Six Marvel Shows I’d Rather Watch Than Marvel’s Inhumans

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The trailer for Marvel’s Inhumans series dropped today, and I must say I’m completely underwhelmed. From the first photos of the cast in costume, I’ve been dreading the release of this series. From the horrible red wig to the nondescript outfits, this show looks bland at best and downright awful if you’re being pessimistic. Take a look:

With the exception of Lockjaw, nothing in the trailer speaks to me. Instead, I find myself distracted by Ramsay Bolton as Maximus, THAT AWFUL WIG, and how mundane this Sci-Fi epic looks. I can’t say I’m completely surprised by my reaction. I may be in the minority, but I have a terrible time caring about the Inhumans plot-lines in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. When it comes to oppressed powered people, I prefer the X-Men, and it still grates on me that the Inhumans were such a big deal in the comics until recently (presumably because Disney, owner of Marvel comics, doesn’t have the film rights to those characters). I don’t really want more Inhumans-focused storylines–particularly in a show that doesn’t contain any of the recent, fan favorite Inhumans.

There are many ABC/Marvel shows I’d rather watch than this one. Some would contain Inhumans, but others would just be fun, adventure series that would pair perfectly with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at its best.

Six Marvel Shows I’d Rather Watch Than Marvel’s Inhumans

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Ms. Marvel Unlike a lot of people, I’m not the hugest Ms. Marvel fan, but even I can acknowledge that this comic series is great for teenagers and could potentially make a fantastic show. If you want to make a show about Inhumans, why not spring for Lockjaw’s best friend instead of Woman-in-a-Horrible-Red-Wig and company?  

 

 

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Squirrel Girl ~ Technically, there is going to be a Squirrel Girl show, BUT wouldn’t it be better if this series was an hour long dramedy rather than a half hour comedy? After Powerless, I question the wisdom in making half hour long superhero shows. It’s not that they are inherently bad. It’s just that I don’t know how many people will be drawn to watching comic book stories in that format. Squirrel Girl deserves more than half a season on a doomed comedy. Hopefully, she’ll get more than that, but I have my doubts.

 

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Moon  Girl and Devil Dinosaur ~ If we’re going to get Lockjaw-level special effects in the Inhumans series, perhaps ABC and Marvel could have digitally created Devil Dinosaur instead. (I love you, Lockjaw. This isn’t about you. I swear.) In Season Four of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there were definitely Moon Girl vibes coming from Mack’s Framework daughter, Hope. It made me wish they had let his daughter live so that she could have become Moon Girl–a definite candidate for a spin-off series.  

 

 

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Kate Bishop a.k.a. Hawkeye ~ Since we already have Clint Barton in the MCU, there couldn’t be any harm in bringing the other–arguably cooler–Hawkeye into the fold. Kate Bishop is amazing and it’d be fantastic to have her lead a show that could potentially expand to include the other members of the Young Avengers (much like Smallville grew to include the Justice League).

 

 

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Mockingbird ~ Before Inhumans, Marvel tried to make a Bobbi Morse/Lance Hunter spin-off happen. It didn’t take–which I can’t say I’m sorry about. I adore Bobbi Morse, but Lane Hunter of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of my least favorite characters on that entire show. IF a show focusing on Bobbi and not her husband could happen (you know, maybe Lance could be fridged), it would be a blast–particularly if it was in the style of Chelsea Cain’s Mockingbird series.

 

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Agent Carter ~ And finally, the wisest choice would have been just to renew Agent Carter. It wasn’t a perfect show, but it had so much going for it. The cast was brilliant. The fashion to die for. And the historical setting lent itself to exploring areas of the Marvel Universe that get overlooked by the films.  I mean, we didn’t even get to meet Tony’s mother!! That is a complete shame.

 

 

All this isn’t to say I won’t give Marvel’s Inhumans a chance. I’ll watch it in the hopes that it’ll be better than it looks in the trailer. I just wish Marvel and ABC would have taken a chance on another Marvel story–one that could have appealed to those who really just want to see their favorite, female heroes on the screen.

What Marvel Comic Series Would You Like to See On TV? Are You Excited About Marvel’s Inhumans?

Image Source: Goodreads

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Revisiting the DCEU: Man of Steel

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My first introduction to Superman was the 1978 film with Christopher Reeve. I picked it up back when I was in high school in preparation for the release of Superman Returns. You’d think, as someone who had grown up on Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher’s gothic Batman films, I would be cheesed out by the brightly optimistic Supes of old. I was not. I fell in love with Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel and soon after fell even deeper in love with Brandon Routh’s incarnation (I will not apologize for being able to quote Superman Returns by heart). To me, Clark Kent has always been doofy, Lois Lane unable spell, Lex Luthor maniacal and bald, and Superman ready to fight for truth, justice and the American way.

It’s not entirely surprising then that Man of Steel came as a bad shock the first time I attempted to watch it. Here was a dark Superman who hadn’t even become Clark Kent of the Daily Planet yet. None of it set right with me so I turned off the film halfway through in frustration. Henry Cavill was not my Superman. I was not ready to accept this incredibly different vision.

Fast forward a couple years. Thanks to Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, I’ve grown rather fond of  Zack Snyder’s dreary vision for the DC Comics Extended Universe, and with Wonder Woman and Justice League looming on the horizon, I figured it was about time this DCEU apologist rewatched Man of Steel. All signs pointed to the glaring fact that maybe–just maybe–I had been too harsh on it my first time through. It was time to see if that was truly the case.

Man of Steel charts the origin story of Superman from his unconventional (by Krypton standards) birth to his first encounter with a supervillain. Unlike most superhero origin stories, Kal-El doesn’t baulk at becoming a caped hero. From his childhood, he knows it is his destiny to be a protector and a beacon of hope–the only question is when the time will arrive for him to come out of the shadows. The villainous General Zod’s arrival answers that question for him. As evildoers, Zod and his band of misfits are a formidable group for the newly minted Superman to go up against. The Kryptonians’ powers rival Superman’s, but thankfully, Kal-El has more experience using his abilities on Earth. As they become overwhelmed by their new strengths, Kal-El uses his superior knowledge against them–which keeps him alive even when their numbers make it impossible for him to defeat them alone.

It’s to Earth’s advantage then that Lois Lane, the shining star of Man of Steel, takes an interest.

While Man of Steel does have its weakness (pacing, lack of Clark Kent, etc.), its female characters are not among them. Lois might not be the bad speller of old, but the Lois of Man of Steel is still no damsel in distress. She’s equal parts hard-nosed news reporter and co-savior of mankind. If it wasn’t for Lois, Kal-El wouldn’t have known how to defeat Zod and destroy his terraforming machine. She actually blasts her way out of Zod’s ship with that information so she can make certain both Superman and the U.S. Army have the tools they need to make a final stand. That’s just the cherry on top. Lois is amazing throughout the entire film. She never misses an opportunity to be in the middle of the action–even after she gets attacked in a Kryptonian ship and Kal-El cauterizes her wound with his heat vision! Lois Lane is a hero without a cape and Man of Steel doesn’t forget it. That alone endears it in my heart.

Of course, Lois isn’t alone in stealing the show from the male characters. As assistant villain, Faora legitimately overshadows Michael Shannon’s Zod. If you had to choose which of the two to go up against, Faora would not be your pick (Which I suppose is one of the film’s weaknesses. Zod just doesn’t hold a candle to his second in command). Superman’s mother, Lara, also makes a memorable impression by standing up to Zod and feeling genuinely equal to her husband in orchestrating Kal’s future. She even watches her husband die in front of her while saving her son. Lara’s incredibly tough (and dresses like a proper space queen). It’s just incredible how Man of Steel sets the DCEU’s standard for the women stealing the show–something we see again in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.

Unfortunately, one can’t talk about Man of Steel without addressing the notorious issue of Zod’s death scene. It needs to be said that I am against Superman killing people on principle–just like I’m against Batman killing people on principle (looking at you, Tim Burton’s Batman). However, the scene between Superman and Zod did not bother me as much in context as I expected it to. For me, what it all boiled down to was the fact that the Superman of Man of Steel was completely and absolutely green when it came to being a superhero. This is a Kal-El who just learned how to fly and who has never used his powers in battle before. It’s easy to say that Superman wouldn’t kill, but Kal is barely Superman at this point. He’s still learning to use his powers. It’s absolutely understandable that he might do something Superman wouldn’t. Beyond that, the fact that the killing feels like a last resort is important to me. Our green Superman begs Zod to stop hurting people before he breaks his neck. He is even in tears when he performs the actual act. It’s not an easy thing for him to do. You can tell that nearly breaks him. Kal-El is not a killer, but he is forced into the act as a last resort when he doesn’t know what else to do. In the future, I believe Superman can and will do better. For now, he tried his hardest to do what was right and fell short. I understand why he did it–even if I prefer the story didn’t call for him to do it in the first place.

On the whole, I enjoyed Man of Steel. It’s not a perfect film (it is the weakest film in the DCEU), but knowing the seeds it’s planting for the shared universe endears it in many ways. It also helps that it created amazing female characters and gave Henry Cavill the opportunity to put on nerd glasses as Clark Kent. I am more than pleased I gave Man of Steel another chance. It reminded me how much I love these characters–even if they weren’t quite what I expected to see.

Next up, Batman v Superman!

Who is your favorite Superman?

Image Source: Movie-Screencaps

Top Ten Graphic Novels for Summer Vacation

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Joining in on The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday again. This week’s theme is Summer Reads!

When the days turn warm and the sun starts shining, it’s time to put away comics filled with horror, dystopia, and darkness and turn to lighter fare. Tales of friendship, adventure, and mystery can be a welcome relief from all the monochrome and murder–especially when illustrated in radiant pinks, yellows, and blues.

If you’re looking for something to tuck into your beach bag or read at the park on a sunny day, these ten graphic novels suit as well as any breezy beach read.

Top Ten Graphic Novels for Summer Vacation   

  • Archie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Veronica Fish, and Annie Wu ~ If you’ve never read Archie Comics before, The New Riverdale is the perfect place to start. The art is breathtaking and the writing is guaranteed to make you giggle. This sure isn’t Riverdale–which makes it perfect sit in the sunshine reading.
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh ~ Brosh’s comic deals with heavy topics like depression, but it’s also sprinkled with HILARIOUS stories about her childhood and awkward misadventures. Warning: Do Not Read This Book In Public Unless You Are Comfortable Getting Weird Looks From Strangers Because Of Laughter.
  • Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra by Kenneth Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau ~ Do you like magic girls? Yes? Then read Zodiac Starforce! It’s about teen girls saving the world with their magical abilities–all while wearing cool outfits and being BFFs!
  • Patsy Walker a.k.a Hellcat Vol. 1 by Kate Leth,  Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, Joe Sabino, and Clayton Cowles ~ Patsy Walker, unfortunately, wound to a close a couple of weeks ago, but it’s a series that’s highly worth checking out if you’re up for female friendship, cat jokes, and butt-kicking.  
  • Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk ~ If you like how awesome Bobbie is in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this is a series for you. It’s funny, bright, and features a strong female character who breaks that now-traditional mould. There’s also Hawkeye in a swimsuit, if that suits your fancy.
  • Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton ~ One rule of recommending comics is to always recommend Kate Beaton. Her work is the perfect mix if you’re drawn to pop culture nerdery and riffs on history and literature (i.e. if you majored in History or English).   
  • Groot by Jeff Loveness and Brian Kesinger ~ You shouldn’t need a reason to read a Groot comic, but the selling point for this volume, in particula,r is that it contains art by Brian Kesinger–an animator who worked at Walt Disney Studios. The art is very Disney-fied as a result and absolutely adorable.
  • Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral by by Tom King, Tim Seeley, Jeremy Cox, Mikel Janin, Stephen Mooney, Guillermo Ortego, Juan Castro, Jonathan Glapion , Carlos M. Mangual ~ A little something for the ladies! Grayson is an action, adventure spy comic written by the fabulous Tom King (check out his current run on Batman and his work on The Vision for non-Summer appropriate fare), but of course, the writing isn’t what’s most memorable about Grayson. It’s the art. The very, very nice art.  
  • Green Arrow Vol. 1 by Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt ~ Green Arrow is one of the most memorable DC Rebirth titles. The art, in particular, is lovely and Black Canary absolutely rocks as she goes toe-to-toe with Ollie once again.
  • Goldie Vance Vol. 1 by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams ~ Goldie Vance is a modern Nancy Drew with mad driving skills and a nose for trouble. Basically, there’s nothing to dislike about this fun romp of a series.

What comic would you recommend reading this Summer?

Ten Comics to Grab On Free Comic Book Day

Ten Comics.jpgThis Saturday, May 6th, is Free Comic Book Day a.k.a. one of the best geekified days of the year!! I look forward to Free Comic Book Day every year because it’s an awesome way to load up on comics to read for weeks (or months depending on how many you score) to come. Yet again, I’ll be mostly unable to take part in the festivities. I intended to ask for May 6th off work, but of course, I forgot to mark our department’s calendar until too late.

Sigh. Next year, I’ll get to take part. Next year, for sure.

As it is, my very kind mother will be checking the local comic book shop for me since the best I’ll be able to do is run to the downtown shop on my lunch break. (The downtown shop is not my local comic shop so it doesn’t really count in these matters.) If I have time to take pictures, I will–otherwise just expect a comic haul next week.

In case you–unlike me–are able to check out your local shop this Saturday, I concocted a list of ten of the coolest comics to keep an eye out for. (Also, if you don’t know where to find a shop hosting an event, check out this handy-dandy Store Locator.)

Ten Comics to Grab On Free Comic Book Day

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Betty & Veronica #1 / Boom Studios Summer Blast / I Hate Image / Doctor Who / Fresh Off the Boat / Buffy the High School Years/Plants Vs. Zombies / Briggs Land/James Cameron’s Avatar / All New Guardians of the Galaxy #1 / DC Superhero Girls Summer Olympus / Tokyo Disney’s Descendants (Manga)

There’s quite a variety of comics this year, but as always, I’m most excited for Boom! Studios Summer Blast. I adore compilation comics, and theirs always has a fantastic assortment of short stories. I’m also weirdly psyched about the Disney’s Descendant‘s manga. I still haven’t watched the TV movie (something I’ll have to remedy soon), but there’s no way I’m going to miss that issue.

As for a comic that might be suspiciously missing from my list, well, I think I’ll just stick with avoiding Secret Empire like it’s a rotten banana for now.

You should also know that, according to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets‘ Twitter account, there will be a new Valerian comic tomorrow. It’s not listed on the Free Comic Book Day website so I’m not entirely certain how easy it will be to find (which is why I didn’t include it in my list). If you do come across it, I highly recommend picking that up too!

Oh, one more thing before you go, here’s my list in a shiny and simple image in case you need a little reminder tomorrow!

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So what are you hoping to pick up on Free Comic Book Day?

{Short Takes} Three Graphic Novel Reviews

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Secret agents, fairy tales, and high school drama. It’s been a good reading week for graphic novels!  

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Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain

Writer: Chelsea Cain

Artists: Kate Niemczyk & Ibrahim Moustafa

Bobbi Morse, ace S.H.I.E.L.D agent, struggles with nearly constant doctor checkups. She’s been dosed with both the Super Soldier Serum and the Infinity Formula, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s worried she might develop negative side effects.

They’re right about the side effects. Not so right about the negative part.

Bobbi doesn’t let any of this effect her in the field or keep her from saving her ex (Clint Barton), her new “boyfriend” (Lance Hunter), or protecting teenage girls from other themselves.

Bobbi’s story in Mockingbird Vol. 1 is a blast to read. Chelsea Cain brings humor and adventure to the comic while the artists, Kate and Ibrahim, bring eye-popping action and the female gaze. I loved that Bobbi was the type of snarky, capable hero you don’t often see in female characters. It was such a relief to read a comic with a female lead that was sexy, angst-free, and fun. It’s a shame that this series was cancelled. I am glad, though I still have one more volume of Bobbi’s story to read. It’s definitely high on my TBR.

 

30073153Jim Henson’s Labyrinth Tales

By Cory Godbey

Labyrinth Tales collects three stories set within the universe of the 80’s film.  The stories are short, sweet, and make perfect bedtime stories (which just so happens to be when I read them). Some might be familiar to you from Free Comic Book Day or the Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Comic released last year, but in spite of their familiarity, I think Labyrinth Tales is worth the purchase. It’s hard covered–and so more durable than a floppy comic–and Godbey’s breathtaking art looks fabulous and glossy on the page. Definitely a must-buy (or, at the very least, a must-read) for Labyrinth fans.

 

25852959 (1).jpgArchie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale

Writer: Mark Waid

Art: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish

Archie and Betty broke up. The cause has something to do with a certain “lipstick incident,” but no one at Riverdale knows exactly what that means. Unfortunately for the rumor mill, the ex-golden couple refuses to say anything. Thankfully, when the theories begin to run dry, drama arises when new girl, Veronica, turns Archie into her errand boy. Will Betty and Jughead be able to save Archie from her clutches or is he truly lost to his newest crush?

Archie Vol. 1 is my first introduction to the world of Archie comics, and surprisingly, I loved it. I somehow missed out on reading Archie as a kid, but Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ work has gotten me curious as to what I’ve been missing all these years. I know this rebooted Archie isn’t exactly the same thing as old-school Archie, but I’m going to delve into it all the same. I loved the humor, drama, and wackiness of The New Riverdale, and I have a feeling that that is what’s been carried over from the older Archie comics.

Besides, I want more stories about these teens–especially Jughead!
What comics or graphic novels have you been reading lately?

Graphic Novels on My TBR

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I’ve been bad about reading comics this year. The only series I’ve followed in single issues are New Romancer, Venus, Green Arrow Rebirth (which just started), and Goldie Vance. Thankfully, with DC Rebirth happening this summer, there’s a lot of series I hope to add to my pull list. I know I’m at least going to try Batgirl, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Superwoman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Suicide Squad, and The Hellblazer. I’m crossing my fingers that half of those series are as good as Green Arrow. I need more superheroines and anti-heroes in my life.

As bad as I’ve been with single issues this year, I’ve been even worse with trades. I’ve read maybe eight volumes–which is really low for me (I read 35 last year). I probably wouldn’t even have made it to eight if it wasn’t for all those Star Wars series. I’m not even caught up on them. Maybe I’ll get to Vader Down before Rogue One is released.

In general, I think this lack of comics enthusiasm’s in part because I started associating comics with depression thanks to my binging of X-Men when I was feeling really, really low last year. I’ve been trying to read comics when I’m feeling okay in 2016 to break that correlation.

It’s working. Sort of.

I still catch myself saving up comics and graphic novels to read when I’m feeling bad. The way I figure I can best circumvent that is to read more comics. That way I don’t have to hoard them for bad days. There can be enough to go around on the good days too.

To see if my plan works, I’ve made a proper Graphic Novel to-read list. This way, when I’m wondering what series I should read next, I can just check my handy list.

comics-tbr.jpgGraphic Novels on My TBR

  • Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North ~ Choose-Your-Own-Shakespeare-Adventure by the writer of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl? Yes, please!
  • Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, Stephane Roux, Alex Sinclair, Paul Mounts ~ I’m very much looking forward to Margot Robbie as Harley in The Suicide Squad. Somehow though, I’ve never actually read any Harley-related comics. I need to remedy that before August, and I figured I’d start with The New 52 and move out from there.
  • Birds of Prey by Gail Simone, Ed Benes, Adriana Melo, and Alvin Lee ~ Gail Simone introduced me to the world of DC Comics with her Wonder Woman and Batgirl series. I haven’t ever picked up her Birds of Prey, but with the new Rebirth series coming out and me having Barbara Gordon withdraws, I figured now was as good of time as any to start it.  
  • Constantine: The Hellblazer by Ming Doyle and Riley Rossmo ~ I read the first issue of Constantine and loved it. I meant to keep buying it in single issues, but I sort of missed the second issue and never caught up.
  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson ~ Unpopular Opinion: I don’t care for Brian K. Vaughn’s writing. I’ve heard that Paper Girls is sort of “The Goonies with Girls” so I’m going to give it a try anyways. The 80’s nerd in me wants to like it.  
  • Archie by Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish ~ Time for another confession: I’ve never read any Archie comics in my entire life.  With Riverdale coming to the CW, I want to finally change that.
  • DC Bombshells by Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage ~ I read the first issue of DC Bombshells and it just didn’t capture my attention. I love the art though and I’m going to give it a proper chance now that it’s in trade.  
  • Black Canary by Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu, Pia Guerra, and Sandy Jarrell ~ The only thing I liked about the new Batgirl run was Black Canary. From what I remember, she was grumpy and all around lovable. Since I’m also adoring the character in Green Arrow Rebirth, I want to go back and read through her solo series. After that I might try to track down the Black Canary and Zatanna series too.
  • Power Up by Kate Leth and Matt Cummings ~ I know I can always rely on Kate Leth for a fun read. I haven’t read any Power Up yet, but it looks pretty adorable. (Released June 28th!)
  • Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Richard Elson, Karel Kesel, and Al Barrionuevo ~ I’ve read the first volume in DeConnick’s Captain Marvel before, but I didn’t like it (I actually gave it one star on Goodreads). Recently, I decided to try Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps and I really, really liked it. It’s about time I gave this series another chance.  

What comics are you loving right now? Anything good on your TBR?

My Free Comic Book Day Wish List

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Last year was my first Free Comic Book Day. Unfortunately, I worked in the middle of the day so I didn’t end up joining properly in the festivities. I did still manage to run to my local comic shop and Books-a-Million and ended up with a rather large pile of comics that I slowly worked my way through over the summer.

Needless to say, it was awesome.

This year, I’ll be working again. Thankfully, my new comic shop is a block and half from where I work. I’ll be running there on my lunch break and, hopefully, they won’t be completely out of everything. I may have to have my mom be my back-up comic spotter–just in case.

To prep for May 7th, this year’s date, I went through the list of comics coming out and picked my top choices. There’s a lot of really neat stuff being released, and I can’t wait to have an even more ridiculous backlog of comics after the day.

My Free Comic Book Day Wish List 

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Boom Studios 2016 Summer Blast ~ Boom Studios is one of my favorite comics publishers, but all I really need to know about this sampler is that it includes a Labyrinth short story. *Grabby hands*

Doctor Who: Four Doctors ~ I first got into buying single issues thanks to Doctor Who. I’m not completely up on these series anymore, but I’m always ready for more stories about the 9th and 10th Doctor.

Civil War II ~ I don’t love events, but last year, I liked picking up the Secret Wars preview on Free Comic Book Day so I’d, at least, have a basis for what was going on if I wanted to purchase some of the series. We’ll see if anything in Civil War II catches my interest this year!

Captain America ~ Captain America is my least favorite Avenger, but–weirdly–Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my second favorite MCU film (right after Guardians of the Galaxy). It might be time for me to give Steve Rogers a proper chance.

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Dark Horse Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens ~ This sampler sold me based on the fact it has an Aliens story in it. That’s really all I needed to know. Of course, I’ve been meaning to give Hellboy a try too so this might finally get me moving on that! 

Grumpy Cat (And Pokey) ~ Can a person who loves cats really pass up a Grumpy Cat (and Pokey!) comic? I don’t think so.

DC Superhero Girls ~ DC’s Superhero Girls merchandise is adorable. In high school, I would have absolutely collected the dolls and action figures. Thankfully, I don’t collect dolls anymore, but I am psyched that DC is releasing a companion comic for FCBD. I love that cover so much I might even have to frame it. 

Dark Horse All-Ages Sampler ~ Last year, the Dark Horse sampler was one of my favorite Free Comic Book Day comics. This year, it might be one of my favorites again. I mean, it has a Legend of Korra story! What’s better than that? 

What are you picking up on Free Comic Book Day?

Image Source: PREVIEWSworld and Kiss Them Goodbye

Reading Batman V Superman: The Court of Owls

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One of my bookish goals for 2016 related to reading Batman and Superman comics in preparation for Dawn of Justice. It’s weird to think that, before this week, I had never read a Batman comic. I’d read Bat!family comics, sure, but nothing in particular about the Bat himself.

As a kid and teen, I loved the Batman films, but I was too embarrassed to read comics. Being a geek wasn’t very cool then, and I was already that weird girl who wore Batman tees (which I had to find in the boy’s clothing section) and named her car Bruce. I didn’t want to be seen as even weirder by getting into the comics. For some reason, that was one step too far for me. It wasn’t until college that I began reading comics regularly, and it wasn’t until after graduation that I picked up Gail Simone’s Batgirl run—which was the first DC Comics series I got into.

Since then, I’ve read Batgirl (Babs and Stephanie Brown), Catwoman, Nightwing, and Gotham Academy. Batman, however, still seemed so forbidding to start. There’s A LOT of Batman comics out there, and while New 52 seemed like a good place to getting going, I was still overwhelmed by all the possibilities.

With the film release looming, I finally broke down and decided to start with Scott Snyder’s The Court of Owls. I’m passingly familiar with the arc since it intersected with Batgirl’s and it’s a New 52 Volume 1 so I figured it’d be a decent gateway book.

The Plot

Batman thinks he understands Gotham City and its citizens. He’s been at this Bat-business for awhile and he’s seen it all. He most definitely knows that there’s no Court of Owls—in spite of what the people of Gotham and his own family believe.

Weird deaths and mysterious owl insignias are being found around the city. Somehow these are all tied to Batman by way of Bruce Wayne. He and Harvey Bullock discover a note at a murder scene proclaiming that “Bruce Wayne will die tomorrow.” The Bat doesn’t take the threat seriously, but begins an investigation into the murder and the owls anyway. He doesn’t expect to find the actual Court of Owls. That’s a fairy tale. He does, however, expect to find people using the owls to terrorize Gotham.

What he actually discovers nearly drives him mad.

Thoughts

The Court of Owls met my Batman expectations—mostly because I expected a plot heavy book with violence and not a lot of women. That is exactly what I got. While not necessarily a bad thing, those were some of the reasons it took me so long to get into Batman stories in the first place. I prefer character driven stories (which is why I read a lot of Indie comics) and I like interesting, well-rounded female characters. It’s not surprising then that I’ve stuck so long with Batgirl, Catwoman, and the girls of Gotham Academy.

On the positive side of The Court of Owls, I did like seeing Batman as “The Great Detective” for the first time. In the films, that side of him isn’t really explored since the movies focus on the punching and catching of baddies rather than on his scientific mind. In Scott Snyder’s story, Batman is primarily a detective—almost along the lines of Sherlock Holmes. He’s rational and seems to know everything about everything. I liked his cold rationality and his stubbornness–particularly since both of those things got him into trouble in the end.

Bruce’s relationship with Dick Grayson was also fascinating. You could just feel how frustrated Dick was with Bruce’s coldness, sureness, and lack of selfcare.  Dick saw Bruce loosing it, and he didn’t like not being trusted to help. That tension in their relationship is one of the reasons I’d like to keep reading this series. It feels inevitable that these two will come to a breaking point where they’ll either have to part or have to deal with their difficult relationship.

Damian’s presence also warmed by heart. I love Damian. He’s so serious and snarky. I wish he’d been in Court of Owls more (because he’s a favorite), but I particularly loved how distraught he was when the Bat-Signal broke. He’s a little adult so much of the time. It was nice to see a bit of the child in his peak through for once.

Those little moments of emotion with Damian and Dick were unfortunately rare. This comic was more focused on Bruce and his descent into madness. While that wasn’t a bad storyline, I had hoped for more interpersonal focus. Batman really only interacted with Dick and Lincoln (a mayoral candidate) on a personal level, and that was really on the light side too. I’ve never been a huge fan of comics wrapped solely up in plot and that’s what The Court of Owls was. I hope, as Scott Snyder’s run continues, that we’ll get to delve deeper into Batman’s psyche and his relationships. I want to know more about that and not just more about Batman fighting villains.

As for the art, I liked most of what Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion did here. The slightly sepia coloring felt perfect for Gotham City (which was rendered in intricate detail too). I also appreciated the design on the Owl’s costumes and Batman’s suit. The steampunk look of the Talon’s suit in particular was just plain cool. While there are a few artistic choices I didn’t love (like the rotating of the pages and the goopy, red blood), I didn’t find much that was off-putting. One of the few reasons I chose this book was because the art felt accessible to me (i.e. not a lot of fanservice going on). I did think it was funny though that, for once, I had trouble telling the male characters apart rather than the women (Bruce looked like a shorter Lincoln and Dick, Tim, and Damian all looked identical).  I could have done with a bit more distinctiveness on the characters and a bit less boxiness in Batman’s jaw, but those are hardly big things. Overall, I definitely liked the look of this comic.

I’ll definitely pick up the second volume of this series. I want to see where it goes from here and how everything develops. I’m truthfully not that interested in the Owl’s plot itself, but I’d like to see it through to its conclusion.

To me, that’s not a bad response to my first adventure in Batman comics. Next up, some Superman!

Do you have a favorite Batman series? What would you recommend reading next? (I have The Dark Knight Returns on hold at the library. So I will get to that one soon!)

Image Source: Kiss Them Goodbye

First Impression: Legends of Tomorrow

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Arrowverse has been gearing up for the premiere of Legends of Tomorrow all season. First, on Arrow, we got the return of Ray Palmer and Sara Lance. Then, on The Flash, we learned more about Leonard Snart and added a new member to the Firestorm team. Finally, we got the backdoor pilot/crossover which introduced Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Legends’ big bad, Vandal Savage.

With all that build up, there was a good chance that Legends of Tomorrow wouldn’t be able to rise to the occasion as the newest (hopefully hit) show to enter the Arrowverse. In the end, it met my expectations and exceeded them, but it remains to be seen whether it can hold it’s own with Arrow and The Flash.

The Plot

Things are bad in the year 2166. Vandal Savage has become the supreme leader of Earth, but a time traveler–by the name of Rip Hunter–wants to journey back in time to stop him from coming to power. His fellow Time Masters don’t think it’s their business to interfere with the timeline. Respectably disagreeing, Rip steals a time ship and heads to 2016 to collect a group of heroes and villains to join him on his quest.

Coming along for Rip’s ride is Ray Palmer a.k.a. the Atom (who was last seen not-being-dead on Arrow). He’s being heroing since rejoining the land of the living, but he’s not thrilled about his failure to leave a legacy. Rip offers him a chance to be a legend, and Ray’s willing to try anything to make a difference in the world.

Also joining the team is Sara Lance. She’s a member of the no-longer-dead team too (only in her case it’s more literal), but she becomes a time traveler because her sister, Laurel, convinces her that it’s an opportunity to come into the light and be a hero called the White Canary.  

Meanwhile, the duos of Heat Wave & Captain Cold and Firestorm join the ranks as well. Snart and Mick come along because they dream of being the greatest thieves of all time (literally because: time travel) and Dr. Stein drags Jax along (again literally because: drugged) since he wants to science the heck out of time travel.

Lastly, the bird gang of Hawkman and Hawkgirl feel duty bound to join the quest since Vandal Savage’s fate is inextricably tied to theirs. Above and beyond that, they learn that if they aren’t the ones to deal Savage a death blow, his deadness will be less than permanent.

Once the “Legends” are successfully drawn together, Rip takes them to the 1970’s to meet with Dr. Boardman–the only authority on Vandal Savage and the Hawkpeople–to find out where they might be able to intercept Savage in the past, present, and/or future. Unfortunately, they have a bounty hunter on their tail and deadline to beat.

So That’s a Lot Characters, Right?

Not a lot happens plot-wise in the pilot of Legends of Tomorrow. That’s mostly because so much time is spent bringing the characters on board. It’s understandable that things would get off to a slow start when you have this many individuals to wrangle together, but that doesn’t stop the pilot from moving at a snail’s pace until the first jump in time occurs. After that jump, everything starts pulling together. The characters start interacting, the plot jumps forward, and everything gels. It just takes awhile.

As pilots go, Legends of Tomorrow is successful at giving us the basics of what’s going on while establishing characters and interpersonal dynamics. It might not have been as strong of a pilot as The Flash or Arrow had, but it got me caught on the show anyways with it’s sass, style, and Ray Palmer’s tears.

Atom’s Super Now

Brandon Routh is one of those actors that I’ve sort of had a crush on for ages. I adored him in Superman Returns, and I was very excited when he joined Arrow. Unfortunately, he wasn’t great on Arrow. He was the boy-version of Felicity and that didn’t work so well (since there can only ever truly be one Felicity).

Taking him off Arrow and transplanting him on Legends was the best thing that could happen for his character. There’s still his boyish, geeky wonder, but it’s tempered by him having a heartbreaking afterlife crisis.

After discovering that his “death” left no impact on the world, Ray Palmer’s definitely a mess. He had been trying so hard to make a difference that it shakes him when he realizes he didn’t succeed. That absolute pep he had on Arrow is finally gone and it gives him a depth that he originally lacked.

That depth makes him a promising lead character on Legends of Tomorrow. While the show is technically an ensemble, it could benefit from having one or two of its nine(!!) characters taking the forefront. Ray Palmer is the obvious choice because he has a struggle that’s both interesting and tied in with saving the world. 

Sara Lance would be second on my list for focal character.

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Getting Weird With Sara Lance

Never in a millions years would I have expected my new brotp to be Sara Lance and Captain Cold, but the pilot proved that Sara’s at her best when she can get weird with some baddies.

I never much cared for Sara during her time on Arrow. She and Oliver never had the chemistry that the show, obviously, wanted them to have and her plot was filled with too much brooding and melancholy to be interesting in a show already filled to the brim with brooding and melancholy. As a character, Sara had potential, but to fulfill it, she’d have to be free of Ollie’s orbit.

Legends of Tomorrow frees her.

Not that they really have a choice–what with her having the bloodlust from the Lazarus Pit and all–but it seems like she can embrace who she is now that she’s not being watched by Oliver, the guy who feels the need to make every woman in his vicinity behave as he sees fit.

While she’s the White Canary now, it still seems like she’s relishing being a blunt fist rather than actually playing the fallen angel. Not surprisingly, her natural companions in Legends are Snart and Mick.

I appreciated the trio of them going to the bar and getting in a fight (with Captain and Tennille playing in the background). That scene was my favorite of the pilot. It brought out the best of Snart’s sassyness and, surprisingly, coaxed some snark out of Sara too. Those two immediately became the duo to beat on this show. As much as I love seeing Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller back together, Purcell’s Mick doesn’t add much to the show. He doesn’t have Snart’s depth or charm, and I wouldn’t shed a tear if he were to be left in the past, giving Snart and Sara a chance to become BFFs.

The Hawkpeople are Not the Best

Hawkman (who will henceforth be caIled Hawkguy for reasons) and Hawkgirl, in contrast, are my least favorite duo simply because they have no chemistry and, boy, does Hawkguy ruin everything by being incredibly dull.

I had nothing against Kendra on The Flash. She was cute, smart, and a decent foil for Cisco. She had potential as a hero, but it’s been squandered already by pairing her with her “destined lover.”

While occasionally that sort of story can be romantic, here it’s just ew.

There’s nothing really to say about birdman, Khufu. He talks about destiny, has abs, and is otherwise a nothing character in the ranks of Mick. On a show so bloated with characters, he’s really unnecessary (and dull. Did I mention dull?).

Above and beyond that, their story in the pilot was a complete emotional waste. Once it’s revealed that Dr. Boradman is their son, it became obvious that this was going to be a throwaway story about one of their children from another life. The problem with that is that this person is their son. That could have carried a lot of emotional weight. Unfortunately, it that bit of the story was over so quickly that I was disappointed a promising plotline like that was wasted so early in the series.

(I guess with time travel it’s possible we’ll see Boardman again. I hope, at least, that will be the case.)

Martin Stein is the Worst

I spoke too soon when I claimed that Hawkman and Hawkgirl were my least favorite duo. Stein and Jax are technically my least favorite–even though after this episode, I’d hardly call them a duo.

I never liked Martin Stein on The Flash. He was unpleasant and snobby, but somehow, my low opinion of him managed to worsen with the Legends pilot. He is an awful, awful person, isn’t he? He drugged his Firestorm companion, Jax, to get him on the time ship, knowing full well that Jax was adamant about not joining the Legends team. That’s abduction. That’s taking away a person’s free will. That’s just plain wrong.

Because this show loosely exists in the morally weird zone that is the extended Arrow universe, this doesn’t end up being a bad thing. I can’t forgive it though, and I hope Jax gets a better Firestorm partner in the future. Stein’s just not cutting it and should get left in the past because he is the worst.

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Fridge Time with Rory Williams

Rip Hunter (a.k.a. Rory Williams from Doctor Who) is the last of our heroes and, by far, the most distracting character on the series. Not only is he a Time Master (presumably similar to a Time Lord), he also wears a long brown coat and steals a Time Traveling ship. If that doesn’t sound passingly familiar than you must not be a Whovian.

It wasn’t only the weird Doctor Who parallels that threw me off but also his part in the worst bit of the pilot.

I’m talking about the fridging of yet another female character.

Legends of Tomorrow was doing so well with coming up with motivations for its characters until it got to Rip. In a TV universe that is notorious for fridging women (and otherwise treating them awfully to motivate male characters) I was furious when it was revealed that Rip’s wife and child were his motivations for his actions.  I’m very sick of fridging–to the point where it’s a reason I will stop reading books or watching shows.

Since the show did do so well otherwise with motivating its characters, I’ll keep watching, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on good behavior for the foreseeable future.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t expect to like Legends of Tomorrow. I actually expected to hate it. Surprisingly, I didn’t. While a lot of the reviews I’ve read haven’t been overwhelming positive, I think Legends is a decent addition to the Arrowverse. Its pilot had rough points, but its characters show promise and the time traveling concept could be timey whimey fun.

I’d definitely say try it!

What did you think of Legends of Tomorrow? What’s your favorite Arrowverse show? 

Image Source: Screencapped

Graphic Novel Review: Hinges

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Clockwork City is a town populated entirely by automatons and dolls. Each automaton starts as a blank slate. They are given a name, clothes, and their choice of odd (a plushie companion) and then introduced to the city and assigned a job.

Orio, the heroine of Hinges, awakens and goes through all the steps. Unfortunately, when she makes her choice of odd, she chooses Bauble–a troublesome creature who causes so much mayhem that she’s unable to find a position.

Life gets more complicated for Orio when something begins murdering automatons. Bauble tries to help, proving that there might be more to him than being a troublemaker after all.

Hinges started as a webcomic created by Meredith Mcclaren. Image published the graphic novel edition, but the original is still available online (so you don’t have to worry about tracking down the graphic novel to read the story). There are further adventures of Orio and Bauble on Mcclaren’s blog too–which is great because I’m, at least, looking forward to reading more about Clockwork City and its collection of characters.

I first discovered Hinges while browsing the Graphic Novel section at a bookstore. Its art and overall look immediately caught my attention. The sepia tones and stark loveliness of Clockwork City made me need to read the story. It’s not often that art draws me in, but Mcclaren’s style was just so different that I got caught up in it.

Reading Hinges was actually almost like watching a silent movie. There was some dialogue, but it was the characters’ expressions and the world around them that really told the story.

My only qualm about the art (and it’s not a huge one) was that the action sequences were a bit rough. Occasionally, I was taken out of the story when trying to decipher what exactly was happening in a certain panel, but I’m hoping that as the story goes on the style of the more action-heavy pages will get smoother.

As for the characters, I really liked Orio and Bauble. Orio didn’t utter a word until the last page, but I felt like I got to know her all the same. Bauble, on the other hand, was hilarious and brave, and he 100% made me wish that I had my own odd. (Furbies are the closest thing the real world has to odds and that’s just unacceptable!) The side characters were great too and almost all women–which I obviously liked. I definitely want to see Floyd (a haberdasher) and Orio working together in the next “Books.” I think Floyd’s curmudgeonly attitude will be an interesting foil to Orio’s sweetness.

Hinges was a very cute and entertaining graphic novel. It’s technically an all-ages comic, but I think it would appeal more to teens and adults than the “Ages 9+” that it’s suited for.

I’d highly recommend checking Meredith Mcclaren’s work out–especially if you’ve ever wanted to have a walking-talking plushie companion of your own.
Is you could have a stuffed animal companion, what would it be?

Image Source: Goodreads