series
Star-Lord Guardians Of The Galaxy TP
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #13
United States Of Murder Inc #3
Winter Soldier The Bitter March #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Wolverine #10
X-Force #7
X-Men Battle Of The Atom TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Angry Birds Comics #2 New Kid Friendly Series
Black Dynamite #3 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #204
Judge Dredd #20
Knuckleheads Fist Contact TP
Maxx Maxximized #9
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #4
Star Trek #35
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro Series Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 1 Change Is Constant TP GM
Transformers Micro Comic Fun Pack Kid Friendly
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #31
Abe Sapien #14
Abe Sapien Vol. 4 The Shape Of Things To Come TP
Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 27 Sands Upon The Earth And Other Stories TP
Doctor Solar Man Of The Atom Archives Vol. 3 TP
Eerie Comics #5
Star Wars #19
Strain Vol. 1 HC
Terminator Enemy Of My Enemy #4 (Of 6)
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #7 (Of 12)
Usagi Yojimbo Color Special The Artist (One Shot) Kid Friendly
X #15

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — She-Hulk, Mother & Son, The X-Files, and More!

Mother-and-Son-Cover-GH-web2
Image via Grayhaven Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I explore She-Hulk’s world while Corrina dives into Mother & Son. Sophie continues her journey through The X-Files and starts a new path in Letter 44. Lisa, on the other hand, looks at a new version of Robin Hood in Sherwood Texas.

Dakster Sullivan—She-Hulk: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Dan Slot and art by Juan Bobillo (Marvel)

In one page of She-Hulk Volume 1, we read how Jennifer see's herself and how realize just how much growing she has to do. \ Image: ComiXology
In one page of She-Hulk Volume 1, we read how Jennifer see’s herself and how realize just how much growing she has to do. \ Image: ComiXology

I’ve never been much of a She-Hulk fan, mostly because I’ve never been much of a Hulk fan and I thought the idea was being overplayed. I mean, how interesting could the cousin of the Hulk be? Boy, was I wrong about that. Turns out, she’s not only interesting, but she’s relatable.

I first picked up She-Hulk: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Dan Slot because I enjoy Dan’s work. Dan Slot wrote Superior Spider-Man, a series I’ve come to enjoy, and The Amazing Spider-Man, a current favorite of mine. His witty sense of humor and ability to write his characters with both a serious side and a fun loving side is what draws me to his writing.

Something I’ve really enjoyed about this title is how relatable She-Hulk is to modern women. Okay, so most of us haven’t been exposed to gamma radiation or have a key to the Avengers mansion, but we do have jobs, insecurities, boyfriends, and people who–for lack of a better term–are seen as foes in the workplace.

In her human form as Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk is very insecure and has a strong desire to stand out and be noticed. When she is in full She-Hulk form, she has no insecurities and stands out pretty well (green skin will do that a person). Seeing how people react to a shy and insecure Jennifer makes it easy to understand why she prefers to live as She-Hulk full-time.

For most of the book, Jennifer is put in a position where she has to learn to accept her Jennifer side as much as she accepts her She-Hulk side. As a lawyer for a superhuman law firm, we get to see Jennifer put into some pretty interesting story lines and make some interesting friends and enemies.

Over time, we watch as she rises from her troubles of being kicked out of the Avengers mansion for partying too hard and see her become just as confident as Jennifer Walters as she is as She-Hulk.

In terms of guest stars we get to see appearances by Spider-Man, Captain America, Spider-Woman, Iron Man, and several other notable Avengers. I’m happy to say though that when any of the Avengers guest star, the story is still all about She-Hulk and what she is going through at that moment.

I’m comfortable recommending this book for anyone 10-years-old and up. There is no harsh language and very little sexual content (and it’s hinted at and not blatantly obvious). For the geek girl trying to find her way, I’d say this is a good book for them to pick up.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Corrina—Mother & Son written by Erica J. Heflin, art by Elias Martins (Grayhaven Comics)

Imagine if the child you’re carrying isn’t a child but an alien symbiote. I know, that’s the premise of a new television series starring Halle Berry but I find it hard to believe the show will be anywhere near as interesting as this story.

Ainsley is the mother in question, who is being used to track the agents of an alien trying to terraform Earth, beginning with Earth’s most prominent lifeform: people. Ainsley is driven by her “son” to kill the hosts before they bud, whoever they are. Her partner is Lorissa, who’s also been altered for the fight but it’s not clear who has done it.

This is a creepy story that relies on suspense rather than gore and it’s also unexpectedly sweet, as the relationship between Ainsley and her son develops. They’re both trapped, in a sense, to do what they do and they only have each other.

The artwork, as noted above, is restrained rather than gory but I especially appreciated the facial expressions that make Ainsley and Lorissa come alive, the way the panels throw shadows in just the right places, and the flow of action.

The story ends but there’s clearly more to tell, perhaps in future issues. But that may be a while as this was published via Kickstarter for Grayhaven Comics and Heflin has already gone on to paying work on Wonderland at Zenoscope Comics.

Lisa Tate—Sherwood Texas by Shane Berryhill with art by Daniel Hillyard (12-Gauge Comics)

Sherwood \ Art by Andrew Robinson
Sherwood \ Art by Andrew Robinson

The most intriguing part of this five-issue biker fantasy series was the revelation I live smack dab in the middle of the City of Nottingham, which is placed suspiciously close to where El Paso would be in this alternate West Texas reality. Sherwood Forest seems to be located around the Big Bend, but Juarez, Mexico just across the border, remains Juarez.

This Robin Hood revamp comes across as much a PG-13 level tribute to HBO’s Sons of Anarchy as it does the Robin Hood saga. The story begins after the death of Richard Hood, aka “Richie the Lion” from an apparent vehicle crash. It’s up to the next generation of Hoods—returning Naval hero, Rob, and his Native American half-brother, Will, to seek out what really happened.

The story itself isn’t as interesting as the Robin Hood tie-ins. The Sheriff of Nottingham’s daughter, Maria, is married to Rob. “Prince” John is the leader of a biker gang, The Nobles (rivals to Will’s gang, The Jesters). Little John is the hard-nosed owner of the popular roadhouse, “LJ’s.” Even Padre Tuck is mentioned for leading the opening funeral.

The violence is not as gritty as it could be (this is not necessarily a bad thing), but the story itself could use a little polish. Berryhill did do his homework on the source material, and those who know the Robin Hood legend will enjoy finding more connections between the two stories.

Readers who waited for the full-issue’s release after the first part of this title was released in May for Free Comic Book Day as a double feature with The Boondocks Saints, will not get too much more of the story. It does leave it hanging in a more surprising place, so those wanting resolution will have to venture into the second issue, and likely commit to the whole series.

Age Recommendation: Teen/Mature

Sophie Brown—Letter 44: Escape Velocity (trade collection out July 30th) by Charles Soule and art by Alberto Albuquerque

Letter 44 \ Image: NetGalley
Letter 44 \ Image: NetGalley

Letter 44 opens in a fairly typical style for this done-to-death sci-fi trope. A new US President has just been sworn into office and receives the eponymous Letter 44 from his predecessor. The letter reveals what we all guessed just from the cover: the existence of aliens has been known for some time by the US government who have been keeping it a secret from the public. Here the book begins to split from the norm by taking us alternately aboard the manned spaceship Clarke that was secretly launched several years ago, and following the new president and his staff as they attempt to make their way in Washington.

The Clarke has been sent to investigate a strange object being constructed in the asteroid belt, veiled behind an energy shield. Its combination military/scientific crew is made up of a refreshing mix of genders, races and ages, but the real kicker (in the literal sense as well) is that captain of the science team is pregnant.

The story mixes up ideas from 2001 A Space Odyssey, The X-Files, and more. The ideas are mixed as the crew’s difficulties aboard the Clarke are shown alongside the political issues associated with their voyage down on Earth. This story follows as the new president grapples with whether or not to go public with the revelation as the USA fights wars set in motion by his predecessor with the sole intention of creating a new generation of combat veterans.

These plots could come across as rather ham-fisted clichés, but instead are handled with a nuance and attention to language that make them believable and engaging. There’s a slight feel of a contemporary-era Firefly aboard the Clarke (especially given the recent Leaves on The Wind comic mini-series that featured a pregnant Zoe) with a classic “ragtag bunch of misfits” trying to hold together their hastily-built ship with super-glue and hope, while back on Earth there’s a constant feel of House of Cards/West Wing style political maneuvering.

Show me a story with aliens and government secrets in it and I’ll always dive right in no matter how overdone those tropes might be. But Letter 44 does it all in a rather clever and unexpected way, and that makes it stand out from the shadows. The series is ongoing (this trade collects issues one through six) and I’m already looking forward to the recently announced SyFy TV adaptation.

Age recommendation: 15+

The X-Files Season 10 #13 by Joe Harris with art by Matthew Dow Smith and Francesco Francavilla (IDW Publishing)

X-Files Season 10 Issue 13 Cover \ Image: IDW PublishingThe X-Files Season 10 continued last week with its second five-part mythology arc. At the end of the previous issue, Scully had seemingly vanished into nowhere in the middle of the Saudi desert (much as Alex Krycek had done earlier in the story). Issue 13 picks up immediately where that story left off. The time-stamp of 12’s final scene in Saudi Arabia is just a few minutes prior to that of 13’s opener in Arlington but that doesn’t take into account the 8 hour geographic time difference making it unclear whether Scully has been missing for just a few minutes or for most of a day. The latter feels more plausible due to later scenes, but it’s not exactly clear from the outset just what we’re supposed to believe has happened.

This issue brings back the Lone Gunmen to season 10, giving them some nice long scenes—really allowing their characters to shine. There’s also some nice throwbacks to the opening season arc “Believers” with Krycek’s muttered “the cradle is empty” and Scully’s memories of the spaceship she saw at Yellowstone. It’s great to see some continuity here, and there’s a rather beautiful reference to Season Four’s Tunguska for the really committed fans to spot as well. Sadly, there’s also another significant blunder when it comes to that same continuity.

“I’m not a neurologist gentlemen,” Scully intones as she makes a vague observation about a brain scan. Funny, because I recall that in the I Want to Believe movie Scully had a new job that involved performing brain surgery and diagnosing rare inherited neurological orders, both of which (you hope) would require a very, very detailed knowledge of brain scan images. I know I keep going on about these seemingly minor issues (you may recall in issue 12 that Scully also forgot she spoke German) but it’s little niggles like this that often add up to big-ass pains. For fans, they speak to a lack of basic research and can give the impression of a team not really caring to fact-check before an issue hits shelves.

For me, the stand out scene from this issue was its conclusion. Scully’s “voice-over” (and kudos here to Joe Harris for actually writing voice-overs into a comic well—not an easy feat) as she sits alone at home worrying about Mulder is heartfelt without becoming overly sentimental. She reveals her fears about the parts she, Mulder, and their son William are fated to play whilst also showing her anger at their being forced to participate against their will. Coupled with the issue’s final panel and heart-stopping cliff-hanger, fans were immediately coming after Harris with their fandom pitchforks aflame. I know, because I was holding mine aloft at the front of the charge—now give me issue 14 already!

Age recommendation: 15+

Disclaimer: GeekMom recieved a review copy of these titles.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Absolute All-Star Batman And Robin: The Boy Wonder HC
Action Comics #33
Aquaman And The Others #4 New Series
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #2 (Of 6) New Mini-Series
Batman Eternal #13
Batman Superman #12
Batwing #33
Cinder And Ashe TP
Earth 2 #25
Fairest #27
Green Arrow #33
Green Lantern #33
Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4 Rebuild TP
Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 3 Love And Death TP
Harlan Ellison’s 7 Against Chaos TP
Hinterkind #9
Justice League 3000 #8
New 52 Futures End #9 Weekly Series
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #5 Kid Friendly
Superboy Vol. 4 Blood And Steel TP
Superman #31
Superman Unchained #7
Swamp Thing #33
Tiny Titans Return To The Treehouse #2 (Of 6) Kid Friendly / GeekMom Recommended
Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger #21
100th Anniversary Special Fantastic Four #1
All-New X-Factor #10
Avengers #30
Black Widow #8
Captain America #22
Daredevil #0.1
Deadpool Vs Carnage #3 New Series
Deadpool Vs X-Force #1 (Of 4)
Figment #2 (Of 5) New Kid Friendly Series
Guardians Of The Galaxy An Origin Story HC
Guardians Of The Galaxy Galaxy’s Most Wanted #1 New Series
Guardians Of The Galaxy Rocket Raccoon And Groot Steal The Galaxy Prose Novel HC
Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus HC
Iron Fist The Living Weapon #4 New Series
Legendary Star-Lord #1 New Series
Magneto #6
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Prelude TP
Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #3 New Series
Miracleman #8
Moon Knight #5 New Series
New Warriors #7
Original Sin #5 (of 8) Marvel Event
Powers The Definitive Collection Vol. 6 HC
Punisher #8
Rocket Raccoon #1 New Series
Savage Wolverine Vol. 3 Wrath HC
Thanos Rising HC
Thor God Of Thunder #24
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2 Broken TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Ben 10 Classics Vol. 2 It’s Ben A Pleasure TP Kid Friendly
Dexter’s Laboratory #4 (Of 4) Final Issue / Kid Friendly Series
Dexter’s Laboratory Classics Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE Vol. 3 Siren’s Song TP
Indestructible #7
Indestructible Vol. 1 TP
Library Of American Comics Essentials Vol. 5 The Bungle Family 1930 HC
Maxx Maxximized Vol. 1 HC
Rogue Trooper Classics #3 (Of 12)
Star Mage #4 (Of 6) Kid Friendly / GeekMom Recommended
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Vol. 2 TP
Tribes The Dog Years Special Edition HC
WEIRD Love #2
X-Files Conspiracy HC GeekMom Recommended
Angel And Faith Season 10 #4
Avatar The Last Airbender The Rift #1
Avatar The Last Airbender Vol. 8 The Rift Part 2 TP
Catalyst Comix TP
Conan Vol. 15 The Nightmare Of The Shallows TP
Frank Miller The Art Of Sin City TP
Kiss Me Satan TP
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Vol. 5 TP
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #13
Never Ending TP
RoboCop Vs the Terminator Gallery Edition HC
RoboCop Vs the Terminator HC GeekMom Recommended
Secret Files of Dr Drew HC
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Cry of Shadows HC
Strain Vol. 4 The Fall TP
Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 28 Red Scorpion TP Kid Friendly
Vampire Hunter D Vol. 21 Record Of The Blood Battle TP
White Suits #4 (Of 4)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Superman, Supergirl & a Princess

supergirl-32
Supergirl #32. Art by Ray McCarthy and Emanuela Lupacchino © DC Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Kelly introduces us to Red Lantern Supergirl and Corrina looks over Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr.’s  Superman #32. Me? I’m excited to check out an awesome new all-ages comic book with a strong female lead, Princess Ugg. 

Kelly Knox — Supergirl #32 written by Tony Bedard and drawn by Ray McCarthy and Emanuela Lupacchino

DC Comics’ New 52 is not a happy place at the moment. Superman is not himself lately, Wonder Woman has her hands full on Themyscira, and Batman… well, Batman is never happy, so that doesn’t really count. Meanwhile, Supergirl is now a Red Lantern, the embodiment of rage. I haven’t kept up with her series at all since the New 52, but the premise sounded interesting, so I picked up Supergirl #32 on a whim last week.

Kara Zor-El is mad at anybody and everybody, but this week she’s particularly upset with Guy Gardner (sporting a much better haircut lately), who wants her red ring of rage removed. On her way back to Earth, she encounters a foe called the Worldkiller, who is hiding a secret that just might be Supergirl’s undoing.

Supergirl is formidable as she is, but adding a Red Lantern ring turns her into an almost unstoppable force. A force powered by teen rage, so look out, universe. I had been planning on waiting until this “Red Daughter of Krypton” story line was collected into a graphic novel to read the entire story, but I’m so intrigued that I might not be able to wait that long.

Dakster Sullivan — Princess Ugg #2 written and drawn by Ted Naifeh

Princess Ugg #2 - Page 2 \ Image: Oni Press
Princess Ugg #2, page 2. Image: Oni Press.

This week, I had a really fun time reading the newest series by Oni Press, Princess Ugg. This is a book with a very strong, relatable young woman, who is trying to find her way in her crazy world. In her path to discovery, she has major obstacles in the form of other princesses in her school that see her as nothing more than an animal.

Issue #1 introduces us to Princess Ugg and her kingdom. We see she has a strong mother, as well as a strong sense of who she is in her own kingdom. This doesn’t last long as she leaves her kingdom to fufill a promise to her mother by attending The Princess Academy.

The Princess Academy is where the young royals from the five kingdoms attend to get their education. Princess Ugg of Grimmeria shows up armed for battle, but unfortunately for her, she isn’t armed for the right kind of battle. Her real battle will be in the classroom, the halls, and her bedroom, which she shares with Lady Jennifer. The girls at the school remind me of the stuck-up popular kids of my alma mater. Just reading their characters makes me want to reach into their world and strangle them with their sashes.

Issue #2 shows us a bit more of what Ugg has to deal with in terms of classmates and coursework. There are areas you will feel bad for her and times when you will laugh at how she handles the task at hand.

What I’m enjoying about this series is Princess Ugg and how she handles herself around school. She’s strong, but beneath that is a young girl, who isn’t sure who she really is or why she is even at the school. She reminds me a lot of who I was at her age. It secretly hurts her when she hears the other students’ comments. I know how she feels, having been in that position myself more than once.

My only problem with this title is the shower scenes. I think these young women are drawn a bit too “accurately” and not shadowed enough when it comes to these particular scenes. They don’t leave much to the imagination and I would rather they put up some stall walls to avoid drawing their bodies all together when in the bathroom.

The cliffhanger at the end of Issue #2 left me dying for more. How does Princess Ugg find her way at the school and what trials await her as she makes her way through her classes? Most of all, I’m curious to see what will everyone else will learn from her.

Princess Ugg is a true all-ages comic and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a powerful story without superheroes and capes. Issue #2 arrives in stores today and on ComiXology.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina —

WynonnaEarpTheYetiWars_02_Preview001
Image via IDW

Wynonna Earp written by Beau Smith

A quick television note about one of my favorite female lawmen: Wynonna has been optioned for television. She’s a descendent of the legendary Wyatt Earp and tackles supernatural cases. The last time I read her stories, she was busy taking on the Yeti. I’m hopeful that a show is made because this could be awesome—even if it means she’ll make it to television before Wonder Woman.

Infinity Man and the Forever People written by Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, and Scott Koblish 

The Forever People were part of Jack (King) Kirby’s creation of the New Gods and the Fourth World when he moved to DC Comics in the early 1970s. Darkseid is the most famous of the New Gods, but Orion, Big Barda, and Mister Miracle have also made television appearances and the Forever People also appeared in the Young Justice series. At the time of their creation, they were Kirby’s riff on the hippies of the era.

I was skeptical about them getting a new series when even Kirby couldn’t make the original last more than 11 issues. But the art by Giffen promised to be excellent and even though I disagree with about 99 percent of decisions Didio has made as co-publisher of DC Comics, his writing on Omac showed talent and a touch for fun. But none of that is evident in this first issue, where the people are introduced via yelling and sniping at each other. It was so unpleasant to read that I didn’t want to even finish the review copy I received. This makes me sad.

Superman #32 written by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr., and Klaus Janson

Superman #32
Image via DC Comics.

As Kelly notes above, the relaunch of Superman in the New 52 has been a bit of a mess, save for Grant Morrison’s short run on Action Comics. The new villains have been less than memorable (and the fewer people that remember H’el, the better) and Clark’s supporting cast has been somewhat adrift with his marriage to Lois Lane vanished by editorial fiat and his leaving The Daily Planet. The superstar team of Johns, Romita, and Janson is here to save the day for the Man of Steel’s self-titled series. Or try.

Romita Jr.’s art, inked by Janson, is a complete triumph; he draws the best Superman and cast I’ve seen in ages. (Love the front and back cover with Clark changing to Superman.) The story? It’s promising, but reminds me of other stories by Johns, particularly those involving doppelgangers, like in his recent Forever Evil mini-series. But at least this is a different take on that, as Superman encounters a young man from another dimension who thought he was the last of the human race. I look forward to Romita Jr.’s art as Superman inevitably enters that dimension.

The Flash #32 written by Robert Venditti, Van Jensen, Brett Booth, and Norm Rapmund

“Who Will He Kill Next?” is the big question on the cover of this issue and that question could apply to the entire New 52 reboot. There’s a future Flash running around killing people to atone (?) for his mistakes, and a current Barry playing uncle to the new Wally West and having fights with his girlfriend. I guess that maybe DC is laying the seeds for yet another possible reboot, since the Barry Allen Flash was at the center of Crisis on Infinite Earths and the more recent Flashpoint. One could argue that the current state of the joyless DC universe is Barry’s fault, though I tend to lay some credit/blame to the editors. This is not a comic that anyone but a hardcore DC fan needs.

Disclaimer: Corrina received some of these items for review purposes. 

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Adventures Of Superman #14
All-Star Western #32
Aquaman #32
Batman #32
Batman ’66 #12
Batman Beyond Universe #11 GeekMom Recommended / Kid Friendly
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 3 Emperor Penguin TP
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 4 The Wrath HC
Batman Eternal #12
Before Watchmen Ozymandias Crimson Corsair TP
Catwoman #32
Dead Boy Detectives Vol. 1 Schoolboy Terrors TP
Flash #32
Harley Quinn #0 (Director’s Cut)
Harley Quinn #7 GM Recommended
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #14 GeekMom Recommended
Injustice Gods Among Us Vol. 1 TP
Injustice Gods Among Us Vol. 2 HC
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #6
Justice League #31
Justice League Dark #32
Larfleeze #12 (Final Issue)
New 52 Futures End #8 Weekly Series
Red Lanterns #32
Secret Origins #3
Sinestro #3
Superman #32
Superman Doomed #1 (One Shot)
Superman Wonder Woman #8
Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril TP
All-New Doop #3 (Of 5)
All-New Ghost Rider #4 New Series
All-New Ultimates #4 New Series
Amazing Spider-Man #3 GeekMom Recommended / New Series
Avengers A.I. Vol. 2 12000 A.D. TP
Avengers Undercover #6
Deadpool Vs Carnage #4 (Of 4)
Dexter Down Under #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Fantastic Four #6
Guardians Of The Galaxy #16 GeekMom Recommended
Marvel Masterworks The Human Torch Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Previews #131 (July 2014 For Products On-Sale September 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #27
Ms. Marvel #5 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers #20
New Avengers Annual #1
New Avengers Vol. 3 Other Worlds HC
New Warriors #6
Original Sin #3.1
Original Sins #2 (Of 5) New Miniseries Event
Savage Hulk #1 New Series
Spider-Man Spectacular #1 New Series
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Vol. 2 Superior Six TP
Uncanny Avengers #21
United States Of Murder Inc #1
What If Age Of Ultron TP
Wolverine #9
X-Force #6
X-Men The Road To Onslaught Vol. 2 TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

24 #3 New Series
7th Sword #3 New Series
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #1 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE Special Missions Vol. 3 TP
Ghostbusters #17
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #13
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 3 TP
Illegitimates #6 (Of 6)
Libretto Vol. 1 Vampirism TP
Locke And Key Special Edition Vol. 3 Crown Of Shadows HC
Mars Attacks First Born #2 (Of 4)
My Little Pony Friends Forever Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #20 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #12 Kid Friendly
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #30
Transformers Spotlight Drift (Director’s Cut)
Transformers Windblade #3 (Of 4)
V-Wars #1
X-Files Season 10 #13
Captain Midnight #12
Conan The Avenger #3 New Series
Dream Thief Escape #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Emily And The Strangers Breaking The Record #1 (Of 3)
Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City HC
Ghost #5
Goon One For The Road (One Shot)
Halo Escalation #7
King Conan The Conqueror #5 (Of 6)
Mass Effect Foundation #12
Massive #24
Massive Vol. 3 Longship TP
Mind MGMT #23
Occultist Vol. 2 At Death’s Door TP
Pariah # 5 (Of 8)
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #6 (Of 6) Final Issue
Sin City A Dame To Kill For HC
Star Wars Legacy II #16
Star Wars Rebel Heist #3 (Of 4)
Tarzan Burne Hogarth’s Lord Of The Jungle HC
Tomb Raider #5
Vandroid #5 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Science, Bendis, The X-Files, Lumberjanes, & Batman

Vixen: Return of the Lion
Art by Cafu © DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I check out a graphic novel that explains the seriousness of global warming. Kelly walks the wild side with DC Comics heroine, Vixen. Corrina joins up with Justice League United, Hinterkind, and Batman. Meanwhile, Lisa checks The United States of Murder Inc., and Sophie gets her fix with The X-Files and the all-ages comic book Lumberjanes!

Kelly Knox—Vixen: Return of the Lion by G. Willow Wilson and Cafu

I’ve been so impressed with Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson that when I spotted her name on Vixen: Return of the Lion, a collection of a solo miniseries from 2009, I picked it up immediately. Like just about everyone else who has read the Justice League, I’m familiar with Vixen and her animal powers, but that’s about all I knew about the character. I didn’t even know her real name. Thanks to the same expertise with handling characters that Wilson is currently demonstrating in Ms. Marvel, I won’t forget Mari McCabe or consider her a B-team Justice Leaguer again.

Vixen: Return of the Lion takes Mari back to her homeland after learning that her mother’s murderer is still at large. Superman tries to dissuade her from going on her own in a fantastic scene together, but Vixen must find her mother’s killer and nothing will stop her. The journey she takes to her home of Zambesi teaches her about herself and her powers in ways she never expected.

This is a quick read of a small miniseries—only five issues—but it’s a great look at a character that deserves the spotlight. Although she has to share some of it with the Justice League once the action reaches its peak, it demonstrates the camaraderie and respect the team has for Vixen. (And I can’t really complain because I always get a kick out of seeing Black Canary in action.) Vixen could have handled it all on her own, though.

Thanks to this graphic novel, I’m interested to see where the New 52 has taken Vixen. I’m a new fan.

Dakster Sullivan—Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni

Climate Changed Cover
Climate Changed Cover

This week I’ve decided to pick up something a little off the beaten path of what I usually read. Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science takes a look at global warming in the simplest of terms. I’m not a science geek by any means so I was still lost at some of what he was talking about, but I can say that I could understand 90% of it. What intrigued me about this book was the topic and the media the author chose to put it in.

What makes such a serious and in-depth topic good in a comic book format? My best guess is that it will reach more readers. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have touched this book if it hadn’t been done as a graphic novel.

The author combines interviews, research, and personal experience to come to his conclusions. He also uses casual conversations with his wife as a means of breaking things up and keeping the reader from feeling like they’re going through a research paper. It’s a long book to be sure, at 467 pages, but I was able to sit and read around 83 pages at a time without needing a break.

If you are a science geek and interested in the topic of global warming, I highly suggest you pick up Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through Science. Even if you’re not a science geek, pick it up. If nothing else it’s an interesting topic to see in a comic book form.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review sample.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lisa Tate—The United States of Murder Inc. #1 written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Michael Avon Oeming (Icon Comics)

US Murder Inc. \ Image: Marvel ComicsThe profoundly (and profanely) enjoyable comic book “power” couple Bendis and Oeming’s latest creator-owned endeavor brings Bendis’s knack for crime comics, snappy dialogue, and raw humor together for a new series. The United States of Murder Inc. focuses on five organized crime families who still run much of the United States, including keeping a good chunk of the government in their pocket.

Even with the familiar look and flow of Bendis and Oeming’s pooled talent, this opening double issue started out with what I thought was the typical Coppola/Scorsese mob drama storyline—the young buck coming of age in a powerful family gets his first “assignment” as a made man. Taking his “schmuck” of a cousin along for the ride, he runs into a hard-edge hitwoman, Jagger Rose, who helps him out of a near-fatal problem and potential betrayal.

Yes, it all seems like the familiar tale, that is, until the end’s surprising twist and cliff-hanging last panel re-wrote the genre in ways only Bendis could. I should know better than to think Bendis would create a story that was didn’t include that little plot twist that makes his stories so exciting, so wild, and so…. Bendis.

Corrina—Justice League United #2 by Jeff Lemire, Mike McKone, and Dexter Vines; Detective Comics #32 by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato; Hinterkind: The Waking World by Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifogli

Justice League United #2: Up until this issue, I’ve been disappointed in this series as I was expecting much more than a disjointed and somewhat confusing story from the creators, especially Lemire. But this issue is the best so far. The disparate team of Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Animal Man, Green Arrow, along with the new version of Adam Strange, finally seem like a team with a series problem, namely that they’re stranded halfway across the galaxy, while new versions of Alanna and Hawkman (I’m fairly sure he couldn’t regenerate an arm before) are stuck in a spaceship with a crazy mad scientist. The book has yet to integrate the new Native American heroine created by Lemire, but, for the first time, it’s a coherent story. I suspect this will read very well when collected in trade.

Batman, Francis Manapul, Detective Comics
Detective #32, art by Francis Manapul, copyright DC Comics

Detective Comics #32: This is the most gorgeous book I’ve read from DC in a long time. Manapul’s art has been stellar since he began his run on ‘Tec two issues ago but this is the first when the story and the art gelled beautifully for me. The plot concerns a dangerous new drug, Icarus, and murders connected to it, including one of Bruce Wayne’s friends. There’s a beautiful scene at the edge of Gotham’s dock as Batman talks to the young woman whose mother was murdered, which is one of the best scenes I’ve read in a Batman comic in a while. For  fans of the slovenly but smart Det. Harvey Bullock, there’s a also two-page spread at his apartment that is destined to be one of my favorite two-page spreads ever and there’s yet more eye-popping art as Batman battles a giant squid. Much of the DC art lately seems all the same, like lesser versions of Jim Lee’s art style, and Manapul’s painted style stands out among them.

Hinterkind: The Waking World: I wanted to love this Vertigo series when it first premiered, but the first issue seemed to have too many cliches for me, especially the wisecracking, rule-breaking girl who disobeyed orders and promptly got into trouble. But now that the full story is collected in trade, I can see it’s far more than that. The concept is that a disease called Blight killed off a good portion of the human race, but also allowed all the forgotten legends of the world to come out from the shadows. The brash teenager soon learns that the world is a much scarier place than she thought. There’s a creepy and evil group of humans who are just as dangerous as any of the fairy tale creatures, an exiled and untrustworthy elf, and there’s also a subplot involving the Elven Queen. Highly recommended.

Sophie Brown—Lumberjanes #3 by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis and art by Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes Issue #3 \ Image: Boom
Lumberjanes Issue #3 \ Image: Boom

I finally sat down and read the first two issues of Lumberjanes last week when the hype around the series pushed me past breaking point. I began reading issue one and was downloading the next one before I had even finished. The premise of the story, its style, and its characters drew me in practically from page one and issue three continues to keep me riveted from cover to cover.

We last left the girls at the bottom of a deep, dark cave and here we find them again. Naturally this is no ordinary cave and soon the girls are facing off against a variety of monsters and booby traps that Indiana Jones himself would be proud of tackling. It’s so refreshing to see an all-female cast having the kind of adventures that in so many other series would be reserved for the boys. These girls are tough enough to arm wrestle with statues and smart enough to know their fibonacci sequences from their Caesar ciphers. It’s also great to see girls getting themselves out of fights, and dealing with the bruises that come from them.

Away from the puzzle solving and monster slaying, there’s a touching scene between Mal and Molly that shows the tender side of even the toughest looking of the group. There’s been nothing overt between these two characters beyond a casual arm-slinging. However the shipper in me is always on the look out for signs of a new ship to flail over and it would be more than awesome to see a couple of LGBQT characters (acting age appropriately of course) in an all-ages title like this.

Quite simply, if you’re not already reading Lumberjanes then why the hell not?

Recommended for all ages.

The X-Files Art Gallery Issue

Anyone who knows me well will know I’m a fan art nerd with an ever increasing collection of X-Files pieces on the walls of my office. That’s why I was excited to hear that IDW were releasing a one off The X-Files Art Gallery issue which came out last week. It’s an interesting concept, not least because art is at best a subjective subject. What one person considers beautiful another may consider simply awful so choosing pieces for this special edition was always going to be difficult. The artists represented include Joe Corroney (Star Wars illustrator for Lucasfilm), DC artist Cat Staggs, and Miran Kim—artist on the original X-Files comics series for Topps/Manga. Because it is so subjective I won’t comment on my perceived likes (or otherwise) of the art, suffice to say that my feelings towards the pieces ran the gamut. However what I found interesting was how similar the subject matter was throughout.

This is a show with over 200 TV episodes and two films worth of material to work from, not to mention countless press shots and more. Surely there should be enough out there to avoid having multiple pieces based on the same reference image in a collection of only 68? And yes, I get that the flukeman was an iconic monster, but he shows up four times. Four. He isn’t even the only one to repeat, far from it. Mrs Peacock from the infamous episode “Home” is featured twice, as are—weirdly—“Detour”’s mothmen who are apparently more popular than I gave them credit for. There’s so much they could have chosen from so why keep repeating the same subjects?

The same can be said for the artists. There is simply so much incredible fan art out available at the click of a mouse that I struggle to see why anyone other than die hard collectors like myself will pay out for this issue. Only nine artists are included, some getting up to 19 individual pieces displayed—that’s close to one third of the entire book given over to a single artist. Why not include more variety? I can even give you a list of names to start off with: Nasubionna, Meg of Vintage Styled Heart, Monica AKA Ratgirl84… There’s just so much choice out there that to see such a limited and repetitive selection was a major let down in what could have been a stunning book.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Astro City #13
Batgirl #32
Batman Eternal #10
Birds Of Prey #32
Coffin Hill #8
Constantine #15
Detective Comics #32
DMZ Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 HC
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #11
Green Lantern Corps #32
Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3 Willpower TP
Infinity Man And The Forever People #1 New Series
JLA Vol. 5 TP
Justice League United #2 New Series
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super Spectacular #3
New 52 Futures End #6 Weekly Series
Red Hood And The Outlaws Vol. 4 League Of Assassins TP
Royals Masters Of War #5 (Of 6)
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #46 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Lantern #3 (Of 4)
Superboy #32
Superman Wonder Woman #9
Worlds’ Finest #24
Worlds’ Finest Vol. 3 Control Issues TP
All-New Invaders #6
All-New Ultimates #3 New Series
All-New X-Men #28
Amazing Spider-Man #1.2 GM Recommended
Avengers The Legacy Of Thanos TP
Avengers Undercover #5 New Series
Avengers Vol. 3 Prelude To Infinity TP
Captain Marvel #4 New Series
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #2 (Of 4)
Deadpool #30
Figment #1 New Kid Friendly Series
Guardians Of The Galaxy #14 GM Recommended
Hulk #4 New Series
Invaders Classic The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Masterworks Captain Marvel Vol. 5 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #9
Mighty Avengers #11
New Avengers #19
Night Of The Living Deadpool TP
Nightcrawler #3 New Series
Original Sins #1 (Of 5) New Mini Series
Savage Wolverine #20
Secret Avengers #4 New Series
She-Hulk #5 GeekMom Recommended New Series
Thor God Of Thunder Vol. 2 Godbomb TP
Uncanny X-Men Special #1
United States Of Murder Inc #2 New Series
Wolverine #8
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Angry Birds Comics #1 New Kid Friendly Series
Chicacabra TP
Crow Pestilence #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Danger Girl G.I. JOE Deluxe Edition HC
Dexter’s Laboratory #3 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
Godzilla The IDW Era #1 New Series
Haunted Horror #11
Mars Attacks Vol. 1 Attack From Space Deluxe Edition HC
My Little Pony Micro-Series #5 (Of 6)(Pinkie Pie) Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics Vol. 4 HC Kid Friendly
Rocky And Bullwinkle #4 (Of 4) Final Issue / Kid Friendly
Rogue Trooper Classics #2 (Of 12) New Mini-Series
Sinister Dexter #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Star Mage #3 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Star Trek #34
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special GM Recommended
Transformers Dark Cybertron Vol. 2 TP
Transformers Robots In Disguise #30
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Abe Sapien #13
Baltimore Vol. 4 Chapel Of Bones HC
Blackout #3 (Of 4)
Creepy Archives Vol. 19 HC
Crime Does Not Pay City Of Roses HC
Edgar Allan Poe’s Morella And The Murders In The Rue Morgue (One Shot)
EVE True Stories HC
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories Vol. 3 Posthuman TP
New Lone Wolf And Cub Vol. 1 TP
Star Wars #18
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Vol. 3 Force War TP
Two Past Midnight TP
X #14

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Spider-Man and Space Mountain

Space Mountain
Space Mountain, Art by Kelley Jones © Disney

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I let the giggles fly as I read The Ultimate Spider-Man, and Kelly takes us into the world of Disney comics with Space Mountain.

Dakster Sullivan — The Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis  and art by Mark Bagley

Ultimate Spider Man Ultimate Collection Vol 1. \ Image: Marvel
Ultimate Spider Man Ultimate Collection Vol 1. © Marvel

Last night, despite a pounding headache, I picked up my copy of The Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection Vol. 1, which encompass the first thirteen issues from the hit series by Brian Michael Bendis.

These first thirteen issues give the traditional origin story with Uncle Ben’s death, but it also gives a different twist on his killer and how Spider-Man goes after him. And when it comes time for Peter to get a job, he gets a dual role as Spider-Man photographer and website tech for the Daily Bugle. I thought the addition of Peter working on the Daily Bugle website gave his origins a nice modern update and something more solid to do after school than running around taking pictures all day.

Something else that’s different in this story-line is Gwen Stacy, or the lack of her, that is. Mary Jane is the only girl that Peter shows interest in and they have a nice relationship for most of the book. My guess is that this was written for the younger generation whose unfamiliarity with Gwen caused her to be omitted entirely.

In terms of villains, we see the beginning of the Green Goblin and we meet Doctor Octavius in his pre-transformed state. Electro makes an appearance as well, but it’s brief and he’s more of the hired help at this point in the story.

Most Spider-Man issues I’ve read had me chuckle inside, but this volume actually had me laughing out loud. My favorite part was when Spider-Man took on the Kingpin and started reading fat jokes off of note cards. The jokes he was making were just too funny to hold in.

I know that the X-Men will eventually show up as guest stars in this series, and I can’t wait to see how they interact with Spidey.

The Ultimate Spider-Man is appropriate for anyone 10 years old and up.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Kelly Knox – Space Mountain by Bryan Q. Miller and Kelley Jones (Disney)

Is it trite to say that the new original graphic novel Space Mountain is a fun ride? It is? Too bad, I’m saying it anyway.

space-mountain
© Disney

Space Mountain is an epic, family-friendly, time-traveling space adventure in the same vein as the 1979 Disney flick The Black Hole. Granted, I don’t remember much of The Black Hole because it scared the bejeebies out of me as a kid, but I do know that Space Mountain has a lot of the same deep-space adventurous vibe. And, you know, a black hole.

It’s the year 2125, and two space cadets from the Magellan Science Academy get the chance of a lifetime when they win a ride on a time-traveling spaceship. Once they join the crew and begin their journey to 24 hours in the future, something goes horribly wrong. The kids must save the crew–and history as we know it–before it’s too late.

The graphic novel is based on the Disneyland attraction of the same name, but doesn’t overdo the park references. If you’re a fan of Disney parks, though, you’ll get a kick out of the cameos here and there as parts of Tomorrowland make an appearance. (Tomorrowland was the working title of the book, and would have worked even better, but it was presumably changed because of the upcoming film with the same name.)

I only picked up this graphic novel because Bryan Q. Miller wrote it, and I was hoping for another space adventure like his recent creator-owned book Earthward. I wasn’t disappointed. While it’s a little early to introduce my 5-year-old to time travel and paradoxes, I will happily share Space Mountain with her when she’s a little older.

 

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Action Comics #32
Aquaman And The Others #3  New Series
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #1 (Of 6) New Mini-Series
Batman And Robin Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
Batman And Robin Vol. 4 Requiem For Damian HC
Batman Arkham Asylum Living Hell Deluxe Edition HC
Batman Eternal #9
Batwing #32
Before Watchmen Minutemen Silk Spectre TP
Earth 2 #24
Green Arrow #32
Green Lantern #32
Hellblazer Vol. 8 Rake At The Gates Of Hell TP
Hinterkind #8
Justice League 3000 #7
Looney Tunes #219 Kid Friendly
New 52 Futures End #5 Weekly Series
Stormwatch Vol. 2 TP
Stormwatch Vol. 4 Reset TP
Swamp Thing #32
Swamp Thing Vol. 4 Seeder TP
Tiny Titans Return To The Treehouse #1 (Of 6) New Mini-Series Kid Friendly 
Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger #20
Vampire Diaries #6
Wake #9 (Of 10)
All-New X-Factor #9
Amazing X-Men #8
Amazing X-Men Annual #1
Avengers #24.NOW
Avengers World #7
Black Widow #7
Captain America #21
Cyclops #2 New Series
Deadpool #27 (Wedding Issue)
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 4 Humanity Bomb HC
Inhumanity HC
Iron Fist The Living Weapon #3 New Series
Iron Man #27
Loki Agent Of Asgard #5 New Series
Magneto #5 New Series
Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #2
Miracleman #7
Moon Knight #4 New Series
New Warriors #5 New Series
Nova Classic Vol. 3 TP
Original Sin #3 (Of 8)
Painkiller Jane The 22 Brides #1 (Of 3) New Mini-Series
Punisher #6
Punisher MAX By Jason Aaron Omnibus HC
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #12
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 The Apocalypse Twins TP
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Omnibus HC
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #203
G.I. JOE Origins Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #5 (Of 5)
Maxx Maxximized #8
Parker The Martini Edition Limited Variant Edition HC
Samurai Jack Vol. 1 The Threads Of Time TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #34
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 8 Northampton TP
X-Files Art Gallery #1
Angel And Faith Season 10 #3
Dragon Age Library Edition Vol. 1 HC
Ghost #4
Lobster Johnson Get The Lobster #4 (Of 5)
Mass Effect Foundation Vol. 2 TP
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #12
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 5 TP
Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #8
Toshiro TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — X-Files, An Independent Detective, and a Grim Future for DC

Panel from Lost and Found: An Amy Devlin Mystery, via Oni Press
Panel from Lost and Found: An Amy Devlin Mystery, via Oni Press.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Corrina gives us a look into the grim future of DC Comics, while Sophie continues her journey through The X-Files.

Corrina Lawson— 

Lost and Found: Amy Devlin Mysteries Vol 3 written by Christina Weir, Nunzio DeFilippis, and T.J. Kirsch

I’ve been searching more afield from the big two of DC and Marvel for my comic fix and found this private detective story among the latest offerings from the independent Oni Press.

From the cover, I expected a badass female private eye and a noir-like story. What I got was an enjoyable mystery starring a very modern sleuth, Amy Devlin, who relies on her intelligence rather than any physical force, and has the normal problems of 20-somethings: significant other trouble, parent trouble, and just making enough money trouble.

The mystery surrounds the hidden past of a runaway who asks Amy for help, but (naturally) can’t afford to pay. From there, Amy gets involved in investigating the past sins of a very Scientology-like group. It’s involving, but complicated. I read it on my iPad and I wished several times for a physical copy, so I could flip back and refresh my memory of who was what to whom. This is volume three of Amy’s stories. I’m going to look for the other two.

Futures End #4 written by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire, Aaron Lopresti, and Art Thibert

All you need to know about the current direction of DC Comics is summed up in the appearance of a scarred, grim, gritty, and now-limb-chopping happy Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. Once Amethyst headlined a fun fantasy, then she was revived as a more young adult heir to magic, and now she’s a grim uber-warrior. This is not a good progression.

It’s true, Amethyst’s revival didn’t last long because of low sales, but that’s more due to a marketing failure of bringing possible new readers to DC than the book itself. Other stuff happens in this fourth installment of a year-long weekly series that’s all about how the DCU became grim (well, even grimmer) in five years. Batman Beyond, the main star of the story, doesn’t really appear, but a bearded Tim Drake does with a new girlfriend—who you just know is going to die horribly. That’s probably because everyone seems to have died horribly so far, especially the disguised random aliens that Grifter is hell-bent on killing and whose deaths are depicted in the most gory fashion. There’s so much talent being wasted on this series, which is quite obviously not for me.

Nightwing #30 written by Tim Seeley, Tom King, Javier Garron, Jorge Lucas, Mikel Janin, and Guillermo Ortego

This is the last issue of the rebooted Nightwing series and takes place after the events of Forever Evil, in which Dick Grayson died, if only for a few minutes. So the point of this tale is to set up the status quo where Dick is still presumed dead, but is a spy able to become “whoever you want me to be” for an international espionage agency. The reasoning of Dick staying dead is…well, it all depends on him beating up Batman and proving, well, I’m not sure. That he can stop people from killing him in the future? That he can keep secrets? None of the reasons are very convincing. In any case, Dick agrees to stay dead. Stay tuned for the new adventures of Grayson, secret agent in his new book.

There’s a short glimpse of what that might be and it looks more promising than the end of this one was, especially with the re-appearance of Helena Bertinelli, once the Huntress and now, apparently, an international spy. She’s also African-American rather than white, a nice change to a more diverse Gotham.

Batman #31 written by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Danny Miki

Futures End is set five years in the future. Nightwing is set in the DC present. Batman, still doing a Year Zero story, is four years in the past. Riddler has taken over Gotham, which is overgrown with greenery and has the citizens cowed because no one can pose a riddle that the criminal mastermind can’t answer. If you ask wrong, you die. If you don’t ask wrong, well, you might die anyway. Batman tries posing the riddle this issue, but the real goal is to find Riddler’s location. Batman fights lions (presumably escaped from the Gotham Zoo) in an attempt to stall Riddler, while Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox track Riddler’s electronic signature. The lions lose, by the way, and it seems that Batman’s team is finally on their way to winning one when Year Zero ends. I hope they call Poison Ivy as caretaker for all that extra greenery.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #12 written by Joe Harris and art by Matthew Dow Smith and Francesco Francavilla

The X-Files Season 10 #12 \ Image IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 #12 \ Image IDW Publishing

Previously on The X-Files… Last month, we saw the return of Alex Krycek; hardly a surprise given that previews gave that particular plot point away months ago, but a welcome return of a fan favorite nonetheless. Season 10 #12 gives everyone’s favorite backstabbing mercenary-for-hire (OK, besides Jayne Cobb) the opportunity to speak, and what he has to say makes for interesting reading.

Unlike the other characters who have returned from the dead at the hands of so-far mysterious figures, Krycek is actually talking, but it’s what he’s not saying that’s really interesting. We’ve known for some time that these “Returnees” are being kept in the dark themselves, but the extent of that is really hammered home by Krycek. He doesn’t know what’s going on, but we do quickly establish one thing: he’s afraid. Whatever “they” did to get him back, Krycek doesn’t want to end up back in their hands. He wants answers just like Mulder, but unlike the Smoking Man and Mr X who seem more-or-less content to work with their new bosses, Krycek is back to his old self and only willing to work with those who can get him what he wants. This time, that’s answers.

Sadly, Krycek doesn’t get much time to seek his truths. Pretty soon, we’re back with Mulder and Scully, who are both in the process of causing international incidents. That kind of behavior is to be expected of Mulder, but the fact that Scully manages to find herself in the middle as well is testament to how much she has learned from him over the years. The issue ends with scenes reminiscent of Season Six’s “Dreamland,” with Mulder and Scully once again tearing up the desert in a rented car on the hunt for UFOs. Only this time rather than a body-swap, one of our intrepid agents goes missing yet again.

I get that this was a trope on the show, but I hope that not every mythology arc is going to involve one or the other being mysteriously kidnapped part way through. As any parent can tell you, repetition does have a tendency of becoming old, fast.

However, everything has not been as it seems, as the big reveal at the end of the issue shows us. We were introduced to Mulder and Scully’s new supervisor A.D. Morales early in Season 10, but this time out we begin to see a little bit behind the woman now charged with controlling the FBI’s most troublesome agents. Specifically, we get a hint as to who she’s really working for and though again, it’s not the most shocking of revelations, but it certainly changes the way I’ll be viewing upcoming issues.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Adventures Of Superman #13
All-Star Western #31
Aquaman #31
Batman #31
Batman Eternal #8
Catwoman #31
Catwoman Vol. 4 Gotham Underground TP
Dead Boy Detectives #6
Fairest Vol. 3 The Return Of The Maharaja TP
Flash #31
Girl Who Played With Fire HC
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #13 GM
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #5
Justice League Dark #31
Larfleeze #11
New 52 Futures End #4 Weekly Series 
Nightwing #30 Final Issue
Red Lanterns #31
Red Lanterns Vol. 4 Blood Brothers TP
Sandman Overture Special Edition #2
Secret Origins #2 New Series
Shazam Vol. 1 TP
Suicide Squad #30 Final Issue
Superman #31
Tales Of The Batman Carmine Infantino HC
All-New Invaders #5
Avengers #30
Avengers Assemble The Forgeries Of Jealousy TP
Cataclysm The Ultimates’ Last Stand HC
Deadpool #29
Deadpool Vs Carnage #2 (Of 4)
Devil Dinosaur By Jack Kirby The Complete Collection TP
Dexter Down Under #4 (Of 5)
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Fantastic Four #5
Giant-Size Spider-Man #1
Guardians Of The Galaxy #15 GM
Guardians Of The Galaxy All-New X-Men: The Trial Of Jean Grey HC
Inhuman #2 New Series
Iron Man #26
Iron Patriot #3 New Series
Marvel Boy TP
Marvel Firsts The 1980s Vol. 2 TP
Marvel Masterworks The Invincible Iron Man Vol. 3 TP
Marvel Previews #130 (June 2014 For Products On-Sale August 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #26 Kid Friendly
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 6 Digest TP Kid Friendly
Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Prelude #2 (Of 2)
Mighty Avengers #10
Miracleman Vol. 1 A Dream Of Flying HC
Ms. Marvel #4 New Series
Oz Ozma Of Oz TP Kid Friendly
Revolutionary War TP
She-Hulk #3 New Series
Thanos Annual #1
Thunderbolts #26
Uncanny Avengers #20
Winter Soldier The Bitter March #4 (Of 5)
Wolverine #7
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

24 #2 New Series
City The Mind In The Machine #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Complete Little Orphan Annie Vol. 10 HC
Ghostbusters #16
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #12
Locke And Key Head Games Deluxe HC
Monster And Madman #1 (Of 3) New Mini Series
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #19
Samurai Jack #8 Kid Friendly
Star Trek #33
Star Trek Vol. 2 Operation Annihilate HC
Transformers Robots In Disguise #29
X-Files Season 10 #12 GM
Captain Midnight #11
Captain Midnight Vol. 2 Brave Old World TP
Conan The Avenger #2 New Series
Eerie Archives Vol. 16 HC
ElfQuest The Final Quest #3 New Series
Furious #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Halo Escalation #6
King Conan The Conqueror #4 (Of 6)
Mass Effect Foundation #11
Massive #23
Mind MGMT #22
Pariah #4 (Of 8)
Resident Alien Vol. 2 The Suicide Blonde TP
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #5 (Of 6)
Sledgehammer 44 Vol. 1 TP
Star Wars #8 (Of 8)(Lucas Draft) Final Issue
Star Wars Legacy II #15
Star Wars Rebel Heist #2 (Of 4)
Tomb Raider #4
Vandroid #4 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Forever Evil Ends, Bee and PuppyCat, Justice League, and Afterlife With Archie!

AstroCity12Cover
Astro City #12, the latest one-shot in Kurk Busiek’s popular series, with cover art by Alex Ross. Image copyright Vertigo Comics.

Welcome to this week’s GeekMom Comic Book Corner. Rachel talks about an an all-ages Kickstarter comic, Corrina reviews how DC ended Forever Evil on a whimper, Lisa looks at the latest Astro City offering, and Melody takes a peek at Afterlife With Archie.

BeePuppyCat1
Cover by Natasha Allegri, Zac Gorman, Coleman Engle, and Becky Dreistadt.

Rachel Cericola — Bee and PuppyCat #1 written by Natasha Allegri and Garrett Jackson and art by Natasha Allegri

Natasha Allegri’s Bee and PuppyCat started out as an animated short on Cartoon Hangover. Then late last year, Allegri ran a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to make her creation into a series. If you love the cartoon, you’ll love Bee and PuppyCat #1.

The story focuses on Bee, a young girl who is always unemployed, but manages to pay the rent doing intergalactic temp jobs. She’s shadowed by PuppyCat, who may be a dog or a cat. It doesn’t really matter because it’s so darn cute!

Part Sailor Moon and part Adventure Time, Bee and PuppyCat #1 is a bit like an acid trip; a nice one though, with space themes, lots of bright colors, and puppy/kitty hybrids. Allegri’s art is certainly cute, colorful, and perky enough to keep you entertained. However, I highly recommending watching the animated adventures first or this issue could leave you a little confused. These shorts are short, and sort of leave the reader hanging. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you like your comic books. Frankly, if you love the wonderful weirdness of Adventure Time, I think that you’ll love Bee and PuppyCat—and that would make perfect sense, since Allegri currently works on the hit Cartoon Network series.

Despite the bizarre flow, Bee and PuppyCat #1 does have a few of my favorite things: snacks, PJs, and general weirdness. I’d be interested to see if future issues deliver the same tone or delve more into the jobs, the backstory, and the enigma that is PuppyCat.

Corrina — Forever Evil #7, Justice League #30 (Forever Evil tie-in), Justice League of America #14 (Forever Evil Aftermath) 

The big DC event Forever Evil, in which the Earth is invaded by the Crime Syndicate, evil alternate versions of the Justice League, is over. I wish I could say it’s been fun, but it’s been one relentlessly depressing plot point after another. Does Forever Evil #7 break the streak and end with the heroes triumphant?

No, of course not.

In the new DC, heroic victories never happen, only slight victories tempered by yet another evil on the horizon. Oh, and the heroes are in a worse place than ever before. It’s sort of like watching the DC version of Game of Thrones, only Joffrey wins all the time and there’s no Tyrion to provide snarky commentary.

What happens in #7? SPOILER WARNING!

The man who’s been a prisoner through the whole event is an alternate universe Alexander Luthor with the power of Shazam. Sort of. By saying “Shazam” backwards, Alex becomes uber-powerful and starts beating up the Syndicate. I thought this might be a good thing, because it seems like the Syndicate deserves a beat-down after wrecking the Earth. Apparently not, because this Luthor is just another version of evil. Eventually, our Earth’s Lex Luthor and Alex Luthor fight and our version wins by killing Alex via an energy rod that really shouldn’t work if Alex is so powered up. But it does. Then, Lex also saves Superman by removing the Kryptonite in his brain.

Somehow, this all adds up to our Luthor being a hero and Earth hating the Justice League, even though the JL has been acting to help as much as Luthor. Um, okay? And Luthor figures out Bruce Wayne is Batman by tracking his relationship to Dick Grayson (Nightwing), whose identity was revealed a bunch of issues ago—to which I can only say, “duh.” The entire Earth should be able to figure it out by this point. Oh, also, the person who wrecked the Syndicate’s world and thus caused them to invade our Earth is revealed to be the Anti-Monitor, the villain of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. What goes around comes around, I guess.

How are the tie-ins? Justice League #30  takes place during the event in which the new Cyborg frees up the trapped Leaguers. If you like the event, you’ll want to read it. Otherwise, skip. JLA #14 takes a different approach, by focusing on the fallout from the Syndicate’s mess through the eyes of Stargirl, who’s still optimistic about the future. (She’s the only one.) This is a prequel to the new Justice League United series. If you haven’t started that book, I’d recommend buying JLA #14, and JLU #0 and #1. United is worth reading, though the first couple of issues are a little disjointed.

Meanwhile, if you want more heroes being unpleasant to each other and everyone else, pick up the weekly Future’s End event in which everything is still awful. Better yet, go with Batman: Eternal. That weekly book, while set in the grimness of Gotham, still maintains a shred of humanity and heroism.

Lisa — Astro City #12 written by Kurk Busiek and art by Graham Nolan

What makes a man a predatory criminal? Is he born this way or are circumstances such that he soon becomes the animal he has been treated like his whole life? Either way, can he eventually overcome this wolfish urge to prey upon others out of greed and envy?

Busiek’s latest Astro City story attempts to answer these questions through the point of view of well-dressed recidivant, Edward James Carroway. Told primarily in flashbacks, Carroway traces his early life growing up poor, his discovery of (and eventual obsession with) how clothes make the man, and his rise and eventual downfall in the criminal world.

As much as I enjoy Astro City‘s multi-issue stories, I look forward to Busiek’s one-shots. These are often well-crafted tales about fringe or new characters in the Astro City universe. Alex Ross’ stylish cover art set the tone for this story perfectly, but I was disappointed that the characters on the cover, the Menagerie Gang, were only eluded to in the story. I would love to see them play a bigger part in a future story. Although I was also disappointed in the choices made by Carroway throughout the story, Busiek’s story did not let me down. He created yet another very real, very fresh character. Whether or not the characters’ rise in fall in glory, Busiek always remains a consistently clever writer.

That, as Carroway might agree, is the nature of the beast.

AfterlifewithArchie
Cover art by Francesco Francavilla.

Melody Mooney — Afterlife With Archie: “Escape from Riverdale” Part 5 of 5 written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and art by Francesco Francavilla and Jack Morelli

The first time I learned of Afterlife With Archie was at my local comic book store. We were there for Free Comic Book Day and I saw it on a display shelf. At first glance, it looked like a darker Scooby Doo issue. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a zombie Archie story. I thought it would be a fun tale to follow. Why not give myself over to the squeaky clean Riverdale gang as they earn their place in the zombie renaissance?

Jumping in with issue number five midstream, I decided to catch up by downloading the free Afterlife with Archie App available on iTunes and Google Play. This gave me access to digital back issues, exclusive content, and lots of cool news and information.

In this latest issue, “Escape from Riverdale” Part 5 of 5, we catch up with what is left of the gang at Lodge Mansion. Unsure what their next step should be, they stand at a crossroads between leaving Riverdale and undead friends behind or staying to take their chances with the growing zombie horde. The beautiful and creepy look is created by artists Francesco Francavilla and Jack Morelli. It reminded me of those popular Tales from the Crypt comics that used to scare me as a teen. The cover by Francavilla and variant cover by Andrew Pipoy and Jason Millet will no doubt become collectable. The twisted story is penned by the Harvey Award-winning mind of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. He has taken the once best friend and comic foil Jughead and made him into the leader of the Riverdale Zombie Army. The ground zero origin story playfully includes a freak pet cemetery-like accident involving Jughead’s beloved Hot Dog and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. If you are like me, that was enough to get me hooked and excited to see just how Archie will survive this dark turn of events.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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American Vampire Second Cycle #3 New Series
Batgirl Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
Batgirl Vol. 4 Wanted HC
Batman ’66 #11
Batman And Frankenstein #31
Batman Beyond Universe #10
Batman Deathblow After The Fire TP
Batman Eternal #7 Weekly Series
Batman Superman #11
Batwoman #31
Birds Of Prey #31
Black Canary And Zatanna Bloodspell HC
Ex Machina Vol. 2 TP
Forever Evil #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Green Lantern New Guardians #31
Harley Quinn #6 GM
Justice League #30
Justice League Of America #14 Final Issue
Movement Vol. 1 Class Warfare TP
New 52 Futures End #3 New Weekly Series
Red Hood And The Outlaws #31
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #5 New Series
Showcase Presents Super Friends Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Sinestro #2  New Series
Supergirl #31
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #11
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #5
Wonder Woman #31
A+X Vol. 3 = Outstanding TP
All-New Doop #2 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
All-New X-Factor #8
All-New X-Men Vol. 3 Out Of Their Depth TP
Amazing Spider-Man #2 New Series
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Vol. 15 Ghosts Of The Past TP
Amazing X-Men #7
Avengers World #6
Daredevil #3 New Series
Deadpool Annual #2
Deadpool Vol. 4 Deadpool Vs S.H.I.E.L.D. TP
Elektra #2 New Series
Hulk #3 New Series
Immortal Iron Fist The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe TP
Magneto #4 New Series
Marvel Knights Hulk Transforme TP
Miracleman #6
Nova #17
Nova Vol. 3 Nova Corpse TP
Original Sin #2 (Of 8) New Mini-Series
Powers Bureau #10
Savage Wolverine #19
Thor God Of Thunder #22
Ultimate FF #2 New Series
Uncanny X-Men #21
Wolverine And The X-Men #4 New Series
X-Factor By Peter David The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
X-Men #14
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7th Sword #2 New Series
Danger Girl May Day #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Dexter’s Laboratory #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series, Kid Friendly
Genius Animated The Cartoon Art Of Alex Toth Vol. 3 HC
Indestructible #6
Littlest Pet Shop #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series, Kid Friendly
Monster And Madman #3 (Of 3)
My Little Pony Friends Forever #5 New Series, Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #22 Kid Friendly
Rogue Trooper #4 New Series
Star Mage #2 (Of 6) New Mini-Series, Kid Friendly
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #3 New Series
Star Trek Khan TP
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special
Transformers Windblade #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
V-Wars #2 New Series
Axe Cop American Choppers #1 (Of 3) New Mini-Series
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #119
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #1 (of 4) New Mini-Series
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #3
Dark Horse Presents #36
Dragon Age The Silent Grove (#1 For $1 Edition)
Mind MGMT Vol. 3 The Home Maker HC
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 16 TP
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Star Wars Legacy II Vol. 2 Outcasts Of The Broken Ring TP
Witcher #3 (Of 5)

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Monsters, Vampires, and Archie… Oh My!

Monster on the Hill \  Image Rob Harrell
Monster on the Hill \ Image Rob Harrell

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I dive into Monster on the Hill, the first 186 page comic book my son willingly sat down and read cover to cover. For the Archie fans, Rachel checks out B&V Friends Double Digest, while  Lisa journeys into the dark world of V-Wars. Also included in this week’s edition, Melody writes a thank you letter to ComiXology for helping her rediscover comics!

Dakster Sullivan — Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell

Monster on the Hill \ Cover by Rob Harrell
Monster on the Hill \ Cover by Rob Harrell

Monster on the Hill is a really fun and cute all-ages comic book, set in 1860’s England. In this world, every town has a monster, and the townsfolk rely on the monster to bring in tourists (kind of like a scary Mickey Mouse kind of thing). The monster is also a source of pride in each town… well, every town except for Stoker-Von-Avon.

In an attempt to get his lab back, a kooky scientist, Wilkie, and his forced-on-him-companion, Timmy the newsboy, set out to help their town’s monster that just sits depressingly on top of a hill. This monster is so depressing, he’s making the town depressed.

After talking with Rayburn (the monster), Wilkie and Timmy decide to run him through some monster drills and go on a road trip to talk to get tips from other monsters. Unfortunately terror strikes while they are away and we learn that monsters are not only there to wreck havoc on their towns, they are also there to protect them.

The downside to this book is that some parents might find the language a bit inappropriate at times. I was surprised to see words like “bloody hell” and “sucks” coming from the young and old characters.

On the upside though, the messages of friendship, confidence, creative problem solving, and responsibility are strong, but subtle.

The book itself is pretty thick at 186 pages, but that’s partially because the lettering and the panels are done as big as the monsters themselves. It’s a nice layout for kids that don’t like to read the smaller print you find in regular comics. My 8-year-old son loved this story so much, he read the entire thing in one sitting!

The Monster on the Hill is published by Top Shelf and is recommended for all-ages.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Melody Mooney — One Stay at Home GeekMom’s thank you to ComiXology

I wanted to pass along my quick review of my first experience buying online comics from ComiXology. Impressed with how the 2014 Marvel relaunch of She-Hulk looked on my laptop, I’m giving it a five star rating. Having a three-year-old daughter to keep up with almost had me giving up on my own comic book reading. It was tough finding time to buy new issues at the store. Converting to comics online has given me much joy and new hope.

I was able to purchase all four available titles in the series and had the option to subscribe for future immediate downloads. I also added the free ComiXology app for my Droid-based phone, and I’m sneaking in looks during my busy days with my daughter.

B&VFriends238
Cover by Bill Galvan, Bob Smith, and Rosario “Tito” Peña.

Rachel Cericola — B&V Friends Double Digest #238 written by Frank Doyle and art by Dan DeCarlo, Jimmy DeCarlo, Bill Yoshida, and Barry Grossman

Remember last week how I said that Betty was basically non-existent in the Jughead and Archie Double Digest #1? This super-sized issue certainly makes up for that absence. It’s all about Betty and Veronica here—and of course, Archie. The 160-page digest kicks off with a scenario that’s sure to get your attention: Betty and Veronica getting married! Um, say what?

Not to worry. The duo is just modeling a bunch of wedding dresses. Of course, Archie doesn’t know that. Now, he has to choose between the two, which is so difficult that it requires a four-parter called “Archie’s Choice.” It has our favorite redhead picking out the right ring and trying to choose between his two teen loves by dreaming up two very different futures.

If you’re bothered at all by this classic love triangle, you probably won’t appreciate this book (or any Archie Comics, for that matter). Those of you enamored by the whole thing will love shorts like “The Heart is a Whimsical Hunter” and “Scent of 2 Women.” However, it’s not just a bunch of catfights (although those are present). The duo does have a few Archie-free adventures. Plus, the book has a pair of Josie and The Pussycats stories and a bunch of Jinx shorts.

Without a doubt though, the highlight of this issue is the 25-page sneak peek at Diary of a Girl Next Door: Betty. The format and artwork is very reminiscent of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (which I do love), but it’s not nearly as funny. It is pretty cute though, with Betty freaking out about her very first day at Riverdale.

Lisa Tate — V-Wars #1 written by Jonathan Maberry, illustrated by Alan Robinson, colored by Jay Fotos (IDW). Mature readers.

V-Wars \ Image: IDW Publishing
V-Wars \ Image: IDW Publishing

Luther Swan, Ph.D, is an expert in vampire folklore, but he never thought it would be something he would have to apply to his own, real-life experiences in a heartbreaking and horrifying way. The melting of polar ice might have awoken a once dormant gene of junk DNA hidden in all human, the I1V1 virus that causes vampiric traits. Anyone and everyone anywhere in the world can be affected, and the result is a global hysteria and paranoia, as well as the inevitable vampire-vs-human war (aka V-Wars).

The ever-prominent idea of the sparkly, boyishly sexy, pouty, and sardonically witty vampires ala Twilight and True Blood has put me off vampire stories, but the V-Wars situation intrigued me as it was closer to the zombie apocalypse scenarios I confess I do find fascinating. In the vein of Max Brooks’s World War Z, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, this book is a much about the human condition as it is about the “monsters” they become — and it isn’t pretty. These vampires certainly don’t sparkle, but they also don’t take on any one form. Some people become the more “traditional” bloodsuckers, some more beastly and carnivorous, and some more demonic. The vampires in this series are as varied as its world’s situation is bleak.

The content was quite graphic, and at times a little over-the-top for even me (that’s saying something, since I’ve enjoyed quite a bit of Garth Ennis and Mark Millar in my day), but the images weren’t nearly as gruesome as the situation. The complete hopelessness of the human condition in this story left me with a feeling of cold, isolated sadness, particularly the instances where children were involved. Being a mom has really made me focus on how catastrophic events (both real and utterly unreal) would affect youth and families, and this tapped into some of my hidden nightmares.

Although it isn’t vital, I recommend getting a hold of the Free Comic Book Day VWars Issue #0 as a good primer for the story, especially for the information in the “Top Secret Files” following the story. Issue #1 picks up right where it left of, and the path Luther continues on from there only gets more complicated.

I’m likely not going to continue with this series, but I can’t criticize it for being poorly written. Maberry is an exceptional storyteller, and if you’re willing to brace yourself for the harrowing, dark and twisted ride, you will be thoroughly entertained.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Absolute Superman Batman Vol. 2 HC
Action Comics #31
Aquaman Vol. 3 Throne Of Atlantis TP
Aquaman Vol. 4 Death Of A King HC
Arrow Vol. 2 TP
Authority Vol. 1 TP
Batgirl #31
Batman Bruce Wayne Murderer TP (New Edition)
Batman Eternal #6 Weekly Series
Batman Legends Of The Dark Knight Vol. 2 TP
Coffin Hill Vol. 1 Forest Of The Night TP
Constantine #14
DC Comics Presents The Demon Driven Out #1
Fables #140
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #10
Green Lantern Corps #31
JSA Omnibus By Geoff Johns Vol. 1 HC
Justice League United #1 New Series
New 52 Futures End #2 New Weekly Series
Royals Masters Of War #4 (Of 6)
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #45 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Lantern #2 (Of 4)
Spectre Vol. 1 Crimes And Judgments TP
Superboy #31
Superman Doomed #1 (One Shot)
Superman The Man Of Tomorrow Archives Vol. 3 HC
Superman Wonder Woman #8
Worlds’ Finest #23
Age Of Ultron Companion TP
All-New Ghost Rider #3 New Series
All-New Ultimates #2 New Series
All-New X-Men #27
Amazing Spider-Man Peter Parker The One And Only TP
Avengers #29
Avengers Undercover #4 New Series
Captain America #20
Captain Marvel #3 New Series
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Deadpool #28
Deadpool Vs Carnage #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Fantastic Four #4 New Series
Hulk By Jeph Loeb The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Iron Man #25
Iron Man Vol. 4 Iron Metropolitan HC
Loki Agent Of Asgard #3
Magneto #2
Marvel Knights X-Men Haunted TP
Marvel Masterworks Daredevil Vol. 8 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #8
Moon Knight #2 New Series
New Avengers #18
Nightcrawler #2 New Series
Original Sin #1 (Of 8) New Mini-Series / Event
Secret Avengers #3 New Series
She-Hulk By Dan Slott The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Twelve The Complete Series TP
United States Of Murder Inc #1
Wolverine #6
X-Force #5 New Series
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24 #1 New Series
Ben 10 Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Definitive Flash Gordon And Jungle Jim Vol. 4 HC
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #202
Jack Kirby’s New Gods Artist’s Edition HC
Judge Dredd #19
Judge Dredd Classics Vol. 1 Apocalypse War HC
Judge Dredd Vol. 4 13 Badges TP
Kill Shakespeare #1 (Hundred Penny Press Game Edition)
Locke And Key Head Games #1 (Hundred Penny Press Edition)
Mars Attacks First Born #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Red Star Treasury Edition
Rogue Trooper Classics #1 (Of 12)  New Mini-Series
Star Trek Annual 2013
Star Trek New Visions #1 (The Mirror Cracked)  New Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Vol. 8 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #11 Kid Friendly
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #29
Transformers Regeneration One Vol. 4 TP
WEIRD Love #1 New Series
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #6 (Of 7)
Abe Sapien #12
Art Of Plants Vs Zombies A Visual Retro Retropsec Book HC
Art Of Wolfenstein The New Order HC
Blade Of The Immortal Vol. 29 Beyond Good And Evil TP
Hellboy In Hell #6
Hellboy In Hell Vol. 1 The Descent TP
Jack Kraken (One Shot)
Mandala TP
Samurai Executioner Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
Star Wars #17
Terminator Enemy Of My Enemy #3 (Of 6)
X #13

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading