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My Comics Run at the End of July

My comic book buying is spotty and inconsistent at best. I cannot always go to Bankstons (the local comic book shop) or Hastings. Nor can I buy all the books I would like. So, I buy only those books I want to buy when I can buy them. Which makes for a very interesting run much of the time. So, how was my last run?

Pretty good, I must say. I finally picked up Dial H #3 and Wonder Woman #11. And I finally picked up my first Marvel comic in years with Captain Marvel #1. 

As far as Dial H #3 is concerned, I want to do another joint review with Earth 2. So expect a quadruple review when I get Earth 2 #4 and Dial H #4 this Friday (I hope).

But, let’s take a look at Wonder Woman #11. I will admit that I haven’t been following Azzarello and Chiang’s run on the series. And seriously? I’m kicking myself for it.

Writing a good Wonder Woman series has been troublesome for years now. In the past decade, how many different takes on Wonder Woman have there been? Personally, Azzarello’s take on Wonder Woman is what I’ve been craving. I love it that Wonder Woman is firmly entrenched within her mythological context. I agree with Sara Lima of Comic Vine when she calls Wonder Woman the Greek mythological version of Fables.

This new take works far better than anything I’ve read in Wonder Woman from the past decade, at least.

Moving on to Captain Marvel #1this book is freaking awesome. Kelly Sue Deconnick does an amazing job with this first issue. As someone who is unfamiliar with Ms. Marvel, I feel that I did not need to know all of her back story. The essentials are given in a way that seamlessly fits into the story. And the characterization, amazing.

Dexter Soy’s art work is amazing. I rather like the “painted” style of coloring that some Marvel series have been utilizing for a few years now. And the art work here is very good.

So, if you haven’t picked up Earth 2Dial HWonder Woman, and Captain Marvel, why not? Don’t kick yourself later!

Looking forward, I am certain to continue collecting Earth 2 and Dial H. Other DC titles I’ll probably pick up first issues or random jumping on points.  I would like to pick up Wonder WomanBatman, and Justice League Dark, though.

As for drops? Well, I hate to do this, but I’m going to have to walk away from a few titles for now. Stormwatch during  Milligan’s run has been very lackluster. So until the direction changes or a new team is placed on the book, I’m done with the title.

The same is true for Teen Titans. I haven’t really kept up with Titans, but what I’ve read and heard does not give me much hope. So, again, I’m done till a new creative team comes on board.

In a previous post, I mentioned that Marvel had nothing that interested me. Well, I was wrong. Captain Marvel looks to be a keeper. And I’m planning on checking out Gambit when it hits later this month.

Looking out to the future, I’m excited by Uncanny AvengersAll New X-Men, and whatever new Young Avengers/Kid Loki/ Teen Heroes book has been teased (as long as it isn’t written by Allan Heinberg).

I realize now that I’ve given Marvel a short shrift over the past few months. I’m positively kicking myself for not having gone after Remender’s Uncanny X-Force and especially Gillen’s Journey into Mystery. But, there are always the collected editions. . .

Anyway, that is it for this post. The months to come look to be very interesting in the world of comics.

Double Issue Review

Today, I have two reviews of the first two issues of Dial H and Earth 2. Now, the easy review would be that I love both series and urge everyone to check both out. But, to do a just review, one must utilize depth.

Dial H

From the brilliant and creative mind of China Mieville, this series has all of the elements that makes a great Mieville story. The series follows Nelson, an obese out of luck Londoner, who happens on the H Dial when his friend is attacked by the gangsters he works for. Thus begins the random heroic career of a most unlikely superhero.

And that’s the key. Nelson should not be a super hero, but he is. And that, I think, makes this series work so well. Nelson is not even an everyman. He is someone no body would want to be. He doesn’t even want to be himself. Which introduces an amazing series of characterization shots.

Indeed, beyond the superhero surface is a heartfelt and compassionate study of identity and the desire to become someone else, someone heroic.

The progression of the series has so far been fast paced and addicting. And the villains have so far been very cool and extremely weird.

Mieville has found an excellent partner in Mateus Santolouco and the rest of the art team. My goodness, the art is gorgeous in a weird, somewhat surrealist style.

For those of you who have not checked out Dial H, what are you waiting for? Do it now!

Earth 2


To begin this review, one must acknowledge the controversies surrounding it. For one thing, the revelation of Alan Scott as a gay man in this new universe. And, of course, there are the deaths of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman in the first issue during the final battle with the forces of Apokolips.

The thing is, you see, this series is a radical departure from the usual Earth Two depiction. Instead of these heroes existing in a Golden Age of Super Heroes, these heroes (Scott, Garrick, etc.) are the second generation of heroes (or wonders as the residents of Earth 2 call them).

James Robinson has embarked on something akin to an superhero epic. The old heroes, hell the old gods, are dead. Who will take their place when the world needs new heroes? I look forward to that answer.

The first issue is powerful and heart breaking. Especially the relationship between Batman and his daughter, Robin. And that last scene, wow.

The second issue picks up with the introduction of the Flash (Jay Garrick). In this reality, he gains his powers from a dying god (guess who). So, much of this issue is built around him learning how to use his new powers and his first experiences as a hero. Indeed, his growth as a character is very well done. He is, I think, going to develop in to a fine hero.

Less time is devoted to Alan Scott and the newly arrived Michael Holt. I look forward to seeing how Mr. Terrific integrates into this new world.

Moving on to the future Green Lantern, the handling of his sexuality and his love life is excellently handled. There is a touching frankness to it that is deceptively simple to achieve. And Robinson achieves it. Now, the question is, what will happen to Sam? That final splash does not look good for him. Again, making a reader worry for a newly introduced character mere moments after their introduction is an excellent achievement.

The art team on this book led by Nicola Scott is excellent. Again, I think the series is very well served by the art.

This series has me dying to know what is coming for the future Justice Society.

If you haven’t checked this series out, why the hell not. Get to it! Now!!

A Random Potpourri

I have nothing in the way of reviews, attempts at criticism, etc. So, I’ll just post a few snippets of stuff and an idea or two.

So, DC announced yesterday that they are updating their New 52 titles, cancelling six and adding six. It is troubling to see Mr. Terrific and Static Shock go (given the dearth of African American led titles). But I am excited about one of the new titles: Dial H by China Mieville. That’s right Mieville is writing a monthly comic book series. Digest that. I am expecting awesome.

Speaking of comic books. I had entertained the idea for a while that an online comic book magazine anthology (sort of like a manga magazine) could be a good thing. But the more I look into it, the less enthused I am. Unless I’m missing gems, the web comics I have seen have been serious let downs in both art and story telling. Then again, at my core, I think am more enamored of traditional publishing than I am of online publication (even though online publications are much easier to access).

The next round of the NFL playoffs begins tomorrow. Like last week, I’ll try to catch all of the games. I do have several teams I like still in there, and football is very conducive to free writing.

Moving the focus to the blog itself, I’ve been thinking of doing more features. Adding polls, pictures, etc. I don’t know what I would poll about, though.

Like I said in my “Rambling Changes” post, is it just me or are the recent slew of criticism, writer advice, and assorted genre nonfiction been mostly disappointing? Maybe I’m just tired of it all. There are still gems, but most of it has just started to annoy me.

Finally, a preview of what I’m working on in the upcoming posts:

A review of three writing guides: one for video games and two for comic books.

A review of a slew of graphic novels and collections. And maybe a rant about the looseness of the term “graphic novel.”

And (maybe) a review of some Leigh Brackett novels. Man I love old omnibuses!

Oh and one last thing. I don’t remember if I mentioned it in my post on uneasiness/ rejection of author politics, but I have another suggestion. If you really like an author but cannot stand his or her politics, check their stuff out of a library ( I read most of Miller’s Sin City through interlibrary loan a few years ago) or buy it through a used bookstore (the author does not get any royalties through resale). And if you shop at a local used bookstore, you can feel good about supporting a local business!