GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 25th, 2013

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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!

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