Tuesday, April 26, 2011

JLA: A League Of One

What if an Oracle of Old foretold that your friends, those as close to you as family, would die in a battle?  What if the only choice was to betray them and fight alone?  That is the main theme behind JLA: A LEAGUE OF ONE.  Wonder Woman has been told of the return of an ancient evil.  A dragon of old has been awakened deep within the Earth.  Wonder Woman is told that if the Justice League fights as a team they will all die.  So Diana makes a decision.

In this Graphic Novel we see the character of Wonder Woman in a variety of ways.  She is the devoted spiritual Princess of the Amazons and a powerful member of The Justice League.  We see a fun loving Diana who is friend of nymphs and meremaidens.  It is also a book that shows the Warrior who will do what she must to protect those she loves and honor her duty to the Earth.  It has heart and emotion displayed in the wonderful character of Diana.
The artwork is outstanding.  A true vision of painted images.  Christopher Moeller is artist and writer of this Graphic Novel.  The dragon is beautiful as a horrific evil being that is ruthless and cruel.  The backgrounds are just amazing and the balance between both fairy tale type stuff and real world creations are expertly melded.  Just a great synthesis of word and pictures.

In the tale Diana, to protect her teammates, must take them down.  Her strategic mind is displayed and only Batman catches on to what is happening.  One by one she dismantles each member of the Justice League while hurting from having to betray them.  The pain is written without ever really saying she is right or wrong.  At times we even are lead to question the actions she is taking.  That is a sign of great writing.

The battle with the Dragon is what really takes the action up a notch.  There are moments the reader my even question if Wonder Woman can accomplish this feat.  One might think the League will assemble and we would learn the team is strongest.  The way her lasso and the Dragon's flame represent different things is an interesting way to contrast her main strength as a heroine.

A LEAGUE OF ONE is worth the price.  It may be able to be found a bit cheaper than the original $14.95 price for the Softcover.  A Hardcover was produced as well.  Seek it out, it is a great book for any collection.


P.S.  I took my Hard Copy that I had found at a Used bookstore to HeroesCon last year and asked  Christopher Moeller too sign it for me.  He did more than sign the book.  He did this sketch without even my asking.  It is one of my favorite sketches from last year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Journey To Heroes Convention

I am behind on getting comics discussed I know.  I do have one more book to discuss before I try and get some thoughts up on the comics most of you probably come here to read about.  Besides the regular work and the delays in getting books I am now working to get to Charlotte for HeroesCon.  I decided to show you how I raise money to spend.  Tomato plants fund my vacation expenses for the most part.

I have been working to get the seeds to grow and transplanting the tiny plants since the end of January.  It is not a way to get rich.  I mean you have to sell a bunch of plants at $1 a single or four-pack.  The upside is that the dealers at the Convention love when I pay with ones.  So many people run to the ATM machine and drop twenty's on the people selling stuff that it helps them when I can use ones to pay.  Still, I have to work very hard and for a long time consuming day outside to sell maybe $30 and usually half of that will be Dad's plants.  

I was hoping to get a bit of money from my substitute teaching to use for vacation, but taxes and stuff has me behind on that use.  I was going to get ahead this month and this week I had to buy a battery for my Explorer.  $90 to get that and my bank account is drained.  I have just enough to pay health insurance, which I have been over paying to keep it lower.  Had I not done that I would have not had enough in the bank account.

Some people will roll into HeroesCon and drop a bunch of money.  I will be watching every dollar and just trying to enjoy the day and buy what I can without going broke.  I am lucky my friend is going, it enables us to stay for two nights in the hotel.  That will take care of parking and gas costs.  Plus I can really feel like I am on vacation.

I am working now on my costume.  I hope to start dying at the end of the week.  I then have some sewing to do along with thinking about what kind of pants to adjust.  I want to sustain pockets, but I need to look as close to the character as possible.  I think I have one that the homemade nature will work well.  I may be visiting another friends podcast group.  Little nervous about this as I am just a simple comicbook fan that has stopped reading all the news and gossip sites.  Sometimes these types are a bit haughty.  I hope it is not the case this time.  

Just wanted to share a bit as I sit her with dad as he awaits a doctor appointment.  


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Red Hood's Revenge

            After giving you a write up about Jim C. Hines THE STEPSISTER SCHEME I went to his website and looked around.  I was happy I did as I found I had missed a book and a new one is out here in 2011.  I found a copy of RED HOOD'S REVENGE at the local used bookstore and devoured it in two days time.  I guess one reason was it contained the story of Sleeping Beauty, Talia, who I really like as a character.

            Hines has twisted the Fairy Tale story on its ear a bit by taking it back to the roots of the genre where all never really ended well.  The three princesses who are central to the novel have had horrendous heartbreak and only Cinderella, Danielle, made it to a truly happy ending.  Snow White or Snow is very funny and will be central in the next book.  She has a twist on her seven dwarfs that have only really appeared in the first book.  She is however the resident sorceress. 

            It is Sleeping Beauty who was tragic and now we get to see her tale revisited as another tragic figure steps from the shadows.  Little Red Riding Hood, or Roudette (The Lady of the Red Hood) as she is named here is an assassin and has tangled with Talia before.  Now their paths cross again in a twisted story of political intrigue with fairy magic thrown in.  She has some interesting secrets.  The story really is superb.

            Also included is the European based Wild Hunt.  This group of terrifying warriors that hunt and kill from midnight until dawn is a great scary element to this book.  I love how Hines seamlessly integrates the elements of so many fairy tales and legends.  It is what in my opinion makes these books special.  Making Sleeping Beauty such a strong yet broken figure is what makes me root for her.  She slept for 100 years, when the Prince chopped through the deadly thorn hedge he killed her entire family and household, basically raped her as she still slept and left telling all she was dead while his family assumed control of the country.  She awakens nine moths later as she gives birth to twins.  Later she kills the Prince as he tries to force her to be with him again and flees the country a murderer and has to leave her boys behind.  So to say that she is not a very complex character would be nonsense.

            These are wonderful books that I really enjoy.  I hope if you try them you will enjoy them as well.


Rogue Angel: The Dragon's Mark

            My guilty pleasure right now is the Rogue Angel series by Alex Archer.  I love these stories and the size and length fit into my busy life of Church stuff and everything else.  I love that even though these books are quick reads for me they are not dumb.  This book was 316 pages.  Most are similar in length.  Currently there are 27 of these books.  I have the next one that is out, Phantom Prospect, and will have it read soon.  Any family that is reading this, I will place a list of what I have and the one's I need and they would make great gifts.

            What you need to know; Annja Creed is a young archeologist who grew up an orphan in New Orleans.  She got a job as co-host and the credible host of a cable TV Show called Chasing History's Monsters.  Her money from that goes to fund her travel on archeological digs.  In the first book, Destiny, she is combining a bit of both to look into a legend of a French monster and ends up becoming the bearer of Joan of Arc's sword.  Since then she has been a force of good using the sword to protect the innocent and bring justice when needed.  Joan's two protectors still live, a knight and his squire, who now do not know what happens with the sword back in one piece or if Annja dies.

            This book begins with a celebration given by Garin Braden, the immortal squire that served Joan of Arc to celebrate the Roux's birthday.  Roux was Joan's Knight Protector and the current mentor to Annja Creed.  Of course the trio and Roux's manservant Henshaw are all attacked by a commando group and Annja ends up being bested and taunted by a Ninja after taking out four ninja henchmen.  Just a normal opening to these books.

            The plot is that there is an opposite of Annja's sword in the world.  An evil katana wielded by a ninja assassin known as the Dragon.  The twist and turns are great as we see Annja fully embracing her destiny in this book, plus a great deal of Garin and Roux, whom sometimes are not included in these adventures.  When they are the mix is explosive.  This is no exception to that rule.

            I enjoy the history and the science that is embedded in these novels.  The author, Alex Archer, does a great job of mixing the science, history, and fantasy.  He also is respectful of the religious undertones that come up in his stories.  These are fun and wonderful books that I just devour.  I love the character of Annja Creed as well.  Humor and wit come through the action and intrigue to make for some outstanding reading.


Soul Surfer

I took my Youth to see this movie Wednesday Night.  It was our last meeting until after Easter.  We will be doing a 4-Week study using a DVD clip and Bible Study about Bethany Hamilton.  So I was kinda mixed about this movie.  I figured it would be OK, but I guess I thought I knew the story because I had seen the News reports and read the story in the paper.

You need to GO SEE THIS MOVIE!  It was so heart-warming and touching.  The actors conveyed the sense of family and faith so well.  The events that helped to shape this young woman and her circle of friends is just amazing.  I was near tears so many times, but they were tears because you were proud of this young girl.  I just hope people go see it.  They will come away rewarded with a true sense of courage and faith.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #8

Mantra #8

            Warstrike is the man that killed Lukasz in his last male body and caused him to now be trapped in the female body of Eden Blake because of that action.  Still, since that mistake on Warstrike's part he has become one of Mantra's allies in the war against Boneyard, even coming to her rescue as she was trapped in that realm.  The man that sent Warstrike after Lukasz is named Notch.  He is sort of the opposite of Lukasz in Boneyard's army.  Now Notch has a plan to find out the female guise of Mantra.  They know that stealing power that Archimage gave Lukasz by saying his name doesn't work.  So now they need to find out about Eden so they can directly attack our heroine with a man's spirit.

            This all precipitates the release of the prisoner in Cell 14.  Apparently this being can do what Boneyard and company can't.  So Notch is given the chance to try and warned about failing.  That sends us to our friend Warstrike.  He has the biggest crush on Eden.  He seems to care not that a man is in the driver's seat.  That makes Lukasz so uncomfortable.  Still, it provides for some humorous dialogue.

            One might wonder early on if Lukasz has become settled about being a woman.  Warstrike comes home to find Mantra waiting.  She immediately tries to seduce him.  Even though he likes the idea, Warstrike realizes something is wrong.  That is when Guise, the occupant of Cell 14, shows their true form.  Not as pretty as Mantra.  Soon our boy Warstrike is knocked out and the helpless prisoner trapped and tortured for the true name of Mantra.

            Mantra's magic is weird by any standards.  Somehow she begins seeing Warstrike as every person around her.  This leads her to seek the man out and find the trail of his abductors.  All that leads to a Renaissance Fair.  She is immediately the coolest babe there as the Mantra costume works in Lukasz's favor.  Guise plays a dirty trick though.  It becomes Marinna, Lukasz's long dead wife.  So it is safe to say that Mantra is unsettled before the fight of her life occurs.

            Soon Notch and his warriors are also attacking Mantra.  She is doing well, but still out numbered and just holding her on.  Warstrike has been slowly freeing himself, so soon he joins the fight.  That leads to a Guise and Warstrike twin thing and Mantra having to figure out who is whom.  She does of course and Warstrike even steals a kiss afterwards.  All the time the Fair patrons think it is a staged show and are critiquing it.

            The best is that Mantra wins best costume.  Maybe the best is Notch being locked in Cell 14.  Could be that Guise escapes.  Maybe it is just that Lukasz had less time to whine this issue.


Friday, April 8, 2011

War of the Green Lanterns


One awesome thing that happened because I am a poor church worker is the fact that I had to wait so long before buying my comics.  Just the hold box was all I purchased and it was big.  The plus side is the way I got to read the beginnings of the WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS.  It reads very well back to back to back.  I love this stuff.  I am amazed how Geoff Johns seems to be able to up the ante each and every time he creates an event for the Corps.  Here we once again have a threat to the universe in the form of the rogue Guardian Krona.  Remember that I predicted correctly that Krona was the strange adversary that was capturing the entities.  In this grouping of comicbooks we see the Butcher (Red Entity) and the Predator (Violet Entity) captured and the collection complete.  What really was disturbing was seeing the "New Guardians" sucked into the Book of the Black.

All heck has broken loose.  The final Guardians are possessed by the Entities and now Parallax is inside the Central Battery and turning the Green Lantern Corps into a group of Zombies.  Apparently Krona has no new ideas.  He reprogrammed the Manhunters to kill a planet and now it appears his plan is to use the Corps and Guardians to kill the Universe.  Creepy and dangerous is the order as again the four Earth Lanterns must face this threat with only Kilowoog and Ganthet along for the ride.  When you see what happens to Ganthet you will feel pain.  I like that little guy and seeing him take the lead and put himself out there makes me hope that at least before all is over he is able to see Syad again.  I probably misspelled her name.  

This story is like no other in recent days.  Sure we get the same cosmic danger, but the fact that our threat is the very ones that normally stop the danger is very different.  I am wondering what all those other Corps are doing as this is unfolding.  As I write this a thought occurred to me about the fact that Hal has the rings of the other "New Guardians" and I think I know how they come into play.  See Kyle and John are trapped without the aid of their rings on Oa as Ganthet runs a diversion.  So where is Hal and Guy?  They end up in EMERALD WARRIORS beating the crap out of each other somewhere far away.  By the time the snow clears I bet Hal wishes he had let his buddies Flash, Superman, and Batman tag along.

Oh I am loving this storyline.  It helps that this is happening in the Green Lantern section of books only.  It also helps that DC dropped the price of EMERALD WARRIORS to $2.99.  Some of you are trade waiters, my advice is to plan on getting this in trades if you aren't buying the titles monthly.  This is The Green Lantern Corps at its worst and maybe its finest.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #7

Mantra #7

            Apparently Mantra was guest appearing over in her fellow Ultra's book.  So for the beginning of the tale one must look to Prime #8.  From what I gather Prime is this kid who somehow oozes this goop and hulks up to a grown muscle man.  It has a time limit and energy limit.  Still, I think he is suppose to be one of the most powerful of the Ultras.  So Mantra is in the clutches of Prime's arch-nemesis, Doc somebody.  So Mantra is being drugged and abducted and Prime is in hot pursuit.  Yes, Lukasz still finds time to whine about being trapped in the body of a woman.  That almost will never change until Marvel buys Malibu.

            Prime like all male types in this book seems to have developed a crush on Mantra.  This is good for Mantra because she is trapped and soon will be incapacitated.  Thanks to her slipping the circlet that changes to the Sword of Fangs, Prime will be able to find her.  This is yet another ability this mighty sword has.  I am noticing that whenever the writer gets into a bind the sword of Fangs can magically change the fate of the story direction.  Still, it is a cool sword.

            We get a bit of weird mad scientist story next.  The building of the Prime body to make a super race.  The need for Mantra's genetic make up to make a female Prime so there can be mating and baby Primes.  Just typical 1950's black and white movie plot.  Of course Prime busts up the party and his alter-ego Kevin ends up needing Mantra to save him.  The end has Lukasz at least accepting some of his “feminine” side and helping boost a young boy's self esteem.  It is sweet and something I feel that the series could have used more of in the development of the story-lines.


Friday, April 1, 2011

IDW buys the rights to Malibu Comics characters from Marvel

This is so cool.  I read this morning that IDW has finalized a deal that will transfer the rights to the entire library of Malibu Comics from Marvel to IDW.  it seems that the deal will bring Marvel $7,000,000 in cash that they will use to help bolster the publishing of the Marvel brand.  What is really cool will be having the return of Malibu Comics characters.

Word is sketchy as to which characters will get a title first, but I am betting PRIME will be one of the first out of the gate.  I will be glad if there is a new Mantra title, it will add issues to my Mantra Mondays.  Kelley Yates has been mentioned as a possible creator that will be attached to the return of Malibu's rich universe to comicdom.  Whether IDW will be able to revive this interesting group of characters is yet to be seen.  So look for the first of the IDW Malibu comics early next year.