Monday, 31 October 2011

Walking Dead (a recap)

Series: The Walking Dead
Words: Robert Kirkman
Images: Tony More (at first) followed by Charlie Adlard
Issue Number: n/a
Release Date: n/a
Format: Trades
I wasn’t planning on reviewing The Walking Dead. I figure everyone and their dog has heard of it. Even if you have not read it yet. But this weekend I have been talking to a bunch of people about comics. Quite a few people I was ranting to had no idea what Walking Dead was. Other people were familiar with the show but had no idea it was based off of a comic.

Before I get into reviewing the comic itself I want to give people a few suggestions on timing for when you should read it.

If you have no idea what I am talking about.
If you have never read the comic or seen the T.V. show? First I would wonder what rock you have been living under over the last few years. If you like horror and you are interested in Zombies read or watch as soon as possible.
How you approach this depends on how you enjoy your media. Typically nothing measures up to reading for me. If you are like me I would suggest watching the show first and then reading the comic for the best experience. I started reading the comics before the show was announced and it has taken some effort for me to separate the two enough to actually enjoy the show.

If you have only been watching the TV show?
Wait. Very few people are able to read and enjoy the comic and watch the show at the same time. There are a lot of differences between the show and the comic but if you read ahead you will miss out on some of the dramatic tension the show is building. Since it is a honking long collection of comic books? You may want to buy the trades at the end of each season to catch yourself up with them while you are stuck during the break with no zombie fix.

Waiting though is hard.

We got Walking Dead last year. It was on the list of things the mister wanted for his birthday. Being a good geeky girlfriend I got him the large hard covers 1 to 6 (which had two trades worth in one). I think when he finished with them I read them all in all of a few days.

The art? Is great. I am not always fond of black and white comics. But with the Walking Dead it adds to the whole mood. The black, white and gray world that the survivors live in is very effective. I found that my mind was filling in the blanks while I read. Providing little details about colours itself and that made the characters far more relatable and people I got far more attached to. I cared more about the little boy who had dark hair that my brain had decided matched my cousin's or the woman with dark hair that clearly matched my coworkers.

At various times I have hated pretty much ever single character in the comic. Also? At various times I have felt for most of them and have rooted for them to survive or win or succeed in what they are trying to do.
The comic is much darker then the T.V. show to date. Much, much, much, much darker. Granted the author of the comic can probably push a few more boundaries then something on T.V.. It is probably one of the darkest graphic novels I have read. More often than not in the comic the biggest dangers come from other people. Sure the zombies are there. Sure they are a threat and they will eat people but most of the actual evil seems to come from other humans. With such a long running book there are a whole ton of different scenarios that the author explores from rape to suicide, murder to blood lust, PTSD to hope.  

I do caution you that in large doses I was finding myself overdosing on the Walking Dead. As much as I love zombies. As much as I love horror and humanity being evil and trying to survive in horrific situations?  There is so much of it that it does become quite a slog.

If you do not like zombies. If you are sick of zombies. If you just over dosed on zombies. Well then I would suggest staying away from this one. As much as I have enjoyed it The Walking Dead is a huge investment of time and potentially money. There are tons of issues out now and a bit of a back log to get through to catch up.

For those of you who want to catch up I would suggest buying either the trade paper backs or the hard covers that have two trades worth of comics in them. Jumping in with the monthly comic wouldn't give that connection to the characters that makes this such a good story.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Locke & Key

Series: Locke & Key
Words: Joe Hill
Images: Gabriel Rodriguez
Issue Number: 1-3
Release Date:
Format: Trade Paperback


I am a little late to the Locke & Key party since it started coming out in 2008. But it is a comic that is new to me.

A horror comic that starts out by naming issue one Welcome to Lovecraft gives itself some pretty big boots to fill. Luckily for Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez Locke & Key seems to be a hit. It has only just come to my attention that on top of writing Locke and Key Hill also writes books with out pictures. I may have to also pick up one of those.

If you like to read horror then Locke & Key is well worth checking out. If you like reading speculative fiction or weird fiction I would also suggest checking it out. I would describe Locke & Key as existing some where in the borders or those three groups. At times it verges on disturbing and a little on the violent side. There is some blending between that and an engaging supernatural story.

You get to watch the characters deal with both real life evil (the murder of their father) and trauma and then also deal with the supernatural evil (the thing that lives in the well house) and the just plain weird (the keys that change reality slightly). Following the murder of their father the kids move to their father’s childhood home in New England with their mother. Each character is imperfectly dealing with their father’s death, their own sense of survivor’s guilt and PTSD. They are all flawed, broken and just trying to keep it together.

By the end of the first trade I was hooked but I had a hard time thinking that the series would continue to live up to expectations. Three trades in and each one has impressed me more and more.

Well worth reading even if you do not usually go for graphic novels.

Friday, 28 October 2011

American Vampires

Series: American Vampires
Words: Scott Snyder & Stephen King
Images: Rafael Albuquerque
Issue Number: 1
Release Date:
Format: Trade Paperback
To be honest? I was expecting to not fall in love with this one. It takes a heck of an impressive vampire story to impress me. American Vampires is a great example of horror with a twist. I loved it. I can’t wait to read more. As a matter of fact I have already lent this trade out to try and suck more friends into reading it (and I have only owned it for a forty eight hours).
It starts out telling two stories side by side that intersect. You have a Western story with a vampire twist and then a more recent (but not present day) story about an aspiring actress who has dreams of making it big.
One of the things that impressed me most about the writing was how seamlessly the two authors worked together. I have not seen two very different authors bend so well since I read Good Omens by Gaiman and Prachett. Usually I can pick up on author changes even in trades. American Vampires was seamless.
I devoured this trade. I will be buying more. I will probably be picking up the rest of the trades next week because well I lack will power and self control and… it was good. What was good about it? American Vampires takes a traditional vampire story and gives it a twist.
It is a great story about the underdog who is fighting against establishment. Really is there any wonder it appealed to me?
And while the writers skirt the edges of creating MarySue like vampires in the female lead at least they give them enough weakness (both in the female leads compassion and caring for others and in terms of working in actual weaknesses) that well it actually seems to balance out.
I love the art. It is not as visually stunning as Batwoman but it does not have to be. The art compliments the story well. The level of detail was perfect.
By the end of the first trade I did not feel like I was reading mostly set up. By the end of what should have been the first comic I did not feel like I was reading mostly set up. What you get is a collection of self contained stories that continue to build on each other and overlap.
American Vampires is another great gate way comic for people who like graphic novels but shy away from the super heroes. If you love horror and you are not reading it you should be.

Sweet Tooth #1

Series: Sweet Tooth
Words: Jeff Lemire
Images: Jeff Lemire
Issue Number: 1
Release Date:
Format: Trade Paperback
This week has been stressful for me thus the lack of updates. Family stress. Life stress. Computer stress. So I indulged in a small amount of retail therapy. One being a new netbook. The other included a whole ton of trades. Sweet Tooth was an impulse buy based off of a random suggestion from the lovely person who works at our comic book store. She knew I was enjoying both new and old Animal Man and I essentially showed up and all but ordered her to help me drop over $100 dollars on graphic novels because I was having a bad day.
Essentially Sweet Tooth takes place in a post apocalyptic future. Most of the world becomes infected with some form of virus. Children born after that point are mutated with animal features. According to Wikipedia it can be considered Mad Max meets Bambi. While some what apt that description does not fully capture the hooks this story has gotten into me.
Most of the first trade sets up the story. I am really glad that I did not read it as a single issue comic. Because as I have established before. I am very impatient and dislike mostly set up.
The story is fairly simple for this trade at least. Future has gone to hell. Everyone is panicked. What is different is hunted down. Everyone is dying and humanity is horrible.
The main character (Gus, who has antlers) vaguely reminds me of a Prince Myshkin type character. A poor and good person thrown into a very corrupt world. For those of you not as obsessed with Russian Literature, that would be a Jesus type character.
In turn the side stories involve Jepperd who is a none mutated human who will likely soon be infected with the plague. I don’t want to give too much away about the story and at this stage talking about Jepperd and not giving anything away is tough. He is probably for all of his flaws one of my favourite characters. He is a probably once good man who has been corrupted by the world around him and is just trying to survive. I am hopeful to maybe see him continuing on with a side story in the next trade that explores more of people doing evil things not because they are horrible people but because they are making the best choice they can with the option they see available.
Personally I love this story. Not just the comic book but watching someone who is pure thrown into a very evil world and trying to navigate it.
It does get bonus points for being Canadian content. Hey do you think if I review enough Canadian comics I will get federal CRTC funding? Or a swanky Global review show (yes I am looking at you Reviews on the Run and Electric Playground)
If you are only into super heroes give this one a skip. But if you want to branch out from them. If you are looking for a cute End of Days story well then it may be worth checking out. Also, if you are a comic book fan who likes to stack their shelves with graphic novels to act as gateway comic this might be a decent buy. I will keep you posted on the next few trades at the very least.
I am certainly not going to wait until my next bad week to buy more.

Friday, 21 October 2011


Series:  Manhunter
Words: Marc Andreyko
Images: Jesus Saiz
Issue Number: 1-5
Release Date:
Format: Trade Paperback

I am a little late to the Manhunter party. And for those of you familiar with the Manhunter mythos I am talking about Kate Spenser. For those of you who aren't familiar with the name let me just say that the D.C. universe had more Manhunter's then it knew what to do with.

I want to get one thing out there. Manhunter is not perfect. I have read criticisms by others about both the character, her body type and the art work are not the step forward people present it as. Curled Up With a Good Book summarizes the criticisms well especially about how the main character is still overtly sexualized through out the series. And while I do agree with the reviewer from Curled Up With a Good Book that Manhunter is not a perfect feminist character, I do still think she is a step forward.  

Her costume is functional and while tight is not overtly sexualized in design. There are no short skirts, there are no boob windows. There are no painfully high heels. Beyond what she wears both Kate Spenser and Manhunter have actual depth to them and actual flaws that they develop and grow beyond. By day she’s a high powered prosecution attorney fed up defendants escaping justice on technicalities. She is driven. She is assertive. She is failing horribly to balance her life. She deals with the realistic pressures of trying to be a good mother and trying to be a professional working woman. And I like that she does not get everything perfect. There is this very fine balance between making a developed female character who is someone I can relate to and starting to break down and disempowering female characters. I felt that Marc Andreyko balanced her fairly well.

There is some great witty banter in the comic that directly pokes at some of the depictions of other women in the D.C. universe. Especially in terms of how impractical a lot of the female costumes can be for running and fighting.

Also it features back ground LGBTQ characters in a fairly positive (for the most part) and friendly way. Kate’s assistant while a little stereotypical (at points) and not as developed as Kate eventually ends up in a relationship with another D.C. character. I like that it is a happy, healthy and functional relationship. I like that some of the issues around family and their lack of understanding are touched on. It is by far one of the more realistic portrayals of a gay male relationship that I have read in comics.

This series was also my introduction really to the Department of Extranormal Operations. I am not entirely sure why but I adore the DEO. This is odd because I typically end up disliking the government organizations whose goal is to monitor, control and contain.  At times there is some great interactions between the department head Bones and Kate especially in terms of race. Bones (if it wasn’t for his skin and organs being translucent) would be a person of colour. Kate at times tries to use that to pressure Bones into helping her dig into areas that he has clearly ordered her to stay well away from. The play out of a liberal white woman essentially bullying someone of colour to get her way in terms of creating what she thinks should be social change for people of colour (and the consequences) are interesting. Personally I found it slightly reflective of second wave feminisms and some branches of feminism that have come out of that where feminists of power and feminists of privilege try to force their values inappropriately. Like most of the social issues touched on in Manhunter it is very briefly done and it is not perfectly executed but I am pleased to see these conversations start to appear. I am hopeful that we will continue to see more of them.

As a generic comic reader one of the biggest issues that I had with Manhunter was the pacing. In some cases I found that there were huge gaps of time in between the story lines of each trade paper back. During these gaps there are some pretty big shifts and changes. If you are going to pick up the trades keep that in mind going into the story. Manhunter was cancelled by DC in 2006 and issue 2) was supposed to be the end of her run. Due to fan pressure D.C. pushed that back to issue 30 (end of vol. 4). I get the impression that volume 5 of the graphic novel is mostly wrapping up a lot of extra loose ends. It is mostly a look at the characters in the distant future with her son’s graduation. While I was glad to have more things resolved I just felt that it was rushed. I am a little sad that we did not get to slowly explore the stories that got them to that point. However, I am pleased to see that Manhunter will be appearing in some of the post relaunch teams.

I found the strongest volumes to be the first trade and the fourth. I have to admit my love of the fourth may be how heavily it featured Wonder Woman and some outside D.C. storylines that I am familiar with. I probably would not suggest Manhunter as a D.C. starting point. While not essential having back ground knowledge of what is going on in the D.C. universe is helpful. Certainly to get the most out of Volume 4 I would suggest having already read Infinite Crisis

If you are familiar with D.C. and want some stronger female leads then I suggest Manhunter may be a good addition to your collection. Overall I will be keeping my eyes open for this author’s future works.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Series: Batwoman
Words: J.H. Williams & W. Haden Blackman
Images: J.H. Williams
Issue Number: 2
Release Date: In reality October 12, 2011  but our cover reads December
Format: Comic

As soon as I could I was tearing through the pages of Batwoman. The art in this comic continues to be amazing. For issue number two I think that art is even better then the stunning first issue. This is really unfair because it sets a very high standard for other artists. There is this blending of art styles and methods of drawing both characters and backgrounds that set a shifting and effective mood and tone for the comic. During one of the early fight scenes the image of x-rays is used to provide an illustration of how much physical damage is being done in a fight. And you do not have to just take my word for it Comic Book Resources had a preview of the comic (link here) that quite effectively show cases how amazing the art style is for story telling.

If you are a comic book fan you can also enjoy trying to find Warren Ellis' Desolation Jones in one of the panels. A great little Easter egg of sorts for longer term comic readers.

Stepping beyond the amazing art (which alone almost justifies buying this comic or buying Batwoman when it comes out in a trade) is this enjoyable story. It took a while for me to realize but most of this issue is filler and set up and getting the characters to where they need to be. I normally get very impatient with books or comics during these periods. I know I need this information for what comes next to make sense. But I don't want to wait. So usually I end up getting frustrated. Some how though the writers managed to slip me an issue filled with almost all set up and it was so enjoyable that I did not notice or mind. Instead of frustrated I am excited to find out where the story goes.

There is a little bit of relationship development between Batwoman and her side-kick. We get to see the first date with Kate Kane and her love interest Detective Sawyer. And as Detective Sawyer is upset that Batwoman interfered with her investigation in issue one I see foreshadowing for tension and conflict here. Issue two also marks the introduction of the Department of Extranormal Operations setting up all sorts of potential both good and bad. I've only recently become familiar with this department through the Green Lantern film and because it is also featured in Manhunter (which I am currently reading all of the trades of to review).

The only time I was taken out of the story was during an interaction between Batwoman and Batman where he cautions her that sidekicks have a tendency to die and come back as super villains. Being familiar with that back story in Batman's history it came across as a little flippant and a little out of character to me. But it did also get quite the chuckle out of me.

The only big concern I have with the story is the possibility of Batwoman joining Batman Inc. I am not sure if there is a way for that move to be spun with out her losing some of her strengths and some of her development. Currently Batwoman while within the Gotham / Batman universe was not trained by Bruce Wayne, she simply saw his costume and decided to take what she liked and operate on her own. At first her father was the person supporting her, helping with extra training and materials but at this point she has branched out on her own and is now training her own side kick.

The further into the story Batwoman goes the more difficult it is going to be to just pick up the latest issue and read. The story flows from one comic to another building on a foundation. I will update you when this story arch ends and the next starts. It they continue with the artwork and the great stories then this is going to be an amazing trade paperback / graphic novel to own.

If you were going to read just one of the D.C. new 52 in either graphic novel or comic formats this should be the one you get.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Batgirl #2

Series: Batgirl
Words: Gail Simone
Images: Adrian Syaf, Vincent Cifuentes
Issue Number: 2
Release Date: In reality October 12th but our cover reads December 2011
Format: Comic

With the first issue I had a whole ton of concerns about Batgirl. Especially in terms of Barbara Gordon's ability to walk again. I just read the second issue while the mister and I were driving to his parents place. Luckily he was the on actually driving. In terms of disability? I am a little more reassured at this point. I am still not happy about the lack of people with disabilities in DC but Gail Simone has not used the reboot to magically sweep it under the rug. There is mention of the character not physically being able to maintain stunts and fights because while her spinal injury has greatly improved her physical stamina is still lacking. I am slightly reassured by this. I am still sulking a little bit (I hate change) but I'm also really excited to read more.

PTSD and Babs also has not magically disappeared especially with lines like "He pointed that gun at me, just where the Joker tore up my spine three years ago and I froze... the gun triggered something I thought was long over" A fairly classic symptom of PTSD is experiencing either a flash back or a dissociation when presented with stimuli that resemble or remind of the traumatic incident.

 One of the few things that took me out of the story is Babs going on a date with her physical therapist. There is no way in heck this guy could have any sort of relationship with Babs and it be okay with his registration board. As an allied health professional who works in the disability field it gave me pause. If you do not work in the field well then it will probably be a none issue for you. In retrospect I can understand why Simone opted to approach a relationship with the physical therapist. It gives more chances for her to explore some of the back story of how Babs' got from a wheel chair to standing. Gregor's background means that some context. Comments can be made about how sometimes with spinal cord injuries the unexpected does happen but it is very rare making this a much more realistic process.

I am very pleased to see that the return of Batgirl has not meant we have lost the strengths she had as Oracle. Physically unable to take the villain down Babs has to resort to her brains. Her ability to research and her ability to make computers do magical and wonderful things that no one else in Gotham or the D.C. universe can do.

Simone also made some commentary on class and social inequality during this issue of Batgirl that really impressed me. Slipped into the story are little gems along the lines of "... The only cemetery in downtown Gotham that hasn't been demolished. Oh, they've tried. Real estate developers have made a multitude of heatbreaingly sincere please to disinter the occupants of this place. Because we need more shopping and parking, you see. But it turns out, rich people don't like the idea of their loved ones switching accommodations for a new frogurt boutique. And unlike poor people who feel that way... they have the juice to make it not happen. Even here, there is a class system in Gotham." I am pleased to see more and more comic book authors making sociopolitical commentary.

I am really enjoying the level of depth given to the characters in Batgirl. I do have to confess that this issue of Batgirl made me cry. wince and smile. I found myself sniffling at the villain's back story. I have to admit he is quickly becoming one of my recent favorites among villains.

Again the colours and art were impressive. I love how the dark grey of Gotham is broken up with flashes of purple, a bright blue, and green tones consistently though the entire issue. The physical design of women in this comic has continued to impress me. There are more realistically sized. Babs has actual muscle and tone. There were a lot of moments where some of the great character development could have been set back by sexualized depictions of character taking away from Simone's work of developing her. Luckily for the story, the experience and the reader the Ardian Syaf and Vincente Cifuentes masterfully and smoothly avoided doing so.

The comics seem to be going fast. Some people on twitter have started saying that stores are sold out. If you like interesting female leads with a varied supporting cast I would suggest checking out Batgirl.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Aquaman #1

Serise:  Aquaman
Words: Geoff Johns
Images:  Ivan Reis, Joe Prado
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

So the mister made me read aquaman. Don't get me wrong. I like my DC as you have seen. But Aquaman? My thought on him typically run along the lines of Hark A Vagrant's take on the character . I have never ever considered him a serious character. Ever. And my live in lovely has forced (bought and let) me watch almost every modern DC cartoon in all of ever (and most of the Marvel ones). So at his request I read Aquaman. When he first added it to the pull list I was planning on skipping it. But when the person who does all the garbage removal and recycling for the apartment asks you to do something it is in your best interests to listen. Thank goodness he can not cook or really he would have way too much power over me.

Aquaman was fun. It was hilarious. The author made fun of and played with my opinions on the character. There are some great moments like him trying to order did and chips and the entire restaurant freaking out. Or cops worrying about the teasing they will get for being saved by Aquaman. I found myself amused but also engaged way more then I was expecting.

 Somehow this incarnation of the Atlantian king became a relatable and interesting character. Some how Aquaman became an actual hero outside of water. And the true strength of the writing was I was so busy laughing at the comic making fun of both me and the character I did not notice how it was setting up for some potential serious business. There is of course only so long that joke can continue to be funny so hopefully in the following issues we will see more of the seriousness and a little less of the laughing at itself. But for a reintroduction a character who is mostly a joke it was perfect. The author is now set up to actually develop the character beyond being a joke. I have a decent amount of faith that the author will. With how it was eased into through the first issue impressed me. 

This comic is not for everyone. It is good but it is by no means a gateway comic. The biggest impact will be with people familiar with DC and with people who like reading hero comics but want something fresh. That being said it is one of the stronger reboots that I have read. It entertained, it amused, and most importantly it left me excited to read more about a character I had never cared about previously.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Grifter #1

Serise:  Grifter
Words: Nathan Edmonson
Images:  CAFI, Gorder
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

Like I mentioned in my review of Voodoo I had written a review of Grifter when it first came out and just forgot that I hadn't uploaded it. Tragically right after I promised to upload it ASAP I managed to break my desk top computer and lost it.

So sorry for the delay but life happens.

Grifter was another one of those “well I may as well try it” adds to our recent pull. Grifter was far more science fiction then what I was used to from D.C. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If your sole reason for reading comics is because you like to read about SuperHeros doing SuperHeroicThings well then Grifter certainly is not for you.

Heck I am pretty open about none super hero comics and I was at first going to give it a skip. Then I read a summary of it and it seemed worth checking out.

However, if you like science fiction. If you enjoyed Falling Skies. If you liked the original miniseries of V. If you thought there were good ideas in Puppet Masters. If you liked Earth the Final Conflict. Then it very well may be worth checking out.

The Grifter seamlessly blends conspiracy theory with alien invasion in a way that was page turning instead of cheesy. Over all? It makes for a good set up for a potentially good series. It is well worth keeping your eye out for and if it continues on an upswing it will be well worth reading.

At this point there is not too much for me to rant about in terms of deconstructing. But with science fiction that usually ends up slowly coming. The art while not as mind blowingly amazing as Batwoman is good. And in the artist's defense the same style of art probably wouldn't transfer over quite as well. It complimented the story very well and is probably above average in general. I was not taken out of the story because of little cheats like everyone having the same facial expressions. One of the biggest strengths in the art work is the designs behind the alien creatures (as of yet unidentifiied) when they are not passing themselves off as human. Rather then giving the reader too many visual details the alien's themselves are mostly see through and that works. It works really, really well.

As a comic. To be honest? I wouldn't suggest the average person buy it in single issues unless you have the patience of a saint. This has all the makings of a great graphic novel and I think it will read much better when you can get larger chunks of the story. Walking away from the first issue I was left wanting more but I am very impatient and with stories like this far too often I want to read it all in one big sitting.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Voodoo #1

Series: Voodoo
Words: Ron Marz
Images: Sami Basri
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

I was planning on doing an update on this comic last week. It was one of the first ones I meant to read of our pull. I was the one who insisted we get it and mister boyfriendface wasn't overly sold on it. Somehow though it ended up hidden away almost immediately and I've only just got a chance to enjoy it.

He did very kindly suggest that I read the comic that I wanted us to buy because it was “pretty good”.

So I'm writing this as I read for a change. And I'm sort of glad. Apparently the main character Voodoo is a stripper. I have all sorts of worries about this. The main character is certainly hyper sexualized in the art on the first panel. She after all is crawling around on a stripper floor in very little.

The male investigator watching Voodoo is sorta a dog. He's very unlikeable so far. He doesn't hide the fact that he's enjoying watching women take off their clothing for a steakout.

His partner though is another story. She's pretty kickass. She also doesn't seem to like him much which makes her so easy for me to identify with. Despite my total inability to beat a crowd of angry young men who threaten me with my fists.

Half way through the comic the writer puts some of my fears at ease. One of the women while trying to find a replacement for her baby sitter out of the other strippers announces “Look around it's single moms, kids trying to afford community college or just pay the rent.”

And the page by page update ends here because holy my goodness it really did redeem itself in a big way. We've got ourselves a shape changing cliff hanger giving potentially mind blowing goodness. It vaguely reminds me of the Grifter whose review I apparently forgot to upload here (coming soon). Looking into the history of both characters apparently this is because they are two slices in the same story. The alien's in Grifter are the same alien's in Voodoo. Only Grifter was written from the point of view of a human alone who was fighting against an alien invasion. Voodoo seems to be a monster / alien / some creature trying to pass itself off as human for who knows what reason and trying to use hyper femininity as a guise to collect information. I see all sorts of not only cross over potential but complimentary story lines showing the same story from several different points of view which excites me.

The use of a hyper sexualized female lead is totally explained within the context of the story and it shifts. So far one of the few comic's I have read where the author has gone out of the way to give a context behind why the female main character is an extreme of hyper femininity and overly sexualized. And my feminist self bought the explanation and is looking forward to reading more. Of course when I see an author doing that it means I look them up . This time that was not much of a help. To be honest I'm not familiar with pretty much any of his works. I have no idea if they are just as amazing or if they are able to balance women in comics in a way that does not fill me with rage. I am in love with what I have seen so far with Voodoo and I hope it lives up to potential I have seen in issue number 1.

Voodoo is not traditional D.C. not by any means. I would heavily suggest it for anyone who likes science fiction. Who enjoys alien invasions and is interested into expanding into comics. Or if you just want something different. It is well worth picking up in single issues and I will get back to you as the story progresses if I would also suggest it in trade version. Because I'm pretty sure I'll also be buying that.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Justice League Dark #1

Series: Justice League Dark
Words: Peter Milligan
Images: Mikel Janin
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

Now this was one my additions to our pull box. I was curious. I like Zatanna. I wanted to read more with her in. That was pretty much my total motivation. I have not read much else by Milligan (though I have been meaning to read Tank Girl since the mid 90s) and Janin was not ringing any bells.

From page one it is pretty melodramatic. The comic opens with “My name is Madame Xanadu I have looked into the future. The future looked right back at me and told me to mind my own business. But I saw enough, enough to know that we are entering time of terrible danger....” And really that does set something of a tone through out the rest of the comic. It is a big giant dramatic magical feature.

We are introduced to each team member via their representation in her deck again on the very first page.

The first team member we actually meet is Shade. I'm not very familiar with Shade but so far my impression of him is he's vaguely creeptastic. Though my research into the back ground of the character shows that he's been used (sometimes even by this author) to explore some really interesting topics. Essentially this incarnation of Shade uses his Madness Vest (a magical vest that will warp reality to his will) to create a woman who will actually love him. Creepy. Of course when she threatens to leave him his magical vests sucks her back out of existence. Extra creepy.

We only get a small peek at Enchantress. Currently withered and haggard and more mad then well Shade.

We do get to see some of the generic Justice League trying to go up against magic of Enchantress and failing. It was sorta fantastic to see the Justice League not be good at something for a change.

Even better was seeing Zatana stand up to Batman and inform him he was out of his league. I like that she stood up to Batman. I like that she restrained him. I like that she told him off. I'm not overly sure I like that she views herself as expendable and he's not.

Instead of dragging Batman along she brings along John Constitine. Squee! Totally missed that addition and I'm very excited to read more with him.

The final team member to show up is Deadman though he barely gets a nod. Just a page and no witty banter.

As a whole I enjoyed it. The comic started strong. It sorta fell into a bit of a lull and then picked back up. I have high hopes though that Justice League Dark will hit it's stride and continue to get better and better.

I wouldn't suggest this for someone who is heavy into super heroes exclusively. However, if you like urban fantasy. If you enjoyed things from Vertigo or Wildstorm that verged on the supernatural. Then this might just be the comic for you.

Hell my heavy superhero mister who apparently doesn't enjoy fantasy (I had to lie about the dragons to get him to watch Game of Thrones) even says it was “pretty good”.

What I didn't like? The art is mediocre but has potential for improvement. There were a few panels that were good but over all it was very... okay-ish. I dislike Zatanna's costume. Though the entire internet has already exploded about that. If you missed that geeky internet explosion she now wears leather pants, a PVC bodice and fish nets on her arms instead of some variation of a magician costume. I know, I know the magician costume Zatanna was usually hyper sexualized so I should be happy. I'm not. The arm fishnets just look stupid. The corset isn't all that great either. And her shiny pants don't translate well into drawn format.

And so far in terms of physical character design it's leaned heavily towards big giant absurd beef cakes for males and pouty lipped big breasted women in low cuts for women. I actually stopped reading to count Superman's abs because they seemed inhuman. Batman, Wonderwoman and Superman didn't fit with any of the reboot incarnation's that I have read so far. The lack of consistency is starting to well... annoy me. What is the point in rebooting the universe if you are just going to set up the need for another reboot in 10 years?

I will be pulling the next one. Though unless the story improves drastically I wont be buying the trades when they come out.