Monthly Archives: September, 2016

September Recap

My god. What a busy month of reviews and discussions. But with the fall season in full swing, we intend to tackle a wider net of genres to discuss, review, and consider.

Here is a recap of our topics for the month of September. Feel free check out any topics past and present, and give us your thoughts and opinions; we appreciate any discussions and questions:

Valiant’s summer event, 4001 A.D.

DC Comics’ Supergirl: Rebirth and Supergirl #1

The first two volumes of Image Comics’ sci-fi romance, Alex + Ada

IDW’s Rom #1, which revives the cult classic Marvel character

Marvel’s quirky and cute book, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1

The Marvel classic crossover, Mutant Massacre

Marvel’s singular run of Starbrand and Nightmask

Image Comics’ new horror, Glitterbomb #1

The penultimate chapter of Marvel’s acclaimed limited series, Vision #11

A condensed, non-inclusive opinion of DC’s Rebirth initiative

Stay tuned as we hit the ground running in October!

–D.C. & Kay

Advertisements

DC Rebirth at a Glance

Hey, all, this D.C. back for a throwdown. No, we’ll call this more of a rant-fest.

I had a discussion with Kay recently about how I wanted to discuss my feelings on DC’s latest revamp, Rebirth. It’s been about 4 months since DC decided to try and salvage the stink many people felt regarding the New 52 initiative, and the lackluster response from the DCYou after ConvergenceI wanted Kay, who’s far less experienced with comics and with DC Comics in general, to give her own take as well. But then today, I saw that Newsrama beat me to the punch.

Damn Newsrama.

While I agreed with a couple of the staff’s grades, I disagreed with others, so I will still give my own insight on my feelings, what DC’s latest change left me with, and what could be points of improvement.

Action Comics

Image result for action comics rebirth

When the Rebirth version of Action Comics was first proposed, I was both turned off and curious about Lex Luthor being a primary character in this. I really displeased with the prior Superman taking over again as a whole because of the sheer implication of “going backwards,” “going back to basics,” “giving fans what they want,” or whatever platitude or patronizing term people choose to use. While I dislike Lex Luthor as a character, I was intrigued by seeing him trying to live up to his unearned role as a Superman.

How would Lex step up? Could Lex step up and be something bigger than his ego? Who are his supporters and dissenters?  Could the old Superman help him understand what responsibilities come with the “S” of the Superman family?How will we see him fail? In what ways will we see him triumph and actually surpass Superman?

What I go out of the first arc didn’t come close to touching on any of this. And even if there were, any question was quickly subverted by the appearance of Doomsday. I wasn’t aware that I was this Rebirth was going to feature another tired, desperate battle with Superman’s killer. Was this Action Comics, or was this Death of Superman all over again?

The introduction of a powerless Clark Kent threw in an interesting element, but as stated in the Newsrama article, there really was too much introduced in too short a time.

I was even more disappointed in Lex Luthor essentially becoming a background character to the old Superman. There was too little justice given to Lex for this played out battle.

And don’t let me get started on Wonder Woman hammering home that Lois and Clark being together is more fitting than hers and the recently-deceased New 52 Superman. That was hard pandering there.

Cyborg

Image result for cyborg rebirth

 

When I read the first volume of the New 52 Cyborg series, I was pleased by the evolution in Cyborg’s character, and in the evolution of his abilities and cybernetic nature.

Two issues into Cyborg’s Rebirth, and I found John Semper, Jr.’s take on Cyborg not compelling at all. For one, the upgrades to Cyborg’s power set are all but forgotten–already an egregious move when no reason is given. It would’ve been nice to see Cyborg still adjusting to those upgrades, instead of the same, tired moments of his questioning his humanity or whether he has a soul. As many times as Victor Stone has questioned that, even in New 52, you would think he’d come to terms in ways that he can move past that. It would also be nice to see him have a more extensive rogues gallery that didn’t have a focus on technological threats. Some, of course, but that shouldn’t be the norm for him.

Supergirl

Image result for supergirl rebirth

Supergirl has become one of the more unexpected books I liked. It may help that I have little experience with the character as a whole, but I have enjoyed the sense of realism and relatability given to this advanced alien character who is forced to adjust to primitive life on Earth. Getting in touch with humanity is an old trope in comics, but it serves an honest purpose for Kara Zor-El. While the DEO’s overall purpose in Rebirth does not seem to have been fleshed out as well, I do look forward to this title developing, and how Supergirl and the DEO could tie in to the events that caused Rebirth in the first place.

 

Aquaman

Image result for aquaman rebirth

Aquaman has easily been the biggest surprise to me. The character had always been derided, both in comics and among comic readers. Seen as a very limited character, I was curious to see how Dan Abnett can run with the character in Rebirth. I loved how Abnett addressed how the public makes fun of Aquaman in the Rebirth issue (mirror by many comments in real life).

I have been very pleased with Arthur’s efforts at diplomacy with a very distrusting and somewhat conniving and controlling government (isn’t that how the U.S. is always seen?). Aquaman has his work cut out for him on his path to uniting his two worlds. How he rise up against xenophobes, subversives and government all remain to be seen with bated breath.

 

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey

Image result for batgirl and the birds of prey

 

I will make a confession: I could not finish the Rebirth issue of this book. Julie and Shawna Benson do a great job writing what I’d read so far. Batgirl’s introspection was well-written, if not already beaten to death in the years since New 52.

It’s the art. Claire Roe’s art is just atrocious, and every character is penciled hideously. Batgirl’s facial expressions are awful, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. It was so bad that it was distracting.

It took me days to finish Starbrand and Nightmask just because of its terrible art. I know it willtake me just as long to get through this singular issue. I can’t continue this series with art like that.

I also wasn’t clear just one what this book would be about before picking up the series, which left me with more issues. Beyond this hunt for a villainous Oracle, where is this book supposed to go? How is it supposed to fit into the cause and theme of Rebirth, beyond “let’s push old series again?”

Nightwing

Image result for nightwing rebirth

This series was already off to a bad start with me by way of Dick Grayson going back to the role of Nightwing. The first arc of his series proved why: Nothing done required Dick  to be Nightwing to do it. Why, then, was he made to regress into this role? To play sidekick again? Even his Rebirth issue didn’t address that well to me.

The first arc did absolutely nothing to me in terms of enjoy Nightwing’s character. It just seemed to show he was too stuck in his ways, and that his current status only served as another way to prevent any relationship developing between Dick and Batgirl.

I don’t like regressions in a character, whether it be role or identity. Then again, I was an advocate of Dick staying as Batman, growing into the role, and developing his own rogues gallery. In many ways, I feel the concept of the Court of Owls arc would have had greater impact with Grayson as the Batman.

The Flash

Image result for flash rebirth

If there were ever a disappointing series in Rebirth, it is The Flash. As a forensic person, I was looking forward to seeing the series have a greater focus on Barry Allen’s forensic mind and how he can use that to combat crime.

What I got was a series that lacks is focus and direction. Badly written with bad logic–from Barry revealing his identity to S.T.A.R. Labs employee Meena after a kiss, to his severe lack of focus on his personal life and career–anyone who’s read Spider-Man knows that NO character who focuses more on heroics can hold down a job…how does Barry expect to keep his own?

Even his focus on teaching the growing amount of speedsters had little meaning. No focus on any of the new speedsters means that we don’t see much of an interaction between teacher and student…no development on the Flash as a teacher. Or were we not supposed to?

The first arc was just fragmented, disappointing, and lacked any sense of logic. Even though I’m excited for anti-hero the Shade returning, I can’t say I’ll continue this book.

Superman

Image result for superman rebirth

Kay and I have differing opinions on this, I think. She was more receptive towards Peter Tomasi’s take on Superman training his son’s developing powers than I was. I’m wary of this series, because it just screams “paranoid parent of superpowered, irresponsible child who’ll get found out.” Which, unfortunately, didn’t take long to happen. I was a bit disappointed with how the Eradicator was handled, because I was hoping for a new Kryptonian ally in this alien world.

Still, this series has massive potential, and Mr. Oz’s meddling can make this series more intriguing.

 

 

Superwoman

Image result for superwoman rebirth

It’s only two issues in, but I’m still mixed on my feelings about Superwoman. I was receptive towards two Superwomen with two very different power sets working together, but after the end of the first issue (already surprising on its own), I’m left confused: were the solicitations of this series about Lois’s powers killing her, or Lana’s? I feel I was tricked, and I’m glad I was.

If this Lois returns, I would be pleased, because that could introduce some very interest questions regarding the nature of her new powers. I just hope this isn’t another ploy at removing a character in the same manner as New 52’s Superman.

 

Justice League

Image result for justice league rebirth

Another disappointment. In the aftermath of the Darkseid War, I would have expected the first arc to, or even the Rebirth issue, to have a bigger focus on reorganization and reevaluation of the team–especially after the removal of Luthor and Shazam from the team. At least I would’ve expected something than just a look at Superman. Perhaps that would have been a better arc than what was presented.

I need to catch up on Darkseid War, but…is there no long-term consequence from that long arc, or was everything just smoothed over? I would have expected something of that magnitude to have the Justice League take a look at themselves and what they can do to be proactive or better equipped to handle large scale threats.

This first arc just seemed like things were happening without proper buildup. Just…event after event. I’ve yet to read the fifth issue, but Brian Hitch’s take on the premier DC team hasn’t gone off to a good start.

If anything, Hitch wrote Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz far better than the writer of their duo series…

Green Lanterns

Image result for green lanterns rebirth

Sam Humphries has done a grave disservice on this series. Just like Justice League, Green Lanterns’ first arc failed to have proper buildup and just had things happen. Worse, it had too many things happening and being introduced out of nowhere. I don’t understand how Simon Baz can have some unknown ability called Emerald Sight, and how that can change a Red Lantern to normal in a non-fatal manner.

Humphries’ use of millennial references with Jessica is infuriating. Why would she rather be playing with Pokemon than fighting the Red Lanterns? What possessed Humphries to even write that out? Just because Pokemon Go’s been in style? Give me a break. Write like you’re writing a story, not a meme.

What is this Red Dawn that Atrocitus had an urge to start, and why on Earth? So much was left undeveloped, and the artist renditions of these characters leaves much to be desired. I’m not sure why the artists are having a problem drawing Jessica Cruz with irises.

I’ve already touched on my opinion of Green Arrow and Blue Beetle. I am hopeful of BatmanHal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and have little love overdone “hope and optimism” of The Titans. I haven’t read Batgirl, Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, or Teen Titans for various reasons. While I’ve had some pleasant surprises, I’ve found DC Rebirth more of a disappointment than a pleasure.

Enough Whining…

Okay, so…what would I have liked in Rebirth going forward?

  1. For one, I would have enjoyed progression. Actual, honest progression that moved further away from regression of “going back to basics.” Would Mr. Oz’s meddling have less impact with the New 52 Superman? Could Jaime Reyes find out the secrets of his scarab without Ted Kord in the mix? Could any of these stories progress with the Wildstorm characters included, beyond Midnighter and Apollo? That depends on the writer. That is an important thing to take note.Perhaps DC has failed at carrying new material with them. How else can we have such a strong move towards a “back to basics” approach?
  2. Much better development. I’m getting that so far out of New Super-Man (another surprising like), but that’s because the character is both new and a jackass. Kenan Kong has substantial room for growth and development. Development is difficult with characters with such lengthy history, but hopefully DC will move to newer elements with all the characters and let that have as much prominence as they give “going back to basics.”
  3. More Wildstorm and Vertigo characters. Since DC claims the Rebirth world is still New 52 (combination of DC, Wildstorm, and Vertigo universes), then we should still see these characters. Midnighter and Apollo are not enough, and I’d sooner say they’re only included because they’re a gritty twist on the gay couple. Neither is Hellblazer all of Vertigo. What about Grifter, the daemonites, Dream, Spartan or Majestic, Hawskmoor, a new WildC.A.T.s group? Something to spice up Rebirth beyond nostalgia with compelling antagonists.
  4. KEEP THE CONTINUITY IN CHECK. It’s bad enough that DC tried its hand at the “loose continuity” plan with the DCYou. If the company seeks to solidify things and bring back this or that, then a better handle on character history is a must. It’s bad enough that co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee gave a lazy explanation to how they’ll handle any continuity issues:“I mean, when you have 75 to 80 years’ worth of publishing behind you, every story can’t have the same weight or matter in continuity. Every story cannot be as canon as the others…Things will unravel as we go forward. Some things will be explained and some things will probably be left hanging.

I don’t approve of their “we’ll leave it up to the reader to make up their own continuity” excuse in lieu of making a sound decision on what is or isn’t part of the mainstream history. DC is known for this, and it was still an issue in New 52/Rebirth. Point: How can 10 years be taken from the universe as a whole, when Batman and Green Lantern still have their entire histories intact–which already didn’t make sense in the 5-year span of New 52?

All in all…I’d like some progression. If DC is going to grab fans, they need to make sure they can keep them with something good. A long endgame with Dr. Manhattan and the Watchmen–long–may not be sustainable alone. They need to make better decisions in how they weave the stories and continuity, and not ride on nostalgia.

It’ll only carry so far.

Okay, it’s time to get back to reading better things.
END RANT-FEST!

Image result for thumbs up

The Vision #11

“He said I was cool! And my mother killed him!”

Hey, all. D.C. here to throw down again, this time on Marvel’s The Vision #11.

Image result for vision #11

 

Highlights

First off, that cover by Michael Del Mundo is simple and great. Such a difference from the broken family we see within the book.

Tom King has been masterful in his portrayal of Vision and his makeshift family. He has written an intensely engrossing tale of humanity, prejudice, fear, and family psychology. More importantly, my biggest takeaway from King’s run was this: How does one “man,” after having removed his own emotional attachments to his memories, expect to teach humanity to his family? It was all a recipe for disaster, and King continues to up the scale in this penultimate chapter.

One of the highlights, while not surprising, was to see the Vision casually laying waste to the Avengers (albeit contradicting Agatha Harkness’ assertions that the Vision will kill them). It really hammers home just how powerful the Vision really is when he is determined to meet his goal.

 

Image result for vision #11

Vision’s wife, Virginia, steals the show once again as she degrades even further in her psychosis. From Virginia’s confession to Viv about her part in CK’s death (what will she do with that confession, I wonder?), to her broken moment’s alone, to Victor Mancha’s promised end, and everywhere in between, Tom King weaves Virginia in so many fluid ways that seems reminiscent of the engrams she is based on. I was left even more disturbed by Virginia’s nonchalant attitude throughout each moment, and especially by her dialogue with her husband. Her casual demeanor just made this story even creepier.

Lowlights

I did feel that Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s art wasn’t as up to par in this issue as I’d remembered it in previous ones. Some pages appeared less polished, less detailed, and more rushed.

Image result for vision #11

To me, the only oddity in Tom King’s writing was during Scarlet Witch’s interaction with the Vision. I’ve never seen her refer to him with any sort of nickname, so it took me off-course when she called him “V.” I didn’t know she was accustomed to using nicknames, but I could be wrong and that she’s used it in the past.

Recap

Tom King continues to amaze in Vision #11, with a striking degradation of the tenuously-knit family of the Vision. This entire series has been a pleasure to read, and I can’t wait to see how King ends it in the next issue.

END THROWDOWN.

Glitterbomb #1

Hello, everyone, this is Kay G.. Today I will be discussing an issue I’ve read recently, called Glitterbomb, written by Jim Zub.

Image result for glitterbomb issue 1

The premise:

Glitterbomb is about a character named Farrah Durante, a struggling middle-aged actress hunting for her next gig in an industry where youth trumps experience. In her frustrations, she becomes an emotional lure for something horrifying out beyond the water.  This creature that consumes her is something ready to exact revenge on the shallow celebrity-obsessed culture that’s led her astray.

Image result for glitterbomb issue 1

The Verdict: 

This story is an edgy and gripping tale of what it’s really like to work in the entertainment industry, an industry where youth, not talent, is looked at–where sales are defined by the quantity of ratings, versus the quality of the work. In this mysterious comic, something takes hold of Farrah and seeks revenge. This creature, it welcomes her back like it’s an old friend. Perhaps this has happened before to her, or possibly someone else. It has found a taste of blood and flesh in seek of what it feels is justice, or perhaps of what Farrah feels it is. It seems like it feeds off of her thoughts, hatred, and desires. It reacts first, and Farrah is the one left with the consequences.

Image result for glitterbomb issue 1

Overall I found this issue greatly written, and anticipate the next issue.  It left me curious as to what will happen to Farrah, what other revenges this creature will take and who, or what, it really is.

If this mysterious story isn’t enough, there is an excerpt in the back written by a woman named Holly Raychelle Hughes, who shares what it’s really like to struggle to work in the entertainment business, and the obstacles that she overcame. It will surely open your eyes to many things, to the cruelty and humiliation that play being a woman in this field. Hughes openly shares what her life in the business was like and in doing so, helps the reader better understand what Farrah is going through. The understanding of a mysterious creature taking over for revenge becomes very dark and very clear.

Glitterbomb is very worth the read and don’t forget to read Hughes’ excerpt. Enjoy.

 

Overview: Starbrand and Nightmask

“…And I’m nothing…Nothing but a pretender.”

Hey, all, it’s D.C. to produce after a short hiatus. Work and life got in the way in too many ways, but we’re back to catch up and throw down on all we’ve read.

I am glad that I have branched out my tastes in recent years. It helps train that mental palette to see what’s really of worth out there in the literature and graphic world. Unfortunately, I made a mistake reading Marvel’s only trade of Starbrand and Nightmask:

Image result for starbrand and nightmask vol. 1

 

Starbrand? Nightmask?

For those unfamiliar with the characters, Starbrand and Nightmask for characters from one of Marvel Comics’ more popular alternate universe brands, New Universe (and its similar “revival,” newuniversal). They are two of a series of beings that emerge when a planet is on a growth of universal proportions. The White Event producees, among others, a Starbrand–the earth’s planetary defense system, endowed with staggering power–and a Nightmask, which serves as the Starbrand’s guide and conscience.

College student Kevin Conner mistakenly received the Starbrand during Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, with the “perfect human” Adam becoming the Nightmask, during a broken White Event. In this cancelled Marvel run, creative team Greg Weisman and Domo Stanton decide to take the cosmically powdered duo to college to connect with humanity.

Image result for starbrand avengers

Expectations?

I was very much on the fence with reading this series on premise alone. Jonathan Hickman’s modern take on these two characters was fantastic. But for Greg Weisman to take them to college to connect with humanity? How often, and for how long, has a premise like that ever worked for characters of such a high power set.

Well, I can see the reason why, but I would have hoped Starbrand and Nightmask would not have to go to college (and those of us who went, know what it’s like) just to connect with humanity. You don’t see Hyperion running off to community college in his solo series to understand humans.

But with most things, I wanted to see if my instincts were wrong, so I bought Volume 1: Eternity’s Children (Attend University).

Highlights?

Highlights…highlights…

No. I don’t have any. Really.

If there’s any saving grace here, it is that Greg Weisman mostly kept Nightmask true to his character: the stoic adviser to the Starbrand. That is all.

Lowlights?

Writer Greg Weisman. He is another example of a writer who does not research the characters he is chosen to headline. Starbrand and Nightmask were given foundations via Jonathan Hickman. Kevin Conner, from what I read, was a young man barely growing into his role as the broken planetary defense system, an unworthy person granted cosmic power. Still he shows a quiet eagerness to be a team player and grow into his role. He whined a little bit, but when your first power spike causes massive death and destruction of an entire school, how would you carry yourself?

Weisman’s take on Starbrand was both grating and disappointing. Wiesman took this uncertain yet adjusting young man and turned him into a generic character with a distinct millennial streak. Starbrand wasn’t one to use the word “Dude,” especially to address Nightmask, but Wiesman has Kevin using that word so often. It’s like he was trying too hard to be one of the other kids. To that end, he lacked any individuality Hickman brought to Starbrand.

Image result for starbrand and nightmask

The plot was abysmal. To a certain extent, I can understand Starbrand needing to reconnect with his humanity in the wake of exploring his cosmic level powers. Even the premise of this arc was ideal: other cosmic aspects desire to kill Starbrand in order to destroy the earth, so–surprise, surprise–the universe would meet its rightful death.

Now, the problems I have with that premise is this: after Secret Wars, in which we saw the reconstruction of the multiverse, why would there be forces trying to prematurely destroy the universe again, even when the in-story explanation was that the universe’s death was not to be for millennia to come? It just didn’t come to fruition at all.

The activation of a White Event in other parts of the universe was touched on, but it made for a shoddy story. By now we should have some understanding of why White Events occur, but how what happens when two White Event analogs meet? Weisman brings in a Kree Starbrand to answer this question, and this results:

Image result for starbrand and nightmask

What was that, indeed?

It was another adolescent and ill-defined turn: that the White Event analogs inexplicably desire to mate as a failsafe against one another. Why a failsafe? Why an attraction? What would that serve, and why would the universe risk progeny of galactic proportions as the proper failsafe? What if same-gendered analogs (two male Nightmasks, for example) met up? This “failsafe” was just thrown in there as if it were panacea for the bad storyline already unfolding.

Speaking of ill-defined: the supporting cast was passable (nothing worth noting), but to write off Kevin’s attraction to one girl as having originated from her being the originally-destined Starbrand? How could Nightmask know that just from a conversation with a classmate? How did Nightmask even know the criteria needed to be a Starbrand? Why weren’t we, the readers, given better insight into this before it was just thrown out there as more panacea? More importantly, why is the fact that she was to be Starbrand fitting for her being attracted to the current Starbrand, and vice-versa?

None of this even made half-assed sense.

 

Image result for starbrand avengers

Starbrand before…

Image result for starbrand and nightmask

…and Starbrand NOW.

Now that I’ve exhausted myself on Greg Weisman’s immature writing, let’s discuss artist Domo Stanton.

Just awful. Starbrand may be 20 years old, but why is he drawn as if he’s 13? It was such an eyesore to see such childish, cartoonish art on characters that exude NOTHING resembling childishness. Stanton just made Starbrand foolish by way of his pencils. This sort of art may work for Power Pack, Howard the Duck, or Squirrel Girl, but not for the serious side of the Marvel Universe.

Image result for starbrand and nightmask

What could’ve been better?

So much, simply put.

For one, Weisman could’ve just written a better premise. To hell with going to college to connect with humanity. Just going to a place where loss of control is almost guaranteed? It sounded like a recipe of disaster to have two cosmically-powered young men going to a place where bad decisions happen. What if Kevin got trashed or emotionally unstable and blew up this school?–granted, he DID get drunk, and it is surprising that he didn’t lose control of his powers at that time.

But to continue…much better scripts would’ve explored the White Event more, what components of the White Event were needed and missing (ie: Justice, Cipher, Spitfire), and what those missing components mean for the ascension of Earth on the scale it was meant to.

Nightmask’s extent of humanity could’ve been explored, as well as his relationship–or lack thereof–with his creator, Ex Nihilo–who, at this point, has not been shown, even though every other major player during the incursion saga returned alive.

Bringing Captain Universe back would have been a good move, too, for allowing Starbrand and Nightmask to explore the entire universe to gain some much needed maturity and perspective on their roles.

Not to mention the art. There needs to be art that benefits the elements and personalities of the characters. You can’t just dab on a cartoonish artist with cosmic-level protectors and pretend that it would work.

Recap

Starbrand and Nightmask had all the potential of a great, existential series. However, an adolescent premise, poor understanding, and piss-poor execution by Greg Weisman made this series deserving of cancellation. Too many plot elements were thrown in for no good reason, and it just made for a terrible read. Domo Stanton’s likewise adolescent art retards any aesthetics of the characters developed from Jonathan Hickman’s incursion saga. Together, this creative team made this series an arduous chore to get through (seriously, it took me a week or so to read it).

This was a poor, poor series to read, and I don’t recommend it to anyone. I have hopes that a much more mature writer and much better artist could bring these characters back into focus and to new heights.

END THROWDOWN.

Supergirl #1

“I will always be a strange visitor.”

Hey, all. This is D.C. here to throw down some on DC’s Supergirl #1, which starts off the “Reign of the Cyborg Supermen” arc.

I was impressed by the Supergirl: Rebirth, so I was optimistic about how the creative team will take things.

Image result for supergirl #1 rebirth ching cover

Highlights

In terms of action, not much actually happens in Supergirl #1. In some ways, it reiterates some of what already happened in the Rebirth issue.

Still, writer Steve Orlando does a great job emphasizing the division Kara Zor-El feels between her old utopian life on Krypton, versus the difficulty, noise, and primitiveness of Earth life. I laughed at Orlando’s portrayal of Supergirl’s adjustment issues, because it reminds me of adult life: the more knowledge and technical skills you’ve amassed, sometimes you find difficulty performing or solving even rudimentary tasks. Kara’s problems were very relatable.

Image result for supergirl #1 orlando ching

More than that, Orlando excelled at showing how this dichotomy affects Kara. She’s tormented: she’s an orphan (for all intents and purposes), having lost her life, prestige, and culture, stuck on a world that she can’t relate to in any fashion. Even her foster parents/handler’s attempts to make Kara feel any semblance of home falls flat. It was a great series of points that shows that Kara has so many hurdles to endure before she can be the heroine she aspires to be.

Penciler Brian Ching’s emotive cues on the characters work very, very well with Orlando’s script to make the characters dynamic.

Lowlights

Compared with Emanuela Lupacchino’s art from the Rebirth issue, I did not find Brian Ching’s art a welcome change. At times, Ching’s art flip-flopped between what would fit with a superhero comic, to far too sketch-like and lacking sufficient detail. The pencils are almost too sharp, too simple, and childish for my tastes–at least so far as my expectations from the last issue to this. The inconsistencies bothered me more often than not.

But again, Ching still manages to capture the emotion in Orlando’s writing when dealing with the cast…even Cameron Chase’s stiff and stoic demeanor.

Image result for supergirl #1 rebirth ching cover

I have the same issues regarding colorist Michael Atiyeh. Some of the time I felt the colors given were plain. Still, he could capture a striking set of colors when Supergirl travels in space. Perhaps this is an intentional point towards the dichotomy in this issue? If so, then Atiyeh deserves much more credit than I’m giving.

Image result for supergirl #1 orlando ching

Recap

In some ways I’m torn by this premier issue of Supergirl. This one of those times where the writing very much supersedes the art, and both are very important.

I much preferred Emanuela Lupacchino’s take on Supergirl, so Brian Ching’s inconsistent pencils did little for me. However, he captures Steve Orlando’s effective emotive cues with the characters effectively that he gains more points than he loses. Still, this was a very worthwhile read.

Orlando’s taken Supergirl’s typical “lost daughter of Krypton” motif and really knows how to hammer home Kara’s emotions and loss, and the fact that Kara believes that she has little to be optimistic about. She is still trying to find her place in the DC universe, and I think she’s in good hands with Steve Orlando.

END THROWDOWN.

Mutant Massacre

Image result for x men mutant massacre

 

Hello everyone this Kay G talking about a more serious comic, X-Men: Mutant Massacre. This is an older comic introducing me to new characters for the first time and some old favorites.  Its title says it all; the comic is an onslaught of murders and executions in the Mutant world. X-factor and X-men must face the Marauders, who are professional mutant assassins, with the job of whipping out the entire Morlock’s (Mutants who live underground) community.Image result for x men mutant massacre

One of the reasons why I love this comic was because of its essence, and its darkness. The most interesting of all about this story was how real it was related to the world that we are in now. I mean this story is about Mutants hunting down other Mutant because the Marauders think they are the superior of them or of the race. That’s the world we are facing now, in fact it’s always been our world just that it’s become more and more public as decades have gone on. Human beings fight and kill other human beings every single day, so they got this story right. We hunt our own, becomes others out there seem to think they are superior, that they are better. We do it based on class, lately it’s mostly about race.

Image result for x men mutant massacre

This story is all based on perception and seeing what you want to see. In this story there are the X-men, a group of mostly newbies with the head being Magneto, while Xavier is away. Storm and Wolverine also help lead the school. Then there’s X-factor which consists of the five original X-men, graduates now taking on a new name and a new mission. The five consist of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel and Iceman. Their mission; they pose as humans and to the public eye, who attack and bring down Mutants. Which in fact what they are really doing, is finding them and saving them, helping new Mutants with their powers. It’s all about making the public believe what they want them to believe. They use deception to trick the public, who are so against Mutants because they’re different. Even the public believes that the Avengers could be Mutants, because they have powers and are considered different. This is the reason why the Morlocks, other Mutants live underground they’re so afraid of what could happen to them on the surface. The story even shows some discrepancy between them and the X-men.

Image result for x men mutant massacre

This story is a definite must read. Although if you’re anything like me, you may find yourself a little lost on few of the events prior to this and some of the characters. But, also like me if you’re lucky like I am to have a partner to answer all 400 questions you have then you’re good to go (ha). Other than that, this story is very driven, very well written and has amazing character development.  There were even times that I cried; so many people lost their lives in this story. Like I said earlier, its absolute massacre just like the story is called. Mutant Massacre is a real life changing story, even if you aren’t a comic fan it’s a fantastic read and a real life eye opener. Hands down a great story, so pick up the trade and enjoy.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Image result for moon girl and devil dinosaur

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur getting into all kinds of trouble.

Hello everyone this is Kay G. today I will be discussing “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder. A fun, cute, uplifting, characters getting into a whole bunch of shenanigans kind of story.

This is absolute cute story; about a legendary character now Moon Girl, who used to be moon boy.  Moon boy is a character I’m not completely knowledgeable about, neither the new Moon Girl or Devil Dinosaur even though he’s been around awhile. Although we do see Moon boy and what happens to him, and how a big red Dinosaur ends up in the streets and in the hands of Moon Girl, also known as Lunella Lafayette. Lunella, is an inhuman preteen genius, well will be. Lunella is a genius, always experimenting trying to do what she can, but saving the world not necessarily on her agenda. She’s trying to save herself first.  Lunella was born with the capability of being inhuman; and with the terrigen bomb mist going around and changing those with the special DNA, she wants is to be left alone and human.  This means that Lunella has to find a way to stop it from getting to her, and with the special help of D.D and a device called Kree omni-wave projector she might have a fighting chance.

Image result for moon girl and devil dinosaur

 

Yet, like everything else in live, things do not go according to plan. Marvel takes an older story and turns into something new. It’s not meant to be serious or emotional or even ground breaking. This is not a story of how great the writing is or how wonderful the story was told. It’s a simple, cute, funny, and despite the big red Dinosaur a bit realistic. Moon girl, is just a girl who wants to be normal like any other child her age wants to be. Yes, she’s a genius so in that alone she’ll never really be classified as normal, but she really wants to try. Lunella was afraid that if she turned into an inhuman, she’ll change, she’ll no longer be human and she might lose who she is as a person. Now that alone to kid is very scary, especially when having to tackle some Neanderthals that want to take the omni-wave away from her.

Image result for moon girl and devil dinosaur

Image result for moon girl and devil dinosaur

In this story we see a very unlikely friendship take place, and this is what this story is ultimately about. It’s a bit cheesy to some, but it’s about understanding that you can make friendships in the most unlikely places and in the most unlikely ways.  This big monstrous looking Dinosaur becomes protective and caring. Like I said it’s a very cute story and art matches it too. The colors are bright and bold; the characters are developing and we are really seeing who they will become in later issues. It’s a story to pick up if you want a quick and fun read. A comic that will remind you of childhood, and maybe what it was like to be different, and maybe the friendships you had that helped you out. It’s a book of hope and understanding. Now my lovely readers if that isn’t enough to convince you to give this comic a try. Did I mention that there is a big red dinosaur?? Lol, so I suggest you pick up a copy and having a RAWRing good time reading it.

 

Image result for moon girl and devil dinosaur

Rom #1: Earthfall

“Only my neutralizer awaits you all!”

Welcome, all. This is D.C. Kay and I have been swamped with reading new and old books, but I’m still surprised it took me so long to throw down on IDW Publication’s Rom #1.

Image result for rom #1

Disclaimer

This is only my third go at IDW Publications, my first being the novel adaptation The Last Unicorn (a somewhat complicated book that didn’t quite satisfy me). Second was the new Action Man miniseries (a very interesting take on a brash, intelligent and imperfect character).

I’m so new to IDW and have no idea what to expect, outside my excitement with the upcoming event Revolution, which is supposed to finally bring IDW’s Hasbro characters together into a cohesive universe. After checking out the Valiant revival, I share the same optimism here.

So, what better time to explore IDW?

Highlights

Rom, like his Marvel Comics incarnation, is a spaceknight and the scourge of the magic-wielding Dire Wraiths.

Writers Christos Gage and Chris Ryall really hit the ground running with Rom’s arrival on Earth. Quickly on, you already get a feel that Rom’s fight will go badly, what with Earth’s military and earth defense forces already infiltrated by the Dire Wraiths. From there on, there is just moment after moment of “what the hell?!” panels, right down to the final page–definitely a pleasant surprise for any Hasbro toy fan.

If Rom was a badass in the past, I can definitely see the appeal. It is obvious that he vastly outnumbered and not up-to-date on the Dire Wraiths’ abilities or methodology. Still, he has confidence that borders on hubris, and the power to back it up. Will his personality be a flaw that puts him in dire straits later? I wonder.

Image result for rom #1 dire wraiths

Rom’s speech is reminiscent of the poetically campy dialogue from the silver age of comics. At first it sounded a little silly, but I quickly grew into it. It works for the alien. The dialogue everywhere else works just well, with humans who are scrambling with not only Rom’s presence, but the realization that there are aliens masquerading as humans. At first I felt the humans were too easily accepting of the concept of aliens, but then I remembered the Transformers existing in this universe.

Image result for rom #1 IDW

Speaking of working…David Messina’s art. It feels like it’s the first time I’m seeing Messina’s smooth pencils and lush colors, and I enjoyed it. He is building a strong cast, and does a very good job capturing emotion in his cast of characters, even in conveying Rom’s expressions with his eyes. Messina’s landscape art is somewhat minimal, but his colors make the world very enjoyable to see. He really pushes the detail when it matters in Rom’s design, showing off the Dire Wraiths’ magics, and character designs.

Image result for rom #1 IDW

Image result for rom #1 IDW

 

Recap

Rom #1 is an action-packed introduction that really entertains. Little backstory is given as to Rom and his motivations and war with the Dire Wraiths, so I hope Christos Gage and Chris Ryall delve into this further in later issues. As a new reader to Rom, I would like to see much of the character’s background and how he will develop. With David Messina providing the art, this series is off to a promising start.

This restart of the classic Marvel character definitely gets a thumbs up.

END THROWDOWN.

Alex + Ada, Vol. 1-2

“Is it still living–when you block everything out?”

Welcome, everyone. D.C. here to throw down on an interesting book I’ve been trying to get through:

Image Comics’ Alex + Ada is written and drawn by Jonathan Luna of the Luna Brothers. If you’re not familiar with the Luna Brothers, read up on their series Girls. It was a very interesting tale with very important undertones on gender differences and prejudices.

Alex + Ada is a three-volume tale of a lonely man who receives a robot as a gift. When Alex finds life with the subservient, inexpressive Ada less than idea, he meets a chat room of individuals that helps him unleash her sentience–a dangerous move in a dangerous world of anti-robot sentiment, fear, and legislation.

Highlights

The world building in Alex + Ada is touched upon well. The physical world is expressed just as well as the digital world, which has taken over. The current events of the world also helps shape the story. There is anti-robot sentiment after a robot’s slaughter  of humans some time before. And with anti-anything sentiment, there is prejudice to look into. These sorts of tales that relate to the real world appeal to me.

Alex’s own prejudices of having a personal robotic companion is hypocritical, given how his dull, lonely life is so deeply connected to technology. However, his unease of having Ada around is rooted in his own inability to live past a breakup. In essence, Alex is as much a robot as Ada, and Luna does well in addressing this aspect.

Image result for alex + ada

…Not the kind of submissive I had in mind…

The art in Alex + Ada is very simple. I do feel it’s comparatively subpar, when you recognize that Luna doesn’t have much skill with differing facial expressions, or in displaying the detail you’d imagine a more technologically advanced future to have. The artistic variability is incredibly limited–save for the character designs–so it can be a bit grating if you’re very observant.

Image result for alex + ada

Still, even Luna’s writing can stave off some of the stink of his art by capturing Ada’s innocence after her awakening. His writing isn’t very artistic–it’s about as simplistic as the art. Whether or not that is a good thing is up to the reader, but it is the combination of art and script that really supports this series. It really is endearing to see Ada experiencing food and sensations that we take for granted far too often and far too easily.

Image result for alex + ada

While I enjoy Alex’s coming to terms with his own reservations with Ada and Ada’s innocence, affections and growth, most of the supporting cast isn’t very interesting. I’m not sure if that was Luna’s intention when he wrote this story, seeing as how the story is about Alex and Ada, but I was hoping for a more well-rounded cast of characters.

At the same time, the other sentient robots seen in the story provide some quirky, endearing, and sometimes funny insights into their world and how they see themselves, each other, and humans on both sides of the robots rights debate.

Image result for alex + ada

Recap

Alex + Ada is an endearing story of a man and the android he brought to life, and the trials they must endure in a world of anti-robot rhetoric and anti-robot laws. Jonathan Luna weaves a coherent story, however simple. The art provided by Luna is nothing spectacular, but it is far from the worst art I’ve seen. I certainly enjoy Ada’s presence most of all, and the innocence she exudes throughout the tale.

In spite of the obvious lack of artistic variability, I did enjoy the story in Alex + Ada enough to want to see this through to the end. I do look forward to the third and final volume. If it leaves any impression, I shall share with you all.

END THROWDOWN.