Archive for the ‘ Comics ’ Category

Woozy With Hunger and Comic Book Love


Hello, loyal readers! It’s Yom Kippur, and I am fasting. Thus, I ask that you excuse any typos or general loopiness. I haven’t eaten in 22 hours. However, the show must go on, and there are comic books to discuss!

I am extremely behind on my reading (and also my blogging), so you’ll all have to forgive me, I’m still reviewing the first issues of some of the DC new 52. But don’t worry, I’ll catch up soon enough! And no, I won’t review every issue of every comic I read.

Anyway, let’s start with Justice League International #1!  It definitely accomplished more as a first issue than Justice League #1 did, but there’s a balance between action and exposition that I’m not sure either Dan Jurgens or Geoff Johns struck particularly well.

I was much more impressed Nightwing #1, which I felt did a great deal in terms of kicking off Dick’s story without inundating us with information. Of course, Nightwing is written from Dick’s perspective, and his narration really helps set the scene. I can certainly understand how this isn’t an option for ensemble pieces like JL and JLI.

My only complaint was that some of Dick’s interior monologue was written a bit stiffly, but then, Dick’s always been a bit uptight.

He is, however, quite the looker.

Last but not least, a short discussion of Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. I’m going to be honest, I’m completely on the fence about this one. I may be alone in this, but I’m a huge fan of Jason Todd, especially as Red Hood, so I have high hopes for this series. It’s witty, appealing, engaging, and it struck that balance I mentioned earlier between action and exposition really well–partially because of the humor.

However, I am a woman (see comment on Dick Grayson above), and I found the portrayal of Starfire to be a little bit offensive. I mean, seriously. She shows up in the skimpiest of outfits looking completely emaciated, and her first line of dialogue reads, ‘Is there anything else I can do, Jason?’ Excuse me while I vomit.  It seems to me she’s liberated sexually, but that’s about it. I find it a bit questionable, especially in a woman who was sold into slavery back on her home world.

But hey, fan service is fan service.

Enjoy your weekends, and happy reading!

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Am I Slow Or…? (A Justice League #1 Review)


Alright, here’s the deal: I was busy moving into college and coping with major family drama when Justice League #1 came out, so I didn’t buy it right away. I figured, “No big. I’ll get it from TFAW (my absolute favourite website) once things have calmed down and I’ve gotten my first paycheck.” And then it sold out.

“Why is this happening to me?” I asked, in real distress. Alright, I realize that selling 200,000 copies in a first printing isn’t exactly groundbreaking in the comic book ‘verse, but I wanted to read this fraking title! I called my comic book shop back home, and yes, they’d sold every copy of the first printing already (why didn’t I pre-order?!). I was in trouble.

Luckily, I found myself in downtown Ithaca waiting for a friend, with a little time on my hands and a five dollar bill in my pocket. So I poked my head into the local comic book shop, which has, in the past, been a bit of a disappointment–in knowledge if not in stock. And lo and behold: they had four copies of the first printing left! I was thrilled.

Justiceleague v2 01.jpg

Bored of my thrilling tale? I’ll get right down to the review. First off aesthetics. I was seduced by the smell of the pages alone. And, not surprisingly, the art was brilliant. I’m a sucker for Lee’s style, and was thoroughly impressed with Williams. Lee goes for a very angular look, I think–a little bit edgier (literally) than some of the other artists I tend to favour–and that works really well for the straightforward, nitty-gritty story Johns sets up.

Which brings me to the writing. I loved Green Lantern. He was funny, cocky, and talked about himself in the third person. Perfect! The story line itself was a bit dry, which is surprising given how action-heavy it is. I would have liked something with a little more depth to begin with, but the characterization was spot on, and isn’t that really what this “renumbering” is all about? (Okay, maybe that’s just me.)

I’ll end with a non-rhetorical question for anyone who’s read issue #1. Am I slow, or is there a bit of dialogue about halfway through that just doesn’t make sense? Lantern’s being a douche and Batman says, “Quiet” and points. Lantern replies, “What?! What are you–?!” then sees Batman pointing at Darkseid’s suicide bomber and continues, “I, uh, sorry. I thought you were looking for a–”

Um…what? Is this a joke that I’m just not getting? I’ve read the whole comic through twice and I’m still confused. Someone help!

 

A Study in Caped Crusaders


Hey. Been a while. How are the kids? Me? Oh, I’m fine. Writing. Reading some comics. What’s that? I haven’t blogged in a while? I guess that’s true. Why don’t I tide you over with a little something to make you smile?

How’d I do? You loved it? Great! Glad to hear it!

Put on your spandex boys and girls, it’s swimsuit season–superhero style!


Looking for a way to spice up your beach wardrobe? You could always go comic book with these suits from Splish Competition Swimwear. The site caters mainly to athletic swimmers, but who says you can’t wear a speedo or a racer’s one-piece to a pool party? Especially when the designs are so much fun! (Do I sound like an info-mercial? I wanna sound like an info-mercial!)

Go patriotic at your 4th of July beach BBQ with the ultimate American hero:

Or make friends with the fish in this suit (there’s even a speedo version for the dudes):

And this is what would happen if Wonder Woman and the Flash had a kid (please no):

In their article about the suits, Comics Alliance recommends picking up this swim-tux to channel Zatanna (should I pull a seagull out of my hat?):

but I prefer user KrakaDOOM’s idea: “The tuxedo bathing suit could easily work for Alfred. Just because you’re at the beach doesn’t mean you don’t need someone to bring your drinks or field dress a wound.”

Damn straight, KrakaDOOM, damn straight.

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FEEL!!


There are big things going on in the comic book industry right now. The internet is abuzz with news about the DC renumbering to take effect in September. Now, on a very basic level what this means is that 52 of our favourite titles will get shiny re-imaginings, starting off again at issue #1. On August 31st, we’ll see Justice League No.1 by Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee.

Naturally, this has sparked a lot of debate, and comic lovers are in a tizzy.

One of the prominent issues:  is this a reboot?

DC says no. Various official information from the publishers refers to this massive undertaking as either a “relaunch” or a “renumbering.” Fans hold that there is a vast difference between a relaunch and a reBOOT, and I agree. The spelling of the second syllables are hardly comparable. Yes, that was snark, because really, I think the two terms suggest the same thing: old heroes, new stories.

But that raises questions, too. What do I mean by new? Are we going to be reading about new villains? Different back stories? Again, DC has a response, but it’s pretty vague if you ask me. In an interview with USA Today, Justice League No. 1 artist Jim Lee (you know him from titles like All Star Batman and Robin) says, “This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today’s audience.” It looks like characters and costumes alike will be getting revamped (there’s another “RE” for you guys), but the basic origin stories will remain the same.

I think Booster conveys my sentiments about this pretty well.

The horror!

As my title suggests, I don’t know how to feel! This is big stuff, my friends. This is huge. And honestly, I can’t tell what the real motivation is behind it. Are DC really trying to help the fans? Are they just in it for more money (probably)? Are they sick of trying to keep track of multitudinous, convoluted story lines? It’s probably a bit of all three, but who knows? It could be that aliens controlling their brains in a twisted experiment to see how the comic book community responds to change. There’s got to be an easier way, aliens. There just must be!

Certainly, there are pros and cons, as Blastr attempts to outline in this article, but here’s the rub: I’m not really sure we can know what the pros and cons are. I’m impressed we’ve even reached a point where we can acknowledge their existence. Now, I don’t mean that as an insult. Comic book lovers tend to be intelligent people, and if they’ve stuck with the characters all these years (see MULTITUDINOUS and CONVOLUTED above) they must be pretty good at wrapping their heads around things, however, this is a biggun.

Never fear, gentle readers! I may not be a super hero, but I do have one on my shoes.

Thus, I feel qualified to give my opinion on the matter. And here it is: I’m excited.

Mercy!!

WAIT! STOP! Don’t stone me to death! (That picture’s really handy.)

Let me explain.

I love comic books, but I would call myself an amateur comic book reader. Is there really such a thing? I don’t know. What I mean by it, though, is that I haven’t read very many of the big DC or Marvel titles, and I certainly haven’t been able to follow the stories of my favourite superheroes. The comics I actively read are more along the lines of Sandman, The Ultimates, Buffy Season 7, and graphic novels like Watchmen and V for Vendetta. In other words, graphic literature with an expiration date. When I first read Sandman, I knew it would end, which was sad, but it also meant I didn’t have to scramble to read five hundred issues of a story that wasn’t even finished. And I’ve always been a little bit cranky about the fact that I can’t just pick up a Green Lantern comic and start in. I wouldn’t know where to begin with any of those big names. There are series and spin-off series and companion stories and alternate universes and it’s all a little brain-explody.

So, yes, it’s kind of nice that DC is letting me start at the beginning, perhaps in a manner similar to that in which the Ultimates gave me a comprehensive story about the Avengers. (Or perhaps not like that at all. We’ll have to wait and see.) I’m excited for Justice League No.1 and I’m going to keep an open mind about other titles as well. Maybe this will be my chance to up my nerd-knowledge when it comes to comics, maybe it’ll just put a strain on my bank account, but either way, trying new things is good for the soul. It keeps me interesting. And you guys would probably be the first to tell me, I could use all the interesting I can get.

Questions?

I know. I think I’m so funny. But if you do still have questions, here’s a handy dandy source list:

DC Universe: The Source: DC’s press release

The USA Today article referenced above

The Comics Reporter’s blog

Geeks of Doom’s post

First Class Entertainment with Professor Charles Xavier


Please hold while I squeal girlishly.

Alright. I think I’m good.

Now that I’ve seen the film twice (the midnight premier was glorious, by the way), I think I’m ready to chat. Don’t expect too much objectivity, though–I’m a teensy bit obsessed. Also, there be ***SPOILERS*** ahead. Big, juicy, shark-ridden waters of SPOILERS! I think you’ve been sufficiently warned.

Hello? Is anyone there? Great. Now no one’s reading this.

So, to start off, a slight complaint. Mainly with this poster:

Where is Banshee?! Maybe I’m prejudiced because I have a little thing for gingers, but the rest of First Class is there (sans Darwin. More on that later), so why is Banshee AWOL? And why is Havok so teeny-tiny in the background there? Did they do something wrong? Are they not worthy?!

But seriously. Banshee is awesome. He kicks serious ass, and he’s funny to boot. And Havok! HAVOK!! Scott Summer’s younger brother who is mysteriously already a young adult in 1962! Yeah, I’m not even going to touch the continuity errors–I’m sorry, choices–made in this film. Let’s get back on track. Havok and Banshee are awesome, and they deserve a little more face time.

That’s more like it.

Let’s take it from the top. From the first scene of X-Men: First Class onward, we know the film is going to be a rollercoaster of  intense emotions and fantastic film flashbacks. First Class begins with the same opening scene as the 2000 film X-Men–young Erik Lensherr being separated from his parents during a Nazi operation in Poland. The scene was re-shot with Bill Milner as young Erik and  Eva Magyar as his mother, and the detail is exquisite. The scene plays differently enough (it’s shorter, filmed at different angles, etc) from its counterpart in X-Men to engage the viewer, but it’s similar enough to make those of us who are X-film fans say, “I’ve seen that before! I know what’s coming!” And, let’s face it. We like to feel like we’re in the know.

And it’s all uphill from there. We see a Charles Xavier who is young, full of life, vastly intelligent, and just plain thrilled by the possibilities presented by the mutant evolution. It’s a portrait of a brilliant young man who is just beginning to find his footing in a world that has no notion of his true potential, and the older, wiser Professor X we know and love is just beneath the surface, waiting for his younger counterpart to finish growing up. And over the course of First Class, Charles certainly does.

We also see a lot of familiar faces and hear some names that are important later in the X-Men saga. William Stryker is mentioned, Charles flashes on a very young Ororo Munroe (Storm) during his first go at Cerebro, we meet the ever loquacious Logan (Wolverine), and we get the back stories of some of the characters we’ve always wondered about–namely, Mystique and Beast. I’m sensing a blue theme.  And First Class introduces the team sensibility for which X-Men is famous. The characters’ abilities create a bond between them that allows them to work well as a unit, even before Charles’s intensive training week.

What did you do this week?

Oh, I went shopping, worked, the usual. You?

I mastered my mutant abilities and averted World War III.

Right. Must be Tuesday.

When Shaw and his minions come for the mutants, Darwin and Alex need only to make eye contact and engage in some manly shoving to come up with a plan to save Angel. You’re looking skeptical. Is that because things went sideways and Darwin sort of–yeah? Yeah. That was sad. But my point still stands. Teamwork.

Now, I gave a spoiler warning (did you see it? It was ***surrounded by symbols*** and BOLD) so I think it’s only fair to give an I’m-going-to-talk-about-religion-and-emotional-experiences warning as well. Prepare yourselves.

Every time I watch the opening sequence of the original X-Men film, something inside me clenches up with an odd kind of empathy. That boy, that young Erik Lensherr, could have been me, had I lived half a century or so earlier. Okay, no, I wouldn’t have been able to bend metal with my mind, but I might have been a frightened young woman forced to wear a yellow star on her chest, separated from her family. I grew up in a Jewish household and spent my formative years at religious school learning about the Holocaust and the atrocities done to the Jews, the gypsies, the homosexuals, and anyone else of whom Hitler wasn’t particularly fond. And I’ll admit, I’d grown a little jaded. There are only so many documentaries, photographs, and statistics a young person can be exposed to before those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis become first the stuff of nightmares and later something I attempted to forget I’d ever seen. And that’s just plain wrong.

If there’s one thing I believe to be true, it’s that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Hell, we repeat it even when we do remember it. And maybe it sounds a bit far fetched, but the X-Men films have reminded me how important it is to remember the Holocaust. Erik is tortured at the hands of the Nazis. He sees his mother murdered before his eyes and watches his people enslaved and slaughtered. And he craves revenge. I don’t know how his story would affect me were I not a Jew, but I am, and as such, I watch Erik’s spiral into darkness with sorrow in my soul, because it shows me that hatred breeds hatred, heartlessness begets heartlessness.

The reason I learned about the Holocaust in religious school was because the Jewish community cannot let the memory of what happened to our people be forgotten, and Erik’s story reflects that sentiment. We see a man in pain, a man who only knows rage and revenge, and it shows us just how far reaching the damages of persecution can be. Erik harbors a cold, desolate kind of loathing for his tormentors. He is not self-righteous, he is purposeful. He says, “I’ve been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.”

And thus, one of the most dynamic comic book villains of all time is born. No more black and white, no more evil masterminds for us. No, we’ve got something much more powerful. We’ve got Magneto. He might not fit the classical definition of a tragic figure, but his transformation is most certainly a tragedy. Magneto is a cautionary tale. His rage turns him from victim to oppressor, and he begins to view non-mutant human beings in the same way the Nazis viewed their victims during the Holocaust. To anyone who has ever been persecuted it says, “Don’t let your anger turn you into that which you hate.” And to the few left over who have never faced prejudice, and to those that have been prejudiced against others, it says, “This is what hatred does.”

It seems like an easy lesson, but one needs only to pick up a newspaper (okay, fine, to read an article online) to realize it is a lesson the human race is only beginning to learn. X-Men: First Class is more than just a comic book movie, it’s a film with some rich social commentary, and a lot of grey.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to voice them. This is a film that deserves our attention, full of issues that bear discussion. (No, I don’t work for 20th Century Fox. Promise.)

A Comic Brawl


We all know the story: two super heroes, both alike in dignity, in fair Metropolis where we lay our scene…. Wait. Am I confused?

It’s an age-old question: who’s faster? Superman or The Flash.

Many have debated it. Many have, well, been so passionate about the issue that comments had to be shut down on popular blogs. That’s right, folks, about two weeks ago, The Source, DC Comics’ blog, had to suspend commenting due to a wild fanboy debate about the relative speeds of two of our favourite super heroes. The Comics Alliance had a few things to say about the incident, and so did Doubts About Dorming.

I thought you might want to see the resulting clash of the nerd girls. (Don’t get too excited, boys. We edited out the juicy stuff.)