Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Fives: A look at my DCnU reading.

I decided to take a look at the DCnU titles that I am reading in a bulk commenting fashion.  So what follows is my take on the books up to the 5th issue of the series.  Some of these will not be around much longer as the cuts have already come and a "Second Wave" announced.  Strap in and read my take on where my reads are right now.

Aquaman -  I absolutely LOVE what Geoff Johns is doing with the Character of Aquaman.  He has a tongue and cheek approach to all the jokes about the man and still has made him cool.  The thing is that he has kept his solo book free of anything that would be non-water based.  The first story arc dealt with a group of unknown biological creatures that came from a deep ocean trench in search of food.  It really was creepy and action oriented.

Mera has been really neat.  I am looking forward to issue #6 as it will be about Mera basically shopping for dog food.  Her innocent mindset and warrior attitude should make for a fun read.  That is what is great about the character.  She is so naive about the world above the water and it comes across as sweet.  That ends when carnivorous creatures are eating innocent people.  She is one serious kick-butt heroine.  The way she is portrayed is really a good counter to Aquaman.

This has been one of the better books.  I have read people slamming it and it makes me wonder what book they read.  I think Johns is rebuilding Aquaman to stand tall with the rest of the JLA.

Batwoman -  One of the most beautifully render books of the DCnU.  J. H. Williams III has made the different look of the art into a signature for Batwoman that will be hard to duplicate in the years to come for those artist that might fill-in or follow.  The direction that they have taken is interesting.  She is tied to Batman, but they are moving her into the more connected story that appears to be in the background of the DCnU.  The DEO strand of her story will be cool to see develop.  

This has been achieved while still carrying on a creepy kidnapping mystery.  It is not easy to meld the large picture story of a comic universe with your cool horror based urban fantasy story.  In Batwoman it is accomplished.  This is one to read. 

 Birds of Prey -  I am sad now when I read BoP.  I love the character of Black Canary.  I loved the old incarnation of the BoP.  The new group was a neat collection and really like the fact that Ivy was on the team.  The thing is that this story is a confusing mess.

I have read it a few times and my head hurts after I finish each time.  It just has meandered and the entire mind control and messing with the readers perceptions to a point that it is like a headache you cannot shake.  I wish that the writer of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl would take over this title.

From Blackhawks #5
Blackhawks -  This book has not been on my pull list, but I have bought it off shelf every month.  Something about it has grown on me.  That is sad as I heard it was one of the cancelled books.  I might read on until the end now.  This is a book that would be good in Trade form.  It is not for all readers, but those that like tech heavy covert ops teams should check it out.

Blue Beetle -  The good thing is that Jamie Reyes was given a title back as part of the DCnU.  Many might question why the need for a new origin, especially since it is so close to the excellent run that came before.  Truth to tell, this is one of the better reads of the DCnU.  It is like watching a darker version of the original series.  Most of the characters are there and in a form that is recognizable.

The original was filled with a since of fun, even when things got serious.  It was a book that focused on the strength of family as much as it did on big cosmic explosions.  Here we get a slower more drawn out character development that is close to the TV Show Smallville Blue Beetle.  I put the shocking opening to issue #5 as an image for this post to show just how dark this book is compared to the original.  Jamie having impaled his best pal Paco will have dire consequences for this book.  It is a must read.

Catwoman -  Judd Winick you have finally done it!  You have gotten me to fully like a series written by you.  I have always said that I have no problem with Winnick or his writing.  I never thought he was a bad writer.  He just never hooked me as a reader.  Until now.

There is a shock a moment in the book, but they carry the story.  That is important to me.  I like seeing Catwoman figuring out how to save herself when falling from about a thousand miles above Gotham City.  She is what I want her to be, a flawed character with a heart of Gold.  She will help those that she has compassion for in her own twisted ways.  Winnick has made a balanced book that I really enjoy.

Demon Knights -  This is the oddity of the entire line.  It has a mixture of characters that are from DCU's fringes.  It has some connection to the events of the present day DCnU.  It is a fantasy world that is strange and familiar, yet somehow off a bit.  It has what is needed of a book of its ilk, mystery.  Keep us asking questions, answer a few and have us ask new ones, and you have a reader that will stay with the book.  It is a job well done by the creative team.

Green Lantern Corps -  It has been drawn out a bit, but the story is very interesting.  Over the past few years we have really learned the ins and outs of how the Green Lantern Corps works.  This idea of a planet that the Lanterns went when stored was great.  Now that planet is the threat.  The Corps faces a threat that is equal to the power of the rings.  There has been a great use of various Corpsmen and Corpswomen.

Green Lantern -  The return of Sinestro as a Green Lantern has been one excellent story plot.  It has kept some mystery while showing us that the rings have changed since Mogo died.  Hal Jordan dealing with not being a Green Lantern is a great sub-plot.  It has just been a solid stead read.

Green Lantern New Guardians -  Glomous is the best sidekick Kyle Rayner has ever had.  Love seeing a different Fatality as the Star Sapphire of the group.  This collection of the various Lanterns is cool and very creative.  There is a bunch of crazy stuff here and it fits Tony Bedard's style well.  He is building to something.  This is the long form type of story telling.  I am loving this and look forward to seeing just what all the different mysteries are about.  I also like seeing Sayd again and really want to see her save Ganthet.

Hawk & Dove -  I have liked it, but it lacks a sense of importance. I heard that this one is going away.  What I guess is telling is that I really will not miss it.  

Justice League Dark -  The other book not on my pull list.  I have ending my purchases I think as of issue #5.  I like Zatanna and I loved Enchantress in Shadowpact so I was wanting to see what this book was about.  It ending up being a drawn out book that at the end did not really bring a group together.  It was exciting, but it was also confusing at times.  All said, it still is an interesting idea.

O.M.A.C -  One of the fun reads and it is going away.  It has been a tribute to the Kirby era of comics.  I am and will enjoy to title to the end.

Red Lanterns -  You have to have read the Green Lantern stuff about the Red Lanterns to really understand what they are about.  A casual reader will not understand.  There is a disconnect to the shape of what this title is about.  Casual readers will be lost.

Resurrection Man -  It was good that issue #5 gave us some back story.  Otherwise this would have been a great bit of action, but we would start not caring as readers.  It feels like this book is going somewhere big.  Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are great storytellers and this book is build steam every month.

Voodoo -  Sometimes when a change in writing happens you notice it.  Sometimes the change is so seamless you never notice.  The latter is what happened in the pages of Voodoo.  I never realized that Ron Marz had left.  Josh Williamson did a great job taking the start and carrying it forward.  I am enjoying this book.  I like the misfit alien realizes they are on the wrong side of the fight stories.  I think we are seeing that Priscilla is finding she is not the double agent she thought she was.  The last reveal of issue #5 keeps this title interesting.

Wonder Woman -  Hearing that Brian Azzarello was going to make this a horror title made me cringe a bit.  I have lived through so many attempts to see a "new" creative direction on Wonder Woman I was no instilled with hope.  Maybe Azzarello has a Blue Ring, because now I feel like "all will be well."  It works really good as a horror book.  The mythological aspects of Wonder Woman are being used in an excellent fashion.  The turning of Wonder Woman's mother into a statue and all the Amazons into snakes by a pissed off Hera was creepy and an emotional punch in the gut.  You should be reading this book.

Huntress -  It would be unfair to leave this mini series out.  It has two more issues, so it is not part of the Fives.  This has been a great Huntress story that shows she is usable as an international figure.

Well that is what I read and what I think about the DCnU so far.  I have plans to buy some of the books I do not collect in monthly fashion in Trade form.  It is money that is hindering my comicbook buying of late.  If and when DC Comics raises the price of all books to $3.99 I will have some hard choices to make.  Sadly, I am being priced out of comics in many ways.


Monday, January 30, 2012

COW BOY from Archaia

Well Howdy Pardners!  I know that the regular Monday spot here is Mantra Monday, but I have something a bit different today.  On my Google+ I saw a post that Chris Eliopoulos and Nate Cosby have created a comic called COW BOY for Archaia.  They have a preview of the first Chapter up and I read it.  REALLY GOOD!

The preview should help you get the idea about the tough little boy that is on the trail of a WANTED man.  He is a tough boy.  The oddity of this small boy in such a grown up role is interesting and makes you wonder just what the deal is in the story.

I tell you this, the last panel brings it all together and makes you want to slap your head and just find these guys and tell them how awesome that reveal is in the telling of this story.  This is a gutsy move for them.  They are putting this book out there in Social Media.  For me that is Google+.  So just give this a look.

I have read books from Archaia and they are top quality.  The thing is that they are not of the Big Two and deal with a variety of genres.  They can get overlooked by people when we are swamped with X's, Avenging, and DCnU's.  I just decided to let my few people know that this title is out there and you can buy it.  So what are you waiting for?  Check it out!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Flashback Fridays: Lara Croft Tomb Raider #1 Take Over

Back in the day I tried to play Tomb Raider on my PC.  I am not good at games really so I lost interest once I got stuck on a level.  What I have always loved were the Tomb Raider comicbooks.  Was there ever a better character for comics?  I mean you have a very curvaceous female that can have scorching hot covers while also being a highly intellectual adventurer.  It just makes for great marketing scheme.

Some writers just saw the sex appeal I am sure, but most realized that this was an over the top character that also could be a very intelligent and brave female character.  Lara Croft is tough as nails, but when it is needed the compassionate figure as well.  There are always explosions and guns.  The possibility for magic and wild stunts just make for a book that appeals to many different readers.

This one shot is filled with all the contradictions and the great action one would expect from a Tomb Raider comic.  Lara Croft is dressed to accentuate her female form and even mentions how she feels naked without her guns.  This is a story of mythology and magic as an old foe of Lara's rears his ugly head to steal the way to rob anywhere and escape without unlocking a single door.  There is a side discussion of fame and the way an unknown actress is paired with Lara is just a great addition of humor and the compassion of Ms. Croft.

There is also a great back story shown here of tragedy and loss.  Lara Croft has a habit of losing the few close friends she has in her adventures, but here there is a loss of a childhood friendship in a most extreme way.  It sets the stage for a long running vendetta between Lara and the bad guy of the story.  I always cringe a bit when I see the victim and realize that two lives are being written out.

I am surprised that Top Cow has not returned Lara Croft to its world since so many other great characters she has had connections to are being so well done.  I miss this book.  I have always liked the genre and really miss this type of comic.  These are great books if you find them in some back issue box.  There are great artist and the writers that began here have moved on to bigger companies.  So check 'em out.  You might just be surprised and love the character as much as I do.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Flashback Fridays: Phantom 2040 #1

I have always loved Lee Falk's character The Phantom.  In the late 1990's their was a great animated series that I think aired with the UPN.  It was syndicated, but if I remember right, UPN carried it.  Sometime in the past couple of years I found the four issue Marvel series.  Today I give you the first and introductory issue of Phantom 2040.  It stars a new Kit Walker as the son inheriting the mantle of The Phantom.

This is a world of technology and advanced robotics.  We still have a Phantom that climbs and swings, he just has the gadgets that assist.  He can turn invisible and that aids in the idea that we have a "Ghost Who Walks."  He will battle an insane woman that was married to the man who killed his father.  She has a roboticlly trapped man named Graft who handles her tech and a crazy son as well.

Her main goal is to take over Metropia with her Biots, robot army.  The limited series is a bit of a four issue one-shot story thing.  It really doesn't repeat the TV Show, but it has all the characters.  I had to buy them when this thrift store was closing.  I was able to get all four of a very cool character.  I know this only interest a few people.  I just miss great stories like this and the characters that inhabit these books.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Flashback Fridays: The Mighty Skullboy Army

During the insane Holiday Sale at Things From Another World I snagged this little and funny book.  I knew of the character from Chris Giarrusso's G-Man series.  This all ages character is really odd and really well done.  The entire book revolves around the tile character as he tries to juggle running a multinational corporation that works daily to take over the world and going to school.  In this world it is not odd that there is a boy with a skull head and wearing a suit.  He just is.  From the start we see the commanding presence that is Skullboy.

Helping Skullboy is his most closest minions, Unit 1 and Unit 2.  Unit 1 is a very confident robot that just knows he is superior to Unit 2.  He has an arsenal of missiles and things that he uses to aid Skullboy.  Unit 2 is the result of an experiment at Skullboy's corporation, a super intelligent monkey.  Both are the perfect bumbling duo of a character like Skullboy.  Sometimes Unit 2 does what Unit 1 says, but mostly he ignores him.  They seem to live in Skullboy's locker during school hours.

Watching Skullboy use an intern for his education was great.  It was a nice little twist that is as funny to adults as it would be to kids.  Sadly, he is not as durable as Unit 1 or Unit 2.  My favorite story was when Skullboy decides to grow a Unit 3.  It is a sentient Turnip.  The little tuber wrecks havoc all over.  It is really funny.  I think I will see if I can get Unit 3 and Skullboy in a sketch at Heroes Convention this year.

This is a great book for that child in your life that needs help reading and you need something cool to give them.  I think this would be a great buy for anyone out there that loves comics.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Perfect Dark Second Front

I found this book at the Used Bookstore the other day when I was taking stuff in for store credit.  I was aware of their being a follow up book after the first called Perfect Dark Initial Vector.  I really liked that book and found a graphic novel, Perfect Dark Janus Tears, which I have written about on the Blog.  So to find the continuation of Joanna Dark's adventures was a great surprise the other day.  I read it in about a day and a half.  I guess you could say I devoured the book.

That is a luxury you have when you are poor and part time in your job.  You have little money or time for many avenues of entertainment and long periods where you can just read.  The adventures in a world of hypercorporations is scary when you stop and think how close we are in the world to this type of reality.  Sci Fi has always been close to the truth of reality.  Into this world of computer and monetary connectedness stride Joanna Dark.  She was trained by her father to be the best weapon ever.  Now she is caught in between corporate heads and the children of the man she killed after the death of her father.  Vengeance and manipulation is an undercurrent that constantly moves this book.

The reader is always wondering if the allies Joanna has are really people she can trust as she moves ever forward.  Still, she walks her own line as other think they are guiding her actions.  There is gunfire and battles like nothing one would ever really think possible when you are dealing with corporate dealings.  The battle at the end is insane in more ways than one.  I wish there was a third book.  The book has unanswered questions about Joanna and her dad, her connection to the world she is loose in.  There is more than is being seen about her that would be nice to have a resolution to as a reader.

These books are great and entertaining reads.  One should seek them out.  Greg Rucka is one great novelist, maybe even better novelist than comicbook writer.