11 More Comic Artists to Follow on Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram Uploads © Jorge Jimenez
Instagram Uploads © Jorge Jimenez

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

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

Instagram Uploads © Kevin Wada
Instagram Uploads © Kevin Wada

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram Uploads © Tak Miyazawa
Instagram Uploads © Tak Miyazawa

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

Let’s Talk About Black Widow in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The calendar may say it’s spring, but the summer movie season is officially upon us with the release of the sequel to 2012’s blockbuster The Avengers this weekend. It’s Marvel, it’s Joss Whedon, and it’s the Avengers, so there’s no question Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to be a megahit to rival, perhaps even surpass, its predecessor.

A traditional review seems rather pointless for a film like this. I mean, if you want to see it you’re going to see it, no matter what the critics say (for the record, I say it’s a whole lot of fun and well worth your time). What’s more valuable, I think, is an exploration of the issues the film raises, particularly in terms of the depiction of its main female hero, Black Widow (deftly portrayed by Scarlett Johansson).

Due to some grossly insensitive comments made by a couple of the actors in an interview (et tu, Evans?) and the observation that Black Widow has been woefully underrepresented when it comes to merchandise, the character has become a lightning rod for controversy on the fringes of the Avengers franchise. And let’s not forget that despite Johansson’s popularity and the rich well of story material, there’s still no sign of a Black Widow standalone film.

These are all legitimate gripes, important to the ongoing conversation about the treatment (or, sadly more often, mistreatment) of women in Hollywood. Yet it always seems as though there are those lying in wait for things like this to happen, ready to fire up the outrage machine and whipping out hashtags like pre-printed Super Bowl championship T-shirts. There’s a old newspaper saying: “Never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” The updated version is: “Never offend anyone who sells ad space by the page click.” To be fair, it doesn’t help that tone-deaf filmmakers, actors, and studios fall into the trap every single time.

So now, instead of talking about Black Widow’s arc in Age of Ultron, we’re drawn into a larger debate about slut shaming and invisible protagonists on retail shelves. There are plenty of places where you can engage in that worthy discussion, but I’m not going to get into all of that here (others have covered the topic quite thoroughly). What I’d rather focus on is Natasha’s storyline in the film itself, an aspect often overlooked in the midst of all these external elements.

This is where I must to pause to issue a spoiler warning before continuing. The following article will deal with some minor plot points from the film. I won’t be revealing any major details about the final act or any of the other character’s storylines (except where they directly intersect with Black Widow), but if you want to go in truly knowing nothing you may want to stop here and come back after you’ve seen the film. Otherwise, let’s dive right in.

Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Setting aside for the moment her appearances in previous MCU installments, I would argue that the storyline Whedon has written for Black Widow in Age of Ultron is actually quite empowering. The sweeping action sequence in the film’s opening shows her fighting shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts. They value her for her skills and what she can contribute to the team. No one talks down to her, flirts with her, or considers her lesser because of her gender. She’s the only one who points out the difference, often jokingly referring to her compatriots as “boys.”

In a way, Natasha Romanoff is the spiritual successor to Peggy Carter, achieving the equality and respect among her colleagues that Peggy could only dream about in the 1940s. I believe in giving credit where it’s due, and Whedon has made Black Widow an intrinsic part of the Avengers, consumer products not withstanding.

It’s Natasha herself who goes and challenges that dynamic by not only having romantic feelings for Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), but expressing them to him outright. She takes the initiative, making it clear to him that she’s still considering whether to go for it, and if she does it will be on her terms. It’s sort of adorable the way Bruce has no idea what to do with this declaration. He’s obviously interested (even the “other guy” has a soft spot for her), but has convinced himself he’s damaged goods. What he doesn’t realize is that’s exactly what she sees in him. She’s damaged too, and looking for someone who won’t judge her for it.

I’ve heard some critics take issue with the fact that Black Widow in Age of Ultron is basically defined by her relationship to a man, as if somehow that diminishes her as a character in comparison to her male counterparts. I don’t agree with either part of that assessment, but let’s say for the sake of argument that the first part is valid and her journey in the film is centered around her connection with Bruce. If that’s true of Natasha, then it’s true of Bruce too, since they are on a parallel path. Their story is about trying to find some shred of good in a whole lot of bad. The question that unites them is whether they are too far gone for redemption. Love is one measure of redemption, but it’s not Natasha’s only option.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the film should be held up as beacon of feminism or anything. Though it features a handful of outstanding female characters, they scarcely interact.

I especially wanted to see more of the strong friendship hinted at between Natasha and another female character outside of the world of the Avengers, but their screen time together is minimal. Certainly there’s room for improvement on the Bechdel front. What I’m arguing is that Black Widow is far from marginalized in the source material, even if she gets the shaft everywhere else.

Age of Ultron is a very crowded film, with lots of moving parts. That Whedon was able to serve so many characters, even in a minimal way, and still keep the running time under three hours is an impressive feat of storytelling.

I encourage Black Widow fans to see the film themselves and form their own opinion, outside of the Internet echo chamber. You may come to a completely different conclusion, and that’s fine. That’s great. That’s a discussion I’d love to have.

An Awesome Assemblage of Avengers Again

Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The massive Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get bigger. With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we’ll see the addition of at least three new Avengers to the already abundant lineup, not to mention supporting players both familiar and strange (though the real Strange is yet to come). There’s a shiny new bad guy too, the Ultron of the film’s title, a twisted artificial intelligence with genocidal tendencies (voiced with relish by James Spader). This not only makes for a crowded film (more on that when we get to our review later this week), it also makes for a very crowded press conference.

Earlier this month, Disney hosted said press conference at their studio in Burbank, where a baker’s dozen of panelists, including all of the usual suspects, appeared to promote the film. On hand were Scarlett Johansson, Joss Whedon, Elizabeth Olsen, James Spader, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Kevin Feige. Each one of them could have held an entertaining press conference all on their own, but as it was we had to split our attention among all of the impressive talent in front of us during the limited time we had.

You can imagine how hard it must have been for Whedon, who wrote and directed both Avengers films, to do the same over the course of years. “There’s like 47 of these people,” he joked. “I really didn’t think that through, and I regret very much doing this at all.” That last part may not have been a joke.

He went on to explain the challenge of making sure each of the characters got their moment in the film. “I have all these people. I love all these people. They’re extraordinary. But making sure that they’re all being served, all within the same narrative structure, that they’re in the same movie, that it’s all connected to the main theme. At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, what movie I was making, I got so lost in it. But I think it all came together, and you know, it’s just about making these guys look good.”

Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Downey Jr., whose quippy sense of humor is not unlike that of his big-screen counterpart Tony Stark, pretended to be offended when it took the press a while to get around to asking him a question. “I want to say this very clearly,” he said in a mock-serious tone. “The next time I’m not asked the first question, I’ll [expletive deleted] walk out.”

The first question actually went to Smulders, who plays former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill. She was asked about the development of her character since we first met her in the original Avengers film.

“Maria’s now under the employment of Tony Stark and she’s now working with him to privatize security,” Smulders said. “It’s very fun being a thread to be able to tie the TV show and the movies together. That’s been a lot of fun. But yeah, she’s got a bigger job now. She’s working, like I said, with Tony, and she doesn’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. at her disposal anymore, so it’s a much more difficult job.”

Johansson, who plays another kick-ass female character, Black Widow, was also asked about how her character has changed over time and her emotional journey throughout Age of Ultron.

“There’s some sense finally of there being a kind of normal, in a way,” Johansson said of the film’s opening scenes. “I mean, it’s a well-oiled machine where, you know, we’re tag teaming each other. It’s finally like the introductions are over and we’re at work, like we’re digging our heels in. And at the end of Avengers 2 I think Widow is, you know, she let her guard down, she was hopeful for something. I think she had this moment of false hope.”

Speaking of character development, fans of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will be happy to know he actually has some in this film, after spending a lot of the first on the sidelines under Loki’s control.

“Well, I speak in this movie, which is awesome,” Renner says of the differences between the two installments. “And I become part of the team, which is awesome. And dive into some really killer aspects of [the character]. When sitting down with Joss, and even Kevin [Feige] back in the day, talking about why I liked him, why I wanted to play Hawkeye, because I didn’t understand, I could never do like what these gentlemen do. I don’t have that creative of a mind. I understood Hawkeye in the sense of he’s a human just with a high skill set, so I could tap into that, and I feel like I got to explore a little bit more of that, even outside the skill set.”

Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

The new cast members also got their turns to speak, at least for a little bit. Spader talked about being thrown into the role of a giant killer robot on his first day. In addition to providing the voice, he also did some motion capture work and was present on the set when shooting with the other actors.

“I arrived in London and within the first half hour they put on a suit, they put on all this gear, and I’d gone through a range of motion,” Spader recalled. “And then within 15 minutes I was watching me walk around a big room, moving and doing this and that and everything else, and watching Ultron, or at least a formative stage of Ultron, on a monitor in front of me. And it started right there. And the next day I was on set shooting a scene with Scarlett. And so really that pace was what it was, through the entire project. And luckily I’d had some conversations with Joss and one fantastic meal with a whole bunch of wine to figure out who this guy was. And that was it. That really was it. It was just trying to hold on.”

Olsen and Taylor-Johnson, who play super-powered twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (AKA Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), were asked if their previous work together as husband and wife in 2014’s Godzilla helped them develop chemistry as siblings.

“I think it’s only a benefit,” Olsen said. “I mean, it’s kind of intimidating joining this group so I’m glad I got to do it with Aaron by my side.”

Taylor-Johnson agreed. “Yeah, it was comforting to know, stepping on set, when it was such a big ensemble and cast, that you kind of had some to feel comfortable with. Absolutely, yeah.”

The last newcomer to the film wasn’t really a newcomer at all. Paul Bettany has been a part of the MCU since he first recorded the voice for Tony Stark’s A.I. assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man. In Age of Ultron, he takes on the physical role of the Vision, a mysterious, benevolent android. The dual role is no coincidence, but we can’t say any more than that without giving too much away.

When asked about the differences between the two roles, Bettany cut right to the practical aspects of the job. “The main difference is I have to show up,” he said. “You know, the great thing is being able to work with all these incredibly creative and talented people. However, I also now have to show up at junkets, you know, so everything’s a double-edged sword.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron opens Friday, May 1.

Clark Gregg Joins the ‘Women of Marvel’ Podcast to Talk Girls and STEM

Clark Gregg © Marvel
Clark Gregg at the Marvel office. Image courtesy © Marvel.

Clark Gregg, who kept the audience at Emerald City Comicon enraptured in March, also stopped by the official Women of Marvel podcast for their latest episode.

Episode 39 of the podcast is short, but sweet. Rather than focus on the action on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gregg weighs in on what it’s like to be the father of a girl interested in STEM. It’s a fantastic discussion of encouraging his 13-year-old to explore whatever interests her.

Tune into the fast 10-minute talk with the ultimate geek dad, which also includes a little bit of insight into what it’s like being a fan-favorite character as Phil Coulson.

And if you haven’t caught up on the other episodes from the Women of Marvel podcast, load those up when you’re done! Each podcast is a fascinating inside look at the world of Marvel, both real and fictional.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secret Wars © Marvel
Secret Wars © Marvel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re Not Reading ‘The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’? That’s Nuts!

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 (Variant Cover by Gurihiru) © Marvel Comics
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 (Variant Cover by Gurihiru) © Marvel Comics

For better or worse, social media has ushered in a new era of comic fans’ voices being heard. In recent weeks, negativity and harassment have dominated the online comics conversations. In the middle of it all, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 hit comic book store shelves, a welcome (and much needed in my case) reminder that comics can be fun.

Even when comics discussion on Twitter isn’t engulfed in flames, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is an entertaining, upbeat, refreshing, and yes, nutty series for readers of all ages and levels of fandom.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are 5 more reasons you should be reading The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

1. It’s an ideal series for new-to-comics readers of all ages. You don’t need to know what’s coming up in Secret Wars (does anyone?) or have read Marvel Super-Heroes #8 to understand the nuances of the character. In a nutshell, Squirrel Girl is a confident part-girl, part-squirrel trying to make it through her first year of college. And she beat Wolverine once, no biggie.

2. It’s funny. Like, really funny. Writer Ryan North brings humor, fun, and personality to every page of this book. (How many times can I say “fun” in this list?)

Deadpool's Guide, Art by Erica North (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3) © Marvel Comics
Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villains, Art by Erica Henderson (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3) © Marvel Comics

When faced with a new foe, Squirrel Girl refers to her handy card deck, “Deadpool’s Guide to Super Villains.” Each of these cards is worth the cover price alone.

Jokes in the dialogue and background aren’t uncommon, either, so I find myself grinning from start to finish with every issue.

3. The art style is a refreshing change of pace. With a variety of body types and a superhero who dresses sensibly, Erica Henderson’s artwork gives me no qualms about sharing this book with everyone I know.

When asked in the letters section of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 about Squirrel Girl’s body type, Henderson replied, “I tend to draw super heroines with more physical powers thicker because I honestly have a hard time believing that a 90-pound woman can take down a 200-pound steroidal dude who has equal fighting ability.”

4. The series is a few issues into the story, so it’s easy to catch up. Only three issues have been released so far, and you can find them easily on Comixology or in your local store. In fact, the first two issues both went to second printing due to demand.

5. Squirrel Girl has her own theme song. ‘Nuff said.

Spectacular Spider-Man Watercolor Resist Art

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

With all of the exciting news about Spider-Man finally joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now’s a great time to celebrate your friendly neighborhood wallcrawler! This simple watercolor resist portrait of the webslinger can be a fun art project for the entire family.

You can challenge your older kids to draw and paint Spider-Man on their own, or help a small Spidey fan by setting up the drawing and glue the night before.

What You Need

  • White/school glue (Elmer’s Glue)
  • Watercolor paper
  • Pencil
  • Watercolors

Use a pencil to lightly draw Spider-Man’s mask.

I’ve found it works best to start the project the night before you want to paint to give the glue time to dry, especially if you’re drawing Spidey’s face for a younger child to paint later.

Grab the pencil and watercolor paper and lightly draw only the outline of the face itself, along with Spider-Man’s eyes. (You don’t have to draw the lines of the web yet.) For a reference for the mask, along with a guide to drawing the webs exactly right, check out Marvel artist Will Sliney’s excellent how-to below.

Trace the mask outline with glue.

Once you’ve finished drawing the outline of the mask and eyes, trace over the pencil with a thick line of glue.

Next, use the guide above to draw the webs across the mask with just the glue only. The web lines are a little easier to freehand with the glue, and this minimizes the pencil marks you might have peeking through the dried glue later.

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

Allow the glue to dry completely.

Time to paint!

Once the glue has dried clear, it’s time to grab the watercolors and get painting. I preferred to paint Spider-Man with his classic colors, while my daughter had her own take on his design.

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

Spidey’s eyes are typically white with a thick black outline, so I traced the inside of the lines with the black watercolor.

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

These were my first attempts at drawing Spider-Man, and thankfully the watercolors are a little forgiving for completing the portrait. I’m already thinking of setting up two more pictures because my daughter had so much fun painting the first one—and so did I!

Marvel Comics Debuts Cooking Show (No, Seriously!)

You had me at Spider-Man okonomiyaki.
You had me at Spider-Man okonomiyaki. © Marvel Comics

You might have thought that the new Captain Marvel movie was the most surprising announcement from Marvel Comics lately, but Marvel recently debuted something even more unexpected: a new cooking show!

Marvel Talent Scout C.B. Cebulski hosts the new online series 3 Course Comics. Not only does he share some comics-inspired dishes, he also invites notable figures from the real life comic book universe to share a meal with him. In the first episode, you’ll learn how to make Aunt May’s Wheat Cakes, AKA Spider-Man okonomiyaki. At the table you’ll hear from Dan Slott, writer of Amazing Spider-Man, and editors Nick Lowe and Sana Amanat.

I never knew I wanted a Marvel-themed cooking show until I watched this one. Tune in for a delicious-looking recipe and learn a little about the Spider-Verse event currently taking over the Spider-Man books.

Face It, Tiger: Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman

Edge of the Spider-Verse #2
Edge of the Spider-Verse #2, Art by Robbi Rodriguez. All images © Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics is building to its latest event, the Spider-Verse, which promises to bring together the variety of wall-crawlers from across the various Marvel alternate universes for some epic action. Edge of Spider-Verse #2, released last week, introduces a new Spider hero that has immediately captured the attention of comic fans everywhere: Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman.

Edge of the Spider-Verse #2
Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Imagine that of instead biting Peter Parker that fateful day, the irradiated spider found Gwen Stacy. What would become of Pete? How will Gwen’s father, Captain Stacy of the NYPD, react to the vigilante? In just one issue, Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez bring us into this intriguing and, of course, amazing Spider-verse.

The high energy of every page and Gwen’s struggle with being viewed as a villain, not a hero, in this alternate universe create a book that just begs to be on ongoing series.

“We get to interpret the character of Gwen in this new light,” said Rodriguez in a Marvel.com interview. “We get to punk her out a bit, and make her a kind of heroine that even more female readers can relate with. Not just a female version of Spider-Man in a different costume, but a stronger character in her own right. A real individual who could, if the opportunity ever arose, take up Spider-Man’s role someday.”

When Gwen isn’t busy swinging across the NYC skyline, she’s the drummer in the band The Mary Janes—when she can actually make it to a gig, that is.

Inspired by Gwen and lead singer Mary Jane Watson, a real band called Married With Sea Monsters made their own version of the song “Face It Tiger” featured in Edge of Spider-Verse #2:

Check out the song, and be sure to pick up the issue, especially if you’d love to see an ongoing title starring Spider-Gwen. The first printing has already sold out, so call your favorite comic shop to see if it’s in stock. Spider-Gwen returns in other Spider-Verse tie-ins coming later this year.

Marvel’s Heroes Join the Fight to STOMP Out Bullying

Hulk #7. All images © Marvel Comics

This week Marvel Comics announced a team-up with STOMP Out Bullying, a national organization for the prevention of bullying and cyberbullying. Some of Marvel’s favorite superheroes, including Captain America, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Hulk, are raising anti-bullying awareness during National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

“The center of Marvel’s storytelling history is the eternal struggle between good and evil, with many of its greatest super heroes having to contend with–and rise above–bullying, in all its forms,” said Axel Alonso, Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics. “We are proud to join forces with STOMP Out Bullying on its important bullying prevention awareness mission. We hope that all our fans take a moment this month to educate themselves on the need to stop bullying among our youth by checking out the free resources STOMP Out Bullying has to offer.”

Check out the heartwarming comic covers below, and think about passing them along to any geek kids in your life who might need a reminder that there’s always someone on their side.

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Listen to the Women of Marvel

Captain Marvel Returns in 2014 © Marvel
© Marvel Comics

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

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

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

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

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

She-Hulk and the Agents of SMH

© Disney

Recently I decided to take my five-year-old’s superhero TV experience beyond The Wonder Pets by starting with Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. After all, Rachel’s interview last year with Eliza Dushku about her role as She-Hulk had me intrigued about the Disney XD series. Finally, a female superhero on TV for my daughter to idolize, right? Wrong.

The Jen Walters you know is not the Jen Walters of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Rather than a lawyer, She-Hulk is now a Hollywood stunt-woman, as you can see when the character is introduced:

“When you’re a 6’5, indestructible, green-skinned woman, your career options are limited,” laments She-Hulk. In an interview with Comics Alliance, producer Cort Lane explains the change in her origin.

But with She-Hulk, being a lawyer wasn’t enough for us. We realized she needed to be such a kick-butt hero in her own way, and we know that she is in publishing, and she’s smart and in some ways more accustomed to the world and more accepted by the world than the other Hulks, so we were able to play that up and the idea of Hollywood stunt woman we thought was fun.

I would have loved to explain to my daughter that Jennifer Walters is a heroine with both brains and brawn, who knows how to expertly defend the innocent whether she’s arguing in a courtroom or punching a living planet in outer space. She-Hulk is now literally a “strong female character” and nothing more in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. 

Determined to give this Jen Walters a chance, we watched a She-Hulk-centric episode together. I do admit to being a fan of the character’s design (hooray, correct body proportions!), but the hits just kept on coming. As “Galactus Goes Green” begins, She-Hulk squeals about a night on the town in Las Vegas. (In another episode, she expresses her excitement about a sale at the mall.) That’s not the Jen Walters I think of, but okay. Later in the episode, as Galactus shows up, Red Hulk tells her, “Better leave it to the big boys, Shulkie.”

Granted, Red Hulk is supposed to be un-likeable and an all-around jerk, but I had to wonder what sort of impression that makes on a five-year-old. My daughter turned to me and said, “She-Hulk wants to do something, right? But they won’t let her because the boys are stronger.” I felt like Hulk-smashing something myself.

So, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is not going to be for us.

She-Hulk has been a hot topic lately, thanks to the “Slut Hulk” interview last month that also reduced the character to little more than a male fantasy. I’m just glad that Charles Soule has been handling the character so well in her solo comic book series. In fact, he teased a new story arc later this year, where Jen “shows off [her] courtoom chops.” I have a hunch (thanks to some foreshadowing) that she might be facing Matt Murdock in a courtroom showdown. Now there’s a battle best suited for Jennifer Walters—not the “big boys.”

Marvel-Inspired Fashion on Project Runway Tonight

Hawkeye at Project Runway
© Lifetime

Whether you’re a girly-girl geek really into fashion, or a member of the Carol Corps who only needs to hear me say “clothes inspired by Captain Marvel,” you’ll want to tune into Lifetime tonight for Project Runway: Under the Gunn. Marvel-inspired looks will own the runway as contestants tackle designs based on Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Hawkeye, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and many more.

When asked why the Marvel Universe is a perfect inspiration for fashion [Marvel’s Cort] Lane said, “Our characters are dramatic, visually exciting and rich with story—and isn’t high fashion all of those things? I got to spend so much time explaining the Marvel characters to the designers—each one of them found something really relatable and inspiring about a Marvel hero.”

Not only will you see what’s sure to be unforgettable fashion (or dare I say, Marvel-ous clothes?), fans of Lady Sif from Thor and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can see Jaimie Alexander judge the competition.

Project Runway: Under the Gunn airs tonight on Lifetime at 9:00 PM EST.

Snag Ms. Marvel #1 and More Digital Comics For Free!

Cover Art by Sara Pichelli © Marvel Comics

Today at TEDxTeen, Marvel Comics editor Sana Amanat delivered a talk on superheroes called “Myths, Misfits, & Masks.” As part of her talk, now through March 31, Marvel is offering four free digital comics that feature super teens that readers of all ages can identify with.

On the Marvel Digital Comics Shop, you’ll find All-New Marvel Now! Teen Heroes:

Collects Ms. Marvel (2014) #1, New Warriors (2014) #1, Nova (2013) #1 & All-New X-Men (2012) #1. It’s the greatest Marvel teen heroes all in one mighty collection. All-New Marvel Now! brings about an all-new Ms. Marvel, the return of the New Warriors, a teen taking up the mantle of Nova and the original teen team of X-Men brought to our present!

At checkout, enter code TEEN to read these four issues at no cost on your computer or smartphone. (There may be some delay due to high demand.)

Who Are the Guardians of the Galaxy?

Guardians of the Galaxy © Marvel Comics

By now, you’ve probably seen the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy. If not, get to it! I’ll wait.

So now that you know what movie you’ll be dragging the kids to this August, you’re probably wondering who these guys in the next big movie from Marvel are. The Guardians of the Galaxy have been around since 1969, when the first version of the team (with a different roster than the current one) appeared in Marvel Comics.

The team featured in the upcoming film is comprised of galactic heroes Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. Your first thought is most likely, “Who?”

Don’t worry. Marvel has you covered with these quick features showing off just who these guys are. Here’s our first look at Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket:

Personally, I’m intrigued to see what Vin Diesel does as the voice of Groot, a character who only utters, “I am Groot!” While the short video highlighting Groot doesn’t include his trademark line, it is a treat to see how genuinely excited Vin Diesel seems to be for the role.

You can also find out a little bit more about Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). Still want to know more so you can be a Guardians expert before setting foot in the movie theater? Lisa Tate recommends reading the first Guardians of the Galaxy collection from Brian Michael Bendis.

I Am Ms. Marvel

Cover Art by Sara Pichelli © Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel #1 hit comic book store shelves last week to a good amount of fanfare and hype. Since the series was announced, it’s been covered everywhere from CNN to USA Today to Stephen Colbert, garnering attention as the first comic book series to feature a female Muslim lead character. So now that it’s here, does the issue live up to expectations?

It exceeds them.

The first issue introduces us to Kamala and her life in Jersey City, where she feels alienated from her family (who just don’t understand why she writes Avengers fanfic) and her peers, who seem to live free from the rules Kamala’s parents impose. An ordinary-teen-turned-hero isn’t a new concept. Kamala might remind veteran comic book readers of other familiar characters–over at DC Women Kicking Ass, Sue sees some Stephanie Brown in Kamala; at Comicosity, Jessica Boyd views her as a potential Peter Parker for this age.

Art by Adrian Alphona © Marvel Comics

So while the teen hero isn’t new, Ms. Marvel #1 is a rare comic book that speaks to every reader regardless of their age, gender, background, or beliefs, thanks to writer G. Willow Wilson’s portrayal of Kamala as relatable and full of personality. Rather than Peter or Steph, I see myself in the new Ms. Marvel–someone who sees the world of superheroes from afar, and can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be a part of that universe.

Or as Kamala puts it, what it would be like to be “beautiful and awesome and butt-kicking and less complicated.” Basically… Captain Marvel.

“Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Ms. Wilson said. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.’ ”

[Editor] Ms. Amanat said, “It’s also sort of like when I was a little girl and wanted to be Tiffani-Amber Thiessen,” from “Saved by the Bell.”

For anyone who has dreamed of being someone else, someone stronger, or prettier, or just plain super, they’ll see themselves in the pages of Ms. Marvel #1. The response to a call for photos for “#IAmMsMarvel” on Twitter and Instagram shows the wide range of new fans of the series.

#IAmMsMarvel Tweeters

While the road Kamala is on certainly won’t be an easy one, I can’t wait to see where it takes her. The series is off to a fantastic start, and it’s worth mentioning that the work by artist Adrian Alphona is gorgeous. If you’ve never read a comic book in your life, consider picking up this one.

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

© Marvel

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

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

Flower Power! (DC Super Friends)

© DC Comics

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

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

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

Black Widow Joins the Mighty Avengers

© Marvel

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

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

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

Catch Catwoman! (DC Super Friends)

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

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

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

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

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

Justice League Beyond \ Image: DC Comics
Justice League Beyond \ Image: DC Comics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corrina — Vampire Diaries by Colleen Doran and Tony Shasteen

Vampire Diaries #1
Vampire Diaries #1

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

I did and it does.

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

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

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

X-Files Directors Cut \ Image: IDW Publishing
X-Files Directors Cut \ Image: IDW Publishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comic Book Corner — January 8th, 2014–Batman, Star Wars, X-Files & Frankenstein

The end of "To Kill a Legend" in Batman #500 by DC Comics
The end of “To Kill a Legend” in Batman #500 by 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. Corrina looks over the special expanded edition of Detective Comics #27 and finds it far too cynical, Lisa Tate reviews the comic I, Frankenstein in preparation for seeing the movie based on it, Kelly Knox reviews Dark Horse’s Star Wars #13, Sohpie dives back into The X-Files, and Dakster reveals her New Year’s Resolution to read 365 comics in 365 days. 

Corrina—Detective Comics #27 Special Edition ($7.99) by DC Comics, various artists and writers. 

Before I go off on a rant about all that is wrong in the world of superhero comics, I need to give this comic some praise. This is an expanded special issue to celebrate the new 52 Detective comic run hitting issue #27, the same issue number of the original Detective Comic run that introduced Batman. This stories started well, with Bryan Hitch’s art in Brad Meltzer’s retelling of the classic “Case of the Chemical Syndicate.” This is some of the best Batman artwork I’ve ever read, especially in a panel where Batman crashes through the skylight of a factory. And the final story of the collection, “Twenty-Seven” by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, seems to me to be an instant classic.

But…there are two stories that hit me completely the wrong way. They’re very much in tune with DC’s current concept that all superheroes need a grim and gritty origin to motivate them. In short, the idea is that only tragedy can produce a hero. In one story in #27, Bruce Wayne and his parents survive the infamous mugging. But, alas, without Batman, Gotham falls to ruin, so Batman sees that his parents had to die and he had to be an orphan so that Gotham could be saved. There’s also the beginning of the big new Gothtopia storyline which seems to promise a kinder, happier Batman in a much nicer Gotham city. I knew how this was going to end and so do you.

The idea that only through death can good things be accomplished bothered me so much that I immediately started searching for another story about the Waynes being saved that I remembered from the 1970s. With the help of some friends, I rediscovered one of my favorite Batman tales, “To Kill a Legend,” in Detective #500 by the wonderful team of Alan Brennert and the late, great Dick Giordano. In “Legend,” Batman is transported to an alternate reality and given a chance to either save the Waynes of this world or let them die and thus let this world give birth to its own Batman.

Batman, of course, chooses life. And in doing so, creates the future for Bruce Wayne and Gotham that is seen in the above image. Just think what a Bruce Wayne focused on making a difference without all the trauma of his dead parents could accomplish with his money—and think about what Thomas and Martha Wayne, always one to support a good cause, could do if they lived much longer.

Saving people from death shouldn’t lead to horrible things for the world, not in a superhero story. In a superhero story, heroism should be rewarded and it shouldn’t always come from a place of vengeance and fear. Sometimes, like real life heroism, it should come from compassion and kindness.

Or I’ll let Daredevil speak for me:

Daredevil Volume 3, by Marvel Comics
Daredevil Volume 3, by Marvel Comics, words by Mark Waid

By the way, I spotted Detective #500 on eBay for less than $5.

Dakster Sullivan—#ComicBook365

While thinking about my goals for the new year, I resolved to have at least one that has absolutely no bearing on becoming better, but instead is for pure fun. Since I love comic books, I decide I would read at least one comic book a day. Sound like fun? It is and so far this year, I’ve read over fifteen issues simply because the comic book of the day I chose, I couldn’t put down and kept buying more issues on Comixology.

The really nice thing about this goal: no restrictions.

The only rule is to read something in comic book form every day. It could be new, old, borrowed, something I’ve read or even in graphic novel form. And because I’m a spreadsheet geek, I have a Google Drive sheet with the title, publisher, and star rating of each title that I read. Of course, deep down, I would love to read a new comic book every day, but as a busy mom on a budget, that would get expensive and time consuming. For now, I’m happy being able to squeeze in 15 minutes for a comic book regardless if it’s new or old.

To follow my reading exploits, catch me on Twitter or on my Facebook page. If you’d like to join in on the fun, just use hashtag #ComicBook365 so I can find you and follow your reading journey this year.

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

Lisa Tate–-I, Frankenstein by Kevin Grevioux

I Frankenstein \ Image: Darkstorm Comics
I, Frankenstein \ Image: Darkstorm Comics

Another non-mainstream comic-based movie is hitting the big screen soon, as Kevin Grevioux’s 2009 Darkstorm graphic novel I, Frankenstein opens this month.

If the movie seems suspiciously like the Underworld franchise (which has gained a loyal cult following despite being repeated bashed by critics), it’s because Grevioux, also an actor, portrays the recurring Lycan character, Raze. He also co-wrote the story for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.

The graphic novel, however, deserves a second look, as it leans less towards the hip goth design of the movie and closer to the stylized noir of Frank Miller’s Sin City, with the title character being less of a “leading man” archetype and closer to very large, very intelligent and potentially very dangerous private investigator. There are several “classic monster” appearances throughout from Dracula (a crime kingpin) to the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I can’t say if the movie will live up to the comic, but there is promise in that Grevioux himself helped work on the story for the movie, and he has a part in the film. Even if it doesn’t, don’t let it stop you from trying to get a hold of the original. In the meantime, Grevioux’s prequel comic and movie tie-in I, Frankenstein: Genesis is available through free digital download at Comixology.

Kelly Knox–-Star Wars #13 by Brian Wood and Facundo Percio (Dark Horse Comics)

The Star Wars saga continues at Dark Horse Comics—until 2015. With the recent (somewhat obvious) announcement that Marvel will be taking over Star Wars comics next year, current Star Wars writer Brian Wood took to Twitter to address what the future holds.

So with seven issues left, is the Force still strong in Star Wars #13? Definitely. Recent issues have taken the focus away from Princess Leia, sadly, but turned the same fascinating lens on Darth Vader. As Vader deals with defeat and humiliation following the destruction of the Death Star, he looks for vengeance and redemption—even if it means defying the Emperor. This week’s issue shows us Vader through an Imperial officer’s eyes, introducing us to Ensign Nanda, who serves as witness to five days in the wake of the Dark Lord’s wrath.

© Dark Horse Comics

While I appreciate seeing Star Wars from the Empire’s point of view—Nanda’s brief lament on losing friends on the Death Star was thought-provoking—it’s the scene between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader that has stuck with me. It makes complete sense Blue Glowie Obi-Wan would speak to Vader at some point, and thanks to Wood, we get to see it. (My favorite touch in that scene is that Obi-Wan again calls him “Darth,” just as he did in their final confrontation.)

The move back to Marvel may signal the end of the Expanded Universe comics and a new focus on tie-ins to the upcoming films, which would be a loss, especially if that means we’ll never get series like the phenomenal Star Wars again. But for now, I’m with this series until the end.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

Sophie Brown–-The X-Files Season 10 #8 by Joe Harris and art by Michael Walsh

Issue #8 of The X-Files returns for a brief moment to the show’s ongoing mythology.

The pre-credits opening scene is significantly more disturbing than anything the series has presented us with so far, one of the final panels before the title in particular leaving me feeling deeply uncomfortable. However the violence presented here doesn’t feel gratuitous (certainly in part to artist Michael Walsh’s excellent choices for the scene); rather it serves to spotlight the uncaring nature of the men behind it.

Much of the issue is composed of flashbacks and it’s here we get to see some familiar faces once again. I particularly enjoyed the meeting between two characters who never appeared together on the show. The mytharc returns to somewhat more familiar territory with an appearance from “Purity,” some light is shed on events of season 10’s opening story-line “Believers,” and the final re-appearance of one character is straight out of classic horror. Brilliant.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

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

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

100 Bullets Brother Lono #7 (Of 8)
Action Comics #27
Batman ’66 The TV Stories TP
Batman Black And White #5 (Of 6)
Batman Superman #7
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 2 Cycle Of Violence TP
Batwing #27
Deadman Vol. 4 TP
Demon From The Darkness TP
Demon Knights Vol. 3 The Gathering Storm TP
Detective Comics #27
Earth 2 #19
Fairest #22
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics #7
Forever Evil Arkham War #4 (Of 6)
Green Arrow #27
Green Lantern #27 GM
Green Lantern Sector 2814 Vol. 3 TP
Green Lantern The Animated Series Vol. 2 TP Kid Friendly
Hinterkind #4
Movement #8 GM
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #2 Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Alien #2 (Of 4)
Stormwatch #27
Superman Vol. 2 Secrets And Lies TP
Superman Vol. 3 Fury At The Worlds’ End HC
Swamp Thing #27
Swamp Thing By Brian K Vaughan Vol. 1 TP
Terra Obscura S.M.A.S.H. Of Two Worlds TP
Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger #15 GM
Vampire Diaries #1
A+X #16
All-New Marvel NOW Point One #1
All-New X-Factor #1
All-New X-Men Indestructible Hulk Superior Spider-Man The Arms Of The Octopus TP
All-New X-Men Vol. 1 Yesterday’s X-Men TP GM
Avengers A.I. #8.NOW
Avengers World #1
Black Widow #1 New Series
Cable And X-Force #18
Cataclysm The Ultimates’ Last Stand #3 (Of 5)
Cataclysm Ultimate Spider-Man #3 (Of 3)
Daredevil Dark Nights #8 (Of 8)
Deadpool #22
Fantastic Four Inhumans Atlantis Rising TP
Fantomex MAX #4 (Of 4)
Guardians Of The Galaxy By Jim Valentino Vol. 1 TP GM
Infinity Heist #4 (Of 4)
Inhumanity The Awakening #2 (Of 2)
Iron Man #20
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #4 (Of 5)
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #4
Painkiller Jane The Price Of Freedom #3 (Of 4)
Revolutionary War Alpha #1
Savage Wolverine #14.NOW
Superior Spider-Man Annual #1
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Friendly Fire TP
Wolverine #13
X-Men Battle Of The Atom HC GM
Young Avengers #15
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Crow Curare TP
Gil Kane’s The Amazing Spider Man Artist’s Edition HC
Jack Davis’ EC Stories Artist’s Edition HC
Mark Schultz’s Xenozoic Tales Artist’s Edition HC
My Little Pony When Cutie Calls TP Kid Friendly
Star Trek Khan #4 (Of 5)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Vol. 2 #3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
X-Files Season 10 #8 GM
Abe Sapien #9
Halo Escalation #2
Halo Initiation HC
Occultist #1 (Of 5)
Shaolin Cowboy #4 (Of 4)
Star Wars #13 GM
Star Wars Omnibus Adventures TP

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—Batman, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn

Batgirl #26 (Cover by Alex Garner) © DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, we review that latest issue of Batgirl, featuring a tense confrontation between Babs Gordon and her dad, a Batman Christmas carol, and the first issue of the new Harley Quinn on-going series.

Lisa Tate–Batman: Noel by, Lee Bermejo

Batman: Noel \ Image: DC Comics
Batman: Noel \ Image: DC Comics

One of the Christmas books I keep on my coffee table is Lee Bermejo’s 2011 graphic novel for DC Comics, Batman: Noel. Bermejo (The Joker) shows off both his writing and illustration talents, with the Dark Knight’s own version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

It does seem like this story has been done to death…brought back to life and done to death again. I can’t argue there, except this version needs to be given a chance. The story places Batman himself in the Ebeneezer Scrooge role as the wealthy loner so obsessed with his personal demons he not only has robbed himself of any worthwhile personal contact, he has forgotten that those around him also possess a soul.

The Bob Cratchit character is a small-time criminal, struggling as an impoverished single father of an upbeat but young son with a bum leg. The remainder of the classic “Christmas Carol” roles are pretty obvious including the past, present, and future ghost cameos. Here’s a hint: Batman has only one “late” partner suitable to don this tale’s yuletide tights.

Best suitable for ages ‘tweens on up, it is an impressive piece of comic book eye candy, especially the glimpses of the retro-style Batman (and Catwoman) costuming as well as the very believable present-day garb of the winged vigilante. Read it with the family as a way to wind down before the Christmas morning mayhem, or get a blanket and curl up with a hot libation for a few moments of escape once the troops are in bed.

Kelly Knox–Batgirl #26 (DC Comics)

Last week, writer Gail Simone wrapped up the “Wanted” storyline in Batgirl #26. Batgirl has been heading toward a showdown with her father for some time now, as the Gotham Commissioner considers her a vigilante who has crossed the line to become a murderer. But Barbara has a bone to pick with Gordon, too, and the two get the opportunity to talk it out.

Not only does the issue focus on the relationship between the two Gordons, the story contains a who’s who of the villains of the New 52 Batgirl run. Knightfall and her minions, Mirror, Gretel, and more have infiltrated Commissioner Gordon’s home, and it’s up to Batgirl to save him—so you can imagine how much action is packed into the panels by artist Daniel Sampere.

Art by Daniel Sampere © DC Comics

The cover art for this issue, however, is truly stunning. (In case you were wondering, though, it’s not my favorite Batgirl cover, but it’s up there. Batgirl #6 from Adam Hughes has that honor.)

The issue ties up all loose ends for the storyline, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the series is headed next.

Corrina–Harley Quinn #1 written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, drawn by Chad Hardin (DC Comics)

Amanda Conner, Harley Quinn,
Amanda Conner variant cover to Harley Quinn #1, copyright DC Comics

This is, strictly speaking, the first issue of an on-going series but it’s also a follow-up to Harley Quinn #0, an awesome meta-commentary issue that was basically a who’s who of comic book artists. That zero issue ranked #2 on the sales charts for November. That left the first issue of the series to live up to its promise.

And it does.

It’s hard to make a villain series fun and I’m not even a fan of Harley Quinn, so I was skeptical going in. Right around page three, when Harley “rescues” a sad looking dachshund from an annoying owner, I grinned and was truly hooked. The premise of the series is that Harley has settled into a new home on Coney Island, a building that houses a freakshow on the first floor. A perfect place for Harley, including some new friends and supporting characters, save for the small problem of how to pay taxes and upkeep. Harley attempt to solve that problem by getting a day job as a therapist (her alter ego’s profession) and a night job in roller derby. Unfortunately, there seems to be a price on her head.

Hardin outdoes himself in the roller derby sequence and in a fight earlier in the book that results in Harley producing her famous hammer.

This book shouldn’t be so much fun.

And yet it is.

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

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

Animal Man #26
Authority Vol. 2 HC
Batman ’66 #6
Batman And Two-Face #26
Batman Beyond Universe #5
Birds Of Prey #26
Birds Of Prey Vol. 3 A Clash Of Daggers TP
Fables Vol. 19 Snow White TP
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #3 (Of 6)
Fury Of Firestorm The Nuclear Man Vol. 3 Takeover TP
Green Lantern New Guardians #26 GM
Harley Quinn #1 GM
Justice League Of America’s Vibe #10
Red Hood And The Outlaws #26
Supergirl #26
Superman Vs Mongul TP
Teen Titans Go #1 Kid Friendly
Teen Titans Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #6
Vertigo Essentials 100 Bullets #1
Wake Part One #1
Wonder Woman #26 GM
All-New X-Men #20 GM 
Amazing Spider-Man #700.4
Amazing Spider-Man #700.5
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 12 Unmasked TP
Avengers Assemble #22.INH
Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #2 (Of 3)
Daredevil #34
Deadpool #21
Deadpool Classic Vol. 9 TP GM
Deadpool Vol. 3 The Good The Bad And The Ugly TP
Fantastic Four #15
FF #15
Indestructible Hulk #17.INH
Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe #4 (Of 4)
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Strange Tales Vol. 6 HC
Marvel Masterworks Golden Age Marvel Comics Vol. 2 TP
Powers Bureau Vol. 1 Undercover TP
Scarlet Spider #25 (Last Issue)
Secret Avengers #13
Spider-Man The Gathering Of Five TP
Superior Spider-Man #24
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #8
Thor God Of Thunder #16
Thunderbolts Annual 2013 #1
Uncanny Avengers #15
Uncanny X-Force #15
Venom The Land Where The Killers Dwell TP
X-Factor Vol. 21 The End Of X-Factor TP
X-Men #8 GM
Young Avengers #14
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Ben 10 #2 Kid Friendly
Doctor Who Prisoners Of Time Vol. 3 TP
G.I. JOE America’s Elite Disavowed Vol. 2 TP
G.I. JOE The Cobra Files #9
Ghostbusters #11
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #7
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 1 TP
Illegitimates #1 (Of 6)
KISS Kids #4 (of 4)
Locke And Key Alpha #2 (Of 2)
Locke And Key Alpha #2 Boxed Set
Mars Attacks Judge Dredd #4 (Of 4)
Mr Peabody And Sherman #2 (Of 4)
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #14 Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Micro-Series #10 (Luna) Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #17
Samurai Jack #3
Sinister Dexter #1 (Of 7)
Star Trek #28
Star Trek Classics Vol. 5 Who Killed Captain Kirk TP
Tarzan The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Vol. 2 1969-1971 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol. 6 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #6 Kid Friendly
Transformers Art Of Prime HC
Transformers Regeneration One #97
Transformers Robots in Disguise #24 (Dark Cybertron Part 5 Of 12)
X-Files Season 10 Vol. 1 HC GM
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #114
Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine #3 (Of 5)
Buzzkill #4 (Of 4)
Captain Midnight #6
Conan The Barbarian #23
Criminal Macabre The Eyes Of Frankenstein #4 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #31
Empowered Vol. 8 TP
Ghost #1
Itty Bitty Hellboy #5 (Of 5)
Kiss Me Satan #4 (Of 5)
Mass Effect Foundation #6
Massive #18
Massive Vol. 2 Subcontinental TP
Neon Genesis Evangelion The Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. 13 TP
Never Ending #2 (Of 3)
Powers Figure Set
S.H.O.O.T. First #3 (Of 4)
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 15 TP
Sledgehammer 44 Lightning War #2 (Of 3)
Star Wars Dark Times A Spark Remains #5 (Of 5)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Cry Of Shadows #1 (Of 5)
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force War #2 (Of 5)
Star Wars Legacy II #10
Strain The Fall #6

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

Thor: The Dark World Is a Worthy Successor to The Avengers

© Marvel

In our post-Avengers world, audiences have some expectations of films in the Marvel cinematic universe: fantastic heroes, jaw-dropping special effects, humor, and a Stan Lee cameo. Thor: The Dark World delivers these in spades, feeling much more like the true successor to The Avengers than the somewhat underwhelming Iron Man 3.

Slight spoilers for Thor: The Dark World follow.

Two years after the events of The Avengers, astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is still searching for Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who pines for his mortal love while continuing to fight for Asgard. When Jane stumbles upon the Aether, a dark energy with the power to destroy the universe as we know it, the malevolent dark elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) sets out to retrieve it from her at any cost.

Thor: The Dark World is packed with geek favorite actors, including Chuck’s Zachary Levi as the fair-haired, swashbuckling Fandral, Lost alum Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Doctor Who veteran Eccleston, who is almost completely unrecognizable and doesn’t get too much to do except look as menacing as he can with layers of makeup on.

© Marvel

And of course I have to mention Tom Hiddleston, who returns as Loki with unbridled, mischievous glee. It may be Hiddleston’s own enjoyment of playing the anti-hero character coming through, but the slyly grinning Loki lives up to the “god of mischief” role more in this film than any other. Loki steals every scene he’s in, especially when he’s joined by the comparatively one-dimensional Thor.

Portman’s Jane Foster plays an integral role in the story, not merely serving as a damsel in distress, but also on hand to spout some technobabble and contribute to the battle in her own way. Asgardian warrior Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Queen Frigga (Rene Russo) also return to join in the fray.

If your kids handled the combat of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 without blinking, you can expect more of the same explosive action in Thor: The Dark World. There is some profanity, hence the PG-13 rating, so you might want to scout it out first before bringing young children along.

While it’s not typical for a sequel to out-do its predecessor, Thor: The Dark World outshines the Norse god’s first outing in almost every way. With laugh out loud humor, romance, and a fast-paced story with the fate of the universe at stake, the film is a strong entry in the Marvel cinematic universe that begs for repeat viewings. (And don’t forget to stay through the credits for two extra scenes.)

Thor: The Dark World opens nationwide on November 8, 2013.

GeekMom attended a promotional screening of the film for review purposes.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—October 23rd, 2013

DC Universe versus the Masters of the Universe. copyright DC Comics and
DC Universe versus the Masters of the Universe. Image from 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 learn a bit more about Spider-Man’s relationship with Gwen Stacy, Lisa journeys into Astro City, Sophie is excited about more X-Files comics coming in January, and Corrina looks at a few of DC’s offerings this week, including a battle between He-Man and Superman.

Dakster Sullivan—Spider-Man Blue by Jeph Loeb and art by Tim Sale

Spider-Man Blue \ Image: Marvel ComicsSpider-Man Blue is the story of how Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy became an item. Any fan of Spider-Man pretty much knows how this story is going to end, but if you’re not familiar with the tragedy of Peter and Gwen’s relationship, no spoilers here, Peter spells it out for you early on.

I really enjoyed how writer Jeph Loeb chose to tell this story. Set after the events of Gwen’s death, Peter narrates the story by recording it on Uncle Ben’s old recorder.  In between remembrances of Gwen, however, there’s also plenty of Spidey righting wrongs and fighting villains like the Vulture, Kraven, The Hunter, The Lizard, and Green Goblin in order to offset some of the sadness.

Both the author, Jeph Loeb, and the artist, Tim Sale, did a nice job capturing the emotion of the characters as well as the heart of everything that happens. If I had to pin my favorite part, it would have to be the last scene with Peter and Gwen. Seeing the two of them embrace for the first time was simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. Before reading this story, I had no connection with Gwen and as bad as it sounds, I didn’t truly care that she died because Peter gets Mary Jane in the end. After reading this story, it breaks my heart to know that Peter could have had happiness with Gwen if only the Green Goblin hadn’t interfered.

If you’re looking for a Spider-Man story where you get a nice balance of action and heart, Spider-Man Blue is the story for you. Just remember to pick up a box of tissues for the more tragic moments. 

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

Astro City #4 \ Image: Vertigo
Astro City #4 \ Image: Vertigo

Lisa Tate—Astro City #4 (Vertigo) by Kurt Busiek and Brent Eric Anderson
Vertigo’s Astro City has been one of the most consistent comics since its debut in 1995, with no small part due to the unbreakable team of writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Eric Anderson, all with nearly frame-worthy covers by Alex Ross.

I was hooked on this series from the very first issue with it’s retro travel design, well-paced stories, and a fresh feel to seemingly-classic heroes. Most of all, however, it was the very human look at superhuman beings and the universe they live in: Samaritan’s only escape from never-ending responsibilities is his dreams; Jack-in-the-Box’s worries about his son’s future; Steeljack’s handling of his aging body and feelings of regret.

Come to think of it, Astro City’s 1998 1/2 special, “The Nearness of You,” is the first comic that actually moved me to tears, it was that beautiful and heartbreaking.

The current run of Astro City’s is no exception, and the latest issue, Astro City #4, certainly emphasizes the “human” in superhuman. Told through the eyes of telekinetic Mattie “Sully” Sullivan, who has used her powers in the motion picture industry for years, we learn of a group of ordinary people with extraordinary skills who have opted to use their powers in occupations that don’t involve being a hero or villain: art, music, legal work, etc. When Mattie and the others get taken hostage by a supervillain wanting to tap into their abilities, Mattie is forced to temporarily step into a hero role.

I really feel drawn into this world with every issue. It is so fantastic and out-of-the-ordinary, yet so real and down-to-earth. I always finish an issue feeling I’ve actually visited a real place, took in the sites and conversed with the “locals.” That, to me, is what makes a reading experience fulfilling.

Sophie Brown—Multiple X-Files Titles Launching in January

New comic book releases are usually publicised so far in advance of their release (see the publicity for January’s Serenity series) that the it’s rare for us to get a surprise.

That’s why it was such a shock for me when I visited IDW’s January products page on Previews World. Instead of seeing the one X-Files issue whose cover I had been heading over to peruse, I was instead looking at four different X-Files comics all due out in the same month: issue #8 of the ongoing The X-Files Season 10, a “Director’s Cut” of #1 (which will contain all the issue’s variant covers and the comic’s script), The X-Files Conspiracy #1, and The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters #1. IDW branded this multi-issue launch as “the event of the year!”

The plot of Conspiracy sounds like the most insane piece of fanfiction I’ve ever read, and believe me when I tell you I have read a LOT of X-Files fanfiction. The Lone Gunmen discover “internet files from the future” which will see them investigating the Ghostbusters, the Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and The Crow.

Yes, there is now an official X-Files/Transformers crossover happening—suddenly that fanfic I’ve been writing where Scully becomes a vampire sounds infinitely plausible. The numbering is a little unclear but The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters, scheduled to be released two weeks later, appears to be the second part of this story and sees the Gunmen investigating the Ghostbusters, their first lead in this crazy ongoing plot.

I have no idea what this crossover event will entail but I’m excited for it. I always loved the sillier episodes of The X-Files and have read some pretty bizarre crossover fiction over the years (X-Files/Doctor Horrible anyone?) so to have some official craziness is fine by me, providing it stays nicely away from my beloved canon.

I suppose I’m going to have to go and watch The Crow now, aren’t I?

Corrina—DC Universe versus Masters of the Universe #2, Justice League #24 (Forever Evil), Justice League Dark #24 (Forever Evil)

Speaking of odd crossovers, first up for me is DC Universe versus Masters of the Universe AKA He-Man and friends versus the Justice League, plotted by Keith Giffen, scripted by Tony Bedard, and drawn by Dexter Soy.

This was my favorite comic issue this week and I’m not even a big He-Man fan. Prince Adam and crew have been banished to our Earth, where he has a reunion with his mother, and John Constantine helps them seek out the Justice League. I know! John Constantine, Batman, Superman, and He-Man all in the same issue. Surprisingly, it works, with Skeletor as the main villain who, in true villain fashion, mind controls the League and sets in motion a fight between Adam and Superman.

This felt like an old-school Multiple Earths crossover from DC days gone by. I must seek out issue #1.

Meanwhile, over in the regular DC Universe, the Crime Syndicate is still in control of Earth. JL #24 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis tells the origin of the evil Superman, Ultraman. It’s pretty much what you’d guess it would be, with warped versions of Kryptonian and Earth parents. The story picks up a bit when Ultraman attacks the Daily Planet and yells at Jimmy for not being evil, and Lois and Jimmy try to defend themselves. They’re saved by someone wearing a cape and flying but not who you’d guess in a nice splash panel by Reis. But, hint, the rescuer is one of Johns’ favorites.

Justice League Dark by J.M. DeMatteis and Mikel Janin checks in with John Constantine, seemingly the lone survivor of the magical version of the League. The wisecracking, cynical Constantine hasn’t ever been a favorite, but it’s an interesting story as he tries to come to grips with heroism and his place in it. The art is very nice and I appreciate the effort to keep the sexualization to a minimum. Zatanna looks gorgeous without being over-the-top. This book kicks off a magical crossover called “Blight” that will last for 18 chapters. Not sure I’m sold on that but DeMatteis, one of my favorite writers from years back, appears to be in fine form with this beginning.

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

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

Absolute Joker Luthor HC
Adventures Of Superman #6
All-Star Western #24
Aquaman #24
Arrow #12
Batgirl Vol. 2 Knightfall Descends TP
Batgirl Vol. 3 Death Of The Family HC
Batman The Dark Knight #24
Beware The Batman #1 KF10
Catwoman #24
DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe #2 (Of 6) GM
Fables Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition HC
Flash #24
Fraction TP
Green Team Teen Trillionaires #5 GM
Injustice Gods Among Us #10
Justice League #24 GM
Justice League Dark #24
Larfleeze #4
MAD Magazine #524
Red Lanterns #24
Suicide Squad Vol. 3 Death Is For Suckers TP
Superman #24
Talon #12
Teen Titans #24 GM
Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril #4 (Of 6)
Unwritten #54
Vertigo Essentials The Sandman #1
Daredevil #32
Deadpool Kills Deadpool #1 (Of 4)
FF #13
Indestructible Hulk #14
Infinity Heist #2 (Of 4)
Infinity The Hunt #3 (Of 4)
Iron Man #17
Journey Into Mystery Featuring Sif Vol. 2 Seeds Of Destruction TP
Kick-Ass 3 #1 (Of 8)
Marvel Masterworks Sgt. Fury Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Now What #1
Nova #9 GM
Savage Wolverine #10
Secret Avengers #10
Spider-Man Life In The Mad Dog Ward TP
Superior Carnage #4 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5
Thor Epic Collection War Of The Pantheons TP
Thunderbolts #17
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #28
Uncanny Avengers #13
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 The Apocalypse Twins HC
Venom #42
Wolverine And The X-Men #37 GM
X-Men X-Corps TP
Young Avengers #11
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Crow Curare #3 (Of 3)
Doctor Who #14
Doctor Who Omnibus Vol. 2 TP
Fever Ridge A Tale Of MacArthur’s Jungle War #4 (Of 8)
G.I. JOE America’s Elite Disavowed Vol. 1 TP
Haunted Horror #7
Judge Dredd #12
Judge Dredd Year One TP
My Little Pony Pony Tales Vol. 1 TP GM KF10
Other Dead #2 (Of 5)
Powerpuff Girls Classics Vol. 1 Power Party TP KF10
Rocketeer The Spirit Pulp Friction #2 (Of 4)
Samurai Jack #1 (Of 5)
Star Trek #26
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 The Complete Series HC GM
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #4 KF10
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 6 City Fall Part 1 TP
Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers HC
Transformers Regeneration One #95
True Blood Vol. 6 Here We Go Again HC
Vitriol The Hunter TP
Zombie War #1 (Of 2)
Answer TP
Conan And The People Of The Black Circle #1 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #29
Hellboy The Midnight Circus HC
Kiss Me Satan #2 (Of 5)
Mass Effect Foundation #4
Massive #16
Mind MGMT #16
Star Wars #3 GM
Star Wars Legacy II #8

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 16th, 2013

Thor: Season One \ Image: Marvel
Thor: Season One \ Image: Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I dive into the latest Marvel Season One title, while Corrina checks DC Comics Justice League of America, Green Lantern:New Guardians and Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion. Sophie gets us up to date with X-Files Season 10 and Melody gives us a look into her daughter Ella’s pull-pile with Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon. For our manga lovers out there, Rebecca clues us in on Happy Marriage.

Dakster Sullivan — Thor: Season One by, Matt Sturges with art by Pepe Larraz

Marvel Season One titles have been my first comic book experience with many of Marvel’s characters. Thanks to Avengers vs. X-Men, I was familiar with Thor, but there were still some pieces of his puzzle missing.

Thor’s origin story in this issue is more about self-discovery than action and thrills as we watch an arrogant Thor get tricked by Loki and thrown out of Asgard by his father.

This graphic novel included many pieces of Thor’s story but the part I found most interesting were the details of Thor’s life on Earth and how he came to return to his home of Asgaud. Seeing Thor as crippled human Doctor Donald Blake, leaving a big name hospital and starting his own community clinic really made him feel like a hero, even if he was lacking a cape.

A bonus for the ladies is Thor / Donald Blake is drawn just as nicely on the eyes as Chris Helmsworth is.

The violence and language are kept pretty PG, so I feel comfortable recommending this for anyone 10-years-old and up. Of course, Marvel lists it as 12 and up, and part of the fun of being a parent, is making that final judgement for yourself.

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

Justice League of America #8 by Matt Kindt and Doug Mahnke

Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #1 of 6 by Brian Buccellato and Patrick Zircher
Green Lantern: New Guardians #24 by Justin Jordan and Brad Walker

If you’re a casual reader of DC Comics, these issues aren’t going to be your way into the DC Universe. If, on the other hand, you’re reading DC’s Forever Evil event or Lights Out, the reworking of the Green Lantern myth, JLA and GL: New Guardians are essential.

JLA finally gives us clues to the fate of the supposedly dead heavy hitters of the DC Universe: Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Shazam. The Crime Syndicate, their evil alternate universe doubles, claims they are dead but this story reveals the heroes are stuck in a prison that makes them relieve their worst nightmares over and over. Stargirl and Martian Manhunter seek a way to free the heroes and themselves from this strange world as Manhunter travels from one individual prison to another. He’s joined by an odd version of Firestorm, who may or may not be what he seems. Mahnke’s art shines, especially as doors open and close into the different worlds/hell of each hero. Flash, vibrating too fast, is incredibly kinetic.

I have an issue with Wonder Woman’s version of a prison/hell, however, as she’s in a continual fight to either free one of her two current loves, Superman or Steve Trevor. First because I dislike the way Wonder Woman’s “warrior” side seems to be all that’s emphasized in recent stories, and second, because her hell is connected to her romantic interests, rather than any of her own personal struggles. Flash is worried he’s doing things too fast or not enough, Shazam is letting his inner child take over to smash things, Green Lantern feels like he should live down to everyone’s worst opinion of him, and Superman is trapped in guilt for what he hasn’t done. But Wonder Woman is focused on her loves, not on her inner self.

It was very nice to see Stargirl in this series, and the ending seems to promise she’ll be essential to whatever happens next.

GL: New Guardians is one of those epic stories in which everything seemingly has been destroyed and then help comes from unknown mystical entities who never explain themselves. In other words, Kyle Rayner (White Lantern) is someone who’s put on the One Ring, while the entities controlling him are ultra-powerful versions of Sauron, though these entities claim they can help the Lantern corps fight an enemy that’s already destroyed their homeworld. The story has little of the annoying Hal Jordan (who seems to be a one-dimensionally hot-tempered type here) and lots of Kyle, it works well, and should have readers of the saga eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

As for the Rogues book, it’s well-written and well-illustrated but the appeal seems limited to those already fans of Flash’s entertaining Rogues Gallery or those who love a good villain/villain fight. Flash’s Rogues have always been full of redeeming values and here’s their chance to be heroes of a sort as they’re dumped into a Central City ravaged by the events of Forever Evil and without the protection of the Flash. They free captured cops, visit a sick relative in a hospital, and refuse to follow the orders of a more brutal group of villains. Battle ensues.

Disclaimer: Corrina received review copies of these issues.

Melody Mooney– Ella’s Pull Pile: Monsters Are Afraid of the Moon, by Marjane Satrapi

Monsters Are Afriad of the Moon
Monsters Are Afriad of the Moon

I wanted to share just one quick review of a short story I recently read to Ella. It being October, we are still on the topic of Monsters and all manor of things that go bump in the night. We found in her collection Monsters are Afraid of the Moon by Marjane Satrapi. She is most famous for her Persepolis series told in graphic novel format. That book is an autobiographical story of her family and her life during the Iranian Islamic revolution of 1979, and was also made into an animated film in 2007.

This 32-page book is a much simpler tale of a girl named Marie and her attempts to keep three bedtime monsters at bay. Coming to the realization that monsters only come out at night, she uses very big scissors and cuts the moon out of the sky. This lunar night light works to keep her safe but there is a cost. With no moonlight, the village cats in the story were at a vision disadvantage. They began bumping into things and ending up in the cat hospital. Unable to catch the village mice, the streets were turned upside-down and much mischief was made. After discovering who took the moon, the king of cats finds Marie and they set the moon back in the sky. In gratitude, the king leaves her a feline bedtime protector and her monsters never return.

After reading this, Ella and I were both happy to see our own cats happy and healthy and grateful that they, too, like to curl up at the end of the bed as protectors. I highly recommend Marjane Satrapi for both her adult and children’s stories.

Rebecca Angel– Happy Marriage by Maki Enjoji

Happy Marriage by Maki Enjoji is a manga with sexual tension on every page. Interestingly, the two people involved are married from the get-go, but don’t know each other well. Things heat up quickly in this marriage made for financial reasons. Chiwa Takanashi and Hokuto Mamiya are fun characters to watch. They are both trying to make the best of an awkward situation, and try to get to know each other. It’s cute how they are falling in love, and trying out their physical relationship so slowly, and yet are already married. A twist on the regular romantic comedy. For adults. Find it on vizmanga’s website!

Sophie Brown–The X-Files Season 10 #5 by Joe Harris and art by Michael Walsh

X-Files Season 10 Issue #5
X-Files Season 10 Issue #5

The X-Files #5 concludes the Believers arc that has opened Season 10, but considering the nature of the show, don’t expect events to be tied up with a neat bow by the end. We do get some answers such as why Yellowstone has been so important all along, but unfortunately the actions of the alien shape-shifter on page eight, or more specifically Mulder’s response to it, somewhat spoiled the story for me. Come on Mulder, you know better than that!

There are some fantastic action sequences included that fit nicely with the style of the show during it’s big-budget mytharc episodes, and it’s great to see Mulder and Scully back together, fighting side by side and defending one another as all hell erupts around them.

One thing I did really love about issue five was the ending. The cut back to an OPR hearing at the J. Edgar Hoover Building is absolutely perfect for the show; I could actually see the edit as it would have appeared on screen thanks to Michael Walsh’s artwork that perfectly mimicked the look of those scenes.

The dialogue here was some of the best in the season so far; I heard Scully’s lines clearly in her voice and her final monologue was just flowery enough to masquerade as some of Chris Carter’s infamous purple prose. One final thing I loved was page 16 which cleverly inverted one of the show’s most frequent tropes – well played Mr Harris, well played!

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

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

100 Bullets Brother Lono #5 (Of 8)
Ame-Comi Girls #8 (Final Issue) GM
Animal Man #24
Batman ’66 #4
Batman And Two-Face #24
Batman Beyond Universe #3
Batman Superman #4
Batwoman #24
Birds Of Prey #24
Catwoman Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
DC Comics Essentials Wonder Woman #1
Fables #134
Forever Evil #1 (Of 7)(Director’s Cut Edition)
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #1 (Of 6)
Green Lantern New Guardians #24 GM
Green Lantern Vol. 2 The Revenge Of Black Hand GM
Green Lantern Vol. 3 The End GM
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #7 GM
Joker Death Of The Family HC
Justice League Of America #8
Justice League Of America’s Vibe #8
Legends Of The Dark Knight #13 (Final Issue)
Red Hood And The Outlaws #24
Sandman Endless Nights TP
Smallville Season 11 Vol. 3 Haunted TP GM
Supergirl #24
Superman Dark Knight Over Metropolis TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #4
Wonder Woman #24
A+X #13
Avengers #21
Avengers Assemble #20
Avengers Vol. 3 Prelude To Infinity HC
Cable And X-Force #15
Essential Thor Vol. 7 TP
Fantastic Four #13
Guardians Of The Galaxy #7 GM
Hawkeye #13
Hunger #4 (Of 4)
Indestructible Hulk Special #1
Iron Man #9
Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Vol. 12 HC
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #19 KF10
Marvel Zombies The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Marvel’s Thor The Dark World Prelude TP
New Avengers #11
Superior Carnage #1 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #19
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #1
Uncanny X-Men #13
Wolverine MAX #12
Wolverine MAX Vol. 2 Escape To L.A. TP
X-Men Legacy #18
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #195
Star Trek Khan #1 (Of 5)
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classic #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Works Vol. 2 HC
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #22
Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Digest Vol. 1 KF10
X-Files Classics Vol. 2 HC
X-Files Season 10 #5
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #112
Baltimore The Infernal Train #2 (Of 3)
Black Beetle Vol. 1 No Way Out HC
Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine #1 (Of 5)
Brain Boy #2
Buzzkill #2 (Of 4)
Conan The Barbarian #21
S.H.O.O.T. First #1 (Of 4)
Star Wars #3 GM
Strain The Fall #4

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 25th, 2013

carol danvers captain marvel
Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Dakster reviews Ms. Marvel’s early stories while Corrina continues her look at DC’s villain month, and Melody gives us another look inside her daughter Ella’s pull pile.

Dakster Sullivan — Ms. Marvel Essentials Vol. 1, by Various writers and artists.

After being exposed to Ms. Marvel for the first time during an online course on gender, I was inspired to learn more about this iconic character and her first solo comic appearance. I turned to Amazon and found The Essential Ms. Marvel Vol. 1. and I’ll admit that I initially found the pages lack-luster and uninviting. After reading the first few pages, I put the book on a shelf and picked up something more current, instead.

This past weekend, though, I was actually experiencing some anxiety about reading an intense DC Comics storyline when I noticed the much-neglected Ms. Marvel book on my comic shelf and decided, “What the heck?” and picked it up, hoping it would distract me from the book I was avoiding.

I didn’t expect Ms. Marvel’s stories to be thrilling or full of awesome. Turns out, I was wrong…

Turns out, Ms. Marvel is full of action and awesomeness–but in a more relaxing and entertaining manner than other high action stories. The first few issues have a nice balance of backstory, as we watch Carol Danvers adjust to her new position as Editor in Chief of Woman Magazine, and her alter-ego, Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel’s battles with the villainous Scorpion and Destructor were amusing to read–what with all of the punches and quips bouncing off of each other.

Even though the story stands up well by itself, I think Marvel was smart to include some more well-known Marvel characters such as Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man), Mary Jane Watson, and the guy you love to hate, J. Jonah Jameson.

Here, Jameson plays more than just pain-in-the-neck editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle, he’s also an opponent to women in the workplace, making plenty of comments to show his feelings on the subject. After Danvers wins yet another verbal exchange with him–and, tellingly, after the door has already closed and he’s alone–Jameson mutters, “Women. Whatever made them think they were any good outside of a kitchen.”

I wanted to slap Jameson right out of the book, but knowing some history about how women were treated in the 1960’s, I shook my head and laughed, instead–especially since Jameson has no idea who he is really talking to…

At first, I neglected Ms. Marvel because her black and white comic book stories felt lack-luster. I forgot that many of the silver age books are far superior to some of the flashier books of today. Through Ms. Marvel’s stories, I discovered a character who is a strong woman, who stands up for herself and her gender in the days when women’s liberation was a very hot topic. Watching her take down some of Spider-Man’s villains gave me something familiar to recognize, and after a few issues, I was reading because I loved the character and not just to find out what was up with her Spidey friends.

And if you’re still looking for a more modern take, try Captain Marvel: In Pursuit of Flight, the new Carol Danvers series, which we reviewed in Comic Book Corner in May.

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

Corrina–DC Villains Month 

DC Comics continues their month-long villains event, where the titles are being taken over by the bad guys in preparation for the coming confrontation of the Justice League and their evil alternate universe versions, the Crime Syndicate, in the Forever Evil event. This week contains a batch of Bat-villains, a haunting alternate universe story that’s really a prequel to Forever Evil, and a twisted Krytonian fairy tale.

The standout for me was Secret Society #1 (replacing Justice League) written by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates with art by Szymon Kudranski. Part of the reason was the focus on the twisted relationships in the alternate universe Batman clan, with Batman, Alfred, the Joker, and Dick Grayson all sorts of wrong. The story was dark but fascinating and the alternate world characters came alive, rather than feeling like second-rate versions of their good counterparts. As a one-in-done story, it fails, but as a prelude to Forever Evil, the tale made me more interested in the event than anything else I’ve read.

Doomsday #1, subbing for Batman/Superman, is written by Greg Pak with pencils by Brett Booth. The story is set on Krypton and the framing device is the House of El together to tell a fairy tale to young Kara Zor-el. The look at Kryptonian history works wonderfully, with a surprise bogeyman as little Kara tries to sleep.

Killer Croc #1 is written by Tim Seeley with art by Francis Portela and takes an entirely different track, telling a nice, self-contained story of Killer Croc haunting the sewers of Gotham and chasing his prey, a trio of corrupt cops. Why Croc is after the cops proves surprising, though with his thrist for vengeance, Croc still falls into villain rather than antihero territory. Other Bat villains spotlighted include Bane, back to the old twisted honorable warrior and his idea of taking over Gotham, and Man-Bat, who tries to be a hero but somehow cannot escape becoming a monster.

First Born #1, by Wonder Woman writer Brian Azzarello with art by Aco, is a Greek Myth-style take on a villain that was also mostly a one-in-done tale. This may interest readers enjoying the mythology in Wonder Woman.

In other comics out this week, the Superman villains Parasite and Metallo are back in origin stories with very EXTREME covers; Black Adam, Shazam’s dark mirror, is brought back from the dead to protect his homeland, setting up a confrontation with the Crime Syndicate; Ocean Master, Aquaman’s Atlantean brother, uses his liberation from prison to head straight for home, though he shows a glimmer of a conscience; and Sinestro’s origin is retold from the point of view of those who consider the traitorous Green Lantern to be a hero.  

MvK coloring pages Melody Mooney–Ella’s Pull Pile:  Monsters Vs. Kittens by Dani Jones

I asked my toddler, Ella who loves kitten, what she thought of monsters? She answered they were ‘spooky’. With Halloween and trick or treating right around the corner we decided to explore if the friendly and fierce can indeed become friends.

Sitting down together, we read Monsters vs. Kittens by Dani Jones from the Stan Lee’s Kids Universe collection.

Answers and fun were found in the 32 brightly colored pages of over-sized comic book style illustrations. The monsters were not too scary and kittens were cuddly. The simple story ends on a sweet note; even opposites have something in common and can become friends. Downloading color pages from the Stan Lee website site, we assembled our own monster and kitten comic. There are more fun things to read there and we can’t wait to explore them all. Previews of titles are available for online viewing. Author Dani Jones also created an ongoing web comic: My Sister the Freak.

Looking for something else, readers? Head over to Comixology to see what’s coming out today. I hear there’s a sale on Fables going on as well!

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—September 18th, 2013

Nova and Spidey Jerk...umm...Superior Spider-Man \ Image: Copyright Marvel
Nova and Spidey Jerk…umm…Superior Spider-Man \ Image: Copyright Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Corrina continues her look at DC’s Villain Month while Dakster reviews Marvel’s Nova. Lisa takes us into Pacific Rim and Rebecca gives us a nice overview of A Flight of Angels. Last but not least, Sophie gives us her views on The X-Files Season 10 #4  and why the writer should drop one element that’s driving her nuts.

Corrina—DC’s Villain Month: Top Pick: Shadow Thief #1 by Tom DeFalco and Chad Hardin

Justice League of America: Shadow Thief \ Image: DC Comics
Justice League of America: Shadow Thief \ Image: DC Comics

This month, villains are taking over all of DC’s superhero titles, to tie-in with the Forever Evil event, in which an evil Justice League, the Crime Syndicate, has taken over the Earth and seemingly killed the Justice League. Five of the titles are direct tie-ins to the events, especially the Batman villains, while others I read feature villain origins in short stories of varying quality. DC has some good horror-style writers and artists working for them and it shows in some of this week’s tales.

The good news is that this week’s offerings seem far more varied than last week’s, if just as bleak. The best read, especially to those looking for a great one-off story, is Shadow Thief by Tom DeFalco, the former Marvel-Editor-in-Chief and Spider-Man scribe, and artist Chad Hardin. The Shadow Thief, Aviva, is a former Mossad agent who has made it her life’s mission to root out covert alien assaults on the Earth. To do so, she uses a weaponized containment suit also seems to be alien tech and allows her to instant transport. The suit doesn’t quite have a mind of its own, but it did remind me of the early Venom stories in Spider-Man. Since DeFalco introduced Spider-Man’s black costume, that’s not surprising. Overall, it’s an involving tale of one person’s descent into obsession with very creepy and sometimes spectacular art (the first splash page is Aviva falling from a high rise). I hope to see the Shadow-Thief again as she strikes me more as an anti-hero than a true villain.

Cheetah #1 is also written by a comic veteran, John Ostrander, the creator of the Suicide Squad, with art by Victor Ibanez. I have mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, the story is involving and weird, and features the re-appearance of an obscure DC character I like. On the other hand, the tradition of the Amazons as worst role models ever continues as even the faux Amazons that raised Barbara Minerva/the Cheetah turn out to be as evil as the real murdering Amazons in the current Wonder Woman title. The story picks us just after the Crime Syndicate has released the Cheetah and other villains from a maximum security prison. Cheetah uses her newfound freedom to clear up some family ties. Ibanez does a terrific job with the fur-covered Cheetah, making her sleek and terrifying, rather than cheesecakey. And Ostrander definitely makes her a force of nature and a great foe for Wonder Woman.

And there are the four Bat-titles: Penguin, Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassins, Scarecrow, and Clayface.  One, seeing the list made me realize how many great villains Batman has. Two, reading the comics had me very, very worried for the fate of Gotham. All the titles are set in the time after the Justice League’s supposed “death” and all but one feature the villains in Gotham, sorting out their new place in the world order. Oddly, Ra’s Al Ghul was the least interesting of the bunch, maybe because it’s essentially a static re-telling of his origin. Scarecrow is moody, tense, and a little bit confusing as the master of fear wanders Gotham looking for allies. Clayface actually manages to be a little bit funny in characterization of the villain as someone with incredible power who never really learns anything. Penguin, well, the Penguin makes an excellent point to his opponents in this tale whose message is to never underestimate a little guy with an umbrella.

The other villain books I read are Dial E (for evil), Arcane, H’el, and Eclipso. Arcane is a sick, twisted horror story and will no doubt please those who like horror. Eclipso is another tale of a revised villain origin, and keeps the dual nature of human versus demon. H’el brings back the Kryptonian villain from the recent Superman/Superboy/Supergirl crossover. I still find him dull  but this one might interest those who have a thing for stories set on Krypton before the explosion.

Dial E is written by literary fiction star China Mieville, who has been writing the weird and sometimes wonderful Dial H for Hero, and each page is by a different artist. And it’s…really outstandingly weird. Fun weird, confusing weird, but mostly amusing weird. Essentially, a group of kids get a hold of a magic deal that transforms them into villains. This is a good thing, as they’re being chased by bad guys who want the dial back and a number of cops. I laughed out loud when one of the transformations was a walking house. Half the time, I’m not sure what’s going on, but the imagination on this one bursts out of the page.

Dakster Sullivan — Nova Vol. 5 #7, story by Zebb Wells, with art by Paco Medina

Nova Vol 5 #7 \ Image: Copyright Marvel
Nova Vol 5 #7 \ Image: Copyright Marvel

Nova #7 carries on in the spirit of Issue #6, with Sam Alexander continuing to learn some valuable and much-needed lessons. Don’t let that description fool you into thinking that this issue will be all character growth, no action, though—because this installment has appearances by some major players in the superhero world, most notably Superior Spider-Man (AKA Doctor Octavius in Peter Parker’s body).

From the get-go, we can see Nova’s (AKA Sam Alexander) 15-year-old-ness shining through as he leaves his small hometown in Arizona for New York City and gets himself into situations he doesn’t quite grasp. Superior Spider-Man is the first “hero” Sam runs into, and quite frankly, I wasn’t impressed with the character. He exudes pomposity, which is incredibly annoying since he’s only been in the hero game himself for a little bit!

I can see why many fans are up in arms wanting Peter Parker back (see Amazing Spider-Man #700). Doctor Octavius doesn’t take the time to understand Nova, nor does he care to try. While I’m not sure that Peter Parker could have made Nova understand his new situation any better, I know that at very least, he wouldn’t have been a <Insert vulgar-but-GeekMom-appropriate term here. My choice is dick.> about it. If this issue did anything for me, it made me even less-likely to read Superior Spider-Man than was already the case.

Despite Superior Spider-Man’s ::rolling my eyes:: wonderfully warm pep talk on the streets of New York City telling Nova to leave because they have enough heroes, Nova throws himself head-first into the Big Apple superhero game, causing some trouble along the way. Sam’s self-defeating behavior at this juncture is actually highly reminiscent of Kid Flash’s behavior in the New 52 revamp of Teen Titans. For instance, when Kid Flash forgets his high school science homework and runs at super-speed into a burning building only to have a back-draft erupt as a result of his super-speed—wait, come to think of it…a scene in Nova plays out just that way! I guess regardless of the universe, DC or Marvel, 15-year-old kids with powers are going to act like 15-year-old kids with powers.

After failing to help anyone, Nova flies back home desperate to put his new powers to some use and what happened next was unexpected, and at the same time, reminded me of why I subscribe to this series.

You know those moments when your child does something that just melts your heart and makes it impossible to be mad at them? The scenes that followed when Nova returned to Arizona did that for me. The mother in me just wanted to squeeze him into a big embarrassing hug after he finally realized he doesn’t have to rush into being a big hero right away.

While I wished Nova’s innocence would last just a little longer, the last page pretty much confirmed that Sam is about to find himself in over his head…with some very big bad guys heading his way.

Speaking of the last few pages, another character I’m enjoying in this series is the Watcher (AKA the Man on the Moon). I’m not all that familiar with the Watcher, but his brief moments in the Nova issues are a nice addition to the series. Without saying a word, I can see his concerns about the impending Infinity Wars building. He seems to genuinely care about the world surrounding him and I hope we get to see more of him. It would be awesome if someone would write a single issue back-story so we can learn more about who this character is and what his interest is in Nova.[Corrina breaking in here, Dakster..Ah, the Watcher. Hah! No single issue backstory coming. Because he’s The Watcher.]

This issue really showed us that despite having helped the Avengers bring down Cyclops in the AvX war and facing off in space in a battle for the Ultimate Nulifer, Nova is still a 15-year-old with powers he doesn’t quite understand. He has skill, but those moments of heroism were more about him being in the right place at the right time. In the wake of these lucky moments, though, it’s time Sam learns he has to walk before he can run. Unfortunately, I don’t think he will have much time to learn with the impending Infinity War right behind him.

I’m comfortable recommending Nova Vol. 5 to anyone 10-years-old and up.

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

Rebecca Angel—A Flight of Angels  by various writers and art by Rebecca Guay

A Flight of Angels came out a couple years ago from the talented Rebecca Guay, and I only just had a chance to read it. Wow. The artwork is lush, the story is intriguing, and the characters stay with you. An angel falls to the earth and is found by creatures of the fairie, who all tell stories trying to guess who the angel is, why he fell, and the connection between the worlds of human, fae, angels, and demons.

Lisa Kay Tate—Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero, by Travis Beacham, illustrated by Sean Chen, Yvel Guichet, and Pericles Junior.

Guillermo Del Toro’s epic tribute to Japanese monster movies caught me be surprise this summer, as everything from the viral poster campaign to gratuitous Idris Elba pontifications, turned me into an instant fan.

This hardcover graphic novel from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures is a perfect companion to the film, providing back-stories for many of the main players. Although it is more character-driven than it is action-packed, it isn’t lacking on excitement, suspense, or emotional punch.

Aside from the beautifully done cover art by Alex Ross, the illustrations are nothing spectacular, but stay on par with many comic book movie adaptations. It was the stories that grabbed me like a Kaiju from the deep, and gave me a bigger appreciation for what the main protagonists went through. Characterization was not the movie’s strong point, so this comic filled in some plot holes.

Tales From Year Zero is certainly worth a read, especially for those who were left the movie with a few questions. This title is recommended for the “tweens” and up due to very mild indications of sexual situations and violence.

Sophie Brown—The X-Files: Season 10 #4  by, Joe Harris and art by Michael Walsh

Excuse me Mr. Harris, can we talk for a minute? Thank you.

X-Files Season 10 Issue 4 \ Image: IDW Publishing
X-Files Season 10 Issue 4 \ Image: IDW Publishing

We’re up to issue four of the “Believers” plot arc now and yet again we’re running up against the same issue. I know it might not seem like a big deal to you, but to those of us who’ve stayed with The X-Files from the beginning—that’s 20 years now in case you missed last week’s celebrations—it’s a game changer.

William Scully is not just Scully’s son, he’s Mulder’s son too. Mulder says it in the second film. It’s accepted. The fandom has moved on. Constantly having Scully refer to William as “my son” or worse “my baby”—he’s about seven years old now, he’s NOT a baby anymore—when she’s talking to Mulder drags me kicking and screaming out of the fictional universe I’ve immersed myself in daily for almost two decades. Oh and having other characters refer to him as “William Scully” to her face is weird; he’s her child, she knows his name fairly well and by now even new-to-the-X-Files readers have got that bit of information lodged firmly into their sub craniums.

Drop it OK?

Right, now we’ve got that cleared up we can get back to the issue at hand. The issue opens with a dramatic teaser for this month’s ending, but soon we’re back with Scully who is still traipsing through snowy forests with her acolyte companion, and Mulder who is still rushing about dramatically doing whatever it is Mulder usually does when he thinks Scully might be “in peril™”.

The first half of issue four is very, very slow—I mean there are five whole pages devoted to not much more than Scully entering a local store to try and make a phone call. The Gunmen are back doing semi-magical things with computers (seriously, someone explain to me that logic leap they make on the first panel of page 18) and Scully is acting uncharacteristically dumb. The pace picks up a little by page 15 and keeps us guessing through to the end. However, it has to be said that despite the action, very little actually happens in this issue.

I’m hoping that this is calm before the storm. This opening arc ties up next month so I’m expecting some major resolution (and some epic forehead sex) in October. I have to say that opening a new X-Files season in a brand new format by splitting Mulder and Scully up for the last three issues of a five-issue arc was a risky gambit to play.

The X-Files lived on the interaction between the pair and because the comic is missing out on that vital dynamic the cracks are really showing.

Oh and one last thing. Page 16; panel six. That had better be a reaction to the acolytes and nothing more because if you so much as dare I will not be held accountable for my actions…

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

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100 Bullets Brother Lono #4 (Of 8)
Action Comics #23.3 (Lex Luthor) GM
Arrow #11
Arrow Vol. 1 TP
Batman #23.3 (The Penguin)
Batman ’66 #3
Batman ’66 #3
Batman And Robin #23.3 (Ra’s al Ghul And The League Of Assassins)
Batman Beyond Universe #2
Batman The Dark Knight #23.3 (Clayface)
Batwoman Vol. 2 To Drown The World TP GM
Batwoman Vol. 3 World’s Finest HC GM
Detective Comics #23.3 (The Scarecrow)
Fables #133
Flash #23.3 (The Rogues)
Green Lantern #23.3 (Black Hand)
Justice League #23.3 (Dial E)
Justice League Dark #23.2 (Eclipso)
Justice League Of America #7.3 (Shadow Thief) GM
Secret Society Of Super-Villains Vol. 1 TP
Stormwatch Vol. 3 Betrayal TP GM
Superman #23.3 (H’el)
Swamp Thing #23.1 (Arcane)
Teen Titans #23.2 (Deathstroke)
Unwritten Tommy Taylor And The Ship That Sank Twice HC
Wonder Woman #23.1 (The Cheetah)
World Of Warcraft Pearl Of Pandaria TP
All-New X-Men Vol. 3 Out Of Their Depth HC GM
Cable And X-Force #14
Captain Marvel #16 GM
Daredevil #31
Disney Princess Magazine #16 (Disney Publishing Worldwide) KF10
Infinity #3 (Of 6)
Inhumans The Origin Of The Inhumans TP
Iron Man Epic Collection The Enemy Within TP
Marvel Masterworks Daredevil Vol. 7 HC
Morbius The Living Vampire #9
New Avengers #10
Powers Bureau #7
Red She-Hulk Vol. 2 Route 616 TP
Savage Wolverine #8
Secret Avengers #9
Superior Carnage #3 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #18
Thor God Of Thunder #13
Thunderbolts #15
Thunderbolts Vol. 2 Red Scare TP
Ultimate Comics X-Men #31
Uncanny X-Men #12
Venom #41
Wolverine MAX #11
Wolverine The Return Of Weapon X TP
X-Men Legacy #17
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Doctor Who #13
Ghostbusters #7
Half Past Danger #5 (Of 6)
Joe Hill’s The Cape Deluxe Edition HC
Popeye Classics #14
Popeye Classics Vol. 2 HC
Star Trek Best Of Klingons TP
Star Trek The Newspaper Strips Vol. 2 1981-1983 HC
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics Vol. 6 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #3 KF10
Transformers Regeneration One #0
Transformers Robots In Disguise Vol. 4 TP
X-Files Season 10 #4
Angel And Faith Vol. 4 Death And Consequences TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #111 (Lake Of Fire Part 2 Of 5)
Buzzkill #1 (Of 4)
Conan The Barbarian #20
Conan The Phenomenon TP
Dream Thief #5 (Of 5)
Kiss Me Satan #1
Smoke Ashes TP
Star Wars Dark Times A Spark Remains #3 (Of 5)
Star Wars Dark Times Vol. 6 Fire Carrier TP
Star Wars Vol. 1 In The Shadow Of Yavin TP
Strain The Fall #3

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—September 11th, 2013

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Did you know Comic Book Corner covers titles for all ages? Yup! And this week, I look at The Pandas & Boom, a motion comic for ages two to six, while Lisa Tate takes us inside Mouse Guard! Corrina takes a look at the comic at the heart of the “no marriage!” controversy, Batwoman.

Corrina Lawson – Batwoman Volume 3: World’s Finest by J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Trevor McCarthy

Batwoman (Kate Kane) has been a tough sell for me, personally. She, rightfully, has her fans and I’ve recognized her importance as the only mainstream lesbian superhero, but her characterization left me cold. In many ways, she is the most like Bruce Wayne among the Bat characters, remote and emotionally distant. But this story? I loved this story, for the imaginative artwork, for the interaction between Batwoman and Wonder  Woman, for the literal descent into a Hades-like prison, for Kate’s absolute determination to find lost children and return them to their parents, and for the glimpse into Kate’s training that finally allowed me to see beneath the remote exterior.

It’s ironic that I finally “got” the character the day before it was announced those behind this story were leaving the title due to capricious editorial demands.

The plot follows up on Batwoman’s long-running search to find a monster in Gotham who is abducting children. Events turn metaphysical when she realizes she’s dealing with something out of myth and legend. Batwoman and Kate Kane take a winding journey that eventually leads back to the heart of darkness, in this case, Gotham, and finally to a resolution that has Kate proposing to her lady love, Gotham Police Detective Maggie Sawyer. It’s a beautiful end sequence and will have to serve somewhat as Williams’ and Blackman’s defining moment of the character.

Volume 3 stands alone nicely, for those who are worried about jumping in without reading the first two story arcs of her title.

Dakster Sullivan – The Pandas & Boom #1: Wonderwood, by CAT Studios

The Pandas & Boom is an interactive motion comic by CAT Studios about Boom, a curious squirrel, and her new panda friends, Sophie and Hector. From the first few pages, I knew this wasn’t the average comic book reading experience. Having read Subject #9 on the Narr8 app, I was expecting motion in each panel, but what I wasn’t expecting was interaction between the reader and the story.

The story takes us above the forest, where Boom lands herself in a mystery as she discovers two boxes misplaced in the forest. Her interested is piqued when she hears one of the boxes snoring and the other sounding very angry at something. The angry box opens first and out pops Sophie (a pink panda girl), and she is ready in full karate-stance to defend herself from the unknown. The snoring finally ends in the other box and Hector (a blue panda boy) emerges, both hungrier and more trusting than his companion, Sophie.

After convincing Sophie and Hector that she has no desire to harm them, Boom convinces them to come to her place for muffins, tea, and a place to sleep.

This is a neat story because while you’re reading, some of the words are highlighted so that you can learn the definition or hear it in a different language such as Spanish, British, Korean, or Russian. You are also given the chance to tell the characters what to do (for instance, Boom needed to look closer at one of the panda boxes, so a magnifying glass appeared for you to tell her to do so). As a mother, I like how the writers incorporated various learning opportunities into the story and made it fun to learn along the way. Each of the stories has a point to make and a lesson to learn, and it’s easy to pick up on what the writers were trying to get across.

At the end of the story, a friendly bird appears with a list of the five words learned in the story and offers another opportunity to hear them in a different language.

This simple adventure story is only thirteen pages long, so it’s just the right length for anyone up to the age of six. I would recommend sitting with your child the first time they are watching the story to make sure they understand the signals the story gives them. In addition, because some of the other stories in the Narr8 app are more geared towards adults, I would keep a close eye on the little ones while they are using the app to make sure they don’t accidentally open up Subject #9 or another title that is not for them. In the future, I’d like to see Narr8 create a child lock or child app to keep children from accidentally seeing stories they are not old enough to experience yet.

The Pandas & Boom is released weekly on the Narr8 app for 99 Narrs (or about $1.85) per episode.

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

Lisa Kay Tate – Mouse Guard: The Black Axe
Mouse Guard Black Ax \ Image: Archaia Entertainment LLC
This third volume in David Petersen’s award-winning, all-ages fantasy series is a prequel to his other adventure, and reveals the back story of young Lieam’s first meeting with the fabled Black Axe. The impressive art and stellar storytelling in this series appeal to a wide audience that in our home includes both my husband and myself, as well as our 11-year-old fantasy expert, who read this voraciously. Even our 4-year-old loves to take up these books and peruse Petersen’s images.

The worst thing about this book was the excruciatingly long wait—after all, I’ve had the previous volumes since 2010!  The adventures in these books moved so quickly, I had to fight my impulse to fly through them. I knew as I lingered on the last pages of The Black Axe that I was beginning yet another long wait before I could join these simple soldiers in further exploits. However, Mouse Guard is worth the wait.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out Comixology for this week’s new releases.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 21st, 2013

Wolverine: First Class #1 \ Image Copyright Marvel
Wolverine: First Class #1 \ Image Copyright Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I take a look at a kid-friendly Wolverine story and Corrina gives a glimpse of a comic exploring what Star Wars could have been.

Dakster Sullivan — Wolverine: First Class #1 by Fred Van Lente and Andrea Di Vito 

Written by Fred Van Lente, Wolverine: First Class #1 takes place during Wolverine’s early days at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. After Professor X receives a signal from a young mutant in trouble, he sends Wolverine to retrieve her,  but he must bring along Xavier’s newest student,  Kitty Pryde (AKA Shadowcat). Reluctantly, Wolverine and his new teammate head off on what Wolverine is already expecting to be a brutal assignment. (It is interesting to note this is adding in yet another adventure featuring Wolverine with a female teenage mutant. See Jubilee and other previously chronicled adventures with Shadowcat.)

Wolverine is right to worry about the kid coming along, because she’s greener than grass. However, it is her quick thinking and ability to overcome her fears that saves them both, as well as their new mutant friend.

The ending makes me hope that this isn’t going to be the last time these two work together. (Corrina’s note: For a history of their long-working relationship, check out the six issue miniseries Kitty Pryde and Wolverine from 1984-1985. Sometimes it pays having read comics since, like, forever.)

Looking back at some of the other Wolverine stories I’ve read, I don’t think there is another Wolverine-centered story out there I’ve enjoyed more than Wolverine: First Class issue #1. For a story revolving around a “no holds barred” character, the artist, Andrea Di Vito, did a great job giving us the Wolverine we know and love while still making his actions family-friendly.

Why do I love the more family-friendly Wolverine? Well, it comes down to three simple reasons:

  • My 7-year-old son – Having a nice variety of kid-friendly comics with popular characters for us to read together is important. It keeps him from turning into a child-version of Daredevil and performing acrobatics to grab more adult content comic books that I keep on high shelves.
  • Anxiety – I suffer from high anxiety, so reading something that has a lot of violence is rough on me mentally and takes away the relaxed feeling I want when reading comic books. I do read some series with violence, but I keep them to a minimum and I’ll drop a book quick if it becomes too much for me.
  • Character depth and understanding – We learn a lot more about the characters when they’re not going after someone’s throat all the time. I like to see all the sides of my favorite characters, both good and bad. In Wolverine: First Class issue #1, we see more depth to Wolverine’s character as he has to bring himself under control to accomplish his goal as well as keep from killing his teammate.

You can pick up Wolverine: First Class #1 as a single issue on Comixology for free, as part of Wolverine: Tales of Weapon X on Amazon, or in the Wolverine: First Class (Volume #1): The Rookie collection.

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

The Star Wars #1 cover, copyright Dark Horse comics.Corrina–The Star Wars #1 by J.W. Rinzler and Mike Mayhew

The Star Wars that could have been? On September 4th, Dark Horse Comics will begin publishing The Star  Wars #1, an authorized adaptation of George Lucas’ rough draft screenplay, which morphed into the movie and, eventually, the series we all know and love.

The Knights (!) of the Sith are still the bad guys but other elements are nearly unrecognizable. Luke Skywalker is an older general (shades of Obi-Wan, perhaps?) and Han Solo is a big green alien. Well, so it seems from this preview. Also, C-3PO appears decidedly feminine. The interior art looks fantastic, especially the detail and the colors.

It’ll be fun to compare the two version when this story is fully told.

Looking for something else, readers?

Check out this week’s newest titles. Something new we’re doing this week is highlighting our suggestions, so if you see GM next to a title, consider it GeekMom recommended! KF10 specifies titles that are friendly for kids ten-years old and younger. 

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100 Bullets Brother Lono #3 (Of 8)
Animal Man #23
Arrow #10
Batman ’66 #2
Batman And Nightwing #23
Batman Beyond Universe #1 – NEW SERIES
Batwoman #23
Birds Of Prey #23
Captain Atom Vol. 2 Genesis TP
DC Universe Presents Vol. 2 Vandal Savage TP
Fables #132
Green Lantern New Guardians #23
Green Lantern Sector 2814 Vol. 2 TP
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #5
Justice League Dark #23 GM
Justice League Of America’s Vibe #7
Legion Of Super-Heroes #23 (Final Issue)
Red Hood And The Outlaws #23
Supergirl #23
Superman Unchained #3
Wonder Woman #23
World Of Warcraft Bloodsworn HC
Avengers #18
Avengers Assemble #18
Avengers The Complete Collection By Geoff Johns Vol. 2 TP
Cable And X-Force #13
Daredevil #30
Deadpool Vol. 2 Soul Hunter TP
Dexter #2 (Of 5)
Disney Pixar Presents Planes Magazine #16 KF10
Fantastic Four Vol. 2 Road Trip TP
Indestructible Hulk #12
Marvel 1602 HC
Mighty Thor Omnibus Vol.  2 HC
Morbius The Living Vampire #8
New Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 5 TP
Nova #7 GM
Spider-Man Dying Wish TP
Superior Spider-Man #16
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 2 A Troubled Mind TP
Thunderbolts #14
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #29
Venom #39
X-Factor #261
X-Men #4 GM
X-Men Legacy #15
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Berkeleyworks The Art Of Berkeley Breathed From Bloom County And Beyond HC
Danger Girl G.I. JOE HC
Dinosaurs Attack #2 (Of 5)
G.I. JOE The Complete Collection Vol. 1 HC
Judge Dredd #10
Judge Dredd The Complete Carlos Ezquerra Vol. 1 HC
KISS Kids #1 (Of 4) KF10
My Little Pony Micro-Series #7 KF10
Popeye Classics #13
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #2 KF10, GM
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Villain Microseries #5 (Karai) GM
Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #110
Blood Brothers #2 (Of 3)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Willow Wonderland TP
Conan The Barbarian #19
Creepy Comics #13
Dark Horse Presents #27
Dragon Age Vol. 3 Until We Sleep HC
Dream Thief #4 (Of 5)
Lobster Johnson A Scent Of Lotus #2
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 3 TP
Sacrifice HC
Star Wars Dark Times A Spark Remains #2 (Of 5)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Ninth Assassin #5 (Of 5)
Star Wars Omnibus Knights Of The Old Republic Vol.1 TP
Strain The Fall #2

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Approved / KF10 = Kid-Friendly for 10 and under

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 14th, 2013

Gail Simone, The Movement, Freddie Williams II

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. Sit back while Sophie reviews the comic continuation of X-Files, Dakster delves into titles featuring DC’s Big Three superheroes, Corrina looks at DC’s two new “political” books: The Movement and The Green Team, and Melody explores the Galactus love of her two-year old daughter.

Dakster Sullivan — What I read this week

Superman\Batman #51 \ Image: DC Comics
Superman\Batman #51 \ Image: DC Comics

Due to a death in the family this past week, I went on a five-hour road trip which resulted in a lot of comic book reading. To take my mind off of the events to come, I picked up several graphic novels from my local library, including three Batman / Superman titles and Wonder Woman: Love and Murder.

Of the three graphic novels I picked up, the issues #51 and #52 inside Batman / Superman: Finest Worlds (written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson, art by Rafael Albuquerque) hit me the hardest. This original Batman / Superman storyline included some of my favorite stories–I really enjoyed the complex relationship that developed as these two very different heroes worked together.

Thanks to Mr. Mxyzptlk, an annoying enemy of Superman’s (though also one of the more lighthearted villains), an alternate dimension’s Justice League falls into our Superman / Batman’s world, and things get weird real quick. Under different circumstances this wouldn’t necessarily have been such a big deal, but this other Justice League is actually a miniature version of the Justice League we know and love, with the size of their fighting matches their height. The enemies in the mini-dimension fight more like bullies on a playground than gun-wielding super villains.

What shocked me most about this issue is that DC would go so far as to kill a miniature version of one of their most popular characters. Okay, so he wasn’t from this dimension…I’m not sure that excuses killing him in “child” form (then again, child heroes are never safe in DC Comics hands: Rest in peace, Damian).

The mini Justice League is at a total loss with how to deal with this tragic death but one thing’s for sure, with their innocence lost,  things will be very different when they get back home…

Wonder Woman: Love and Murder  (written by Jodi Picoult, art by Drew Johnson and Paco Diaz Luque) is part one of a two-part story arc revolving around Wonder Woman’s decision to give up her superhero persona and live a normal life as government agent. Now living as Diana Prince, special agent in Metahuman Affairs, Diana and her partner, Nemesis, are asked to do the impossible: bring in Wonder Woman for questioning in the death of Maxwell Lord (see Wonder Woman #219). No surprise here: eventually things get messy. This ending had me frantically searching the internet for a copy of the sequel, Wonder Woman: Amazons Attack. Thankfully, I found a reasonably-priced copy on Amazon (ironic…) and should have it in my hands in a few days.

[Corrina can’t help interjecting here that Amazons Attack is widely derided as one of the worst crossovers ever, so hopefully Dak isn’t too disappointed…]

I feel comfortable in recommending Batman / Superman #51 and #52 for anyone seven-years old and up but due to some of the content in Wonder Woman: Love and Murder, I would say: save this one be for the ten-and-up crowd.

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

Sophie Brown– What I’m reading this week — Killjoys #3 and X-Files #3

Killjoys #3 \ Image: Dark Horse
Killjoys #3 \ Image: Dark Horse

Killjoys #3 by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
Out in the desert outside Battery City, people are getting restless. Dr D believes something big is coming and Cherri Cola senses it too as he attempts to teach The Girl how to shoot. Val Velocity is seeing red in more ways than one but are he and his gang really fighting for the right thing?

Back in the city Blue has passed the point of desperation and finds herself acting on impulse. She and Red have nothing left to lose but they’re not the only ones who’ve had enough.By the end of the issue it’s becoming less and less clear where everyone’s loyalties lie. Only the droids seem completely honest about their intentions; their talk on what death and the afterlife means to them is fascinating.

It’s a strange world that Gerard Way has created as vanity, vengeance and fear collide but as Dr D reminds us; an eye for an eye leaves everyone Blind.

X-Files Season 10 #3 by Joe Harris and Chris Carter
Issue three of The X-Files season 10 begins to pull together some of the plot threads that have been dangling since the beginning of this first story arc. The intriguing question of the Van de Kamps finds the first hint of resolution, Scully learns something about her kidnapper and his motives, and we find out a little more about the fate of William Scully – although naturally for The X-Files this simply leads to even more questions. Monica Reyes makes her first non-flashback appearance with new partner Special Agent Ellen DeGeneres, I mean Hendricks, and Mulder meets up with an old enemy who as usual teases us with glimpses of the bigger picture.

All in all it would be a great issue if we could just lose the dialogue issues plaguing the whole series.

The clumsy phrasing and odd naming conventions constantly pull you out of the story and will have die-hard fans cursing the pages yet again, not to mention the supposedly profound and enigmatic sound bites that read like a parody of the show. This one has nothing quite as ludicrous as the hidden Arlington base from last issue but I challenge any X-Phile to get past the second panel on page 18 without shaking their heads in sheer frustration at the out-of-character behavior displayed there.

I’m still hopeful about Joe Harris’ ability to keep my beloved show on the straight-and-narrow so I’m hoping that panel can be explained away by those immediately afterward, but with each little problem my belief falters a little more.

Corrina– The Green Team #1-3 by Art Baltazar and Franco, The Movement #1-2 by Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II

These two titles were launched by DC as mirror books to each other. There was a great deal of confusion due about their concept and whether it was too political not that I’ve read the books, the premises are relatively simple.

The Green Team is about a rich, smart spoiled young adult, Commodore Murphy, who wants to basically create a team of superheroes to do something worthwhile. Think a young Tony Stark but one who’s determined to create a team. The Movement is set is a city much like Detroit, where the infrastructure of society is crumbling. Government doesn’t work, so those who can try to take the law into their own hands and provide some semblance of security and order.

Green Team #1They’re basically flip sides of the haves and the havenots but it’s not really fair to compare the books to each other, as they’re completely different in tone. The Green Team is more full of fun, winking at some of the superhero concepts and reality show stars, and can be a bit tongue-in-cheek, even as the supposed members are being chased before they can be fully formed.

The point-of-view character, Mohammed, is earnest and determined to make his own name, separate from his father. Murphy’s “entourage” fills out the supporting cast, including Lucia Lynn Houston, aka L.L. But Murphy has cut some costs to secure what he wants for his super-team and soon, super-villains are after him and his team. It’s definitely worth reading and the bright and sometimes exaggerated art nicely suits the story, but I didn’t emotionally connect to the concept as much as I expected.

The Movement‘s concept, however, hooked me, probably just because I’m more interested in how people cope when things fall apart. The art, by Williams, is murky and menacing.

The story begins with two cops trying to hit up a runaway for sexual favors, an encounter that is filmed. The video goes viral, bringing further problems to a police force that’s under-staffed and whose remaining officers are far more like those in the video than those dedicated to serving the community.

But the video is a chance for the self-appointed protectors of the city, the Movement, to make their point. A loose collection of super-powered people who’ve all sort of been tossed away for various reasons, including one who seems possessed by the devil, it remains to be seen whether they’ll be a true force for good or will just use their abilities as a means to an end. Their hearts are in the right place, their methods definitely place them in the gray “vigilante/possibly killers” category. It’s the kind of question I love in my darker superhero comics: at what point does a hero become a villain? And if the society can’t protect the underclass, how far should they go to protect themselves?

So I’m hooked on The Movement, not yet on The Green Team, but I’d recommend both.

Melody Mooney – Ella’s Pull Pile : Spotlight on Galactus

Galactus Squinkie \ Image: Marvel.com
Galactus Squinkie \ Image: Marvel.com

What to do with your two year old who is in love with Galactus? I mean, it seems like a natural pairing, one is a universal god-like figure that drains planets of their living energy, and the other is the center of their own universe who drains their parents of energy.

Still, it was quite amusing to my husband when he took his girl to the toy store to pick out some Squinkies ™ , the teeny tiny soft plastic figures that are collected and traded, and out of all the ones displayed in their large case, she chose Galactus. Well, because he is pink.

This got me thinking, who is this Galactus guy? Luckily we have the comic where he and the Silver Surfer make their first appearance, in The Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), written by Stan Lee and art by Jack Kirby.

This Galactus looks nothing like her pink toy she has been taking everywhere with her. It was curious to find that he made the list of ‘Top 100 Comics Book Villains‘ on IGN.com and that Fantastic Four #48 was chosen as #24 in the 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time poll of Marvel’s readers in 2001. Impressive stuff but still did not answer who or what was he, really? Poking around online a bit more, I discovered that much had been written, discussed and debated about this, the oldest mind in the cosmos. All too much for a two- year old and even a bit more than I was willing to digest. I may have to ask Stan Lee just how and what was the idea behind this power cosmic, shape shifting demi-god. Perhaps a follow up post with his insight will be in the works.

Fantastic Four #48 \ Image: Wikipedia
Fantastic Four #48 \ Image: Wikipedia

I decided to show the issue to Ella even with the questions still swimming in my average human mind. Her take on him was “big monster man, big head, scary”. As we carefully flipped through the pages of Daddy’s ‘most expensive comic’ it was clear she didn’t seem all that impressed with him or his powers and asked ‘why he upset mommy’ to which I answered ‘he was just very hungry’. She seemed satisfied and bounced off to play with her tiny Galactus not really caring to make the connection between what we had looked at in print and her new pink friend.

I will not lie that I did indeed breathed a sigh of relief that she didn’t feel called to be the latest Galactus herald and put to rest any notion that my daughter was destined for the villain camp of the Marvel Universe, at least for now.

Wikipedia The Galactus Trilogy is a three-issue story arc in the Marvel Comics comic-book series Fantastic Four, by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist and co-plotter Jack Kirby. The story originally ran in Fantastic Four #48-#50 and introduced the characters Galactus and the Silver Surfer.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out Comixology’s website for a complete list of titles out today!

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 7th, 2013

Fantastic Four #275 \ Image: Copyright Marvel
Fantastic Four #275 © Marvel

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week I look at a special one-shot Fantastic Four featuring She-Hulk, and Melody takes us into her two-year old’s comic book pull pile!

Dakster Sullivan — Fantastic Four #275
This week, I’m taking a suggestion from a friend of mine and reading Fantastic Four #275, where She-Hulk takes the spotlight for a one-issue special. It was suggested to me because they thought it was something laid back I could use to relax when my anxiety levels started to get high. A bonus is the villain, a sleazy reporter and his camera, takes a look at issues that are relevant to our times without being to “in your face” about the matter.

While sunbathing on the top of the Fantastic Four building, She-Hulk’s quiet time is interrupted by a helicopter, complete with a sleazy reporter. Understandably ticked off, She-Hulk goes after him and tries to knock more than his camera out of his hands. Eventually, the helicopter is able to shake her off their tails. After being picked up by her teammate, Wyatt, she heads back to the Fantastic Four headquarters, where She-Hulk changes hats from superhero to private eye in order to learn more about the helicopter’s origins and the man inside with the camera.

After locating the pilot’s home base, She-Hulk and Wyatt pay him a special visit. It doesn’t take much convincing for the pilot to realize it’s in his best interest to hand over the information about the airborne peeping-tom.

Armed with the law on her side, She-Hulk goes from superhero to lawyer in the form of her alter-ego Jennifer Walters. She heads to the offices of The Naked Truth, where her peeping tom turns out to be Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Vance.

When Vance refuses to hand over the pictures, it appears that Jennifer had lost before she had even begun. I’m not buying his excuse to print the pictures, but there was nothing anyone could do to stop them so late in the game. He doesn’t completely get away with it, though. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting, but I have to say it was a creative way to twist things in the end.

There are a couple of things I enjoyed about this issue:

  • Subject matter – The writer, John Byrne, handled the topic of a pervert with a camera going after public figures pretty accurately. It’s very relative to today, especially when it comes to conventions, where boys with their hormones hanging out try to attack women with their camera flashes.
  • Wyatt Wingfoot – According to this issue, Wyatt is a friend of Johnny Storm. According to the Marvel Wiki he is there for his friends, regardless of how small the situation may seem to everyone else. What made me enjoy his character is even though he went with She-Hulk to help, he waited to be invited to help rather than muscle in on her. Also, it was nice to see roles reversed with the writers putting the man as the sidekick and the woman as the strong and in control one.
  • Artwork – I enjoyed how the artist (pencils by John Byrne and inks by Al Gordon) captured what happened on the rooftop without actually showing what happened on the rooftop.
  • No history lesson required – This is a single issue story that requires no back history lesson to understand it. Girl gets wronged by paparazzi. Girl goes after paparazzi. Paparazzi loses.

I haven’t found this issue on Comixology yet, but I did find a copy available through Marvel’s Unlimited service. Check it out if you get the chance!

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

Superman Family Adventures © DC Comics

Melody Mooney — Ella’s Pull Pile This Week
Ella, my two-year old geekling, had a busy little collector week again. We got an email from Earth 2 comic book store saying she won the non-con costume contest I mentioned last week. What a fun surprise! We went in to say hello, grab something more for her pull pile, and pick up her prize – a cute Mr. Toast Plushie from The World of Mr. Toast comic!

After a cuddle with the soft Mr. Toast, we sat down and looked at the Superman Family Adventures #1, “Look! Up in the sky!” (20 pages), written by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani [as Franco], with art by Art Baltazar.

In the introductory issue, Superman takes on Lex Luther’s robots in his beloved Metropolis! Super cute junior versions of Superboy, Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Krypto and Fuzzy (aka Krypto Mouse) join Clark Kent, Perry White, and Lois for a fun kid-friendly adventure. The artwork feels very retro and simple. Ella enjoyed the colors and wasn’t scared of the bad guys. These Superman Family Adventures from DC Comics are totally charming, and we will be adding more to our post-nap-time reading.

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

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

Action Comics #23 CP
Ame-Comi Girls #6
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 1 TP
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 2 HC
Batwing #23
Detective Comics #23
Dial H #15 (Final Issue)
Disturbingly Awful MAD TP
Earth 2 #15
Fairest #18
Green Arrow #23
Green Lantern #23 CP
In The Days Of The Mob HC
Legends Of The Dark Knight #11
Looney Tunes #214
Movement #4
Saucer Country Vol. 2 The Reticulan Candidate TP
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #36
Stormwatch #23
Swamp Thing #23
Trillium #1 (Of 8)
Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger #11
All-New X-Men #15
Avengers #17
Avengers A.I. #2
Cable And X-Force #12
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 5 HC PE
Daredevil Dark Nights #3 (Of 8)
Dark Tower The Gunslinger So Fell Lord Perth #1 OS
Deadpool Kills Deadpool #2 (Of 4)
Emerald City Of Oz #2 (Of 5)
Hunger #2 (Of 4)
Iron Man #14
Iron Man #9 (Dynamic Forces)
Iron Man Vol. 2 The Secret Origin Of Tony Stark Book 1 HC (Premiere Edition)
Kick-Ass 3 #2
Marvel Universe The Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes #17
Savage Wolverine Vol. 1 Kill Island HC PE
Superior Carnage #2
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man #2
Superior Spider-Man #15
Thor By Walter Simonson Vol. 1 TP
Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Collection Vol. 4 TP
Venom Toxin With A Vengeance TP
Winter Soldier Vol. 4 The Electric Ghost TP
X-Factor #260
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Danger Girl Trinity #1 (Of 4)
Dungeons And Dragons Cutter #4 (Of 5)
FELDSTEIN The MAD Life And Fantastic Art Of Al Feldstein HC
G.I. JOE The Cobra Files #5
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #2
Locke And Key Special Edition Vol. 2 Head Games HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Artobiography HC
Torpedo Vol. 4 TP
Transformers Monstrosity #3 (Of 4)
Transformers Robots In Disguise #20
X-Files Season 10 #1
Abe Sapien #5 (The New Race of Man Part 2 Of 2)
Catalyst Comix #2 (Of 9)
Fagin The Jew HC (10th Anniversary Edition)
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Vol. 2 TP
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #4 (Of 5)(Transhuman Part 4)
Orchid Vol. 3 TP
Trekker Omnibus TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / CP = Combo Pack / PE = Premier Edition / FI = Final Issue