DC Comics’ Big Three Are Big Kids in ‘Study Hall of Justice’

When the team behind Li’l Gotham is back for a unique take on DC’s Big Three in a book for kids, it’s almost a no-brainer for any Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman fan to pick it up. You know, for the kids. (If you want to share it, I mean.)

Study Hall of Justice (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1) is a new middle-grade book series from Scholastic that is part journal, part graphic novel, and all DC Comics fun.

Continue reading DC Comics’ Big Three Are Big Kids in ‘Study Hall of Justice’

‘Wonder Woman at Super Hero High’ is Super for Tweens

DC Super Hero Girls continues its path to superhero-stardom with the release of a new middle grade book series. Wonder Woman at Super Hero High, written by Lisa Yee, is out today for readers ages 8-12 years.

The novel is a look at a high school with an all-star lineup of superhero students, but the characters are so relatable that readers of any age don’t need superpowers themselves to identify with them.

Continue reading ‘Wonder Woman at Super Hero High’ is Super for Tweens

Comics Club-4-Kidz (February): Kid Tested, Kid Approved

Comics Club-4-Kids is a monthly club exploring comic books for a variety of  age ranges. Since some families have multiple age ranges, Comics Club-4-Kidz helps parents by finding similar themes across varying content so that families can have conversations together. Our intent is to approach literary analysis and information literacy through the use of comics. Character, narrative structure, problem solving/plot development, and visual text were chosen as the focus discussion points to help mirror what our kids are learning in school. Our goal is to help kids in schools or kids homeschooling find new ways to approach literacy.

This month’s theme: gender.

This month’s comics:  Power UP, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, and Superman/Wonder Woman.

Continue reading Comics Club-4-Kidz (February): Kid Tested, Kid Approved

‘Supergirl’–What’s the Problem with Cat Grant?

GeekMom Maya and GeekMom Karen decided to sit down, watch some Supergirl, and figure out how to explain why we expect more out of Cat Grant as a representation of a matured businesswoman.

After an hour and a half of hogging our family televisions and messaging back and forth, we finally finished airing all of our grievances like the Great Festivus of Feminism.


Continue reading ‘Supergirl’–What’s the Problem with Cat Grant?

‘Art of the Brick: DC Comics’ (plus Giveaway)

There are only a handful of themes which truly stand the test of time. The kind of things shared between generations; dancing across language barriers; appreciated by any child, anywhere, anytime. Lego is definitely one. DC characters are absolutely there. Art is certainly there.

And then whoa! You have someone like Nathan Sawaya combining all three?!? Welcome to the Art of the Brick: DC Comics. Prepare to be joyfully stunned.

Also below is our giveaway but one big caveat: it’s for Australia residents only.

Continue reading ‘Art of the Brick: DC Comics’ (plus Giveaway)

‘Supergirl 1.2’ Stronger Together–Friends Good, Government Bad

When we last saw our heroine, having just emerged from the Superhero closet, she declared Earth doesn’t have just one hero anymore. Now it has me. Now it has Supergirl.”

As I watched tonight’s episode, I again felt that the dialogue was heavy handed and, unfortunately, there wasn’t much that really excited me.  My questions from last week remain: will Supergirl be the hero, and feminist, we want her to be? Or is she really just a girl in a red cape?

So, keep your tray tables in the locked upright position and buckle up as we fly through Supergirl’s second episode “Stronger Together”.  

Spoilers ahead friends. You’ve been warned!

Merely a week has gone by since the world was introduced to Supergirl. Just in case we forgot whose show we were watching, Supergirl bashes us over the head by saying, “When people see that red cape they expect to see a certain someone. Someone they know. This isn’t his story, it’s mine.”  Yeah, we got it.

We join her as she’s being put through a battery of tests by the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO), courtesy of the cranky Director Henshaw. But things are going well and she’s clearly having fun as she expertly dodges missiles. She can even break the sound barrier! Continue reading ‘Supergirl 1.2’ Stronger Together–Friends Good, Government Bad

Supergirl Flies, but Does She Soar? Not Quite Yet

The highly anticipated Supergirl premiered last night on CBS. In the lead-up to last night’s premiere, it seems as though the show, and its star Glee’s Melissa Benoist, have become synonymous with “feminism.”

The question remains, did it live up to the feminist hype? Is Supergirl more than just a girl in a red cape?

Spoilers ahead as we dig into the pilot episode to find out. Continue reading Supergirl Flies, but Does She Soar? Not Quite Yet

Make Paper Folding Your Superpower With ‘DC Super Heroes Origami’

There’s something a little bit magical about turning a piece of paper into a crane, bear, or dragon through the practice of origami. But turning a piece of paper into Batman? That’s being a flat-out origami superhero. Thanks to John Montroll, origami master and author of DC Super Heroes Origami, you and your kids will be making super origami versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more in no time.

Continue reading Make Paper Folding Your Superpower With ‘DC Super Heroes Origami’

‘DC Super Hero Girls’: The Doors of Super Hero High Are Open

The much-anticipated (at least by my six-year-old) new series DC Super Hero Girls kicks off today with a re-designed web site and webisode! The short animated episode introduces us all to Super Hero High, where heroes and villains alike go to school to learn about their powers and make friends.

Continue reading ‘DC Super Hero Girls’: The Doors of Super Hero High Are Open

Exclusive ‘Scooby-Doo: Where Are You?’ Preview

Image: DC Comics

Aside from superheroes, DC Comics also publishers several television tie-in comics, and Scooby-Doo is one of the most prominent. In this exclusive preview to issue #60, the original Scooby Gang has to confront Viking Marauders.


Here’s the official description from the website:

When the ghosts of legendary Norse explorers—better known as Vikings!—start to haunt a local ferry operator, Scooby and the Mystery Gang take to the water! Will running their own ferry boat help them get to the bottom of this mystery, or just sink to the bottom of the river? Find out in “The Case of the Frightful Ferry”!

Scooby-Doo: Where Are You? #60, written and drawn by Scott Gross, is available at local comic shops on August 12th, and digitally via Comixology.com

All images copyright DC Comics.


Batman + TMNT = Awesome Ninja Action

TMNT and the Dark Knight
Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

When I saw a press release hit my email about the Dark Knight and the pizza loving ninja dudes were doing a six-month crossover series, I did a double-take.

So far, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have crossed over with X-Files and Ghostbusters and both of those had their quirks. Of the two, Ghostbusters crossover was my favorite, if short-lived.

I have just as many questions as I have squeals of excitement for what’s to come between my favorite mutants and the Bat. TMNT is known not only for its kick butt action but also for their one-liners. Batman is known for his serious tone and dark themes. Granted, the latest TMNT series is probably not that far off from Batman, but it’s still something I’d let my 9-year old son read. I can’t say that for the Dark Knight.

I have a few hopeful thoughts about what is to come.

Batman / TMNT Issue #1
Batman / TMNT Issue #1 \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

The return of Bruce Wayne – The cover art for issue #1 shows Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl again. Even though this won’t kick in until November, I can wait that long if it means seeing him suit up again.

Massive Ninja action – Batman is a trained ninja and samurai warrior. The Turtles are fully trained in the art of ninjitsu. I’m excited to see how their styles are the same in some areas and how they learn from each other in others.

Who will be the “top dog?” – In the Ghostbusters crossover, each Turtle latched on to a different Ghostbuster. Batman is a solo act, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the band of brothers and which one he will get along best with. My money is on Leo because he’s the leader, but Raph is a close second because of his rough around the edges attitude that Batman might radiate too.

So many villains and only six months to use them all. – There are so many villains for the writers to pick from for the Turtles to face off against. I’m hoping they don’t go with all mainstream characters and pull a few others that are not so well-known. My top picks at the moment are Riddler, Scarecrow, Firefly, Clock King, and Professor Pyg.

Who will show up from Batman’s world? – Of the allies I want to see drop-in on this mini-series, I’m really hoping for Red Hood because I think his attitude would match up with Raphael in a conflict causing way. Damien would be another good conflict character because the Turtles might underestimate his abilities (and get the floor wiped with their shells in the process).

Wanted. Ally for Shredder. – I’m curious to see where Shredder will fit into all of this and who he will align himself with in Gotham. There’s and abundance of villains he could associate with. Will he lean more towards the meta-human types or the mobsters. If I had to put a name in the hat right now, it would be Lady Shiva. Her attitude and mastery of the martial arts would make her a good fit as an ally for Shredder.

I do have one request for the writers… please put a one-liner here and there.

You can even give them all to Mikey and Alfred.

I don’t care!

Just throw a few in there. Please.

This being DC and IDW’s second crossover of the year (Star Trek / Green Lantern is out now), I’m thinking a third crossover might be fun. Maybe The X-Files and Martian Manhunter (too obvious?) or a more comical hook up would be Jem and the Holograms and Wonder Woman. Just a thought.

11 More Comic Artists to Follow on Instagram

Instagram Uploads © Kevin Wada, Mingjue Chen, and Marguerite Sauvage
Instagram Uploads © Kevin Wada, Mingjue Chen, and Marguerite Sauvage

Is your Instagram feed still sadly lacking in gorgeous comic book art? If 11 comic book artists aren’t enough to satisfy you, here are 11 more artists who share their works in progress, peeks from behind their tables at the biggest conventions in the country, and stunning Imperator Furiosa fan art. Lots of Furiosa fan art.

Babs Tarr (babsdraws) – The current artist of Batgirl and variant cover artist for DC Comics, Babs Tarr is also known for her stylish and memorable take on the scouts of Sailor Moon.

Cameron Stewart (cameronmstewart) – Part of the team that relaunched Batgirl and the artist for the Fight Club sequel, Cameron Stewart is an award-winning artist who has worked with all major comic publishers.

Chrissie Zullo (chrissiezullo) – Chrissie Zullo, a cover artist for Vertigo, often shares images of various lovely ladies from comics, Disney, games, and more.

Isaac Goodhart (izgoodhart) – Current artist for Image’s spooky series Postal and the final issue of Witchblade, Isaac Goodhart is an up-and-coming talent to keep an eye on.

Instagram Uploads © Jorge Jimenez
Instagram Uploads © Jorge Jimenez

Jorge Jimenez (jorge_jimenez_comicbookartist) – Artist for the Olympus arc of Smallville, Jorge Jimenez is currently working on Earth 2: Society for DC Comics. If you love the characters of Earth 2, check out his feed for frequent updates.

Karl Kerschl (karlkerschl) – If you’ve been reading Gotham Academy, you’re well familiar with the work of Karl Kerschl. He’s also the creator of The Abominable Charles Christopher.

Instagram Uploads © Kevin Wada
Instagram Uploads © Kevin Wada

Kevin Wada (kevinwada) – From the gorgeous covers of She-Hulk to his incredible commissions at conventions across the country, Kevin Wada is on his way to comic artist superstardom.

Kristafer Anka (kristaferanka) – Recently announced as the amazing artist of the Captain Marvel relaunch in the fall, Kris Anka has also drawn covers for the House of M Secret Wars series and interiors for Uncanny X-Men.

Marguerite Sauvage (margueritesauvage) – Marguerite Sauvage’s illustration style leaps off the page, especially her beautiful work featuring Wonder Woman. Sauvage is the artist on the new DC Comics digital series DC Bombshells.

Mingjue Chen (mingjuechen) – Mingjue Chen has an animation background that shines through her recent work in Gotham Academy and Batgirl Annual #3.

Phil Noto (philnoto) – Phil Noto is known for his dazzling work on the Black Widow solo series, and was recently announced as the artist on the upcoming Chewbacca solo book. Noto doesn’t update Instagram often, but following him is worth it for the few times he does.

Instagram Uploads © Tak Miyazawa
Instagram Uploads © Tak Miyazawa

Tak Miyazawa (takmiyazawa) – Tak Miyazawa has worked as the interior artist for recent issues of Ms. Marvel. He’s also teamed up with Greg Pak for crowdfunded picture books The Princess Who Saved Herself and ABC Disgusting.

Weekly DC Comics Capsule Reviews: Released 7/22/2015

Cyborg #1, copyright DC Comcis
Cyborg #1. Copyright DC Comics.

Welcome to a new feature on GeekMom, a look at DC Comics’ weekly output in a nutshell by columnist Ray Goldfield.

Ray is a writer/editor for Grayhaven Comics, as well as the author of two novels currently in editing. He’s a comic fan for over 20 years, particularly of DC and Superman, Batman, and the Teen Titans in particular. Now that Cassandra Cain is coming back, he will not rest until DC greenlights a Young Justice: Season Three comic. 

Ray’s been reviewing DC comics published each week for years, informally, and we’re happy to give him a formal platform.

Cyborg #1 – 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

DC has been trying to make a go of turning Cyborg into an A-lister for a while, complete with a permanent slot on the Justice League and a movie in development, but this is his first try at a solo series. They’ve said they were waiting for the right pitch, and it looks like it paid off. David F. Walker, an experienced indie filmmaker and writer, knows what makes Cyborg unique, and that’s his connection to the world of technology. Walker is partnered with superstar artist Ivan Reis, a clear show of faith in this book, and they waste no time throwing us into the action via an intergalactic battle between two alien forces. The Technosapiens, menacing beings of organic technology, are in pitched battle against the technology-hating Tekbreakers. Back on Earth, STAR Labs is being besieged by protesters angry that their tech isn’t being given out to normal amputees, but Dr. Stone has more pressing concerns. His son has shown up, sporting a new, more advanced look that he evolved after being killed off in the Convergence preview story.

If I had one complaint about this issue, it’s that it’s very dependent on you having read that short story in some places. It’s all recapped much more smoothly than Omega Men or Lost Army were, though. Walker does a great job digging into Victor’s complex relationship with his father, as well as his interaction with childhood friend Sarah and how he feels about his unique link to the technology that rebuilt him. Reis does a great job of capturing Cyborg’s new powers, and Walker works in just the right amount of humor in the script. To no surprise, the cliffhanger makes clear that the Technosapiens are coming for his technology, and it’s a great hook. I find that the best DC runs in recent years have taken a hero’s concept and used it as an intro into a much bigger world. One of the best first issues to come out of DC’s new wave.

We Are Robin #2 – 9/10

A lot of new titles, especially team books, spend a lot of time getting the team together and setting up characters. It’s often the first full arc before the team is fully together. Not We Are Robin. In fact, most of the team is fully formed before the series even starts, and the only piece left is to recruit POV character Duke Thomas. When we last left off, Duke had infiltrated the lair of a new villain—reminds me a lot of the Ratcatcher, although he hasn’t been identified—who has been hypnotizing survivors of the Joker gas, possibly including Duke’s parents. When the villain turned the crowd on him, Duke found himself bailed out by the mysterious team of Robins.

What I like about Lee Bermejo’s script is that he makes clear that even the more experienced team members are still amateurs, getting overwhelmed at times and making close escapes. This feels very much like a group of amateurs deciding to play hero, as opposed to the way the “official” Robins function. Duke’s narration to his parents grounds things nicely, giving a human face to a pretty big ensemble. Midway, Duke gets left behind and finds himself in the custody of a mysterious “recruiter” who gives him the hard sell on joining up without ever revealing who he is or who he works for. After escaping, he meets back up with the team and they make plans to stop the villain’s bombing scheme. There’s a couple of intriguing mysteries in this issue, both the identity of their benefactor and the being pulling the strings of the villain. It doesn’t quite have the same thrilling energy of the first issue, but this book is very quickly establishing itself as one of the elites in the new wave of Gotham books.

cover copyright DC Comics
Cover copyright DC Comics.

Grayson #10 – 8.5/10

This is one of the DC titles that’s taken the biggest jumps in quality since the Convergence break, and it did it without a single creative change. The original run of the title relied too much on convoluted conspiracy theories about Spyral, as well as bizarre plots involving super-organs. Now, it seems to have been retooled into a straight-forward spy thriller that allows Mikel Janin to show off his art. A mysterious serial killer is hunting Spyral agents who have worked with Dick, and he’s on the run after sucker-punching and framing his partner, Agent 1, for the theft they just pulled off. New director Helena Bertinelli, who Dick had grown close to, struggles with keeping Dick’s cover intact while Agent One wants to hunt him down.

The highlight of this issue, easily, is Dicks’ secret rendezvous with a top-tier Spyral client, Lex Luthor, who is trying to sell the agency some advanced cloaking tech in exchange for Kryptonite. Seeley and King’s Luthor is perfectly oily, the right mix of brilliant businessman with scheming criminal, and it’s great to see these two play off each other again after their memorable encounter in Forever Evil. There’s still some weird continuity hiccups with Batman’s status after Eternal, but it’s a minor issue. Next issue promises a major confrontation between Dick and Agent 1 in the catacombs of Rome. It took a while to get here, but this is a title that I’m pretty sure most Dick Grayson fans are going to dig.

Sinestro #13 – 8/10

Cullen Bunn, probably the most prolific writer in comics with books at DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Oni, Boom, and Dynamite, had made a name for himself as the king of anti-heroes. While it doesn’t quite reach the near-masterpiece that is his Magneto run, he’s writing probably the best GL-verse book right now in Sinestro. Last issue, we saw him forcibly remove his daughter’s GL ring and turn her into a Sinestro Corps supposedly to punish her for her rebellion—but this issue makes clear that thanks to Lyssa Drak’s prophecies, he knew about the disappearance of the GLC, and did it to spare her that fate. As well, of course, as forcing her to join his side and have her under his thumb, because Sinestro never does anything without an agenda. Despite the Sinestro Corps’ new member, they still have the pressing problem of New Korugar about to explode due to the treachery of a mole within the Corps. Sinestro, partnering with new member Bekka of the New Gods, travels to the core of the planet and uses his connection to Parallax to seal the core, but it requires him to let go of his hold on the fear entity, and Bekka is the only one who knows he’s lost that power.

The final scene reveals that Sinestro has known all along that Lyssa Drak was the mole, attempting to remove the distraction of the Korugans, but Sinestro still has use for her. So in a fantastically ruthless move, he executes a trio of foot soldiers to give the impression that justice has been done and cover his ally’s crimes. I’m hoping Bunn stays on this title for a while, because no one besides Geoff Johns has been able to do Sinestro stories this compelling.

Batman ’66 #25 – 8/10

There are two stories this month in this retro digital-first title, and I think it’s one of the best combos they’ve had in a while. Both stories perfectly capture the offbeat nature of the original series, and use concepts we’ve seen less often in this world. The first story, by regular series writer Jeff Parker and Lukas Ketner, features the return of this world’s Harley Quinn. Originally a nurse whose sanity was destroyed by the Joker’s mind machine, she breaks out of Arkham and sets out to establish herself on the Gotham criminal scene.

While I maybe would have liked a longer story featuring this character, the fast-paced tone is perfect for Harley and the way Batman and Robin get the drop on her is clever. I was partial to the second story, by guest team Gabe Soria and Ty Templeton. Barbara Gordon gets a day in the spotlight, as her new temp job at an ad agency is hijacked by the villains of Gotham seeking to rebrand themselves. With the agency taking hostage and Babs without her Bat-gear, it’s up to Barbara to play them against each other long enough for Batman and Robin to show up and take them down. This title is always fun, and I think this was one of their best issues in a while.

Gotham After Midnight #7 – 8/10

This is another title where I feel like the fresh start after Convergence has given it a shot in the arm. Juan Ferreyra, while not quite as distinct as Ben Templesmith, has a really strong, creepy style that suits this horror book well. The addition of Kate Spencer as a district attorney trying to warn the unit that they’re being investigated adds a new threat as well as a new fan-favorite character who had been missing until now. She hasn’t been given quite enough to do in this series yet, but I’m hoping that Ray Fawkes will expand on her character soon. This issue expands on the backstory of Sam Weaver and how he wound up on the Midnight Unit, as well as presenting a new supernatural threat for the team in the form of a parasitic demonic plant that kills people through sheer apathy. When it infects them, it simply causes them to give up on life and lie down until they die from lack of food and water.

The scene where the unit confronts this evil force is tense and well-drawn, but I wonder—is this book falling back on the Spectre a bit too often? Either way, it’s good to have an old-school horror book in the Gotham stable, and I’m hoping the book continues to balance the case of the month with the overarching story effectively.

Justice League: Gods and Monsters – Batman #1 – 7.5/10

Speaking of horror, this new digital-first title spins out of the upcoming DTV movie, and J.M. DeMatteis and Matthew Dow Smith do a good job of introducing us to a very different Batman. In a world where Kirk Langstrom attempted to cure his Man-Bat infection with an experimental procedure that turned him into a vampire-like creature, he attempts to slake his thirst on the blood of the guilty while protecting the innocent. I’ve liked the recent new takes on Batman that are very different from the iconic one, starting with Jim Gordon and now this book. This is a Batman that reminds me much more of the Hulk than anything, in that he’s a true loner with a monster always just shy of the surface.

After confrontations with his parents and some old friends from his hometown, the story really kicks into high gear when he massacres the Gotham crime lords, led by Lew Moxon. Despite how evil his targets were, he’s haunted by his actions and attempts to befriend Moxon’s seemingly innocent son. The story develops into a series of lies and betrayals leading to a tragic conclusion. This is only a setup for the main story, but it’s an intriguing alternate version of Batman that I’d like to see more of.

Aquaman #42 – 7.5/10

Cullen Bunn’s run on Aquaman is certainly ambitious, switching back and forth between two timelines as we see how Aquaman went from King of Atlantis to a hunted fugitive. Now accompanied by an ancient Atlantean sorcerer, Aquaman has become a protector of a secret race of ancient Atlanteans that are trapped in the strange artifacts that are bursting to the surface around the world. It’s a bit too talky at points, with Aquaman frequently expressing his doubts to his new ally. Things come to the surface towards the end, as a town in Alaska comes under attack by supernatural forces, and Aquaman and his team shows up to fend off the threat—only to come under assault by an Atlantean strike team of assassins led by Tempest and including King Shark and classic Aquaman villain Charybdis, as well as a pair of originals.

As this team of Atlantean radicals attempt to destroy their former king, a massive stone golem rises out of the Pacific and bears down on the town. Even if this comic is a bit of a slow burn as it reveals what caused the rift between Aquaman and Mera, the visuals are fantastic.

The Flash #42 – 7.5/10

This is another title that’s improved a lot since it came back from break. The interminable evil future Flash story is gone, Patty Spivot seems to have been written out for now to allow a bigger role for Iris, and an intriguing new mystery has been set up. When we last left off, Barry’s father suddenly broke out of prison along with a trio of super villains, going on the run after getting reason to worry about his son’s safety. Barry is being kept at a distance on the case by Singh and Frye, forcing him to do his detecting as the Flash. Meanwhile, Professor Zoom is stalking them both, manipulating things using his control of time, such as tricking Henry Allen into killing an innocent security guard.

The highlight of the issue comes when Barry confronts Girder at his grandmother’s home, attempting to get the information out of the villain while also dealing with one very devoted and persistent old lady. Barry is able to find the source of the escape—the guard at Iron Heights, who Henry bribed into looking the other way by promising to help his cancer-stricken wife. The issue ends with Zoom showing up to taunt Barry and lead him to the house where his mother died. This title has ditched a lot of the things that weren’t working and is bringing itself a lot more in line with the TV series. Definitely a good move.

Harley Quinn/Power Girl #2 – 7/10

These two have one of the most amusing buddy-team dynamics in the DCnU, as their adventure through deep space continues. Unfortunately, for the first half of the issue, they’re mostly separated on different adventures on the planet. Harley Quinn gets the better of the two stories, as she and one of Vartox’s allies wind up on the run from a sadistic robot with an obsession with sewing up orifices—that is, until Harley uses the planet’s strange art resources to reshape the robot into a giant bunny rabbit. Power Girl, meanwhile, mainly beats up alien spaceships and tries to close up a portal until she’s bailed out by a mysterious group of female alien warriors (and one male one), who are revealed to be an alliance of Vartox’s exes.

The one guy really doesn’t like that they keep saying “ex-girlfriends.” Harley, naturally, makes her typical excellent first impression by assuming they’re villains and assaulting them. And in the villain’s headquarters, Vartox is being brainwashed into a mindless slave. It’s a pretty light read, but fun, even if it drags a bit in the beginning. I suppose the lesson here is that if you have two characters with a great dynamic together, keep them together as much as possible.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #12 – 7/10

The second anthology comic DC releases this week, this one is 30 pages and two stories—one full-length and one half-length. As often happens with anthologies, there’s a pretty big gulf in quality between the two stories. Fortunately, the strong one takes up the majority of the issue. Derek Fridolfs and Tom Fowler team Wonder Woman with Poison Ivy in a story that takes Diana back to her fantasy roots. Themyscira is under assault by monsters, and Ivy’s arrival on the island is taken as an attack, but it soon becomes clear that she followed Gaia’s call to the island to help in the fight. The villain, Typhon, the father of Monsters, unleashes a monstrous invasion of the island and the Amazons battle his forces while Diana and Ivy descend to the depths of Tartarus. This story portrays a fairly light take on Ivy, but it’s effective and Fridolfs is obviously experienced at handling her. I always like seeing WW kill some monsters.

The second story, by Matthew Manning and Georges Jeanty, is a quick read where Wonder Woman, dealing with the fall-out from a gruesome case, decides to take Batman’s advice and take a vacation to a small village where she fights Solomon Grundy. It’s not bad, but it’s too brief to really make much of an impression.

Wonder Woman #42 – 6/10

The second main arc in this run is a definite improvement over the first, but that’s still not saying all that much, given that the first arc turned Donna Troy into a genocidal monster. The issue opens with Diana and her friend Hessia out on the town, where Diana beats up a sexual harasser and is about to give a homeless man a meal when she’s nearly hit by a magic arrow. She pursues her attacker into the sky, and it’s the same young warrior obsessed with killing her so he can steal the power of Ares. The thing that makes this guy work pretty well is… well, he’s a terrible villain. And this series makes this clear. He’s an arrogant, pouty teenage jackass who believes that he’s entitled to the power of the Gods because he’s a descendant of Poseidon. While he’s fairly incompetent as a threat, he’s more entertaining than most WW villains because of this.

I’m less interested in Donna’s unearned redemption arc, as she’s now wracked with guilt and seeking a way to end her life. Strife covertly releases her from prison and sets her on a quest to find the Fates, who can cut her thread and kill her. I’m assuming this book is planning to eventually turn her into a hero given the solicits for Titans Hunt, but if that was their intention, they probably shouldn’t have introduced her by having her kill a bunch of innocent civilians.

Prez #2 – 5/10

In a strong candidate for quickest cancellation ever, this offbeat relaunch of one of DC’s most obscure properties was cut back from 12 issues to six after only one issue was released. Honestly, it’s not hard to see why. This title doesn’t seem to be very clear on what it wants to be. On one hand, it seems to want to be the story of Beth Ross, aka Corn Dog Girl, aka the President. However, it also seems to revert her to a supporting character in her own comic. Aside from a rather forced scene where her father dies after giving her a motivational speech, most of the comic is actually a very broad political satire about influence trading.

As the presidential race is tied and in Congress, the candidates offer more and more elaborate favors to the various representatives, winding up playing them against each other until more and more wind up voting for protest candidate Beth. When Beth is elected, she’s met by Prez Rickard, a mysterious former teen politician who wants to be her vice president—warning her that she’ll need someone even more controversial than her to protect her from assassination. I salute this book for trying something original, but the total picture isn’t working. It’s way too broad and doesn’t have the compelling characters needed to really work as a satire.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Four #6 – 5/10

This title has always been incredibly dark, but for the first two volumes, it was a rather fascinating study of the slow deconstruction of the DCU under Tom Taylor. We saw some of DC’s brightest heroes turn into monsters, and some of the rest sell their souls to protect the world from Superman’s invasion. It seemed like anything could happen and usually did. But since Brian Buccellato took over, it seems like this title has been spinning its wheels a bit. Each season seems to be focused on Batman recruiting a new powerhouse force into the battle against Superman, and then failing.

Last season was magic, this season is the Gods of Olympus. There’s an interesting subplot involving Luthor creating a new Superman clone to oppose him, but most of the issue is devoted to Superman in a fairly pointless battle with Hercules that resolves nothing. We know the main players have to survive to the game’s timeline, so there’s really little more to cover here.

Deathstroke #8 – 4.5/10

With last issue, I was starting to think this title might be finding its footing a bit by putting Slade in a different genre. However, things soon take a turn for the less-than-promising. Last issue, Slade shattered an ancient statue that contained the essence of the evil Titan Lapetus on Themyscira. Wonder Woman is less than happy with this, as you might imagine. This results in most of the issue being an extended battle between Slade and Wonder Woman, which goes about as well for Slade as can be expected. After he is sentenced to banishment for violating Themysciran soil, he and Wonder Woman reluctantly agree to work together to fight Lapetus.

One thing I really disliked about this issue was Wonder Woman’s bizarre defeatist attitude, constantly yelling that they’re doomed. It just doesn’t seem in character. The art is strong, and Lapetus shows up at the end of the issue and looks impressive enough. Hoping things pick up a bit next issue, but story is not this book’s strong suit.

Justice League 3001 #2 – 4/10

Slightly less of an embarrassment than last issue, which mainly seemed to be about how much this team hates each other and Superman not understanding gender issues, this book still thinks we’re way too interested in 31st century slavery law than we really are. While the League battles thousands of Starro slaves and Ariel Masters—who is actually evil Lois Lane—attempts to keep up the facade in the media, the team gets yet another new arrival as Supergirl’s spaceship crashes a millennium off schedule. She’s able to team up with the new Flash to find the prime Starro and stop the attack, but it’s then revealed that Ariel/Lois was working with the Starros all along.

It’s so weird that this is the only title Supergirl is currently starring in, given how big she’s about to get as a character in a few months. She deserves much better. The issue ends with a pair of strange “FAQ” pages featuring Ariel and Max Lord breaking the fourth wall with abandon, and it just makes me miss JLI.

Teen Titans #10 – 1/10

I’ve got a lot to say about how far Teen Titans has fallen as a franchise, but I think this issue nicely encapsulates most of them. The Teen Titans, which have been essentially a second family in most of their iconic versions, are at each other’s throats in this book, divided between the main team and the Wonder Girl-led “Elite,” bankrolled by Manchester Black. They’re out to apprehend Superboy, who’s accused of murder, except that the Elite contain Bar Tor, a known 30th century war criminal responsible for thousands of murders! He yells at Red Robin for leaving him behind on Takron-Galtos—after he was fairly convicted of mass murder!

There’s a lot of characters in this comic, such as an Indigo Lantern on the Elite, who are essentially blank slates. The main Titans spend most of the issue brutalizing each other, such as Superboy bringing Wonder Girl within an inch of drowning. Tim and Raven try to confront Black directly and force the information they need out of him, but Raven gets a vision of a secret prison that shuts her down, and Tim winds up alone against the Elite. This book is repetitive, ugly, and completely devoid of anything that should make a Teen Titans book. I don’t know who enjoys their TT like this, but it’s certainly not me.

Love ‘The Flash?’ Mark the Calendar for the Premiere of ‘Vixen’

Vixen premieres August 25. © CW Seed
Vixen premieres August 25. © CW Seed

A new heroine is coming to the universe of The CW’s The Flash and Arrow: Vixen. At San Diego Comic-Con, CW Seed debuted a new trailer for the online series, featuring some familiar voices.

That’s right, that’s Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell, who lend their voice talents to the animated version of their characters. And, just to make us feel like we’re really in their universe, you can hear Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) give the new “external metahuman” her name.

Fingers crossed that Vixen (Megalyn Echikunwoke) makes her way to their shows on The CW as well.

The online animated series Vixen premieres August 25 on CW Seed, and looks like the perfect way to bide our time before The Flash and Arrow return in the fall.

Cure Summer Boredom: Draw Your Favorites from DC Comics!

© Capstone  / DC Comics
© Capstone / DC Comics

There have been a number of fantastic DC Comics books for kids published recently—if you know where to find them! After enjoying Batman Science so much, I wanted to look at some of Capstone’s other new offerings featuring our favorite DC super heroes. How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains is a step-by-step art book with characters drawn in Bruce Timm’s wonderful style of the animated series. This isn’t a how-to-draw book for young kids or beginners, but the facts included about each superhero and villain make it worthy of being added to a young comic fans’ collection.

As you might expect from a book with this title, How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains focuses mostly on poses of the first two heroes in the list. Batman and Superman are given the how-tos for their civilian clothes, head and shoulders, fighting in various poses, and even their vehicles and lairs. Having never taken a drawing class and possessing no talent, I was grateful for the head shots, as those simpler drawings are just about the best I could manage.

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

Wonder Woman is featured on the cover of the book, even if she’s not named in the title, but I was disappointed there was only one full-body action pose included in the book. I would have loved to see the up-close head and shoulders how-to for both Wonder Woman and Batgirl. With the focus on Batman and Superman, it is still nice to see them at least included in the book, along with other heroines like Black Canary, Supergirl, and Lois Lane.

© Capstone
© Capstone

The descriptions and backgrounds of each character, item, and locale make fun reading themselves. This is one of those books that you’ll see your kid curled up with under the covers when they’re supposed to be asleep, memorizing every little fact about the heroes and villains within. With over 50 characters inside, there’s a lot to look through again and again.

How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains may be best suited for kids age 10 and up who won’t get frustrated when their drawings don’t look exactly like Batman: The Animated Series. But even if your child has never taken an art class, it’s fun to try to draw a favorite character. My 6-year-old and I had a blast drawing a wobbly Wonder Woman and a blobby Batgirl. The drawings may not have been perfect, but we loved laughing and trying together.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Exclusive Preview: ‘Scooby-Doo Team-Up #11’

© DC Comics
Cover by Dario Brizuela. Courtesy © DC Comics.

I’ve been a fan of the all-ages book Scooby-Doo Team-Up for a while now, thanks to their fun and funny adventures with the likes of Wonder Woman and Batman.

On July 1, the next issue hits comic book store shelves, and we have your exclusive first look here at the gang’s team up with Secret Squirrel, thanks to DC Comics!

Scooby-Doo Team Up #11

When peace talks between two rival nations are threatened, the call goes out to the ultra-top-secret International Sneaky Service’s number one agent: Secret Squirrel! And since the thing threatening the talks is a medieval ghost, the call also goes out to the not-so-secret Scooby gang! 

Art by: Dario Brizuela
Cover by: Dario Brizuela
Written by: Sholly Fisch

© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics

Add ‘Batman Science’ to Your Kid’s Summer Reading Pile

© Capstone Publishing
Batman Science (Classroom Edition) © DC Comics / Capstone

Your kids might be in the middle of their summer reading challenge or program and wondering, “What should I read next?” I recently happened upon the perfect book to add to the book pile this summer, aimed at kids who love science and/or comic books: Batman Science from Capstone Publishing and DC Comics.

© DC Comics / Capstone
© DC Comics / Capstone

Have you ever seen a batarang fly through the air or Batman fly up the side of a building with his grappling gun and wonder, “Could that really happen?” Batman Science tackles that question for all of the Dark Knight’s signature moves and equipment with clear, concise information. Although the title touts science, most of the topics are overviews of engineering topics worded for late elementary age kids.

Topics range from the Batsuit and utility belt to the various Bat vehicles. You and your kids might be surprised at how much of Batman’s fictional weapons and equipment have a basis in real-world science and engineering. There’s a heavy emphasis on real-world law enforcement and military equipment and tactics, as most of Batman’s arsenal is based on the same type of technology and methods.

Authors Tammy Enz and Agnieszka Biskup did a fantastic job of splitting up engineering topics into bite-sized chunks of information ideal for kids’ attention spans. You’ll find yourself picking up the easy-to-read book from time to time to skim over interesting topics, from how Kevlar is made to concept cars like BMW’s GINA that can change its shape like the Batmobile.

Batman Science is available now in paperback, a fantastic way to get kids who love superheroes interested in the amazing engineering in the real world.

Becky Cloonan Talks ‘Gotham Academy’… Then We Pondered What Happened to Grocery Store Comics

Image credit: J. Vollmer
Image credit: J. Vollmer

During Denver Comic Con, I had the opportunity to meet up and chat with the awesome Becky Cloonan, co-writer of the DC Universe series Gotham Academy, which returned last week after a late-spring break. On June 23, the first six issues are being released as the Volume 1 trade edition, and will be available both in hard copy and online at comic and book retailers everywhere.

Cloonan is known for numerous other titles with DC Comics, such as being the first female Batman artist in 2012. We had a fun conversation that covered a wide variety of topics. Read on to hear what she has to say about developing Gotham Academy.

GeekMom Patricia: Gotham Academy is a comic that is meant to run in parallel with other DC Comic story arcs. Tell me more about how that works.

Becky Cloonan: Yes, Gotham Academy is running in continuity. We’re part of the larger Batman universe. Being in continuity has a lot of perks, but it also is kind of difficult because DC hadn’t run a lot of YA before. So we’re running into some situations that I don’t think people have had to previously worry about. While the individual issues are still coming out monthly, I think issues 1-6 coming out in trade format as Volume 1 in June is how the story is going to live on. As an example of a continuity challenge, currently Batman is a robot. Let’s say that in Gotham Academy #8, Batman shows up as a robot. Then someone who’s reading Volume 2 [where issue #8 will appear in trade] might wonder why Batman is a robot. Do we want to tell our readers, “Read these comics if you want to know more about why Batman is a robot?”

GMP: I’ve seen that type of thing before in comics.

The cover of Gotham Academy #3, which shows that kids will be kids. Image: DC Comics.
The cover of Gotham Academy #3, which shows that kids will be kids. Image: DC Comics.

BC: Right, but in our case, those other comics might not necessarily be age-appropriate. Or what if a reader isn’t interested in those particular comics? So the question becomes, “How ‘in-continuity’ do we keep it?” Do we worry about it or can we elegantly tiptoe around it or do we just ignore it completely?

We are having those discussions right now, regarding whether we keep this book in continuity, or can we keep it as canon?

GMP: That’s very interesting, but I have to admit, I had never given continuity that much thought.

BC: It is very interesting. You will have some readers who are really into it. Someone might be comparing Arkham Manor with the story arcs in Gotham Academy [which are in continuity] and point out where things don’t match. Some of the younger Gotham Academy readers probably aren’t, or shouldn’t be, reading Arkham Manor as well.

GMP: It seems continuity is a very important, very serious consideration.

BC: Yes. We want to maintain it, while keeping the audience in mind. I think Gotham Academy potentially could be a lot of people’s first comics or books. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “Gotham Academy is my first comic! Thank you!”

It’s great to hear, but then you have the responsibility of this book being someone’s first comic. And I remember my first comic…

GMP: What was your first comic?

BC: Silver Surfer Annual #1 from 1988. My dad bought it for me at the grocery store and it was about the Super-Skrull that could change shape. And there was this huge war that I found so fascinating, and so I got into Kree-Skrull politics at this very young age.

GMP: I think mine was more the order of Betty and Veronica, but similarly, my dad bought it for me at a grocery store or a five-and-dime.

BC: See, we’re dating ourselves now…

GMP: You’re right! We don’t see that anymore, do we? It’s almost exclusively the comic book retailers that are carrying the most recent editions.

BC: Yes, and that’s why the trades are so important. That’s what’s going into the bigger bookstores and libraries. A lot of kids won’t be able to get to a comic book store. When I was growing up, my local comic book store was a 20- to 25-minute drive. I couldn’t get comics on a regular basis until I was 16, when I had a part-time job and could fund my habit.

GMP: I’m grateful for the ability to download the latest issues on our tablets. My younger son is the bigger comic book fan among my two sons, while my oldest hadn’t read much lately because he has to balance the books he has to read for school.

BC: Part of the fun of Gotham Academy is that it is a school. We spend quite a bit of time thinking about what they’re studying. There are a lot of literature references in the story.

We were trying to think of good books to put on a new character’s desk in issue #8, the guidance counselor’s desk. I suggested Turn of the Screw because of the numerous parallels with Gotham Academy: the ghosts, the boarding school, and the supernatural.

GMP: Oh! That’s fantastic! I had to read that in high school.

BC: I believe I read it in a Gothic literature class in college. Thematically, it’s a perfect fit in Gotham Academy.

GMP: I noticed on the DC Comics website that Gotham Academy is considered “All Ages.” Do you think it is?

BC: Well, I don’t necessarily consider Gotham Academy a children’s comic. But younger and older audiences alike will enjoy it.

GMP: My last question is about the strong female characters. I came across one strong female after another, from Maps [Mizoguchi] to Olive [Silverlock] to Pomeline [Fritch]. I’m curious about the, for lack of better terms, consciousness that goes into creating such characters. In other words, do you develop the characters and then say, “This one should be a female” or “This one should be male?”

BC: For this book in particular, I always knew Olive would be the main character, and Olive would be a girl. And she would have a foil in Maps. Ultimately, this comic is about Olive and Map’s friendship, facing adversity together, and helping one another grow.

It wasn’t a conscious decision for me, and I know that Brenden [Fletcher, co-writer] and Karl [Kerschl, artist] tend to gravitate towards female leads as well. I’ve written about male characters as well, but in this case, I had a female in mind all along from when I pitched it to Mark Doyle [Cloonan’s editor].

GMP: Thank you so much for sharing some of the behind-the-scenes glimpses of what it’s like as a comic writer. The continuity challenge you face is incredibly fascinating to me, and I hope our readers find it interesting also.

BC: You’re welcome. This is kind of new to me also, since I had been an artist for writers for several years, and now I’m on the other side, writing for artists. This is my first time in the DC Universe as a writer, so this is new territory for me.

After a break this past spring, Gotham Academy is back now with #7 in your local comic book stores or online. Do you need to catch up? On June 23, the trade volume becomes available with issues #1-6 in its entirety, as well as over 20 pages of variant cover art, scripts, a closeup on the logo, and artists’ first sketches. I had the chance to check out the full volume and my sons and I really enjoyed it. The hard-copy volume will retail for $14.99 at booksellers such as Amazon, and the electronic versions will be available for $11.99 either in Kindle format or else through DC Comics online or Comixology.

GeekMom received media access to Denver Comic Con, as well as a sample of Gotham Academy Vol. 1, for review purposes.

Jimmy & Amanda Talk ‘Starfire’, ‘Harley Quinn’… and Harley-Davidsons at Denver Comic Con

A Gang of Harleys for Jimmy & Amanda! Photos: Patricia Vollmer.
A gang of Denver Comic Con Harleys for Jimmy amd Amanda! Photos: Patricia Vollmer.

One of the highlights of my Denver Comic Con weekend was the time I spent with Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the writers for DC Comics’ Harley Quinn and the upcoming return of Starfire.

I had the chance to see the sneak peek of Starfire, with issue #1 coming out on June 10, and was excited to talk to Jimmy and Amanda about it. I also got the chance to sneak in a couple of questions about the immensely popular Harley Quinn, whose series is resuming this week. Did I mention that Harley Quinn was DCC’s most-popular cosplay character all weekend?

Starfire #1: June 10

We started our conversation discussing the Starfire reboot that’s coming out on June 10. Frankly, I’m not sure “reboot” is the right word, since her backstory isn’t necessarily being rewritten. Instead, the writers plan to feature the alien warrior princess, who will go by Kori (a variation of Koriand’r), trying to adapt to normal human life in a trailer park on Key West. All the while, she continues to figure out her place in society and the part she can play in improving it. They gave several examples of how readers might enjoy Starfire’s adventures trying to be human.

  • Realizing that wearing clothing is what civilized people do.
  • Understanding how certain foods are eaten. Jimmy cited an example of Starfire trying to eat a watermelon like an apple, simply taking a bite out of it.
  • Social customs: Look for Kori enjoying drinks in a bar that were purchased by numerous suitors. She learns that it’s customary to at least engage in conversation with the suitors.

Jimmy made it clear that this new version will be designed for readers who had never read about Starfire in previous stories. Amanda pointed out that fans of Starfire on Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go! will appreciate this new version of her, with the bubbly personality and charm. Fans will also see the extreme emotions, another thing that Starfire will need to learn to adapt to human interaction.

Fans will quickly see Kori called to action as a natural disaster strikes Key West within the first two issues, and she learns that she can’t simply stop some of these afflictions on her new friends.

We discussed the strong female characters that will be introduced in the first several issues, such as Sheriff Stella Gomez, who will take Starfire under her wing, helping her adjust to life among the humans on Key West, and will mentor her through the first issues’ conflicts. Stella’s brother will be a character worth watching for, a Coast Guard officer who will get to know Kori during the natural disaster of the first couple issues.

Geography was a theme during our interview, particularly with the challenges and new frontiers of pulling a DC character out of Metropolis or Gotham and having adventures in real locations. Jimmy and Amanda pointed out the research that’s required to do that, as well as the differences readers will encounter having settings on Key West as opposed to the urban settings in most of the DC Universe.

Starfire #1 comes out on June 10, and you can download the sneak peek now through the DC Comics website. I hope you’re as excited for it as I am!

Harley Quinn returns with #17 : June 10

Our discussion of geography was a perfect segue into talking about Jimmy and Amanda’s Harley Quinn coming out of Gotham and setting up operations on Coney Island. By taking her out of Gotham, she is able to really establish her own identity, without the influence of other characters’ story arcs that might have been occurring in parallel.

My friend's daughter who was at DCC at Harley. Photo: Janet Baratti, used with permission.
My friend’s daughter was at DCC as Harley. Photo: Janet Baratti, used with permission.

The specific question I had about geography came from a young fan I know, “Why did you remove Harley from Gotham?” Jimmy made it clear that taking her out of Gotham allows him and Amanda to really develop her character. I loved Jimmy’s analogy: “It’s like having a new boyfriend, but the only time you interact with him is with the rest of his family. You have to go out of town with your boyfriend to really get to know him.” He felt that keeping her in Gotham would keep her adventures restricted to those that also involve the Joker, Batman, Catwoman, and so forth.

I asked about any challenges with having Harley among true locations in New York City. Amanda couldn’t emphasize enough how perfect it is to have Harley in a building with a freak show on Coney Island (and I agree!). Jimmy was grateful for the support and creative liberties DC Comics had given them, and the writing duo has had a field day developing her character into someone who can do more than just foil Batman. I especially enjoy the good this new Harley is trying to do for her community.

Another question I had from my friend was about Harley’s roller derby costume. Amanda claimed the roller derby storyline is her fault… and it all stems from her having some fun with the costume design. The story followed. There was a request from DC Comics that Harley remain somewhat true to her original appearance from the New 52 Suicide Squad from 2011. However, Amanda wanted to experiment with her appearance for their own relaunch on Issue #1. She changed the colors back to black and red, added shoulder pads, and thought to herself, “It looks like she belongs in a roller derby!”

After a springtime break, Harley Quinn—and her newly hired Gang of Harleys—returns in Harley Quinn #17 on June 10.

How About a Gang of Harleys on Harleys?

At the end of the interview, we discussed the numerous Harley Quinn cosplayers at Denver Comic Con, and Jimmy said he’s hoping one day to see a gang of Harleys… riding on Harleys!

Obviously, you can’t have an official Harley Quinn Harley-Davidson without some licensing (such as what Marvel did for Captain America and Black Widow), but Jimmy thinks a “Harley Harley” would be perfect. He plans to keep his eye out for custom bikes!

DC Comics’ New Direction: First Week Report

“Are you ready for a new DC Universe?”

That’s the question at the top of the press release that DC Comics sent with this week’s issues, the first after the multiverse was restored in the Convergence event. DC says there will now be a “comic book for everyone.”

It’s hard to judge with just the first week  but one thing is clear from this week: storytelling risks are being taken in a way that never happened in the last DC reboot, the New 52. Do they all work? Not completely but I applaud the ambition, the variety of art styles, and the variety of genres I read this week.

Cover to Bat-Mite #1, image via DC Comics
Cover to Bat-Mite #1, image via DC Comics

Bat-Mite #1, Dan Jurgens, writer, Corbin Howell, Pencils, Howell & Andres Ponce, inks.

Somewhere, Bob (The Answer Man) Rozakis and Bat-Mite is smiling. If you’re not familiar with Rozakis breaking the fourth wall with the imp who worships Batman from comics, you might remember him from Batman: The Brave and the Bold television series. I’m not sure how Bat-Mite ended up headlining a comic, but I’m glad he does, because this a romp following Bat-Mite from his exile, his “helping” of Batman and his being captured by foe that would usually be played for horror but is instead a setup for one joke after another. Fun.

Buy It: YES.

Midnighter, Apollo, Wildstorm
Midnighter #1, image via DC Comics

Midnighter #1, Steve Orlando, writer, Aco, penciller, Aco with Hugo Petrus, inks.

I’ve only read a few stories featuring Midnighter from DC’s Wildstorm universe. He’s the equivalent of Batman save that he’s been electronically altered and has a computer in his brain. Combine the snark of old Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond with a younger but still cynical man with flashes of humor and you have Midnighter. I love world-weary types still trying to do the right thing and everything about this book worked for me. The male/male sex scene is nicely handled, I loved that Midnighter never settles in one place via his sliding dimensional door, and this is a fine introduction to a character that most readers won’t know except as “gay Batman.” Love the distinctive artwork as well, though there were parts in the initial melee that were a bit confusing.

Buy It: Yes.

Green Arrow #41, Benjamin Percy, script, Patrick Zircher, art

This issue felt like a throwback to Green Arrow under Mike Grell’s pen. Oliver is protecting Seattle, he’s pretending to be interested in business, and he’s after a mysterious killer who is stalking black men in the city’s poorest neighborhood. Meanwhile, Ollie sends his younger sister to school.

Buy It: Yes.

Justice League #1, The Darkseid War Part 1. Geoff Johns, writer, Jason Fabok, artist.

This is a competently done comic with the Justice League taking on a couple of Darkseid’s minions who are killing woman with a particular name to find the right one, à la Sarah Connor in Terminator. Scott Free/Mister Miracle also appear, giving Darseid a chance to monologue. The art is fine, particularly in the scenes on Apokolips, but this is yet another big event with the world at stake and I’ve had enough.

Buy It: If you like these kinds of things.

Batman Beyond #1, Dan Jurgers, writer, Bernard Chang, artist.

I expected to hate this, as it seems to exist in the awful apostrophe-less Futures End universe and instead of featuring Terry McGuinness, it’s Tim Drake in the Batman Beyond suit because Terry’s dead. Instead, the story caught my attention, particularly the appearance of the older Barbara Gordon at the end. I hope (and believe) this is all leading to Terry coming back.

Buy It: Depends on how much you like Batman Beyond.

Green Lantern #41, Robert Venditti, writer, Billy Tan, penciller, Mark Irwin, Inker.

Hal Jordan is a fugitive because, probably, he was kinda a jerk to someone because, to me, Hal is the Green Lantern Batman should have downed with one punch, not Guy Gardner.  It’s hard for me to decide whether to recommend the comic because I’m not a fan of this particular franchise in general. But there are some great art sequences that show imaginative use of Hal’s ring (well, glove) constructions, including an octopus and a skycycle.

Buy It: If you like Green Lantern Hal Jordan, this is your book.

Action Comics Superman #41, story by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, writer, Pak, art, Kuder.

I like the creative team a great deal. I hate the concept that sets up this story in which Lois Lane outed Superman’s secret identity to the world because… I’m not sure. Plot reasons, I guess, because DC hasn’t known what to do with Lois Lane for years. Plus, I’m so, so tired of, “Humans are scared of Superman because alien!” Really? Especially when there’s the wrath of darkness over there in Gotham City and the dude that’s king of a place that tried to invade the landlubbers?

Putting all this aside, this is a well-written issue as Superman struggles with decreased powers, rides a motorcycle across the United States and arrives back in Metropolis to bond with his neighbors, including yet another woman with the initials “LL.” The issue ends with the police deciding to invade the neighborhood in riot gear. ::deep sigh::

Buy It: No. Sorry, creative team, it’s not you.

Lobo #7, Cullen Bunn, writer, Cliff Richards, pencils and inks.

Lobo is the universe’s greatest bounty hunter, his most recent incarnation far more in control that the one most readers will know. This is your “I was used by my employer” assassin story, with Lobo after the person who misused his skills. It’s good, not great, and doesn’t rise above the premise. Great work on the various aliens by Richards, however.

Buy It: No.

Wonder Woman Annual #1, writer, Meredith Finch, penciller, David Finch, Inkers: Jonathan Glapion and Johnny Desjardins.

I’ve hated most everything about the run of this creative team. The best I can say about this annual is that it mercifully ends a painful storyline in a decent way, there’s a nice use of the Golden Lasso of Truth, and the back-up story art is excellent. The worst I can say? Even in a fight sequence, David Finch manages to get in an ass shot.

Buy It: No. Go find issues (either online or in trade) of Sensation Comics instead.

Preview to The Omega Men, copyright DC Comics
Preview to The Omega Men, © DC Comics

The Omega Men #1, Tim King, writer, Barnaby Bagenda, artist.

This is one of the stories that reads like an independent comic, dropping us into a strange world where it’s unclear who the enemy is or even what the goal is. It didn’t gel for me, mainly because, for me, it drops me too fast into the middle of the action without giving me a chance to be fully integrated into the world. I know who the Omega Men are but I’m not sure most readers do, and this issue might confuse more than entertain.

Buy It: It’s worth a look but may not be for everyone.

Bizarro #1, Heath Corson, writer, Gustavo Duarte and Bill Sienkiewicz, artists.

Jimmy Olsen and Bizarro set off on a cross-country trek that Clark suggested, no doubt to get Bizarro out of his hair. This is a non-lethal Bizarro, more mild than menace. There are funny bits, and I love the stylized and exaggerated artwork that portrays the weirdness of the world. This is a good try but I’m not sure Bizarro’s humor can be sustained over a whole issue, nevermind a series.

Buy It: If the concept appeals to you.

In the end, I recommend three of the books, one a throwback with a fun Silver-Age vibe, one a throwback to a classic run, and the other a modern superhero noir story. If nothing else, that proves that there is variety available this week.


Enter the Dark Halls of ‘Gotham Academy’

Gotham Academy #4, Art by Karl Kerschl © DC Comics
Gotham Academy #4. Art by Karl Kerschl © DC Comics.

Batman book without Batman? The Dark Knight may not be the star of Gotham Academy, but his shadow lurks in every issue. Gotham Academy is a unique and captivating all-ages Bat-book from DC Comics that I’d recommend to any comic reader, young or old.

As the story opens, Olive Silverlock has returned to the prestigious Gotham City prep school after summer vacation ends. Something terrible happened to her over the break, but she doesn’t want to talk about it, not even with her boyfriend Kyle. Is Kyle even still her boyfriend? Olive doesn’t know. But his sister Maps Mizoguchi, a freshman new to the school, insists on following Olive around and immediately counts her as a best friend. When the two decide to investigate a reported ghost on campus, they begin to unravel the mysteries of the past—including what happened to Olive’s mom.

Gotham Academy #1, Art by Karl Kerschel © DC Comics
Gotham Academy #1. Art by Karl Kerschl © DC Comics.

The manga-inspired book is worth the price just for the art alone. Karl Kerschl’s lovely character designs and detailed art, paired with the brilliant colors by Romain Gaschet, create an intriguing, spooky atmosphere without tipping the scale into macabre.

© DC Comics
© DC Comics

Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher have placed the focus on how ordinary young people see Gotham, making this an ideal book for preteen or teen Batman fans. Olive isn’t impressed by the Bat-signal or Batman, and she and Bruce Wayne seem to have a past history of their own. Batman characters make their presence known as the mysteries of the series continue to be unveiled, so this absolutely feels like a Bat-book that’s part of the main DC universe.

Due to the events of Convergence, Gotham Academy is currently on hiatus, which makes this the perfect time to catch up. The first six issues are collected in a trade paperback coming next month, and the adventures of Olive and Maps continue in Gotham Academy #7 on June 10.

‘Fallout’: I Want Teenage Lois Lane to Be My BFF

© Switch Press / Capstone
© Switch Press / Capstone

You may have heard about the new DC Super Hero Girls media aimed at girls 6-12, but did you know DC Comics is also reaching out to the teen audience with a new YA novel?

Unlike Marvel’s foray into novels that featured adult superheroes looking for romance, DC Comics instead selected a young, non-powered protagonist to star in her own book. And I don’t think they could have made a better choice than Lois Lane.

In Lois Lane: Fallout, written by Gwenda Bond, Lois is 16 years old and starting school after yet another move to a new city. This time, she and her family have landed in Metropolis, and Lois is resolved to not cause trouble (again) at her new school. But when she sees a girl being bullied by a mysterious group on her first day at East Metropolis High, she can’t help but get involved. She might not have any friends yet in Metropolis, but she can count on her online friend SmallvilleGuy to help her crack the mystery behind the bullies.

Just the first chapter of Fallout told me that Bond gets Lois Lane. Lois is tenacious, fearless (or at least knows how to pretend to be), and never hesitates to do the right thing no matter how much trouble she might get in. Lois is likable and relatable, the perfect YA heroine, and I want her to be my BFF immediately.

Because of the age of the characters, I couldn’t help but picture the faces of Smallville, but this is more like the Smallville I always wanted. Here’s hoping that Bond continues the story of Lois Lane (and the secretive SmallvilleGuy) in more novels in the future.

Lois Lane: Fallout is a fast, engaging novel for readers of all ages, now available from Switch Press.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

‘DC Super Hero Girls’ Take Flight This Fall

DC Super Hero Girls
© DC Comics

If the squeals of my daughter and her 7-year-old BFF are any indication, DC Comics is on the right track with DC Super Hero Girls.

Yesterday DC Comics announced the creation of a super hero line of merchandise and media targeted at girls ages 6-12. DC Super Hero Girls, featuring a diverse mix of characters both well-known and relatively obscure, are poised to take flight over a variety of media in 2015 and 2016:

The initial launch of DC Super Hero Girls in Fall 2015 will include an immersive digital experience, original digital content and digital publishing—providing opportunities for girls to interact with characters, learn about the storylines, and engage in customizable play.  TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and other product categories will begin to rollout in 2016.

© DC Comics
© DC Comics

Not only will Mattel create action figures of the redesigned heroes and villains, Random House will be publishing a “portfolio” of books, DC Comics plans on graphic novels, and even LEGO is getting in on the girl power with sets “designed to inspire girls’ imaginations.”

With the current state of super heroes marketed toward boys, I’ve not had much success getting my daughter into comics beyond a Wonder Woman picture book or two. But the moment I showed her the new art (shown right), she was intrigued by Katana (“I want to be her!”) and wanted to know more about the characters.

The new looks of Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and more immediately reminded me of the LEGO Friends style, but I’m not opposed to it. I have no qualms about pink sparkly Batgirl costumes or heroes redesigned to appeal to a younger audience; I support anything that sparks my daughter’s interest in the world of super heroes that had me so entranced as a teen. I’m a fan of some of the age appropriate costume redesigns for Poison Ivy and Wonder Woman. (Namely: Pants.) And the nods to Batgirl’s yellows Docs and Katana’s mask are nice touches for fans of the comics.

Time will tell if the stories will do the characters justice, but I’m more than willing to give DC Super Hero Girls a shot. In an age where female characters in blockbusters like The Avengers rarely find their ways on store shelves, and super hero stories for kids are increasingly hard to find, it’s a pleasure to see that DC Comics is making a real attempt to reach superhero fans of all ages and genders.

Exclusive! July is ‘Teen Titans Go!’ Variant Covers Month

© Cartoon Network / DC Comics
© Cartoon Network / DC Comics

In recent months, DC Comics has been choosing monthly themes for the variant covers of their ongoing titles. As a parent to a six-year-old who regularly sings the “Waffles” song, I’m excited to announce the variant cover theme for select July books will be Teen Titans Go!

Here’s a list of all Teen Titans Go! themed issues for July 2015, and an exclusive reveal of three covers: Teen Titans #10 by Ben Caldwell, Gotham Academy #8 by Sean Galloway, and The Flash #42 by Jorge Corona.

Titans, GO!

Themed Variants – Teen Titans Go!

  • Action Comics #42 by Dan Hipp
  • Aquaman #42 by Craig Rousseau
  • Batman #42 by Dan Hipp
  • Batman/Superman #22 by Dan Hipp
  • Catwoman #42 by Ben Caldwell
  • Deathstroke #8 by Sean Galloway
  • Detective Comics #42 by Dan Hipp
  • Gotham Academy #8 by Sean Galloway
  • Gotham by Midnight #7 by Sean Galloway
  • Grayson #10 by Sean Galloway
  • Green Arrow #42 by Craig Rousseau
  • Green Lantern #42 by Jorge Corona
  • Harley Quinn #18 by Ben Caldwell
  • Justice League #42 by Dan Hipp
  • Justice League of America #2 by Craig Rousseau
  • New Suicide Squad #10 by Craig Rousseau
  • Secret Six #4 by Sean Galloway
  • Sinestro #13 by Jorge Corona
  • Superman #42 by Jorge Corona
  • Superman/Wonder Woman #19 by Sean Galloway
  • Teen Titans #10 by Ben Caldwell
  • The Flash #42 by Jorge Corona
  • Wonder Woman #42 Ben Caldwell
THE FLASH #42 by Jorge Corona © DC Comics
THE FLASH #42 by Jorge Corona © DC Comics
GOTHAM ACADEMY #8 by Sean Galloway © DC Comics
GOTHAM ACADEMY #8 by Sean Galloway © DC Comics
TEEN TITANS #10 by Ben Caldwell © DC Comics
TEEN TITANS #10 by Ben Caldwell © DC Comics


What the Eff Is Up With DC Comics?

Batgirl Convergence #1 cover
Fan favorite Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are back in Convergence: Batgirl #1 image via DC Comics

If you walk into your local comic shop or peruse Comixology.com this week, you may stumble across DC titles and be hopelessly confused.

The fictional reason, as detailed in this week’s Convergence #1,  is that a multi-universe Brainiac has kidnapped multiple realities and placed them under universe-spanning domes while deciding which realities will survive. This leads into the batch of titles coming out this month with each title exploring one of these multiple realities and tagged with “Convergence: Title.

The best part for long-time readers?

Many beloved characters and plot lines lost in the last DC Universe reboot/reordering are back, including Renee Montoya’s Question identity, Lois and Clark’s marriage, Barbara Gordon’s Oracle, and Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl. The not-so-great part is that most of these are one-and-done stories.

This is the kind of reordering that’s increasingly driving me away from monthly comics, as I detailed in The Cliffs of Insanity: Should Monthly Comics Die?

The real-world reason? DC Comics has packed up its offices in New York City and headed west, to California. The fill-ins will cover the period it takes for everyone to make the move.

But, with a nod to Renee Montoya, the real question isn’t why DC is reordering its universe, it’s “should I read these stories?”

Alas, the best answer I can give is:


Because while my inner fangirl is squeeing at seeing Lois & Clark together again instead of the weird mess created by DC’s decision that Lois doesn’t matter to the Superman mythos, the other part of me is saying “oh, this Lois & Clark reunion will end badly because DC never lets anything end well lately.”  DC has been very clear that these stories take place “outside of time and space” meaning that they’re self-contained and likely will have no follow-up.

That’s cool if they end on a complete story. I’m completely down for the return of Cassandra Cain as Batgirl and I love some of the creative teams brought back for Convergence. But this could all be just a tease, stories could end on cliffhangers, and then fade to black with no resolution.

If I sound cynical, well, it’s because that’s how DC U ended their last universe: by canceling stories mid-way through, contradicting others, and then rebooting with the new 52 and saying “hey, forget all that, read this!” Now they’re saying “hey, remember the new 52? Forget all that for a while and read this!”


In the end, a good story is a good story and it doesn’t matter if DC decides that it didn’t happen in continuity.

Lois and Clark remain my OTP (one true pairing) and nothing that DC publishers is going to change that, not in my mind and especially not in the public mind, which has two television series and numerous movies that cement Lois Lane in the collective unconscious as the hard-driving reporter who wins Superman’s heart. (My fondest hope is that Convergence puts a stake through the heart of the Superman/Wonder Woman romance, which does neither character any good whatsoever.)

What does matter is if the Convergence stories all turn out to be one big tease with no real endings.

If that happens, there won’t even be good stories to read, just another big “they pulled me back in!” on the part of DC Comics to entice readers to, yet again, get used to another universe and another reiteration of their characters.

What does that lead to?

I can only point to my experience with Legion of Super-Heroes. Once upon a time, the adventures of the heroes of the 31st Century DC Universe was a favorite, with a sprawling cast of characters and an entire universe for setting. Then it was rebooted. And rebooted again. And rebooted once more. And again. And yet again.

Do I know which Legion of Super-Heroes version this is? Um...maybe? (image via DC Comics, art by Mike Grell)
Do I know which Legion of Super-Heroes version this is? Um…maybe? 1980s, at least, given Cosmic Boy has given up his tankini  (image via DC Comics

When I tried to read the latest Legion reboot, I had to think “wait, is this the reality where Karate Kid is alive or dead? Is Timber Wolf with Light Lass and, if he is, is she Light Lass or Lightning Lass this time? Is Lourna Triplicate Girl or Duo Damsel? And, what the heck is the reason for the Legion being formed this time?” Not to mention, most importantly, “What costume is Cosmic Boy wearing this time?”

With all these questions running around in my head, it became increasingly difficult to immerse myself in any Legion story.

So I gave up.

Pick a universe, DC. Stick with it for more than a few years.

Else I’ll have no choice but to retreat to re-reading my classic favorites or, even worse, giving up your comics altogether and reading something less complicated, like, say, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

‘Convergence’ and ‘Secret Wars’: The Big Comic Events of 2015

© DC Comics
Convergence, art by Carlo Pagulayan and Jose Marzan, Jr. © DC Comics.

This spring, the big two comic book publishers are unleashing their giant crossover events for 2015. As with most crossover events, both publishers are going for big, crazy, earth-shattering, “things will never be the same” events, when universes collide in both the DC and Marvel books. Here’s a quick guide to what’s coming up, thanks to excellent panels at this year’s Emerald City Comicon.

DC Comics: Convergence (April 1, 2015)
As most DC Comics fans know, there are multiple universes, past and present, that make up the DC universe. Brainiac, the mastermind behind Convergence, has been bringing cities in those past universes on the brink of destruction into his own collection. But don’t take my word for it; here’s Dan DiDio in the video that kicked off DC Comics’ panel at ECCC.

What this means for longtime fans is that some of our favorite past characters who didn’t make it into The New 52—Stephanie (Spoiler) Brown with her previous history, Oracle and Nightwing, Renee Montoya as The Question—are now back and have new stories to tell.

All regular DC Comics titles will be postponed in April to tell those stories, beginning with Convergence #0 this Wednesday.

Not a longtime fan of DC’s multiple universes and worried about feeling lost? A fan in the audience posed this very question to the panel of DC Comics creators at the convention.

Jeff King, writer of the main Convergence series, admitted that he himself was new to writing in the world of comics, but that the crossover inspired him to learn more about the DC universe and the landmark books in it. New readers may be moved to do the same, thanks to the event. Naming Flashpoint, Red Son, and more, King cited those as books that “stand on their own right.” He also felt that Convergence could be used as a starting point for new readers, “leading them to the June books [when regular issues resume] and fill in the knowledge” of the characters.

Stuart Moore, writer of the two-issue Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, also talked about how the other titles during the event are meant to be accessible for all readers. “The mandate was to tell a self-contained story,” he said, “meant to be picked up and read by anyone.”

40 different two-issue titles will be released over the next two months.

Secret Wars © Marvel
Secret Wars © Marvel.

Marvel Comics: Secret Wars (May 2015)
Goodbye, Earth-616.

The Marvel universe as readers know it, along with the Ultimates universe, is ending. There’s only Battleworld, where the remnants of those universes have come together after they collide. The eight-issue main event series from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic kicks off in May and ends in September.

“It’s an opportunity to take things and twist them in new and interesting ways,” said Charles Soule at Emerald City Comicon. “I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

Soule is tasked with telling a new version of Civil War, the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. Soule wondered what would have happened had Cap not surrendered. “If it kept going, the entire world would have gotten involved,” he said. His Civil War, now expanded to involve humans along with heroes, builds upon the theme of security versus freedom that framed the original series.

Marvel Comics creators at ECCC. Photo: Kelly Knox
Marvel Comics at ECCC. Photo: Kelly Knox.

Kelly Sue DeConnick will be tackling a different Captain Marvel than the one we’ve seen recently in Captain Marvel & The Carol Corps. Co-writing the series with Kelly Thompson, DeConnick puts Carol Danvers in a world with no stars in the sky and strong allies at her side.

Captain Marvel’s ongoing series is one of 33 that ends as the crossover event begins, leading many to wonder and worry what’s next for the characters in those books. “This anxiety and uncertainty is our marketing plan,” DeConnick said. But C.B. Cebulski assured fans, “Every book in your longbox will still count.”

SuperHeroStuff.com Hero Boxes!

Image courtesy of SuperHerosStuff.com
Image courtesy of SuperHerosStuff.com

Starting at $39, SuperHeroStuff.com might have the most expensive mystery boxes for geeks, but you get quality products that you won’t want to throw away.

The boxes come in three different themes, DC Comics, Marvel, or Star Wars. The main difference between the boxes is the total worth of what is inside. A sidekick box costs $39 and you are promised over $60 worth of merchandise. The hero box promises you at least $70 in merchandise for $49. When ordering your box, you can request a men’s, women’s, or kid’s sized shirt for the Hero box. Certain times of the year kid themed boxes are available, but it’s not an ongoing thing.

To see what these mystery boxes were all about, I checked out a DC Sidekick box and a Marvel Hero Box.

Both boxes included a bumper sticker, paper craft, key chain, and a comic book. 

Sidekick Box

Sidekick Box breakdown
Batman Mug – $9.99 (estimated based on a Google search)
Batman plush – $6.99
Bumper sticker – $2.99
Comic book – $3.99
Key chain – $7.99
Batman face can and bottle cooler – $8.99
Mystery gift card – $7.00 (could be worth up to $75)
Bottle Opener – $3.99
Symbol Pin – $1.75
Total = $53

This wasn’t my favorite box of the two, but I still loved everything that it came with and gave it a home within my office at work. My 9-year old son ran off with “baby Batman” as he calls him and has been attached to him ever since.

Hero Box \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Hero Box \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Hero Box breakdown
Captain America t-shirt – $23.99
Earrings – $9.99
Large Tote bag – $6.99
Comic book – $3.99
Bumper sticker – $2.99
Key chain – $8.99
Athletic socks (2 pair pack) – $14.99
Travel mug – $10.99 (estimated based on a Google search)
Magnet – $4.99
Symbol Pin – $1.75
Surprise gift card – $7.00
Total = $96

I love how they included feminine items since I requested a women’s shirt. The socks are super comfy and I wouldn’t mind getting a few more pairs in the future. I already had that same Captain America shirt, but welcomed it anyways since my current one was running a little small.

The only thing I’d change about these boxes is the packaging of the comics. It was a rainy Florida day when my box arrived and the bottom of the box was a bit soggy, which leaked into the box and onto my comic book. It’s still readable, but not in a condition that I would be able to trade it later on if I choose to do so.

Compared to other services I’ve reviewed, this was by far the most expensive, but also the most worth the expense. You know that you will be getting high quality merchandise and not cheap promo items thrown together. With three themes to choose from, you also stand a better chance of winding up with items you will enjoy. I plan on keeping my eyes peeled for more Hero and Sidekick boxes in the future. It’s a bummer that they’re not available by subscription, but maybe their popularity will catch on and SuperHeroStuff will offer it down the road. The next box offering will be in January 2015!

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a few sample.

Let’s Play! Comic Book BINGO

Comic Book BINGO \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Comic Book BINGO \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

While surfing Facebook the other day, I found a BINGO card for readers and immediately tried to see if I could fill the card with books I’ve read.

I started to realize that I had a mix of novels and comics that I was trying to fit onto the card and then it hit me…why not make a BINGO card of my own, specifically for comic books?


A few hours later after looking over my own comic book shelf and pulling my brain apart, I had my BINGO card. In my excitement to create my game, I overlooked the fact that it’s my game and I can’t even get a BINGO. Well, it looks like I’ve given myself a challenge and it’s one I’m going to be skipping all the way to the comic book store to complete.

Here’s how to play!

  • Each square has a reading requirement. If you have read a title that fits the description, you get a check mark on that square.
  • Each title can be used only once (for example: If you use Guardians of the Galaxy as a “Best-Selling Title” then you can’t use it for the “Series that is now a TV show or a movie”).
  • BINGO is achieved when you have filled an entire row either horizontally, diagonally, or vertically.

So, can you claim Comic Book BINGO champion? How many squares can you fill?

DC Comics’ LEGO Variant Covers for November

© DC Comics
© DC Comics

If you and your kids love comic books and LEGO, have I got some news for you! Not only will this November bring LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham to video game stores everywhere, you can also find your favorite DC Comics characters in their LEGO form gracing their respective comic book covers throughout the month.

Stop by your local comic book store to find LEGO variants for November titles including Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Justice League, and more.

Check out the covers in the gallery below. Isn’t Sinestro the cutest? There’s a sentence I’d never imagined I would type…

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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