Mouse Guard Black Ax  Image: Archaia Entertainment LLC

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—September 11th, 2013

Comic Book Corner Comic Books Featured GeekMom

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.

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