Thursday, June 10, 2010


Man, that was great. This was a small week, but a powerful one, with a lot of great books and strong characters and gorgeous artwork. I mean, really, wow. It's Let's get into it:

HERO OF THE WEEK: This makes my last post curiously foreshadowing, but it goes to FDA special agent Tony Chu. Chew #11 starts off the newest arc by introducing new food-based villains: an elite billionaires club that annually gets together to dine on the rarest of the rare cuisines, usually using crime to do it. This time around, it was wooly mammoth, stolen and reconstituted from fossils (think Jurassic Park meets...weirdos who like food). Naturally, Tony goes undercover and brings the lovely Amelia Mintz. He is totally badass, even in the face of dangerous crazly rich folk. And the final page is just funny and even a little heartwarming. If this is anything like Whedonesque storytelling, everything's about to go to hell. Still it's nice while it lasts, and as a standalone story it's just great.

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: This is weird. Secret Six has won this the last three issues, in as story that hilights Catman as a troubled but brutal warrior. Issue #22 was the conclusion to this story, and while Thomas Blake does shine again, it's just not as powerful as the other issues. Catman's final kills are not as brutal or epic as the last few and the final plot twist with him has little impact. Really, in my mind at least, the show is stolen by Ragdoll. Since Black Alice joined the team, she's had this creepy friendship with Ragdoll (then again, everything Ragdoll does is creepy). However, her troubled mind and emotional baggage and youthful stupidity led her to believe the Scandal Savage was interested in him (despite the fact that she is a lesbian). At the end of the fight, Deadshot makes the usual lewd comment you'd come to expect from him. However, Ragdoll gets indignant, actually calling out Deadshot for being a dick, defending his friend, and, for the first time ever, standing up straight.

This is an incredibly significant development for Ragdoll. This is the first time he's ever demonstrated any semblance of empathy, the first time he's actually cared about others. He's been a creature of pure id up until this point, but Alice's genuine (and genuinely creepy) attraction to him has actually changed him. Ragdoll is the breakout character of this series and this is one of his finest moments. Bravo, Gail Simone. Bravo.

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: I'm genuinely surprised by this. Really, I just picked up this issue not knowing if i'd follow the series or not. But now I am because of this. And by this, I mean Young Allies #1. This issue was a coming together for the new team, bringing young superheroes together against a common threat. Their introductions don't have equal calibur, but that's actually okay. Toro gets the most development, as he is a mostly unheard of character and needs an origin and motivation, which is clear. Next is Firestar, who we learn is trying to pull a Peter Parker and balance superheroing and grad school, as well as maintaining a ties with her friends from Marvel Divas. Then comes Nomad and Arana, who are BFFs and are cute and fun. Finally, there's Gravity, but writer Sean McKeever's given him enough development. All of them are well set up and come together nicely to become...well, allies.

The villains are probably the best idea to ever come out of a bad pun. The Masters of Evil are a long running villain team in the Marvel universe, and the line-up has changed a lot over their 40-year tenure. McKeever presents the idea that these villains have had illegitamate kids, that those kids developed similar powers to their parents, and that those kids have banded together to form...wait for it...the Bastards of Evil. Yeah, I know, right? The Bastards (that's so fun to write) have just an okay start; the members are established, but not their motivations exactly. I suppose that'll wait til future issues, but i'm on the edge of my seat.

And now on to the art: It's gorgeous. David Baldeon is a lot like Frances Manapul; his art style is accessable and great in it's simplicity; focused and tight during quiet moments and dynamic during action sequences. It's really, really nice and matches the book perfectly.

I don't know why I love this so much. Maybe it's just cause of when I read it. It's fluff, i'll admit that. It's just pure, light fun. But after reading a stack of deep, brutal, confusing, and even somewhat tragic books, the fluff was really refreshing and really nice to see. Regardless, Young Allies was a great read and I highly recommend it.

OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: Avengers Academy #1 was also a strong start to a new young team of heroes, but not as strong as it could have been. The team is made up of superhumans captured by Norman Osborn during the Dark Reign and experimented upon. However, we don't learn much about them beyond basic character traits: Striker's a gloryhound, Hazmat's a bitch, Finesse is cocky, and Reptil has no personality and is pretty lame all around. The best of the team are Veil and Mettle, and the former only gets more development because she's narrating. The theme, however, is very clear from the get-go. For the staff, it's about redemption, especially for Hank Pym, Robbie Baldwin, and Pietro Maximoff. For the kids, however, it's about predemption. The kids were chosen because they were at the greatest risk for becoming supervillains. This is a brilliant idea from writer Christos Gage, and while the execution doesn't live up to what the concept promises, i'm definately hooked.

Ultimate Avengers 2 #3 was alright. I was hoping Ultimate Ghost Rider would get more development, but i'm cool with what we got. He's apparently the devil's hitman, and chooses methods of executions based on the answers to crossword puzzles (It's really lucky he gets words like 'heartless' and 'beheaded'). Pimp Hulk and the American Punisher are blending in uncomfortably to the team, which is good for them and for us. I'm looking forward to what happens here.

Cowboy Ninja Viking #6 was a very wordy issue. It's also different for two reasons. For one, the artwork. In previous issues, the coloring has been limited to one color. This issue stops being monochromatic. The change is unexpected, but actually adds more legitamacy to the comic. Second, we start a new story arc. Duncan's emotional baggage finally comes to a head here, as his feelings for Nix clash with his addiction to his ex-wife Grear. Dr. Ghislain sends him to a shrink, who, after 30 or so sessions, suggests that he could remove Duncan's alternate personalities. While this issue is tough to read dialogue-wise, it is more interesting to look at and sets up a cool story-arc (although I already miss the commentary from CNV).

And now it's time for QUOTE OF THE WEEK! This week's quote comes from Secret Six #22:

"From Hell's black heart to desert haunt
This rage still crawls between us
And don't pretend that you don't want
My boyfriends bendy &^*%^%!"

Well, that was fun. I feel sorry for the week of June 16th. It has to follow this. But, here's hoping it puts up a good fight. Until then, thanks for reading, i'll see you next time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Should Be Reading: Chew

It's rare that weird story ideas not only find an audience in a market where stories don't stray far from the norm, but become popular and successful. However, Chew is one of those rare ideas. And in it's short tenure on the market (10 issues), it's become one of my favorite indy series out there.

Admittedly, it does fall into an oft-used genre, the "Detective with a twist" story. However, it's weird enough that it can stray from the cliches and be a truly unique story. As can be expected, Chew is about food. Set in a somewhat-distant-but-not-to terribly-different-future, Chew presents a world where a deadly outbreak of avian flu lead to an embargo of land fowl in the United States. However, there are still speakeasies that serve chicken and many believe that the bird flu was a conspiracy perpetrated by the U.S. government. But that's not important.

What is important is our protagonist: Tony Chu. Tony is a detective from Philidelphia who has a special, food-based power. He's a cibopath (no, I don't know how that's pronounced), meaning that whenever he eats something, he gets a psychic reading from it and picks up on some of it's experiences and memories. This is a terrible inconvenience, and so Tony dedicates himself to eating the only food he doesn't get a reading from: beets. Tony is an absolutely tragic character throughout the series. This works because his failures make him likeable and make us keep reading and his victories seem all the sweeter.

Tony is quickly recruited into the most powerful law-enforcement branch of the U.S. government, the FDA. Supporting characters include John Colby, Tony's former partner and rather unlikeable yet funny character, and Mike Applbee, Tony's angry new boss. However, the best of them is Tony's new partner, Mason Savoy. Mason is crazy mish-mash of characteristics: He's part police officer, part upper class, part badass, and part fat guy. What's more, he's also a cibopath. He is doubtlessly the most fun character of the book and one of the main reasons I still read it: Hoping he'll show up again.

The stories are as strange and the premise, but usually they are comedic with a bittersweet ending. Tony's investigations will lead him down strange roads that will force him to investigate by eating strange things. He will frequently run into his brother, disgruntled chef Chow Chu, and the object of his affection, food critic Amelia Mintz, who has her own weird but sorta cool food-based powers. Writer John Layman makes sure the characters are sharp and interesting and that the stories are all unique, but easy to follow.

If I had any criticism, it would be the artwork. Rob Guillory's style is very cartoony, and while I normally like that sort of thing, it sometimes gets out of hand. Some of his characters look really good, like Tony, Mason, and Colby. Some are less appealing, like Amelia or Applebee. However, there was one that stuck out: USDA agent Lin Sae Woo. This woman is draw with ridiculous proportions that would make a Barbie doll look like Kevin Smith.

Still, it's the story that keeps us interested. Tony's episodic investigations, his conflict with Applebee, the promise of an appearance by Mason, and the mystery surrounding the bird flu outbreak are all unique, intringing, funny, tragic, and well written stories. The characters are vibrant and their interactions with each other are always fun. The first trade paperback is on shelves now and the second is on the way soon. I'd recommend it for anyone with a taste for the strange (Heh. Taste. Food humor).

Thanks for reading, friends. See you next time!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Hello again, folks. Forgive the lateness of this post, but there were extenuating circumstances (is that spelled right? Whatever). First off, the Memorial Day holiday delayed shipments, meaning I was picking my stuff up on Thursday. Second off, and perhaps more importantly, not much happened this week. Seriously, I barely got tish to write about. But, I can stretch. I can make do with what's here. So, without further adieu, let's take a look:

HERO OF THE WEEK: Did the Great Ten miniseries get shortened to 9 issues and nobody told me? Whatever. The Great Ten are the premier Chinese superhero team in the DC universe, and this miniseries hilights each of their members. Great Ten #8 showed off the Shaolin Robot. His origin is fishy, but go with it. Remember those Terracotta warriors (is that spelled right? Whatever) that whats-his-name was buried with? Well, in the DCU, they're robots. They are automatons programmed to kill grave robbers. Implausable you say? Well, it gets worse. Apparently, one of them was given anchient Chinese AI, and was renovated to be one of the super-functionaries of the Great Ten. This totally undermines Will Magnus's position as the creator of the artificial soul, but whatever. It works enough.

What's interesting is SR's position on the team. Everyone on the Great Ten is in conflict with each other. August General in Iron is a government puppet, Accomplished Perfect Physician is a man of the people, Celestial Archer is on both sides of the fence, Socialist Red Guardsman is taking advantage of his position of power, Immortal Man in Darkness is expendable and knows it, and everyone on the team has a weird name. Shaolin Robot is probably the most zen of the group, adapting to all of the chaos and taking the weirdness in stride. After seven issues of personal struggles and problems, it's nice to see that someone on the team is reasonably at peace, even if it's only because he's a robot.

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: This one is tough. I mean really tough. Alot of my stuff this week hilights heroes more than villains, so finding someone to fill this spot is a challenge. Ultimately, because the issue deserves a mention, it goes to Modeus. Really, the star of Irredeemable #14 is Gilgamos, who's coping with Bette Noir's betrayal while the Paradigm have been captured...for some poorly explained reason. Seriously, in an otherwise brilliantly written series, this is a misstep for the government to turn on the only people capable of helping the Plutonian situation. Anyway, after Bette and Gil bust the Paradigm out (Gil mutilating himself to do it), they teleport away and run into Modeus, who is still possessing the body of young lobotomized do-gooder Samsara, who promises that the Plutonian is coming, and he is pissed. His role is brief, but he does leave an impression.

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: Avengers Prime #1. Doubtlessly. I didn't expect this to be as good as it is. Hell, I still don't know if it's a mini or an ongoing, but it really is well written. This first issue is about the immediate aftermath of Siege and the fall of Asgard, and the first reunison of Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Thor Odinson. Even in the wake of massive destruction, Steve and Tony find time to argue. This actually hilights them more than condemn, showing that even with Steve back from the dead, there's still a lot of issues lingering after Civil War. This is great stuff. With all the people happy about Steve's return, it's good that Marvel remembered that he burned some bridges before his assassination. After the mini-confrontation, the trio attempt to seal a portal and end up accidentally pulled into Asgard and seperated. Tony tries to fix his disfunctional armor, Steve beats up a bunch of trolls, and Thor runs into the Enchantress, his fairly psychotic ex. It's definately a good start, with great characterization and a brilliant way to hilight Marvel's trinity. Good on ya.

OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: Serenity: Float On was covered earlier. Go read it. The covering of the issue, not the issue itself. Or both. Whatever.

JSA All-Stars #7 is a book that's avoided the blog for a while. I've never been a fan of the JSA splitting, but I stuck with this book over the regular JSA book because it's got the more fun characters. That, and i'm not the biggest fan of Bill Willingham's writing. Don't get me wrong, he's got dynamite plots and the ideas behind his series Fables are really cool, but his dialogue is just flat. Maybe i'm just spoiled by the likes of Gail Simone and Joss Whedon. I don't know. Anyway, All-Stars #7 was a funeral issue. Team member Damage was killed during Blackest Night and his girlfriend Judomaster steps up to give a eulogy. It's a really nice issue and a great analysis of the two characters. It's a shame they can't all be like this.

And now it's time for the QUOTE OF THE WEEK! Or it would be if I had one. Seriously, I'm tapped out. Go pick your own or something. Or post one here. Again, whatever.

However, because it's the first week of the month, which means we can do WRITER and ARTIST OF THE MONTH!!!

WRITER OF THE MONTH: Last month's was difficult. This one? Not so much. Brian Michael Bendis, if only for sheer volume of work. Bendis finished up three series in one week: New Avengers, Dark Avengers, and Siege. Siege was an admittedly predictable ending to an epic blockbuster, DA was nice character study for the stars of Dark Reign, and NA was a strong emotional close to the first chapter of these character's lives. After that came Avengers and Avengers Prime. The former was a very classic-feeling superhero team and the latter was, as said above, a character-driven story about the main players in the Heroic Age. And he still has time for my favorite Marvel book, Ultimate Spider-Man. All of his stuff has great dialogue and character and are all a lot of fun. Bravo, Mr. Bendis. Bravo.

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Like last month, this was about which artist left the strongest impression. And that artist is Ed Benes. Benes drew Birds of Prey #1, returning to DC's A-list girls...and I think that's it. If i'm forgetting anything, apologies. But BoP was just awesome. It's sharp and just a bit cartoony, but not enough that it ruins the more serious tone of the book. Gail Simone has called his artwork sexy, and I agree with that. He draws female characters with the same perfect proportions that are customary in comic books, but...I don't know, he just makes them look better. I think there's a touch more realism to his work and more emotional connection to these women and that makes them seem better. Or maybe i'm reading too much into this and making tish up as I go along. Still, his artwork is really dynamic and pleasing to look at, and I look forward to reading more of his work.

Well, thanks for reading everyone. Sorry it couldn't be more substantial, but maybe next time, which, I suppose, is when i'll see ya. Later!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Does this Suck: Serenity: Float Out

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first installment of "Does this Suck"; a portion of the blog in which I will analyze a comic of questionable value and decide whether or not it's worth reading. For the first column, we will be establishing this week's release, Serenity: Float Out.

First, the backstory. For those of you who don't know, Joss Whedon is god. Or at least a prophet. Joss the Boss has an amazing body of work under his belt, including the popular TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the internet film Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and a very successful run on Astonishing X-Men. However, my favorite is probably Firefly. Firefly is a science-fiction series that follows the exploits of the crew of Serenity, a smuggler spaceship in the distant future. While it was brilliantly written with vibrant and unique characters, it was poorly marketed and cancelled after 14 episodes were produced, only 11 making it to air (With the pilot being shown last). However, it left behind a rabid fanbase, who begged the Fox network to bring it back. Instead, we got a true closer to the series, the film Serenity.

Serenity was, tragically, not a box-office hit, but was still beloved by the fans and is one of my favorite films of all time. The film is notable for killing off two of the nine major characters: Shepherd Derrial Book, a preacher with a mysterious past, and Hoban Washburn, the ship's humorous but often wise pilot. And it's these two characters who get the tie-in comics; Boook will get a miniseries titled "A Shepherd's Tale" in the fall, while Wash recieved Float Out. Float Out was the first comic published in the Serenity universe to take place after the film, and was to be a send-off to Wash. Unfortunately, it disappointed, and here's why.

The story revolves around three people named Trey, Leland, and Tagg, who are christening a firefly-class ship named after Wash. Apparently, they all knew him and trade stories about their experiences. This is the first misstep of the comic: We have no idea who these characters are, why they're getting a ship together, or why we should give a kcuf about them. They are dull, bickering pointlessly about what kind of ship they should have bought, and only get interesting once we get to the point in the comic when we realize they're supposed to be interesting. When do we realize that? Halfway through, when it's abundantly clear that none of the crew of Serenity will be appearing.

This is the second misstep of the book: Not using the crew. Firefly was popular because of it's characters. Because of Mal. Because of Jayne. Because of Kaylee. Because of River. Hell, even Simon, for all his whining and overprotectiveness, was more interesting than any of the losers we see in this comic. We have no context as to why Trey, Leland, and Tagg matter at all and i'd much rather hear what the crew has to say about Wash than what three strangers do.

The next blunder comes in the artwork: It's really unpleasant to look at. Patric Reynolds draws spaceships and stations just fine, but his people all look weird. It's a mean, line-heavy style, reminding me a lot of a low-grade Alex Maleev. I don't like Maleev's style on it's own, so reading this book is actually difficult.

However, the book is not merit. One other member of the crew actually does attend this funeral/christening: Zoe, Wash's widow. Zoe is the only one who looks nice in this book, and actually has some nice things to say. The final page reveal with her is wonderful and really makes me hope that they continue with these stories, even if it's in comic form. And, like I said earlier, once you get into it the stories are genuinely interesting and hilight Wash's best qualities and help define the character.

And now for the big question: Does this suck? The answer: No, it does not suck. But sure as hell is disappointing. In a comic based off character driven series, it's a real let-down to only see two of the characters actually appear (i'm including Wash because, hey, it's his funeral). The art is unpleasant, we have no ties to the narrators, and the whole set-up is just weird.

Thanks for reading, friends. See you next time!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Hello again, friends. Forgive the lateness of this post, but due to lack of foresight, I have an incomplete pull list. I am not, however, without things to say, and in the interest of punctuality, here's this week's stack:

HERO OF THE WEEK: Another hero of the Heroic Age takes it this week. A new super-team launches in Thunderbolts #144, under the direction of none other than Luke Cage. Cage, being a reformed convict, is perfect to lead this group of crazies and semi-crazies, including heroes like Songbird and MACH, villains like Crossbones and Juggernaut, morally ambigous characters like Moonstone and Ghost, and...Man-Thing. Why? Because why the kcuf not. But it's Cage that ties them together and gives them purpose...until he's crushed by Baron Zemo, apparently back from his time romp and wanting to take control of the T-Bolts. Jeff Parker writes a great team building issue here and showcases what to expect from these folks. Great stuff.

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: Slim pickings for this week's villain, but I gotta choose someone, and it might as well be the Red Lantern boys. Green Lantern #54 continues in the Brightest Day, with the New Guardians together looking for the seven entities of the emotional spectrum. With Hal, Carol, and Sinestro in, the next one up was Atrocitus. We find the guardian of rage in the angriest city on Earth, New York, providing vicious subway justice with his friend, Dex-Starr the Rage Kitty. The two meet up with the trio, fight, and are interrupted by Lobo. What's interesting here is that Atro has actually found affection for his previous ally, Mera. Can't wait to see how that plays out with Aquaman. Johns writes these guys as well as he ever did, but it's Doug Mahnke's art that makes them shine. I'm looking forward to how this storyline plays out.

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: Following up from last month, it's Secret Warriors #16. 'Wake The Beast' has been a strong arc thus far, and it's closer is no exception. A lot of stuff happenes, but Jonathan Hickman juggles it well enough to keep the readers interested in keep the stories intriguing. We start with a meeting between the heads of HYDRA and Leviathan, which, expectantly, ends in violence. Next is a brief flashback showing that Commander Kraken is not the first person to bear that name and killed his predecessor. Then we see Nick Fury mobilizing his forces to strike while the bad guys are distracted with each other. Finally, we see that J.T. James, card carrying member of the Secret Warriors, is on the payroll of Baron von Strucker, leader of HYDRA. It's a great plot twist, though I have to say I saw some of it coming. The only major fault with this issue is the art. Gianluca Gigliotta replaces Stephano Caselli on this book (which seems to attract Italian artists for some reason). Gigliotta tries to mimic Caselli, but it comes off as making all the characters look weird and misshapen. Regardless, this issue was strong on plot and i'm really looking forward to what happens in it.

OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: Secret Avengers #1 was another team-building issue of the Heroic Age. We jump right in here, seeing Captain Rogers's black-ops team in action. It feels weird seeing Mike Deodato draw people who aren't villains, but it still looks great. While it's too early to comment on the plot, the characters are well written and it's an interesting-looking team. I'd like to see how it plays out.

The Guild #3 of 3 closed the miniseries based on the web-series. The conclusion is bittersweet (mostly sweet) and the final line made me laugh. Jim Rugg's artwork switches between newspaper-strip cartoony for the real life portions and epic-style portraits for the game, both of which look really cool. The series overall was a fun little romp and if another of it's kind came out, i'd pick it up.

Amazing Spider-Man #632 debuted the newest version of the Lizard, who looks and is really cool. Go check it out.

And now it's time for the QUOTE OF THE WEEK! This weeks quote comes from The Guild #3:

"It might look like i've dug myself into a pit, but i'm actually happier now. Because of gaming with my guild. No matter what my therapist keeps saying to me, I can escape there. It's what I need right now. Besides, it's not like i'll ever have to meet these people."

And that's my stuff for this week (almost). Hope you enjoyed reading it! Thanks, i'll see you next time!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Welcome back, readers. Probably reader, actually. Whatever. Anyway, this past Wednesday I picked up two titles from each of the two major companies. However, one dominated the other in terms of quality. Lets take a look!

HERO OF THE WEEK: We're going old school on this one. 3-D Man takes it, for finally joining the Agents of Atlas. In Atlas #1, Delroy Garret, the successor to the role of the 3-D Man, begins tracking the Agents through San Francisco as he recounts his backstory. Jeff Parker is one of the few writers who can switch back and forth between storyline and exposition well, and he does so here, with Garret's search in the present and memories of the past mixing well and playing off each other. It's cool. I like it. I think i'm gonna enjoys this series.

VILLAIN OF THE WEEK: It's a new character this week. Not just new to the blog, but new to comics in general. In Ultimate Avengers 2 #2, War Machine is assigned to bring in the man who taught Bruce Banner how to be the Hulk, Tyrone Cash. In the beginning, he was Professor Leonard Williams, a physics teacher with injured legs who developed the Hulk formula with a young Banner before testing it on himself and leaving. Now, we discover he has changed his name and used his powers to become a crimelord in South America. He and War Machine fight, exchange words, yadda yadda yadda, until finally they reach a deal and Cash is brought into the Avengers. Their mission? To takein the previously unheard-of Ultimate Ghost Writer. Mark Millar and Lenil Francis Yu make a killer team here, with great artwork and cool dialogue throughout. I'm definately digging this series.

ISSUE OF THE WEEK: Marvel's Heroic Age officially starts with Avengers #1, from Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr, and I loved it. Our story starts by introducing the Next Avengers into Marvel comics, which is a trippy twist to say the least. The NA were the protagonists of their own animated film, which itself was alright for a kids film. But now they're in comics and they kcufing killed Immortus! Dude! These guys are way more hardcore than I gave them credit.

After this, Captain Steve Rogers, America's new top cop, recruits his new Avengers team, consisting of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man (together again for the first time), Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hawkeye, and Spider-Woman. Several other heroes are brought in as reserves, but one rejects the offer: Wonder Man, planting the seeds for a future story arc. Anyway, during the first meeting, Kang the Conqueror breaks in. Kang, an old school-villain dubbed a 'time terrorist' by Captain Steve, exposits that the Next Avengers have been screwing up the timestream and that he needs the Avengers help to take them. He also appears to have a doomsday device Tony Stark has not yet invented. And, at the end, he confers with the Maestro, a super-strong, super-smart, despotic Hulk from the future.

In the first issue, Bendis and JR Jr set the tone for the series, with great Bendis dialogue and the beautiful artwork we've come to expect from Romita. The issue is a lot of fun, it sets up for the future, and is just generally really cool. I suggest you pick it up.

OTHER THINGS OF NOTE: Brightest Day #2 is a series that'll probably appear in the blog a lot. Despite that sweet-ass Aquaman cover, this issue was mostly about the Martian Manhunter, with him remembering his origin as well as learning of a new wrinkle to it. Some other stuff happens with the Hawks and Aquaman, but it's Deadman who steals the show, as the issue ends with him about to face the Anti-Monitor. This wasn't the best issue, but it was alright. Things'll pick up soon.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1 was Paul Levitz's return to the 31st century's greatest heroes. While fans of his work might enjoy this, I didn't. Levitz's work really seems like older writing, with a lot of narration and exposition driving the story. Plus some of the things involved just seemed stupid. For one thing, I have to imagine people in the 31st century know not to witness the beginning of the universe. That's one of he major laws of Oa. Second, the characterization of Sodam Yat was a lot different from Legion of Three Worlds. Wasn't he going to to rebuild the GLC himself and not just be sad that they're all gone? Third, the artwork just seemed off in some places. Good overall, but off. I do like that he kept Earth-Man around, though. He's one of the Legions more interesting villains as of late. I won't be buying this series anymore, but I'll probably follow it.

And now it's time for the QUOTE OF THE WEEK! This weeks quote comes from Avengers #1:

Bucky: Hey...
Thor: I'm sorry.
Bucky: No...I was just saying...Hey...
Thor: I'm sorry, I'm not entirely sure who you are.

That was my stuff for this week. Hope you enjoyed with my review. Thanks for reading, i'll see you next time!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

You Should Be Reading: Runaways

Spider-Man was a massive success for a number of reasons. One of the major ones was that it mixed together two highly successful dramas: Superheroes and High School. Peter Parker may have beat up Doc Ock or the Green Goblin every other issue, but what kept people hooked was soap opera of a life, his relationships, all of his teenage bulltish. Runaways took that basic idea and made it work better.

Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona in 2003, Runaways was about, well, teenagers. Six adolescents, friends only because their parents are business partners, discover one evening that their parents business is honest-to-god supervillainy. Disillusioned, the teens, as to be expected, run away. Some discover that they have inherited powers. Some lose faith with everything they knew. But they all find that they suddenly have to grow up and the reality that they are fugitives from their own parents.

The cast begins with the six teenagers: Nico Minoru (The emotional daughter of sorcerors and amateur practitioner of magic herself), Chase Stein (The rebellious son of mad scientists and thiever of some of their devices), Gert Yorkes (The sarcastic daughter of time travelers and inheritor of a pet dinosaur), Karolina Dean (The kind-hearted daughter of alien invaders and inheritor of their powers), Molly Hayes (The energetic daughter of mutants and, at 12 years old, youngest of the team), and Alex Wilder (The quiet, contemplative son of mobsters).

The characters are all unique and vibrant and all have their troubles. Nico's personal baggage is a steady source of strife in the team. Karolina is struggling with the discovery of her new heritage and her personal identity issues. Alex has to lead the teens but is learning as he goes. And despite of this, there is still humor to be found. Chase's "dumb jock" persona clashes with Gert's "snobby intellectual". And of course there's always Molly, whose exuberance shines on no matter what the situation. It's doubtlessly these characters that keep us coming back. It's the quite moments, the struggle for survival, and the interpersonal relationships that make the series great.

Eventually, the cast expands. The team is joined by Victor Mancha (The smart but awkward "son" of robot conqueror Ultron) and Xavin (An alien super-Skrull in training). All of them come shortly after one of the original six dies and all of them bring something new to an already great team.

Eventually, in 2007, Vaughan left the book at a definite high point and was replaced by Joss the Boss Whedon. Unfortunately, Whedon only stuck around for six issues, during which time a time-travel mishap left the team in 1907. At the end of the story arc, the teens returned to the present with a new member in tow, 12-year-old Klara Prast, a plant-controlling mutant whose life experiences differ greatly from the others. Terry Moore took over as writer after that, with two lackluster story arcs. Finally Kathryn Immonen came in and wrote an exciting four-issue story before the series came to it's current hiatus.

While the quality of the book changes based on it's writers, it's Vaughan's stories that best represent this team. It's about struggle, drama, confusion, action, danger, and coming to grips with adulthood before you're ready. It's absolutely fantastic and I recommend to anyone who enjoys a new twist on a familiar concept.

Thanks for reading, friends. I'll see you next time.