This Week in DC: Harley Quinn and the Joker Have It Out

This week in DC Comics, Harley and the Joker have an epic throwdown, Martian Manhunter turns into a giant Earth-saving machine, the Secret Six and Batgirl make nice, there’s another installment of Max Landis’ origin of Superman and Doctor Fate goes topical.

Which ones should you buy? Read on to find out!

Secret Six #11, writer, Gail Simone, artists, Dale Eaglesham and Tom Derenick

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Most. Fun. Dysfunctional Family Ever.

Ray: This is a breather issue in a lot of ways after the big magic-based arc that just wrapped, but in many ways it feels just as significant – and even better – than any of those issues. Because there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching this weird band of misfits interact and become a bizarre family. We’ve got Porcelain and Strix arranging a trade of skills, as Strix tries to teach Porcelain to fight (in a scene that reminds me a lot of Cass and Steph’s old “training sessions” that lasted a few seconds) and Porcelain gives Strix a makeover. This is the first time we get to see Strix without her bandages, and much like Damage in the last Justice Society of America run, the truth under the mask is far less horrific than what was hinted by the time of the unveiling. She’s got scars, but the structure of her face is far more intact than I assumed. Meanwhile, Ralph/Big Shot gets a phone call from Sue, claiming she’s starting to remember and asking to come home. I’m hoping this is genuine, but this book tends to be twisty, so who knows. The makeover scene is sort of sweet, but as usual, Ventriloquist is the spanner in the works, convincing Strix that she should be proud of her scars. Continue reading This Week in DC: Harley Quinn and the Joker Have It Out

Poison Ivy: Plant, Human Or Something Else?

Last week, I talked about some of the books that star the lesser-known DC characters need more love. That’s even more evident this week, as Martian Manhunter, Titans Hunt, Poison Ivy, Secret Six and Doctor Fate come out this week with good issues. Yet Ivy is only a miniseries, Doctor Fate’s sales have bottomed out and the rest aren’t doing the sales that their quality indicates they should.

Then I read that the seventh issue of my fangirl favorite, Titans Hunt, will be written by Scott Lobdell, who wrote the awful Doomed and made a mess of the regular Teen Titans title. Worse, it appears the book will be ending the month after. Nooo…..

Which brings me to why readers may not be buying these quality books: if their cancelation is inevitable, why get invested in these characters? A cynical way to look at it but given that DC has a habit of using its lesser-known characters as cannon fodder in crossovers, understandable. But, I have to say, ya’ll are missing great stories.

As always, I’m joined in the recaps by Ray Goldfied, where we have a serious disagreement about an issue of Batman that includes a big turning point in the life of the new Bruce Wayne.

Happy comic reading!

Page 4 of Poison Ivy, image copyright DC Comics
Page 4 of Poison Ivy, image copyright DC Comics

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1, written by Amy Chu, pencils by Clay Mann, inks by Seth Mann

Ray: 8/10

Corrina: Everyone loves the Joker most of Batman’s villains but I’ve always the female antagonists more interesting, starting with Catwoman. However, Poison Ivy is in a class by herself, a villain motivated not by money or power but by scientific curiosity and her strange ability to commune with plants. She’s creepy and I had no idea if she would make a good protagonist. But she does, mainly because all her many facets are on display in this book, from her fascination with science to her boredom with humanity and, even, surprisingly, her relationship with Harley Quinn.

I’d not expected I’d be so intrigued but I am. That bodes well for this miniseries.

Ray: I’m a sucker for stories about villains trying to turn over a new leaf. They can be dark, like Magneto’s accounting for his violent past in Cullen Bunn’s run, or lighthearted like Riddler’s Detective agency in Paul Dini’s books. This new Poison Ivy miniseries seems to fall right in the middle of that spectrum, and delivers an entertaining story in the process. When we open, Ivy and a friend of hers are in Africa to obtain a rare specimen of an ancient long-lived plant, only to be accosted by local soldiers. Ivy makes short work of them and the plant returns safely to her new base, the Gotham Botanical Gardens, where she works as a scientist under her mentor, Dr. Luisa Cruz.

Cover to Poison Ivy, image copyright DC Comics
Cover to Poison Ivy, image copyright DC Comics

The Gotham Academy kids drop by for a tour, and we see Ivy settling into her new role as a research scientist – until a more noticeable visitor shows up. It’s Harley Quinn, who isn’t quite sure how she feels about her girlfriend’s new direction in life. I felt like anything here involving Harley was probably the weak link. I enjoy their banter and it’s always fun to see them beat up goons together, but the conflict felt very forced. Harley’s done the secret identity/normal job thing in her solo title – in fact, it’s the main thrust of her book – so her questioning of Ivy’s decision to go back to her old line of work was weird. And Ivy throwing Joker in Harley’s face just felt like a way to force a breakup. But Amy Chu has a great voice for Ivy, and does the perfect balance of smart and sinister. The issue ends with a sudden death that sets up an new miniseries involving the mysterious genetically engineered plants that Ivy’s been working on. There’s a few rough edges here, but it feels in line with the stronger work done on Poison Ivy, and I’m glad to see her finally get her spotlight.

Titans Hunt #4, Dan Abnett, writer, Stephen Segovia, pencils, Art Thibert, inks, Scott McDaniel, adult coloring book variant cover.

Corrina: My Titans!

Ray: 7.5/10

Corrina: I can’t separate my inner fangirl from my reviewer self with this one, so..::My Titans, SQUEE:: Continue reading Poison Ivy: Plant, Human Or Something Else?

Martian Manhunter Destroys Earth & The Secret Six Take on Aquaman in DC This Week

Welcome to our recaps of DC Comics’ latest issues. Ray is the prototypical DC fan. It takes a great deal for him to give up on a title. I’m the one who tends to have the quick hook, especially for titles are are just ‘meh.’

This week, the Bat-kids keep chugging along in Batman and Robin Eternal, the Secret Six get wet in a terrific issue featuring Aquaman, Martian Manhunter‘s many selves argue with each other about saving the Earth in a great whacked-out story, and the original Teen Titans try to get back together in Titans Hunt.

On the bad side, the title character of the Telos gets the most random origin ever, the aptly-named Doomed closes its run, and Jimmy Olsen gives in to the Dark Side in Earth-2 Society.

Batman and Robin Eternal #7 – James Tynion IV and Scott Snyder, story, Genevieve Valentine, script, Alvaro Martinez, pencils, Raul Fernandez, inks

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy the Series.

Ray: I was waiting for this series – which has been consistently strong since it started – to truly wow me with an issue. Valentine’s first issue as the script writer does just that as it turns the spotlight on Cassandra Cain and Harper Row and their growing friendship. The team is a bit splintered, as Tim Drake has gone off the grid and is following his own leads – accompanied by Jason Todd, who tries to get the young genius Bat to open up about his issues with Dick and Bruce in his own snarky fashion. I’ve really enjoyed the interaction with these two in this series, even though it’s a pretty clear indication that we’re wiping out their previous hostility.  The flashback segments continue to show us how Bruce got closer and closer to Mother in the past, but they’re brief.

The meat of the issue is in Harper and Cass’ undercover mission for Dick. Continue reading Martian Manhunter Destroys Earth & The Secret Six Take on Aquaman in DC This Week

‘Secret Six’ Goes Mystical In an Excellent Overall Week From DC

Cover to Secret Six #7, image copyright DC Comics
Cover to Secret Six #7, image copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the prototypical DC reader and I’m the agnostic, lapsed DC fan.

When this week was good, as with Secret Six, Titans Hunt, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Gotham Academy, Batman & Robin Eternal, Doctor Fate and Justice League, it was very good. Also excellent was Clean Room #1 by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt, the new Vertigo mature readers comic, and that earned a bonus review at the end of this column.

When it was bad, well, it was awful. Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman hit new lows. Continue reading ‘Secret Six’ Goes Mystical In an Excellent Overall Week From DC

DC Comics This Week: ‘Secret Six’ Is A Slam Dunk

Welcome to our capsule reviews of this week’s DC comics releases. Ray Goldfield is the long-time DC reader and I’m more the cynic. I might have faith in nothing but quality. I also look at these issues with an eye for a new reader. If it’s impenetrable to all but the most diehard of DC fans, I won’t recommend it.

This week, we have our biggest disagreements yet but we’re both happy to recommend Secret Six #5, which zips along dropping all kinds of revelations on the reader while it rights a serious comic book wrong.

The rest? Ray loves his Robin, Son of Batman. I’m already a tired of the pre-adolescent, arrogant assassin. But I highly recommend Martian Manhunter, which is an imaginative take on that a classic SF story, an alien invasion.

On the bad side, we’re waiting for the day we can announce the cancellation of Doomed and the ill-conceived Superman/Wonder Woman title.

Warning: total spoilers abound.

Continue reading DC Comics This Week: ‘Secret Six’ Is A Slam Dunk

#DCYou Week Three: The Art Take Center Stage

Black Canary is a rock star. Art by Annie Wu, copyright DC Comics
Black Canary is a rock star. Art by Annie Wu, copyright DC Comics.

This just might be the week that’s convinced me DC Comics is serious when talking about a new direction. Sure, okay, we get yet another issue of DC trying to make fetch happen in Superman/Wonder Woman #18, but that series is now an outlier mixed in with revamps of Black Canary, Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter, Prez (heck, yeah, Prez?) mixed in with an excellent issue of Secret Six. For the new releases, it’s the distinctive artwork that stands out, from Annie Wu to Bryan Hitch to Sonny Liew and several others.

There’s even a wonderful, classic Lois and Clark scene this week. Now, please,  fix Wonder Woman. If you can make Black Canary a rock star, you can do this.

Black Canary #1 by Brenden Fletcher (writer), Annie Wu (artist)

I approached this title with extreme skepticism. I loved my pre-New 52 Dinah Laurel Lance. The new version had none of the history and, more importantly, little of the compassion or empathy and she turned outright mean in Batgirl. I basically had to force myself to read this issue. Good thing.

It’s excellent.

It’s not my Canary, at least not yet, but this version seems the closest emotionally to her since Gail Simone last wrote the character. Plus, putting aside the “would I like this version,” this issues is a fine story about a rock band with a superhero as a lead singer, a band with a helluva punk sensibility, getting by on jobs in clubs from night to night, with each member given a distinct personality and look, including the mysterious Ditto who awakens Canary’s protective instincts. Wu shines on art.

Buy It: Yes.

JLA #1, art by Bryan Hitch, copyright DC Comics
JLA #1, art by Bryan Hitch, copyright DC Comics

Justice League of America #1 by Bryan Hitch, inks by Daniel Henriques with Wade Von Grawbadger and Andrew Currie

Bryan Hitch is one of the premier superhero artists working today and this is DC giving him a showcase for what he does best. This is a gorgeous book. Along the way, he manages that terrific Lois and Clark scene I mentioned above, a classic banter scene in the Daily Planet. The plot? It seems that two “stones” aka technological pillars keep bringing dead Supermen in from other dimensions to find the source of an event that could end all time and space. I have fatigue for that sort of plot but there are some original touches. DC fans should eat this up.

Buy It: If you like classic JLA stories.

Doctor Fate #1 by Paul Levitz and Sonny Liew (storytellers)

Doctor Fate might just have had as many revamps as Black Canary, but he basically remains the mystical champion of order. This first issue might just gain the character a new generation of fans. The story focuses on Khalid, a med student who is offered the helmet of Fate by a statue that comes to life and immediately bugs out to text his girlfriend about having a Ben Stiller-moment in a terrific art sequence that reminded me of art in an independent comic.

Levitz’s storytelling hasn’t been this fresh in years and I’ll give credit to Liew’s inventive panels for that. The combination of old and new works well, as the gods manipulate the humans caught in the path of a nasty storm of supernatural making.

Buy It: Yes.

Secret Six #3 by Gail Simone (writer), Dale Eaglesham (artist)

After a delay, this story of the dangerous misfits of the DC universe is steered back on course, as they settle down in a house in suburban Gotham to take care of each other as best they can. Though with this bunch, throwing a wild party with sex on the couch counts as part of that, as does Catman’s attempt to make eggs for a “family” dinner. It’s hard not to care about this band of misfits, including Black Alice, who’s having serious adjustments issues, and especially when Catman rescues an abused dog. But the last page is a great swerve about one of the members and brings back the traitor in the midst angle that’s always been a part of the Six’s stories.

Buy It; Yes.

Prez #1 by Mark Russell (writer), Ben Caldwell (penciller), Mark Morales (inks)

I’m not entirely sure what this comic is but I like it. Okay, yes, it’s ostensibly the tale of an American presidential election in 2036 in which votes can be made via Twitter and inane online celebrities provide the biggest endorsements. In the midst steps “Corndog Girl,” a fast food worker who can’t afford treatment for her critically ill father. Part of this comic is a biting satire about the American culture’s focus on celebrities and false news, part hits close to the bone because the satire is so close to reality.

The art warps faces and personalities to excellent effect, and one panel in which a man has to shoot himself to win a prize drives home the wrongness of the moment.

Buy It: Yes.

Robin: Son of Batman #1 by Patrick Gleason (script and pencils), Mary Gray (inks)

You wouldn’t think a pre-adolescent boy would have much to atone for, even the son of Batman, but Damian Wayne is also the grandson of Ra’s Al Ghul and was trained as an assassin before finding his father. Damian’s perception is skewed, just a boy still with a boy’s solutions to problems, but his anguish at having done evil reminds me of Cassandra (Batgirl) Cain, who had a similar upbringing.

Essentially, this book promises to be a redemption story for a boy who has committed crimes most adults can never even imagine. Add to Damian being, well, an arrogant brat, and it’s a unique superhero book in every respect. Fans of Damian will like this, though I found some of the storytelling hard to follow with the jumps between past and present.

Buy It: Damian fans, yes; this is book you’ve been looking for.

Martian Manhunter #1 by Rob Williams (writer), Eddy Barrows (pencils), Eber Ferreira (inks)

J’onn J’onzz was the last survivor of the Martian race, pulled to Earth accidentally and literally forced to fit into Earth society via his shape-shifting power. Uh, no, that’s the old origin which we find out is all wrong. J’onn’s still from Mars and he still possesses shape-shifting, telekinetic, and other super-powered abilities, but now he’s a conflicted former warrior deliberately placed on Earth and he’s not alone. It’s unclear whether he’ll pull himself together to protect the innocents or not. Loved the sequence with an odd-shaped Martian (J’onn? Maybe?) happy to receive biscuits from the local kids. This is a very War of the Worlds opening for the title character. I’m not sure I like the retcon, but it’s an excellent start to this particular story.

Buy It: Yes.

Sinestro #12 by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brad Walker (penciller), Drew Hennessy (inks)

Confession: I’ve never liked the Green Lanterns, with a couple of exceptions, and Sinestro isn’t one of them. In this chapter, the head of the Yellow Corps of Lanterns anticipates all opposition, including from his daughter, and works to save his dying race from extinction. Plus, he has some master plan. It’s fine, I guess, if you’re a Sinestro fan, but I’m not won over.

Buy It: If you like the main character.

Doomed #1 by Scott Lobdell (writer), Javier Fernandez (artist)

Here’s the one debut I didn’t like this week. Young man is accepted into an internship program at Star Labs, yet he’s stupid enough to expose himself to potentially deadly… somethings… while cleaning. This might make a decent B movie, but it’s not a very interesting comic. Sad, because Fernandez does a nice job on the various other-worldly rooms at Star Labs.

Buy It: No.

Wonder Woman #41 by Meredith Finch (writer), David Finch (penciller), Jonathan Glapion (inks pages 1-17), Johnny Desjardins (inks pages 18-20)

Now we get to Wonder Woman. I have a few positive things to say. One, Diana seems more like her compassionate self, and is trying to redeem the formerly murderous Donna. Two, the new costume is busy but not bad, save for the horrible stabby things on her wrists. However, the issue still goes underwater. Perhaps keeping Donna half-clothed in a dank prison cell isn’t the best way to redeem her. And perhaps Diana shouldn’t be as outclassed as she is by the villain at the end. She’s compassionate, not stupid.

Buy It; No.

Superman/Wonder Woman #18 by Peter J. Tomasi (story and words), Doug Mahnke (pencils), Jaime Mendoza, Ray McCarthy, Jonathan Glapion, Marc Deering (inkers) 

Oh, look, Superman and Wonder Woman are in bed together and she wears his shirts at night just like Lois Lane used to do. I was never sold on the premise and now that this comic is part of the awful “Superman is depowered and outed as Clark Kent” story, my enthusiasm is at an all-time low. There’s a nice bit with Clark talking to the Smallville residents who hang out at the general store, and a mystery surrounding who’s stealing all the things connected to Clark, like his childhood house. Also, the Suicide Squad randomly show up. Superman and Wonder Woman look unhappy with each other on the cover. Good. Maybe that’s a sign this will be over soon.

Buy It: No.

Geek Speaks… Fiction!

Imagined interior of Library of Alexandria, public domain image by O. Von Corven
People have been drawing inspiration from stories since we first began to tell stories. Imagined interior of Library of Alexandria. Public domain image by O. Von Corven.

Welcome to “Geek Speaks… Fiction!” a new weekly column where writers expose how their geekiness has influenced their lives and their writing.

Our upcoming guest blogs include author Jeffrey Somers, Anthony KarczMatt Forbeck, and Kathleen Cheney, with more to come.

First up, GeekMom Corrina Lawson, whose latest book, Phoenix Inheritance, is out in paperback today.

***********

I can’t talk about my life without talking about comic books. They’ve been the stories that opened up the rest of the world to me, soothed my soul, and fired my imagination.

batman 1970s
Image via DC Comics

It’s 1976… and I finally have enough money to buy comics on a regular basis and I’m hooked on Batman, and the new villain Ra’s Al Ghul, written by Denny O’Neil and with the magnificent art of Neal Adams. Bruce Wayne is the hero I need. I lost my dad young; Bruce Wayne lost both his parents young. Yet, he found purpose and meaning to his life, so I can too. Sure, Batman is about the awesomeness of being Batman, but he’s also about compassion and helping those who lack the advantages he had.

Much later, in the 1990s, I met O’Neil in person, in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall, and only barely avoid dropping to my knees and saying, “I’m not worthy!” He is patient and explains magical realism to me. I nod and hope I sound coherent.

It’s 1980… and in my high school backpack is a copy of Uncanny X-Men #137, the conclusion of the Dark Phoenix saga. It’s in a brown paper wrapper because it’s impossible to find consistent monthly issues in rural New England and so mine come in the mail in that brown paper wrapper.

Jean Grey and Scott Summers are what would be called today an OTP—my one true pairing. It’s the first romance I’ve read and loved, Jean wanting to see Scott’s eyes, Scott’s determination to save her life, and her suicide on the moon are all moments burned into my mind from this day. It’s a saga about friendship, and love, and sacrifice, and deciding that someone and somethings are worth dying for. It’s a message I need as a lonely girl whose interests don’t line up with the other girls in my class.

Much later, I would see Chris Claremont at a table at a comic con and be afraid to approach him because all I could imagine blubbering out would be, “Thank you. Omigod, your story changed my life.”

X-Men_Vol_1_137
Image via Marvel Comics

It’s 2003… and the series Birds of Prey has just changed creative teams for the third time in a year, and I’m worried about the cancellation of the adventures of Black Canary and Oracle, one of the few female-led comics being published.

Gail Simone takes over the writing and redefines Black Canary, a character who’s been tossed since around her debut in the 1940s. Simone rebuilds her, and creates a definitive run, crafting a character so strong that she’s finally gaining some recognition, someone who wants to be a superhero and have a family. This resonates because now I have a family. I end up naming the character in my first published novel “Dinah” as a homage.

About the same time, I end up on Simone’s message board and I get a chance to thank her in writing, where I’m much more articulate.

It’s 2013… and I attend GeekGirlCon for the first time, where I interview Kelly Sue DeConnick about her revitalization of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. Like Black Canary, Carol has been tossed around Marvel for years, enduring several name changes, a ridiculous pregnancy, and even a death, all without a definitive run. Now Carol is a woman surrounded by friends of all ages, and she loves that her job includes times when she has to go punch a dinosaur.

After the interview, DeConnick is surrounded by members of the Carol Corps and she shows them the art pages from the last issue of the first run of Captain Marvel, where Kit literally helps bring Carol back to herself. It’s a lesson in friendship that resonates.

This time, I’m able to say “thank you” in person without losing composure.

It’s later in 2013 and early 2014… and my son is in the hospital battling an illness that few people understand and a change in his medication produces a seizure. Then, his condition is unstable and later requires another hospitalization. It’s terrifying for him and for me. I bring him the complete run of James Robinson’s Starman series, along with The Shade miniseries, plus Simone’s Secret Six. These comics are what keep him company during his recovery, and give him hope that he can get better, that he’s not alone.

It’s June 2014… and my son is able to talk to Gail Simone in person and thank her for Secret Six and especially for Ragdoll, who is so atypical mentally and yet tries so hard to understand the world. Simone is incredibly gracious, and my son does better than me talking to her because if I’d been that age and met Denny O’Neil or Claremont or Marv Wolfman or George Perez, I’d have just died.

My fondest wish as a writer? To provide the story a reader needs just when they need it and pass on what was given to me.

If I ever get to the point where someone comes up to me and hasn’t a clue what to say except a stammered “thank you,” just know:

I am you.

Passion and History in ‘She Makes Comics’

She-Makes-Comics-Logo-Medium-660x880
Image by Respect! Films

Being a geek is becoming more and more mainstream. Yet there are still stereotypes of what makes a geek a “geek.” Being a comic book fan is a quintessential sign, and often linked to the old-school idea of socially-inept, single guys. For women who proclaim their love of comics (like me), it’s just…strange.

But that is changing. I was just invited to a Fan Girls Night Out at my local comic store by another mom who is also into comics. There are more of us than you realize. And although it may seem new to the mainstream world, it is far from abnormal. The history of women in comics as both fans and within the industry stretches back to the beginning.

The new documentary She Makes Comics is an eye-opening and heartfelt look at women within the history of comics, and I highly recommend watching it. The film is directed by Marisa Stotter and produced by Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert of Respect!Films. It is executive produced by Sequart’s Julian Darius and Mike Phillips and by Columbia University comics librarian Karen Green. It is a series of interwoven interviews of passionate people with different roles and points of view. My teenage son and I watched it together, finding it informative and entertaining.

Did you know that women and men made up equal numbers of comic book readership before the 1950s? American comics were about many topics, had various settings, and reflected every possible interest. By the ’70s, women readers started to drop off dramatically, partly due to the focus on male superheroes as the best-seller comic book theme, as well as the feminist movement awakening a generation of women who were tired of the same “wedding bliss” ending. An underground women’s comic movement began, and it was fascinating listening to the creators talk about it on camera: both the excitement and the fears.

Several women really changed the comic book world, from Wendy Pini, the original chain-mail bikini awesome cosplayer who then created ElfQuest, to Janette Kahn, former publisher of DC who broke the glass ceiling, to Gail Simone, notable comic writer, and author of Women in Refrigerators, an unapologetic look at how female characters are unfairly treated in comic stories, to Kelly Sue DeConnick, the creator of the hugely popular female Captain Marvel, and many more.

How do women get into comics in the first place? Better comics. The consensus of the interviewees was: Give us a variety of women featured, complex characters, and in-depth storytelling. As an X-Men fan, it was cool to know how many other women in this film cited that series as their turn-on to the whole genre. The fact that the male creator of the series had two female editors makes sense. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was another “gateway” comic, again, with a female editor. In fact, that editor, Karen Berger, is credited with developing the talents of some of the biggest names in comics for the past several decades.

I personally got into comics in the 1990s, and was quite alone. I took my two young children to the comic book store and was the only female there, let alone a mother. I found it interesting to hear about that time period. The film talked about how more women were getting into the creative side of comics then, but still not equally represented by a long-shot. The industry was not welcome to women or women-centered stories, but also, women are not as confidant in promoting themselves.

Comics used to be sold in supermarkets and bookstores, but then only in specific comic stores that were (and mostly still are) very much a bachelor den of boob posters and all-male staff who assume a girl is only there because she is dating a comic book fan. In 1994, a support organization for women in comics was created called Friends of Lulu which put out a book helping comic book stores understand how to attract more females to their stores—why shut out the biggest consumers in the country? The internet ushered in a huge change. This has given women a place to connect, collaborate, and share their love of comics. The film also mentions the influence of the manga craze during that time as well, with comics targeted to girls.

There is so much to this film, but what stood out to me most was the passion of the people interviewed, and the range of ages. I loved hearing from the elder pioneers in the industry, as well as the younger talents of today. Inspiring the next generation of comic creators came up a lot, and is something I support wholeheartedly. Everyone should be able to express themselves in whatever medium suits them best, boys and girls. Check out the film!

She Makes Comics is now available to order on DVD and as a digital download at SheMakesComics.com.

GeekMom received a copy for review purposes.

Comic Book Corner—Rat Queens, Secret Six #2, Super Dinosaur, and Powers: Bureau

Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery (Art by Fiona Staples) © Image Comics
Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery (Art by Fiona Staples) © Image Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. It’s an interesting week as I look at a missile carrying dinosaur, Corrina and Kelly check out Rat Queens, and Lisa gets excited about Powers! Corrina also gives us her take on Gail Simone’s latest Secret Six!

Kelly Knox—Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery (Volume 1) by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

It’s rare for me to venture away from the superhero books, but I’ve recently heard so many glowing reviews of Rat Queens from Image Comics that I just had to see what the fuss was all about.

It’s all about a seriously fun, irreverent fantasy series that I need to read more of. Now.

Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery is the trade paperback collection of the first five issues of the series, written by Kurtis Wiebe. “Sass” is putting it mildly. The Rat Queens, a band of mercenaries for hire, aren’t afraid of anything to get the job done. These ladies might be a diverse group, but they all agree on one thing: doing whatever it takes and always having each others’ backs. That means there’s no shortage of violence and crude language, all with an undercurrent of humor and memorable characters to tie it all together.

The first trade paperback is a quick, fun read for under $10—what do you have to lose? Pick up the collection and meet Betty, Hannah, Dee, and Violet for yourself.

Note: Regular artist Roc Upchurch, who drew these issues, was arrested on domestic violence charges in late 2014 and was taken off the book in November. The May issue will feature the work of new artist Stjepan Sejic.

Age Recommendation: 18+

image via Image Comics
image via Image Comics

Corrina—Rat Queens Special: Braga #1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Tess Fowler; Secret Six #2 by Gail Simone and Ken Lashley.

This special issue of Rat Queens focuses on the tale of Braga, the extra-large female orc warrior who’s proven popular with readers. This is also the first issue I’ve ever read of the series. I loved the issues, which details how Braga, then a male Orc prince named Broog, eventually came to leave her people. “It’s strange. I often wonder if I would’ve stayed had my people been more understanding. If they’d just accepted me for who I was,” Braga says at the beginning of her tale.

But this isn’t the usual tale of a transition from male to female, it’s the story of how Braga always felt out of step with her people, even when leading them in victorious battle as Broog. The Orc nation lives for battle and killing. Broog questions that and wants to end war itself. Her younger brother, of course, is in line with the more traditional warrior orcs.

This tale is bawdy, sweet, bloody, and melancholic all at the same time. It’s easy to see why the series has been so acclaimed. I need to pick up more Rat Queens.

Age Recommendation: 18 +

Secret Six #1 left our anti-heroes stuck in a coffin-like box at the bottom of the ocean. Secret Six #2 provides an ingenious solution to that predicament, fleshes out a couple of the newer team members, and flashes back to just why Catman is now so claustrophobic. The issue raises far more questions than it answers, firms up the new team, and contains some signature moments for the new group. More, please.

Age recommendation: 13 +

Dakster Sullivan—Super Dinosaur #1 by Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard (Image Comics)

Super Dinosaur is a hidden gem that I picked up at my local comic book store. I picked it up because it was on the dollar shelf and I needed another $.50 to get a stamp on my loyalty card. After learning it was an all ages book, I tossed it into my son’s reading pile and he went crazy with it from there.

The story centers around 10-year old Derek and his best friend and small in stature Trex, Super Dinosaur (or SD as Derek calls him). Together they protect Inner-Earth from Evil Max Maximus who wants the valuable DynOre. After reading half of volume 1, I can see why my son likes it so much. In his words:

“It has epic battles, super cool missiles, and other really cool technology. Oh and plus it’s really awesome.”

Super Dinosaur \ Copyright Image Comics
Super Dinosaur © Image Comics

If you have a child who might be into a video game playing dinosaur whose best friend is a 10-year-old genius kid, this is the series for them. Heck. If you’re an adult, this series is for you.

Age Recommendation: All ages

Lisa Tate—Powers: Bureau #12 (Icon) by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Avon Oeming

Powers \ Image: Icon
Powers \ Image: Icon

Detective Christian Walker fans have been promised a Powers series for, well, like Walker’s lifespan, forever. On March 10 Walker (played by Sharlito Copley), Detective Deena Pilgrim, Power Girl, Zora, and other characters from the comic will finally be brought to life in an original series for the Playstation Network.

With this on the horizon, I felt it was time to finally read the last of the 12-issue Powers: Bureau series that wrapped up at the end of 2014. I had spent a year following this story, fearing for the well-being of Walker, the barely-there sanity of Pilgrim, now both Federal Agents, and wanting to find out who—or what—took out the team of young California powers known as The Circle, but they weren’t the answers I was hoping to get.

I closed up this final issue thinking, “Well, that sucked.” Not in regard to the series, which was incredibly suspenseful, sarcastic, and shocking (everything you’d expect Powers to deliver), but the actual situation for pretty much every character in the story. Fortunately, Bendis has promised more to come, hopefully with some sort of resolution. In the meantime, we have the live action series to look forward to.

The collected first volume of Powers: Bureau is now available, for those wanting to catch up on the series in one overwhelmingly intense and emotional fell swoop, but don’t race to the end too fast. It’s a doozy.

Pick it up on sale today on ComiXology!

Age Recommendation: Mature readers

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

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

Arrow Season 2.5 #5
Astro City #20
Batman Dark Knight Dark City TP
Batman Eternal #45
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 4 Clay TP
Coffin Hill #15
Coffin Hill Vol. 2 Dark Endeavors TP
Constantine #22
DC The New Frontier Deluxe Edition HC
Earth 2 World’s End #19
Fables Covers The Complete Covers By James Jean HC
Fables The Wolf Among Us #2
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #18
Green Lantern Corps #39
Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1
Hellblazer Vol. 10 In The Line Of Fire TP
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Three #9
Justice League 3000 #14
Justice League United #9
Klarion #5
Mortal Kombat X #2
New 52 Futures End #41
New Suicide Squad #7
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #54 Kid-Friendly
Scribblenauts Unmasked A DC Comics Adventure TP Kid-Friendly
Secret Origins Vol. 1 TP
Secret Six #2
Secret Six Vol. 1 Villains United TP
Smallville Season 11 Continuity #3 (Of 4)
Superman Krypton Returns HC
Worlds’ Finest #31
All-New Captain America Fear Him #2 (Of 4)
All-New Ghost Rider #11
All-New X-Men #36
Amazing Spider-Man #14
Avengers World Vol. 3 Next World TP
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #5
Captain Marvel #12
Cyclops #10
Darth Vader #1
Deathlok Rage Against The Machine TP
Dexter TP
Guardians 3000 #5
Guardians Of The Galaxy #24 GM
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 4 Humanity Bomb TP
Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Vol. 1 HC
Marvel Masterworks The Sub-Mariner Vol. 6 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble Season Two #4
Nightcrawler #11
Oz The Emerald City Of Oz TP
Rocket Raccoon Vol. 1 A Chasing Tale HC
Spider-Woman #4
Thanos Vs Hulk #3 (Of 4)
Thor #5
Wolverines #6
X-Force #15
X-Men #24
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

7th Sword #7
Edward Scissorhands #4 (Of 5)
Library Of American Comics Essentials Vol. 6 Baron Bean 1917 HC
My Little Pony Micro-Comic Fun Pack Series 3 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #31 Kid Friendly
Star Trek #41
Transformers Dark Cybertron HC
Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #5
Zombies Vs Robots Warbook Omnibus TP
Abe Sapien #20
Avatar The Last Airbender The Rift Library Edition HC
Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol. 7 TP
Conan Red Sonja #2 (Of 4)
Creepy Archives Vol. 21 HC
Itty Bitty Comics The Mask #4
Prometheus Fire And Stone Omega #1 (One Shot)
Resurrectionists #4
Samurai Executioner Omnibus Vol. 4 TP
Usagi Yojimbo #1 (1 For $1 Edition) Kid Friendly
X #22 

Acronym Key: GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age recommendation: 17+

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: 12 +

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

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

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

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

Lisa Tate — Rocket Raccoon #5 bySkottie Young

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age recommendation: 10 years old and up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: Teen and up

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

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: All Ages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Age Recommendation: 10+

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

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

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

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

Age recommendation: 10 + for violence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Was The Cat by Ben Dewey and Paul Tobin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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

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

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

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

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

But is it a good story?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Batman And Robin #34
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 3 TP
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 4 HC
Batman Eternal #20
Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 Gotham’s Most Wanted TP
Batwoman #34
Brightest Day Omnibus HC
Fables #143
Green Lantern New Guardians #34
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #2 New Series
Infinity Man And The Forever People #3 New Series
Justice League Dark Vol. 4 The Rebirth Of Evil TP
Justice League United #4 New Series
Katana Vol. 1 Soultaker TP
Lucifer Vol. 4 TP
Multiversity #1 New Series
New 52 Futures End #16 Weekly Series
Red Hood And The Outlaws #34
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #8
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 New Series
Supergirl #34
Teen Titans #2 New Series
Teen Titans Go #5
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #14 (Final Issue)
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #8
All-New Ghost Rider #6
All-New Ultimates #6
All-New X-Factor #12
Captain America Epic Collection Vol. 12 Society Of Serpents TP
Daredevil #7
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 6 TP
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Deadpool Vs X-Force #3 (Of 4)
Elektra #5
Iron Man #9
Journey Into Mystery By Kieron Gillen The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Loki Agent Of Asgard Vol. 1 Trust Me TP
Magneto #8
Mighty Avengers #13
Ms. Marvel #7 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers #23
Nova #20 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sins #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Punisher Vol. 1 Black And White TP
Savage Wolverine #22
Secret Avengers #7
Spider Man 2099 #1 New Series
Storm #2 New Series
Winter Soldier The Bitter March TP
Wolverine Annual #1
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Airboy Archives Vol. 2 TP
Judge Dredd #22
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #1 Kid Friendly
Monster And Madman TP
My Little Pony Friends Forever #8 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #11 Kid Friendly
Sinister Dexter TP
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #6
Super Secret Crisis War The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol. 8 TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2014
Transformers Robots In Disguise #32
X-Files Year Zero #2 (Of 5)
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #122
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #6
Eye Of Newt #3 (Of 4)
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #2 Wolverine
Second Chance At Sarah HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Strain The Night Eternal #1 New Series
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #3 (Of 5)

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

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!

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
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

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

The Cliffs of Insanity: GeekOuts, Troll Hunts, and Feminism

We Love Fine Carol Corps
Higher, Further, Faster, More. We Love Fine, Carol Corps

“I don’t want the crumbs anymore; I want the cake & icing. Everyone deserves the cake & icing.” –Bille Jean King.

Welcome to this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity. Since we last spoke, a major comic site reboots its entire forum community in response to being called for allowing trolls, I had a major geekout, there was a great talk on the need for superheroines, and I’m surprised by my story being called “feminist” when didn’t realize it was that radical.

But, first, I have to share the geek out with you. My first steampunk novel, The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, came out two weeks ago. I had some nice reviews, including one at CriminalElement.com. That was great all by itself but then I received the online newsletter from CriminalElement.com. And not only is my book in it but I’m on a virtual shelf right next to Sex Criminals: Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.

I’m a virtual shelf with Fraction and Zdarsky.

kermit flail
Kermit Muppet Flail. copyright Jim Henson Company.

Yes, I’ve saved that newsletter. I was thinking of printing it out and framing it but that seems a bit extreme.

Now a follow-up to my column about Internet Bullying.

I wrote it because I was sick and tired of “don’t read the comments” mindset in which we can’t talk about issues like adults on public spaces. I particularly called out ComicBookResources.com not only because they’d allowed trolling comments on a post in which former DC Editor Janelle Asselin critiqued a Teen Titans cover but also because of my own bad experience with CBR.

CBR used to host Gail Simone’s forum until it was clear that the moderators there weren’t taking homophobic and the worst kind of insults to female posters seriously. As one of the co-moderators of the forum, I took some flak but it was nothing compared to what my co-moderator took for being a lesbian.

Gail Simone pulled the forum and moved us over to Brian Bendis’ Jinxworld site, where we are today.

Let me put that another way:

One of the most prominent female writers in mainstream comics pulled her board from one of comic’s most popular websites because that website dismissed concerns about continued and frequent bullying and trolling of female and LGBT posters.

So when CBR announced on April 30 that they were completely rebooting its forums and would no longer allow these types of comments, my first thought wasn’t “all right, good for them,” it was “what took you so long?” (Gail Simone also had the latter reaction.) I did wonder if my column had anything to do with it. It was probably part of it, since I called them out on the reason Gail Simone’s forum was no longer there, but I suspect it was an amalgam of things.

Though it did make me think that next time I write a column, I should wish for a pony. Or maybe I should wish for women to be more than a tiny fraction of the women in the new Star Wars. (I’m more likely to get the pony.)

Speaking of dreams coming true….

Feminist? Strong Female Characters?

First, there’s an incredible post about wanting gender-swapping heroes and heroines at the Argh Ink blog which has over 100 comments already. Fun to read and yet another voice in the rising chorus for a female-led superhero movie.

And it’s made me think about some of the reviews I’ve gotten for the steampunk novel. Some of them mention that the main character, Joan Krieger, is the proverbial strong female character and that the novel is feminist.

The Curse of The Brimstone Contract © Samhain Publishing LtdThis made me raise my eyebrows because I wasn’t think “write a strong female character” or “write a feminist book,” when I wrote Curse of the Brimstone Contract. I was thinking that an intelligent, ambitious young woman like Joan would naturally want more than the hand she was dealt. As a designer and seamstress, she sees the benefits of the nobility from the other side of the looking glass. She has the education and drive to do more than marry an eventual husband who will run her business but she’s stuck. I’d imagine a young male merchant in that situation who wanted more control of his destiny might feel the same, though at least he’d be allowed to run the business.

And, of course, the society in the steampunk world is in flux due to all the changes, as it was in our own Victorian Age. It was an age of questioning in science, in society, in politics. Again, it seemed natural that a smart person caught in this situation would chafe at restrictions.

What I’m saying is this didn’t strike me so much as “feminist” as “what a character in that situation might feel.” And I’m a little concerned that Joan is seen as unusual. Why is she so radical? Shouldn’t  a multi-dimensional character be the default?

But I guess it is. I believe I was nonplussed because I hope every female character is like that. (Male characters too but they usually are.)

Well, that’s cool. Joan is called a “radical” in the book and she doesn’t like being a pawn. The hero, a Sherlock Holmes-analogue, accepts her for that but, again, not unusual given the very first short Holmes story that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote for The Strand magazine was “A Scandal in Bohemia.” And in that story, Holmes loses. To a woman. Who outsmarts him.

I wonder what Doyle would have said if someone called that story feminist. Probably not too much, I guess, given he had a love/hate relationship with his most famous creation anyway.

But Joan’s isn’t so unusual. She’s just the latest in a long line. Unfortunately, some of these earlier characters were kept under the rug. Wonder Woman gets depowered for a while. Then she’s brought back. Except now she’s Superman’s girlfriend. Black Canary is created in 1947 as a superhero with a male sidekick and eventually becomes Green Arrow’s girlfriend. Ms. Marvel is raped and impregnated by an interdimensional being and the rest of the Avengers think it’s cool she’s having a baby. (Yes, this was an actual storyline.)

This is why a Wonder Woman movie is important. It’s why the Carol Corps and Captain Marvel is important. History has tended to erase the women. And that’s nowhere better said in this Hugo-nominated essay  “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley:

“Let’s just put it this way: if you think there’s a thing–anything–women didn’t do in the past, you’re wrong. Women–now and then–even made a habit of peeing standing up. They wore dildos. So even things the funny-ha-ha folks immediately raise a hand to say “It’s impossible women didn’t do X!” Well. They did it. Except maybe impregnate other women. But even then, there were, of course, intersex folks categorized as “women” who did just that.

But none of those things fit our narrative. What we want to talk about are women in one capacity: their capacity as wife, mother, sister, daughter to a man.  I see this in fiction all the time.  I see it in books and TV. I hear it in the way people talk.” (But do go read the whole thing, not just the quote, it’s brilliant.)

Let’s keep our narrative this time.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Batman: Eternal, Avatar: The Search, The X-Files, and More!

batman eternal
From the cover of Batman: Eternal #2, copyright DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I read about six kids who learn their parents are literally evil. Corrina journeys through Avatar, Batman: Eternal, and Tomb Raider, while Lisa takes us into the world of Moon Knight, and Sophie vents some of her frustration with The X-Files Annual issue.

Dakster Sullivan — Runaways Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

Runaways Vol. 1 \ Image: Marvel
Runaways Vol. 1 \ Image: Marvel

The Pride is an evil super-villain group made up of six couples, who get together once a year to talk “business.” Their children are unaware of their illegal activities until they stumble on their meeting by accident. Understandably spooked, the kids take off in the middle of the night on a quest to bring their parents to justice. Along the way, each one of them learns something special about themselves that brings new meaning to “teenage troubles.”

After picking this title up on a whim when Amazon and ComiXology had it on sale for $1.99, I’m hooked! Brian K. Vaughan does a wonderful job making this kids relatable (with the exception of having evil parents) and makes you feel for what they are going through. The art by Adrian Alphona is very young at heart and colorful, even in the darker moments of the series.

I’ve read some spoilers about the volumes that follow, and for now, I’m not happy with what is to come. I’m sure that mindset will change once I actually read what happens in the series though.

Runaways is recommended for ages 12 and up and is available digitally and in trade on ComiXology and Amazon.

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

Corrina — Avatar: The Last Airbender: The SearchCreators: Bryan KonietzkoMichael Dante DiMartinoGene Luen Yang, and Gurihiru (Artist)

avatar the search
cover copyright Dark Horse Comics

Before I have anything to say about the contents, I have to gush about how gorgeous this book is. It’s a coffee table-sized hardcover with pages that are heavy and crisp in your hands. And the contents definitely match up to the wrappings. For Avatar: The Last Airbender fans, this is the story of Zuko’s search for the truth about his mother, who mysteriously disappeared the night that his grandfather was killed. He’s accompanied on that search by his friends, including Ang the Avatar, and by his enemy, his mad sister Azula.  Azula somewhat steals the shows, at turns threatening, heartbreaking, and sometimes just plain insane. The results of the search are satisfying to all.

The bonus of this oversize edition are the comments from the creators on the margins of each page. The book can be read twice, first for the story, then for the background behind the story. Not only is this fun information for readers but for writers looking to create comics, this is incredible information on how to craft a story.

Absolutely worth the full price of $39.99.

Batman: Eternal #1 and #2 art by Jason Fabok, written by Tim SeeleyRay FawkesJohn Layman,James T Tynion IV, and Scott Snyder

I was going to say I planned to skip this event, as my reaction to issue #1 was a shrug. But then I read issue #2.

Eternal is a new multi-issue event in the Gotham-verse. Primarily, I was interested in the story for the return of fan-favorite Stephanie Brown. This first issue shows how Gotham begins to fall apart as Commissioner Gordon is obviously the victim of a set-up in which it appears he caused the deaths of a trainload of people. Getting Gordon out of the way and off the force is generally the first step in any master plan to take over Gotham, as an honest police force is a serious impediment to a hostile takeover. I loved the spotlight on Gordon, I’m glad Stephanie Brown is coming back, and I was happy to see Jason Bard return, Bat-geek that I am.

But despite all this, I wasn’t feeling this story at all. I suspect the problem is that I’ve read “Gotham falls apart” several times already. Gotham is falling apart in “Year Zero” that’s running in the current Bat-books. Gotham is falling apart as part of the big Forever Evil crossover. Gotham fell apart during No Man’s Land some years back. At this point, it’s a more dangerous place than Paradise Island, which is periodically getting destroyed, blown up or turned evil. Maybe I just need to give up on the Bat-books for a while, I thought.

The second issue, however, showed me something new. The plot moved past whether Gordon was at fault or not and right into who set him up. And that question is answered, at least partially, at the end of the story.  But something else is going on than just a mob scheme to takeover Gotham, something supernatural, and that’s clear from the appearance of a supernatural character associated with Gotham.

And now I’m hooked by the story.

Tomb Raider #3, written by Gail Simone, art by Nicolás Daniel Selma and Juan Gedeon

I’m reminded of what Gail Simone did with a younger Barbara Gordon in Batgirl in this comic featuring a young and inexperienced Lara Croft. Babs fought past a horrific trauma to become a hero again. Younger Lara is fighting past survivor’s guilt without the skills she’ll have later in life. This Lara isn’t a powerhouse but she’s learning and she’s getting better every issue, and I’m enjoying her story of survival more every issue.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Annual 2014 

The X-Files Annual 2014 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Annual 2014 \ Image: IDW Publishing

You wouldn’t believe the excitement that began rippling through the X-Files fandom several months ago when The X-Files Annual 2014 was first mentioned. “Frank Spotnitz!” people cried, “Uncle Frank is coming back!” Frank is one of the X-Files old guard. He was one of the show’s most prolific writers and spent four years as executive producer so news of him writing for the franchise again in any way was welcome news. That’s why I was so excited to finally get my hands on the annual, a standalone book containing two stories.

The first is penned by Frank, Gabe Rotter (production and writer’s assistant on the show), and Shannon Denton (X-Files comics editor and creator of Community’s recent G.I. Joe episode) and the second by Cerebus creator Dave Sim. It’s probably also why I was so disappointed by what I finally read.

The first story is actually OK. My problem with it is that it simply didn’t feel all that new. A man is killed in a hit and run whilst on the phone to his pregnant wife. Somehow the phone line remains open and he is able to call her from the afterlife as he runs around trying to stop some nasty types coming after her and their unborn child. It’s all a bit Ghost and a bit The Crow and not really that inspiring. I’d simply expected so much more from this and that’s before we even get to the artwork. As someone whose pull list is 95% adaptations of TV shows I’m very used to my favorite characters looking a bit wrong.

Depicting a real person as a two-dimensional comic book character is hard and comic artists are generally rushing to meet their deadlines like the rest of us; they simply don’t have time to spend days on each panel to make sure every expression is a perfect match to the actors they’re trying to imitate. It’s totally normal and totally forgivable. However there’s bad and there’s bad, and this is the latter. When I can barely concentrate on the story because I’m too busy being horrified by the images in front of me, you know it needed a rework.

Moving onto the second story in the book and we do something of an about turn. The artwork here is beautiful, if a little hard to place. The stories are set during the show’s TV run and the locations and general situation bears that out, however Scully looks older and much more I Want to Believe era which is a little odd.

There are a few more poor choices here too (such as her choice of nightwear). That might not seem like a big deal but Dana Scully’s collection of all-covering silk pajamas in a range of hues is legendary within the fandom; depicting her in a skimpy little vest and shorts is just wrong—painfully so. However these niggles are nothing compared to the plotline. Described in the previews as “a nightmarish tale starring a sleeping Dana Scully” I was so excited at the possibilities. Scully-in-peril is my X-Files guilty pleasure and this seemed an ample opportunity for some seriously freaky goings on.

Instead I found myself reading eleven pages of Scully having a semi-dream sequence heart-to-heart with her high school sweetheart Adam who, by the way, is appearing to her as a disembodied floating mutant hand (NB Scully’s high school sweetheart was mentioned by name on the show and was called Marcus, but I’ll let that slide in light of bigger issues).

Why is he coming to visit her in the middle of the night in such a guise? Because she made him that way in her head so she didn’t have to accept that deep down, she’s still in love with him, of course. Right… Adam the disembodied, floating, mutant hand even shows her an image of the daughter they will have together when she wakes up, quits the FBI, and comes running back to him. A beautiful little girl that looks eerily like Renesmee from the Twilight saga.

The whole thing is so bafflingly insane that you spend the entire story gaping open-mouthed and wondering what you missed. I didn’t even notice the first few times around that in one panel Adam the disembodied, floating, mutant hand actually has hearts in his eyes when he looks at Scully. Everything is going to be perfect and they’re going to live happily ever after. Unless they don’t, in which case he’ll meet someone else in twelve hours time and go on to live another wonderfully happy life with her instead. It’s Scully’s last chance to realize that she really loves him, you see? It’s also my last chance to sob over bad characterization and wonder how on Earth this ever made it to publication.

Lisa Tate — Moon Knight #1 and #2 by Warren Ellis, art by Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire

Moon-Knight #1 \ Image: Marvel
Moon-Knight #1 \ Image: Marvel

It seems to be a prerequisite for all Marvel mercenaries to be both insane and bitingly witty. Meet Marc Spector (aka Moon Knight), whose latest solo comic delves into this fringe character’s deeper personal demons, and there are plenty. Suffering from DID (dissociative identity disorder), not to mention having been recently resurrected by an ancient Egyptian deity, Spector is back in New York helping police run down a killer murdering victims for spare body parts.

If I were to oversimplify Spector, Moon Knight is what happens when you take a Bruce Wayne type, give him Sherlock Holmes’ personality and deductive skills, and Deadpool’s skills and sense of compassion, with a couple of extra personalities as baggage. However, there is so much more to this man. He is mentally unstable, but he isn’t “insane.” He’s effective and helpful with crime fighting, but he isn’t the textbook definition of a hero.

Unlike many “darker” vigilantes, Spector’s glowingly white fashion sense allows his targets to see him coming, because, as he says, “That’s the part I like.”

Ellis (“Planetary,” “The Authority”) is a great match for Moon Knight, as he deals well with the gritty, ugly side of the superhero world. Moon Knight is certainly gritty and graphic, but it’s also a clever, sleek, and noirish crime comic.

After the first two issues, it’s hard to say in which weird direction Ellis will take the character — and the reader — next, but like Spector said, “That’s the part I like.”

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

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

Adventures Of Superman Vol. 1 TP
American Vampire Second Cycle #2
Batman #30
Batman And Wonder Woman #30
Batman Eternal #2
Batwoman #30
Birds Of Prey #30
Daytripper Deluxe Edition HC
Final Crisis TP (New Edition)
Green Lantern New Guardians #30
Harley Quinn #5
Joker Death Of The Family TP
Justice League #29
Justice League Of America Omnibus Vol. 1 HC
Red Hood And The Outlaws #30
Sinestro #1
Smallville Season 11 Lantern #1 (Of 4)
Supergirl #30
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #10
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #4
Wonder Woman #30
Amazing X-Men #6
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 7 HC
Deadpool Vs Carnage #2 (Of 4)
Hulk #1
Ms. Marvel #3
Nova #16
Spider-Man Newspaper Strips Vol. 1 TP
Superior Spider-Man #31
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 5 The Superior Venom TP
Thor Epic Collection Vol. 11 A Kingdom Lost TP
Thor God Of Thunder #21
Ultimate FF #1
Uncanny X-Men #20
Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 2 HC
Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 2 HC
What If Age Of Ultron #3 (Of 5)
Winter Soldier The Bitter March #3 (Of 5)
Wolverine #4
Wolverine And The X-Men #3
X-Force #3
X-Men #13
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

24 Omnibus TP
Crow Pestilence #2 (Of 4)
Frankenstein Alive Alive #3
Frankenstein Alive Alive Reanimated Edition
Ghostbusters Vol. 7 Happy Horror Days TP
Godzilla History’s Greatest Monster TP
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 2 TP
Haunted Horror #10
Powerpuff Girls Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Star Mage #1 (Of 6)
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #2
Superman The Silver Age Newspaper Dailies Vol. 2 1961-1963 HC
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7
Transformers Dark Cybertron Vol. 1 TP
Transformers Windblade #1 (Of 4)
X-Files Annual 2014
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #118
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Vol. 8 Lake Of Fire TP
Brain Boy Vol. 1 Psy Vs Psy TP
Chronicles Of Conan Vol. 26 Legion Of The Dead And Other Stories TP
Crime Does Not Pay Archives Vol. 7 HC
Dark Horse Presents #35
Game Of Thrones Weirwood Snow Globe
Ghost #3
Ghost Omnibus Vol. 5 TP
Itty Bitty Hellboy TP
Skyman #4 (Of 4)
Star Wars #7 (Of 8)(Lucas Draft)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Cry Of Shadows #5 (Of 5)
Star Wars Vol. 2 From The Ruins Of Alderaan TP
Trekker The Train To Avalon Bay TP
White Suits #3 (Of 4)

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 20th, 2013

Gail Simone, Jim Calafiore, Kickstarter
Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone & Jim Calafiore. Copyright Simone & Calafiore.

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 wide variety of books including Leaving Megalopolis by the team of writer Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore, Molly Danger, DC: The New FrontierDivas, Dames, & Daredevils, and Mouse Guard! 

Corrina–Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore; Batwoman #25 by Mark Andreyko and Trevor McCarthy

Re: Leaving Megalopolis

Omigod, the feels in this book.

Leaving Megalopolis is a hardcover, full-length graphic novel that was published via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $100,000. I had very little idea of what the book would be about as I backed the project on the strength of the creative team.

I was blown away by the intensity, sadness, sacrifice, love, and honor in this story. It may be the best thing Simone has ever written and the art by Calafiore is beautiful, terrifying, and awe-inspiring, ranging from facial close-ups to massive craters to monsters to a city crumbling into pieces.

The story is exactly what the title says it is: A small group of survivors band together reluctantly to try and get out of the city which has been overrun and destroyed by the heroes who used to protect it. Why the heroes turned evil, why the police officer leading them is so reluctant to help, and how others react to their city being destroyed is all part of the story. There’s also a quiet back-up tale with a former human sidekick (no powers) helping out a girl who’s stumbled into his former lair.

At times, this book broke my heart. But somehow, even with the tragedy and sense of loss that’s interspersed through the book, there are still flashes of heroism that were just enough to give me hope.

Simone’s been tweeting the graphic novel will be available at some point via regular publishing channels. I hope so. This story deserves to be read by as many people as possible.

Batwoman #25 is the first story by the new creative team, after J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman left the title over the refusal of DC Comics to allow Kate (Batwoman) Kane to marry the love of her life, Det. Maggie Sawyer. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this issue, particularly as it’s a flashback to the “Zero Year” when Batman first appeared in Gotham.

And it sure brought some surprises. Kate’s background has been somewhat revised. Once a supposed distant cousin of Bruce Wayne, she’s now his first cousin, via his mother, Martha Kane. Kate’s home from West Point for the funeral of their mutual uncle, Philip, and attends a wake at Wayne Manor, where it’s clear she, her sister Bette, and Bruce are fairly close, if not exactly buddies. Kate even talks of a family curse, pointing to Bruce’s dead parents, and her own (presumed) dead sister and mother.

But all that is prologue as Kate, wanting to do something to help during the blackout, borrows one of Bruce’s motorcycles to try and keep the peace. In doing so, she briefly encounters one Maggie Sawyer, then a volunteer from the Metropolis Police Force.

It’s a good story, though I can’t decide whether tying Kate to Bruce more closely is a good thing or not. Kate’s always been very much her own person, though she wears the Bat-symbol, and I’m worried this will make her more of an adjunct to Bruce rather than a hero in her own right. We’ll see. It certainly adds another element to the Batwoman/Batman fight that ended in a cliffhanger with issue #24.

 

DC: The New Frontier (issue 6 cover) \Image: DC Comics
DC: The New Frontier (issue 6 cover) \Image: DC Comics

Dakster Sullivan — DC: The New Frontier Vol. 2 by Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart

After being slightly disappointed in DC: The New Frontier, Volume 1, I picked up Volume 2 in the hope that it would involve less politics and more heroic action. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed and Volume 2 brought all the heat that I felt was missing from Volume 1.

For the most part, the story centers around Hal Jordan, Martian Manhunter, and Superman, with Wonder Woman and the Flash getting honorable mentions.

Batman has a very small role in this story and I can’t say I missed him that much. His lack of involvement allows the writers to bring other characters, like Flash and Wonder Woman, into the spotlight in his place.

I grew to hate a few of the characters but the writers had a way of pulling at the heartstrings at the very last minute—which left me mourning instead of celebrating their deaths. One scene in particular, with Martian Manhunter, proved that a male losing a male friend could force a hero into action just as much as the loss of a female friend could.

The art style had the same beauty as Volume One and the writing, especially Superman’s, made the characters feel real in the World War II era.

I almost wish the stories wouldn’t end so I could watch Hal Jordan grow as a Green Lantern and watch as Martin Manhunter grows more into his new role as a hero on Earth.

There wasn’t a ton of violence in DC: The New Frontier Volume 2, so I feel comfortable recommending it for anyone ages 10 and up.

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

Divas, Dames, and Daredevils
© Exterminating Angel Press

Kelly Knox — Divas, Dames, & Daredevils by Mike Madrid

After chatting briefly with author Mike Madrid at this year’s GeekGirlCon, I decided to check out his new book Divas, Dames, & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics, an exploration of the forgotten heroines that hit the funny pages even before Wonder Woman did. I wish now I’d caught his panel at the convention — the book is a compelling discussion of comic heroines of the 1940s that are no longer lost to time thanks to this fascinating read.

Not only does Madrid include commentary about the Golden Age time period itself, he introduces us to a cast of characters that run from adventuresome career girls inspired by Lois Lane, to vigilantes with no qualms about catching the bad guy, to superheroines with almost limitless powers. And then, I discovered to my delight, each heroine is featured in a reprinted full comic strip showcasing her daring exploits.

Chapters divvy up the Golden Age heroes into categories, like “Women at War” and “Daring Dames.” (I personally enjoyed reading about the exploits of “Penny Wright, Feature Writer” because just for one second I imagined that it read “Kelly Knox, Feature Writer” and I could be in the pages of a comic book with some adventures of my own.) Madrid reacquaints us to over 25 characters of the Golden Age, and each comic adventure is an engaging, and occasionally strange, experience to read.

Lisa Tate — Molly Danger, Book One (Action Lab) by Jamal Igle

Molly Danger is eternally young, superhumanly strong, and a filled with personality and spirit.

Molly Danger \ Image: Action Lab Entertainment
Molly Danger \ Image: Action Lab Entertainment

Her story seems vaguely familiar (an orphaned alien child stranded on Earth, but is blessed with superhuman strength and other powers), yet she is also cursed with being perpetually trapped in the body and emotional needs of a 10-year-old. Treated as a fragile weapon by the D.A.R.T. organization through which she is protector of the city Coopersville, she is loved my many in her community, but kept isolated, unable to have friends or even make contact with the general public. When a recent “hot dog” ex-police pilot and his family befriend her, she discovers how much she yearns for a little normalcy in her life.

Funded through a Kickstarter campaign, this creator-owned hardback comic is the brainchild of Inkpot Award winning writer and illustrator Jamal Igle (Supergirl), with inks by Juan Castro and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. This comic is great, not only for young girls looking for a strong, confident female hero, but for any kid (or adult) who has often felt they are on the outside-looking-in or isolated. If the first book is any indication, Molly’s fight against loneliness will be as intriguing as any fight against the forces of evil.

Kay Moore — Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, Vol. 2 by David Petersen (Author, Artist), Stan Sakai, Bill Willingham, Rick Geary, Ben Caldwell, Nick Tapalansky, Paul Morrissey, Rebecca Taylor, Cory Godbey, Eric Canete, and Alex Eckman-Lawn.

Mouse Guard \ Image: MouseGuard.net
Mouse Guard \ Image: MouseGuard.net

This is the second outing in the Mouse Guard “Legends” series, which collects stories told by characters in Petersen’s Mouse Guard tales, but written and illustrated by guest creators. The framing story is set in the June Alley Inn, where the inn owner offers to dismiss the bar tab for the winner of a contest for the best tale. Then we get 12 stories and an illustrated song from different artists and creators, plus the framing pages of the inn story, an introduction and character bios from David Petersen. I’m a fan of Mouse Guard so I enjoy the Petersen art, including the nods to medieval mood and design on the maps and reference pages.

From story to story there is a lot of variation. I’ve enjoyed other anthologies similar to this because it’s a potluck of dishes recommended by an author I like. I am wandering around in the midst of all this goodness.

In this book, I loved a few of the stories, enjoyed most of the stories, and there were a couple I wouldn’t have missed. The stories are so short, I am amazed that authors can establish the characters and tell a complete story in just a handful of pages. My favorites included a black and white densely inked story with no words, featuring a mer-mouse, and a watercolor-y tale of a princess and four adventuring brothers that reminded me of the stories in the “Color” Fairytale books of my childhood. That art was beautiful with a distinctive, colorful, and illuminated palette and unusual panel layouts.

The tales don’t focus on the main characters from the Mouse Guard books; they are meant to be tall tales or stories the mice tell themselves. As such, the tales are not connected to the forward movement of the story lines in the major collections and I missed seeing my favorite characters. I also wish fewer pages were spent in the “framing” moments at the inn. I like the comfort of Petersen’s art and writing for those segments but nothing much develops during those linking pages to justify the expense of all that page real estate. Still, Volume 2 of Legends is a bouquet of fun and interesting styles, with clever stories by authors you have not yet discovered. The book is recommended for ages 8 and above.

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

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

100 Bullets Brother Lono #6 (Of 8)
Animal Man #25
Batman ’66 #5
Batman And Two-Face #25
Batman Beyond Universe #4
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 2 Scare Tactics TP
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 3 Emperor Penguin HC
Batwoman #25
Birds Of Prey #25
Fables #135
Fairest In All The Land HC
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #2 (Of 6)
Green Lantern New Guardians #25 GM
Harley Quinn #0
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #8 GM
MAD Presents Spy Vs Spy Fight To The Finish TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws #25
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1 KF10
Supergirl #25
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #5
Vertigo Essentials Fables #1
Wake #5 (Of 10)
Wonder Woman #25
Worlds’ Finest Vol. 2 Hunt And Be Hunted TP GM
A+X #14
A+X Vol. 2 = Amazing TP
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Cosmic Adventures TP
Avengers #23
Avengers A.I. #6
Cable And X-Force #16
Captain America Living Legend By Mike Allred Poster
Cataclysm The Ultimates #1 (Of 3)
Daredevil #33
Dexter #5 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four #14
Indestructible Hulk #15
Inhumanity By Olivier Coipel Poster
Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe #2 (Of 4)
Secret Avengers #11
Secret Avengers By Rick Remender Vol. 3 TP
Spider-Man Vs Venom By J. Scott Campbell Poster
Superior Spider-Man Annual #1
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #6
Takio 2 HC
Thunderbolts #18
Uncanny X-Force Vol. 2 Torn And Frayed TP
Uncanny X-Men #14
Wolverine MAX #13
X-Men #7 KF10
X-Men A Skinning Of Souls TP
X-Men Legacy #20
X-Men Vol. 1 Primer TP
Young Avengers #12
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Ben 10 #1 KF10
Ben 10 Classics Vol. 1 Ben Here Before TP KF10
Doctor Who Classics Vol. 9 TP
Doctor Who Prisoners Of Time #12 (Of 12)
Jinnrise #8
Mars Attacks The Human Condition TP
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #13 KF10
Samurai Jack #2 KF10
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #5 KF10
Transformers Dark Cybertron #1 (Deluxe Edition)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #23 (Dark Cybertron Part 2 Of 12)
True Blood Vol. 2 Tainted Love TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #113
Baltimore Vol. 3 A Passing Stranger And Other Stories HC
Berserk Vol. 37 TP
Brain Boy #3
Buzzkill #3 (Of 4)
Conan The Barbarian #22
Dark Horse Presents #30
Fifth Beatle The Brian Epstein Story HC
Kiss Me Satan #3
Last Man Standing Killbook Of A Bounty Hunter HC
Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. Archives Vol. 2 TP
Oh My Goddess! Vol. 45 TP
So I Survived The Zombie Apocalypse And All I Got Was This Podcast TP
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Ninth Assassin HC
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force War #1 (Of 5)
Star Wars Legacy II Prisoner Of The Floating World TP
Strain The Fall #5
Violent Cases HC

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading / KF10 = Kid-Friendly for 10-years old and younger

The Cliffs of Insanity: New York Comic Con and Geek Girl Con

geek girl con logo
The official logo of Geek Girl Con

On this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity, I’m going to talk about the fun to be had at cons. Particularly, New York Comic Con this weekend and Geek Girl Con, which begins on Saturday, October 19.

The East Coast has been getting into the massive geek gathering thingwith New York Comic Con, which started on Thursday. Like Comic Con International in San Diego, NYCC is only partially a comic con. The exhibit floor at the Jacob K. Javits Center is packed with booths from all the big video gaming companies, often with soundtracks blaring, there are many panels concentrating on television and movies, and prose publishers big and small are there too.

I’m headed in Saturday, and especially looking forward to two panels, The Mary Sue Presents Representation in Geek Media with Jill Pantozzi, Susana Polo, Jamal Igle, Kate Leth, N.K. Jemisin, Phil Jimenez on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. and Comic Chix with Kate Kotler–LIVE!, a live version of the popular podcast featuring Bonnie Burton, Jill Pantozzi, Joan Hilty, Kate Kotler, Meghan White, Molly McIsaac, Sarah Miller, and GeekMom’s own Nicole Wakelin.

As for the rest, since I’m going without kids for the first time, I’m looking forward to walking around without much of a plan at all, save to speak to creators in artists’ alley, my favorite place in any con. I hope to report back next week with some interviews, including one with Dan Jolley, the creator of Bloodhound, a short-lived DC series getting a second (and well-deserved) life. You can look for my tweets at either @GeekMomBlog or @CorrinaLawson.

But the con I’m most looking forward to in October isn’t this weekend, it’s next: Geek Girl Con in Seattle, and that’s only partially because I’m part of three panels, Home Geek Home with an incredible lineup that includes Bonnie Burton and fellow Geekmoms Kelly Know and Jenn Fujikawa on Saturday;  Romance is a Feminist Genre, my own brainchild, which will talk about why the romance genre is so awesome and positive for women on Sunday at 10 a.m.; and Women in Comics: What’s Left To Do, a panel featuring members of the pioneering feminist webzine, Sequential Tart.

Mostly, I already love this con because of this mission statement:

GeekGirlCon is dedicated to celebrating female involvement in all fields of math, the sciences, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, fiction, gaming, and more.

As Kelly Knox pointed out in her preview post for GGC, this is a con that has nearly *everything* geeky. I’m not going to find a DIY science zone for all ages at NYCC or in San Diego or at Boston Comic Con, which was very superhero focused. GGC promises to be a shorter version of a Maker Faire combined with feminism combined with geeky pop culture.

And it’s in Seattle. Where I’ve never been before.

Alas, there’s one person I won’t be able to meet in Seattle, Batgirl/Tomb Raider/Red Sonja writer Gail Simone, who was a guest at the first two cons. But speaking of Simone…she made news already this week.

Red-Sonja-01-hdr
Red Sonja: image copyright Dynamite Entertainment

The Barbarian and the She-Devil Are Getting Back Together

Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja are getting back together, in an adventure kind-of-way. Because the rights to new stories about the characters are owned by separate companies, they haven’t appeared in a story together for over fifteen years. From the press release:

Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics are proud to announce the 2014 crossover of swords-and-sorcery icons Red Sonja, She-Devil with a Sword and Conan the Barbarian, a reunion that fans have asked for since their last team-up over fifteen years ago. Two series will be published, Conan/Red Sonja and Red Sonja/Conan, by Dynamite and Dark Horse, respectively. Acclaimed writers Gail Simone and Brian Wood are confirmed as the writers for the epic crossovers, both firmly established as valuable contributors to the Robert E. Howard fantasy mythos.

The most important parts of that statement for me? Brian Wood and Gail Simone are writing this.

So far, no word yet on the publication date or the artists for the series.

And, by the way, if you’re not reading Simone’s Red Sonja series and you’re a fan of fantasy sword and sorcery stories, you’re seriously missing out.

The Cliffs of Insanity: Why I’m in Love With Kickstarter

From the Molly Danger Free Comic Book Day issue, by Jamal Igle and Jeremy Whitley
From the Molly Danger Free Comic Book Day issue, by Jamal Igle and Jeremy Whitley, copyright Jamal Igle. Molly Danger was made possible via a Kickstarter campaign.

This week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity include a look at several awesome kickstarter comic projects that have come to fruition, including Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore’s much-anticipated story, a great post on the origins of Lois Lane, and a video that my youngest son hunted up because the music was used at the beginning of Iron Man 3.

But first, I believe I’m in love with Kickstarter.

For years, I kept hearing there’s no market for books staring non-sexually exploitive female characters or by female creators. Then Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger raised over $50,000, Simone and Calafiore’s Leaving Megalopolis raised over $100,000 and Flesh of White, a horror story by the relatively little-known Erica Heflin and Amanda Rachels exceeded their goal for issue #1, and have fully funded issue #2 with nine days still to go. (That means you can still back it! Go!). A character card from Flesh of White #2's Kickstarter page

A character card from Flesh of White #2’s Kickstarter page, copyright Inverse Press

 I received the first issue, a horror mini-series set in Africa concerning the fate of a much-loved but much wanted albino baby, after backing issue #1. Continue reading The Cliffs of Insanity: Why I’m in Love With Kickstarter

This Week With the GeekMoms

GeekMom News

Dakster Sullivan has no plans this weekend, but if she did, this is what she imagines she would like to be doing: “First, I would be flying to LA for a meeting with executives about a Batgirl movie. Gail Simone would be in attendance, since she’s not only writing the script, but also the woman in charge of it all. After the meeting, Gail has me catching a flight to Chicago to scout out locations for the Gotham City scenes.”

Judy Berna spent Spring Break driving her kids across the long plains of Kansas to visit her parents in Missouri. The trip was made much easier since her third teen passed his driver’s test two weeks ago. In fact, she had so much time in the passenger’s seat, she got to devour Mary Roach’s fascinating new book, Gulp. Two days after arriving home she got a surprising email, saying she was a finalist in the Notes and Words essay contest. If you’d like to see her submission (and possibly click ‘like’ if you enjoy it) follow this link. Since the theme of the contest was ‘transitions’ she chose to write about the day, the moment, she realized that having her foot amputated was going to improve her life.

Kelly Knox is struggling to find time to do the reading and discussion topics for the Gender Through Comic Books online course. She did enjoy the first reading assignment, Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, more than she expected. Kelly plans to set aside some time each week to sit and read and ponder, even if it means less time playing Skyrim. (Gasp!)

Rachel has a sports-filled weekend ahead, and she’s not entirely sure how she feels about that. However, she’s sort of excited for Saturday’s Harlem Globetrotters event, where she will relive part of her youth and watch her son practically pass out from laughter.

Mega Con 2013 or Bust!

Mega Con is my favorite convention in Central Florida. This year, the convention welcomes the bridge crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation including Captain Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart. Also in attendance to represent the comic book world will be Neil Adams, Gail Simone, and George Perez along with many others!

One of the things I’m looking forward to doing most is walking the various comic book artists tables and vendors.

I’ve purchased some really cool and inexpensive artwork at Mega Con in the past that is now showcased in my office at work. This year I hope to get something signed by Gail Simone and maybe a comic book or two signed by George Perez.

I’m also excited to walk around the autograph area and maybe say hi to some of the celebrities at their tables. Knowing the line for Levar Burton is going to be horrific, I’ve already given up hopes of getting his autograph, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still try. I’m also looking forward to meeting voice actress Tara Strong, best known for her role as Twilight Sparkle on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Raven on Teen Titans.

My husband is looking forward to meeting Dean Cain (Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman). Last year, he was star struck when talking with Paul Bradford and Scott Tepperman from Ghost Hunters International, so maybe this year he won’t be so shy when he goes over to say hi to them again.

One of the things I really like about how Mega Con is organized is you get to see a little bit of everything in terms of celebrities. This year we have the Weasley twins from Harry Potter, cast members from Battlestar Galactica (Michael Hogan), NCIS-LA (Arne Starr), the Walking Dead (Michael Koske) as well as stars from shows not long forgotten (The Incredible Hulk, Teen Wolf, and Farescape).

For those of you who are fans of the light and dark side of the force, have no fear! The 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups will have plenty to amuse you including sets, costumes, and droids on display. This year, the 501st Legion will also be hosting Roxy the Rancor, last seen at Star Wars Celebration VI. Roxy is a star all her own and will be available for photo ops in the 501st Legion area. In addition to Roxy, the 501st Legion will also have helmets, props, and costumes on display. They also hope to raise money for charity with “Shoot a Stormtrooper,” where guests can shoot Nerf guns at willing stormtroopers and other 501st Legion costumers.

The Rebel Legion will have a host of helmets and props on display as well as a Cantina Band set display for guests to take pictures with. They also plan on having a friendly bean bag toss game to help raise money for a special charity.

For those of you coming for the first time here are some tips to help you make it through.

  • Pre-purchase your tickets to avoid the long lines at the convention.
  • If you don’t want to bother with the crowds, come early on Friday morning. Advanced ticket holders get in an hour early, so this is the best day to avoid the crowds.
  • If you want to see the best costumes the con has to offer, wait and come on Saturday.
  • Plan your attack for autographs and take note who will not be there on certain days (some of the talent will only be there on Saturday or Sunday).
  • The best artwork goes fast, so hit this first on Friday and don’t delay in getting something because you think it will be there later, because it probably won’t be.
  • Regardless, if you are coming in costume or not…Don’t forget to hydrate!

As always, make sure your camera is charged and ready to go the night before. You don’t want to miss any of the action at this convention.

But wait! There’s more!!

This year, I will be coming armed with free GeekMom patches! To get one, all you have to do is find me and say “GeekMom Rocks!” To help you out, I’ll give you a hint about what I will be wearing on Saturday as well as tweeting my heart out about everything I see. Make sure you follow me on Twitter to see the latest updates on all the exciting things happening at the convention.

So, if you are heading out to Mega Con this year, keep your eyes peeled for me. If you’re not going, keep an eye on Twitter for updates on what it’s all about!

Our Top Comic Books from 2012

A small sampling of our top comic books this year.
A small sampling of our top comic books this year.

Welcome to our top comic books from 2012! We would like to share with you some of our favorite books / series from 2012. Hopefully, we can inspire you to check out some new titles, or revisit some old ones.

Dakster Sullivan – This has been my first year as a comic book reader and I have a few favorites that have kept me coming back for more. Here is my list, in no particular order.

Ame-Comi Girls by DC Comics (written by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and art by Eduardo Francisco) – This story is my favorite digital read. The characters are all strong, smart, and totally kick ass females. The issues are a little shorter than a normal comic book, but that’s because it’s released every Monday, instead of just once a month.

The Phantom Stranger by DC Comics (written by Dan DiDio and art by Brent Anderson) – The Phantom Stranger is a much under-loved character in my opinion. This is one of those books I would love to see fleshed out as a TV series. The character is addicting and his stories have a mix of heart and action that keep me coming back each month.

Avengers vs. X-Men by Marvel Comics – This is one of the first mini-series I’ve read and the graphic novel became the first one in my collection. The story follows the X-Men and Avengers as they fight over the right thing to do with the superpower Phoenix force on its way to Earth. Of the twelve rounds, my favorite issue is still round 9 (written by Jason Aaron and art by Adam Kubert), where Spider-Man took center stage and taught Hope a valuable lesson.

All-New X-Men by Marvel Comics (written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Stuart Immonen) – The All-New X-Men follows the events of AVX, as the original five X-Men arrive in the future to stop their future-selves from making horrible mistakes. The art is just a fun to look at as the story is to read.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by DC Comics – He-Man and the Masters are back in a six-part mini-series by DC Comics. My husband looks forward to this every month and we have some pretty neat conversations over what happens in each issue. The characters remind me of the animated series that came out in 2000. There has been some physical changes to a few of the characters (for instance, Teela is blonde), but nothing to drastic to turn off longtime fans. I only wish it weren’t a mini-series, because it has made me fall in love with the world of Eternia all over again.

Justice League by DC Comics (written by Geoff Johns and art by Jim Lee) – This series has a special place in my heart because it was the first comic book series I ever picked up, and I’m happy to say I’m still hooked and reading it every month. At first I only liked some of the characters, but now I’m in love with them all and I’m eagerly awaiting to see what DC Comics has in store for the team in 2013.

Robyn Hood by Zenescope (written by Patrick Shand and art by various contributors) – This is the first 17+ rated comic book I’ve read and it has me coming back every month for the main character Robyn. Her attitude and the way she carries herself through the trials life throws at her is a very compelling story. The mix of comic book action and real life scenarios makes this a great title to pick up. While I don’t agree with some of the content, her strength and desire to kick butt helps put this story on the list.

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics) – Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artist Dexter Soy

My favorite new comic book of 2012, hands down, is the relaunched Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers, previously Ms. Marvel, has taken the mantle of Captain Marvel and headlines on of the best series of the year. Written by one of my new favorite writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel combines a fantastic heroine with a sense of duty with a retro vibe that makes the character feel like she has already solidified her place in history.

Recently issues have introduced another intriguing character in the Marvel universe who I wasn’t familiar with, Monica Rambeau. Her interactions with Carol have been fun to read, and I’m looking forward to see where 2013 takes them.

Continue reading Our Top Comic Books from 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 31st, 2012

AVX: Consequences  Image: Copyright Marvel
AVX: Consequences Image: Copyright Marvel

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

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences

The past two weeks have been torture for me since all of my local comic book stores have been sold out of Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences. One store told me the popularity of it just came out of nowhere for them. Thanks to a friend at Marvel, I was able to read them digitally this week and get my AVX fix.

AVX: Consequences is a mini series that shows us what happened after the war between the Avengers and the X-Men was over and the repercussions that came from it.

Thanks to Hope, Scarlet Witch, and the Phoenix, the mutant population has started to flourish again and the world is coming to grips with the new influx of mutants popping up. For the most part, everyone is free to go back to the normal lives they lived before the war and others are helping to search for the rest of extermination team (lead by Cyclops).

Hope is trying to figure out where she belongs and just wants to try to be normal for a while. Cyclops is in a high security prison that couldn’t care less if he wakes up breathing. He appears to lack guilt for the deaths he caused and his only desire at the moment is to become a martyr for the mutant cause, a desire Wolverine is sorely tempted to fill.

After reading issues #1 and #2, I hate to say I’m starting to have some sympathy pains for Cyclops. I don’t believe what he did was right, but I also don’t think he should be receiving the torturous care he is getting in the prison. It will be interesting to see how he gets out and what his life will be like once he does. I can imagine his relationships with some of his former teammates is not going to be as great as what he might hope it to be.

I would love to see an issue focus on the school a little and what the students went through while the war was going on. I’m also curious to see what will happen to Hope now that she is free to live her own life for the first time.

The Avengers vs. X-Men graphic novel is up for pre-order on Amazon now.

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

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 31st, 2012

Women Write About Comics: Women in Refrigerators, 13 Years Later

The panel which birthed the term “Women in Refrigerators” from Green Lantern

As you may have noticed if you read GeekMom regularly, I’m a passionate reader of superhero comics and have been since I can remember.

But, being a woman (d’uh), it’s impossible to miss the issues with the portrayal of female characters over the years.

Nowhere was outrage more consolidated than in a site called Women in Refrigerators. WiR tried to detail the various deaths, depowerments and violence against women in superhero comics and how different it was from the violence and death directed at the men.

It wasn’t ever meant to be a comprehensive list of bad things done to women in comics. Instead, it was created to start a discussion, point to happenings and say “so, why do you all think this happened?”

Now, Women Write About Comics has asked comic bloggers this week to write on a single topic: Women in Refrigerators, Thirteen Years Later. They already have a number of links of with sometimes divergent points of view on the topic.

I have somewhat of a unique perspective on WiR in that I’m a co-moderator for Gail Simone, one of the founders of WiR, both on her current forums on Jinxworld and her previous forums at ComicBookResources.com. Simone is under contract for DC and has written Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, Wonder Woman, Superman, and several other titles. That’s somewhat of a big flashing light that things have changed since the site went up.

But they haven’t changed completely.

When people came to the forums to yell at Gail Simone for being an uppity feminist or claim that she hated men or that the whole site was idiotic, I had to deal with them. Over and over, Simone merely directed people to the site, claiming that those who were yelling about WiR probably hadn’t read it fully. If we could really move past WiR, those people would never show up.

So, I think before I can talk about WiR now, we need to go back to the site: Women in Refrigerators. The most interesting part isn’t the list or the fact that women were badly served by many superhero storylines.

Most of us here know that already.

It’s the page of respondents, a list of comic creators commenting on the issue. And, wow, do many of the male creators unload on their colleagues. Read Mark Waid’s response in particular. A sentence:

“Most males are fans of or in comics because they’re social misanthropes who can’t get laid or can’t keep girlfriends and they’re pissed about it on some level. There’s the famous–and true–anecdote of the Hellcat story that consists mostly of her being beaten to a pulp by a man, a story that BY THE *WILDEST* COINCIDENCE was written by a man in the middle of harsh divorce proceedings.”

This is Mark Waid, who wrote Kingdom Come.

Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, lost in the DC Reboot

So, things were bad. Have they changed?

Yes and No. To illustrate my point, I give you the comics history of one Stephanie Brown: Spoiler, Robin, dead, Batgirl, limbo.

Stephanie Brown first appeared as the daughter of the supervillain Cluemaster who wanted to stop her father’s crimes. She “spoiled” them, hence “The Spoiler.” She was one of those characters who quickly took on a life of her own.

The highlights of her existence:

Major supporting character in the Robin series written by Chuck Dixon starring the Tim Drake Robin.

Became Robin after Bruce Wayne fired Tim because editorial said he should.

Fired from being Robin for “incompetence” by the same Bruce Wayne after a very short time.

Decided to prove to Batman she was competent, ended up starting an editorial-mandated “gang-war” by stealing something from Bruce’s files. (Editorial also mandated, apparently, that Bruce not have any security passcodes on said files.)

Horrifically beaten and bloodied and eventually dead from injuries inflicted by the villain Black Mask. Keep in mind, this was an underage teenage girl who then appeared on a comics cover sprawled and helpless with blood all over.  To add injury to insult, DC then came out with a figurine of Black Mask complete with the tools he’d used to torture and kill her. Classy.

Reader outrage led to the founding of Girl-Wonder.org.

Steph’s creator, Chuck Dixon, came back to Robin for a short time and brought Stephanie back to life. Cool.

Dixon left DC again shortly after and Steph’s fate seemed uncertain until she returned as the new Batgirl in an outstanding series by Bryan Q. Miller.

Stephanie’s time as Batgirl ended in midstream as DC rebooted titles last September. Stephanie was replaced by a now-younger version of Barbara Gordon, no longer the information specialist Oracle.

Stephanie is now in limbo. In some interviews, she’s supposed to still be around but she’s yet to appear in the rebooted universe.

So, what to make of all this?

To me, the bottom line is that the problem lies behind the scenes.

DC right now has two female creators on their new rebooted titles, Simone and Ann Nocenti, who’s taking over Green Arrow. Without a strong creator who sells a lot of books to stand up for a character, like Geoff Johns did with his Green Lantern characters or Grant Morrison did with Batman or even Scott Snyder with Batman, female characters are going to get overlooked–let’s not even get started on the other missing Batgirl, Cassandra Cain– in favor of other pet characters who happen to be male because, well, 98 percent of the creators and the vast majority of editorial are male. (One bright exception to this is Batwoman, who is backed by the amazing talented artist and writer, J.H. Williams.)

So while the characters in the comics might be treated better right now than thirteen years ago, the real change, the one needed behind the scenes, is sorely lacking. Things will never truly change until that does.