Monthly Archives: August, 2016

Blue Beetle: Rebirth

“You’re playing with magic.”

Welcome all, this is D.C. here to throw down on my thoughts off DC’s Blue Beetle: Rebirth.

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Lesson!

In DC’s reboot-into-non-reboot Rebirth, the Blue Beetle is the identity shared by two people: Ted Kord, inventor and head of Kord Industries; and Jaime Reyes, whose body houses an apparently alien scarab that enables various technological abilities.

I’ve never been much of a Blue Beetle fan, but I’m more familiar with the characters prior to the New 52. Unfortunately, Ted Kord’s most known moment was his investigation that ended in his epic and simple death in the prelude to Infinite Crisis. 

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Bang…*sniff*

Highlights

This issue left me confused with Ted Kord’s appearance. The first and last time I saw Kord–the first and last time anyone saw him, perhaps–was during the Forever Evil event (a recommended read). Ted was college student at that time, and fairly youthful with an air of defiance in him. In DC Universe: Rebirth, Ted looks much older than he should. He looked a little too close to his pre-Flashpoint, pre-death incarnation for such a short time passing since Forever Evil.

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New 52 Ted…

 

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…into Rebirth Ted?

What I did like from the Rebirth one-shot was that Ted came off as somewhat disturbing. At least to me. He appeared to have an obsession and was in no effort to help Jaime with freeing himself from the scarab in his spine.

Fast forward to this issue, and I was left underwhelmed.

Writer Keith Giffen doesn’t pace what was supposed to be an introduction into the world of Blue Beetle very well. Giffen quickly and effectively relays the affection between Jaime and his family, but doesn’t give me any anticipation for the upcoming story. The two villains introduced (they appear more like hired thugs towards the end) were quirky, but it wasn’t anything that made me want to see more of them.

The relationship between Ted and Jaime is somewhat antagonistic, but beyond that, there’s not much I get from the protagonists of this series. Giffen tells why Reyes and Kord are working together in the first place–not that it hadn’t already been shared in Rebirth–but I’m still confused as to Ted’s personal motivations of heroism and with Reyes in particular. Again, in Ted’s last appearance, he wasn’t a hero before. Not that I know of, at least.

So…wouldn’t one need motivation for this change?

That simple thing would probably make this book more appealing. Nothing shown that makes me think, “Yeah, I want to see where this goes!”

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Another issue: Dr. Fate’s appearance. To be exact, Dr. Fate’s entrance is almost part and parcel to his appearance in the Rebirth one-shot. Now…if I wanted to see the same character make the same entrance, and say the same thing without anything new or interesting added, why would I want to waste money on this book? Those few panels were a complete waste.

That’s the biggest problem I had with this inaugural issue to Blue Beetle. It didn’t really tell me anything.

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I was left a bit iffy by the art done by  Scott Kolins and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing substantial. I liked how some of the character designs were done, but I really didn’t like many panels where Jaime was portrayed. He looked more cartoonish than a technological/alien wonder. I felt that Kolin’s pencils were inconsistent more often than not.

On the upside, I enjoyed Fajardo’s coloring. There’s not much I have to say there. It simply worked for the feel of the book.

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Cartoon Blue Beetle…

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…and cool Blue Beetle

Recap

I didn’t have many good feelings about Blue Beetle: Rebirth. It feels like Keith Giffen rushed this story, introducing characters without much impact, quirky but underwhelming villains, a vague threat, a vaguely fleshed-out relationship between Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes, and a rushed introduction of Dr. Fate that really was done before.

Nothing about this introduced anything of particular interest. If not for the fact that the magical aspects of the scarab , there would be absolutely nothing about this series that would compel me to stick with it. Even then, I’m not sure I will invest. Time and money will tell.

END THROWDOWN.

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Daredevil Annual #1

“What did it sound like?”

Salve, all you beautiful people!

(That’s “Hello” in Latin…heh.)

This is D.C. here to throw down on one of the books I read this week: Marvel’s Daredevil Annual #1.

First off, I’ll throw major props to artist Skottie Young for this hilariously cute variant cover. It doesn’t matter what he’s drawing, whether it’s superheroes, fantasy, or even something outlandishly vulgar like I Hate Fairyland (please read that), Young’s art always has a youthful feel.

Now, back to the content of this one-shot annual…

Kay read this before me, knowing that she’s not too familiar with Daredevil, and even less familiar with the primary character solicited in this book, Echo (whom you might remember from my favorable review before). When we discussed this book a couple of weeks ago, she pretty much ripped it apart in everything, art and dialogue.

Since Kay does have a degree in film and media studies (GO TITANS!), I took her assessment with some weight. With my more extensive knowledge of comics, and my familiarity with both Daredevil and Echo, I wanted to see what I thought of this book.

I’m with Kay.

The Story?

How do I say this…

The main story is crap. Pure, unadulterated crap. It’d been a while since I thought a book was a complete waste of money. A waste of five dollars on a comic? That is much worse.

For anyone who’s read Moon Knight in the last 4-5 years, you’d know that Maya Lopez, aka Echo (aka Ronin, when she first joined the New Avengers…it was awesome!), was killed by Count Nefaria. She’s died before in the first volume of New Avengers, but her resurrection was easily explained by way of that pesky ninja group, the Hand.

Nothing angers me more than a writer like Charles Soule reinforcing my reasons for disliking him. I hated his take on the Inhumans, and his current run on Daredevil already had me iffy, but this annual…what the hell was he thinking?

You don’t take a character who was very dead some years ago, and introduce her, alive and well, without any sort of of credible reason. Never. All we get from Soule is this:

(For those of you who can’t read the text well, my complaint is on, “Similarly mysterious circumstances have lead to the resurrection of [Echo]…”)

I’m sorry, but as a person who loves reason in his fiction, you don’t piss me off by just throw in an “Oh, by the way” comment to excuse a dead character being alive. It’s bad enough that the mechanism of Dardevil making everyone forget his identity hasn’t be revealed, but on what planet can Soule justify Echo’s resurrection with a stupid, single sentence?!

Even worse, none of this was addressed in the story presented. This already set a terrible tone.

The rest of the first story was an abomination. The antagonist, Ulysses Klaw appears out of nowhere, without warning, and without any good characterization on his part. No actual dialogue between Klaw and Echo, or even Klaw and Daredevil. Klaw’s appears was akin to a commercial. A legit, 30-second commercial.

Soule’s intro page explicitly stated that Echo and Daredevil hadn’t crossed paths in some time…well, when they cross paths, why is there such a hollow dialogue between them? She had such a fierce love and devotion to Daredevil, and this is what Soule wrote them like? That’s the best he could do? No passion, passable familiarity, no internal dialogue by Echo when she sees Daredevil and she grabs onto him…

Did he even research these characters, or did he just go rogue like he does in Uncanny Inhumans? Is Soule just writing characters to meet deadlines? Because this ran as dull as his other books.

And the art…god. What piss poor art. I thought it looked familiar, and then I went back to the intro page and saw why: Vanesa Del Rey, the same artist who wrote an issue of Scarlet Witch’s current book. I critiqued her work before, but I’ll say it as I said before: Vanesa is a piss-poor artist for this genre. Observe.

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This isn’t working. Del Rey made a beautiful woman like Scarlet Witch ugly, and she does the same disservice to Echo. Echo is an attractive Native American, but Del Rey just fails horrendously at drawing faces. She can get the proportions of a body down, but…you can’t go far if you can’t do a face well.

And this is Klaw? Grown to massive proportions, yes, but…all squiggly, as if this is what personifies sound? I just can’t stand Del Rey’s take on any character.

The only thing I can praise in this story was the different coloring on the music notes to show which were committed by Klaw, versus those by Echo in her effort to save scores of people from Klaw. Other than that…absolute nothing worked in this tale.

“Fragments,” the second tale that covers known Daredevil character Melvin Potter,  Gladiator, was handled somewhat better by Roger McKenzie, and drawn better by Ben Torres. Torres’ art is nothing particularly special, but it’s pulp quality works for Daredevil’s world.

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Unfortunately, the story was just too fast paced for the short amount of pages provided. I feel that Torres could’ve written a more efficient tale of the tormented Gladiator and his relationship with Daredevil. But it is what it is.

Recap

Daredevil Annual #1 is a pure piece of crap and a waste of money. That is the beginning and end of it. I’m incredibly disappointed by Charles Soule’s take on Echo, and there’s plenty of sources with which he could have used to learn about both Echo and Klaw. Worse yet, you do NOT write about a character and just magically have her alive without some fleshed out reason. EVER. This was easily one of the worst resurrections I’ve seen…or not seen, since Soule couldn’t even respect his readership enough to address the how or why.

Vanesa Del Rey…I don’t know how she is getting work with such ugly art. Perhaps she’s not a terrible artist. But she certainly isn’t a good enough artist for Daredevil or Scarlet Witch.

END THROWDOWN.

Identity Crisis

Hello everyone, this Kay G. yet again with something else to talk about. Haven’t made my quota in a while so, I have a lot of catching up to do, ha.

So, I just finished reading multiple comics but the one I want to talk about today is,  “Identity Crisis” by Brad Meltzer, it’s an oldie but a goodie (well I suppose not that old, but still). I’ve been still trying to play catch up on all the comics I’ve been behind on, and still thanks to my partner my pile here keeps on growing. He’s definitely the go to person when it comes to comics; I like to refer to him as my human Wiki, believe me ask him anything (can’t promise it will be short or you’ll like the results though lol). As for me I do my best and enjoy the stories that I read which brings me back to my main topic at hand, “Identity Crisis.”

The only way I can keep describing this story is, well in lack of betters words; “this shit is so fucked up.” Let me explain to you what I mean, without giving too much away….I hope.  This story all starts when Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated man (a character I’m not very familiar with) is murdered in her own home.  This shakes up the entire superhero community, mourning for her lose they go in search of her killer. In doing so, a whole bunch of secrets are leaked out, and basically all hell breaks loose.

Elongated Man and wife Sue

The Funeral

I like the way this story unfolds, it’s like a mini mystery novel where a there’s a secret found out everywhere you turn and truth of past events come out to play. It’s like putting together a puzzle, but not knowing and trying to figure out what the final outcome will be. This story is phenomenal in its storytelling. Meltzer does a good job bringing to life these characters.  You feel for them, and go through the emotions with them. There was even a moment when I almost cried. All the characters are struggling within themselves on what is right and what is wrong. It is the first time, I’ve read or seen superhero’s really struggle with whom they are, what their identity is and if revenge is the right way to go. What I like most about this story is that you see heroes are not as black and white as they’re usually portrayed to be. As Green Arrow says more than once in this story is, “there’s a little bit of Bruce/Batman in all of us.” Meaning there’s a little bit of darkness in all of them.

“I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it, today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.” –Bruce Wayne

This comic is full of action, violence, grieving, sexual assault, lies and so much more. It’s so different than anything I’ve read.  It’s so disturbing that you can’t help but to keep reading, just to see what is about to happen next.  I love how the story is broken up so that each character is given their own time, to see what their struggle is in the world that they are in. We see these superhero’s flawed, and actually portrayed as real humans, other then what they’re portrayal to the whole world. I also like the way the comic written. Meltzer writes it like a script so that it reads like it’s a movie, with plot twists and dramatic realizations. The art work by Rags Morales, is also great with rich and bold colors, he does a great job spotlighting the main characters and shadowing the background characters when needed.

By far, the best part of this story is the ending. I was not expecting what happened at all. In the course of the story, the villain is never certain. They reveal one just to show that it could be another, all to find it out it was someone you would never expect. All the while so many lives were destroyed, lost and possibly even ruined. “Identity Crisis” is by far on one my top stories that need to be read, and it will not disappoint you. The whole thing is the mystery that is waiting to be solved, and you’ll enjoy figuring it out along the way. So pick it up and read it for yourself and you too will be saying, “how fucked up” this story really is.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Hello everyone this is Kay. G it’s been awhile I know but, life as always gets busy. At least I know my partner D.C has been keeping you plenty entertained.  Ok enough with that, lets get to the point.

Recently I got the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful experience of the release of new Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 & 2”. It was so nice being a part of something so magical again; it’s been over 10 years since the last book was released in 2007. Just give you all a small background about me; I’m a very big Harry Potter fan, so when I heard about this release I was ecstatic. A total Potterhead getting ready for the big day, and it was very much worth the wait. I ended up starting and finishing this book in a day. Not to fool you as anticipated and good as this book was, it wasn’t what I expected it to be.

Last scene from “Deathly Hallows part 2” (19 years later)

 

Pros:

First off let’s start off with the pros. As I opened this book I could almost taste the butterbeer, smell the sweets at Honeydukes and hear the roaring cheers of a Quidditch Match. I was like a kid, reminiscing in my childhood and remembering what it was like when I picked up each new book of the Harry Potter series.  Those of you who have read the entire series in full know that in the end of book seven it is 19 years later; well this is where this book picks up. We’re back on the Hogwarts express on platform 9 ¾ and the feeling I got reading that was comforting. Harry Potter to me was like, a security blanket, something that I could hold on to remember good I felt every time I finished a book. I must have read this series at least 10 times. My books are so worn out you can barely read the spine to them anymore. With all that said let’s get back to the story at hand. Harry, Hermione and Ron are still as glorious as ever but this is not their story. This story is about Albus Severus Potter, the youngest son of Harry and Ginny Potter. This story is his journey and his adventures with his own best friend. Albus feels like he lives in the shadows of who Harry is, and what he represents.  The son of the “boy who lived” isn’t easy and Albus has to find his own way.

“… And being alone — that’s so hard. I was alone. And it sent me to a truly dark place. For a long time. Tom Riddle was also a lonely child. You may not understand that, Harry, but I do …”   -Draco Malfoy

Harry, Albus and Ginny Potter (London Play)

The great part of this book is of course of seeing the gang back together again, all grown like me (ha), dealing with not only magical issues but real issues. They deal with issues such as raising their kids, doing their job and still trying to make their world safe for the wizards and muggles alike. This story still gives hope to the reader, still gives the reader something to hold on to, something to inspire to. It’s a magical journey that shifts through the fabric of time. We get to meet new characters and get introduced to new stories, along with reliving some historical moments in the Harry Potter world. This book like the rest of them teaches you lessons, such as love, friendship and what really matters most in the world. It teaches you that events, little or big all tie together for a reason in life and anything changed can come with drastic consequences.

“There is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.

–Dumbledore

 

Cons:

As for the cons, I was little disappointed that some of the characters weren’t in this book. Yes, I know that it’s based on a play so; I understand not all the characters can be seen. With that said, I was at least grateful for the ones that were mentioned, such as Neville.  I mean what happened to Luna, the rest of the Weasley gang, Hagrid, and not to mention Teddy (in case no one remembers is Lupin and Tonk’s kid that Harry is the Godfather of and taking care of)? Teddy was the one I really wanted to see in this new generation. Although, this is a whole new generation, it wasn’t about all of them. Like it was Harry’s story in the original, this story belongs to Albus. Stories can’t continue on forever and I know that, but I was really hoping there would be more to this then some play book. More than anything, I hoped for a novelization, a bigger story with just as much grace and impact as the first seven. This story to me, even though Rowling herself was a part of it, just read like a fanfiction. Don’t get me wrong I still have the book and will cherish it just like I do the rest, but with knowing this story could have been beyond epic it saddened me how small and short the story was. Plus knowing this will be it, this will be the last story according Rowling now there will be in the world of Harry Potter.

“Our journey has only just begun.” –Scorpius Malfoy

With all that said, this book is still a good read a book I would still recommend. It is filled with adventure, and it takes you on a whole different story then what you would expect to take. Sometimes prophecies and legends don’t end where you expect them too, and there is always a follower of dark magic to anticipate. So thank you J.K Rowling for giving me something beautiful to read, with amazing characters and for something to bring back hope into the world of literature. These characters will be remembered for generations to come, and her works will be relieved over and over again throughout the years. I am grateful for all of them.  Get some pumpkin juice for the kids and some butterbeer for the adults, grab some chocolate frogs and every flavor beans and get ready to take a journey with past, present and future to magical world of Harry Potter.

Your Lie in April

“We all need someone to kiss us goodbye.”

Hey, all. D.C. here for a throwdown, not on a comic, but on an anime.

My love affair with anime and manga has been a very long one, though not as long as my affair with comics. However, this anime caught my eye:

Your Lie in April is a series created by Naoshi Arakawa. Originally published as a manga in 2011, the anime series ran last March. Your Lie in April is the story of a famous young pianist named Kosei Arima who, while living a gray life, finds his existence once again colored when he meets a young violinist named Kaori Miyazono.

Highlights

Confession: I don’t enjoy romance, but I LOVE Japanese and Korean romance stories. I don’t know why, because they’re often too melodramatic, but I can’t help it. So it’s not a surprise that Your Lie in April captivated me.

The gripping story between Kosei and Kaori is only one small aspect of this anime’s charm. A great deal of of the anime developed not only Kaori and Kousei’s relationship–which appears initially platonic–but also Kousei’s struggle to understand himself, and to reconcile his present with his past. Many questions are addressed: Why did Kousei quit the piano? How did Kousei feel about his mother before and after her death? How did his mother feel about Kousei?

The soundtrack is beautiful, vibrant and inspirational; easily one of the biggest charms of this series. I can’t remember the last time I fell in love with music like this (having grown up playing several instruments). Throughout Your Lie in April, music means different things to the cast: a sense of release, a matter of course, an opponent, a friend, a battleground, communication…You peer into many of the characters’ psychology by this alone.

 

The series as a whole is a visual delight. There is undeniable beauty during the musical competitions, and there is plenty comedy between the four main characters. The shifts between ethereal, raucous, light-hearted, silly and somber makes this such a pleasant watch.

With a story like this, you will find your typical elements: friends who set up friends, friends falling for their childhood friends, a tragic romance. All typical and cheesy, yes, but this with its own endearing feel when looked at in its entirety.

And the ending? If you have a soul, you will certainly feel something. If not the ending, then how Kousei and Kaori’s struggle with themselves to the end, what the “lie in April” was, the final piece Kousei plays…each of these are powerful and entrancing.

Recap

Okay, enough rambling.

Your Lie in April. Even if you’re not an anime fan, a series with this much feeling, such potent repertoire of music that fits in every moment, desire, and even disappointment deserves everyone’s attention.

END THROWDOWN.

Nighthawk

Greetings, people. This is D.C. back for a throwdown on a Marvel piece.

Now, I understand the flack Marvel comics has had over the last year or so, especially with regards to its All-New, All-Different initiative. In spite of that, I try hard to give any book that interests me a shot. So when I hear there was a new Nighthawk series coming out, I had to check it out.

Who the **** is Nighthawk?

Haha. If you ask something that simple, you might get a complex answer. In the 616 universe, several versions of Nighthawk have surfaced since the 1960s Avengers run. This version, Kyle Richmond, starred in the Marvel Max version of the Squadron Supreme. It was there that the Batman-gone-wrong with a racist streak waged a violent war on crime. As the last survivor of his universe, Nighthawk and other “orphans” formed the newest iteration of the Squadron Supreme in the 616.

Why the flack for this series?

When word of Nighthawk floated the ‘net, I saw scores of people denouncing this series as inherently racist and forcing a political agenda.

It is my view that…there is NO comic book publisher that doesn’t have some sort of agenda. To complain about an agenda tells me that dissenters only complain because it’s something they don’t agree with, similar to the debate about Captain America and Hydra.

In an interview with the creative team, writer David Walker had a plan to address the sensitive racial and societal tensions that still live in our society today, and how a violent man like Nighthawk will fight this disease. Walker intended to write an angry Nighthawk who is at conflict with himself, struggling to reconcile his murderous crusade with the more pacifistic teachings of his parents.

Violence, deconstructing real life issues, and inner conflict and reflection? This story sounded promising, so what better way to see how it goes than to read?

Here’s where I got out of the first three issues.

The Art?

In a word: ugly.

In two words: ugly and inappropriate.

When you think of a violent Batman pastiche, you might expect something consistent with a crime-fighting or gritty book–dark colors, somber or tense atmosphere, art that just screams violence. Books like PunisherBatman: Arkham Asylum, Daredevil, and Sin City come to mind.

You get none of that feeling in this series. Ramon Villalobos draws a world that just looks cartoonish and in no way what I would expect a tense Chicago area to be. The colors by Tamra Bonvillain are just off-putting with a series of violence and dramatic tension. Even the blood is a cartoonish pink, rather than crimson or red. How can you take a violent series seriously when the blood spilled resembles pink Silly String or bubblegum?

 

I found many of Villalobos’ facial expressions to be inappropriate. Some characters who were attacked had expressions that didn’t reflect the acts or actions. A detective’s conversation with Nighthawk was terrible to read, just because of the expressions.

The most disappointing part is that the cover art is so, so much better than the interior art. I’ve enjoyed each cover I’ve seen, but it soured the experience even more once the book is opened. For example, the following cover: tense, dark, and colors resembling blood:

The Story?

It might be too soon to say, but David Walker has not delivered well on this series. We see tales of the violence and racial tensions, but it seems as if Nighthawk isn’t as concerned with those issues, aside from just taking on weapons sales. I don’t see any engaging dialogue or how Nighthawk sees the racism and tension in this new world he’s in, or how it might have mirrored his own. There’s so little introspection of the character.

Speaking of weak introspection…There’s very little in Nighthawk’s introspection of his actions versus the teachings by his parents. If he’s been at this for 8 months by the time the series starts, we should be getting an eyeful of his internal struggle. We get perhaps a page or two of it in one or two issues, but not much past that. That is not good building on this character that should be three-dimensional. So far, we just have violent, racist, vigilante. There’s been too little of Nighthawk’s philanthropic identity, so it feels you’re reading a book purely on Nighthawk, not of Kyle Richmond. If that is the focus, we should be getting some dialogue as to why, or how that affect Kyle’s social and personal lives.

THIS is the extent of his internal struggle…

I hate the cast. I can’t stand these characters. A story can’t go well with a shoddy cast. Nighthawk’s assistant, Tilda Johnson, is probably one of the most vapid characters I’ve seen. She has terrible and terribly consistent one-liners about wanting weapons, praising destruction, and the like. Her other quips are hardly worth reading, and that’s even worse. There is absolutely nothing engaging I got out of her. Again…vapid.

The villain of this arc, a serial killer called the Revelator, doesn’t even seem to be Nighthawk’s focus. He will talk about him, but it doesn’t even seem as if Nighthawk’s making an effort to hunt down this killer, because the Revelator is murdering white people. The dialogue doesn’t fit the effort in this book. I would like to see more of the Revelator’s psychology revealed, so we’d get a better feel of just who we’re experiencing.

The Verdict?

The Nighthawk series deserves plenty of flack. Writer David Walker has so far failed to deliver on an engaging crimefighter and an engaging environment. The issues Walker promised are addressed, but with little strength, emotion, or evaluation. The protagonist of the series is likewise not evaluated well, even in these beginning issues. The supporting cast leaves so little to be desired. With subpar art by Ramon Villalobos, this series is not even worthy of the character Nighthawk.

Subpar writing, subpar art, subpar colors, subpar cast, subpar protagonist. Nothing redeeming.

Going forward, I would hope that these issues do get recitified and that Walker can deliver on an organic character that is authentically struggling to reconcile his past and present. I need to see a better focus of how Nighthawk’s flawed character affect his own actions and mindset. I need to see this character really reflect on his own merit, not to just have snippets to show it’s there.

I am sorely disappointed by the execution thus far, but I will give this series at least till the end of this arc to see if the creative team can finally step up.

END THROWDOWN.

Green Arrow #2

Hello again, people. It’s D.C. here, back to throwdown on a DC book. Let’s see if I can make some sense out of Green Arrow #2, Erasure:

Lesson time!

For those who don’t know, Green Arrow is Oliver Queen, Seattle-based businessman, philanthropist, leftist opinionated pig, and modern Robin Hood. Prior to the New 52 world, Green Arrow had a turbulent life come to a head (he did murder a villain, after all), but he was still the same enduring hero. In DC’s Rebirth era, I wonder what he is. That’s up to writer Benjamin Percy and artist Otto Schmidt to convey.

Highlights

Confession: I’ve never been a fan of Green Arrow. I always thought of Ollie Queen as one of those long-lasting heroes that is never quite as interesting when solo, in spite of what I know of his character history. Still, I decided to give Oliver Queen’s book a chance to change my opinions and biases.

One of the things that bugged me more about Rebirth’s version was the return of Black Canary and Ollie’s relationship. To me, it was a dead horse beaten. And as for a return? The last turbulent relationship they had was ended by Dinah Lance, albeit pre-Flashpoint. Why tread those waters again? What exactly would benefit the characters in a way that hasn’t been done before, short of them having children? I don’t get a damn about their old romantic team-ups.

Then again, what Rebirth relaunch isn’t rehashing some old stuff? Ugh.

But again, I gave the series a shot. I certainly thought issue #1 was a good setup for the series, especially with Shado’s return, Emiko’s continued presence, and the emergence of a new (?) enemy faction. The cliffhanger at the end  of issue #1 made me a little excited to see what #2 held.

Until I read it, that is.

Simply put, I felt everything in issue #2 was just forced. The entire ordeal of Ollie’s near-death experience, loss of capital, destruction of his home, and the seeming betrayal by his sister Emiko has no depth. It just seems like everything just…was. It’s like Benjamin Percy told me, “Here you go, look at this moment. Now look at this moment!” Where is the emotional impact in the moments? Where the feeling, period? Why rush it? These are moments that should push anyone to the brink of mental and physical collapse. None of this is shown with any sort of authenticity.

As for Otto Schmidt’s art…It’s very smooth and simple, yet not well-detailed. There’s not much in the way of landscape design, or much else, in my opinion. I’m new to Schmidt’s art. To me, it works well for other books, and it has a feel reminiscent of the Hanna-Barbara era. Schmidt can capture emotional expressions well, but it doesn’t come across well when Percy’s writing is added.

I don’t particularly care for this art here–I feel the overly-simplistic art gives the overall series, which already has lower-tier writing, a completely lower-tier quality. With Schmidt’s incongruous style, I’m left wondering just what feel the Green Arrow series is supposed to have.

Recap

While Green Arrow #1 was fairly promising, issue #2 fell short in every way. As a fairly new reader, I was left unsatisfied by Benjamin Percy’s rushed and ineffective writing. It lacked any depth and feeling, and came off as just a script that was pumped out to meet a deadline. Coupled with  goes for Otto Schmidt’s art; the outcome doesn’t give a good fit to me when I’m reading about a superhero. This result was what I feared most when DC decided to have twice-monthly published titles. This will be a problem soon enough.

I really hope the creative team shapes up and brings the depth this series, or any series, deserves.

END THROWDOWN.

Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel

“They sing of who they are. They sing of deliverance.”

Hey, all, this is D.C. back to throwdown on an interesting comic: Valiant’s Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel.

Who is the Eternal Warrior?

Gilad Anni-Padda is the youngest of the three Anni-Padda brothers (the eldest, Ivar the Timewalker, and Aram, aka Armstrong). Somewhere around 10 millennia ago, the Anni-Padda brothers each achieved immortality in different ways. In Gilad’s case, the earth keeps him alive to serve and protect the geomancer, the speaker of the earth. By his introduction, Gilad had amassed almost 10’000 years worth of warfare expertise. He is Valiant’s more proficient warrior and strategist.

The third volume of Eternal Warrior addresses one of many periods in Gilad’s life and delves into something we all can attest to: faith, or lack thereof. After serving the earth for millennia, what happens when Gilad begins to question his faith and service to the earth and the geomancer?

Days of Steel sees the geomancer, expressed as a crow (which confused me, since all geomancers I’d seen, past, present and future, were human) tasks the Eternal Warrior with protect a baby destined to be the savior of his dying Frank people and culture in the war against the Magyar. What happens when Gilad questions his decision when choosing the “right” savior?

Writing and Art?

Peter Milligan does a fantastic job writing this story. Beyond Milligan’s poetic monologues, you’re instantly thrown into Gilad’s violent war. You still see the immortal’s very human nature, and his disgust with the basest part of human nature: violence. You can’t help but feel for Gilad and his struggle to make sense of his eternal life.

The best part of the story is reading about Gilad’s uncertainty that he chose the right twin. Even if you can predict it, it doesn’t take away from the liberating feel of the story and how the destined twin saves his people and culture in the face of overwhelming odds. Milligan can make you understand that strength can originate in even the weakest of humans.

Cary Nord takes on the task of bringing the Eternal Warrrior and his world to life. I’ve seen Nord’s art before in Valiant’s Unity, and I’m not a fan of it.It doesn’t always seem a good fit, but I have to concede that Nord’s art works very well with Milligan’s writing. Here, you see Nord’s art work well in showing an old and violent world.

With regards to the cast, Nord definitely captures the cowardice of Falk and his father, Gilad and Franz’s bravery and warmongering natures, and the conflict in Gilad’s heart over his faith. Nord’s art brings understanding to the storyline, and that made me enjoy this trade more than the first two volumes.

Recap

The third volume in the Eternal Warrior series, Days of Steel, is pretty heartfelt. Peter Milligan does a fantastic job writing a somber and simple story of faith, destiny, and revolution through the eyes of a weary and wary immortal. Cary Nord shows not only the violent nature of humanity, but also the hope, and resolve of an endangered people in the face of oppression.

I recommend the entire Eternal Warrior series, but Vol. 3 is definitely the best in my eyes.

END THROWDOWN.

Snotgirl #1

“The illusion is seamless!”

Hej, hej, people. This is D.C. back to make August an good time throw down on some comics. Today’s pick is Image Comics’ Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung:

My first experience with Snotgirl #1 was via a preview. After reading the first two or three pages, I thought to myself, “What the hell is this?” I know this is about a fashion blogger who is very insecure because of her debilitating allergies, but is there something beyond that?

So I bought issue #1 to find out just what the hell this was.

Now, as for the plot? There is a lot given in issue #1. A lot of set up of the intriguingly green-haired Lottie Person and her world, and Bryan O’Malley does it well. I found myself quickly understanding this character and her insecurities that it’s obvious that she is more accustomed to her digital life than she is her personal life.

I’m not entirely certain what end goal Bryan O’Malley has in mind for Lottie Person. But O’Malley does a great job capturing a millennial. I’m a millennial, and this book is my worst nightmare given form. I don’t think I’ve ever read about a person like Lottie before: a blog-obsessed woman with (apparently) so little life experience, possibly the most insecure character I’d ever seen. Lottie hides her insecurities with vanity.

It was so grating to be introduced to Lottie’s obsessions and her overall mentality with daily life. She is everything that I feel that I am not. In spite of that–or because of that–I couldn’t put the book down. I had to learn more about Lottie Person.

O’Malley’s writing is just so silly, complete with the annoying text lingo and acronyms that saturate out world. This is the one time I can accept such lingo used in a comic book. Snotgirl isn’t Snotgirl without it.

The Art?

This is my first experience with artist Leslie Hung. She has a quirky style of art, but I can’t see Snotgirl being drawn in any other way. Hung’s art is smooth and rough when necessary, but never inconsistent. Her art is reminiscient of manga, which is something I’ve always liked (especially since my own art style is has elements of it). Hung’s art, above all else, captures the natures of the characters shown so far, and she captures facial expressions to give life to the cast. Lottie comes off as both savvy and insecure, and sometimes even silly and melodramatic. Misty…I didn’t know what to make of her based on appearances, but her piercing eyes unnerved me something fierce. Caroline, the mysterious woman who captivates, just radiates freedom and confidence, the antithesis of Lottie.

I love the coloring in Snotgirl, because it just emphasizes what I saw the lightheartedness of the story. However, the last page surprised me, so I’m not sure if this book is meant to be lighthearted. O’Malley’s twist at the end left me confused as to what’s to come.

In addition, the last page made me curious as to what the coloring in Lottie’s captions meant. Throughout issue #1 her caption thoughts are shaded a particular green–“snot” green. In Lottie’s last thoughts about Caroline, the hue changes to a lighter green. Was it supposed to denote agitation in Lottie’s mind? It certainly seemed so, given the situation. You’ll just have to read.

Verdict?

Snotgirl #1 starts off as a good introduction into the series’ protagonist. Bryan O’Malley is already off to a good start with Lottie Person’s character, and I look forward to what happens next. Leslie Hung’s art works well with the overall lightheartedness of this series. Even with Lottie’s overwhelming insecurities and silliness, I have to see what happens to her next issue. For now, Snotgirl gets my thumbs-up.

END THROWDOWN.