Comics

Arrow Season 2.5 #7

by Alan Rapp on April 16, 2015

in Comics

Arrow 2.5 #7The current “Blood” storyline continues with Felicity captured by the new Brother Blood, and Green Arrow and Arsenal unable to find her, Oliver agrees to turn himself over to Blood in exchange for her safety. Not trusting the madman, Oliver keeps Arsenal in reserve with a back-up plan should things go wrong by sending his protege to A.R.G.U.S. for some unexpected back-up.

Although we get a couple of scenes continuing the Kahndaq storyline (and likely ending any chance of seeing a Black Adam show up any time soon), the issue mainly deals with the search for Felicity (who spends most of her time tied to a chair insulting her captors) and setting up the surprise appearance of the Huntress as our hero’s back-up.

With Oliver and Felicity both in enemy hands it should be interesting to see Arsenal and Huntress team-up to save them in the storyline’s conclusion. Sadly, I have to admit the apparently imminent death of Khem-Adam makes me less interested to see how that plot thread eventually plays out. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Convergence: Speed Force #1

by Alan Rapp on April 14, 2015

in Comics

Convergence: Speed Force #1Now that’s more like it. After being horribly disappointed with Convergence: Batgirl #1 I was feeling less and less sure about DC’s new big event centering on battles between previous versions of characters not found in the current New 52 DCU. Convergence: Speed Force #1 gives us Wally West back in action as the Flash and his kids Jai and Iris.

Like pretty much every Convergence tie-in issue, Speed Force #1 begins by offering us glimpses of the hero’s life without powers after the city is transported by Brainiac. With the fall of the barrier the Flash and his kids take a run across the bizarre world coming across an assortment of odd characters including another speedsterFastback!

Although I’m not sure I’m ready to see the Flash take on the Flashpoint version of Wonder Woman next issue, I am excited to see Wally and Fastback team-up. Unlike Convergence: Batgirl #1 this issue gets the feel of its characters right. (Plus I’m all in favor of throwing the Zoo Crew as much love as possible.) Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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Rocket Raccoon #10

by Alan Rapp on April 13, 2015

in Comics

Rocket Raccoon #10Rocket Raccoon #10 interrupts Rocket Raccoon‘s attempt to pay the money owed to all his ex-girlfriend princesses when Rocket is approached by his old frenemy Klep who informs our hero about a chance to find the missing Book of Halfworld… for the right price.

Turning his hard-worn earnings over to Klep for the intel rather than paying off his debts makes Rocket an immediate fugitive from the law (and even Cosmo) aboard Knowhere but if Klep’s information pans out we’ll get to see how Skottie Young plans to reintroduce the character’s somewhat convoluted comic book past and make it fit into the current Marvel continuity.

As we’ve come to expect from the series, issue #10 is heavy on both action and humor as Rocket is forced to fight his way out of Knowhere after paying off Klep. Armed with a new lead, and a new reason for authorities and bounty hunters to come after him, Rocket and Groot’s new adventure kicks off with an entertaining first issue. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #9

by Alan Rapp on April 11, 2015

in Comics

Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #9After sending Mystery, Inc. on a journey through time and space visiting The Jetsons and The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #9 returns to its original premise of teaming Scooby and his pals up with heroes from the DC Universe. The latest issue sends Scooby and the gang to Metropolis to help out with the odd appearance of Julius Caesar’s ghost inside the Daily Planet caused by the Prankster.

A fun all-age mystery, Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #9 is also filled with several nods to classic Superman adventures including Red Kryptonite (which here turns Superman into a rampaging monster), an appearance by Krypto, the play on the classic “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” exclamation from the original Superman TV-show, and Scooby and Shaggy unintentionally injesting super-hero formulas giving them the temporary super-powers of Lois Lane and Jimmy from some mostly forgotten Silver Age comics.

After a pair of lackluster issues without any super-heroes to team-up with the comic returns to form here offering the same kind of zany fun delivered in its first five issues. Must-read.

[DC, $2.99]

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Convergence: Batgirl #1

by Alan Rapp on April 10, 2015

in Comics

Convergence: Batgirl #1DC Comics sure isn’t wasting much time to turn me off of Convergence. Despite being the exact target audience for this particular issue (It has Stephanie Brown as Batgirl! It has Red Robin in his Dr. Midnight pre-New 52 costume! It has Black Bat! And it even has Catman! CATMAN!) I still walked away disappointed.

First off the reveal of Convergence being nothing more than the unimaginative DC equivalent of Capcom Vs. doesn’t inspire much confidence in the storyline. Yes, it was fun seeing Stephanie back where she belongs, and I like the trio of Steph, Tim, and Cass together but none rang true to me as Steph’s giddy introspection is replaced with mopey narration (and what world is this exactly where Stephanie has never heard of Catman?).

It also doesn’t help that Convergence: Batgirl #1 might be the worst drawn mainstream super-hero comic I’ve ever read. The characters are ill-defined looking more lack slap-dashed artist sketches than a finished product, and the inking and coloring is haphazard resulting in numerous panels that appear out of focus. What the hell, DC? Pass.

[DC, $3.99]

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Convergence #0

by Alan Rapp on April 9, 2015

in Comics

Convergence #0For the first time since the launch of the New 52 three-and-half years ago I’m actually excited about a mainstream DC event focused on offering classic versions of heroes from different decades. DC’s major Spring-Summer storyline kicks off her not with a roar but a whimper that despite giving us multiple versions of Braniac feels every bit a New 52 story.

Convergence #0 sets up the premise of the event with Braniac stealing cities from all over the Multiverse for his own collection. However the only hero we see in the first issue is the current version of Superman taken captive by the alien menace who changes form throughout the issue from the classic version to a zombie look and new version with various others in-between including the Bronze Age robotic version and his look from Superman: The New Animated Adventures.

After reading Convergence #0 I have more doubt about the event and whether the number of writers and artists tasked can get the right feel for the various characters. I have no doubt there will be gems to be discovered over the course of multiple months but after this incredibly overpriced $5 kick-off issue I’m less sure about the overall event. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $4.99]

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Guardians Team-Up #4

by Alan Rapp on April 8, 2015

in Comics

Guardians Team-Up #4The latest issue of Guardians Team-Up pairs Gamora and She-Hulk together when Thanos‘ daughter ends up on Earth hunted by an army of Chitauri. While She-Hulk is mistaken by the aliens as their prey Gamora is mistaken for local police for New York’s favorite green-skinned lawyer/super-hero.

I wouldn’t call Guardians Team-Up disappointing exactly but with the wide range of possible team-ups the Marvel Universe offers the comic hasn’t exactly lived up to its premise. Although I had a mixed reaction to Otto Schmidt’s artwork, the pairing of Gamora and She-Hulk is the first issue of the series to really capture the madcap fun such a title can be used for.

I could have done without the flashbacks to Gamora’s childhood with her father which feel a bit unnecessary, and take pages away from the damage the two women can inflict on an entire spaceship of baddies (especially after they start dressing alike). And at $4 a pop the comic still feels a bit overpriced for what its offering. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Batman ’66 #21

by Alan Rapp on April 6, 2015

in Comics

Batman '66 #21The latest issue of Batman ’66 takes Batman and Batgirl to Japan to take on 60s throwaway Bat-villain Lord Death Man (who got a revamp in Grant Morrison‘s recent Batman Incorporated run after basically being forgotten for the better part of five decades).

Standing in for Robin, who is in no condition to travel with the Caped Crusader (complete with slapstick walking into walls) on a transatlantic crimefighting trip, Batgirl tags along on the latest adventure.

Batman ’66 #21 is a niche issue in an already niche title. Fans of the character and the idea of Batman Incorporated (such as Batman having a special Japanese Batmobile made just in case he ever needed to work in that country) are likely to enjoy the story more than I did.

That said, there’s still fun to be had given how much Batgirl we get in this issue, Batgirl getting her own (slightly sexist) version of the Bat-Signal, and the chance to see Batman and Batgirl take down a group of ninjas. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Morning Glories Volume 8

by Alan Rapp on April 3, 2015

in Comics

Morning Glories Volume 8“Assembly” opens up a new path for Casey Blevins with Morning Glories #39‘s introduction of her old rival Isabel and the idea of running for student president to earn access to the school’s elusive Director. Although initially against the idea, Casey comes to see the wisdom in such a move.

The latest volume of Morning Glories also gives us the arrival of Oliver Simon and Ellen Richmond and begins to define the characters of Vanessa and her brother Ian. Vanessa and Ellen’s story continues to grow in importance in the comic’s most recent issues while Ian’s odd nature suggests he’ll have an important role to play before all is said and done.

We also get the introduction of the school’s unique sport Towerball which another of the students plans, like Casey, to use for his own ends to stand-up to the faculty. Whether or not any of them are successful, this volume begins to see various characters banding together in different ways to fight back against the oppressive authority of the school. But when you’re dealing with fate, gods, and weird mysticism do they really have a chance? Worth a look.

[Image, $12.99]

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Morning Glories #44

by Alan Rapp on April 2, 2015

in Comics

Morning Glories #44The latest issue of Morning Glories returns to the unique relationship of Vanessa and her mother Ellen who, as far as we know, are the only mother-daughter combination allowed within the walls of Morning Glory Academy. Why this is the case remains a mystery, but what the issue is clear about is the faculty’s insistence on breaking, or at least weakening, the ties between mother and daughter despite going to all the trouble to allow their reunion.

Although the issue alludes to the equally odd, but less emotional, relationship between Oliver and Ian, the comic is primarily concerned with mother and daughter and the efforts Ellen took to protect Vanessa from ending up a the Academy before Ms. Clarkson‘s intervention.

Like pretty much every other student in the school Vanessa is a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite yet fit. Why is she important enough to (at least partially) mollify Ellen? And why was it necessary for Casey, under the guise of Clarkson, to make sure both mother and daughter made it safely to the school? Worth a look.

[Image, $3.50]

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