Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Comics Recap 12/13

With Cyber Monday I finally upgraded my technology into the 2010s by acquiring a Kindle Fire tablet.  The cool thing about that is now I can read comics anywhere without having to haul a bunch of paper around.  Or at least DC Comics because I haven't gotten my Marvel account to work yet so unless I buy their comics from the Kindle store I can't open them on the tablet.

Anyway, here we go:

Global Defense Force:  This is an indie comic I got for free from my brother.  While you could compare it with a number of superhero origins, it reminded me most of the early 2000s Firestorm comics I read early in the year where a kid gets caught up in a mysterious explosion and finds himself bonded to something that gives him superpowers.  Only in this case it's alien armor that lets him fly, gives him X-ray vision, and some other cool stuff.  The alien armor talks to the guy to advise him which again makes me think of Firestorm.  It's not exactly up to professional standards but it's still a good start. (5/5)

Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns:  This undoes pretty much the last 12 years or so of Hal Jordan stories where he'd lost his mind after Coast City was destroyed, turned evil, sacrificed himself to relight the sun, and then became DC's spirit of vengeance the Spectre who is totally different from Marvel's spirit of vengeance Ghost Rider in that he doesn't have a flaming skull or motorcycle.  Anyway, some weird stuff begins to happen with the Green Lanterns and with Hal Jordan but he's the only one who can stop it.  The story was good though it's probably better if you've read all those other Hal Jordan comics, which I aim to do at some point.  (4/5)

Iron Man Extremis by Warren Ellis:  I bought this on sale mostly so I could test how comics read in the Kindle Fire.  (The answer is it can be kind of bulky if you're zooming into the panels and trying to navigate.)  Anyway, this is at least in part the basis for the Iron Man 3 movie, though a number of things have been changed to fit with the movie franchise.  In this Extremis is pretty stable; it doesn't make people blow up.  It does give them superstrength, superspeed, and the ability to shoot fire, which is pretty cool.  It is startling since I've only watched the movies about Iron Man for the most part to note how little personality Tony Stark has in this.  He's basically your typical brooding antihero with a troubled past.  Apparently though this began a 21st Century reboot that inspired the movies so that's something. (3/5)

Action Comics (New 52) Vol 2 by Grant Morrison:  I enjoyed most of the first 8 issues of Morrison's Action Comics reboot, so I was glad I could finally read the rest of his run on the title.  Vol 2 starts out focusing on Earth 23's Superman, who is black and also president of the United States.  Another universe's Lois and Clark show up with another Superman on their tail, which leads to trouble. This begins a hodge-podge of stories that will probably pay off in Vol 3 but as a stand-alone volume this doesn't have much in the way of cohesion.  The heart of volume 2 is Clark Kent "dying" and Superman taking on a new secret identity.  There's also the "forgotten Superman" who was in Kansas before Clark Kent. As part of the hodge-podge nature of this volume it only includes 4 actual issues, plus the #0 issue that is a nice story involving a kid who steals Superman's cape, and also the Annual #1 issue about a Kryptonite-fueled dude called K-Man who tries to kill Superman.  This is Lex Luthor's only appearance in this volume.  Given all that I don't think you're getting your money's worth unless it's on sale.  (2.5/5)

Action Comics (New 52) Vol 3 by Grant Morrison:  Volume 3, the conclusion of Morrison's run on the series, gathers up a lot of the loose threads from especially volume 2 in order to bring it to a conclusion.  As with Morrison's "Final Crisis" it involves a somewhat whimsical solution that doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense.  All this 5th Dimension stuff is a couple dimensions over my head really but overall it's entertaining. And to throw Laplume a bone here some of the backup features by Sholly Fisch are as strong as the main issues.  I especially liked "A Boy and His Dog" which is touching in the same way as that episode of "Futurama" with Fry's dog and "Goodbye" where Superman gets a chance to go back in time to say goodbye to his pa--the Earth one. Though really I'd have liked if Morrison got back to the more down-to-Earth Superman in the first few issues of his run.  I suppose though after 75 years we expect all these far-out universe-spanning stories.  (3/5)

Batgirl (New 52) Vol 1 by Gail Simone:  Since Barbara Gordon was crippled in The Killing Joke there have been a number of Batgirls over the years.  With the New 52 Barbara Gordon is back in the saddle, thanks to some neural implant dealies or whatever.  (Something that makes more sense than being punched in the back really hard.)  She moves out from her dad's place and soon gets to work after this dude called Mirror who's killing people who've been saved by chance.  This takes up the first 4 issues while the remaining two of the volume focus on a woman named Gretel who's targeting Gotham's elite--including Bruce Wayne!  This does a good job of illustrating Barbara's struggles to get back into the swing of things without being whiny or bleak.  It's a good change of pace from the typical brooding antihero--see Iron Man Extremis above. (5/5)

Contrasting this we have:
Spider-Woman Agent of SWORD by Brian Michael Bendis:  Part of the problem with Marvel comics when I buy them on sale is I often have no idea where they fit in.  At this point Spider-Woman, aka Jessica Drew, is recovering from when the Skrull attacked New York with their queen using her as a double-agent.  While in the doldrums, she's sought out by the head of SWORD, which is kind of an MIB agency.  She signs up to go to Madripoor to hunt down Skrull in the area.  And then she proceeds to fight Hydra, the Thunderbolts, and local cops until she finally finds the Skrull...and gets her ass kicked until the Avengers show up to bail her out.  Seriously.  It's exceedingly lame when it's Spider-Woman's name on the cover and Wolverine kills the bad guy.  I mean Batman shows up in the Batgirl comics, but he didn't dispatch the bad guy.  Maybe there's a difference when a woman is writing a female hero vs. a man writing a female hero.  It was OK up to that point if you like brooding antiheroes, but that ending just killed it.  I suppose that's part of why the series folded with that issue. (1/5)

Detective Comics (New 52) Vol 1 by Tony S. Daniel: My Goodreads review was "OK but not spectacular" which is pretty much the gist of it.  It's a decent enough take on Batman but it certainly isn't covering any new ground.  This volume features 2 stories.  The first involves Joker and the Dollmaker.  This ends with a whimper as the Joker disappears early on and the Dollmaker isn't even apprehended by Batman.  The second story involves Penguin and a casino heist.  This had a more satisfying conclusion.  As I said there's not much new here, especially not Batman dating a journalist.  But still it's not terrible either. (3/5)

Avengers vs. X-Men by Various:  Like the "Civil War" storyline this features Marvel heroes whaling on each other.  Only in this case it's the X-Men vs. the vast Avengers roster (pretty much all non-mutant heroes) for whatever reason--the real reason being to sell comics.  It has to do with the Phoenix, that thing you might remember from X-Men The Last Stand that turns Jean Grey into a total badass.  Only since she's "dead" at this point it bonds with a bunch of other X-Men, who start remaking the world, which pisses the Avengers off.  Then it's on, though like DC's "Final Crisis" and the end of Grant Morrison's run on "Action Comics" the end is a little whimsical.  Of course like any of these big crossover series there's a bunch of other stuff going on outside of the main title, if you want to buy fifty other books or so. (4/5)

 This series is also notable because it features Hope Summers, whose action figure I converted into a Scarlet Knight figure:
Scarlet Knight action figures


  1. I've certainly noticed in marvel stories that the tough female heroes tend to fold more often than they should - especially if they're on a super team. It may not happen every time. But it does more than I'd expect. So , I'm not surprised that spider woman ended the way it did. Lame though.

  2. I'm sure it won't surprise you that I can't remember the last time I read a comic, but I do love the artwork when you post pictures.

  3. I agree with you assessment of the New 52 Batgirl.
    I like her better as Batgirl than Oracle in Birds of Prey.

  4. Sweet action figures and I like the sound of the Batgirl comic. Put her back in the saddle do to speak.

  5. love the Review on my Comic (the GDF). Its the first review I have gotten. =) Only question I have is whats not up to professional standards?

    1. PS I know I am the new guy and I got lots to learn so any info that I can use helps. =)

  6. I don't have much to say about the reviews. But I read your other post below, and it seems unusually sappy for you. Are you getting into the Xmas spirit?

    Your reviews, meanwhile, are very thoughtful, especially for comic reviews. I like that your negative reviews give good explanations for why you didn't like something.



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