Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Sunday Comic Books Review

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • Sep 21st
  • Aquaman #7 - Back to Atlantis, where Aquaman has to deal with the running of the city-state that might be at war. I like the way the leadership is introduced and how Mera handles them. I do like her stating that she'll take on the trials in deference to tradition - but that was obvious once Rath makes his statement. Not a lot really happens, but it happens in an interesting way that moves the plot forward a bit. I think the more important plot strings in this one are Manta-related. He knows his enemy, but can upsetting the balance of a secret society work? It seems like he's just doomed the organization to failure by taking charge. And the thing he unleashes - echoes of Doomsday in the reactions and the actions. I'm curious to see how this story unfolds.
  • Justice League #5 - I'm amused that Aquaman is running around, doing his own thing, while the rest of the league is working in tandem. Well, except for Superman, who was sent on an impossible mission all his own but still succeeded. This storyline was interesting because it apparently involved multiple threats, all of which hit at about the same time. One of them succeeded in starting something, but did the other stop? Were all the threats related? In the end, we get more questions than answers, but that's not entirely bad. I just hope we get a resolution eventually, with enough information to realize it's a resolution.
  • Green Lanterns #7 - After driving off the rage lanterns, what's a little family meal? Well, for a woman with anxiety, quite awful, actually. And for a man who is dealing with his own rebellious past that landed him in prison as a terrorist, it's not a walk in the park either. So this was a surprisingly good issue despite there being no looming threat and no monsters to fight. I just kind of wish we had a recipe for those better-than-cookies.
  • Wonder Woman '77 Special #4 - Four different stories featuring Wonder Woman from the 1977 TV series. The first features a brain in a jar. I can't really say much more about it. I just ... can't. The second was about a mix up with a cassette tape, thanks to that new technology: A walkman. It featured a musician being kidnapped. The third story also featured a musician being kidnapped in completely different circumstances and for a different reason. The final story has astronauts and cosmonauts being attacked in an alien attempt to start a war. Going through the stories - the first one had a nice mental battle with nice artwork, but the premise makes my head hurt. The second one had some fun characters and a surprising reason for betrayal. The third was lovely, especially when Danny says, "You could've just asked." Even in distress, Wonder Woman is gracious to someone who needed a hero. The final story was good, but I found the ending to be a little difficult. The Cold War was in full swing, and even Wonder Woman would have had a difficult time getting those gentlemen free, I think. The rest was unrealistic, but fun. Overall, not a bad package of tales. Certainly a must have for fans of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series.
  • Back To The Future #12 - I don't have a great deal of interest in Needles as a character, so I'm less than interested in his history. Still, it gives us an idea of Marty's kindness in the face of adversary. And a little more history about the whole "chicken" thing. Overall, not my favorite issue of this series.
  • Back To The Future: Citizen Brown #5 - Now that was a satisfying conclusion to a series. A lot of the little loose ends tied up, even an explanation for the multiple DeLoreans. A happy ending for someone who once loved Doc Brown. A happy start for Marty's writing career. All in all, not bad. Indeed, for a comic book based on a video game that was inspired by a movie, quite nice.
  • Treehouse of Horror #22 - There have been 22 issues of this? Wow. Um, ok... This issue takes on Ghostbusters, X-Files and a bunch of other stuff, and it's ok. I'm not a huge Simpsons fan, so it was fine but not something I'm going to adore.
  • Xena Warrior Princess #6 - I guess this is the final issue? The storyline is wrapped up, with entirely too many characters and too much nonsense. I don't think I'll be getting any more Xena comics.
  • Sep 28th
  • Titans #3 - Whew, Garth is alive. It would have been irritating to have a story in which all of Wally's friends are killed and have to be revived. I liked Garth's consideration of the problem and his attempts to reason out what can be done. There was a lot of plot movement in this issue - we got the subplot of a new meta along with Wally trying to make things right with Linda, and everyone pooling their resources to figure out Kadabra. I'm looking forward to the next issue.
  • Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #5 - Info dump issue! Soranik catches Hal up on the recent action, while the Green Lanterns get news of what's happened and Guy... is left hanging yet again. Ok, now that everyone knows what's going on, can we please get some plot movement? *(Please see the bottom of this post for a comment about this book and its artist)
  • Astro City #39 - It's been more than 20 years since Astro City, Vol 1 #4 came out. That issue told the story of a young woman who grew up on Shadow Hill and her perception of Astro City's heroes and villains in relation to her own life. It ended with her deciding to quit her job in the city and stay on Shadow Hill, a situation I found depressing when I read it. This issue is a follow-up to that story, showing the young woman more than 20 years later - she's now the owner of her own firm and once again, the Hanging Man notices her. I don't want to spoil this, even though it came out months ago, but I just have to say this was fantastic. I was thrilled that she made her own place, made her own way - didn't go into a little box like I kind of thought she might from the ending of her previous appearance. I also found the new information about the Hanging Man to be eye-opening. And I honestly am tempted to just find the next issue in my to-read pile and read it now instead of waiting until I get there in my regular reading.
  • Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1 - A nice set-up issue that introduces the characters, the world and the status quo but still manages to introduce a new plot development. It doesn't delve too deeply into the recent series, which means it doesn't get confusing. The reveal at the end is very interesting, if more than a little strange. What would he want with Dana, in any case?
  • Scooby-Doo Team-Up #18 - This book just went to the dogs. Literally - as Scooby joins with G'nort and several other hero pups to tackle a ghostly threat on an alien planet populated by... well, dogs. And evil cats, apparently. I think I'll hide this issue from Inkwell. In any case, it was amusing throughout, especially the two final moments of other cases we get to see that leave all the details out but are hilarious to think through. This is a fun book, and this is a fun issue.
  • Doctor Strange Annual #1 - I don't know Clea very well, but this looks like a promising development in Strange's life. This is an odd book by all measures, but Clea stealing Zelma's calm was just pricelessly funny and bizarre at the same time. I hope the humor remains, because that's one of the strengths of a book like this. See the amusement in the world while treating it with respect.
  • Doctor Who 4th #5 - The story ends with a bang as the Doctor finds out what happened and figures out how to stop the bad guy from escaping. I like that little hint that the threat might not be quite over - just a flare from an eye, nothing more. I was amused at the ending and Sarah Jane's excitement at attending the wedding. Very funny. I'm sure Harry was happy to hear all about it.
  • Doctor Who 11th #2.13 - The problem with writing time travel stories that actually involve time travel as part of the plot is that they rapidly become incredibly complicated unless you are very careful to limit that part of the plotline. This book doesn't limit it at all and, in fact, makes it nearly impossible to comprehend what's going on when reading it monthly. In short, it's a bit of a confusing mess - but at least the threat at the end is clear enough.
  • Doctor Who 12th #2.9 - Er, yes Doctor. That's pretty much the first thing I thought of when the house turned into what it turned into. Obviously, he's so used to it he can't even see it when it's in front of him. So far: fun mystery, fascinating new cannon for ghosts, and lovely settings that could never be done on television.
Literally while I was writing the review of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the artist on the book, Ethan Van Sciver, told a fan who suffers from depression to kill himself after the fan stated that suicide jokes are not funny. Although Van Sciver later apologized, this is a pattern with him. For years he has belittled and insulted people who don't share his political views and has subscribed to hate - including joining the online neo-nazi movement symbolized by the theft of Pepe the Frog as a meme (a creator stealing another creator's work to promote hate - Van Sciver should be ashamed).

While many fans will no doubt forgive him, I find if very hard to forgive a person who tells a fan to kill himself. This is pretty much the last straw for me after seeing him commit years of internet trolling and harassment, often apologizing but always going back to the same methods once the excitement has died down. I've never been fond of the man - he's been doing this kind of crap for more than a decade - but now I can't even look at his art without seeing him tell fans to kill themselves. My desire to read this Green Lantern book has pretty much vanished after this incident: if Van Sciver is listed as a creator on a book, I will no longer read or review it. I once liked his artwork, but his hate has turned it ugly to me.

And, just to make it absolutely clear - I am not advocating that other people boycott his work nor am I trying to get him fired. I'm stating that I, personally, cannot bear to look at his work any more and will not be reading or reviewing anything he works on (hopefully this will not be tested by him working on Aquaman again). I urge my readers to make up their own minds. There's plenty of material out there on what Van Sciver has done to people in the past, if that matters at all to you.