Archive for Starfire

Stars Underground


Starfire #9

Kori and Stella are going to take a vacation with Atlee to her home, Strata, deep inside the earth. The travel down through the swamp in a see-through bubble for miles and miles — and when they finally arrive, Strata is pretty great — except for Kori suddenly getting sick and a monster despot invading the city…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an issue mostly devoted to people talking, so that’s pretty great. There were a lot of small, cool moments in here. Starfire’s caterpillar pal Silkie from the “Teen Titans” TV show finally appears in the comics, though his name is recorded here as Syl’Khee. Strata’s agent on Earth is disguised as a redneck Everglades river guide. Atlee’s family in Strata are depicted almost exactly the way they were by Amanda Conner in the old “Power Girl” series (which makes sense since she’s one of the writers). The only thing I didn’t like about it is that I just learned there are only three issues left before this series ends.


Spider-Gwen #5

While Captain America tries to track down the increasingly unstable Harry Osborn before he kills Spider-Woman, Captain Stacy has decided to take a meeting with Matt Murdock, sleasy blind lawyer and secret Kingpin of Crime. Murdock knows Gwen is Spider-Woman, and his offer to keep Gwen safe if she’ll serve as his foot soldier is sweetened when he orders his army of ninjas to attack Frank Castle. Can Castle survive the attack? Will Stacy give in to Murdock’s persuasion?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Actually, Gwen barely appears in this issue, but Cap’s search, Captain Stacy’s confrontation with Murdock, and Castle’s battle with the ninjas are outstanding high-drama tent-poles to hang this comic on…


All-New Hawkeye #4

In the present, Clint Barton is trying to rescue the Project Communion kids. He snows Maria Hill into telling him where they are — she reveals that they’ve just been kidnapped by HYDRA, and he gives chase with a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in tow. He gets to show off some nifty superhero stunt work, but things don’t really go to plan. Meanwhile, in the past, we get a look at Kate Bishop’s childhood. Unhappy with her rich-kid lifestyle, she’s also desperate for attention and approval from her father. But soon enough, she learns something that will change her opinion of her dad forever.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Cool to see Clint getting to do superhero stuff — you think Captain America is the only person who can dive out of a plane without a parachute? As always, Ramon Perez’s amazing art makes a glorious contrast between the present and the pastel past.

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Hammer of the Gods


The Mighty Thor #3

Loki is back to being, at best, an anti-hero, and more likely, just a regular villain again. He does look an awful lot more like Tom Hiddleston than he used to. He tries to talk Thor into teaming up with him — but Jane Foster has had plenty of contact with Loki before, and he generally just tried to kill her to get back at Thor. So she knocks his head clean off. Of course, that’s no way to kill the God of Lies, and he comes back with a horde of alternate Lokis, including Loki Classic, King Loki, Kid Loki, Teen Loki, Frost Giant Loki, Lady Loki, and even Cat Thor Loki from the Squirrel Girl comic. Does Thor have a chance against all of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see so many Lokis in one place, isn’t it? Also liked Thor’s rationale for knocking Loki’s head off — he’s always treated Jane Foster as nothing worth bothering with, which means she’d definitely be ready for payback.


Starfire #8

It’s the second half of Starfire’s team-up with secret agent Dick Grayson. There’s some decent action stuff, and a lot of soap-opera stuff, most of it involving minor characters whose names I can’t totally remember.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I ain’t entirely knocking soap opera, because superhero comics would be damn boring without some soap opera. But most of this issue was soap opera, and it wasn’t really much fun.


All-New All-Different Avengers #3

The Chitauri warlord called Warbringer just keeps kicking the Avengers’ butts, though he does have secret assistance from Mr. Gryphon, the mysterious businessman who bought Avengers Tower. Warbringer is trying to assemble a device that’ll bring hordes of Chitauri to Earth to conquer the planet for him. The team manages to get the pieces of the artifact away from him, but he’s still powerful enough to easily beat the most powerful members of the group. So Spider-Man is going to have to activate the device and then destroy it with split-second timing so they can push Warbringer through the portal as it opens. Will the plan work? Or will there be other complications?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not at all bad, decently tense — and it looks like the Vision being creepy and weird is something that’s going to carry over into every comic he appears in…

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The Blackness of the Soul


Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #1

Dancy Flammarion, the Southern possibly-crazy monster-hunting albino girl, is back. No, wait, actually, she’s not back. She’s dead, and apparently in Hell, which is an infinite blank space inhabited only by Dancy and, occasionally, her furious, vengeful angel. Dancy doesn’t want to be in Hell, but she’s also not too keen on the angel telling her that her life was worthless or a betrayal or something that should be renounced. And while Dancy is dead, shady underworld characters in the South, including a wealthy fixer and a couple of psychos wearing cute animal masks, celebrate her end. Good times are here again for the forces of evil…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was so excited to see this. I got so much joy out of Caitlin R. Kiernan’s amazing Dancy Flammarion stories, and it’s great that, even with a new artist, the series is still maintaining the extremely high quality we’ve come to expect from it. Y’all get in on this one early, okay?


Harrow County #8

Emmy now knows for certain that her “sister” Kammi is thoroughly evil. She’s rousted up all the most evil of the haints in Harrow County and set them after Emmy to kill her, while she plans on killing Emmy’s father, just to hurt her a little bit more. Can Emmy and the few friendly haints on her side manage to get the better of Kammi and her ghostly army? And where does the girls’ mother come in?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Less low-key creepiness this time and more out-and-out supernatural war — but there’s still a lot of good to say for this story. A confrontation between the two sisters and their contrasting views of the world probably couldn’t end any other way…


All-New Hawkeye #2

In the future, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop have been betrayed by SHIELD and imprisoned by the Mandarin. And he’s also captured one of the super-psychic kids who’d helped cause the massacre of Mandarin’s people — and he wants the Hawkeyes to get the psychic to work for him so he can use him for his own weapon of mass destruction. But Kate has an ace in the hole — her ex-boyfriend and Kree superhero Noh-Varr, who’s much better equipped to deal with hordes of robots and the Mandarin’s powers. So what’s the Hawkeyes next move?

Verdict: Ehh, close enough to a thumbs up. I like the look of the Mandarin, but a lot of the story was just kinda nowhere. The surprise appearance of Marvel Boy was my favorite bit.


The Ultimates #2

The Ultimates have a plan to neutralize Galactus. It involves obtaining the giant mechanical “cradle” that originally transitioned Galen, the last surviving being of the previous universe, into the Devourer of Worlds of this universe. While the Black Panther keeps Galactus distracted with monologuing (the only attack that all supervillains respect), Monica Rambeau and America Chavez obtain the birthing chamber and teleport it to Galactus, then the rest of the team blast him inside the cradle — and what emerges, transformed, may look like Galactus — but it definitely doesn’t act like him anymore.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s all fairly standard proactive superhero fare — but the final splash page certainly does sell the issue. It can’t last, of course, but it’ll be fun seeing how it all goes wrong.


Spider-Gwen #3

Gwen travels to the regular Marvel Universe because she’s stuck in adamantium handcuffs she can’t get off. Once the extremely pregnant Spider-Woman of our universe gets her free, it’s time for Gwen to head home, where Officer Ben Grimm has just been inducted to the NYPD’s anti-Spider-Woman task force. They suspect Captain George Stacy of being one of Spider-Woman’s assistants, because she’s rescued him twice — and others are suspecting there may be a connection, too, as Matt Murdock, blind attorney and rotten lieutenant to Wilson Fisk, pays Captain Stacy a visit.

Meanwhile, Gwen goes to see friends from school and runs into the long-lost Harry Osborn, one of her best friends, alongside the late Peter Parker. Unfortunately, Harry blames Spider-Woman for Peter’s death, just like everyone else — and he has plans for what he means to do about it.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story, fun art, all kinds of great complications getting thrown into the blender. I still think Spider-Woman being pregnant is a bit out of left field, but her scenes with Gwen are really fantastic.


Starfire #7

Dick Grayson, Agent of SHIELD — um, Spyral or Spectre or whatever he’s an agent of — is in Florida tracking some bad guys. He disguises himself to get aboard a yacht — and as it turns out, Starfire is on the same boat, so he enlists her to help out. Will they be able to stop the villains, retrieve the secret package, and discover what kind of being is stalking Kory?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Sorry — I thought it was more than a bit dull.

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Lightning Round

Well, thanks to getting a ton of comics last week and being just plain bored with blogging lately, I’ve gotten way, way behind on my reviews. So let’s see how fast I can do a bunch of reviews…


Starfire #6

An alien bounty hunter pursues Starfire and isn’t shy about killing humans. Can Kory stop him, or is her head going on a pike?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good humor and action, very pretty art, and that cover is a solid winner.


Spider-Gwen #2

While tracking down the Lizards, Spider-Woman meets up with a much different Captain America than we know. Can Gwen handle the Lizards and Cap — while handcuffed?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story. Loved the new version of Cap — complete with a full backstory! Now I want to read more about her adventures, too…


All-New Hawkeye #1

Another new number-one issue! MARRRRVEL! (shakes fist at sky) Most of our story is set in the future. Clint Barton is a washed-up old coot, and Kate Bishop is rich and bitter and pretty damn good at her job. They’re trying to make up for the mistakes of the past — and that means they’ll run afoul of the Mandarin.

Verdict: Ehh, good enough for a thumbs up. Artwork and personality conflict are what sell this story the best.


All-New Wolverine #1

Laura Kinney, better known as X-23 and Logan’s gender-switched clone, has taken over the mantle of Wolverine. She’s trying to stop a sniper atop the Eiffel Tower — but she doesn’t have an adamantium skeleton to bounce bullets…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I wasn’t expecting to like this one so much. The art is cool, the action is excellent, and the dialogue and characterization are fun. I reckon I’ll be picking up a few more issues of this one.


All-New All-Different Avengers #1

Man, they’re gonna run out of Avengers titles before long. The members of this team include Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man. Ahem, that’s the Sam Wilson Captain America, the Jane Foster Thor, and the Miles Morales Spider-Man. Not all the characters have even met yet, but the stories around them are plenty fun.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to seeing Mark Waid writing these characters. This is probably one of the new Marvel titles I’ve been looking forward to the most.


Illuminati #1

Titania has been released from jail and plans to give up the criminal life. She’s doing her best, but it’s hard for ex-supervillains to get jobs anywhere. She-Hulk is willing to help her, but they’ve been rivals too long, and Skeeter rejects her aid. She manages to get a crap job as security at a pawn shop, but a robbery attempt ends with Luke Cage and Iron Fist assuming she’s the villain. And then she gets “rescued” by the Hood, who’s putting together a new gang of under-the-radar super-crooks.

Verdict: Ehh, it’s not bad, but I’m not sure I’ll be picking it up. We barely meet any of the characters aside from Titania and the Hood, and though Titania is a fun character, I don’t think there’s enough here to make me feel like I need to keep reading.


The Vision #1

In an attempt to be more human, the Vision has created his own family — his wife, Virginia, and their twins Viv and Vin. The entire family is deeply weird, terribly ominous, and they’re all utterly, utterly unhuman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, this one was amazing — an astonishingly creepy comic about robots pretending to be normal human suburbanites while actually being skin-crawlingly weird. It is so, so good.


The Ultimates #1

Yet another branch of quasi-Avengers, this team consists of the Blue Marvel, the Black Panther, Captain Marvel, America Chavez, and Monica Rambeau. They’ve got an extremely ambitious and wide-ranging plan to neutralize Galactus — and it’s not what anyone expects.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Another comic where I love all the characters — and at this point, I’m willing to read almost anything Al Ewing writes. And lookit, a comic book without any white male characters — and with that many serious powerhouses on the team, they may be Marvel’s toughest badasses…

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Blood and Glitter


I Hate Fairyland #1

Skottie Young’s first creator-owned comic is about a little girl named Gertrude who gets whisked away to Fairyland. To get back home, she just needs to find a key to the door back home — but luck is not with her. A quest that should’ve taken only a day or two ends up taking 27 years. And while she still looks like she’s just a little kid, she’s actually almost 40 years old, she’s furious, she’s sick and tired of Fairyland, and she’s armed with an array of fantastically violent weapons. She’s still looking for the key — but she also takes time to blow the moon’s brains out, murder a bunch of stars, rob casinos, throttle a giant caterpillar, eat way too many mushroom guards, and make daring escapes — but can she survive an attack by a barbarian assassin?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It may look a lot like your typical Skottie Young all-ages comic, and it may have no swear words (just Fairyland-swears like “hugger fluffer”) — but this is definitely not for kids. There’s blood and violence and hurt feelings everywhere, and it’s pretty dang wonderful so far. Let’s hope they can keep up the violentastic wonderments.


Ms. Marvel #19

The world is ending, and Kamala Khan has just discovered that her mother has known she was really Ms. Marvel almost from the very beginning of her superheroic career. Plus she finally realizes that her pal Bruno is in love with her, and she doesn’t know how to react to that knowledge. She makes up with her friend Nakia and has a meeting-of-the-minds with the school’s alpha bitch. And everything closes out with an incredible dance party.

Verdict: Thumbs up. We know this isn’t really a final issue — it’ll definitely be back with a new #1 soon — but it feels like a really strong final issue anyway. It’s great to get some excellent moments with almost everyone in Kamala’s supporting cast. And as always, you gotta pay close attention to the backgrounds, because some of the best things are hidden back there.


Starfire #5

Kory discovers an unexpected talent for mind-reading, and as a result, we get a little of the backstory of Soren, the apparent psychic who killed everyone on a cruise liner a few issues back — he’s a former doctor with the power to heal cancer, at the cost of strengthening the cancer he was suffering from himself. Kory also has a job interview at a local aquarium and manages to get the job when she’s able to learn dolphin language to communicate with a depressed porpoise. But Soren has dire plans for everyone, and there are forces from outer space that are bringing trouble to Earth, too.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Aside from the extremely pretty art, a lot of the fun of this series is watching Kory misinterpret human metaphors, and some of this issue’s misinterpretations are the best yet.

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Toys in the Attic


Giant-Size Little Marvel: A vs. X #4

The Avengers and the X-Men are working hard to impress the new twins in town, Zachary and Zoe, so they can get them to join their clubs — but things are complicated now, as the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Inhumans join the competition. This means there’s going to be a huge fight, with lots of Marvel characters rendered in Skottie Young’s cartoonish style, right? And who do the twins finally pick?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s wonderfully funny, and the double splash page, featuring several dozen characters, including Spider-Gwen, Ms. Marvel, Brother Voodoo, Cloak and Dagger, Shatterstar, and many more, definitely makes it worth the cover price.


Starfire #4

A creature called a chida monster from deep below the earth is wreaking havoc in Key West. Starfire has met up with Atlee — better known to fans of Palmiotti and Conner’s old “Power Girl” series as Terra. Atlee has a plan for dealing with the chida — throwing him over the ocean, have Kori blast him as he grows larger and larger, and let his weight drive him back underground. And what’s left after that? Brace yourself for… conversations.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Okay, it’s a lot of talking compared to action, but I didn’t mind the talking all that much.


Ms. Marvel #18

Kamala Khan’s big brother Aamir has been exposed to the Terrigen mists by her former crush Kamran — but wait, Captain Marvel is here and knows what Terrigen mists look like, and this ain’t them. Besides, Aamir is showing signs of superpowers, and he hasn’t even entered the Inhuman cocoon — so he doesn’t seem to be an Inhuman at all. So why is he demonstrating the ability to form protective force shields? Kamala and Captain Marvel return Aamir to the school, and Carol reveals to Kamala that the world is probably about to end. Will Kamala’s last night be marred by the usual strife that keeps blowing up around them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I loved the heck out of this entire issue, but I think where this comic really sings is the fantastic family relationships we see here. Yeah, there’s lots of stress and irritation — let’s face it, Aamir may be a good guy, but he’s also a grade-A dick — but ultimately, there’s lots of affection and love. And I’m really looking forward to the next issue now, just so we can resolve that cliffhanger.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Final Squirrel


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8

The monstrous mind-controlling Norse squirrel goddess Ratatoskr has turned everyone against Squirrel Girl, including Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi! Luckily, she stole Spider-Man’s web-shooters, and she manages to subdue her former allies and Ratatoskr, too! And then the rest of New York shows up and frees them all. Meanwhile, Doreen’s roommate Nancy Whitehead has traveled to Asgard to help Thor and Odinson find out how Ratatoskr escaped from captivity. And it turns out it was Loki! After winning Nancy’s eternal loyalty by turning himself into her fanfic cartoon character Cat Thor, Loki agrees to help round the monstrous squirrel back up. But will they be able to stop her murderous rampage in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is an incredibly dialogue-heavy issue, and it’s still so much fun that you barely notice how talky everything is. Most of the fun goes on in Asgard, where Loki — or Cat Thor — provides the best of this issue’s laughs. I am disappointed that this series is getting the axe already, but it’s good that it’ll be back again in another couple of months.


Starfire #3

Key West is facing a couple deadly threats — an unknown castaway with mind control powers who manages to kill all the crew in a out-of-commission cruise ship and an underground monster who likes to eat random people on the beach. Can Starfire defeat these villains? Will she learn that you can’t drink baking soda? Will she find an unexpected ally?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Super-cool art and super-cool writing. The humor is quite wonderful — the aforementioned baking soda joke was pretty fantastic. And our special guest star is someone I should’ve expected, especially considering the writers, but it was still great to see her again.

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Storm Chaser


Starfire #2

Hurricane Betty is hitting Key West hard. Sheriff Stella Gomez is working to coordinate rescue and relief efforts, her brother in the Coast Guard is going to suicidal lengths to save people, and Starfire trying to carry as many people as she can to the safety of the shelter in the school. Will she be able to save everyone before running out of power? And why is a giant monster stalking the island?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice straightforward story by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, along with clear, charismatic art from Emanuela Lupacchino.


All Star Section Eight #2

While Six Pack obsesses about getting Green Lantern to join Section Eight — and staging a battle between a bunch of Green Lanterns (most of his team) and Star Sapphire (Guts in a bikini) to attract the attention of the Guardians — we also get the origin of the new Dogwelder, as well as Bueno Excellente’s unrequited love for (ugh!) Guts.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great stuff going on here — great writing and art plus fantastic crude and surreal humor. There are still some zingers on the superhero game, but it turns out Hal Jordan is a lot more on-the-ball than Batman was last issue.


Harrow County #3

Emmy and Bernice have stumbled into an ancient graveyard and soon find themselves surrounded by silent, flaming spirits. They escape the menacing specters, but soon find themselves facing a more tangible danger — the human townsfolk, looking to find and kill Emmy. Her pet haint leads most of them away, but her father still manages to find them. Insisting she must be the witch they’d executed 18 years before, he tries to kill her, but the haint’s physical form defends her, and Emmy resists the temptation to use her growing supernatural powers for evil. But there are much more dire creatures waiting in the woods for her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Amazing art and writing, and a deliriously creepy atmosphere. I think this one’s going to be really, really outstanding.

Today’s Cool Links:

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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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