Archive for Ame-Comi Girls

Back to the Big City


Astro City #1

Great news! Astro City is back on the map! No longer at Wildstorm (since Wildstorm no longer exists), it’s now being published as a Vertigo comic.

Our re-introduction to the city comes through the narration of a purple-skinned guy called the Broken Man. He addresses the readers directly, trying to involve us in some ill-defined scheme to prevent a future disaster. We also get introduced to a new character — American Chibi, a new superhero who looks kinda like chibi anime characters. She encounters a mysterious door floating in midair over the Gaines River, but she — and none of the other superheroes in town — are able to get the doors to open. Meanwhile, we run into Ben Pullam, a character we met waaaaay back in the first issue of the second “Astro City” series. (You can find it in the “Family Album” trade paperback.) Back then, Ben was a widower with two young daughters — today, he’s a good deal older, and his daughters are grown up. They’ve gotten together for an overdue visit — but what is Ben’s connection to the mysterious being who finally emerges from the door over the river?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Broken Man is a tad irritating, but I assume that’s a lot of his purpose. Aside from that, this is all the stuff you love about Astro City — fun superheroics, some innovative twists on the superhero formula, normal people getting the spotlight, and an excellent story and art. If you ain’t reading this, you’re stone crazy.

(I do wonder if this is really a Vertigo comic. Granted, there’s no way it should go under the DC banner, which is apparently solely devoted to the New 52 — and makes almost everything associated with it suck — but it seems odd to see it here as part of DC’s mature readers line.)


The Hypernaturals #12

The last issue?! Bah! But how do things turn out? Sublime is preparing to kill the Quantinuum AI — which will end up wreaking havoc across the galaxy. Shoal reveals that the Quantinuum is a refugee from another universe — but it’s insane, desperate to help others at the same time as it wants to kill itself, so it creates superheroes and supervillains. Elsewhere, the rest of the Hypernaturals team has to fight off an army of supervillains — actually normal people in the teleportation network who’ve been transformed into monsters. Can the team stop all the bad guys? Can Shoal and Thinkwell save the Quantinuum?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very nice end for the series. Lots of action, great dialogue and characterization, and all around fun stuff. I’d really love it if this series was continued, but I guess that depends on whether Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning want to keep it going.


Ame-Comi Girls #4

Power Girl and the new Green Lantern fight Star Sapphire for the heart of Jimmy Olsen. Avril Palmer — the Atom — fights off the Brainiac infection in Supergirl’s brain while Supergirl and Power Girl punch each other. And Sinestra gets hold of both a yellow power ring and a black one.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I’m just not even a little bit interested in this series anymore.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Restoration Movement


The Movement #1

The new high-profile book from Gail Simone looks to contrast a band of 99-percenter “people’s heroes” with Art Baltazar and Franco’s upcoming “Green Team” of superhero billionaires. So what do we have here?

Our setting is Coral City, a run-down hellhole of a city with a deeply corrupt police force and a serial killer problem. We meet the kids who are our heroes: the emotion telepath Virtue, demon-possessed Burden, winged warrior Katharsis (who previously appeared as a villain in Simone’s “Batgirl” comics), earthquake-inducing Tremor, and rodent-controlling Mouse.

Verdict: Ehh, I dunno yet. It’s not particularly bad. And it’s a first issue, where we’re introducing a bunch of mostly new characters. So that doesn’t give us a lot of time for characterization. Having said that — I sure wouldn’t want to have to write these guys. Most of them come across as deeply unpleasant people with powers that are either cartoonishly useless or much more useful for your average supervillain. I’ll be more than willing to give this a few issues to win me over — I’m sure the next few issues will have a great deal more characterization, for one thing — but I sure hope it gets more appealing quickly.


The Hypernaturals #11

With “Sublime-Lite” preparing to fire the Nephilim Fragment into the Network — an act that could potentially destroy the Quantinuum supercomputer and devastate the galaxy — the Hypernaturals embark on desperate plans to stop the looming disaster. Will the team manage to defeat the Hyper-Bads guarding the Sublime copy? Will they be able to prevent the Nephilim bullet from being fired? Will they be able to defend the Quantinuum AI? Or should they let it die?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action, drama, suspense, revelations, surprises. This is entirely grand fun. I’m hearing that next issue may be the last for the series — I have my fingers crossed that it’ll continue.


Ame-Comi Girls #3

We meet the Ame-Comi version of Green Lantern — a blind Chinese girl named Jade Yifei who receives her power ring while climbing a mountain and being attacked by a supervillain called the Flying Guillotine. Elsewhere, Wonder Woman, Power Girl, and Steve Trevor announce that a Justice League will be formed in Themyscira, the Chinese government plots to get its hand on Jade’s ring, Carol Ferris get a purple power ring of her own and quickly gets into a conflict with Power Girl when she mind-controls Jimmy Olsen into falling in love with her.

Verdict: I’m going to thumbs this one down. Some parts of it are interesting — Jade’s character-shift into a blind Chinese daredevil, the more musical nature of the Green Lantern ring, Carol Ferris as an astronaut — but the anime-style art is getting more and more wearying. And the bit at the end where Power Girl, Star Sapphire, and every other woman in Metropolis is in love with Jimmy Olsen? That completely broke my brain, man.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Wil Wheaton has a message for all the nerdfamilies.
  • City of Heroes, the best dang superhero MMO ever, is no more. But the people who loved the game have been inspired to create new games to replace it.
  • The new Superman is ONE OF US.

And One More Thing:

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Kiss Me Deadly


Worlds’ Finest #11

Huntress works to trace the source of the high-tech weapons and mercenaries that have often been set against them, quickly deducing that they all have their source with Apokalips. Karen Starr, meanwhile, is preparing for a tech convention in Las Vegas. Helena attends as well, as they’re both looking forward to talking to Michael Holt, better known as Mr. Terrific, who has been missing for quite some time. So what has Holt been up to, and what dire secret is he hiding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Pretty good stuff all around. Nice investigative stuff for Huntress, and it’s very interesting to see the reveal on the last page.


The Hypernaturals #10

Thinkwell remembers an incident from his past, back when he was new to the Hypernaturals team, when he tried to interface directly with the Quantinuum hypercomputer that powers civilization in the future. His mind was overloaded by the vast knowledge he gained, and he encountered vast nonhuman intelligences on the edge of existence. But he’d lost all memory of this until just recently. He brings Shoal into his confidence and asks him to watch him to make sure he’s not being controlled by any of the alien intelligences.

Sublime is still not trusted by most of the team, and he’s very frustrated that Thinkwell believes hyperintelligent aliens are behind the plots against them, rather than the Quantinuum itself. Halfshell finds herself being pressured by the company that owns her armor to make a bid for team leadership, and Thinkwell and Shoal pay another visit to the Quantinuum, only to discover something they can’t remember. And the Hyperbads — who may be the genetically altered and mind-controlled former Hypernaturals are making a serious effort to destroy the galaxy…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really outstanding far-future sci-fi superheroics. Great characterization and a really excellent sense of mounting pressure and suspense. Y’all check it out, ‘kay?


Ame-Comi Girls #2

The unified team of superheroines and supervillainesses take on Brainiac above Earth while Power Girl takes her on below the Earth. And even if they can stop Brainiac, there’s still the matter of how to cure Supergirl from her Black Kryptonite infection. And how to deal with the parents of Batgirl and Robin, who don’t want their daughters fighting crime…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The battle against Brainiac was pretty short, which I considered a really good thing, ’cause I was waaaaaay tired of the Brainiac storyline. And I also liked the aftermath with dealing with the parents — it’ll be interesting to see how they’re going to get out of this very mundane threat…

Today’s Not Particularly Happy Links:

  • Just obits today. First Roger Ebert, one of the nation’s truly great writers.
  • Then Carmine Infantino, creator of an amazing number of comic book characters and the namesake of the world-famous Infantino Building.
  • And George Gladir, co-creator of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

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Monday Morning Mourning

Okay, I’m tired and in no mood to spend a long time summarizing these comics, so yoiks and away!


Worlds’ Finest #10

The missing Michael Holt (better known to us comics folks as Mr. Terrific) has apparently been targeting Karen Starr’s labs for paramilitary sabotage, so Power Girl strikes back, wrecking a number of Holt labs and even starting an earthquake that gets out of hand. Huntress learns that Damian Wayne, her kinda-sorta half-brother, has died and pays a visit to his grave, narrowly avoiding an encounter with Batman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. For the most part, typical superhero shenanigans, but the art’s nice. I do wish they didn’t assume we knew dippity-doo about what Mr. Terrific was doing in the New 52. That comic wouldn’t have been cancelled if readers had been paying attention to it.


The Hypernaturals #9

A lot of fighting happen. Seriously, a LOT of fighting.

Verdict: Ehhh, for the most part, not that bad. The action really is very good. I enjoyed the glimpse we get of the older Hypernaturals team. The big cliffhanger kinda lost some of its impact for me because I really could not remember the character it referenced.


Ame-Comi Girls #1

I really don’t know why this series started over with a new Number-One. But they did anyway. Wonder Woman shows up on the scene, Supergirl is still evil, the villains bail on Brainiac and team up with the heroes, and Power Girl is deep underground trying to shut off the machines that will suck the world’s mental energies down to zero.

Verdict: Bah, I’d hoped this very, very long storyarc was almost over, but now it looks like it’s going to run another half-dozen issues.

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Sibling Rivalry


Batgirl #17

In the aftermath of the just barely completed “Death of the Family” crossover, Barbara Gordon is busy identifying members of the Joker’s gang through a bunch of mugshots, her mother is in the hospital with a finger sliced off, and her psychotic brother James Jr. is looking to get his own twisted revenge on Batgirl. While Batgirl and the cops put the hurt on the Joker’s stooges, someone starts targeting them with rockets, all while James Jr. taunts his sister. Who’s behind these new attacks?

Verdict: Ehh, thumbs down. Sorry to say, this one just wasn’t all that interesting. Even James Jr., usually an awesomely evil character, just comes across as bland.


Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Supergirl #5

Supergirl has just arrived on Earth, already too late to keep Brainiac from attacking. The Manhunter robots agree to pardon Supergirl and Power Girl if they’ll help stop Brainiac, but they’re vastly outnumbered by Brainiac’s drones. Some other heroes, including Steel, Robin, Catwoman, and Flash, arrive to help, but Power Girl must head for the center of the planet to shut down one of Brainiac’s secret computers. Supergirl heads for Brainiac’s ship but gets contaminated by Black Kryptonite. Can anyone stop her from destroying Earth’s heroes?

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story was just plain loopy-weird, and the artwork was the exact kind of manga-inspired artwork that I really, really dislike. Sorry, but I just didn’t enjoy reading the story.

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Devil vs. Devil


Daredevil #22

Matt Murdock is out of a job and running out of money. Even worse, it’s rumored that he’s gone completely insane — he hasn’t, but that doesn’t stop Spider-Man from coming after him. But this isn’t the Peter Parker we’re familiar with — this is the Superior Spider-Man — Dr. Octopus in Spidey’s body, trying to be a hero and feed his own supervillain ego at the same time. Daredevil suspects something’s funky — Spidey’s not making with his trademark wisecracks. But before they can get into a serious fight, they discover that Stilt-Man is in town and preparing to rob a helicopter. And Stilt-Man has made some upgrades — to Spidey’s fury, he’s used some of Doc Ock’s technology to improve the reach, flexibility, and strength of his legs and his arms. Can Daredevil stop Stilt-Man, make nice with Spider-Man, and get his old job back? And what’s the dire secret Foggy Nelson is hiding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good art, excellent action and characterization, and some amazing drama at the end. I think this “Superior Spider-Man” nonsense is entirely garbage — part of the “any stunt for a sale” mentality that’s plagued comics for the last decade or two. But Waid sells it just fine while still giving Daredevil all the space he needs keep his starring role in the comic.


Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Power Girl #4

We get our introduction to the Ame-Comi version of Power Girl, who nicely fuses Superman’s “most powerful hero in the world” status and heroic attitude with Karen Starr’s entrepreneurship and public relations savvy. After rescuing Jimmy Olsen from pirates, she’s giving a product demonstration at her futuristic megacorp when she’s attacked by a mysterious armored figure who’s almost certainly a female Lex Luthor and a bunch of underlings wearing Silver Banshee powered armor. Can Power Girl survive Luthor and the Silver Banshee’s high-powered attacks? Who’s in the rocketship that just crashed at the Kent farm in Kansas? And why do the Manhunter robots want her so bad?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray wrote the best Power Girl series ever, so I’m not at all surprised that I enjoyed this. But what is surprising is how much this version of PeeGee differs from the one in her self-titled series. I love the way her personality takes a dash of Superman’s “I just want to help everyone” spirit, a pinch of Booster Gold’s “I just want to sell products” ethos, and turns it into a unique “I just want to help everyone by selling them products” attitude. It’s a very fun twist on her personality. On top of that, there’s plenty of action and humor. The art is a little bit funky, but it actually seems to match up pretty well with the style of the Ame-Comi statuettes that inspired the series.

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Everyone’s Sweetheart


Batgirl #15

Well, we now know that we’re looking at the last few months of enjoying Gail Simone’s take on Batgirl — or apparently, on anything else DC Comics is publishing. Ya see, DC is run by stupid people. And either they don’t like phenomenally-popular and extremely-talented creators who are producing critically acclaimed comics that sell well — or they just don’t like yucky girls. I know where I’m placing my bets. And I also know that Gail is going to land on her feet — she’s just too good not to get more work from more intelligent comics publishers.

So in this issue, Batgirl is facing off against the Joker — with her mother’s life on the line. The Joker has her mom tied to a chair with a five-pound nail bomb strapped underneath, and the price for Barbara’s mom is — Batgirl’s hand in marriage? Can Barbara keep him from killing her mother? Can she keep herself from killing the groom-to-be? And what other horrific surprises does the Joker have in store for her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A wonderfully dark, suspenseful story. For once, Batgirl is the one dispensing the savage beatings — even if, ultimately, she’s not in control of the situation at all. I still hate the Joker’s stitched-on face, but he’s as crazy and dangerous as he ever has been. We also get a short appearance by Barbara’s psychotic brother, who may actually be on her side for once.


Love and Capes: What to Expect #5

Thanks to the kind of accident that’s only too common in comic books, Mark and Abby have switched bodies. That’d be a problem any time, but it’s particularly rough now, since Abby is now the most powerful male superhero in the world and Mark is now pregnant. A lot of adjustments have to be made — Mark has to get used to food cravings, being unable to sleep comfortably, and being panicked about the potential for having to give birth, while Abby… well, Abby gets to drink coffee again. Will they ever get back into the correct bodies again?

Meanwhile, Darkblade and Amazonia have a serious crisis in their relationship. Amazonia is being named queen of her interdimensional homeworld — and that means she can never go to Earth again. And Darkblade knows he’d never be able to live on Amazonia’s mostly crime-free world. Is their relationship doomed?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a really, really good comic — both storylines are really strong, with the bodyswitching as the more comedic and the Amazonia/Darkblade story being, obviously, a lot more dramatic. But there’s a lot of story here, it’s all enjoyable and satisfying to read, and you won’t regret coming along for the ride. This is really one of the best comics out there.


Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Duella Dent #3

Most of this issue is devoted to the origin of Duella Dent, the Ame-Comi universe’s version of the Joker. The daughter of a career criminal, his death spurred her to embrace chaos as a lifestyle. Batgirl tries to stop her, but she’s vastly outnumbered by Duella’s supervillain allies. But when they learn that Duella is working with Brainiac to destroy human civilization, Cheetah takes a powder, and Catwoman tries to help Batgirl escape. Meanwhile, Steel and the Flash are about to enter the battle, too, but will they be too late to save Batgirl?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Duella’s origin is really pretty good — probably the most enjoyable part of the whole story. One doesn’t often see an origin in which the death of a genuinely loving parent inspires someone to turn supervillain instead of superhero. In addition, the action is good, the dialogue is good, and the whole thing is pretty entertaining.

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The Last Samurais

Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #4

Robo has been captured by renegade Japanese soldiers who never accepted Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II — and they plan to destroy America with their secret weapon: Project Chokaiten. What’s Project Chokaiten? Well, it’s an earthquake bomb. Sounds unlikely, but they already sank She-Devil Island with a one-percent yield bomb, so they figure a full-powered one dropped in the San Andreas Fault should do some extreme damage. The She-Devils manage to rescue Robo before the Japanese scientists cut him apart but after the rest of the Japanese fleet heads for the American coast with Project Chokaiten. Can Atomic Robo and the She-Devils catch up to the Japanese fleet in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, great action, humor, dialogue, and drama. Atomic Robo is the best dadgum comic book in the universe, and if you ain’t reading it, you are stone crazy.

Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Batgirl #2

In the Ame-Comi version of the DC Universe, there basically aren’t any male superheroes or villains, so while you’ve got Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, she was never inspired by Batman. Other differences? Batgirl has a Robin — her cousin Carrie — and Jim Gordon is in a wheelchair.

So Batgirl and Robin are out on the town beating up Poison Ivy when they get ambushed by Catwoman and Harley Quinn. They manage to capture Batgirl and drag her off to meet Duela Dent, this universe’s version of the Joker, who is also hanging out with the Cheetah who attacked Wonder Woman last issue. Can Robin rescue Batgirl, or will she be on her own against five different supervillains?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The art isn’t as cool as it was last issue, when Amanda Conner was running the pencils. But all in all, it’s still a good story, with lots of action, humor, and fun.

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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.

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