Sunday, October 2, 2016

DC Universe Rebirth: Aquaman #1 - #6

 I have come to realize that I like Aquaman.  I think much has been done to malign this character over the years.  It is strange because so very talented people have written some outstanding stories over the many years of his existence.  Recently I have seen a more cohesive stance taken on this character and his place in the DC Universe.  I liked it and have been following for a few years now.  The way we see Aquaman as a joke is used here to great effect in a confrontation with Superman.

With the restart of some stories in this Rebirth era it was nice to see some threads remain as Aquaman moved forward.  If you recall, Wally saw Arthur and Mera as a positive in a bleak world he was trying to return to and set right.  Mera remains a strong female character and in the first six issues shows her commitment to Arthur, but also that she will bust walls and heads to ensure the safety of the one she loves.  Her balance as a warrior queen and a surface "wife" works well for comedic tension.

The idea of an embassy on the surface was a carry over and was used in terrific manner as a means to set Aquaman up.  Black Manta attacks and the death toll rises.  This prompts the US Government to go all paranoid on Aquaman and Atlanteans.  The Patriot Act is used and Aquaman surrenders himself after being treated unfairly as a Dignitary on US soil.  This sets up a fantastic rescue by Mera and a run to the sea where the Army attacks and Aquaman tries not to kill anyone.

There are two great punches in Issue Six.  One is Aquaman laying Superman out.  It shows that he is one the power level of Superman and Wonder Woman.  We seem to forget that sometimes.  He is one powerful meta.  It also allows for him to explain to Clark how he is seen as a joke in the Justice League.  It is a slight that has been endured by this King.  There are many looks at how he commands respect from his people and he shows just how powerful he is as a King.

I mentioned two punches.  Mera knocks the Man of Steel for a loop as well.  It is a cool scene for a favorite character of mine.  It also serves as a reminder of the power in this character and the power that the two combined have.  The response by a military observer is priceless.

Want awesome story and cool adventure, then read Aquaman.  It has mystery and political intrigue as well.  Black Manta does something shocking in the end of the book as well.  It will be a problem waiting for Aquaman I am sure.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

DC Universe Rebirth Green Lanterns #1 - #6

 I remain loyal to my Green Lantern Titles and hope they stay strong.  On Earth we add another person to the ever growing cadre of Green Lanterns.  Her name is Jessica Cruz, a person with some anxiety issues.  I have no idea what happened to her in apparently Justice League titles and dealings with the Forever Evil story-line.  She is a very messed up gal that suddenly is placed with the Green Lantern that has the biggest chip on his Shoulder, Simon Baz.  The first Muslim Green Lantern and mainstream DC hero I guess comes from the time before Rebirth.  He has a cool back story that I encourage you to get and read.  He is the opposite of Cruz, he has no problems with self assured and cocky confidence.

Hal Jordan has placed them in charge of Earth.  You see Hal has taken off to find the rest of the Corps who disappeared and had their own wild adventures in the Universe before this one.  No time to train or teach the rookies teamwork so he comes up with a typical Hal solution.  He merges there power battery and now they must both be there to recharge.  No the best idea if you ask me, but Hal didn't.  The Justice League is their mentors and they are having a time of it over in that book.  Here in their book they are pushed into the deep in of the pool straight off.

Red Lanterns have returned.  Dex-Starr and Atrocious lead Bleedz and some I thought were Dead Reds to create something they call the Hell Tower on Earth.  The whole thing is a scary story with people becoming rage zombies and attacking anything that moves.  Our Greens are not immune either.  Family is caught up in the mess as Jessica's sister is infected.  Simon and Jessica fight to find an answer and we get plenty of back and forth from them as to why they dislike each other.  The thing is that to survive they will have to learn to trust each other.

There are some strange things happening to Simon as well.  He has developed new powers.  Some kind of healing effect through the green willpower is able to even break the rage of a Red Lantern and turn them back.  That was originally only possible by the ring of a Blue Lantern.  He also is having some kind of Green Vision where he can see the future or when someone is in trouble.  Both use tremendous energy and the levels spike when he taps into each.  

Add a rogue Guardian and the revelation of a new ring that is soon to be loosed on the Universe and this has been a great book so far.  It was a trill ride start and soon we should get some more action as things resolved but did not truly end.  They have a bunch of trouble ahead.  Both of them must learn how to work as a team and trust each other.  They have to watch each others backs.  Oh, and Jessica needs to figure out how to make constructs.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Alters #1

 It took some time figuring out just what I wanted to start with as I began writing about comicbooks again.  My comic shop provided the subject as I caught up on tweets and then made it to the shop to pick up my books.  I live in North Carolina.  The place where our "oh so brilliant" Republican controlled Legislature and Governor's office thought using Transgender people as political pawns would be great for our economy and standing in the United States and Global community.  The passage of the so-called "bathroom bill" or HB2 has been a blight on those of us that feel this is just a hate filled attempt to win favor with the extreme parts of a political base and donors.  I have felt powerless as I watched my State be viewed as a place of hate.  The owner of my shop was tired of this opinion as well and did something about it in the only way a comicbook person would, through art.  Ssalefish Comics commissioned an exclusive cover for the first issue of Alters, which stars a realistic transitioning superhero.  Chalice is a real T-Girl, not a comicbook version of a fantasy girl that is being called Transgendered.

There will be two parts to this review of Alters #1.  A general report and info on the way my shop is raising money for those fighting the hate in my State and a SPOILER review where I just discuss what I thought and not worry about giving some things away.

It is very scary sometimes to dive into a new book.  Hesitation can come about when you are not dealing with the familiar companies.  I might have missed this book had Ssalefish not done the cover for it.  I come into this with my own liberal, christian, and researched opinions.  What probably caused some to tune out is the Christian label I used, but when you work as a minister you have that area in you.  Plus, I know that as I continue down the path I am own, I will probably encounter a transgender youth that will need me to be ready to show the love and compassion they might not see from my peers.  It was with those eyes I read Alters #1

The opening is wonderfully done.  It gives us a history of Alters and provides a viewpoint from a new person to this group.  Then as you adjust to the fact that this is a new person of power in the world the other shoe drops.  The girl you saw was a guy.  There is the twist that is so relevant for today.  We the reader learn that Charlie has two secrets and one has a ticking clock.  Charlie is undergoing transitioning to become the gender he should have been at birth.  The changes will begin to show more and more until eventually she will have to tell her family.  This double secret works so well for the story we get in these pages.  

Charlie, aka. Chalice, is a very family oriented person.  I guess that the brother with cerebral palsy is older.  The younger brother is a perfect brat who fits in well with the average Dad that is shown.  A normal looking and sounding Mom rounds out the family and it really stresses the fear that Charlie has as to the reaction they will have to her transitioning.

We get a formidable baddie and a group of resistance heroes that might fit well into a Quantum and Woody story to round out this great beginning of a comicbook.  It has such promise in the emotions it is setting up.  The art is also just right.  Upon rereading and slowly digesting the book, I noticed how Chalice was not over done as a female figure.  Straighter curves and just enough of a lean body type as to give some reality to the person that is there on the page.  Leila Leiz did a great job with the designs.

Ssalefish Comics will have Paul Jenkins in house Saturday, September 17th for a signing.  The sales of Alters #1 will provide 10% of the profits to Equality NC.  This is a way to support those that are being bullied in NC.  If you can come out Saturday Noon til 3 PM.  If not order through the store's online capabilities.


So now I can put some other thoughts down.  This book does not focus so much on the super powers as on the character of Charlie.  I am sure the action and explosions will come, but to start we get a look at the hero.  This is a great way to begin.  I loved the "Dear Diary" part of the storytelling.  It allowed for the art to show Charlie in natural settings.  The fact that Teddy, the brother with cerebral palsy is sitting beside Charlie in the dinner as she writes is great.  You get the feeling Teddy knows the secret maybe.  The average and natural aspects of the family work so well.  They seem nice, but like Charlie, you wonder how they might react to the news of Charlie as daughter and sister.  You really get a sense of the person that is this bubbly girl when out as Chalice.  There is a sense of realness here that really comes out.  

I sense that the murder of an innocent man is what prompts Chalice to seek out the Alters who oppose Matter Man, the big bad of this book.  It is easy to see that Chalice wants to just enjoy the freedom her powers bring.  What happens because she thinks she can just be out there and not allow Matter Man his control is part of her hero journey.

This is a very great book.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why I have been gone for a bit......

     I have been absent for quite some time.  It was not from lack of comics to Blog about.  I am still buying current books.  I still have a great many older comics to talk about.  I guess the biggest reason was I just got down and didn't feel like it.  I struggle with depression and it comes in waves.  When it does I tend to prioritize what I do and work came first.  That didn't really help, as it stressed and depressed me more, but to live life I had to choose to be in the world and let the online stuff go.

     Now seems like a good time to try and get back into the swing of things.  The heavy schedule of summer is closing out for a more steady and balanced fall transition.  I am more likely to review a DC Comicbook if it is new.  Sorry, still not back to collecting current Marvel stuff.  I took Mr. Quesada at his word and followed that advice, "If you don't like what we are doing just read the older comics." (A paraphrased quote)  That is what I do, when collecting it is back issues of Marvel books.  I am reading Lazarus, Pink Ranger, ROM, and Future Quest as my something different.  I am still floating around Valiant Comics as well.

     Recently I did something I have never really done before.  Maybe it is a comic addiction or maybe it was therapy, depends on what side of Fandom you are on I guess.  I was just tired of my life that week.  Things were stressful, the kids at work were especially loud and bouncy that week, I just felt like all things were terrible.  My Local Shop had purchased a collection of 120,000 comics, and were having a special sale.  I went the second day.  I had withdrawn some money and set a limit.  I wasn't even sure I would buy, but if I saw some things I wanted to be ready.  On the Saturday of the sale I went and spent two hours just looking through long boxes.  It was wonderful.

     I could have read books with the previous owner.  They had similar taste as I have in books.  What was cool was the almost complete runs that were there, even after a day of people picking through already.  I had two issues of Ultraverse's Firearm, now I have the entire run.  I picked up a major chunk of Brubaker's Catwoman.  Lots of New 52 singles that i bought cheaper than cover price.  I also got those fringe and oddities one collects but really doesn't have a reason for why they collect them.  It was a major haul.  I am still reading the last of them.  On the OLD Fantastic Four issues I bought.  It was nice to just immerse myself in my hobby like that and enjoy myself.  Really nice considering all the terrible was still waiting once I got back from my fun.

     Still, it got me wanting to write about comicbooks again.  I have new material and can really feel the reasons why I did this in the beginning again.  Here is hoping that I can begin again and share my love and passion for comicbooks with you, the few who have read my blog.