Archive for Hypernaturals

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.

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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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Hyper Heroics


The Hypernaturals #8

While Thinkwell, Shoal, and Clone 21 try to survive in a hazardous side-space environment while two evil Sublimes try to kill each other, Bewilder, Halfshell, and Clone 45 try to fight off a bunch of murderous supervillains invading one of their HQs in pursuit of the fabled Nephilim Fragment. Will anyone manage to survive and stop the hypervillains?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice action, storytelling, and characterization. We finally get to see Halfshell do something other than being a furious hothead. Maybe the best bit is the flashback that opens the comic, where we see Thinkwell’s first day as a Hypernatural — I really do wish we could see more of some of the characters introduced there, particularly the fractured crystaline Shard and the awesome fear-inducing Haint.


Worlds’ Finest #9

A bunch of paramilitary mercenaries have invaded the labs on Power Girl’s Starr Island (query: Is Power Girl’s Starr Labs the new S.T.A.R. Labs?) in pursuit of some kind of hidden data. Karen is out of range, leaving an injured Huntress to battle them alone. Can she handle them with a broken arm? We also get a flashback to how Huntress acquired her costume.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Pretty good story — I’m a sucker for an “underdog must take out superior forces solo” story. The flashbacks are fine, too. If I’ve got a quibble, it’s with the continuity in the artwork — at one point, Huntress has a broken arm in a cast and sling, but when you turn the page, the cast and sling are both gone, and she’s using both arms just fine. That may seem like a minor issue — but the change is definitely noticeable  It’s an error that should have been caught.

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Blood Blooms


American Vampire #34

This is the final issue of this series… at least for a while. It’s going on a hiatus for a few months so writer Scott Snyder can work on a Superman comic. To which I say Bah. BAH! Right now, any American Vampire comic is more important than any Superman comic.

Anyway, this issue is set several years after the previous issue, as Abilena Book, former agent of the Vassals of the Morning Star, living incognito in New Mexico, gets a visit from Gene Hunting, nephew of Will Hunting, the bookkeeper (not an accountant, more of a historian) for the current Vassals group. They don’t particularly hit it off, at least not initially. Gene needs information about the future, and Abilena has become something of a fortuneteller after an encounter years ago with an exotic snake-like vampire. Gene needs to learn about someone ominously called the Gray Trader, but Abilena tells him she won’t be able to help him. And Gene may not survive to the end of the story anyway…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Obviously a place-saver and teaser for whatever will come after the comic’s hiatus. Still, it’s tantalizing, suspenseful, fairly action-packed, and pretty darn scary, too. I hope the next few months pass quickly so I can get back to enjoying this brilliant comic again.


The Hypernaturals #7

Much of our focus is on the galactic supervillain Sublime. Among other things, we learn his origin, which is suitably horrifying and tragic, and we begin to get some hints about how he thinks he can solve the question of what happened to the previous Hypernaturals team and how to fix the Chernovski situation. Can his plans be trusted? Do they dare recreate Chernovski? And is Sublime’s even more evil twin thinking several levels ahead of all of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wild, crazy, brain-expanding sci-fi superheroics with a heavy dose of action and characterization. These are all good things and something we should all want to see a lot more of. Keep your fingers crossed that this one enjoys a proper level of success.

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Queens of Outer Space

Womanthology: Space #3

This anthology of all-women-created comics about science fiction continues. We get “Centipede” by Robin Furth, Carli Idhe, Ronda Pattison, and Robbie Robbins, about a space smuggler’s deadly — and squicky — cargo; “Countdown” by Rachel Edidin and Sophia Foster-Dimino, about some girls making their own pretend rocket and the journeys it takes them on; and “The Vesta” by Jennifer DeGuzman, Leigh Dragoon, and Robbie Robbins, about a crew member on a spaceship and how she tries to escape its overprotective influence. And we also get an essay by Trina Robbins about Lily Renee, a cartoonist who fought the Nazis her own way during World War II.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is my favorite issue of this series so far — all the stories are great, the art is great, and the whole thing remains a powerful reminder that, no matter how badly DC wishes comics could be their own secret all-boys club, women have their place in the comics biz, too.

Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #5

With the renegade Japanese soldiers preparing to destroy America by dropping a gigantic earthquake bomb on the country. Luckily, Atomic Robo and the She-Devils of the Pacific are working hard to prevent that. Not that it’s particularly easy. It’s a furious battle from the first page almost to the end. Of course, they’ll succeed… but who will survive?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I love just about everything about Atomic Robo.

The Hypernaturals #6

So there was once this guy named Chernovski, and he was basically omnipotent. He destroyed the universe and immediately regretted it. So he fixed everything back up, then had Clone 21, the last person alive, completely forget him — which caused him to cease existing. But now Clone 21 has remembered Chernovski again, and not only is the most dangerous creature in existence on the loose again, but the remaining members of the Hypernaturals are in dire danger of being killed by alien supervillains. And what is the evil Sublime up to? Is he causing the crisis or trying to end it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun science-fiction superheroics, with great dialogue and art, blistering action, and big, brain-busting ideas.

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Graduation Day

Avengers Academy #39

It’s the final issue of “Avengers Academy,” one of Marvel’s best series. Let’s start off by congratulating Christos Gage, Tom Grummett, and the other artists who worked on the series. It was great fun almost all the way through, and a great example that a superhero series can break the mold in numerous ways and still enjoy some success. I just wish it had enjoyed a bit more success…

What we get here is a lot of wrap-up of character stories. X-23 and Finesse essentially agree to disagree. Striker goes on a date and starts adjusting to his status as a gay icon. Hazmat and Mettle take their relationship to the next level. Reptil and White Tiger start their own relationship, as do Lightspeed and Karolina Dean. The students reveal to their teachers that they’ve known all along that they were considered potential supervillains, and they also learn what their future is with the Avengers.

Verdict: Thumbs up. An excellent ending for an excellent series. Great emotional moments for almost everyone — yes, even Finesse. My only regret is that most of the cast members here will be moving on “Avengers Arena,” where they’re scheduled to be pointlessly killed. But it was a good run while it lasted.

The Hypernaturals #5

While the Hypernaturals try to solve the mystery of what destroyed the previous Hypernaturals team, they track down a couple of stray clues — they search for the significance of something called the Chernovski Event, and they try to track down the mysterious Clone 21, the only one of the Clone series to go into hiding. Meanwhile, former member Stellerator, desperate for a cure for her husband, who was de-aged by Sublime, agrees to break the supervillain out of prison so he can find out who’s been impersonating him.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s still good, futuristic fun, like an alternate version of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Excellent action and dialogue, and tons of intrigue and mysteries. Mysteries piled on top of mysteries, in fact. The characterization is pretty good, too. All in all, it’s a lot of fun.

Worlds’ Finest #6

While Huntress visits Gotham City to steal a few million dollars from Bruce Wayne, to help finance her activities, she runs into Damian Wayne, who is essentially her alternate universe half-brother. They spend at least half the issue beating the heck out of each other. Power Girl, meanwhile, is focused on her own research, which generally involves highjacking some computing cycles from communications satellites and avoiding any contact with Supergirl.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great action and beautiful art by both Kevin Maguire and George Perez. Still can’t stand Power Girl’s new costume — not like anyone else can either. That’s probably the only thing they’d have to fix to make this series even more enjoyable.

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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.

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Zombie’s End

iZombie #28

So it’s time for the final issue of Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s wonderful supernatural soap opera. Xitalu, an eldritch monster-god from between dimensions, is preparing to devour the entire world, starting with Eugene, Oregon. The treacherous mummy Amon has a plan to Xitalu away for a few centuries by having our heroine, intelligent zombie Gwen Dylan, absorb the souls of everyone in the city — including her friends and family — then he can then feed her to Xitalu so he’ll go away. Equally treacherous mad scientist/Frankenstein monster Galatea wants to download Xitalu into Frankenteen so she can gain all of Xitalu’s power for herself. As the seconds tick by and everyone gets closer to being eaten alive by Xitalu, is there any way for Gwen to save everyone?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nicely-done ending, with lots of suspense and tension — and everyone in the cast gets at least a brief moment in the spotlight. I’m still not sure if this one got cancelled because it wasn’t selling well enough, because DC didn’t like Roberson talking smack about them, or just because DC is a bit dim (though I’d bet on that last one). But I’m glad it got 28 fun issues.

The Hypernaturals #2

In the distant future, the newest Hypernaturals superteam has just been wiped out by an unknown foe. The temporary replacement team — Bewilder, Thinkwell, Halfshell, and Shoal — finds themselves under assault by a flesh mob, a bunch of regenerating monsters made of all the debris around them. They’re able to escape — barely — but it leaves them with some serious problems: one of their greatest foes, Sublime, is apparently back, their current team is missing and presumed dead, and the replacements include two rookies, one who overthinks everything and another who’s too hotheaded. Bewilder and Thinkwell go out to recruit some former team members, including the down-on-his-luck Clone 45, who doesn’t even have his powers anymore.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I think I’m having quite a lot of fun meeting these characters. It’s very much a Legion-of-Super-Heroes thing with the serial numbers rubbed off, but it still comes off fresh, interesting, and a lot of fun. Looking forward to plenty more.

Dial H #4

Abyss, a creature of pure darkness, has appeared in the city, and Nelson Jent, Manteau, Squid, and Ex Nihilo are unable to stop it. Abyss disappears temporarily, Squid gets shot full of holes, Manteau is captured by Ex Nihilo, and Nelson gets left behind without powers. It turns out Ex Nihilo is a doctor at the local hospital, as well as a “nullomancer” — a sorceress who specializes in magically altering nothing — literally nothing. While she tortures Manteau for information, Abyss starts wrecking downtown, and Ex Nihilo, using Manteau’s dial, goes to try to capture him. Squid, meanwhile, goes to Nelson for help — he’s wounded, maybe dying, and he wants Nelson to help him rescue Manteau and then get back to his own homeworld. But what can Nelson do when he can’t get his dial to work anymore?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Tons of stuff happening here, and it’s all wonderful fun. Scary, surreal, intense, even inspiring. China Mieville is a pretty dang good comic book writer, ain’t he?

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