Monthly Archives: March, 2016

Batwoman, the Dark Knightress

(Goodness, I’m posting more often than I planned in a week. Oh, well, haha.)

This is D.C., here to throwdown on a DC Comics series: Batwoman.

Batwoman is a loose member of the Bat Family, which includes Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl. In DC’s the New 52, Batwoman is also Katherine “Kate” Kane, a young socialite who was booted out of military academy for homosexual conduct.

The first few volumes with creative team Jaden Blackman and co-writer/artist J.H. Williams III were fantastic. In a time in which comic book “fans” feel that comics books are too politically correct or are pandering too hard towards homosexuality, Kate Kane’s portrayal is…I suppose I could call it beautiful and raw. Her character is so natural. Even her origins, in which she reveals her homosexuality to her father, is done simply and nicely. Her conflict with an apparent homophobe is handled without excessive theatrics.

 

In Batwoman, you see that Kate is just like any “normal” person with “normal” issues. She is many things: soldier, badass woman, lesbian, socialite, and more importantly, broken. All these elements are explored very well in the first four to five volumes.

The art by J.H. Williams III fit the theme of Batwoman so strongly. It had all the makings of a supernatural/horror/suspense book, and the disturbing art was consistent with those themes. The art also had its enchanting parts, such as when we see Kate in her public persona. It switched between “normal” and horror accordingly:

Volume 1: Hydrology

 

 

 

In Volume 5 and Volume 6, Williams and Blackman left due to creative conflicts with DC, leaving Marc Andreyko and Georges Jeanty to take the reins. Their run was highly disappointing.

For one, Jeanty’s art is completely incongruous with the themes of Batwoman. It’s like an artist who primarily writes horror brings his art to a comedy. It’s hard to describe, but you know mismatched art when you see it.

One of the worst things I think an artist/writer/creator can do is to not pay attention to their own work. Jeanty and Volume 6’s colorists have that issue in spades, especially when transitioning from one issue to the next. At the end of one issue, Kate is in one outfit. The next issue immediately follows, and she is wearing a completely different outfit. It’s like the creative team forgot what they even did last issue.

The same issue is seen with Morgaine Le Fay’s hair color, which went from blue at the end of an issue, immediately to green. It shouldn’t be difficult to keep up with what you color or draw.

Jeanty can barely draw Batwoman, Kate Kane, or any of the characters well. When you’re used to seeing this in the first several volumes:

Why would you expect something cartoonish like this?

 

There are times the art is fine, but it’s inconsistent in a bad way.

Volume 6’s story arc is likewise disjointed. Things happened without much reason or consistency. The rhyming demon Etrigan and his human host Jason Blood are shown to be separate, but it’s never explained how or why, even when they re-merge. At the end of one issue, the two come face-to-face and address one another as “YOU?”

And then the next issue, Jason Blood says he doesn’t even know the demon. Why the inconsistency?

Even Clayface, a good horror element potential in this arc, looks and sounds foolish:

It’s one thing to change artists between themes and arcs in a book, but Batwoman had a steadily supernatural/suspense/horror theme up until her cancellation. When the first creative team departed, the creativity and charm of Batwoman declined as well. It’s no surprising that it ended in its cancellation.

Recap

I loved Batwoman, at least the first five volumes by Jaden Blackman and J.H. Williams III. The art was phenomenal and consistent with the themes, while the writing was great. Kate, her loved ones, and even her antagonists had the light shown into their actions and, most importantly, their motives. How often do you get a look into the mentality of an antagonist without some haughty speech against his/her opponent?

I loved the horror/supernatural themes explored in the series as much as I enjoyed exploring Kate Kane’s personal life.

Unfortunately, midway through Volume 5 to the end of the series, there’s an obvious regression in artistic and script quality. Marc Andreyko and Georges Jeanty just don’t measure up, in my eyes, when it comes to capturing the essence of Batwoman or her cast. Jeanty’s cartoonish art may work in some series, but it did not belong here.

All these issues led to a very disappointing and unexplored ending to an otherwise amazing series.

With Batwoman becoming a regular in Detective Comics come DC’s “Rebirth,” I look forward to this strong and pained woman getting the spotlight once again.

END THROWDOWN.

Advertisements

Battle of the Apocalypse…Judgment is coming.

Hello everyone this is Kay G. coming at you. I know it’s been awhile but I’m sure my partner D.C has been keeping you guys plenty entertained. With that said let’s begin.

Kingdom Come by D.C Comics is a riveting and yet gripping story of an apocalyptic world. It is where Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other super beings face a big battle among themselves.

“According to the word of  God, the meek would someday inherit the earth.”

The story starts off with Norman McCay, a priest who has visions of war and destruction between superheroes and mankind. Norman is then visited by Spectre who uses Norman as a host to follow in the wake of the Apocalypse that will eventually arise. Spectre only appears to us as a dark and cryptic guide to see what’s to come.

This concept is so fascinating because the entire time where getting told the story through their travels. Norman see’s all this to come and all he can do is watch it all unfold before him.

Superman who is aged and tired looking is then visited by Wonder Woman. She is trying to convince him to come back, to face the world again and stop hiding out in his solitude and grief where’s he’s been since his wife; Lois Lane’s murder.  After Wonder Woman’s depart we see Superman saving citizens in Metropolis. When Superman arrives back, this is where the war just begins.

During this time he is reunited with the Justice League and from there went to the press to tell citizens they will deal with the rouge superhumans. Although there were many who didn’t believe him, including Batman.

“They no longer fight for the right. They fight simply to fight, their only foes each other.”

At this time I feel an abandonment from Batman. Even a little betrayed. I didn’t understand why he was being this way. But at the same he made good points. Superman had abandoned everyone when they needed him the most. Batman stayed and fought and did what he could. When later he is seen working with Lex Luthor against Superman and his teammates I knew there had to be a reason.

Lex was creating his own army with Billy Batson as his lead. Lex is raising him, brainwashing him so that Billy cannot utter the word Shazam which would turn him into Captain Marvel. Lex wanted to use Billy to his disposal. Using Billy’s own fear against him. Then Batman stops him and attacks Lex and his team. Batman is trying to run after Billy and explain to him what Lex has done. Billy then runs into the glass containing the worms in which Lex used to brainwash him. Scared, Billy says Shazam and with a loud bang Captain Marvel is gone.

Meanwhile a prison that Superman has created and put in all who wouldn’t follow his lead our going crazy. People are starting to kill each other and seek havoc. Wonder Woman prepares for battle, for war but Superman doesn’t agree. He doesn’t believe in killing, it goes against his belief of protecting others. In this fleeting moment Wonder Woman kisses Superman and takes the reins to lead and goes off to battle.

When Superman pleads for Batman’s help to see his way he is informed of Captain Marvel’s return. Superman takes off before Captain Marvel does any damage with his brainwashed mind, but it’s too late. Lighting has already strike down allowing all those imprisoned to escape and begin to engage in battle. Armageddon has arrived and Superman and Captain Marvel are right in the middle.

Captain Marvel

During this battle the Secretary of defense took upon himself to end this war. He ordered a nuclear attack that was able to destroy all meta-human life except Superman’s. Superman is in a battle all on his own with Captain Marvel. Marvel has this sinister smile on his face the whole time. Mocking Superman in what’s he’s doing or trying to do.

“You can see that, can’t you? Every choice I’ve made so far has brought us here–has been wrong!”                                                                                               -Superman

Superman tried going into this war with his boy scout mentality, but with no avail. What it got him was this war. Superman was the start of it, and now Captain Marvel who’s out beating him is the only one that can end it. Superman finally gets of hold of Captain Marvel, explaining to him what’s going on and that he needs his help to fight, to stop the war. Turning back to Billy he listens, only Billy can make the decision for the world it was only fair, he’s lived in both worlds. With tears streaming down his face he understands and makes the decision he has to make. With one word spoken it is done; followed by thunder and an explosion. Judgement has been made. In anger, Superman attacks Metropolis until Norman the one who’s been guided through this whole situation steps out and talks to him. Convinces him that Superman needs to forgive himself for what happened and it is him who needs to stand up and make the world better again.

Kingdom Come has everything a great comic needs. It has a beautiful written story and amazing art. Alex Ross portrays every character in intricate detail. I found this story so compelling and so real. I love how they used the bible in reference to the events that were happening. It’s a story of power and wiliness, and growing into the new decade. Superman couldn’t do this, and that’s why so many were against him, he couldn’t follow with the times. Wonder Woman, took charge, wasn’t afraid of what needed to be done. Batman…well he’s Batman, he was sneaky and fought the world the only way he knew how to; by force. Overall I found this story heartbreaking and mind blowing and I recommend to all who want a great read.

This is Kay G. Over and out.

The F*^*ing Rat Queens!

This is D.C., here to throw down on probably one of the oddest choices of comic I picked up: Rat Queens, by Image Comics.

I came across Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery a month ago at Barnes & Noble and was perplexed. Fantasy, especially of the “Lord of the Rings” style was never my cup of tea. But then I said, “To hell with it,” and decided to broaden my horizons.

Rat Queens is a fantasy-comedy about a quartet of women in a village called Palisade: Hannah, a mage; Violet, a sword-slinging dwarf; Dee, a human cleric; and Betty, wily smidgen…I don’t even know what a smidgen is.  All I know is it’s smaller than a dwarf.

So here’s my opinion of this book:

Da good stuff

Volume 1 of Rat Queens hits the ground running in terms of comedy and action. There seriously are no dull moments, as written by Kurtis J. Weibe.

The four protagonists are the epitome of girl power. Each of them are sassy, powerful, and intelligent women who clearly need no man to help them. My personal favorites were Hannah and Violet. Hannah is just so full of sass and, even among her teammates in the Rat Queens, she is so sure of herself and doesn’t give a care how (most) people see her. Hannah’s personality is so strong, yes you can see her fragile side when she interacts with Sawyer

I’m also a bit biased, because I’ve always had a thing for mages in video games, a la Final Fantasy:

Damn, that sass…

Violet showed herself to have a somewhat stronger moral compass than the other Rat Queens…or at least somewhat more honorable. She is a brash character that seems to have a chip on her shoulder (as well as a sensible head there), buther short interaction with the most important person in her life adds an interesting side to the otherwise harsh dwarf.

Awww…look at them argue…

Dee surprised me the most of the four protagonists. Her character design gave me the impression that she’d be some sort of wild animal, or even something sultry. Towards the end of Volume 1, we see that Dee has such an introverted personality that it makes communicating with her awkward. It was a refreshing turn in the end of the book.

 

Got game?

Betty…She has more depth to her than I thought at the end of this volume. She honestly annoyed me with her somewhat adolescent behavior (part of her quirks, so it’s purely my opinion), but her interaction with a potential love interest shows that even this carefree smidgen can have moments of uncertainty and sadness. She’s much smarter than she appears, and for an investigator like me…I find it extremely appealing.

 

No, she ain’t!

Rat Queens did well shed some light on the many characters without having to be blatant about character history. The snippets provided made me wonder what those moments meant, and made me realize that there is more to see about each character.

The interactions between the Rat Queens themselves was very fluid and natural. How each woman treated the other when they interacted was very genuine.

Roc Upchurch’s art is done very well. I can’t find much to describe it, except that it’s crisp, clean, and fits the tone and genre of a fantasy-comedy. The body parts aren’t drawn out of proportion, aside from the orcs and smidgens–which were meant to be so. But the body proportions look appropriate in general.

The best thing to me about Rat Queens is that the four protagonist aren’t unbeatable. They’re not so badass that they can just defeat anyone easily. The Rat Queens aren’t perfect in their teamwork, such as when Hannah tried to a different tactic than what the other three proposed. And she gets her arm crushed as a result:

…See where lack of teamwork gets you?

To me, it’s more enjoyable to see a team that NOT perfect, one that can make serious mistakes. A team that actually needs each other to succeed (none of that “friendship makes us strong!” nonsense you see in manga/anime).

Da not-so-good stuff

First beef:

This will sound prudish of me, but my biggest beef with Rat Queens was the abundant profanity. I have no qualms about profanity (and indulge in it often), but I felt that there was too much profanity in these first five issues. Not only were some of the choices of words weird (“shitcakes,” “fucktarts?”), but the sheer amount distracted me to the point that it wasn’t always funny.

Okay…this was funny.

Second beef:

I’ve always had a dislike of mainstream media including drugs in their stories. To me, a lot writers/artists only include drugs to cater to a modern audience like ours, or because they just believe it’s a normal thing to do now. Like all things, I feel even drugs has its place in a story for a particular reason. In Rat Queens, I feel it’s there just because. It’s an unnecessary and callous element to have in there.

….Hm…

Third beef:

While Violet, Hannah, and Betty each had the spotlight in their own ways, I felt that Dee received far less. Nothing about her really stood out to me, aside from her surprisingly introverted personality. That was enjoyable to see of Dee. The fortunate part was that the end of Volume 1 very much alluded to adventures dealing with a figure related to Dee’s past.

Fourth beef:

Oddly enough, there were ZERO captions in this book. Not even a “Meanwhile…”

I look at captions as the writer exercising their literary skill to help the reader understand what is going on. It’s not mandatory, as Rat Queens has clearly shown, but it IS an effective literary device. What would happen if no character is speaking, and they’re lost in their own thoughts or feelings? Wouldn’t captions help the reader to understand what the characters are experiencing? Sometimes body language is insufficient.

Does the writer have no skill in caption writing? I wonder.

(If you want to see how well a literary device captions are, you can read my blog on Miracleman.)

The creative team could and should exercise their literary chops beyond just character speech. We’ll just have to see in later issues how the writer tackle this.

Recap

Rat Queens, Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery is a lavish romp in a fantasy world the features a strong cast and very strong women. The protagonists, and even several supporting characters, received some spotlight into their behaviors, histories, and–perhaps most importantly–their personalities. Each character had his or her own quirks that set them apart from the next character, which left me very pleased and hungry to know more about them.

For RPG or MMORPG fans, this comics reads and performs almost like those type of games, with the clear battle classes, and how certain skills and abilities are indicative of those classes. It’s a treat.

While the four main characters were clearly 3-dimensional, I felt there were unnecessary elements in this story, especially in terms of drug use and an inordinate amount of profanity that detracted from an otherwise funny and exciting story. Whether that will distract YOU, however, is a matter of opinion.

After what I heard from the creative team at Wondercon, I think I’ll buy Volume 2 of Rat Queens, just to see if gets better. All in all, this book has more than earned another shot.

END THROWDOWN!

The Wonders of Miracleman

This is D.C.. The good Gods at my job have given me some real downtime to give you another throwdown on something that had intrigued me as a child, yet it took me nearly 20 years to grab:

Miracleman, originally called Marvelman, debuted from the United Kingdom in the early 1950s as a stereotypical superhero of that era. You know that era, with hokey word phrases (“Holy Macaroni!”) and kooky villains and such.

By uttering a magic word (“Kimota,” backwards for “atomik”…or “atomic,” heh), Michael Moran transformed into a superpowered form with superhuman strength, durability, and flight. Assisting Marvelman on his adventures were two similarly powered youths, Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman, all of whom were given their powers by some foreign being.

He sounds a bit similar to another marvel who transforms with a magic word, eh?

Say the magic word, Batson…COPYCAT!

In the 1980s, Eclipse Comics decided to bring back Marvelman as Miracleman  in real time (didn’t want Marvel Comics pissing down their necks). The 80s brought about a truly disturbing turn to Miracleman’s universe, from the Miracleman Family’s individual and shared origins, down to the very definition of a superhero and his efforts to build a better world.

I decided to read Miracleman, because…well, frankly, I’ve read about Miracleman in Wizard (anyone remember that magazine) and Wikipedia entries on the character, and was very drawn to learning more about him.

An Assessment

Like any good book, Marvelman is a litany of literary beauty.

Book One, A Dream of Flying, begins as aptly named–with a dream of flying, that becomes a nightmarish foreshadowing of events past and future. The first book covers Michael Moran as a sad, weak man who is unhappy with his role in life, especially in comparison with his wife, Liz. When he rediscovers his identity as Miracleman, all well, as if Mike’s passion were restored.

Miracleman_1_Preview_3-600x911

 

But that discovery quickly turns dark as we learn the true depths of the Miracleman family’s history, their abilities (particularly when compared with those between Miracleman and an adult Kid Miracleman), but also what a hero does when faced with the revelations of his life.

Alan Moore did a fantastic job foreshadowing and relating the recurring dream Mickey Moran has with what it means for his true origins. I was perplexed by the dream Moran suffered for much of his adult life. But I was enthralled by the script, not just in Book One, but throughout the entire revival. The truth of it was so sinister.

As soon as Miracleman discovers his origins, the book hits the ground running. We see Miracleman’s former sidekick, Kid Miracleman, and how he chooses his own murderous path in life, and how he takes Miracleman’s return.

…He doesn’t take it well…

The striking differences between the two men’s powers shows that Miracleman himself has abilities he has yet to tap. The disappointing part is that, by the end of Book Three, Miracleman doesn’t seem to explore those powers past his initial skill set.

We also see who actually created the Miracleman, and how the technology used to make him affects the world.

The most disturbing part of Miracleman was, once he discovered his true origins, a line is quickly drawn between Miracleman and Mike Moran. Moran gradually begins to withdraw from himself and life in general, while Miracleman no longer sees himself as even human. Throughout Book Two and Book Three, he continuously calls himself and others like him a god. Miracleman and his group eventually take over the world, even going so far as to support a eugenics program by Miraclewoman as her own form of “love” to make the humans “special.”

You can see where that goes.

Book Three is chop full of mythological imagery–Roman mythology–which is written so beautifully. From there, we see how Miracleman eventually sets himself away from his humanity, but suffers a great deal as a result. His wife leaves him; his daughter leaves him (for a time). It’s sad, because Miracleman seems more lonely than ever by the end, even with his Pantheon of superhumans and aliens by his side.

He’s simply left wanting at the end, though it’s apparent that by then, he’s forgotten his core being.

My most favorite aspect of Marvelman was that it read like a book. A book without pictures. The art served its purposes well, but even without most of the art, the words paint a sufficient picture. Observe:
I find it surprising that I haven’t seen writing like that in a comic in ages. A book so lush with similes, metaphors, and other skills that give life to a book beyond that of the pictures. The words help you feel what is happening, not just reading what IS happening. More often than not, I feel that’s a skill not utilized enough among many writers today.

The art and writing are all things. They are beautiful, such as when Liz and Miracleman have sex (not necessarily Miracleman’s scrawny body, haha, but I digress).

They are ugly, such as the very graphic depiction of Liz’s going through labor.

They are disturbing, when Miraclewoman describes her own sordid background to the Morans.

They are heinous, such as when we see Kid Miracleman’s razing of London.

It is sad, when we see how much more pathetic Michael Moran becomes, even to his suicide.

Did I spoil that? Not exactly. It’s simple, and powerful, and still doesn’t result in Miracleman’s death. How? You’d have to read and see how that happens.

I highly recommend this series for anyone interested in a truly disturbing and captivating journey through a hero’s life that pushes the artistic and literary limits.

END THROWNDOWN.

You Feelin’ the Darkseid?

Hey, all. This is D.C. back for another throw down on some thoughts regarding an interesting issue.

I was on Facebook one day, stalking around a comic book page…either Newsrama or All Things Marvel or DC–the latter of which I dropped because I just couldn’t stand the Deadpool oversaturation…A person made a complaint about this comic series:

Earth 2: World’s End. Time for a crash course:

On Earth 2 lives alternate versions of the mainstream DC Universe heroes. The DC New 52 Earth 2 series sees the rise of a new group of heroes–known as “wonders” on this world–after the deaths of Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman during an invasion by Darkseid and his forces from Apokalips. Earth 2: World’s End is just that: the end of the world of Earth 2, when Darkseid returns to reap the resources of this world.

The story is gripping, because it’s title is literal in every sense. These heroes lose the battle.

Correction: they lose the war.

And for some reason, this person on Facebook complained. His rationale for World’s End being a bad story seemed to be rooted in the fact that “Darkseid just gets away with everything.” This person took issue with fact that superheroes aren’t winning.

I wrote back to that person, but I decided to expand on my thoughts here.

My rebuttal to such a complaint is simple: “So what?”

I believed that the Wonders losing against Darkseid made perfect, rational sense. Let’s see:

1. Most obvious reason the Wonders lose:

DARKSEID IS.

It’s freakin’ DARKSEID. Lord of Apokalips, the DCU’s equivalent of Thanos. A sinister, megalomaniacal, and immensely powerful god. Darkseid is quite possibly the most powerful god from Apokalips, if not the most powerful of all of the New Gods. A god with, one can only assume, centuries, if not millennia, of life and battle experience. His Omega Beams alone disintegrates his opponents.

This man is calling SUPERMAN an insect. Let that sink in.

To Darkseid (or Uxas, if you’re looking to be intimate with him), his will is the way. His command of Apokalips and its citizens are absolute–barring the occasional subversive and rebels.

On the other hand, we have these people:

2. Next reason why the Wonders lose:

The new Wonders of Earth 2. It’s important to stress the key word, NEW. Let’s flesh these out:

  • Huntress (Helena Wayne, formerly Robin) and Power Girl (Superman’s cousin/adopted daughter, Kara Zor-L…or is it Zor-El? I forget these days) are the only veterans of the Wonders, having just returned to Earth 2 by the time Darkseid comes to reap the world.
    • How can a human girl possibly hope to content with godly forces? Or a young Kryptonian not fully matured in power, and so reliant on the sun’s rays for power?
  • Jay Garrick, the Flash, was an aimless college student who gained the powers of a dying Greek god. He is a staunch optimist, and perhaps the most heroic of the group.
    • Can you possibly expect a boy still learning to manage his powers to outrun and outwit a planet of murderous invaders?
  • Alan Scott is the Green Lantern, the latest avatar of the plant-life force, the Green. He is arguably the most powerful Wonder to surface in the new age.
    • The Green Lantern, for all his power, is still new to it and his true potential. Even if he can realize reach his potential, is it enough to fell Darkseid, let alone stave off the consumption of his world?
  • Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders-Munoz) is our very own winged Tomb Raider. She is our Icarus of the story, but never too audacious to go beyond her place.
    • What can a winged gunslinger possibly hope to achieve in a war with gods, whose energy beams and weapons can outrun and out-fly her?
  • Khalid Ben-Hassin is Dr. Fate, an archaeologist who becomes the tortured host of the domineering helm of Nabu to wield vast reserves of magic.
    • Dr. Fate’s internal struggles against his host are a severe detriment to the fulfillment of his powers and a liability in this war. What good is all-powerful magic when you cannot even achieve synergy within yourself?
  • The second Batman is Thomas Wayne, who uses the mind-addling drug Miraclo to wage his own vigilantism on crime in the name of his late son.
  • Val-Zod is the second Superman, with all his power curtailed in favor of pacifism.
  • The Red Tornado is a wind-manipulating construct which houses the mind and soul of Lois Lane, who died during Darkseid’s first invasion.

The vast majority of these heroes are, again, nascent. They are discovering their abilities, and discovering the nuances of their powers, as well as their new place in a post-invasion Earth. How, then, can these Wonders, in trying to master their own abilities and place, possibly hope to contend with a malevolent force like Darkseid and his invaders?

Well, they sure as hell try.

Not afraid to hit a lady, eh?

The Wonders try valiantly to stop the Darkseid’s invasion. I very much enjoyed watching the Wonders and the World Army try everything and anything to save their people and their world, even when faced with moments of treachery from within. The heroism of the Wonders and a small handful of humans is the among the brightest of any seen.

At some point, though, the war stops being a matter of trying to win. It becomes a matter of how not to lose. That is when you can feel and see the futility of Earth’s efforts. It’s disconcerting and endearing at the same time.

The Wonders manage to win small defeats in this massive war, but the Wonders are, including new alliances, only about 15-20 individuals.

Twenty tired individuals who have had so little time to fully realize their abilities and strengths, against thousands of invading parademons, and perhaps a dozen warring gods. And Darkseid.

Val-Zod probably would have been Earth 2’s best bet for survival, but he lacks the killer instinct–let alone any battle instinct–and the proper power levels, to help turn the tide. Pacifism in one so powerful is an endearing quality, but not an effective quality in a world-ending war.

Val-Zod: Super-Pacifist

Is this person’s complaint a valid reason to find this book lacking merit? Absolutely not, I think. All things considered, I enjoyed Earth 2: World’s End. It does, however, suffer from what I’ve seen from other large events with a large amount of characters doing a large amount of things at once: the story gets a little disjointed. But perhaps that’s how the story was supposed to be, yes? To have the reader feel as jumbled as you’d expect humans–no matter how empowered–to feel when their world is literally falling apart at the seams?

If that’s the case, I’d really have to commend Marguerite Bennett, Mike Johnson, and Daniel H. Wilson on their efforts.

So, again, I ask…how can one expect such a lofty effort from such righteous, yet learning, individuals? Should the Wonders and World Army been able to defeat Darkseid and to prevent Apokalips consuming their world?

You read it and tell me which option makes more sense.

END THROWDOWN.

Oh, the (In)humanity!

D.C. here for another throwdown. I had hoped to finish this first, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this crew:

I haven’t watched Marvel’s show “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” yet to see the difference (still on my Netflix queue), but meet the original Inhumans.

The Inhumans are just another sub-species of humans that came about centuries ago as a result of genetic tampering and lofty conquest goals by the alien Kree Empire. While they have mostly sequested and secluded themselves from the rest of humanity (and mutantdom…and Atlanteans), the Inhumans have a great deal of history with the Fantastic Four and Avengers (of which Crystal was a member). In this 1998 12-part graphic novel written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Jae Lee, we get a concise and comprehensive look at just who and what the Inhumans are…both to themselves and to the rest of the world.

The Good

Props to the art

Simply put: I love this graphic novel. the dark tone of the art by Jae Lee is fantastic. I couldn’t believe that the art is 18 years old. It almost disgusts me that the art I’ve seen out of comics pale in comparison to that of Jae Lee.

For example:

Karnak: the seer of all flaws

Jae Lee’s penciling of the characters in Inhumans is well proportioned, even with a species of people with wildly different mutations. Facial expressions were very different for many of the characters I observed, and those expressions gave each character a distinct identity.

Most importantly, to me, Lee’s art fit perfectly with Jenkin’s writing for many of the characters. Gorgon’s gruff and pugnacious attitude was depicted well in his physical demeanor; even when he was humbled, the art conveyed Gorgon’s diminished appearance. Karak’s stoice face and poise go hand-in-hand with his deliberate speech. Maximus…oh, we’ll go into that a bit.  🙂

But you get the point. You FEEL the emotions on the faces and bodies of these characters.

I was captivated by the coloring provided by Dave and Dan Kemp and Avalon Studios (which I’m NOT familiar with). The colors showed great detail whenever Karnak of the royal family seemed to use his powers of detecting the flaw in all things. But that is just one such example.

The synthesis of pencils and colors, as dark as they are, shine brightly in the Inhumans. It is my belief that colors set the tone of the story, and “Inhumans” is a great example.

Props to the writing…

I thoroughly enjoyed “Inhumans” because Paul Jenkins explored not just the royal family of the Inhumans, but also several citizens of Attilan. Life is given to the Inhuman royal family, the next generation of Inhumans, and the humans who lead the attack on the Inhumans.

I was thoroughly pleased with Jenkins’ depiction of Maximus in particular. With Jae Lee’s art, we get the perfect picture of the mad Inhuman prince. And the term “mad” is seen on Maximus’ face and in his speech in so many ways. We see the generic “mad” when Maximus’ body is flailing about while he speaks nonsensically:

We also see how mad–ANGRY–Maximus is at his brother and the Inhumans in general, and how that drives his motives. Maximus’ sticking his tongue out is another beautiful touch to his madness. I couldn’t tell if he was angry, mentally ill, or simply sadistic at those moments. It was a thrill.

Another pleasing inclusion in Inhumans is that we get a tour of just how the Inhuman pet Lockjaw thinks and what he thinks about. What does a dog think about the conspiracies and events threatening to destroy the Inhumans? Does he care? Does he even understand? You get a delightful experience with Lockjaw, even among the chaos befalling the Inhumans.

The questions Jenkins captions throughout the story makes you really want to seek the answers. They are well written questions that deal with morality, decisions, indecision, and the consequences with which you find your answers to these questions.

From the beginning of the story, and especially towards the end, we are forced to question just who Black Bolt is, and just how do he choose to rule over the Inhumans. What does he do to safeguard his people from a “primitive” world that seeks only to reap their existence? When he seems defiant, content to observe his people’s annihilation, how are we supposed to see Black Bolt? He surprises even me at the end, especially with how he treats Maximus, his brother and antagonists. We see so many emotions in the silent king that speaks more than anyone’s in this saga.

Black Bolt: The man with the plan…or is he?

Nonetheless, we see similar aspects throughout this saga, and with so many other characters. We see how conflicted the old and young are, and how determined and heroic and tired many of the characters can be.

The Bad

Hm…Hmmm…HHHMMMMMMMM….

You know what? In my opinion, there is very little I found bad in this story. If I have even one beef, it’s regarding Jenkins’ writing on Triton.

Specifically, his speech patterns.

Jenkins did a fine job having many of the character orate in a manner that is characteristic of them. Gorgon had his own way of speaking, as did Medusa, and (of course) Maximus. Even Black Bolt had a taciturn, yet characteristic, speech form.

Triton, however, seemed to have an inconsistent speech pattern throughout. Triton’s speech in issue #1 was addled and unfocused:

“If it pleasing your majesty… This poor being am poor foolish. I humble apologize.”

–Triton, when speaking to Medusa.

His was clearly distinct, almost like he lacked intelligence. However, in issue #9, in which Triton’s character is highlighted, his speech is starkly different:

“…And I bring the personal note from King Black Bolt, together with regards and respect from all people of our great city to our Atlantean cousins.”

–Triton, when speaking to Namor.

As soon as Triton spoke in issue #9, I couldn’t help but feel confused. What happened? Why is he so eloquent, so articulate? Why does he sound UNLIKE Triton?

From this issue to the end of the series, Triton spoke in the same regal manner, without justification for the change. The lack of consistency is too stark to have left alone without a reason.

It’s no lie that to continue with Triton’s original speech pattern could have been a challenge, but that does not justify an unexplained change. I was fine with Triton’s more complicated speech because it set him even further apart from his cousins in the royal family, just as much as his physical characteristics. To change Triton’s speech midway through to something so similar to the others diminished his individuality a bit.

Recap

“Inhumans” is a great and satisfying story that covers so many aspects.

And in this story, we see that the Inhumans really are just like us, though in my opinion, they are more pure and almost more innocent. We see that even Inhumans are prejudiced against one another, that they are, in their own way, racist against themselves and the Alpha Primitives that were their slaves. Even boisterous commanding soldiers like Gorgon can be humbled and shattered at the decisions (or lack thereof) they have to endure.

We see not just the prejudices the Inhumans place on one another, but the prejudices directed towards them by the human world. It is a trait we have seen in years, decades, and centuries past in human history. It is a cautionary tale of that we are doomed to repeat these prejudices whenever we meet “the other.”

Most strikingly, we get a true understanding of how heavy the crown Black Bolt wears. How, in spite of his regal aire, Black Bolt’s own decisions tear at him more than the insults and condemnations of his people. We see the true price of the crown.

If you’re looking for something new to read, pick up this oldie. For Marvel fans who have little knowledge of the Inhumans and want to read an in-depth storyline that highlights the various characters, give this book a read.

And besides…you people who like to read comics before a movie, “Inhumans” comes out in theaters in about 3 years. So you have no excuse to get a great look into one of Marvel’s most isolated people.

END THROWDOWN!

“Walking Dead”

Walking Dead Season 6

Hey everybody so this is Kay G. coming at you to share some of my thoughts for the day. So today I will be discussing an episode of the “Walking Dead”. While doing my laundry I got to play catch up with one of my favorite and most hottest series on television. Now those of you who read the comics know that creators of the show don’t follow it exactly and all together even change some things all around. Now its definitely on my list of what to read along with the pile of books and comics stacked next to me that’s taking over most of my floor. Today I’ll be talking about “The Next World” of the current episodes of the season.

“The Next World”

Now for starters on this episode…..let me just say “holy shit” not only did so much go down in the previous episode if any of you were like me you held your breath until Carl grabbed Rick’s hand. So it starts off with…well like a normal day…well as normal as you can when you have walkers outside your home. Everything seems fine there’s music playing, Michonne is sporting a robe and towel after a nice shower, Rick and Carl share a laugh…all seems good with the world. Daryl and Rick make a run, and in doing so find this massive truck worth of food, YES! their saved they no longer have to worry about starving….so it seemed. Here we meet Jesus…a well groomed man who tricks them, steals their keys and takes the truck for himself. And of course that doesn’t play well with Rick and Daryl. A character by the way in case you don’t know much about the comics..is actually in them.

After all these exchanges and punches and threats, the truck eventually runs into the lake and nobody gets the food. Now since this guy “saves” Daryl’s life, Rick decides to take him back to Alexandria after he’s been knocked out by the truck. Now obviously a lot more went down with this episode. We even saw Diane, which was so heartbreaking watching her son kill her. He’s been tracking her down feeling it was the right thing to do and Carl even led her to Michonne and him. I feel like overall this episode gave a sense of unity. That the community has now formed themselves with Ricks group as a family. A family that would battle and die together to protect one another. Gives us hope, that we’re going rebuild and make it.

But back to my holy shit moment from earlier…..Rick and Michonne! OMG!!

It was such a perfect moment they were talking about their day and Judith. He just hands her these mints to compromise the fact that he didn’t get her toothpaste and they have this moment and hold hands…and he just kisses her. Now I’ve had moments where I’ve jumped out of my seat excited but this was just such a beautiful moment, all I could think of was…yes of course..it makes perfect sense. It was something that has been there all along. These two people who already love each other, she loves his kids, they’ve been through hell and back with each other..why not be together? Has to be one of my favorite moments on T.V with this show…and believe there’s a lot I like about this show. Now again those of you who read the comics know this doesn’t happen. But for those can appreciate both…man this so awesome and I hope for the best. Now since Ricks relationships don’t always pan out too well hopefully this one can be an exception.

Yay!!!

But of course like all beautiful moments on the “Walking Dead” because lets face its a show about death and a world facing it; the blissful moment gets ruined….by Jesus.

Fuck!

And that is were this one leaves off. Great isn’t? True walking dead fashion. But see characters are perfect together. Well that’s all I have for you guys tonight. Look forward to sharing more with you.

Over and out.

Kay G.