My first thought when I heard Marvel was producing a new series centering on Hawkeye was that it was a marketing thing to cash in on the heroes’ new-found popularity thanks to the cinematic universe.
But then I heard the buzz that there might be more to this than meets the eye. Add in that the new series is written by Matt Fraction, author of the brilliantly subversive Sex Criminals comic books and the series had my interest.
So when my local library got in the first collected edition of the new Hawkeye, I picked it up. Continue reading
Star Trek Volume 11 by Mike Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
IDW’s re-imagining of certain episodes of the original (and still the best) Star Trek has been hit or miss. This latest installment, collecting issues 46 – 49 of the on-going series is no exception.
The collection starts off with a re-telling of one of my favorite installments from classic Trek, “The Tholian Web.” As with other re-imaginings of episodes from the original series, I find myself torn between wanting the story to be as faithful as possible to the original story and somehow offer me something new to make it feel like it’s worth my time to spend reading this version of the story. Unfortunately, this telling of the Tholian storyline doesn’t really succeed on either level. The new twist is that in the re-imagined universe, the NCC-1701 has the ability to separate the saucer section. So the Enterprise is in two pieces, trapped in the titular web, which I suppose should double the drama. Instead it merely isolates the characters who need to be working together to get out of this region of space. Continue reading
I’ve read a lot good Spider-Man comics over the years and I’ve read a lot of terrible Spider-Man comics over the years.
Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” has to be among the worst of the worst — and yes, I’ve read the entire, completely reviled clone saga from the mid-90’s.
So, every iteration of Spider-Man that has ever been is brought together for this epic, cross-over saga. And while it might seem like fun to see the 60’s animated Spidey share the page with the new animated Spidey, these fun moments are few and far between in this book. In between, we get a lot of convoluted moments with various iterations of our favorite web-head spouting off meta-physical malarkey. From what I could gather, every Spider-Man in every universe has been targeted by Morlun’s family to….ummmm, well, I’m not really quite sure why, except to feed on them and to create a reason for this crossover. Continue reading
Today’s Comic Book Friday is also part of my 20 Books of Summer Challenge.
I’m a bit a novice when it comes to The Flash. My knowledge of the character comes from his portrayal in various television programs — both live action and animated. But I’m interested enough by what I’ve seen in those portrayals to want to go back to the source material and learn more.
This second collection of the New 52 Flash is an interesting one. While many of the characters are familiar, I don’t know enough about their history to definitively say whether what happens here is good, bad or somewhere in between. Back in Central City, the Flash faces overwhelming anti-Flash public sentiment, whipped up by one of his old friends. Couple that with several adversaries coming back into town, all with a new take on their old weapons and you’ve got a very interesting dilemma for the Scarlet Speedster.
I find it interesting that a comic book series would spend a run of issues delving into the minds and psyche of our heroes various foes as this one does. Most of these faces are familiar from the just completed first season of the show and I’ll admit I found myself having to separate what we saw there from what we get here.
I also found it a bit confusing to come across a massive cliffhanger and then go into a storyline that gave us the capsule history of the Flash and had no ties to said cliffhanger. I understand these collected editions are meant to put together a couple of months worth of continuity, but a little more explanation might have left me not scratching my head as I wondered just how and when the flashback to our hero’s origin was going to come into play. I guess this is my Marvel bias showing through because it feels like Stan Lee used to give us a reminder of everyone’s origin every two to three years as a way to welcome in new readers.
Overall, this was an interesting little story. I’m sure to pick up the next installment simply because the cliffhanger left me curious as to where things might go next.
After being disappointed by the first collection of the New 52 Justice League, I didn’t have high expectations for the first set of stories surrounding the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman. So, I was pleasantly surprised at not only how well this collection of six issues worked but how much I ended up enjoying what was unfolding on these pages.
With two of the DC Universe’s iconic characters dating, Superman/Wonder Woman seeks to give us some insight into what a relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman would be like. It shows the connections these two have as well as the differences they have — one of the biggest early stumbling blocks for the two is if and when they should publicly acknowledge their relationship. Superman wants to keep things on the down low for now while Wonder Woman says that they should acknowledge their relationship. The decision is quickly taken out of their hands by a tabloid blog run by Cat Grant (who is in this venture with Clark Kent, ironically enough). The news and its impact on the characters and their world is nicely done.
The story ties their romantic relationship in with their battles with certain villains. In this case, it’s Zod who is freed from the Phantom Zone and comes to threaten our heroes and the world at large. As threats go, this works well and what is presented on these pages easily beats what we saw in Man of Steel. I’ll admit the battles with various villains worked far better than what we got in the first Justice League collection, where it seemed liked the heroes were given mindless and faceless bugs to pound on, all while destroying several cities.
How long these two remain together remains to be seen. But I’ll give DC and the creative team props for bringing them together in an interesting, believable and readable collection.
The X-Files: Year Zero
Between Kumail Nanjiani’s The X-Files Files and news that Fox is getting ready to re-open The X-Files, my interest in one of my favorite shows has been renewed. I’ve read a couple of the season ten installments of this new comic series and felt they were hit or miss. So I approached this collection of the five-issue series focusing on the establishment of the famous X-Files with an open mind.
As Mulder and Scully look into a case in the current time-line, we’re given flashes back to the beginnings of the case and the two FBI agents assigned to investigate it. It’s a fairly entertaining, well told little story that checks a lot of boxes for continuity fan and is full of Easter eggs for long-time obsessive fans of the show. But if you’re not a huge fan or dropped out around the time Mulder left the show, you’ll still be able to jump into this one and enjoy what’s going on here (unlike some of the stories from year 10 that require you to be more than passingly familiar with the mythology from the later seasons of the show).
Of the recent X-Files comics, I have to admit this is my favorite of the bunch, simply because it’s a stand alone story. I’m not sure I’d necessarily pick up a whole series of stories set in the early days of the X-Files but I’d be interested enough to read one or two more stories featuring these new characters. Continue reading
Fans of Vertigo’s on-going comic book series Fables will find a lot to like in this spin-off. Collecting six issues of Fairest centering on Cinderella as a secret agent hot on the trail of a new human-rodent hybrid. Her adventures take her across the entire world, where she has various run-ins with familiar fairy-tale faces.
If you’re not familiar with the on-going plot threads from Fables and the first three collections in this series, you may be a bit confused at first. This comic series doesn’t follow the old Stan Lee rule of consider every issue to be someone’s first issue.
But even not knowing every detail, I was still able to dig in and enjoy some sparkling (at times) dialogue and a good fairy-tale spy thriller. Adding to my enjoyment of this book is a consistent artistic style that allowed me to identify each character from issue to issue with ease. The included single issue covers are also a highlight of the collection, paying homage to the spy novels and thrillers of a by-gone era.
Of Mice and Men reminded me that there are interesting things being done in comic books today and that I’m behind on a lot of it. It encouraged me to seek out other collections within the Fables universe and maybe get caught up a bit before the series winds down early next year. Maybe after reading some of the issues that lead up to it, I will give this one another shot and come away with a greater appreciation for how some of what I read hit fits into the larger narrative unfolding.
But even if I don’t, I still enjoyed the art, the story and the characters. A solid collection of six issues — and you won’t turn into a pumpkin if you don’t read it before midnight.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.