Monday, February 27, 2012

Why No Mantra Monday?

It comes down to two words.


I believe this morning at 5:22 AM I was beginning the final passing of a Kidney Stone.  The medicine I take works to keep me from dealing with the hospitalization, but every now and then one forms just enough to cause pain.  Been a rough day.


Friday, February 24, 2012

30 Hour Famine

I am leading a 30 Hour Famine this weekend.  So no Flashback Friday.  Check out what it is at the following link;


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catwoman #6

I must start this post by giving congratulations to Judd Winnick.  I know he probably could care less that some person in rural North Carolina has finally enjoyed a series of his, but I do.  I have never thought he was a bad writer or anything like that emotion.  No, I just never really have ever connected to his stories.  He took over Green Lantern way back when I was a subscriber.  Not any dislike, but just felt the adventures fell flat for me.

I steered away from his work for a long time.  When I would come across it, the same emotion was present.  While I could like the work, it just never felt more than just reading along over an article in the newspaper.  I was really bummed when he was given Power Girl after it had such a fun and great start.  We get bogged down in the Brightest Day story with Max Lord.  I held on and stayed until the DCnu came to be.

The New 52 hit the stands and from the beginning I have absolutely LOVED Catwoman.  She has style and sass that I like.  It has a crime undertone that is out from under the Sahadow of the Bat even when he appears.  High action with amazing cliffhangers have just made this one of my wait until the end of the stack reads.  I keep the books I think I will enjoy most for the last part of reading when I get a stack of books from the shop.

Each issue Winnick has delivered a great adventure and a very detailed look at Selina Kyle.  It is a character driven book, that character being Selina, the woman who happens to be Catwoman.  I think that has been important.  It also is where I believe the critizism of the book come from as people adjust to the DCnU.  We were use to Catwoman and her adventures.  This takes us in from a different Point of View.  We see the world through Selina's eyes and her back story.  If anything this has brought a neat perspective to the myth of Catwoman.

You did it Winnick, I can praise a book you do.  Please keep up the good work on Catwoman.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wonder Woman #6

I will admit, I was unsure when I heard that Wonder Woman would be considered a horror comic.  I was really disappointed in the run by J. Micheal Strazynski.  I expected more, but in a way the DCnU washed that reality warping tale away and I will let it go gladly.  I felt no sense of loss like I did with Batgirl, Zatanna, and Power Girl.  So I was taking a chance while determined to support Wonder Woman.  The verdict from me is that Brian Azzarello has crafted a great mythological horror book.  It is subtle horror though.  Muted by the art and the way the story flows.  You have finished reading and all of a sudden you realize just how creepy a scene was in the book.

I do not think anybody thought Wonder Woman would be this good.  Why then is no one really talking about this in great detail.  I figure that this is a title that few picked up because it was Wonder Woman.  She has always had trouble in many ways with the greater male comic reader.  So in a years time we will be hearing all the Johnny Come Latelys telling us how great the Trade is and we should have been reading.  Well, I AM READING!  You should be as well.

The godlings that are here and the new idea of Zeus being Diana's daddy has made for some interesting twist.  Hera basically turned all the Amazons into snakes and Diana's mom into a statue because she couldn't keep her hubby faithful.  This issue sees Diana as the strategist to make Batman proud.  She turns the table on the naked except for a peacock cloak queen of the godlings.  The godlings are odd looking.  Poseidon is a crazy quilt of sea creatures and Hades has his head on fire.  He looks like a Tick character.  SPOON!

Sorry, got carried away.  Wonder Woman is well written and well crafted.  I say read it now and be a head of the crowd.  Do not wait for the bandwagon to jump on and read.  It is one of the best things out there in the DCnU.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Flashback Friday: Marvel Priemere Featuring Paladin #43

My comic shop had its sixth anniversary the other week and there were back issues for 60 cents.  I ran across and bought this comic about a low level Marvel character that I like a bit.  I learned from this comic that Paladin came from the pages of Daredevil.  I first came across him as a merc for hire that did jobs for Silver Sable.  I liked his brash and cocky personality that hide a deep sense of justice.  Paladin was about the paycheck, but deep down he was a good guy as well.

Here he has been hired to protect a young woman from a crazy ex-boyfriend.  We soon find out that the ex is really crazy and has a costumed identity and powers as the Phantasm.  He is very dangerous and Paladin has his work cut out for him.  Not only is The Phantasm going to destroy the minds of New York City, he has a personal vendetta against his ex-girlfriend that he wants to take care of as well.  This becomes a case of a bigger threat and Paladin acting out of revenge in the end.

There is an abundance of text in this book.  You actually read this comicbook.  It has a story that in today's Marvel Comics would be stretched across six or seven issues and have very little words on the pages.  The art is what you expect of 1978; trippy, bold, and heavy.  It works with the crazy characters that are in the book.  We also have a very macho story.  This is the man walking alone and kicking butt.  He has a job first, but soon it becomes personal and Paladin must face evil wounded and beaten down.  This era of Paladin would make a great syndicated TV Show.

I like old Marvel.  I wish we could reboot Marvel comics and go back to when stories were stories and books that were not events ruled the day.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue Beetle #6

My biggest concern with this new "New" Blue Beetle is that I read the entire first series that starred Jamie Reyes.  It was well written, humorous, action packed, and had a connected overall story arc that ran for 25 issues.  For me this DCnU version of an already new and established character was going to be a hard sell.  I signed up though because the liberal in me wanted to support a Latino character and I really liked Jamie and his supporting cast.  Could they take such an already fresh run of a character and reboot it?

Issue 6 here is what I have been waiting for in Blue Beetle.  I watched as it was begun as a darker book.  I saw a Paco that was the underestimated best friend.  I saw the Brenda whom was the possible love interest.  The families of Jamie and Brenda were there and familiar.  There was the new way the scarab talked to Jamie and a group of metas that were not around before.  It was an almost like the original Jamie Reyes Blue Beetle.  Until now.

Last issue the scarab had impaled Paco because he knew about it.  Jamie discovered that the scarab would kill anyone that discovered it was bonded to him.  Jamie forced the scarab to save Paco, but we readers saw Paco transform and leave the hospital as a version of a Beetle soldier.  Here is where we separate from the original.  We now have a Jamie without the loving family that supported him in the original.  Brenda is in danger and Paco in a fight to the death with him.  It does what it needed to do to take a new direction while keeping around the possibilities of what was great about the original.

I will say no more.  You should be reading this title.  Tony Bedard is writing.  He is outstanding.  This has been a great read and that is a fact.  So what are you waiting for?


One Positive about the DCnU

World's Finest #1
There is one thing I have noticed about The New 52 or DCnU, the diversity of the offerings.  I kind of like that there is a bit of ongoing mini series rolling out.  I like that some books are changing who and whom is showcased.  In some ways one could say that the company is cooking spaghetti and at times throwing it on the wall to see what sticks.  Maybe that is true, but is that a bad thing?  

It could be that an obscure character that would never sustain a regular series could hold an eight issue run and then be worthy of more later.  Let us face it that in this day and age the comics are written for trade format.  Maybe it is better that there are some books directly planned for that goal in mind.  It could be like how 3D movies should be planned to be 3d and not decided after the film is shot and then adapted for 3d to squeeze more money out of it.  The film planned out as 3d is always better.

No one likes change.  The industry of books and the printed word have to adapt to changing technology.  Maybe this New 52 will help guide DC to a stable future where we get printed paper in a paperless world.  The alternative is seeing comicbooks become Kodak.  Google it if you are too young to remember when there were no Digital Cameras.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Mantra Mondays: Mantra #13

Mantra Monday makes its return!  It has been a bit since the last installment of Mantra Mondays.  It was Giant Size Mantra #1 where Mantra ends up in the dimension that Boneyard dwells and terrorizes in part, just not the correct part of the planet.  Instead she ends up having to fight Topaz and then saves the women of Gwendor securing an alliance.  The beginning of Mantra's quest to take the fight to Boneyard has her being outfitted with a high tech mystical armor.  Topaz and a group of the warrior women are with her as they set out.  Soon the men of Neros ask to go as well to make up for the man in their company that worked with Boneyard and attacked Gwendor.  We end up with a jumpy group of men and women who normally only see each other when they are so full of lust they cannot do anything but reproduce.

Lukas still whines, but a bit less.  He is too busy trying not to be called Lady Mantra.  The remaining wife of Boneyard attacks and Topaz is hit with a mystical bolt and disappears.  She is thought dead.  Mantra takes over.  She has an army now and the fight is moving to Boneyard.  I will not say much more.  This is a good read with action and less male trapped in a female body whining.

There is a strange happening with little Evie.  She visits a nice old lady and soon she has an amulet that she wishes upon for her Mommy's return.  The odd thing is that Eden Blake shows up.  But, wait, Eden has been talking to Lukas on the Soulscape when he dreams.  So who is the woman that is with Evie and Gus?

Resolutions are coming soon in the original plotlines.  


Friday, February 10, 2012

Not Feeling it this Friday

I have read a bunch of stuff that could be used for Flashback Friday this week, but I just wasn't feeling it.  This is different from other days missing a regular thing here on the Blog like my Mantra Mondays and Flashback Fridays.  Then I was just tired from medicine and health stuff and didn't get things done.  Today though it has been just not feeling that drive after picking up an old book.

There is no rhyme or reason behind my picks.  I just kind of think, "This is the Flashback Friday pick" and write the post.   I have been working to move my comics from the house to a new storage building we just built.  It is dry and insulated, but I am determined that all that go out be in plastic.  The fear I have are mice and bugs.  Still, I need to get some room and I will be able to find issues and things better.  I also have a bunch of stuff scattered from when I moved some years back from my last place of service.  I went from a house to my old childhood room.  Not much space.

So, enjoy this pic of my favorite Dynamo 5 character, Scrap. Rebekah Isaacs did a sketch of her at last years HeroesCon.  Have a good weekend.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sometimes I wonder......

......if anyone likes what I write?  I guess you should be ready for a silly whine and cheese session.  I just have wondered if I have some anti-social media gene.  Maybe that is my superpower, the ability to remain invisible even in social networks.  So what is this craziness about?  Zero comments is what.  Whether here or on G+ I never have comments on what I post.  Even when I ask what I see as a fun question I get nothing.  It can be discouraging sometimes.  It is a good thing I am not totally writing this Blog for comments, although they are very nice.

Part of what I am doing is trying to aid in the ability of people to find runs of books.  I am slowly doing it.  Think about what happens when I get done with Mantra Mondays.  There will be one place on the web where the covers and a bit about each issue will be collected.  I have always wanted that to be my website.  If I had money I would have that as my hobby.  A reference site of full runs of books.  It would be a massive undertaking and I know it is just a dream.

It is one thing that saddens me from my having to jettison all my work with PaperBackReader.  It also is why my friend that I helped with that site never understood why I insisted on reviewing a title even if it was a few weeks out from its release.  I liked the idea of having complete runs online to be able for people and parents to reference.  It also is a reason I shared books from Top Cow back then as well.  Parents and others needed to know about what was out there and they also needed to know when something was not age appropriate for younger kids.  Instead my love of fantasy and the supernatural left me open to attack.

I get that most people are lurkers online.  They flit to and from and don't comment, but it does help if at least a couple of words are left every now and then to say you like or dislike something.  Maybe I am just too old fashioned or maybe people just don't want to talk to me.  Oh well.


Batwoman #6

Are you reading this title?  If not, then why not?  Batwoman has been a constant delight as a book.  Each and every appearance has been an artistic overload with interesting stories.  Maybe some were worried as Amy Reeder took over the look of the book, but WOW do I like her work.  I loved the high concept look of the first five issues, but I love the way Amy Reeder has brought back a more comicbook look to the series.

I normally am not one to gush over the art in a comic.  I go with the flow, like nice art and tolerate the art that doesn't quite look like I would imagine the characters to be.  The thing about Batwoman in issue 6 is that she looks like I see in my mind.  I like that Kate Kane has a bit of color to her skin when not Batwoman.  This is due to the work of Guy Major.  She needed this look.  In fact the coloring through the issue is just perfect.  Before moving on to the story I want to also say that Amy Reeder does a great job of keeping the odd panel layouts going.  That is a staple of this book and not ever artist could step in and work within those layouts with the ease she does.

Our story took some nasty turns as Kate became mad at her father knowing her sister was alive and then cutting him from her life.  We watch Bette be gutted and left for dead, then drugged and interrogated while still on death's door.  Kate is then coerced into becoming an agent of the D.E.O. and has Agent Chase as a watcher.  Now we get back to finding those behind these missing children.  Long form stories are so well done in Batwoman.  It really is nice to see the plot unfold and each issue being a nice morsel to savor.

The direction is nice.  Breaking her away from Batman works well.  She can be aligned, but Batwoman works best as her own woman.  This book has never really been about the shadow of the Bat.  Her role is now one of being under a government thumb, while protecting Batman's secrets and still operating as her will guides her.  It makes for interesting plot possibilities.

This is one of the most visually appealing comicbooks in The New 52.  It has one of the coolest female characters in the DCnU.  It is action and adventure that should be enjoyed by all.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Team of Jerks

I was reading a book with Northstar in it today and it got me thinking about the biggest jerks in comics.  If I were putting a team of jerks together who would make the cut?  Now these are not the gruff, but lovable characters like Wolverine.  No, these are the people that rub there teammates the wrong way and do not care.  They are just plan all out jerks to all around them.  They might be called hero or maybe they just dance the line.  Who would you choose?

These sprang to my mind;


So who would you say is a jerk hero that would make the team?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Birds of Prey Writer Suggestion

It has been five issues and the story running in Birds of Prey (BoP) is a mess.  I am really just talking about the mind manipulation aspect.  Let me be clear on that fact.  The background character stories are being done fairly well.  Setting up Poison Ivy they way they have really works for the BoP motif.  All that good is being sucked under a quicksand of confusing action that makes little sense.  If it is by design as part of the story, then maybe it seemed better in the head of the writer than on paper.
Why should we care?  Birds of Prey has long been the one comic where Women have been portrayed as able competent warriors in their own right.  They are shown as the best of what women are and can be along with the worst.  Strong female characters that shine among a marketplace of testosterone heroes.  These women have always been a place where role models for girls can be found.  Set aside the marketing need or practice for them to constantly be perfect of body, they have always carried a spirit that shines through the sexism that may rise from time to time.

Cards on the table, this male loves this title and has for years.  Besides the pretty girls, I see the female friends I have had over the years.  I see the compassion of some of these women that were kind of heart, but when they felt someone they cared for threatened would rise up and protect those they cared for.  I understand that some women have concerns when the art shows strange contortions to show off a behind while the side boob is there as well.  Yet, I also know that a book like this is rare and if it falls that makes it harder for other comics with female characters to be approved.

How do we solve the problem with the direction of story?  Bring on Bryan Miller.  He took Stephanie Brown and made her Batgirl.  His writing displayed a sense of characterization that was far above most writers.  Romance, humor, action, and connectedness to the larger DCU was all present in his Batgirl.  He could make you laugh while also understanding the dire danger of the story.  Stephanie was what the females of the BoP are and should be.  His take on these women would bring the fun and the excitement back to the BoP.  DC made a mistake not having him on a DCnU title of some kind to begin with.

So as you are shuffling writing chores on the New 52 DC, put Bryan Miller on Birds of Prey.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Flashback Fridays: Robin #35 (The Final Night)

Today we go back to the DCU crossover event called The Final Night.  I have the collected version of this in a single form.  It had the series and a related Green Lantern issue collected in a cardboard framed holder.  One of the thing about this era of DC Comics is that if something major happened in the Universe of the DCU, it was reflected by all the lines.  Each book dealt with the effects the eradication of Earth's Sun was having on the planet.  How were the heroes responding to what appeared to be the end of the world.
Robin was in his thermal underwear and patrolling Gotham.  He ends up with Stephanie Brown, The Spoiler, tagging along.  This is a early version of Stephanie and really shows her carefree attitude.  She also loves teasing and flirting with Robin, even when the world is freezing to death.  Robin continues to move forward and to teach Steph as he goes.  They soon find so criminals and take them on.
The action leads to some exciting and life threatening stuff.  Stephanie is not happy as Robin tries to save one of the criminals they had been fighting.  She soon learns a lesson about being a hero as events take a turn the reader is not expecting.  Soon there is a big lesson given and Stephanie has a piece of the puzzle that will one day make her the best Batgirl Gotham has seen.
Like many of the DCU events of the day The Final Night is a good set of comics to get when you find them in discount boxes.  Issues like this one were mainly stand alone stories dealing with the end of days and can be enjoyed without having the main series or the entire collection of The Final Night crossover books.