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?

BANG!

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

Exclusive Preview: Supergirl #35

Supergirl #35, out on comic book store shelves October 15, features a high-powered team-up with Kara and Red Hood. Read on for a quick synopsis and your exclusive first look at the issue thanks to DC Comics!

“SUPERMAN: DOOMED AFTERMATH”! In the waked of the DOOMED storyline, the ALIEN SYNDICATE looks to re-establish its foothold on Earth. But the venom powered Red Hood looks for even more muscle in Kara as they go head to head with the scum and villainy of the galaxy. Plus: an ending that will set Kara on a new course!

All images are courtesy © DC Comics

All images are courtesy © DC Comics

Supergirl #35

Supergirl #35

 

SG_35_3

 

SG_35_4

 

SG_35_5

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

Sensation Comics #7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: 12+

From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics

From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

COWL Issue 4 \ Image Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: Mature

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

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

Action Comics #35
American Vampire Second Cycle #5
Aquaman And The Others #6
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #5 (Of 6)
Batman 75th Anniversary Trade Paperback Commemorative Collection
Batman Essentials: Batman The Black Mirror Special Edition #1
Batman Eternal #26
Batman Superman #14
Batman Vol 4 Zero Year Secret City TP
Detective Comics #35
Fables Deluxe Edition Vol 9 HC
Fairest #30
Fairest Vol 4 Of Men And Mice TP
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics Vol 2 Wish You Were Here TP
Flash Season Zero #1
Flash Special Edition #1
Gotham Academy #1
Grayson #3
Green Arrow #35
Green Lantern #35
Green Lantern New Gods Godhead #1
Hinterkind #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Annual #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Vol 1 HC
Justice League #34
Justice League 3000 #10
Justice League Beyond 2.0 Power Struggle TP
Lobo #1 New Series
Looney Tunes #221 Kid Friendly
Names #2 (Of 8)
New 52 Futures End #22
Swamp Thing #35
Teen Titans Go Titans Together TP
Tiny Titans Return To The Treehouse #5 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Wonder Woman #34
Wonder Woman Vol 4 War TP
Wonder Woman Vol 5 Flesh HC
All-New Ghost Rider Vol 1 Engines Of Vengeance TP
All-New X-Men Vol 1 HC
Black Widow #11
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #1 New Series
Captain America #25
Dark Tower The Drawing Of The Three The Prisoner #3 (Of 5)
Death Of Wolverine #3 (Of 4)
Deathlok The Demolisher The Complete Collection TP
Edge Of Spider-Verse #4 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four Annual #1
Figment #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Guardians 3000 #1 New Series
Iron Man Vol 5 Rings Of The Mandarin HC
Legendary Star-Lord #4 GeekMom Recommended
Magneto Vol 1 Infamous TP
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #1 (Of 5)
Miracleman #11
Moon Knight #8
Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol 1 Bad Moon Rising TP
Moon Knight Vol 1 From The Dead TP
New Mutants X-Force Demon Bear TP
Silver Surfer #6
Spider-Man 2099 #4
Spider-Man Kraven’s Last Hunt Prose Novel HC
Thor #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers #25
X-Men #20
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Angry Birds Comics #5 Kid Friendly
Ben 10 Classics Vol 3 TP Kid Friendly
Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Vol 17 HC
Flesh And Steel The Art Of Russ Heath HC
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Popeye Classics #27 Kid Friendly
PUCK What Fools These Mortals Be HC
Rogue Trooper Classics #6 (Of 12)
Samurai Jack Vol 2 The Scotsman’s Curse TP Kid Friendly
Silent Hill Downpour Anne’s Story #2 (Of 4)
Skylanders The Kaos Trap HC Kid Friendly
Squidder #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Star Trek Gold Key Archives Vol 2 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 9 Monsters Misfits And Madmen TP
Transformers Windblade TP
X-Files Year Zero #3 (Of 5)
Angel And Faith Season 10 #7
Art Of Naughty Dog HC
Art Of The Book Of Life HC
Concrete Park R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2 (Of 5)
Concrete Park Vol 1 You Send Me HC
Dream Thief Escape #4 (Of 4)
Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirits Of The Dead HC
Eerie Archives Vol 17 HC
Loverboys HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir TP
Star Wars Vol 3 Rebel Girl TP
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 (Of 6) 

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

10 DC Comics Board Books to Make You a Baby Shower Super Hero

Wonder Woman ABCs

Wonder Woman ABCs. All images © DC Comics / Capstone Publishing

Your favorite DC Comics super heroes can stand up to the Joker, Lex Luthor, and now your toddler’s front teeth with these colorful board books from Capstone Publishing. Not only are these board books great for your own geeklings, you’ll be the hero of your BFF’s baby shower when you arrive with the perfect present.

With 10 sturdy, vibrant board books to choose from, you can find a super story for a baby or toddler that teaches letters, numbers, and words alongside a smiling super hero. Yes, even Batman wears a perpetual smirk. And with words and sentences that a budding reader can work through with your help, these books can have a long shelf life through preschool and kindergarten.

DC Board Books

Baby board books that teach colors, numbers, shapes, and ABCs are standard fare, but can you think of another shape book that includes a bat? Superman Colors, Catwoman Counting, Batman Shapes, and Wonder Woman ABCs are filled with DC Comics’ most famous characters drawn in the Bruce Timm style. Rather than just a list of words, each book is written as a story, which works well to introduce new words to babies and toddlers while they’re learning the basics.

DC Board Books

If you’re looking for even more new vocabulary to show to your baby, these “word adventures” are just what you need. Superman – A Word Adventure and Wonder Woman – A Word Adventure take on look of the cutesy DC Super Friends to introduce new words to the littlest of listeners.

DC Board Books

Superman Fights for Truth and Superman to the Rescue feature the Man of Steel in action. The stories are simple and silly, certain to appeal to the short attention span of toddlers. Don’t expect any epic battles with Brainiac or Doomsday in these adventures; Supes is on the hunt for a banana thief in one age-appropriate story.

Batman & Robin Team Up! and Batman is Brave! do mention the Joker and show the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery, but the Animated Series-style illustrations shouldn’t scare your toddler or young reader. Like the Superman books, the stories are age-appropriate. It’s too bad Wonder Woman doesn’t get her own tales of heroics, but it’s always a joy to see Batman and Robin work together with a sense of fun.

These DC Comics board books cover prices range from $5.99 to $7.99 and are available now at your favorite bookstores.

GeekMom received promotional copies for review purposes.

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

FinderThirdWorld

Finder: Third World. Image via Dark Horse Comics.

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

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

The Flash Season Zero Issue #1 \ Image: ComiXology

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lumberjanes #5 \ Image: Boom

Lumberjanes #5. Image: Boom Studios.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: 10+

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

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

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

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

Age recommendation: 10 + for violence.

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

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Astro City #15
Batgirl Futures End #1
Batman Eternal #23
Batman Futures End #1
Birds Of Prey Futures End #1
Coffin Hill #11
Constantine Futures End #1
Green Lantern Corps Futures End #1
Infinity Man And The Forever People Futures End #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #11
Justice League Of America Vol. 2 Survivors Of Evil HC
Justice League United Futures End #1
Justice League Vol. 4 The Grid TP
Justice League Vol. 5 Forever Heroes HC
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super-Spectacular #4
Legion Of Super-Heroes The Curse TP
New 52 Futures End #19
New Suicide Squad Futures End #1
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #49 Kid Friendly
Showcase Presents Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TP Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Chaos #2 (Of 4)
Superboy Futures End #1
Superman By Geoff Johns And John Romita Jr. Director’s Cut #1
Superman Unchained #8
Worlds’ Finest Futures End #1
Y The Last Man Vol. 1 TP
All-New Ultimates #8
All-New X-Men Vol. 5 One Down HC
Amazing Spider-Man #6 GeekMom Recommended
Avengers #34.1
Avengers Undercover #10
Captain Marvel #7 GeekMom Recommended
Castle: A Calm Before Storm TP
Deadpool #34
Death Of Wolverine #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series Event
Edge Of Spider-Verse #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series Event
Fantastic Four #10
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 1 The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine TP
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act Two #1 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #17 GeekMom Recommended
Hawkeye #20 GeekMom Recommended
Inhuman #5
Magneto #9
Marvel 75th Anniversary Magazine Special Edition #1
Marvel Masterworks The Fantastic Four Vol. 16 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #12
Ms. Marvel #8 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers Vol. 2 Infinity TP
New Warriors #9
Nightcrawler #6
Powers Bureau #11
Silver Surfer #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 4 Avenge The Earth HC
United States Of Murder Inc #5
Winter Soldier By Ed Brubaker The Complete Collection TP
X-Force #9
X-Men Asgardian Wars TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #206
Judge Dredd Anderson Psi-Division #2 (Of 4)
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #1 New Series
Mars Attacks Art Gallery #1
My Little Pony Friends Forever #9 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #26 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls Vol. 2 Monster Mash TP Kid Friendly
Rocky And Bullwinkle Moose On The Loose TP Kid Friendly
Rogue Trooper Last Man Standing TP
Rot And Ruin #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #15 Kid Friendly
Transformers Primacy #2 (Of 4)
WEIRD Love #3
Abe Sapien #16
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Vol. 9 The Reign Of The Black Flame TP
Dark Ages #2 (Of 4)
Legal Drug Omnibus TP
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #4 Nightcrawler
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 6 TP
Prometheus Fire And Stone #1 (Of 4)
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #9 (Of 12)
Whedon Three Way (One Shot)
X #17

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

Wonder Woman Wednesdays (Wooo!)

Wonder Woman

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 © DC Comics

Wonder Woman returns to the pages of Sensation Comics in a new weekly digital first series from DC Comics.

Similar to The Adventures of Superman, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman highlights different artists, writers, and story lines in an ongoing anthology series. The digital series kicked off last week with the first issue “Gothamazon,” written by Gail Simone and art by Ethan Van Sciver. Batman’s rogues gallery has teamed up and Oracle needs to call in the big guns for help. You read that right: Oracle.

The series is an excellent place to start with a DC Comics title without worrying about the continuity set up in the current iteration of the New 52. The first issue features Barbara Gordon as Oracle, Diana sporting her pre-New 52 costume, and a who’s-who of Batman villains including a Joker with his face still attached. Ah, the good ol’ days. Wonder Woman fights to clean up Gotham, and she’s not alone. The first issue is action-packed and all too short.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman releases a new digital chapter every Wednesday, with collected print editions in stores. Talk about a happy new comic book day!

Batman: Assault on Arkham—This Is Not Your Parents’ PG-13 Movie *Spoilers*

Batman: Assault on Arkham is the latest DC animated film to hit shelves. Following the events of the video game Batman: Arkham Origins, the Suicide Squad takes center stage as they are ordered to break into Arkham Asylum to retrieve a flash drive that is valuable to Amanda Waller and her “recruiting” methods. Even though I’ve never played Batman: Arkham Origins, I didn’t have any problems understanding what was going on.

The title is deceiving because Batman’s appearances are kept to a minimum and, when he does show up, it’s not for long periods of time. The story mainly focuses on the Suicide Squad and their mission to get the flash drive for Amanda Waller.

The animation is done in the anime style and looks great on screen. Amanda Waller returns to her classic look and the rest of the characters are drawn pretty awesomely. I was happy to see that Kevin Conroy reprises his role as Batman and Neal McDonough joins the ranks as Deadshot.

The basic elements of the movie can be broken down thusly:

  • Amanda Waller sends agents after the Riddler.
  • Batman intercepts the Riddler.
  • Amanda Waller recruits Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Frost, Spider, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark into the Suicide Squad to break into Arkham.
  • One sex scene with Harley and Deadshot followed by three partial frontals later, we get to the real plot point.
  • Batman wins.

Sprinkle in some graphic blood splatters and head explosions and you have yourself Batman: Assault on Arkham. Thankfully, the violence and bloodshed in this film were nowhere near the amount shown in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (we did have the severed head thing going on though).

Another downside to this movie is that the chaos can be a little hard to follow. You really have to pay attention while watching or you will miss the sharp left turns it takes at various stages.

Something that really got under my skin while watching this “PG-13″ movie was Harley Quinn and Killer Frost being topless at various parts of the movie and the sex scene between Harley and Deadshot. I’m not sure what the MPAA was thinking when they rated this film, but I think it needs a revisit.

On a side note, I found myself drawn to Deadshot as a character because of the affection he showed towards the picture of his daughter and how he led the team. I could see myself reading more about him in the future.

When you break it down, the art was beautiful to watch, even if all of the head-splattering-blood was a bit much for my tastes and certain parts of this film were stereotypical in terms of how the females were treated. They had a few fun “what the heck just happened?” moments that I enjoyed being surprised by, but I’m not sure if that alone is going to get me to watch this again anytime soon.

Batman: Assault on Arkham is available on DVD and Blu-ray for $16.99 on Amazon. It’s rated PG-13, but due to the graphic and sexual content, I wouldn’t show this to anyone under 17 years old. If you’d rather rent it than buy it, you can check it out on Amazon Instant Video for $4.99.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review sample.

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

Image copyright DC Comics

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

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

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

Monster Motors \ Image: IDW Publishing

Monster Motors \ Image: IDW Publishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly Knox — The Comics Survival Kit from Gail Simone

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

Gail Simone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age recommendation: 10+

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

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

Age recommendation: Teen+

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

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

Age recommendation: All ages.

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

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

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

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

TMNT #36 Cover \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

TMNT #36 Cover \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

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

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

Preview from TMNT #36 \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

Preview from TMNT #36 \ Image courtesy of IDW Publishing

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

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

This title is recommended for ages 10 and up. 

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

Corrina —

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

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

This title is recommended for ages 14 and up.

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

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

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

This title is recommended for ages 12 and up. 

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

teen-titans-1-c63fa

Cover to Teen Titans #1, copyright DC Comics

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

It’s not much of an improvement.

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

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

That makes me sad.

This title is recommended for ages 12 and up. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended for all ages. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended for ages 15 and up. 

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy. 

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

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

Batman A Celebration Of 75 Years HC
Batman Eternal #15
Batwoman #33
Birds Of Prey Vol. 4 The Cruelest Cut TP
Damian Son Of Batman Deluxe Edition HC
Django Unchained TP
Fables #142
Green Lantern New Guardians #33
Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego #1 (One Shot) GeekMom Recommended
Infinite Crisis Fight For The Multiverse #1 New Series
Joker A Celebration Of 75 Years HC
New 52 Futures End #11
Red Hood And The Outlaws #33
Robin Rises Omega #1 (One Shot)
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #7 Kid Friendly
Supergirl #33
Supergirl Vol. 4 Out Of The Past TP
Tales Of The Batman J.H. Williams III HC
Teen Titans #1 New Series
Teen Titans Vol. 4 Light And Dark TP
100th Anniversary Special X-Men #1
All-New X-Factor #11
Avengers World #9
Black Widow #6
Black Widow Vol. 1 The Finely Woven Thread TP
Captain America #22 75th Anniversary Poster By Alex Ross
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #2 (Of 7)
Elektra #4 New Series
Guardians Of The Galaxy #15 GeekMom Recommended
Inhuman #1 New Series
Loki Agent Of Asgard #5
Magneto #7
Marvel Masterworks The Avengers Vol. 14 HC
Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #2 New Series
Moon Knight #4 New Series
Ms. Marvel #6
Nova #19 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sin #3.2
Original Sin #6 (Of 8)
Savage Hulk #2 New Series
Savage Wolverine #21
Secret Avengers #5
She-Hulk #6
Silver Surfer #4 New Series
Thunderbolts #28
Ultimate FF #4 New Series
Uncanny X-Men #23
X-Men #16
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

24 #4 New Series
Borderlands The Fall Of Fyrestone #1 New Series
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #1 (Of 6) New Kid Friendly Series 
Doberman #1
Gate-Way Vol. 1 A New World TP
Judge Dredd #21
Last Fall #1 (Of 5) New Mini Series
Littlest Pet Shop #3 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Lust TP
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #21 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls Classics Vol. 4 Picture Perfect TP Kid Friendly
Squidder #1 (Of 4) New Series
Star Trek Special Flesh And Stone #1 New Series
Steranko Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition HC
Tarzan The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Vol. 3 1971-1974 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36 GeekMom 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Vol. 4 Mutagen Mayhem HC Kid Friendly
V-Wars #2 New Series
X-Files Classics Vol. 4 HC
X-Files Year Zero #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #121
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #3 (Of 4)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Spike Into The Light HC
Eye Of Newt #2 (Of 4)
Ghost #6
Grindhouse Doors Open At Midnight Double Feature Vol. 1 TP
Pictures That Tick Vol. 2 HC (Limited Edition)
Pictures That Tick Vol. 2 TP
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #3 (Of 4)
Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 28 Red Scorpion HC (Limited Edition)
Witcher #5 (Of 5) Last Issue
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #2 (Of 5)

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

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

Rocket Raccoon

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

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

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

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

Age Rec: 12+

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

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

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

Age Rec: 9+

Kelly Knox — Rocket Raccoon #1 by Skottie Young

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

rocket-raccoon-2

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

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

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

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

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

Age Rec: 12+

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

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

Lumberjanes \ Image: Boom Studios

Lumberjanes \ Image: Boom Studios

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

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

Age Rec: All Ages

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

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

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

Sadly there are issues throughout.

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

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

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

Age Rec: 12+

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

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

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

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

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

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

supergirl-32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Princess Ugg #2 - Page 2 \ Image: Oni Press

Princess Ugg #2, page 2. Image: Oni Press.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina —

WynonnaEarpTheYetiWars_02_Preview001

Image via IDW

Wynonna Earp written by Beau Smith

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

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

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

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

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

Superman #32

Image via DC Comics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to the Women of Marvel

Captain Marvel Returns in 2014 © Marvel

© Marvel Comics

Last week the first official Women of Marvel podcast hit the Internet, featuring some of the editors and staff at Marvel Comics in New York City. Editor of Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel Sana Amanat, Jeanine Schaefer, Judy Stephens, and Adri Cowan host the first episode, chatting easily about their backgrounds and their plans for future podcasts. (Giveaways, creators, and celebrity guests, to name a few!)

The Women of Marvel also quickly followed up the first podcast with a “mini-episode” yesterday, featuring Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Not only will the hosts provide recommendations for anyone daunted by getting into comic books, I was excited to hear about the creation of a Women of Marvel book club that encourages listeners to read and discuss a comic each month.

And join in on the Women of Marvel podcast’s book club! Each episode, the hosts will chat about a current female-led book and answer the Qs you send via Twitter (with the hashtag #WOMReads) and email—and ask you to join in on the talk with them. 25 first come, first served digital codes for each comic will be given away per episode, so make sure to listen to find out how to get yours and join in on the discussion!

If you’re in the mood to tune in to other female fans leading discussions on comic books and superheroes, check out the phenomenal podcasts 3 Chicks Review Comics (with new episodes coming soon) and The Arkham Sessions.

Paul Dini Works His Magic in Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell

© DC Comics

Cover by Joe Quinones © DC Comics

An original graphic novel almost 10 years in the making—could the wait possibly be worth it? In the case of Paul Dini’s Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, absolutely. And it couldn’t be here at a better time.

Originally pitched in 2005 and announced in 2006, Bloodspell takes place in a DC universe before there was a New 52. For readers like me who are a little tired of the dark, grim, and gritty world of the New 52, that makes the graphic novel a breath of fresh air from the current continuity. Dinah and Ollie together again! Ollie rocking the goatee! Fishnets for everyone!

If there was going to be a Justice League buddy cop movie, Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell is the one I’d want to see. Zatanna and Black Canary team up after a malevolent, mystical force starts taking out members of Black Canary’s undercover gang. Dinah needs Zatanna’s help to break the magical curse before it takes hold of her as well. Along the way they get help from some familiar faces, and flashbacks give us glimpses of the duo’s escapades during their tenure in the Justice League. (Keep an eye out for cameos of some classic looks, including Black Canary’s first costume.)

Art by Joe Quinones

Art by Joe Quinones

Joe Quinones, who drew several issues of Captain Marvel last year, did both the cover and the dazzling interior art for Bloodspell. Instead of thin-waisted, top heavy girls who look like they’re about to topple over, Quinones’ Zatanna and Black Canary look like actual women who can throw and take a punch. (Maybe it’s because 24 is back, but I couldn’t help but notice his Black Canary is also a dead ringer for Elisha Cuthbert.)

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell is a fun, easy read that any fan of either character should immediately add to their library. In an interview with PREVIEWSworld, writer Paul Dini (who is best known for his work on Batman: The Animated Series) expressed his hope that the book will appeal particularly to female fans:

“I think there is a new breed of female fan that has grown up with superheroines over the last twenty years and continues to embrace them. I don’t think they are inspired just by comics, but by the TV shows, movies, and cartoons they watched, and games they played when they were younger… It seems to me if they identify with the characters that much, there’s an audience there that would appreciate some comics that reflect their sensibilities. I just hope our little GN strikes the bullseye.”

In the same interview, Dini described the book as “a Valentine to the more upbeat, carefree spirit of DC Comics.” For anyone who might be a jaded reader of the New 52, this is just the book to remind you that comic books can still be fun.

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell will be released May 27 at a suggested retail price of $22.99.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

The Cliffs of Insanity: Internet Bullying

Wonder Woman #25 cover by Aaron Lopresti, copyright DC Comics

Wonder Woman #25 cover by Aaron Lopresti, copyright DC Comics

Welcome to this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity. This week was a banner one for the internet, as a former DC editor who happened to be female had the unmitigated gall to criticize the composition of an upcoming DC cover and received rape threats for her professional opinion.

That brought out defenders and yet another talk about the sexual harassment women face in comics and on the internet. Why do we keep having this discussion? Because even now, some men still ask, “Do men really talk to women on the internet this way?” (Warning: Some obscene language in that thread, some of it by me.)

But the talk got me thinking about message boards and comment threads. And I kept running one question over and over in my mind—why are bullying and general harassment, especially toward anyone non-straight, non-white, non-male—allowed in many internet public spaces?

We’ve all seen it. Don’t Read the Comments! people say. And I’m wondering two things:

1. Why are we allowing those kinds of comments to be published in a public space in the first place?

2. If we want to allow those comments so as to bring the attitudes into the light, why are we allowing them to go unchallenged? If the trolls take over the comment threads, pushing out any reasonable discussion, doesn’t that let the bullies win? So why do we let them?

To backtrack, I want to define “public space” not as a space run NOT by the government but a space where the general public is allowed to comment, especially on spaces run as commercial enterprises to allow public discourse. If a private individual wants to run their site and allow whatever they want, that’s one thing.

Teen Titans #1 Cover by George Perez, copyright DC Comics

Teen Titans #1 Cover by George Perez, copyright DC Comics, which we can all agree is awesome.

But if BleedingCool.com, a commercial website, opens forums to allow discussion, that’s another.

Because in the latter case, I’m saying that website has a responsibility to not allow the inmates to run the asylum.

When I worked for daily and weekly newspapers, we used to get letters to the editor. Those letters wouldn’t be published in the newspaper if they were obviously insulting, profane, or anonymous. There were standards for letters to the editor. In some case, we published anonymous letters but only if we knew and had vetted the identity of the letter writer.

Basically, the newspapers had standards. Those standards were in place because the paper was giving a public forum to someone and felt a responsibility to keep that forum a civil place. (To say nothing of vetting facts so the newspaper couldn’t be sued.) All that went by the wayside with the rise of the internet. Even comments on reputable newspaper websites aren’t held to that high standard.

In some ways, this is a good thing, because people can now talk directly to each other without getting approval from a third party.

In some ways, this is a bad thing because people can now talk directly to each other.

Anonymously.

And with that ability to hide, the horrible side of some humans take hold and we get rape threats over an opinion about a comic book cover. Or we get a small group of people who can basically drive women away from whole sites that talk about comics. I’d love to go back to Comicbookresources.com or even over to BleedingCool.com to talk comics. But my experience at CBR ended badly, with an entire forum being moved, and the comment threads at Bleeding Cool are basically a cesspool, especially if one has the gall to point out that maybe women or minorities or gays in comics or movies are not portrayed as well as they could be.

Why should I have to avoid these sites? Why should this small subset of humanity basically drive all the reasonable people away? Why should I have to risk sexual harassment on those boards in order to talk about comics?

Answer: I shouldn’t. No one should.

Which brings us back to our two choices. Either moderation that drives away the bullies violating Wheaton’s Law—Don’t Be a Dick—or taking on the bullies head on until they’re the ones feeling unsafe in that space. Ban them. Require them to put their name behind their words. Call them out. Something.

Because silence equals assent, as was made clear in this column, “Fake Geek Guys” at Comics Alliance by Andy Khouri.

Guys out there reading this column, if a women or LGBT individual or a non-white person is picked on in a public forum for who they are and you do nothing to defend them, the targeted individual is going to think they have no allies, that they’re alone, that no one basically gives a crap. And I can’t argue with that reasoning.

Women and others in these groups are used to having each other’s backs. But we get tired of always having to do it. If you really think this kind of thing is vile and want to stamp it out, if you really do give a damn, step up, not back.

Speak up instead of shrugging. Suggest the person doing the harassing go away instead of telling the target not to read and get worked up over that stuff.

And websites, unless you want others to naturally assume those people doing the harassing represent your website and what it’s all about, do something.

Arrow’s Stephen Amell is Disarmingly Charming

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen © The CW

If Oliver Queen had half the charisma as the actor who portrays him, I’d never miss an episode of The CW’s Arrow.

Stephen Amell’s spotlight panel at Emerald City Comicon was the first time the Arrow actor made an appearance at the con. Amell is an actor well-versed in social media, often sharing and tweeting photos of himself working out and on set, so it was a bit of a surprise to see that in person he’s often unpretentious, highly complimentary of his co-stars, and prone to geeking out a little bit about the Flash and the Justice League.

Amell’s panel was so easygoing that he didn’t even wait for host Clare Kramer to give him an introduction, sauntering out with a smile while she was mid-sentence. While most actors chose to stand solo in the spotlight answering fan questions, Amell—with a Flash cap perched on his head—sat down with Kramer to chat and respond to fans.

Arrow fans in the audience were treated to a casual, fun Q&A that highlighted how much the cast enjoys playing in the DC universe, even if the dark tone of the show doesn’t make it obvious. When asked if Oliver Queen’s peripheral vision would suffer with the hood up on his head (held in place only by his “grippy hair,” Amell attests), the actor laughed and said that Deathstroke has even more difficulty due to his eyepatch. “When [actor Manu Bennett] is all cool getting into a limousine,” grinned Amell, “just know that he almost knocked himself unconscious.”

The Arrow star also talked about his archery training for the show, which some fans might be surprised to hear never once includes actually firing an arrow. “There is no safe way to shoot an arrow on a set,” said Amell. “I’m grabbing nothing [from the quiver], nocking nothing, releasing nothing. But my form is good.” Amell credits his hard work on his form to his instructor, who started his training when the show began with a 45 minute video showing all the ways TV and movies get archery wrong.

And with the upcoming Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman film hinting that a Justice League movie might be in the future, what about another Oliver Queen donning the hood and firing those arrows? “The thought of someone else playing Oliver Queen makes me want to smash my head on that table,” Amell said without hesitation. It’s obvious he’d love to be a part of such a team-up, but hasn’t yet been approached about a film role.

amell-gustin

Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen © The CW

Stephen Amell is excited about what the future holds for Arrow, with more and more nods to the DC universe coming into play. (The spinoff show with Barry Allen as The Flash kicks off in the fall.) “There’s so much space to move toward iconic characters,” Amell replied when asked about seeing a Canary Cry or Oliver’s classic goatee. He even related how excited he was to have Harley Quinn put in an appearance in a recent episode.

With so many references to characters and places in the DC Comics universe, it’s unfortunate that almost none of the easygoing charm that Amell exudes comes out in his Ollie. The tone of Arrow has always been dark and brooding, with an Oliver Queen to match, and like Corrina, I’m having a hard time tuning in every week. Perhaps if they let a little more of Amell come through in his character, fans would see a little bit of the charming Oliver Queen they’ve come to love in the comic books.

Happy Birthday, Batman! You Were My First Fandom

batmanstash

Some of the Bat-stash I’ve accumulated over the years doesn’t compare to the impact Batman has had on pop culture in 75 year of existence. Image by Lisa Kay Tate

When I was three years old, I came down with chickenpox. I was sick and miserable and itchy, not to mention bored. The only relief from this circumstance was when my 10-year-old brother brought his circa 1960s Batman “bendy” to entertain me with a talent show of dancing, singing, and stunts. He would climb up and down the bedside and my feet, he would dance on his pointy ears, and he would take daring swan dives and comical pratfalls, all the time accompanied by sound effects and the classic “duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-BATMAN!” soundtrack courtesy of my brother.

Despite the fact our bendy Batman’s feet were stuck in Second Position, his fingers never separated, and the paint on his cape and boots needed constant touch-ups with blue markers, this little toy became a favorite, and was my “stair-step” drug into the world of superheroes, especially Batman.

I tuned in at the same “Bat-Time” each week for the classic series reruns, I read my brother’s comics, and I bought a “Barbie-sized” Batman doll, because my dolls hung out with superheroes and G.I. Joe, never Ken. For Father’s Day, I made my dad custom handkerchiefs with images of Batman and Robin in iron-on crayons, which my dad proudly took to work to blow his nose on.

As a teen, I sketched Batman and his emblem on everything from notebooks to the tips of my Converse shoes. I celebrated Tim Burton’s movies, and cringed at the ones by Joel Schumacher. Today, I still collect, criticize, compliment, read, wear, and often immerse myself in the Dark Knight’s world.

If this one character has had that effect on just me, imagine the impact Batman has had on the world of pop culture for decades.

Over the next year, Warner Bros. Entertainment and DC Entertainment will be mark DC’s Batman’s 75th anniversary, with a year-long celebration befitting what they call the “world’s most popular Super Hero.”

Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 on March 30, 1939, featuring artwork by a young writer named Bob Kane and a script by Bill Finger. Today, Batman is everywhere including television shows, radio, video games, publishing, and merchandise.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Kevin Tsujiara feels Batman’s appeal spans eras.

“Batman is an incredibly important property with multi-generational appeal across all of the Studio’s businesses, and we’re proud to celebrate this milestone anniversary,” Tsujihara said. “From billion-dollar blockbuster films to TV, home entertainment, video games, and consumer products, The Dark Knight continues to resonate with audiences worldwide and rightfully deserves his place as a global pop culture icon for the ages.”

Batman75_logo_NEW

Copyright DC Entertainment

A special logo has been created to mark all anniversary happenings planned this year including:

Commemorative issues and variant covers of Batman comics, including the recently released special edition of Detective Comics #27 commemorating Batman’s first appearance in the book in 1939, a new weekly series Batman Eternal on April 9, and exclusive Batman variant covers for San Diego Comic-Con International.

•  The celebration of “Batman Day” Wednesday, July 2, with a free special edition Batman comic at participating locations.

An all new “Cape/Cowl/Create” art exhibit at San Diego Comic-Con International in July, featuring artists’ interpretations on the “blank canvas” of a cape and cowl created by fashion designer Asher Levine.

• Several new home entertainment releases such as the Batman ’66 TV series, and a special 25th Anniversary Edition of Tim Burton’s.

These events, as well as many more, can be found on the 75th Anniversary site at Batman75.com.

Diane Nelson serves as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment President of DC Entertainment, and President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. She said Batman is one of the “greatest characters ever created,” in comics or elsewhere.

“He is an integral part of pop culture and has successfully captured the imagination of the entire world,” Nelson said. “The origin of Batman, Bruce Wayne, and the famous citizens of Gotham are legendary and likely a story you know inside out, even if you’ve never picked up a comic book in your life, and that speaks volumes to the character’s immense popularity and the constructs of the original mythology.”

Like most geeks, I’ve had (and still have) many fandoms—Star Wars and Star Trek, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, and Avengers to name a few—but Batman was my first, and you never forget your “first.”

As for the little bendy Batman, he is somewhere in my house still, although his location eludes me. He is likely to be hiding among my own daughters’ Dark Knight stash, waiting patiently in the dust to entertain the next generations of Bat-fans for another 75 years.

Supergirl #29 Preview

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Once upon a time, Supergirl was Superman’s bright, cheerful cousin. Not so much in the new 52 Universe, where she’s arrived on Earth as a teenager with the knowledge that she’s lost her parents. She’s also feeling little connection to a grown-up Superman, who she used to babysit.

That led her ripe for takeover by a Red Lantern ring, which is fueled by its wearer’s rage.  Kara’s one friend struggles to survive her rage in this exclusive preview of Supergirl #29 written by Tony Bedard, with art by Ray McCarthy and Yildiray Cinar and provided by DC Comics. The story will be released on March 19.

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination Chapter 7

scribblenauts7_3

Photo courtesy of DC Comics, used with permission. I will never get tired of Wonder Woman as a Scribblenaut.

Today marks the release of chapter seven of Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination. If you’re a Scribblenauts Unmasked fan and haven’t had a chance to check out the digital comic from DC Comics, now’s a great time to catch up. If you’re already a fan, this new chapter gives us the first glimpse of Maxwell as Green Lantern. You’ll have to get the issue to see that reveal.

But here’s a preview of chapter seven, written by Josh Elder with artwork by Adam Archer.

Scribblenauts_7_SF_Cover

Photo courtesy of DC Comics, used with permission.

scribblenauts7_1

Photo courtesy of DC Comics, used with permission.

scribblenauts7_2

Photo courtesy of DC Comics, used with permission.

Scribblenauts7_4

Photo courtesy of DC Comics, used with permission.

DC Scribblenauts…cannot take the adorable…too…much.

You can purchase all of the issues (for iPhone or Android) for $0.99 at the DC Comics site.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — X-Files, TMNT, Tomb Raider, and Guardians of the Galaxy

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Lisa takes a look at comic book series turned upcoming Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Sophie dives further into The X-Files and meets a few mutant turtles along the way, and Corrina takes a look at the new Tomb Raider comic written by Gail Simone coming out from Dark Horse next week.

Lisa Tate– Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis

Guardians of the Galaxy \ Image: Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy \ Image: Marvel

Many movie fans have probably heard about the big screen adaptation of Marvel’s obscure superteam, Guardians of the Galaxy, but it will take some pretty good dialogue to match the recent series written by the commentary king, Brian Michael Bendis.

Marvel first played with the title in 1969 as a type of sci-fi version of The Dirty Dozen, and was recreated several times. The current line up of interstellar misfits was born around 2008. The team features the group’s sole human hero Peter Quill (AKA Star-Lord), along with extraterrestrial heroes, the assassin Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, and the Monarch of Planet X, Groot.

Bendis’s Marvel Now! reboot sends the guardians to defend a planet they once thought untouchable: Earth. They team up on this mission with one of Earth’s greatest defenders, Iron-Man, so those who want a little familiarity will find him a suitable, and sarcastic, addition to the story.

The group’s smallest member, Rocket Raccoon, packs the biggest punch, coming across as a furry little Deadpool-type making up for in character and wit where he lacks in mercy and compassion. He also somehow makes the catch phrase “Blam! Murdered you!” kind of cute, and much more tolerable than Groot’s lone commentary, “I am Groot.”

Bendis has teamed up with illustrators Sara Pichelli (Ultimate Spider-Man), Steve McNiven (Civil War, Wolverine), with appearances by a bevy of other artists, colorists, and writers to bring these universe-saving team to life like never before.

Another incredible angle in the new series is the addition of the avenging angel Angela (from “Spawn” fame) starting in Issue #4. Since Angela was a creation of both Spawn-creator Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman, Gaiman’s recent involvement with Marvel gave Angela a “portal,” as it were, into the Marvel world. Bendis is doing her right, too, adding his edgy humor to her take-no-prisoners attitude. Oh, if only Sam and Twitch could show up, too.

The first ten issues of the comic are available in two hardcover volumes from Marvel Comics: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers, (issues 1-3), and Guardians of the, Vol. 2: Angela (issues 4-10).

Before you see the movie, or see any upcoming trailers, or read any spoilers for that matter, I encourage you to read Bendis’ take on this unlikely horde of heroes who somehow just work so well together, even if they might not realize it themselves.

Sophie Brown– The X-Files X-Files Conspiracy #2

The X-files Conspiracy TMNT \ Image: IDW Publishing

The X-files Conspiracy TMNT \ Image: IDW Publishing

I have to admit that I really wasn’t looking forward to this particular issue of X-Files Conspiracy.

I’ve never cared for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so I’m completely unfamiliar with them and their world, making for a potentially rather uninteresting crossover. However if you’re an X-Files fan in a similar position then I categorically insist you read this issue because when I figured out what was going on I may have done a happy dance around most of my house.

The issue picks up where last month’s Ghostbusters issue left us and sees the Gunmen hunting down the next group on their list of potential allies; a group of legendary “Manphibians.” The TMNT are hiding out in Northampton, home of Golden Pizza which is where the secondary part of this plot comes into play.

You see, this issue is more than just a TMNT crossover, it’s also a sequel to a classic X-Files episode; one that prominently featured pizza, and big buck teeth… Yes Sheriff Lucius Harwell, Ronnie Strickland, and the rest of the town are back and soon we’re thrown into the middle of a truly bizarre confrontation involving the Gunmen, glowy-eyed vampires, and the TMNT. It’s so much like fanfiction come to life I could implode with joy, even Mulder gets a brief appearance that links back beautifully to the original shoelace story.

Of course away from the silliness there’s a pretty serious story at the heart of this mini-series and it’s up to the TMNT to decide whether or not to help the guys on their quest to save the world. There’s a nice little scene that rounds out the issue and brings the main storyline back to the forefront ready for the Transformers to take over next week. Who knows what that might bring?!

Corrina– Tomb Raider #1, written by Gail Simone, pencilled by Nicolás Daniel Selma, to be published on February 26. 

Cover to Tomb Raider, Dark Horse Comics

Cover to Tomb Raider #1, copyright Dark Horse Comics

I’ve never played a Tomb Raider game. I’ve never read a Tomb Raider comic. The only things I knew about Lara Croft as a character were from the two movies starring Angelina Jolie, and those were far more about Angie blowing stuff up than any deep character studies. I had no conception of what this would be like going in and ended up liking it a great deal.

The story stars a young Lara, just 21, still suffering nightmares from one of her first expeditions, which ended with much of her crew being killed and the rest left with nightmares like her own. She feels responsible because it was her idea so when one of the survivors calls her for help, she goes. This is the classic “the evil thing followed them home” story and it’s a strong start, as we’re not sure exactly what’s real and exactly what is the product of a seemingly angry gods or magicians. The art is clear, crisp, and really sparkles at the creation of a giant wave in the desert.

I’ll be picking up #2.

Justice League #28, written by Geoff Johns art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

If you’re looking for advancement in the overall plot of the Forever Evil event currently running in DC Comics, you won’t find it in this issue. Instead, this story focuses on the updated origin of the Metal Men. Johns has a fondness for a number of lesser-known DC characters and he does well by the Metal Men and their creator, Will Magnus. (I  also imagine if you’re a fan of the Metal Man, this will make you happy but I’ve no idea how many Metal Men fans are out there….)

Reis has a lot of fun putting the malleable metal people in various shapes, making this very visually appealing. But this is basically only a prelude to the Metal Men joining the fight against the evil Crime Syndicate.

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

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

Animal Man #28
Batman ’66 #8
Batman And Two-Face #28
Batman Beyond Universe #7
Batman Li’l Gotham Vol. 1 TP
Batwoman #28
Birds Of Prey #28
Fables #138
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics Vol. 1 The Paradigm Shift TP
Green Lantern New Guardians #28
Green Lantern Wrath Of The First Lantern Vol. 1 HC
Harley Quinn #3 GM
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #10 GM
Justice League #28
Martian Manhunter Son Of Mars TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws #28
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #2
Supergirl #28
Teen Titans Go #2 Kid Friendly
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #8
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #2
WE3 TP (New Edition)
Wonder Woman #28
A+X #17
Amazing X-Men #4
Avengers World #3
Captain America #17
Captain America Epic Collection Vol. 9 Dawn’s Early Light TP
Daredevil #36 Final Issue
Dexter Down Under #1 (Of 5)
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird #2 (Of 5)
Golden Age Captain America Omnibus Vol. 1 HC
Iron Man Annual #1
Journey Into Mystery By Kieron Gillen The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Knights Hulk #3 (Of 4)
New Warriors #1 New Series
Night Of The Living Deadpool #3 (Of 4)
Nova #13.NOW GM
Nova Vol. 1 Origin TP GM
Punisher #2
Savage Wolverine #15
Spider-Men #1 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #10
Ultimate Comics X-Men By Brian Wood Vol. 3 TP
Uncanny X-Men #17
X-Men #11
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Ben 10 #4
Crow Midnight Legends Vol. 6 Touch Of Evil TP
Dinosaurs Attack TP
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #199
G.I. JOE Special Missions #12
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #9
Jericho Season 4 #5 (Of 5)
X-Files Conspiracy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 GM
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #116
Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol. 5 TP
Blood-C Vol. 3 GN
Conan The Barbarian #25
Dark Horse Presents #33
Marvel Classic Character X-Men #5 Iceman
Skyman #2 (Of 4)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Cry Of Shadows #3 (Of 5)
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force War #4 (Of 5)
Strain The Fall #8
Terminator Enemy Of My Enemy #1 (Of 6)
White Suits #1 (Of 4)

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Batman as a Horror Story

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© DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week Dakster takes a look at Batman: Impostors while Corrina takes a gander at The Jokers Daughter #1.

Dakster Sullivan — Batman: Impostors written by David Hine and art by Scott McDaniel

For personal reasons, I have a hard time reading Batman stories. The dark violence that follows him around does nothing for my anxiety. Despite that I have a hard time digesting his stories, I picked up Batman: Impostors because the art looked less gruesome than some others I’ve picked up (Batman: The Black Mirror  comes to mind). I should have known better than to think bright colored art would mean a less violent story.

Written as a prequel to the video game of the same name, Batman: Impostors follows a series of events caused by impostor Jokers and wannabe Batmans. I’ll admit that the villain in charge of the chaos was pretty brilliant in a maddening sense. I mean, getting the entire city to tear itself apart and only some of those citizens being willingly drugged and convincing regular citizens to turn into vigilantes all while destroying the Batman’s name… Brilliant!

Some of the deaths I felt were a little harsh and I’m still disturbed after seeing a poor kid meet his maker way to soon in life. The ending left an opening for the imposter Joker to come back, but I think that was left that way to make way for the video game.

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

Corrina–

ms marvel #1

© Marvel Comics

First, today, celebrate the debut of Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel #1 over at Marvel Comics.

Story by G. Willow Wilson, art by Adrian Alphona, cover art by Sara Pichelli. Kamala is a teenager from Jersey City, New Jersey, who abruptly finds herself with super-powers and decides to imitate her hero, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).

Joker’s Daughter #1 written by Marguerite Bennett, art by Meghan Hetrick

This is a deeply creepy book.

I’m old enough to have read the very first version of the Joker’s Daughter, a woman who claimed to either be the Clown Prince of Crime’s Daughter or Two-Face’s daughter, but she was something of a hero and not crazy at all. Those were the 1970s. We’re in the midst of Batman as a horror comic in the 2010s and this Joker’s Daughter fits right in.

The creative team is a rarity among Bat-books, an all-female one. I’d liked Bennett’s Lobo story a few months ago and I cannot offer her anything but praise on this story. Instead of being merely a Joker clone, this teenage girl feels real, with reasoning that is juvenile and not adult, and with cunning, if not true villain intelligence. Hetrick’s art is a perfect complement and somehow manages to make more effective use of the Joker’s skin face than in the recent “Death of the Family” Batman story. Or maybe it’s that the art here manages to make it creepy and strange, rather than gory and blood-soaked.

Overall, this feels like a story that could launch a long-lasting villain. I just feel a continuing sadness that all of the Batman universe is such a dark place.

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

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

Action Comics #28
Batman Black And White #6 (Of 6)
Batman Joker’s Daughter #1 (One Shot)
Batwing #28
DC Comics Presents Harley Quinn #1
Detective Comics #28
Dial H Vol. 2 Exchange TP
DMZ Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 HC
Earth 2 #20
Fairest #23
Forever Evil #5 (Of 7)
Forever Evil Arkham War #5 (Of 6)
Green Arrow #28
Green Lantern / Red Lanterns #28 (Dual Issue)
Hinterkind #5
JLA Vol. 4 TP
Looney Tunes #217
Movement #9
Ravagers Vol. 2 Heavenly Destruction TP
Stormwatch #28
Strange Adventures TP
Superman Family Adventures Vol. 2 TP Kid Friendly
Swamp Thing #28
Trillium #6 (Of 8)
Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger #16 GM
Vampire Diaries #2
All-New Invaders #2
Avengers #25
Avengers A.I. #9
Avengers World #1
Black Widow #3
Captain America #16.NOW
Captain America Living Legend TP
Castle Richard Castle’s Storm Season TP
Deadpool By Posehn And Duggan Vol. 1 HC
Infinity HC
Infinity Heist The Hunt TB
Iron Man #21
Loki Agent Of Asgard #1
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #5 (Of 5)
Mighty Avengers #6
Ms. Marvel #1 New Series
New Avengers #14
Painkiller Jane The Price Of Freedom #4 (Of 4)
Punisher #1
Savage Wolverine Vol. 2 Hands On A Dead Body HC
Star-Lord Annihilation Conquest TP
Superior Carnage Annual #1
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #8
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #13
Wolverine #1 Relaunch
X-Men #10.NOW
X-Men Phalanx Covenant HC
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Deadworld Restoration #3 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE #13
Gate-Way #2 (Of 5)
Haunted Horror #9
Illegitimates #3 (Of 6)
Indestructible #3 (Of 4)
Judge Dredd Classics #8
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #2 (Of 5)
KISS Greatest Hits Vol. 5 TP
Locke And Key Vol. 6 Alpha And Omega HC
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #16 Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Pony Tales Vol. 2 TP Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #19 Kid Friendly
Red Light Properties GN
Sinister Dexter #3 (Of 7)
Spirit Rocketeer Pulp Friction #1 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Vol. 2 #4
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #26 (Dark Cybertron Part 8 Of 12)
Avatar The Last Airbender The Search Library Edition HC
Axe Cop Vol. 5 Axe Cop Gets Married And Other Stories TP
Bad Blood #2 (Of 5)
Baltimore Chapel Of Bones #2 (Of 2)
Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine #5 (Of 5)
Captain Midnight Vol. 1 On The Run TP
Catalyst Comix #8 (Of 9)
Conan The Phantoms Of The Black Coast TP
Creepy Archives Vol. 18 HC
EC Archives The Vault Of Horror Vol. 3 HC
Forbidden Worlds Archives Vol. 3 HC
Grimm’s Journal
Grindhouse Doors Open At Midnight #5 (Of 8)
Juice Squeezers #2 (Of 4)
Lobster Johnson Get The Lobster #1 (Of 5)
Marvel Classic Character X-Men #4 Beast
Mass Effect Foundation Vol. 1 TP
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #9
Occultist #5 (Of 5)
Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #7
Sherlock Holmes And The Vampires Of London HC
Star Wars #5 (Of 8)(Lucas Draft) GM
Star Wars Legacy Vol. 3 HC
Strain The Fall Vol. 1 TP
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #3 (Of 12)

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

BAM! 3 Kids’ Books from DC and Marvel with Girl Power

© Marvel

Superhero comic books aren’t for kids anymore. Thanks to some great efforts from DC Comics and Marvel Comics, however, superheroes are now gracing the pages of Little Golden Books and Step Into Reading books so that even  pint-sized fans can delve into their escapades.

To my daughter’s delight, three recent kids’ books focus on fearless females, uniquely appealing to budding readers who are also fans of Wonder Woman, the Avengers, and more.

Flower Power! (DC Super Friends)

flowerpower

© DC Comics

Wonder Woman and Batgirl take on the villainous Poison Ivy in this Little Golden Book released this month. As much as I love the Wonder Woman picture book from Ralph Cosentino, Flower Power! is a straightforward story better suited to a young reader aged 2-5. The book is filled with cheesy puns, carnivorous plants, a cackling criminal, and quick-thinking heroines. The bright, colorful pages are eye-catching and action-packed.

Wonder Woman even gets tied up by villainous vines, a (hopefully intentional) nod to her Golden Age adventures.

If your preschooler hasn’t yet had the chance to see Wonder Woman and Batgirl in action, Flower Power! is a non-scary way to get your kids in on comic book fun.

Black Widow Joins the Mighty Avengers

Black-Widow

© Marvel

If you thought it was impossible to make Black Widow kid-friendly, give Black Widow Joins the Mighty Avengers a try.

The book tells of Natasha Romanova and her early life learning to be a spy, living and training with her brother Alexi. To save him, Natasha turns to Nick Fury and the Avengers in their first mission fighting alongside each other.

School-aged kids who have The Avengers film memorized will love discovering this origin of Black Widow and seeing her in action with familiar faces like the Hulk and Captain America. (Or if they’re a little too young for The Avengers, here’s their chance to see them in an age-appropriate adventure.) The book also gives young readers their first glimpses at Ant-Man and Wasp, who will be making their own appearances in movie theaters soon.

Catch Catwoman! (DC Super Friends)

catwomanAlthough billed as a Step Into Reading book, Catch Catwoman! is also a rare opportunity to teach budding readers how to read a comic book.

The “comic reader” includes instructions for the way to read a comic panel by panel, top to bottom. This isn’t a complicated or even a very long story, aimed at kids just learning to read, so the simple book uses short, basic sentences and sparse dialogue to tell the tale.

In this adventure, Catwoman steals Green Lantern’s power ring, Batman’s utility belt, and more, and it takes the combined might of the Justice League to discover and catch the culprit.

A Wonder Woman-Batgirl team up, Black Widow origin story, and Catwoman with Green Lantern’s ring — am I the only one who wishes these were in the comic books for “grown ups” as well?

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Firefly, Superman & Batman, Firefly, Hello Kitty, & More

Batman gets the best lines in Superman / Batman \ Image: DC Comics

Batman gets the best lines in Superman/Batman \ Image: DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I take a look at Superman/Batman‘s search for Kryptonite, Kelly takes us into the world of Hello Kitty, Corrina gives us a look at some DC Comics titles coming out today, Lisa dives into Disney’s Seekers of the Weird, and Sophie takes a ride on Serenity

Dakster Sullivan — Superman/Batman: The Search for Kryponite, by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Shane Davis

Superman / Batman: Search for Kryptonite \ Image: DC Comics

Superman/Batman: Search for Kryptonite \ Image: DC Comics

Superman/Batman: The Search for Krypontite was my chosen read last night for #ComicBook365. I’m a big fan of this series, because, quite frankly, Batman gets some of the best lines. It’s an odd thing to find yourself laughing while reading the Dark Knight, but that’s what I found myself doing while reading this title.

The story looks at Superman as he realizes, to do his job safely, he needs to rid the world of Kryptonite. This sent up some red flags for me. Kryptonite is what makes him close to human. Despite his reservations, Batman agrees to help Superman rid the world of Kryptonite.

Along the way they battle Aquaman, Amanda Waller, and one villain I will leave a mystery. I will say that the mystery villain threw me through a major loop and I wonder how some of my fellow Superman fans would feel about this iconic character being turned into such a heartless disgrace for a human being.

My favorite part was how the story opened and the jokes between Batman and Superman that follow. I’d frame those pages if I had the wall space.

If you’re looking for a story with a nice balance of humor and seriousness, pick up Superman/Batman: The Search for Kryptonite.

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

Kelly Knox — Hello Kitty: Delicious! (Viz Media)

Hello Kitty is everywhere. And now, thanks to a team up between Viz Media and Sanrio, Hello Kitty and her friends even have their own series of graphic novels that will delight Hello Kitty fans of any age—even those who can’t read.

Hello Kitty: Delicious! reduced my preschooler to giggles by the time we got to the second page. Even with just a few words for sound effects, the stories are easy to follow and appeal to kids’ sense of humor. Hello Kitty’s adventures take her to another planet, a giant’s home, a night straight out of a spooky movie, and more—and of course, it’s all cute.

Artist Stephanie Buscema, who also worked on several My Little Pony comic book covers for IDW, contributes a few one-page shorts, which are just as adorable as the longer stories in the graphic novel.

Hello Kitty: Delicious \ Image:

Hello Kitty: Delicious \ Image: Viz Media

All of the experienced artists in the book do a phenomenal job of giving expressions and emotions to the simple Sanrio characters—who have no mouths.

If you’re looking for the first graphic novel for a young girl or Sanrio fan, Hello Kitty: Delicious! is a fantastic place to start.

Lisa Tate — Seekers of the Wierd #1, by Brandon Seifert and Karl Moline

Seekers of the Weird Issue #1 \ Image: Marvel

Seekers of the Weird Issue #1 \ Image: Marvel

It would seem a Marvel Comic based on the nostalgic origins of a favorite Disneyland attraction complete with the creative guidance of Marvel bigwigs like Joe Quesada and a handful of Disney imagineers would leave no room for disappointment. Unfortunately, Disney’s Kingdoms Seekers of the Weird Issue One does, but only slightly.

Written by Brandon Seifert with the collective art team of pencils by Karl Moline, Rick Magyar as inker, and color by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, the all ages comic was inspired by Disney legend Rolly Crump’s concept designs of the Museum of the Weird, the original walk-through attraction that evolved into Disneyland Park’s Haunted Mansion.

I think where this idea falls a little short is that it strove to get so many tributes to the attraction in the story that it left little room for character building. The story takes place in New Orleans, a great tribute to the setting of the current Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square, and takes a high-school aged brother and sister Maxwell and Melody Keep on a journey to recover their oddity-loving parents from their would-be captors of reanimated weird taxidermy. Enter the elusive adventure-loving Uncle Roland (another shout-out to Rolly himself) and a mysterious door, which may lead to the answers they seek.

This is a first issue, so I expect to dig a little deeper into Maxwell and Melody’s story, but I would purchase this one based more on the fun game of finding the many references to Crump’s designs. For those who love the art of Disney, especially its treasure chest of concept art, this is a treat. The cover by Michael Del Mundo is fun and quirky, but I recommend the true Disney aficionado get a hold of the variant cover by Crump depicting his concept of the coffin Grandfather clock (although the Brian Crosby steampunk-like variant is also a good choice). Not really a bad first issue, but I expect to see bigger things from it in the follow-up.

Corrina — SPOILER WARNINGS FOR THIS WEEK’S DC COMICS

The Flash New 52 #27 \ Image: DC Comics

The Flash New 52 #27 \ Image: DC Comics

Earth-2 Annual #2, Tom Taylor, writer; Robson Rocha, pencils; Scott Hanna, inks.

Okay..psst…here’s the biggest spoiler of the week: The new Earth-2 Batman who is replacing the dead Earth-2 Bruce Wayne is..Thomas Wayne, his father. This is a good thing.

Of late, I find myself far more interested in this alternate universe maybe because it’s a consistent vision and seems to be far more imaginative in recreating the DC universe than the regular DC Universe. Lois Lane as the new Red Tornado, for instance.

In this flashback story, titled “Origin,” Thomas Wayne survives the infamous shooting in Crime Alley, knows it was his friendship with mobsters behind the tragedy, and sets out to gain revenge. It’s great to see the Earth-2 Bruce, and I like this version of Thomas Wayne as a very broken man who’s screwed up and trying to stay on the straight-and-narrow out of respect for the memory of his son. Special mention to the artists for giving Thomas a very distinctive look.

But I will still pout for a while that, once again, Martha Wayne is just..there. With no personality except to die.

Worlds’ Finest Annual #1, Paul Levitz, writers; Diogenes Neves, pencils; Marc Deerining, inks.

Meanwhile, this annual tackles the adventures of Thomas’ granddaughter, Helena Wayne, and her crimefighter partner, Power Girl. This flashback adventure takes place on their original home, Earth-2, and concerns an early case they investigated as Robin and Supergirl, their Earth-2 identities. The strength of this series is the relationship between the two leads and that’s true here as well, with each showcasing their strengths. At the end, they run into Wonder Woman and her daughter, Fury, who seems to be on the side of evil.

I hope Fury isn’t really Darkseid’s daughter and was just stolen from Wonder Woman as a child because otherwise, ick, ick.

After reading these two annuals back to back, I hope Huntress and Power Girl end up back on Earth-2 soon as I anticipate a fascinating relationship between Thomas and Helena.

Flash #27, Brian Buccellato, writer; Patrick Zircher, art.

This first issue by a new creative team is not nearly as fun as last week’s awesome fill-in but it does represent an excellent jumping on point for new readers. Barry Allen is in full police scientist mode, there’s a new mystery to solve concerning a mass grave that might also involve the real killer of Barry’s mother, and we get to see Flash play with some second-rate Rogues. Note: This Barry is very much in sync with Barry Allen on Arrow, though this one is blond and a little bit older.

Green Lantern Corps Annual #2, Script by Van Jensen, co-plot by Robert Venditti, art by Neil Edwards, villain origins art by Tom Derenick.

Um? What? What the heck is going on here? I’m very much lost. The issue contains lots of Lanterns, Khunds (hey, I know those guys from the Legion of Super-Heroes), Durlans (ditto!), lots of fighting, and numerous flashbacks designed to fill me in, I assume, on who everyone is, but they only stand to make the story more confusing. Also, John Stewart shows up in his boxers. That part isn’t quite so bad.

But overall, for this first time reader, this is a hot mess (perhaps due to the numerous creators?) but I suspect it’s far more readable for long-time fans of the series. And one personal pet peeve: Why do all the skeevy alien/lizard types want naked human women? Just once, I want to see a debauched alien who likes something completely weird and, well, ALIEN.

Batman & Robin on the cover of Batman and Robin Annual #2.

Just how is this Robin costume less flashy than the blue Nightwing one? From the cover of Batman & Robin Annual #2, copyright DC Comics

Batman & Robin Annual #2, Peter J. Tomasi, writer; Doug Mahnke with Pat Gleason, art.

Finally, an adventure between the original Batman and Robin, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. I was excited when I picked the issue up but oddly deflated when I finished. It’s because the Bruce/Dick relationship is so changed. Before, Bruce was clearly Dick’s father-figure/mentor, and now he’s more like his older brother. It doesn’t sit right with me. Plus, I’m starting to get confused by what happened before DC rebooted and what happened with Batman and his Robins after the reboot. It’s getting so the Bat-Family is just a reboot behind the Legion of Super-Heroes and Hawkman. That’s never good.

But I liked Dick Grayson’s characterization: his sense of fun, and his fearlessness. And more Dick and Damian scenes are always good. One thing confused me: Dick’s original idea for his first costume is very similar to his former Nightwing costume with the light blue on dark blue. But Batman rejects this one because it’s too flashy. So then Dick wears the Robin costume (alas, no pixie boots).

How is the Robin costume less flashy than blue on blue? The mind boggles.

 Sophie Brown — Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1, by Joss Whedon

Serenity #1 \ Image: IDW Publishing

Serenity #1 \ Image: IDW Publishing

Firefly is back! It’s the sentence countless people have been waiting to hear and although we’d all rather it was returning to our screens, the new comic series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind will at least be continuing the story.

Issue one picks up after the events of the film Serenity and does not hesitate to leap straight into the ramifications from those events that have now spread across the system (NB, for those of us who have read the Serenity comic released on Free Comic Book Day 2012, that issue appears to fit between the film and this new series). We see the effect that the Miranda revelation had on both Alliance-controlled worlds and in the outlying regions, as well as how the Alliance themselves are dealing with the new threat poised by Mal and his crew.

On board Serenity herself there have been some significant changes.

Relationships have shifted and people have changed since we last saw these characters, but all the progressions feel natural. The new status quo aboard the ship feels like it is where we would have naturally found ourselves if the TV show had been allowed to continued, and with Zack Whedon on writer duties we can probably be assured that this is the case.

Every character feels accurate, if not in the artwork which feels a little off for certain individuals (Mal especially) but in their speech. The issue also strikes a nice balance between action and downtime, humor and heartbreaking emotion—the latter rearing its head as Zoe prepares for bed. We also get our first ever glimpse of Ma Cobb, and she appears to be knitting something rather spectacular!

Serenity: Leaves on The Wind is currently only a six-part miniseries but it has the potential to become another ongoing Whedonverse franchise ala Buffy and Angel. If issue one sets the quality level for the rest of this series, then I really hope the series gets picked up, because I for one need more of these wonderful people. It’s time for some more thrilling heroics!

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

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

Adventures Of Superman #9
All-Star Western #27
Aquaman #27
Batman And Robin Annual #2
Batman Batman And Son TP
Batman The Dark Knight #27
Beware The Batman #4 Kid Friendly
Catwoman #27
Damian Son Of Batman #4 (Of 4)
Dead Boy Detectives #2
Earth 2 Annual #2
Fables #137
Flash #27
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #4 (Of 6)
Green Lantern Corps Annual #2
Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 2 Beyond Hope TP
Green Lantern New Guardians Vol. 3 Love And Death HC
Green Team Teen Trillionaires #8 (Final Issue)
Justice League Dark #27
Justice League Dark Vol. 3 The Death Of Magic TP
Larfleeze #7
Red Lanterns #27
Smallville Season 11 Special #4
Superman #27
Talon #15
Teen Titans #27
Unwritten Vol. 8 Orpheus In The Underworld TP
Worlds’ Finest Annual #1 GM
Amazing Spider-Man The Movie Adaptation #1 (Of 2)
Avengers Assemble #23.INH
Cable And X-Force Vol. 3 This Won’t End Well TP
Cataclysm The Ultimates’ Last Stand #4 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #11.NOW GM
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Angela HC GM
Inhumanity #2
Marvel Masterworks The X-Men Vol. 6 TP
Marvel Previews #126 (February 2014 For Products On-Sale April 2014)
Marvel Universe Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H. #4 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
Miracleman #2
Night Of The Living Deadpool #2 (Of 4)
Revolutionary War Knights Of Pendragon #1
Superior Carnage TP
Superior Spider-Man #26
Thor God Of Thunder #18
Thunderbolts #21
Thunderbolts Vol. 3 Infinity TP
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 5 HC
Uncanny Avengers #16
Uncanny X-Force #17
Warlock By Jim Starlin The Complete Collection TP
X-Men Legacy #23
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 2 HC
Ghostbusters #12
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #8
Half Past Danger HC
John Romita’s Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 Artist’s Edition HC
Library Of American Comics Essentials Vol. 4 Alley Oop 1939 HC
Mr Peabody And Sherman #4 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
Mr Peabody And Sherman TP Kid Friendly
Other Dead #5 (Of 6)
Star Trek #29
Superman Golden Age Sundays 1943-1946 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #30 GM
Transformers Regeneration One #98
Transformers The IDW Collection Vol. 3 HC
Conan And The People Of The Black Circle #4 (Of 4)
Furious #1 (Of 5)
Gantz Vol. 30 TP
Never Ending #3 (Of 3)
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #1 (Of 6) GM
Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #3 (Of 3)

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Watson & Holmes, Owly, The X-Files, and more

Image from New Paradigm Studios

Watson & Holmes #6, image via New Paradigm Studios

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week Corrina takes us through the mysterious world of Watson & Holmes, while Dakster goes on a journey into a little owl’s world in Owly. Sophie continues her exploration of the strange in The X-Files Conspiracy. Lisa gets excited over Legendary and Kay takes some time to enjoy Parker: Slayground.

Dakster Sullivan — Owly Volume 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer, by Andy Runton

Continuing in my #ComicBook365 resolution, I read Owly Volume 1 this past week. I had a migraine when reading this the other night, so I was only able to make it through the first story in the book. This isn’t my first trip into Owly’s world. I recommended him two years ago in my Comic Books for Kids post here on GeekMom. He’s a great character to introduce young children to comic books and since Andy Runton uses Owly’s expressions instead of his words to tell the story, it’s perfect for children who can’t read yet.

Owly is a kind-hearted owl who takes care of those around him. The sad part is that many of the animals he meets are afraid of him, I’m guessing because of his size. The first story in the volume shows us how Owly feels when other animals run away from him and we get to see one little guy overcome him fear after Owly saves his life. Even with no words, the story is very touching and one that I would read again and again.

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

Corrina — Watson & Holmes #6 by Brandon Easton, writer, and N. Steven Harris, artist

This series re-imagines Watson & Holmes as African-American crime solvers in modern Harlem, an excellent idea, and I’m sorry I’ve missed the existence of the comic for the first five issues. Watson is still an Afghanistan war veteran and doctor and Holmes is an unusual private investigator, but the dynamic is slightly shifted, as Watson is definitely the muscle of the series, and, at least in this issue, takes center stage from the detective. As I love a competent Watson, this completely worked for me. In this issue, “The Case of Mr. and Mrs. Gemini,” the pair get involved in the murder of a young woman and soon are plunged into the world of human trafficking and how dangerous it can be for the LGBT community.

The mystery worked well, with no easy answers, and this Watson and Holmes are engaging.  I’m going to have to search out the first five issues now.

Justice League #27 (Forever Evil tie-in): Geoff Johns, writer, Ivan Reis, layouts: This is the worst and best of Geoff Johns’ style of comic writing, all in a single issue. The worst: Some unknown version of the Doom Patrol faces off against two alternate universe villains. The Patrol teenagers are, naturally, killed off and in such a gratuitous way it might as well be a snuff film. The best: After that’s over, the story cuts to Cyborg, rising from the ashes of his defeat in the beginning of this event to take up the hero’s mantle again. Ugh to..um..yay?

Harley Quinn #2: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Chad Hardin and Stephane Roux, artists. How can a comic starring DC’s most well-known psychopath committing murder be so much fun? But it is. It helps that the hit men after Harley are worse than she is, that Harley really wants to rescue dogs and cats destined to be put to sleep, and that Harley’s BFF (and possibly more) Poison Ivy pays her gal pal a visit. There is a sleepover.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse #1: Mike Carey and Peter Gross, story and art. I had absolutely no idea what this book would be about when I picked it up and it took me a while to sort out the meaning in the lead character’s traveling through some very familiar childhood stories, including Alice in Wonderland. But it was absolutely engrossing and full of commentary about how our stories shape us. My 14-year-old son read it first and handed it to me, saying, “You must READ this.” Good advice.

Kay Moore — Parker: Slayground (vol. 4) by Darwyn Cooke

Slayground \ Image: Dynamite Comics

Slayground \ Image: Dynamite Comics

The cold, empty, outre, setting of a deserted park and the snowy covering and starklighting work together with Cooke’s limited pale palette of white, black, and pale blue to set a lowering and threatening mood that serves the story well. I find the visuals in the Parker stories striking and iconic. To see them is to think “martini” and “Rat Pack.” I can easily recognize Parker pages even when there are no words or other pointers to clarify the source. Take a look at a sample and I am sure you’ll agree.

This story focuses almost entirely on Parker’s character. Others come and go but they are just bouncing off of Parker, dimmed by his shadow, out on the margins. I haven’t read the source novels, but I believe this must be a more severe adaptation than the earlier volumes. For one thing, the “Slayground” story is 86 pages long and the volume is filled out with “The 7th,” a short story. In all these graphic novels, Parker is ruthless, single minded, analytic, and disciplined. He doesn’t have superpowers but he has that kind of deep experience that makes a person invaluable and enviable. I see shades of MacGyver, John McClane, and James Bond, but mostly Vito Corleone.

Overall, the story is not quite as rich and enjoyable as the earlier ones, but it has moments that stand out, and it is a fine addition to the series. I don’t recommend this as your introduction to the series, but if you are collecting, don’t skip it. Parker novels are filled with violence and jaded world views. Suggested for 17 and over. Available in print and digitally, 96 pages (86 “Slayground,” 10 “The 7th,” fold-out map).

Lisa Tate — Legenderry, by Bill Willingham and Sergio Davila

Legenderry \ Image: IDW Publishing

Legenderry \ Image: IDW Publishing

Legenderry, the new steampunk adventure from Dynamite Comics by writer Bill Willingham (Fables) and illustrator Sergio Davila (Red Sonja), takes you on a graphic, and sometimes gruesome, tour of The Big City, literally at first. The tour’s first stop is the Scarlet Club owned by a very pale, very violent familiar looking femme fatale, the steampunk version of Vampirella.

She’s just the first of the Dynamite characters that will get a steampunk treatment: The series will introduce similar steam-era versions of Green Hornet and Kato, Red Sonja, Six Million Dollar Man, Zorro, Phantom, Captain Victory, and others. Legenderry is part Dynamite multiverse, with an Astro City sense of place and the sensibility of Mark Waid’s short-lived and stylish Ruse, the later of which I thought was ahead of its time in the steampunk world.

Issue One started out with a gory but fun bang, and I hope they are able to sustain that momentum with Green Hornet in the next issue. So far, Legenderry looks like it should be pretty interesting journey, or an least attractive one in the very least.

Chapter One of Legenderry, Ceremonies of Dark Men and Scarlet Women, is now available.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters

The X-Files Conspiracy continues apace with this second installment which sees our unlikely trio of heroes meeting up with the Ghostbusters. Mulder and Scully have been left behind this time out so the Gunmen take center stage in their own investigations, starting out with a visit to Ghostbusters HQ. It’s a fun twist to have our three conspiracy nutters playing the part of the skeptics. “Well I think it’s clear that these guys are frauds,” Byers announces right off the bat cueing up a conversation about just what the Ghostbusters might really be up to. “Man I HATE creative evil scientists,” Frohike sighs by the end.

I don’t read the Ghostbusters comic series so I was a little unsure of the timeline going into this. Certainly the characters seem to look the same age as they appeared in the original movie but the Ghostbusters wiki places the IDW series around 1994/5 and Conspiracy is set in 2014. I just tried to ignore the discrepancies and focus on the story, assuming that as this event series is decidedly NON-canon our timelines can be pretty much anywhere.

Sadly very little happens in this installment. The Gunmen poke around and cause a little mayhem as is their way, the Ghostbusters arrive and sort things out (as is theirs), and everyone has a nice little chat about theoretical physics in the garage.

Honestly the threads used to tie the Ghostbusters into this plot feel rather tenuous at best. Having Dr. Spengler (I think, I found it hard to work out exactly who was who) create the link to CERN makes sense but really, using ghosts as messengers capable of transferring data through time, it feels clumsy and smacks of crowbarring these characters into a plot that didn’t really need them. Even the Gunmen leave thinking that this was all a waste of their time. Luckily the rest of the plot is quite cute and often funny—especially Frohike’s interactions with Janine—and simply having these two groups of characters interacting and aware of each other’s histories makes up for the dubious plot.

Next up is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue and I really hope we’ll see some better plotting and further development of the overall story arc because this is a franchise I am wholly unfamiliar with. Amaze me guys…

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

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

Animal Man #27
Animal Man Vol. 5 The Meaning Of Flesh TP
Batman #27
Batman ’66 #7
Batman And Two-Face #27
Batman Beyond Universe #6
Batwing Vol. 3 Enemy Of The State TP
Batwoman #27
Birds Of Prey #27
Green Lantern New Guardians #27 GM
Harley Quinn #2 GM
Justice League #27 GM
Planetary Omnibus HC
Preacher Vol. 3 TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws #27
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #1
Supergirl #27
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #7
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #1
Wonder Woman #27
All-New Invaders #1
All-New X-Factor #2
All-New X-Men #22.NOW
Avengers #25
Avengers World #2
Black Widow #2 NEW SERIES
Cable And X-Force #19
Captain America #15
Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #3 (Of 3)
FF #16 (Final Issue)
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act One #1 (Of 5)
Hawkeye #16 GM
Indestructible Hulk #18.INH
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 1 Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. TP
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 3 S.M.A.S.H. Time HC
Iron Man #20.INH
Marvel Knights X-Men #3 (Of 5)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #22
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Digest Vol. 5 TP
Mighty Avengers #5.INH
Origin II #2 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #9
Thunderbolts #20.NOW
Wolverine And The X-Men #40
Wolverine By Larry Hama And Marc Silvestri Vol. 2 TP
X-Factor By Peter David The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
X-Men #9
X-Men The Road To Onslaught Vol. 1 TP
Young Avengers Vol. 2 Alternative Culture TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Ben 10 #3 Kid Friendly
Berkeley Breathed’s Outland The Complete Collection HC (Signed & Numbered Edition)
Jacky’s Diary HC
Jinnrise #9
Judge Dredd #15
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #1 (Of 5)
Magic The Gathering Theros #4 (Of 5)
Mr Peabody And Sherman #3 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friends Forever #1 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #4 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Utrom Empire #1 (Of 3)
Transformers Robots In Disguise #25 (Dark Cybertron Part 7 Of 12)
X-Files Conspiracy Ghostbusters #1 GM
Amala’s Blade Spirits Of Naamaron TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Vol. 7 A Cold Day In Hell TP
Blade Of The Immortal Vol. 28 Raining Chaos TP
Captain Midnight #7
Conan The Barbarian #24
Conan Vol. 15 The Nightmare Of The Shallows HC
Dark Horse Presents #32
Eerie Archives Vol. 15 HC
Elfquest The Final Quest #1
Mass Effect Foundation #7
Massive #19
Mind MGMT #18
Star Wars Legacy II #11

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Justice League Beyond, Vampire Diaries, and X-Files

Justice League Beyond \ Image: DC Comics

Justice League Beyond \ Image: DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week Sophie takes us back into the world of The X-Files, while Dakster discovers a new universe in Justice League Beyond and Corrina takes a look at Vampire Diaries

Dakster Sullivan — Justice League Beyond #1 by, Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen

As part of my #ComicBook365 goal this year, I picked up Justice League Beyond #1 and I was pleasantly surprised at how addicting it was. I remember Batman Beyond as a kid and loved the idea of a new Batman taking the reigns from Bruce. Justice League Beyond carries that same line of thinking and expands it to the entire Justice League team.

The first issue of Justice League Beyond wasn’t much more than a smash and grab job in terms of story. We barely get introduced to the team when the issue ends, but since it’s a weekly digital series, shorter issues are to be expected. Don’t be distraught though, because with each new character they introduce, the writers gave a list of specs for you so you know who is who.

Since DC Comics canceled Ame-Comi Girls (something I still haven’t fully forgiven them for), I’ve been in need of a new comic book series that’s released weekly and Justice League Beyond is slowing starting to fill that slot. Corrina also had praise for the Beyond-based comics. 

Justice League Beyond was recently renamed under the heading Justice League Beyond 2.0 and is released every Saturday on Comixology.

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

Corrina — Vampire Diaries by Colleen Doran and Tony Shasteen

Vampire Diaries #1

Vampire Diaries #1

I have never watched an episode of Vampire Diaries and I have no familiarity with the characters. The drawn for this comic to me was Colleen Doran’s name in the credits. I wondered if I could enjoy the story or even make sense given all this.

I did and it does.

I’m not sure what fans of the show will make of the story but it’s a nice, snarky tale of two vampire brothers (they act like brothers) who make a deal with a witch (a very scummy guy) to get rid of all the vervain in the town where the vampires live. (Vervain being a substance deadly to vampire in this universe.) In exchange, the witch gets immortality.

Times change, vervain shows up everywhere anyway, and the vampires want to break the deal with the witch. Since this means the witch will die, he’s pretty opposed to the deal and, well, since the vampires appear to the the stars of the show, it’s no surprise that they win. But the journey is surprisingly fun and snarky. If the tone of the show is anything like this comic, I should check it out.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Conspiracy #1 and The X-Files Season 10 #10 Directors Cut

X-Files Directors Cut \ Image: IDW Publishing

X-Files Directors Cut \ Image: IDW Publishing

When I first read the outline for X-Files: Conspiracy I thought someone was pranking me. A short-run comic series that brings together the X-Files universe with the Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and The Crow – honestly it sounds like someone’s 4am LSD-fueled fan fiction. That being said I was excited to see what the writers had come up with and read the first issue as soon as it was released. It wasn’t nearly what I expected.

Firstly, the plot is actually pretty serious. OK, so you’ve got The Lone Gunmen – X-Files’ comedy relief trio – taking point, so the ratio of humorous banter to dramatic plot twists is considerably higher than we’re used to from Chris Carter’s universe, but what they’re facing is pretty damn terrifying. The series kicks off with the Gunmen receiving encrypted documents from an address at CERN, documents dated in the future that hint at a devastating plague about to be unleashed.

Enter Mulder and Scully who are doing what they do best although it’s unclear whether or not they’re actually with the Bureau in this alt-universe – they’re certainly not wearing any ID to that end. Both agents are skeptical about the Gunmen’s discoveries (pretty rich from a guy who back in season five decided that some semi-invisible humanoid creatures in a forest were in fact the highly evolved descendants of Ponce de Leon based on pretty much naff all) but Mulder is swayed soon enough. Then the action really begins. There’s death, huge fireballs, Scully talking science-stuff, and a cliffhanger, everything you’d expect from the show.

Issue #1 is purely set-up and the next issues are when we’ll see the introduction of characters from outside this universe, beginning with the Ghostbusters, so I’m still curious to see how those will be handled. For now this has the feel of a fairly typical science-experiment-gone-bad episode.

The artwork and coloring, it has to be said, is rather dubious at times. Mulder and Scully show up to a crime scene in what appear to be matching leather jackets, Mulder’s forehead is often large enough to require clearance from the FAA, and as a fellow X-Files blogger pointed out to me, Scully’s eyes are the wrong color. Even her hair looks strange as it’s clearly brown rather than red in most scenes. 30 seconds playing around in Photoshop and I was looking at a character who was distinctly more Scully than the one in print. Is it a deal breaker? No, but for die-hard fans it’s off-putting and makes you wonder what else has been overlooked.

X-Files Season 10 #1 Director’s Cut
It’s been seven months since The X-Files Season 10 debuted in comics and the series has already been making significant waves, including nominations for two Diamond Gem Awards (2013 Licensed Comic of The Year and Best New Comic Book Series). This expanded release of the series’ first issue includes extra details on the development of the series.

The first half of the book is simply a complete copy of issue one with no extra details (excluding the correction made in the issues reprints) but it’s later on that the really interesting stuff begins. First up, there’s an art gallery from Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire that shows off some concept sketches for characters.

Next we get a letter from series author Joe Harris talking about growing up with the show and coming aboard as the writer for Season 10. He goes on to analyse the comic page by page from the viewpoint of someone who has already read the complete five-issue arc. There are interesting tidbits about scenes that were omitted and why certain characters and situations were included.

I found Harris’ reasoning on Scully’s new identity particularly interesting and the discussion about the appearance of a child named “Emily” suitably obtuse from an X-Files writer. It did, however, prove the point that Harris is listening to fans and thinking about their reactions to every little detail, something I found immensely reassuring. The occasional bits of redacted text that hint at future stories is more than a little frustrating. What’s under those black lines?!

The final part of the issue is a complete copy of the final script. For me this was a big highlight of the issue as it really proves the extent of research that was undertaken for this series. Harris fills his script with notes for the artists and other readers. There are even photos included, such as the style of font he wants used for the time location stamps or specific shots of Scully from the show to point out something he considers iconic about her mouth. He also explains to those reading the script why certain seemingly irrelevant pieces of dialogue are important and will be appreciated by fans (note to Mr Harris – they were).

If you haven’t been reading Season 10 or are only casually reading it, then this expanded edition will be of no interest to you. If, however, you are one of the many fans like me who pore over each panel looking for clues about what’s really going on, who engage in heated discussions about whether characters are really who they seem, and who can tear a storyline to shreds because of a single incorrect pronoun (*ahem* issue one, page 10, panel two) then you will devour this. I only hope we might get similar insights about future issues, because with The X-Files there’s always more than meets the eye.

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

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

Astro City #8
Batgirl #27 GM
Batman Li’l Gotham #10 Kid Friendly
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 3 Mad HC
Coffin Hill #4
Constantine #10
Creature Commandos TP
DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe #4 (Of 6) GM
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #4 (Of 6)
Green Lantern Corps #27
Injustice Year Two #1
Justice League 3000 #2
Justice League Of America #11
Nightwing #27
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #41 Kid Friendly
Suicide Squad #27
Superboy #27
Superman Wonder Woman #4
Worlds’ Finest #19 GM
All-New X-Men #21 GM
Amazing X-Men #3 GM
Avengers Arena Vol. 3 Boss Level TP
Avengers Vol. 4 Infinity HC
Cataclysm The Ultimates #3 (Of 3)
Daredevil #35 GM
Deadpool The Gauntlet #1
Dexter HC (Premiere Edition)
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird #1 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four #16 (Final Issue)
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 17 All In The Family TP
Inhumanity Superior Spider-Man #1
Marvel Knights Hulk #2 (Of 4)
Marvel Masterworks The Sub-Mariner Vol. 5 HC
Miracleman #1
Night Of The Living Deadpool #1 (Of 4)
Nova #12 GM
Revolutionary War Dark Angel #1
Secret Avengers #14
Superior Carnage #1 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #25
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 4 Necessary Evil TP
Thor God Of Thunder #17
Thor God Of Thunder Vol. 1 The God Butcher TP
Thunderbolts #20.NOW
Uncanny Avengers #14
Uncanny X-Force #16
Uncanny X-Men #16
Wolverine MAX #15 (Final Issue)
X-Men Legacy #22
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Ben 10 #3
Black Dynamite #1 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #198
G.I. JOE Special Missions #11
G.I. JOE Special Missions Vol. 2 TP
Gate-Way #1 (Of 5)
Illegitimates #2 (Of 6)
Indestructible #2 (Of 4)
KISS Kids TP
Magic The Gathering Theros #3 (Of 4)
Maxx Maxximized #3
Mr Peabody And Sherman #3 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #15 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #18 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls #5 Kid Friendly
Rio The Complete Collection TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual Deluxe HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #7 Kid Friendly
Tim Bradstreet The Sketchbook Series Vol. 1 TP
Torpedo Vol. 5 TP
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #25 (Dark Cybertron Part 6 Of 12)
Triple Helix #4 (Of 4)
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #3 (Of 7)
X-Files Conspiracy #1 (Of 2)
X-Files Season 10 #1 (Director’s Cut Edition) GM
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #115
Clown Fatale #3 (Of 4)
Kiss Me Satan #5 (Of 5)
Monsters And Other Stories TP
S.H.O.O.T. First #4 (Of 4)
Skyman #1 (Of 4)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Cry Of Shadows #2 (Of 5)
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force War #3 (Of 5)
Strain The Fall #7
X #9
X Vol. 1 Big Bad TP

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Batmen, X-Files, 47 Ronin and Elmo

Street Fighter Vol. 1

Street Fighter Vol. 1

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Corrina takes a look at the various grim versions of Batman running around the DC Universe, Dakster reviews Street Fighter, Melody and Ella look at a great Elmo comic for kids, Sophie dives back into The X-Files, and Kelly goes diving with Aquaman in Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis.

Dakster Sullivan — Street Fighter Vol. 1 by, Ken Siu-Chong

Thanks to a sale on Comixology this weekend, I was able to pick up volume one of Street Fighter for $4.99 (regularly $7.99). I wasn’t sure about it at first, but one of my Twitter friends, and fellow comic book enthusiast, @PhillyDaveGuy, convinced me it was worth a shot.

I’m glad I did, because it was a nice break in my Sunday and showed me that superhero comics aren’t the only thing worth reading.

Most of the story focused on the murder of two characters, Charlie Nash and Master Gouken, and the journey their friends take to avenge them. Reyu was my favorite character, because of his devotion to his master and trying to avenge him while still paying attention to his master’s teachings. Even though I’m only briefly familiar with the characters in the Street Fighter Capcom game, the writers did a nice job filling in readers with the “who and what” in the story.

I enjoyed the inclusion of strong female characters who could handle their own in a fight. Okay, so a few of them were on the wrong side, but they still count. Overall,  I never felt lost when they bounced between Charlie and Gouken’s story. In the end, both characters’ stories started merging and what’s left is a nice ending and a lead in to volume 2.

Street Fighter is recommended for ages 12 and up, because of violence and some hard language.

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

Corrina–Justice League #25: Forever Evil, Geoff Johns, writer, and Doug Mahnke, artistJustice League 3000 #1, Keith Giffen, plot, J.M. DeMatteis, dialogue, Howard Porter, artist; Earth 2 #18, Tom Taylor, writer,  Nicola Scott, penciller, Superman/Wonder Woman #3 Charles Soule, writer, Tony Daniel, art; and, from Vertigo,  Coffin Hill #3 Caitlin Kittredge, writer, Inaki Miranda, artist.

Justice League #25 cover, copyright DC Comics

Justice League #25 cover, copyright DC Comics

Welcome to the DC Universe, where there are several current versions of Batman running around, each more grimdark or evil than the last.

The award for most evil goes to Owlman in Justice League #25, part of the Forever Evil event that has the super-powered Crime Syndicate taking over the DC Earth. As if Batman’s origin wasn’t dark enough, Owlman’s origin takes it a step further and adds a dead kid and some nasty intent. Then we get the origin of Dick Grayson in the Syndicate’s twisted world and, yes, yet another dead kid is added to the Flying Grayson’s circus deaths. (Though evil Grayson himself seems to have been the least dark of all the heroes from this alternate Earth.) Elsewhere in the issue, Plastic Man is born into the new 52. But no dead kids in his origin! How will he ever cope?

Kudos to Mahnke for making this issue mostly moody and atmospheric rather than gory and bloody.

In Justice League 3000 #1, what seems to be the classic Justice League has been brought back to life in the far-flung future for an unknown purpose.

Except this League is a lot nastier than the original League, perhaps a problem with their genetic programming by the duo ironically termed the “Wonder Twins.” There’s a great deal of meta-commentary on the current grim state of the regular DC Universe, with several characters telling Flash he used to be a lot more fun and saying Wonder Woman is the same–wait, maybe she’s a tad bloodthirstier than previously. (Though the implication is that she’s far too bloodthirsty in her current incarnation, to which I can only add “amen.”) If this was more over-the-top, it would be a lot of fun but it’s played mostly straight. With everyone being so unlikeable and one-note nasty, I’m not sure why I should keep reading, other than Porter’s really cool kinetic art. Kevin Maguire was originally supposed to be the artist for this series but he was fired before publication. “I’ve been told they wanted a book that was “dark and gritty”, so I’m perplexed as to why they chose us for that,” Maguire said in an interview at Comic Book Resources in August.

That may explain a few things as to how this issue turned out.

Coffin Hill #3 cover, Copyright Vertigo Comics.

Coffin Hill #3 cover, Copyright Vertigo Comics.

A comic that came out a week ago, Earth 2 #18, also had a darker version of Batman than the familiar Bruce Wayne, though this Batman is closer to being a good guy than the alternate and future versions.

Previously on Earth-2, a Superman brainwashed/controlled by Darkseid was wrecking havoc on Earth-2 (just one alternate world away from the regular DC Earth). Earth-2 heroes have scattered, for the most part, to regroup. In this issue, the new Red Tornado, inhabited by the mind of Lois Lane, joins forces with the new, mysterious Batman to free several heroes kept captive by the government, including a super-hacker version of Jimmy Olsen. But to show this is not your regular universe Batman (and he’s definitely not any version of Bruce Wayne), Earth-2 Batman frees the Joker only to put a bullet through his brain. It’s a measure of how dark the regular DC Earth is that I thought, “well, why is this so shocking?”

Still, I’m very curious to this Batman’s identity. Thomas Wayne Jr., Bruce’s long-lost brother? James Gordon Jr. being a good guy? Dick Grayson? Terry McGuinness? Another fan theory is that this is the real Superman and the one Darkseid is using is a Bizarro clone. We’ll see, though a now-deleted Tweet from last month seemed to indicate it’s Thomas Wayne Jr.

Superman/Wonder Woman #3 does have our regular heroes being heroic in it (whew!) and it’s mostly about the relationship, save for the first appearance of Zod in the new 52.

So far, Zod’s only menacing and not really a bad guy, and he seems sincere or else he can beat Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth. Superman remains unsure of Zod’s motivation despite that and keeps him a prisoner until he can sort it out. I predict this will not end well.

As for the title relationship…well, let’s just say Superman and Batman have more chemistry in this issue than the supposed hot couple, possibly because the relationship talk is a little too on-the-nose or perhaps because no writer could make this relationship of two perfectly pretty powerful people interesting.

Over in Vertigo, the horror story Coffin Hill was a breath of fresh air, as it was exactly what it claimed to be: a spooky, adult, New England, gothic-horror story featuring witches, spells, and an unknown demon out for children. I’m still not sure if title character, Eve Coffin, is out for redemption or will end up reclaiming her dark side, but I love the way the mystery is being peeled back bit by bit.

Corrina received these review items for promotional purposes.

Kelly Knox – Justice League: Throne of Atlantis HC (DC Comics), Written by Geoff Johns, Art by Ivan Reis

One of the first big events for the Justice League this year, Throne of Atlantis includes issues from Justice League and Aquaman. The hard cover collection opens with a Wonder Woman-centric story that isn’t related to the rest of the book, but still works well to establish the characters in the fledgling Justice League of the New 52.

Throne of Atlantis (Art by Ivan Reis) © DC Comics

The main story centers on Aquaman and his battle with the Ocean Master as an army from Atlantis is provoked into taking action against the human world. Gotham, Metropolis, and Boston are under siege from the ocean, masterfully depicted by artist Ivan Reis. As someone who never really followed much of Aquaman’s story, I found myself intrigued by the crossover of the event more than I expected — and for the first time ever, I’m considering picking up issues of Aquaman to see the continuing story play out.

This book is my first good look at the budding relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman, and while I’m still not a fan, I appreciate seeing it build up and become established over time.

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is a good standalone collection if you’re looking to get your feet wet with the Justice League of the New 52 (see what I did there?).

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Lisa Tate– 47 Ronin written by Mike Richardson and art by Stan Sakai

47 Ronin \ Image: Dark Horse

47 Ronin \ Image: Dark Horse

I’ve been seeing the hype for the new fantasy adventure movie coming out Christmas Day, 47 Ronin, based on the Japanese tale of the 47 Ronin (master-less samurai), and their epic struggle to avenge a former disgraced master.

Although the movie doesn’t have any direct connection to the five-issue Dark Horse comic of the same name, as far as I can tell, it gave me an opportunity to re-discover this beautiful adaption written by Mike Richardson with the easily-recognizable and dynamic art of Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai.

There is probably no one better to adapt a legend that has been associated with the epitome of the Japanese Samurai code of honor than Sakai, and Richardson did his homework on the story, even taking on prolific Manga writer Kazuo Koike as editorial consultant.

The comic is admittedly violent (and heartbreaking in places), but the narrative is exceptionally well-researched. I don’t know how the movie adaptation of the legend will be, but the Dark Horse series is a first-rate example of the samurai genre.

The full 47 Ronin series ran from November 2012 through July 2013, so all of the issues are still easy to get online. Also, if you aren’t too impatient to read these, you can pre-order the hardback compilation from the publisher due for release in February, 2014.

Melody Mooney – Sesame Street Volume #1 

Ella and I have been reading comics for just about a year now. I began to wonder if she, as a two-year-old, would understand the difference between the illustrated books we read at bedtime and actual panel and text comic books. Just in time, we discovered an unread gem in her pile: Sesame Street #1 from Apecomics.

Sesame Street How to read a comic, Ape EntertaimentIt stars all her favorite friends like Bert and Ernie, The Count, and Oscar the Grouch. Each of the seven short stories feature imagination filled adventures told by different writers.

“How to Read a Comic, Part 1″ (Jason M. Burns/Scott Ball) Elmo teaches comic book reading.
“The Anatomy of a Hero” (Jason M. Burns/Amy Mebberson)Super Grover teaches Elmo how to be a hero.
“Little Castle Built by Prairie” (Jay Fosgitt) Snuffy and Prairie Dawn play Dragon and Castle.
“Smog Day Afternoon” (Paul Morrissey/Scott Underwood) Oscar daydreams about a smelly world.
“A Dip in the Galaxy” (Patrick Storck/James Silvani) Cookie Monster imagines a trip to the tasty moon.
“The Count Counts” (Jay Fosgitt) The Count dreams about counting car parts.
“Imagination Runs Wild” (Jason M Burns) Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures continue through a brief bit of time travel.

The one page introduction, that will be re-occuring throughout the series, is what really sold me on the whole issue: How to read a comic part 1, as told by Elmo. Using his pals, Big Bird and Murray, he teaches in easy language what it means to look at a words and drawings. He explains that when Elmo talks in a comic book words appear in bubbles. He goes on to explain that there are times when Elmo won’t be talking but the reader will see words in a box. When this happens it means one of his friends, the narrator is talking. He even goes so far as to offer that if Big Bird is talking in a bubble, the reader can use a different voice.

It was a delightful, and real, break down of the anatomy of comic reading. We are now going to get the next issue in the series to explore more. As Ella grows in reading comprehension, we will be exploring more descriptions like this. It was also nice for me to return to the sunny days and friendly neighbors that sparked my own childhood imagination.

Sophie Brown — X-Files Season 11 #7

X-Files Season 11 #7 continues and concludes the comic series’ first monster-of-the-week plot.

Issue six left us with a classic Mulder-in-peril situation and it doesn’t take much guesswork to figure that this week’s offering gives us yet another classic X-Files trope – Mulder/Scully in hospital.

What issue seven really gives us, however, is a brilliant slice of back-story where the evolution of the Flukeman is explained thanks to a series of flashbacks. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle that was hinted at way back in 1994 when “The Host” first aired (“Mulder, nature didn’t make this thing. We did.”).

The story concludes in classic X-Files fashion and leaves us ready for more which we will be receiving in abundance thanks to the wealth of X-Files comics coming out in January.

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

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

Action Comics #26
Batman Superman #6 GM
Batwing #26
DC Comics Essentials Watchmen #1
Astro City #7
Batgirl #26 GM
Batman #26
Batman Black And White #4 (Of 6)
Batman Li’l Gotham #9 Kid Friendly
Coffin Hill #3
Constantine #9
DC Comics Essentials Action Comics #1
DC Comics The New 52 Villains Omnibus HC
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #6
Forever Evil Arkham War #3 (Of 6)
Green Lantern Corps #26
Justice League #25 GM
Justice League 3000 #1  NEW SERIES
Justice League Of America #10
Katana #10
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super Spectacular #1
Nightwing #26
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #40 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Alien #1 (Of 4) GM
Suicide Squad #26
Superboy #26
Superman Action Comics Vol. 2 Bulletproof TP
Superman Action Comics Vol. 3 At The End Of Days HC
Superman Wonder Woman #3 GM
Worlds’ Finest #18 GM
Young Justice Vol. 4 Invasion TP Kid Friendly
A+X #15
Amazing Spider-Man #700.3
Avengers A.I. #7.INH
Avengers Epic Collection Vol. 9 The Final Threat TP
Cable And X-Force #17
Captain America #14
Captain America Living Legend #4 (Of 4)(Francesco Francavilla Variant Cover)
Cataclysm The Ultimates #2 (Of 3)
Cataclysm Ultimate Spider-Man #2 (Of 3)
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 6 HC GM
Deadpool By Daniel Way The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Emerald City Of Oz #5 (Of 5)
Essential Hulk Vol. 7 TP
Immortal Iron Fist The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP GM
Inhumanity The Awakening #1 (Of 2)
Marvel Knights Hulk #1 (Of 4)
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #3
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #21
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Poster
Marvel’s Captain America The First Avenger Adaptation #2 (Of 2)
Mighty Avengers #4.INH
Mini Marvels The Complete Collection TP
Nova #11
Punisher Trial Of The Punisher #1 (Of 2)
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #6
Thunderbolts #19
Uncanny X-Men #15.INH
Wolverine #12
Wolverine And The X-Men #39 GM
Wolverine MAX #14
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Danger Girl The Chase #4 (Of 4)
Doctor Who Series 2 The Girl Who Waited The Boy Who Lived HC
G.I. JOE #11
G.I. JOE Special Missions #10
G.I. JOE The IDW Collection Vol. 3 HC
Ghostbusters Vol. 6 TP
Haunted Horror #8
Indestructible #1 (Of 4)
Judge Dredd The Complete Carlos Ezquerra Vol. 1 HC
Li’l Abner Vol. 6 HC
Magic The Gathering Theros #2 (Of 4)
Maxx Maxximized #2
Memory Collectors #2 (Of 3)
My Little Pony Micro-Series #7 (Cutie Mark Crusaders) Kid Friendly
Other Dead #4 (Of 6)
Powerpuff Girls #4 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls Classics Vol. 2 Power Up TP Kid Friendly
Richard Stark’s Parker Slayground HC
Rocketeer The Spirit Pulp Friction #4 (Of 4)
Star Trek Annual 2013
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Vol. 2 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 25th Anniversary Book HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Vol. 2 #2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Ultimate Collection Vol. 5 HC
Thumbprint By Joe Hill HC
Transformers Monstrosity TP
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters #8 (Of 8) Kid Friendly
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #2 (Of 5)
X-Files Season 10 #7
Abe Sapien #8
Abe Sapien Vol. 3 Dark And Terrible And The New Race Of Man TP
Brain Boy #0
Clown Fatale #2 (Of 4)
Conan And The People Of The Black Circle #3 (Of 4)
Eerie Comics #4
Halo Escalation #1
Michael Avon Oeming’s Victories Vol. 2 Transhuman TP
Shaolin Cowboy #3 (Of 4)
Star Wars #12 GM
Vampire Hunter D Vol. 20 Scenes Of An Unholy War TP
X #8

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Justice Society of America celebrates Thanksgiving. copyright DC Comics.

The Justice Society of America celebrates Thanksgiving. copyright DC Comics.

Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 27th, 2013

Harley Quinn #0 \ Art by Jim Lee

Harley Quinn #0 \ Art by Jim Lee

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 jump into Harley Quinn #0, Lisa shows us a darker side with the digital comic book series Aurora Rose, Corrina checks out Zero Year issues of Catwoman and The Flash, and Sophie checks in with Scully and Mulder in The X-Files Season 10. 

Dakster Sullivan — Harley Quinn #0 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

After hearing that one of my favorite comic book teams, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, were in charge of DC Comics’ newest series, Harley Quinn, it didn’t take much to persuade me to read issue #0. The story is essentially Harley having a conversation with Jimmy and Amanda about how she is drawn and what her story should be like. I know what you’re thinking: Why would that be fun? Well, because for most of the book they’re making fun of either themselves or DC Comics.

I’m not sure what I loved more; the constant, obvious changing of the artists, Harley breaking the fourth wall, or the jokes Jimmy and Amanda made at DC’s expense (okay I’ll admit it…it was the jokes at DC’s expense…).

With each of the seventeen different artists getting one page to play with on this book (yes…17 as in 8 + 9), there was a little bit of art in there for everyone. The most unexpected pages for me came from Jim Lee and Art Baltazar. I’m a fan of both artists, so it was fun reading Jimmy and Amanda’s writing with Lee and Baltazar’s art behind it.

Included in this issue is the controversial “contest” scene of Harley trying to kill herself. I’ll admit, when the contest was announced, it sounded a little weird, but after hearing Jimmy P. explain what they were really looking for and seeing it in this book, it makes perfect sense. Before you jump down my throat, I’ll just say it has to do with Harley mentioning the Suicide Squad and how Jimmy P. and Amanda translated the name.

The only thing that disappointed me about Harley Quinn #0 was on the last page where Jimmy and Amanda promised that the breaking of the fourth wall would come to an end in issue #1. That was one of my favorite parts of the story, darn it!

Overall, Harley Quinn #0 left me wanting more and wanting it fast. Thankfully, issue #1 is only a few weeks away, then the serious Harley fun begins. [Corrina’s note: I totally second Dak’s review. Loved this issue. Just fun all the way through.] 

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

Corrina:

Catwoman #25 written by John Layman, art by Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert; The Flash #25 written by Francis Manpul and Brian Buccellato, art by Chris Sprouse and Francis Manapul. 

The cover from Catwoman #25, copyright DC Comics

The cover from Catwoman #25, copyright DC Comics

These two issues are flashbacks to the early days of the title characters, part of DC’s Zero Year event that’s centered around a blackout in Gotham City that seems to attract heroes (and anti-heroes) of all kinds. Catwoman fits right into this but a younger Barry Allen, in Gotham volunteering, seems out of place though the story and art are nicely done.

At this point, Selina Kyle/Catwoman has more origins than she’s had lives. In the 1970s, she was a former socialite turned cat burglar, then in the 1980s, she was a former foster child who became a dominatrix (see: Batman: Year One), then when DC rebooted, she seemed to have ties to a mystical force that saved her life, ala Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns.

In this issue, we’re back to basics, with a younger street-wise (but not dominatrix) Selina deciding to make use of her thieving skills to go after one of Gotham’s richest men during the blackout because he unwisely beat up one of the few people Selina likes. Along the way, she acquires one of her signature weapons.

Lopresti and Thibert’s art is a breath of fresh air, making Selina attractive and slinky and yet not exploitive. Selina in a slinky black dress can be an invitation to an artist to go way overboard with the sexiness. Instead, she looks hot and elegant. A fun issue if you’re a Catwoman fan.

The Flash story struck me as odd, though Manapul and Sprouse’s art is topnotch, especially in the various flame sequences. It’s great seeing how Gotham looks through the eyes of someone who’s not from there, like Barry Allen.

However, putting Allen in Gotham just to be part of the tie-in feels forced, and even more forced when we find out the love of his life, Iris Allen, is working at a clinic on an internship from college. I can’t quibble too much about Iris being in the story as she does a better Lois Lane impersonation than Lois herself has been doing lately. Yet the weirdest part is the end, which seems to imply Barry Allen is dosed with a drug which will later be part of his transformation to the Flash. Tying the Flash’s origin to Gotham feels not quite right. I suspect a little bit of tinkering from the corporate offices, considering Barry Allen is soon due to guest-star on CW’s Arrow and then get his own pilot. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this issue turns out to be similar to what happens on television.

Lisa Tate– Aurora Rose by William Wilson and Jason Stevens, art by Taylor Bills

Aurora Rose \ Image: Arch Enemy Entertainment

Aurora Rose \ Image: Arch Enemy Entertainment

I don’t often read digital comics — I need any excuse to get away from the computer — but Arch Enemy Entertainment’s Aurora Rose written by William Wilson and Jason Stevens, illustrated by Taylor Bills, makes for a fun, albeit grisly, work break. Fifteen-year-old Aurora, who has unknowingly been in hiding as descendant of the Knights Templar since she was an infant, gets dragged quickly into the reality of who she really is once the evil monster-raising secret society, Brotherhood of Sleep, discovers her whereabouts.

Definitely not for kids, this series is like a hard-edged Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The scenario is eerily similar but the tone is completely different. Aurora herself, a dark studious outsider who has always felt she took a wrong turn somewhere in the past, bears little resemblance to the pert “America’s Sweetheart” persona of Buffy — that is, until the inborn ability of monster heinie-kicking begins. The action doesn’t really get started until the second issue, but when it does, hang on! Aurora Rose will take you an a fast, crazy ride as the secrets of her destiny unfold. Watch out for the splatter; it can get a bit messy.

Sophie Brown– The X-Files Season 10 #6 written by Joe Harris, art by Elena Casagrande

The X-Files #6 continues the pattern set by the T.V. show, mixing mythology episodes with stand alone monster-of-the-week stories. The previous five issues formed a single mytharc “episode” but this time we get to see Mulder and Scully doing what they do best; investigating spooky goings-on in spookier places.

The secret has been out for some time now that this issue sees the return of the Flukeman, a favorite (and particularly gross) monster from the show’s second season.

The issue starts out with a quintessential pre-credits intro before taking us back to the J. Edgar Hoover building where Mulder and Scully are just settling back into their new jobs. As we saw on the show, Joe Harris has made a few changes to the Bureau—it has been over ten years after all—but everything fits and feels like a natural progression for the organization.

Artist Michael Walsh has also helped update the old surroundings, and the old portrait of Clinton on Skinner’s office wall has been replaced by Obama.

Soon Mulder and Scully are off in their usual role division: Scully in a Quantico autopsy lab, Mulder ferreting about in as many gross places as he can find, generally annoying any local law enforcement foolish enough to cross his path. This is exactly what I’d hoped for from Season 10. Classic Mulder wit and vague answers, Scully elbow deep in body parts, and some excellent banter between the two. Issue six is part one of a two-parter, so to finish off we get a textbook X-Files cliffhanger. When can I read the next one?!

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

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100 Bullets Deluxe Edition Vol. 5 HC
Adventures Of Superman #7 Kid Friendly
All-Star Western #25
Aquaman #25 GM
Batman And Robin Vol. 2 Pearl TP
Batman And Robin Vol. 3 Death Of The Family HC
Batman Incorporated Vol. 1 Demon Star TP
Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 Gotham’s Most Wanted HC
Batman The Dark Knight #25
Beware The Batman #2
Catwoman #25
Damian Son Of Batman #2 (Of 4) GM
Flash #25 GM
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #2
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #2 (Of 6)
Green Arrow Vol. 1 Hunter’s Moon TP
Green Team Teen Trillionaires #6 GM
Injustice Gods Among Us #11
Joker The Clown Prince Of Crime TP
Justice League Dark #25
Larfleeze #5
Lois Lane A Celebration Of 75 Years HC
Red Hood And The Outlaws Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
Red Lanterns #25
Sandman Overture #1 (Of 6)
Superman #25
Superman A Celebration Of 75 Years HC
Superman H’el On Earth HC
Talon #13
Teen Titans #25
Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril #5 (Of 6)
Vertigo Essentials Y The Last Man #1
All-New X-Men #19 GM
Avengers Absolute Vision Vol. 1 TP
Avengers Arena #18 (Final Issue)
Avengers Assemble #21
Captain America Vol. 2 Castaway In Dimension Z Book 2 HC
Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #1
Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #1 (Of 3)
Deadpool Annual #1
FF #14
Gambit Vol. 3 King Of Thieves TP
Hawkeye #14 GM
Indestructible Hulk #16
Infinity #6
Infinity #6 (Of 6)
Infinity Heist #3 (Of 4)
Infinity The Hunt #4 (Of 4)
Kick-Ass 3 #5
Kick-Ass 3 #5 (Of 8)
Marvel Masterworks Ant-Man Giant-Man Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #20 Kid Friendly 
New Avengers #12
Nova #10
Powers Bureau #8
Savage Wolverine #12
Scarlet Spider #24
Shadow Walk HC
Superior Carnage #5 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #22
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 3 No Escape TP
Uncanny Avengers #14
Uncanny X-Force #14
Wolverine And The X-Men #38 GM
Wolverine And The X-Men Annual #1 GM
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Danger Girl The Chase #3 (Of 4)
Doctor Who #15
G.I. JOE Special Missions #9
Ghostbusters #10
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #6
Half Past Danger #6 (Of 6)
Judge Dredd #13
Maxx Maxximized #1
Mr Peabody And Sherman #1 (Of 4)
My Little Pony The Return Of Queen Chrysalis HC (Rarity) Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls #3
Star Trek #27
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #28
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Vol. 7 TP
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Transformers Regeneration One #96
Transformers Robots In Disguise #23 (Dark Cybertron Part 3 Of 12)
Transformers The IDW Collection Vol. 1 HC
X-Files Season 10 #6 GM
Zombie War #2 (Of 2)
B.P.R.D. Vampire TP
Best Of Comix Book When Marvel Went Underground HC
Brothers Of The Spear Archives Vol. 3 HC
Captain Midnight #5
Captain Midnight Archives Vol. 1 Battles The Nazis HC
Conan And The People Of The Black Circle #2 (Of 4)
Crime Does Not Pay Archives Vol. 6 HC
Criminal Macabre The Eyes Of Frankenstein #3 (Of 4)
Goon #44
Grendel Omnibus Vol. 4 Prime TP
House Of Gold And Bones TP
Itty Bitty Hellboy #4 (Of 5)
Marvel Classic Character X-Men #3 Marvel Girl
Mass Effect Foundation #5
Massive #17
Mind MGMT #17
Mister X Eviction And Other Stories TP
Never Ending #1 (Of 3)
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 4 TP
Polar Came From The Cold HC
Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #6
Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #1 (Of 3)
Star Wars Legacy II #9

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