Archive for Prez

Back in the Swing


Spidey #1

Here’s this great new series by Robbie Thompson and Nick Bradshaw focusing on Spider-Man when he was still in high school. He tangles with the White Rabbit, does badly on a pop quiz, get pushed around by Flash Thompson and rescued by Gwen Stacy, and visits Oscorp just in time for an attack by Dr. Octopus. Can puny Parker save the day — and what more terrible menace is now keeping an eye on him?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic story and art — the art is very reminiscent of Art Adams, by the way, which is definitely a good thing. And it’s always great to be able to revisit Peter Parker’s youth — Spidey’s glory days were definitely his high school years, and while this is modernized quite a bit — the Wall-Crawler takes a selfie of himself and White Rabbit after he defeats her — this story still has the feel of the classic era.


The Totally Awesome Hulk #1

Well, Amadeus Cho, 19-year-old Korean-American smartass, buddy of both the Hulk and Hercules, eighth smartest person in the world, now has gamma-spawned powers of his own. So he runs around the world with his super-genius sister Maddy, beating up monsters (and often getting beat up by them, too), and getting accustomed to how gamma radiation messes with his own rage issues. So is life gonna be all sunshine and bacon cheeseburgers for Amadeus?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Okay, I could take or leave Frank Cho — he draws pretty, but his arrogance always makes me want to find more interesting artists. But Greg Pak writing Amadeus Cho? Yeah, I’m down with that.


Prez #6

The whole country is freaking out about the cat flu, and Boss Smiley and his corporate flunkies have crafted a bill to let them cure the flu, but also give them the right to patent any living organism. President Beth Ross thinks that sounds like bull, and she throws ’em out. The bill gets passed over her objections, but a very wealthy supporter manages to patent the DNA of the corporate goons himself and threatens to sue them for existing. Meanwhile, the former War Beast drone, now calling herself Tina, wants to live her own life and is looking for a new job. Might that include protecting the President from deranged cat-flu worshipers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very nice political satire with a cool sci-fi edge. (The comic makes a point that Tina is transgender — which I’m not sure is entirely accurate for an only-recently sapient genderless robot. Personally, I think what makes her really interesting is her embrace of evangelical Christianity…)


Sensation Comics #17

The final issue of this series features a story by the great Trina Robbins. Wonder Woman meets up with the Cheetah, who reveals that the plant that grants her cheetah-like powers is almost extinct — and without it, she’ll die. Diana agrees to fly her to the island where the berries are native and help her harvest the last of them, but her invisible jet is shot down. They discover a mad scientist has been using the berries to transform animals into quasi-human forms. When Lex Luthor sends his goons to shut down the project, a bloodbath ensues. Can Wonder Woman rescue everyone? Can the Cheetah be saved? Or will she become worse than ever before?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The cheetah-human hybrid really is tailor-made for an “Island of Dr. Moreau” pastiche, right? The art by Chris Gugliotti is a bit funky, but I’m really happy to see any and all stories by Trina Robbins, so it’s all good, as far as I’m concerned.


All Star Section Eight #6

The miniseries wraps up with Sixpack getting to hang out with Superman in the Fortress of Solitude. Sixpack confesses that he’s afraid he’s not real, that his adventures are just the hallucinations of a drunk freezing to death in an alley. But Supes tells him it’s all real, shows him a statue of Sixpack as one of the world’s great heroes and… hands him a bottle of whiskey. But just as Section 8’s leader is ready to go, the rest of his team is falling apart. Will there be anyone to save the world from All-Consuming Evil?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The rapid self-destruction of the team is really the funniest bit of the issue, though the hallucinatory Superman telling Sixpack “It’s going to be okay” while  handing him a bottle of rotgut is grimly hilarious. Still, I do wish this issue had lived up to the promise of the previous one.

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Prez 1 for Awesome


Prez #5

Newly elected teen president Beth Ross embarks on an international “apology tour” — because, frankly, the U.S. has done a lot of unbelievably awful stuff to a lot of countries and has very few real allies. Unfortunately, Beth has just discontinued the abusive Sentry program, and she’ll have less protection from international enemies. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is trying to leverage their treatments for the cat flu into big bucks, and the most advanced of the robotic Sentries is seeking to atone for his life by joining a church. Can Beth make friends around the world and still use a meat synthesizer to save her ambassador’s life?

Verdict: Thumbs up. More excellently clever political satire, combined with wonderful artwork and fantastic characterization, dialogue, cleverness — and even empathy.


Revival #34

Em Cypress has been revealed as a risen-from-the-dead reviver and imprisoned in a reviver prison for experimentation and eventual extermination. Her sister, Officer Dana Cypress helps comfort her father, Sheriff Wayne Cypress, who’s concerned because he’s shot a man who may be dying. And Dana reveals that she knows her father killed her mother while driving drunk — but she still expects him to help her learn who first murdered Em. A dying CIA agent leads Dana to some clues to the truth, but neither Dana nor Em realize that assassins have been ordered to eliminate them permanently.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series often features people dancing around and barely missing the truth, uncovering new mysteries to add to the pile of old mysteries, and being helpless to stop death — hey, that’s the nature of noir stories. This issue is a bit unusual because more than one mystery is solved and several new plot points are revealed. It’s a nice way to start a new storyarc, and it’s not a bad place to start reading if you haven’t been checking it out before.

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Rock Candy


Rat Queens #12

Violet helps Betty run off a hobbit-sized assassin, and Betty swears her to secrecy about the event. Later, while the Queens are on their way to Mage University, they stop to rest in a dank cave called Dank Cave — and Hannah runs into an old demonic friend, who sics a bunch of demons on her and her friends. Can the Rat Queens survive an unwinnable fight?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great humor, characterization, dialogue, and art — and an excellent crisis that sneaks up on everyone from out of nowhere. Also, “To the shitter, my Rat Queens!” is probably the best battle cry ever.


Prez #4

Beth Ross is slowly getting accustomed to her new job. She hires her old boss from the corndog palace as her chief of staff, and she starts working to try to shut down the Sentry program, which is widely abused because the people piloting the robot sentries are immature douchebags who are allowed to kill anyone they want. Senator Thorn has a new Sentry model that doesn’t rely on anyone else to pilot it and can be set to, again, kill anyone it wants. Of course, that leaves it free to go rogue…

Verdict: Thumbs up. What I love — perversely — about this comic is all the nobodies of this world we get introduced to. We learn who they are, how they’ve come to the rotten situations they’re stuck in — and then the creators make things even worse for them. And the world keeps spinning, because this particular future chews up and spits out everyone eventually. No one in this world is going to get saved — and that in itself feels liberating.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Swear-In Jar


Prez #3

Beth Ross is about to be sworn in as the new President of the United States. Her vice president is Preston Rickard, who is so hated in Washington that no one will ever assassinate Beth, just to keep Rickard out of the Big Chair. Beth decides to build her cabinet out of the smartest people in the country, including a Neil DeGrasse Tyson analogue and an unemployed foreign policy expert. But the powers-that-be are hoping to assassinate Beth after she takes her oath of office but before Rickard does — will her presidency end before it even begins?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I love the story, but a lot of the really great stuff in this issue is background. We follow factory drone Manny Esposito as he gets used and abused by the megacorps that run the world, and that gives us a ton of info about this future version of America. And the distressing thing is how close it really is to the current version of America. Business, politics, and media are getting more and more sociopathic and corrupt as time goes on. How long will it take for the world of this comic to look like the our own world? Heck, all we need to do is develop better hologram technology, and we’re there. Let’s just call it now — this is the sharpest work of political satire currently being produced in comics. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that this is the best political satire being produced in any medium right now.


Hellboy in Hell #7

Been a while since we saw the last issue of this, hasn’t it? The previous issue came out about 15 months ago — I’d actually thought the series was over. But Mike Mignola is apparently still hard at work on it. This issue has Hellboy suffering from a parasitical infection of his very soul, which is causing him to waste away. After a brief vision of his love Alice, who tells him that the world is dying but will be reborn in England through a new World Tree, his new doctors take him for treatment to Dr. Hoffman, who is being persecuted by Dr. Coppelius, who possesses great supernatural powers, as well as an even greater grudge. Hoffman thinks he can devise a cure, but Hellboy will have to hold off Coppelius…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s always great to see Mignola writing and illustrating Hellboy. A number of great things in here, too — the creepy recitation of the Three Witches’ speech from “Macbeth,” the glorious glimpse we get of Alice, and a golem yelling “Halibut!” — so it’s certainly worth picking up.


Lumberjanes #17

Abigail is dead-set on destroying the monstrous Grootslang — and she really can’t destroy it. It’s much too powerful, and after it gets done killing her, it’s going to go wild on everyone else it can, too. While Rosie tries to save Abigail, the girls are researching how to stop the Grootslang. Turns out it loves jewels, and they’ve found a gigantic stash of jewels in Abigail’s cabin. But what if it can’t be bribed? There’s sure to be trouble then…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great story all the way around — great drama and humor, great characterization and conflict, great humor. And a great, understated cliffhanger, too.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Social Election


Prez #2

The presidential election has ended in a tie, and the House of Representatives are playing games to get the candidates to offer them bigger and better bribes. Beth Ross is mostly a background player — she’s only in the running as a joke, with just Ohio in her electoral total. Her father dies of cat flu, and most of her time is devoted to taking care of her life, without worrying about the increasingly ridiculous election bribery.

More Congressmen start giving their votes to Beth in each ballot in order to spur the two main candidates to offer them better goodies — but at last, one state too many gives their gag vote to Beth, and all of a sudden, she’s the President of the United States. Can a figure from the past show her the ropes and keep her from being assassinated?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A political humor comic with a giant dose of heart and characterization at its core. The best moments really don’t have anything to do with politics — there’s a couple pages early on in the hospital, where a ridiculous robot bear calling himself Carl the End-of-Life Bear barges into the room with Beth and her father, offers everyone some marijuana, and then appears to be about to smother Beth’s dad with a pillow. (He’s actually propping up her dad’s head to make him more comfortable.)

Immediately after this page of surreal goofball humor, there’s a couple pages of Beth’s dad waxing poetic on the miracles of the human brain and declaring banana pudding to be evidence of the worth of human evolution. And then he dies. It’s beautiful and tragic, and it’s amazing storytelling. And I think we can plan on this comic being something worth reading.


All-New Hawkeye #4

Most of our story here is set in the past at the circus where the Barton brothers spent their childhoods. While the Swordsman teaches Clint archery, he teaches Barney pickpocketing. Clint doesn’t approve, but that doesn’t stop Barney, who knows he has to turn in enough money to let both boys stay at the circus. But Ms. Carson, the bearded lady who runs the criminal sideshow, wants Clint to start stealing, too. Meanwhile, in the brief glimpses we get of the modern day, the forces of Hydra invade the apartment to try to take the cyber-brain mutant kids into custody, and Clint and Kate fight back.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wasn’t prepared to like this much, because Ramon Perez’s pastel-colored past gets a little hard to look at after you read it for page after page after page. But the storytelling is solid, the characterization and plotting are great, and the artwork is gorgeous.

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Hail to the Chief


Prez #1

I’ve decided to give some of the new DC books a shot — this one appealed to me a bit because the original ’70s Prez comic was so famously whackaloon. So how does the new re-imagining of the concept of the first teenaged president fare?

We check in with an America 20 years into the future run by the standard oligarchy of wealthy nogoodniks. It’s time for the presidential elections, and they’re working to figure out who the major parties will run in the campaigns. It’s not remotely fair or democratic, but at least the candidates are subjected to plenty of humiliations as they prostrate themselves before YouTube celebs for the sake of votes.

And while all this is going on, we meet up with Beth Ross, a low-level fast-food drone with an uninsured father who’s dying of a rare form of influenza. Her only claim to fame is an embarrassing video where she accidentally deep-fries her hair. Her attempts to raise money for her dad’s treatment through a stunt-injury game show and through a crowdfunding website called SickStarter go nowhere. There’s not a lot of hope for her — until Anonymous exploits the lack of interest in the new elections — all run through Twitter — to enter her as a candidate, based on the popularity of her video. But she doesn’t have a chance of winning, does she? Depends on what the diabolical Boss Smiley decides…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The level of political silliness is pretty top-notch — it’s fairly glorious to see presidential candidates so desperate for approval that they willingly let morons with YouTube channels spank them with ping-pong paddles. Unfortunately, Beth doesn’t get to do very much — and she’s not even elected to the presidency in this issue — but I expect the first storyarc will focus on getting her to embrace her new presidential powers. It looks pretty interesting, and I’ll probably keep picking it up.


Lumberjanes #15

The mysterious Abigail continues to make friends with Jen, thanks to her spectacular library, while the rest of the Lumberjanes work to survive the unseasonal snowfall. Soon, Rosie finally tracks Jen to Abigail’s cabin — Rosie and Abigail both used to be Lumberjanes together, and they didn’t part on the best of terms. Will Rosie be able to get through to the less-than-stable Abigail? Will she and Jen finally manage to bond?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Definitely worth it for the great art and for the hints of the secret history of the Lumberjanes. The rest of the gang don’t get as much to do as normal — though there is a grand chase with a bunch of monsters in the woods — but it’s nice to give Jen a little focus, too.


Starfire #1

I’d heard a few recommendations of this comic last week, and figured that, as much as I tend to enjoy Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s comics, I should give this one a chance. We jump into the story with Starfire newly moved to Key West, Florida and making friends with Sheriff Gomez. She meets the locals, trades some alien jewels for some ready cash, breaks up a bar fight, gets a civilian wardrobe and a trailer to live in, locks lips with a local hunk, doesn’t understand metaphors, and faces down a hurricane.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The art by Emanuela Lupacchino is extraordinarily charismatic, and Conner and Palmiotti give us a Starfire who’s a lot more like the versions on the “Teen Titans” cartoon and in the Wolfman-Perez version of the comic in the ’80s. She’s a lot less manchild-porn and a lot more humor driven now — her personality is certainly better defined. I don’t entirely buy the argument that she had to wear a skimpy costume to soak up solar energy — but ask me again when the similarly solar-powered Superman starts running around in short-shorts.

Today’s Cool Links:

Not in the mood for a lot of funny links today. Looks like we’ll be talking about terrorism a lot today.

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Politics in Comics: Hail to the Chief!

Is this not the weirdest political season you’ve seen in a while? It seems particularly unusual for us Texans — when was the last time that we actually had a say in helping to pick any of the nominees? Usually, the candidates have been narrowed to one-per-party long before the Texas primary hits. But this year, we’re still in play. Seems to make a lot of people much more interested in the presidential race than normal.

We’ve already had ol’ Bubba in town to talk up Hillary’s candidacy. Right now, Obama’s currently disappointing a lot of folks who were hoping he’d come to town, too. So right now, everyone’s thinking about matters political. And hey, I’m a shameless attention hound, so I figured I’d hunt down nice presidential-themed comic covers for your amusement.


Ya ever wondered who various superheroes would vote for? I figure Wonder Woman would be endorsing Hillary, right?


Captain America’s got a military background — I figure he’d pull the lever for McCain.


Green Arrow? While he hasn’t run for president, he did get elected as mayor of Star City not too long ago. I think he’d definitely be a Kucinich supporter, though I’m sure he complained that Kucinich was a bit too conservative for his tastes.


Hey, good ol’ Prez Rickard, the 18-year-old president from the old ’70s DC series. I’m betting Prez would write in whoever was running as the Green candidate. Crazy ’70s hippie weirdo presidents…


Yeah, the Savage Dragon was briefly the president. Who would he support in this election? Definitely the Greens. Get it? Get it? Oh, man, I’m hilarious.


No reason not to let the villains in on the act. In DC’s continuity, Lex Luthor actually got elected president of the U.S. back in 2000. He wasn’t considered too bad a president either, though he eventually got booted out of office after turning supervillain. As for who he’d vote for? I figure Lex would write himself in. Crazy megalomaniac ex-presidents…


I think I’m the only person in the world who liked the “Emperor Joker” storyline that ran in the Superman comics a few years ago. Sure, he’s not exactly presidential, but being an all-powerful emperor counts for something, I guess. I’m not sure the Joker would think any of the candidates were crazy enough for him. Maybe Alan Keyes. That dude’s craaaaaaazy. Maybe Huckabee, if he keeps talking up that garbage about making America a theocracy…


Whoa, looks like Superman’s endorsing Obama.

So who are your picks for the nation’s top job?

UPDATE: Can’t believe I forgot Howard the Duck!

I figure Howard would vote for Mallard Fillmore or Andrew Quackson…

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