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 are exploring Superman Unchained #1, stepping into a magical world with Family Pets #2, and hanging with the Smurfs in The Smurfs Anthology.
Kelly Knox – Superman Unchained #1 (DC Comics)
I’ve heard only good things about Scott Snyder since he started his run on the New 52 Batman, and after catching this first issue of Superman Unchained, I can see why. The series is off to a strong start with action that rivals Man of Steel and casting that includes all your favorite Metropolis faces as well as an intriguing mystery man.
What I love most about Superman Unchained #1 is that before the epic action scenes in space, Clark first takes a brief moment to think back to Smallville. This one touch immediately endeared this Superman to me, made him Clark Kent – even with the New 52 costume, job as a blogger untied to The Daily Planet, and (unaddressed in this issue) relationship with Wonder Woman.
As always, Lois Lane was a welcome sight in this issue. Whether admonishing Clark briefly for burying the lede in his latest blog post or providing a helping hand at a critical juncture, here’s hoping she’ll be a part of future issues in this ongoing series.
Throw in Jim Lee’s amazing art, and you have a comic book that turns the Big Blue Boy Scout into a force to be reckoned with. I’ve never added a Superman title to my monthly “must-have” list before, but it’s looking like Superman Unchained is going to be the first.
Dakster Sullivan — Family Pets #2
Fans of the Harry Potter books will particularly enjoy one of my favorite all-ages comics: Family Pets, by acclaimed Robyn Hood writer Patrick Shand. Family Pets follows the life of Thomasina, a teenaged girl whose entire family–with the exception of her grandmother, Abuela–has inexplicably morphed from human to animal.
After Sebastian, Thomasina’s snake-turned-human pet, accuses her best friend (and crush), Smitty, of witchcraft, Thomasina initially comes to his defense because, “He’s just Smitty.” However, we soon learn that Smitty is anything but ordinary…
To Thomasina’s surprise, Smitty comes from a long, proud line of wizards, though his own wizardry skills could clearly benefit from some fine-tuning. Unfortunately, while attempting a spell for acceptance into a wizard’s college, Smitty lost control and accidentally caused Thomasina’s family to grow fur and sprout wings. This revelation takes Thomasina into a world of magic and mystery as she follows Smitty in the hopes of finding a way to reverse the magic and revert her family back to their original forms.
Ironically, even in the midst of this shape-shifting chaos, exploring Smitty’s wizarding world is a bit of a dream come true for Thomasina–basically, she’s dreamed of escaping her own world ever since her parents were killed many years earlier.
My favorite moment in the story so far has been watching Thomasina’s Abuela record granddaughter Lizzy as she walked like an Egyptian and danced Gangnam style–all in kitty form. I’m guessing Abuela is hoping for the $10,000 reward on America’s Funniest Home Videos (she has my vote).
The art and the story in Family Pets possess a soothing, comfort-food simplicity. The only downside to the series so far is that it’s only released digitally on Comixology. On a positive note: the price is reasonable at $.99 per issue.
Family Pets is written by Pat Shand with art by Sarah Dill and is published by Zenescope.
Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.
Amy Kraft – The Smurfs Anthology (Papercutz)
Imagine my surprise when a smurfy box of Smurfs arrived at my door, courtesy of Papercutz. Among the comics, photos of and sketches by Peyo, and a little Smurf toy, the real treasure was The Smurfs Anthology. This hardcover collection features Peyo’s original Smurfs graphic novels in the order they were published and “The Smurfs and the Magic Flute,” the Johan and Peewit graphic novel in which the Smurfs (les Schtroumphs) first appeared.
I grew up knowing the Smurfs only from Saturday Morning Cartoons, so it’s a treat as an adult to reintroduce myself to my little blue friends through the comics. If you’ve never read the Smurfs, I recommend it. The comics are darker than their Hanna-Barbera TV counterparts. Most notably, Papa Smurf is much more crotchety than the benevolent Papa Smurf from my childhood and there are way more explosions, fires, and other comic mischief than I remember.
One of the reasons to get The Smurfs Anthology over the original graphic novels is the introduction to each by “Smurfologist” Matt Murray. From the color of the Smurfs to any political agenda Peyo may or may not have had when writing, these introductions add historical context to the comics. Most interesting to me was some of the backstory behind the first Smurfs graphic novel, Les Schtroumpfs Noirs, or “The Black Smurfs.” In it, any Smurf bitten by the Bzzz Fly turned black and monstrous, in reference to “black death” aka the Bubonic Plague. When the story made its way across the ocean to the United States in the post-Civil Rights 1970s, there was a wholly different take on these angry black Smurfs. And so, the bitten Smurfs became “The Purple Smurfs,” leaving us with an awesome, zombie-like Smurf tale.
Sophie Brown – X-Files: Internal Affairs and other stories
To celebrate the new season of The X-Files in comic form, I’m spending the next few weeks looking at some of the trade paperbacks that were published in the mid to late 90s.
Internal Affairs, released by Titan Books in 1997, collects annual two and issues 22 and 23 of the Topps comics into four complete stories titled Donor, The Kanashibari, Silver Lining and E.L.F.s. They cover a range of subjects that all fit well within the old Monster of The Week style episodes of the show.
Donor kicks off the book on a gruesome note as a man whose organs were donated by his wife after his death apparently returns from the grave to claim them back. The Kanashibari elaborates on many a campus legend as students are attacked by a “choking ghost”, what many of us have heard of as an incubus, succubus or more logically as simple sleep paralysis.
Silver Lining is possibly the weakest of the four as a disfigured man discovers a coat that, no, there’s no way to talk about a killer coat lining that doesn’t make it sound as silly as this was. However, once you’ve passed this little blip, the book’s stand out story, E.L.F.s, leaves you on a high.
It’s a brilliant piece of writing that accomplishes something not often seen in The X-Files that is all the more powerful for its rarity. It’s a story about the power of paranoia and the ending summary from Agent Scully will strike a strong chord with anyone familiar with her story.
Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:
|Adventures Of Superman #2
All-Star Western #21
Batman Superman #1 CP
Batman The Dark Knight #21
Before Watchmen Minutemen Silk Spectre HC DE
Before Watchmen Ozymandias Crimson Corsair HC DE
Green Team Teen Trillionaires #2
Hellblazer Death And Cigarettes TP
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #3
Injustice Gods Among Us #6
Justice League #21
Justice League Dark #21
Justice League Of America #5 CP
Red Hood And The Outlaws Vol. 2 The Starfire TP
Red Lanterns #21
Superman Family Adventures Vol. 1 TP
Superman Vol. 1 What Price Tomorrow TP
Superman Vol. 2 Secrets And Lies HC
Teen Titans #21
Wake #2 >
|Age Of Ultron #10A.I.
All-New X-Men #13
Avengers #1 (Dynamic Forces)
Avengers Arena #11
Captain America #8
Castle A Calm Before Storm HC PE
Disney Princess Magazine #14 (Disney Publishing Worldwide)
Fantastic Four By Jonathan Hickman Vol. 6 TP
Fury MAX #13 FI
Guardians Of The Galaxy #4
Hulk From The Marvel UK Vaults TP
Journey Into Mystery #653
Marvel Masterworks The Avengers Vol. 5 TP
Marvel Masterworks The Avengers Vol. 5 TP (Direct Market Variant Edition Vol. 54)
Marvel Previews #119 (July 2013 For Products On-Sale September 2013)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #15
Powers Bureau #5
Savage Wolverine #1
Scarlet Spider #18
Secret Avengers #5
Star-Lord The Hollow Crown TP
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates By Sam Humphries Vol. 1 TP
Ultimate Comics Wolverine Legacies TP
Ultimate Comics X-Men #28
Uncanny X-Force #7
Uncanny X-Men #7
Wolverine And The X-Men #32
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol. 5 TP
Wolverine By Larry Hama And Marc Silvestri Vol. 1 TP
Young Avengers #6
|Adventures Of Augusta Wind HC
Archie The Complete Daily Newspaper Comics Vol. 2 1960-1963 HC
Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Vol. 15 1953-1954 HC
Doctor Who Prisoners Of Time #6 (Of 12)
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #1
John Byrne’s Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition HC
Judge Dredd #8
KISS Solo #4 (Of 4)(The Catman)
Mars Attacks Classics Obliterated OS
Real Ghostbusters Omnibus Vol. 2 TP
Star Trek #22
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #23
Transformers Classics UK Vol. 4 TP
True Blood #14
True Blood Vol. 1 All Together Now TP
Vitriol The Hunter #5 (Of 6)
|Akaneiro #2 (Of 3)
Amala’s Blade #3 (Of 4)
Angel And Faith #23
B.P.R.D. Vampire #4 (Of 5)
Gary Baseman Coffee Cup
King Conan The Hour Of The Dragon #2 (Of 6)
Last Of Us American Dreams #3 (Of 4)
Mind MGMT #12
Oreimo Vol. 3 TP
Original Daredevil Archives Vol. 1 HC
Star Wars Legacy Vol. 2 #4
Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 27 A Town Called Hell TP
Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / CP = Combo Pack / PE = Premier Edition / DE = Deluxe Edition / OS = One Shot (single issue comic)