Archive for October, 2012

Written in Blood

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #5

With a small number of vampire allies, Agent Hobbes, Felicia Book, and her son Gus are tracking Dracula, the most powerful vampire on Earth, as he sets sail for a device that will allow him to mentally command every vampire in the world. Since he’s in a ship, and Carpathian vampires are notoriously incapable of swimming, the plan is simple: get a raft in close, attach some dynamite, and blow a hole in the hull. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work, forcing them to board the ship to blow it up from inside. Can young Gus handle himself alone when Dracula’s servant, Tommy Glass, attacks? Can Agent Hobbes survive Dracula’s mental attacks?

Verdict: Thumbs up. High intensity suspense, a suitable ending for one character, and some interesting changes put in place for the rest of the American Vampire series. This has bee, like all of Scott Snyder’s American Vampire books, absolutely excellent. More’s the pity that he’ll be putting it on hiatus to work on Superman comics.

Daredevil #19

Has Matt Murdock gone insane? He’s seeing people who aren’t there, he seemingly graverobbed his father’s bones, he thinks he’s in one place, then finds himself somewhere else. Is Foggy Nelson going to betray Matt to the authorities? Can Daredevil solve the mystery of what’s happening to him? Or is he literally going to lose his head?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art and writing, a fun mystery, creepy situations, and an excellent old/new villain.

Batwoman #13

On the trail of Medusa — and fearful that it may not be a mere criminal organization but the actual mythical gorgon herself, Batwoman teams up with Wonder Woman to track her down. They travel to a dungeon/labyrinth designed to hold horrific monsters, but find that the creatures and their guards have all been destroyed — and soon, they’re attacked by Nyx, goddess of night, and her bleak minions. Meanwhile, the DEO continues their various plots, while Joseph Kane starts training Bette Kane for a new crimefighting career.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good gravy, the art in here is just stunning. Just about every page of this is shockingly beautiful. I don’t know what else to say about it — sometimes this stuff just blows my feeble brain into orbit.

Today’s Cool Links:

Comments (3)

Cemetery Dance

Bite Me: Big Easy Nights by Marion G. Harmon

Technically, this is actually the third book from Marion G. Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape” series, but it takes place between the first book (previously reviewed) and the second (not reviewed yet), so it’s not out of place here. Besides, it’s just two weeks ’til Halloween, and the whole book is jammed full of vampires. So let’s hit it.

Set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras — a long, long way from the superhero-filled Chicago where the first novel is set — we’re completely focused on Jacky Bouchard, reluctant vampire and the equally reluctant superhero Artemis. She’s in town to meet the grandmother she never knew she had — she’s apparently the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, and she’s pretty handy to have around — and she’s also doing some freelance work for the police, keeping an eye on the local vampires. See, there are a lot of vamps in N’Awlins, mostly because of Anne Rice — when someone who’s obsessed with romantic vampires has their metahuman breakthrough, they’ll often kick the bucket and rise from the dead as a vampire. And once they do, they usually head for New Orleans.

They’re even fairly accepted within the city. As long as they don’t kill people and limit their feeding to willing victims (and there are a lot of vampire fans in New Orleans eager to get snacked on), the police usually leave them alone. The cops don’t even have to worry about a vampire plague — in the “Wearing the Cape” universe, vampires aren’t able to turn their victims into vampires. However, Jacky herself owes her own undead resurrection to one of the exceptions to that rule, who was able to kill her and turn her with his own powers — and there are indications that another of those rare exceptions may be trying to build his own vampire army, which leaves Jacky with some serious problems on her hands, especially when she gets targeted for assassination by both vampires and humans.

Can Jacky track down the master vampire, survive the cutthroat vampire politics of New Orleans, redeem a fellow vampire, and keep her police contact (who has powers of his own) and her grandmother safe from harm, all without getting a stake through the chest or her head lopped off her shoulders?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a really fun book, like the other “Wearing the Cape” books (and I’ll eventually get around the reviewing the third novel, too), with excellent characters, fun dialogue, excellent action, settings, and mood, and a fast-moving plot. Half the fun of this one is Jacky’s down-to-earth reactions to the general craziness of her surroundings, particularly the fashion-obsessed vampires she has to blend in with. She’s a bit too hard-edged to fit in particularly well with the superhero crowd, and she doesn’t fit in well with the vampires because… well, she just doesn’t like vampires very much.

It’s a good, fast read. I had a seriously busy week — couple of weeks, really — and worried it’d take me a month to find enough time to finish this. But the story and characters grab you and draw you in quickly — I ended up taking extra time away from other duties just to spend more time reading. It was colossal fun, and, while it may not be a perfect Halloween book (you’d have a hard time bumping books by Ray Bradbury or M.R. James out of that spot), it still makes for a great late-October read.

“Bite Me: Big Easy Nights” is available for the Kindle. Go pick it up.

Comments off

God Hates Everyone

Punk Rock Jesus #4

Gwen has been banned from the J2 compound and gone public in a big way, telling TV shows a lot of the dirty goings-on that the dastardly Rick Slate has engineered. The New American Christians invade the compound, with Gwen along for the ride so she can help rescue Chris. Unfortunately, Slate uses this as an excuse to murder Gwen, and when Thomas attacks Slate, he has the security chief fired. And the result on Chris is that he starts looking for how he can rebel — vast amounts of exercise, reading books on politics, religion, and science that Slate doesn’t approve of, listening to as much punk rock as he can. And when Chris volunteers to host the Grammys, what they get instead of a docile, telegenic, Jesus clone is a furious, foul-mouthed, mohawked, politically aware Jesus clone who’s looking to raise a punk rock army to blow America apart.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This just keeps getting better and better. Offensive? Bless its black little heart, you bet it is. Although, ya gotta say, a cloned, mohawked Jesus who bellows “Go f**k yourself! Jesus hates you!” is probably a lot less offensive when you consider all the mountains of awfulness he’s been put through so far. And Sean Murphy is doing such a great job with this story, I think I’ve got faith that it’s going to get better in the last two issues…

Halloween Eve

This Kickstarter-funded comic comes to us from writer Brandon Montclare and artist Amy Reeder. It focuses on Eve, a Halloween-hating wage slave who has the misfortune of working in a Halloween store. She’s rude to her coworkers, barely civil to customers, and is very angry that she’ll be required to dress in a costume on Halloween night. But when Eve has to stay late cleaning the store before Halloween, she soon finds the costumes around her coming to life and is thrown into a world full of monsters and ghosts. Will she be able to get into the Halloween spirit before time runs out?

Verdict: I hate to say it, but thumbs down. The art is entirely gorgeous, just like you’d expect from something Amy Reeder is working on. But I couldn’t get into the story at all, and I especially disliked the ending, which was far too abrupt and tidy, and Eve’s personality transfer, from angry and prickly to sweet and sentimental, doesn’t really make sense.

Comments off

Friday Night Fights: Roundhouse Robin!

Awright, kids, time to get the weekend started, and we all know the best way to start the weekend is with a little comic-book violence. So buckle on your reserve chutes, ’cause it’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us all the way from the spring of 1941 and Batman #5 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. The Joker’s got Batman cornered atop a lighthouse — good thing the Dark Knight has his Boy Hostage ready to help out.

That’s gonna do it for me tonight — all y’all have a great weekend.

Comments (3)

Kickstart the Goon!

What the heck, another new post? I’m gonna spoil you guys for new content.


Surely you’ve seen the preview trailer for the film of “The Goon,” right? It looks awesome, doesn’t it? Well, the rotten thing about that (other than that zombie) is that it’s not in production and hasn’t been able to get funding. Because Hollywood is stupid.

But now there’s a Goon movie Kickstarter to get things rolling. Eric Powell is in it. David Fincher is in it. Other people are in it. Yeah, $400,000 is pretty steep, but you don’t have to provide all of that cash. (Unless you want to, in which case, could I also mention that bloggin’ don’t pay squat? Thanks, rich pals.)

Just wanted to mention it, people, so you’ll go out and help fund that there Kickstarter. The Goon needs to be up on the silver screen!

Comments off

In Which the Joker Does Not Appear in a Comic Labeled as Part of a Joker Storyline

Batgirl #13

Okay, first of all, I liked this story. But there were some serious problems entirely outside of the control of the writer and artist.

First of all: Hey, you like that cover? It’s pretty sweet, ain’t it? Well, they actually cover it up with a big gruesome Joker image. In fact, it’s an actual die-cut cover. Yes, just like in the ’90s! WHO COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE THAT THE REBOOTED DC COMICS WOULD USE SOME TIRED GIMMICK FROM THE ’90S?!?

Second, there’s a die-cut Joker cover, there’s a label that says this is part of the Joker-centric “Death of the Family” crossover, but the Joker isn’t in this issue at all. I don’t mind that too much, because I wasn’t really looking forward to this crossover. But if you’re gonna roll out the bells and whistles for the Joker, don’t frustrate the folks who are looking forward to the crossover by not including the Joker.

Third, ya know the problem with interrupting an ongoing storyarc with an unrelated #0 issue? Everyone who was reading the comic before has two months to forget about the ongoing storyarc. That’s just a rude thing to do to the folks who are spending money on your comics. At least give us a “What happened before” page to remind us what happened before, okay?

Okay, as for the story itself: Batgirl has been stabbed by a villain named Knightfall who wants to clean up Gotham by killing anyone who commits any crime, no matter how minor. Barbara manages to fight her off and learns her backstory — she was poor little rich girl Cherise Carnes, whose boyfriend killed her family for kicks. And she decided to accept blame for the murders so she could get into Arkham Asylum and learn the skills she needed to torture her murderous boyfriend. Can an injured Batgirl beat the lunatic villain who has enough wealth to walk out of any prison in Gotham?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, even with all those problems I mentioned before, it’s still a good story. It’s nice to see Barbara kick a little ass, and Knightfall’s backstory makes her an even more twisted villain than she’d already appeared. And I like the multitude of future storylines that are being set up. So yes, a thumbs up. It’s not Gail Simone’s or Ed Benes’ fault that DC editorial are nincompoops.

Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Wonder Woman #1

I almost didn’t get this, but I’d heard positive reviews before, so I decided to take a chance. The series is based on a bunch of collectible statues put out by this Ame-Comi company that feature DC’s female characters wearing skimpy costumes and looking more anime-inspired than normal. They often look, well, a little trashy, but this series, which has previously been available in digital format only, has gotten fairly good reviews — and it’s written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and partially illustrated by Amanda Conner, all of whom are really pretty awesome.

So the first issue focuses on this alternate version of Wonder Woman. She’s still just Princess Diana of Themyscira, the furious, haughty daughter of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Diana’s an outstanding warrior, but her mother is very protective, and when the island is invaded by troops from Kasnia, Diana has to sneak out to participate in the battle. Angry that her daughter defied her orders, Hippolyta decides to agree to a pact with America to protect them from future invasions — and orders Diana to become Themyscira’s official ambassador to the world. And her first appearance at the United Nations is interrupted by an attack from a feline assassin called the Cheetah.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Aside from the usual excellent writing by Palmiotti and Gray, and the excellent art by Conner and backup penciller Walden Wong, I’m pretty much going to enjoy any comic in which the lead character complains angrily about the stripperiffic costume she has to wear. It’s funny, it’s action-packed, it’s clever, it’s aware of its own craziness. I believe I approve.

Comments off

Everyone Hates the New 52

This is a week or two old, but just too funny to let pass.

It started as a simple poll on the DC Comics Facebook page. “With Zero Month drawing to a close we’re wondering: How do you want to learn more about the history of the characters in DC Comics-The New 52?”

The problem was, as well as the expected choices, they left the poll open. So people could add their own choices.

Some of the most popular answers included:

  • Bring Back the old DCU
  • Crisis on Earth-New52: How the experiment ends and we return to the “real” DCU
  • Bring back some characters, such as Wally West, Cassie Cain and Stephanie Brown.
  • Fire Scott Lobdell
  • Give Booster Gold his own new 52 title and let him fixt the DCnU mess
  • Just end the New52 for God’s Sake!
  • Stop with all the 90′s-esque books
  • Get rid of Dan Didio!
  • Bring back Rucka and Waid; Lose Johns and Glass
  • Make Karen Berger DC’s EiC.
  • Quit flailing, dammit!
  • Go back to the old DCU and we all promise to pretend this mess never happened
  • Put all the DCnU shenanigans on a different numbered Earth
  • Burn a Didio Effigy
  • Hire artists who can properly draw women. Fire anyone ignorant of basic anatomy.
  • Again to make the Superman married to Lois Lane.
  • Wally West NOW!
  • Make batmite kill all new 52 charaters

When the people who like comics enough to join your actual Facebook fan page all hate your comics that much, you should maybe consider that you’ve made some serious errors with your career choices.

Comments off

Mutants Assemble!

Uncanny Avengers #1

So this was the one everyone was kinda excited about — the comic that kicks off “Marvel Now,” Marvel’s soft reboot/renumbering scheme. Was it worth it?

Basically, we get a bunch of introductions to the folks who’ll be starring in this book. We get Wolverine giving a eulogy at Charles Xavier’s funeral. We get Havok paying a visit to his incarcerated (and unrepentant) brother, Cyclops. We get Captain America and Thor recruiting Havok for the Avengers, and then all three of them dealing with a repowered and mind-controlled Avalanche. We get Rogue and the Scarlet Witch angrily confronting each other and then getting attacked by a new group of villains.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Can I say, first of all, that this is a team that’s much too overdue? One of the things that’s long bugged me about the Marvel Universe has been the seemingly impenetrable wall between the X-books and the rest of Marvel’s comics. Sure, there’s the occasional team-up or miniseries, but for decades, the only X-Men who became Avengers were Beast and Wolverine. It really seemed ridiculous that Captain America never said, “Hey, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, and a bunch of these other X-Men are pretty darned good. We should recruit them into the Avengers, ’cause they’re badasses — and it’d help the cause of mutant rights, too!” So, like I said, a long overdue move here, and I hope this isn’t just an experiment that’ll be forgotten in another couple of years.

As for the comic itself, John Cassaday’s art is, as always, outstanding. Rick Remender’s writing is fine, too. The story is probably a bit gorier than some of y’all would rather, with a lot of emphasis on the bad guys pulling people’s brains out of their heads. But I still enjoyed it, and I reckon I’ll pick up future issues of it, too.

Arrow #1

It’s a preview for the comic based on the new TV series that’s going to be airing soon, about spoiled rotten rich boy Oliver Queen and how he becomes an archery superhero.

Verdict: Well, it’s free, and you get what you pay for.

Comments off

Axe Lunacy

Axe Cop: President of the World #3

The end of this miniseries has Axe Cop facing off against the evil Water Queen, a Goo-rilla, and the stunningly impressive Every Man, who can turn into, well, everything. All at once. All that, plus Axe Cop gets his head chopped off, Junior Cobbb punches and shoots someone at the same time, and the Earth is destroyed!

Verdict: Yes, of course it’s a thumbs up. Anyone who doesn’t thumbs-up this mad brilliance needs their head examined. The writing is excellent, and the artwork is phenomenal.

The Hypernaturals #4

While Thinkwell, Bewilder, and Prismatica match wits with the imprisoned Sublime, Clone 45 finally gets his powers back, and Halfshell and Shoal fight off some gangsters and prevent a high-rise disaster. But Sublime has terrible plans for everyone, along with an unexpected accomplice.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Seems fine to me. Plenty of action, devious plots, and far-future superheroic shenanigans.

Comments off

Sidekick Stuff

Love and Capes: What to Expect #3

Aside from the pregnancy preparations we’d expect from this series, including an agreement between Abby and Mark to let the baby’s gender be a surprise and Abby’s distress about all the women who tell her horror stories about pregnancy, Darkblade takes on three new sidekicks, and Amazonia gets some bad news from home.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good stuff, funny, nice dialogue, clever situations, and even some cliffhangers to up the tension.

Avengers Academy #38

Okay, it’s not the end of the series, but we’re getting close, as the Avengers Academy students and teachers play a game of flag football against the students and teachers at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, which is headmastered by Wolverine. Nothing too serious going on, mostly just hijinx.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Like I said, mostly silly stuff, but this series deserved a break from the serious crises and angst.

Comments off