Category Archives: Superheroes

Link’n’Blogs – 5.12.17 – Superhero Moms


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Mother’s Day is Sunday and there are more than a few famous moms in comic books. Click the photo below and take a look!

Martha

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: May 25 – May 31, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 10 comics last week: Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1.5, DC Universe Rebirth #1, Superman #52, Lois and Clark #8, Doctor Strange #8, Star Wars #18, Grayson #20, Justice League #50 and Batgirl #52.

The best comic I read last week was DC Universe Rebirth #1.

 

Rebirth

Let’s start here: the less said about Captain America: Steve Rogers, the better. “Hail Hydra?” No thanks, Marvel. That “revelation” won’t even get me to issue number 2.

Justice League #50 was terrific, just a perfect capper to a wonderful arc and a great way to usher out the “New 52” and usher in a new status quo. It was my second favorite book of the week.

The best book of the week (and, at this point, bar none my favorite book of the year) was DC Universe Rebirth #1. I’ve read this book being described as a quintessential DC Comics book and I agree. It is both quintessential and essential.

The art team of Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez draws the living hell out of this book. There is nothing left to chance in any panel by any of the artists and I really had the feeling looking at their work that they knew they were illustrating something very special and that they were elevating their already impressive games. These are four artists I’ve always enjoyed and four who’ve put their own distinctive stamps on DC’s biggest heroes. They really come through here and they were perfectly selected. Likewise, the chapters of the book they handled were perfectly selected as well. Unless the gravity of this book could have convinced George Perez to illustrate it or reanimated Curt Swan or Jim Aparo, DC found the perfect people to draw this one. The book looked like a DC book, cover-to-cover.

And, without question, it read like a DC book. I won’t extol the virtues of writer Geoff Johns again here as I have done many, many times in many, many other posts. If this is his swan song from comics for the time being, suffice it to say he goes out on a VERY high note. Having publicly stated that the DC Universe needing some fixing, Johns actually comes through and fixes it.

Centering the story on a lost and forgotten hero (and a childhood favorite of mine – though I don’t think that my feelings about the character were central to Johns’ plans), Johns does what Johns does best: he brings an epic story down to a empathetic level for the reader. We’ve all felt lost. We’ve all felt forgotten. We’ve all felt powerless. Right up until the end of the issue, I was honestly afraid that this hero was going to remain lost. The stakes Johns fashioned felt that high.

The audible gasp I let out, though, was not for the resolution of the lost hero storyline, but the bold and brilliant revelation of the forces that have been manipulating the DC Universe. Not since Marvel hid the villains of the Thunderbolts in plain sight has a story so surprised, shocked and thrilled me.

I simply didn’t see it coming but, when it did, the end of DC Universe Rebirth promised the beginning of something incredible.

The follow up titles hitting the racks this week have a lot to live up to. Here’s hoping they succeed in the fine fashion that Johns, Frank, Van Sciver, Reis and Jimenez did. That would be quite the rebirth, indeed.

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Filed under Amazing Spider-Man, Batgirl, Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Doctor Strange, Grayson, Marvel Comics, Spider-Man, Star Wars, Superheroes, Superman, Weekly Comic Book Review

Looking Up In The Sky… National Superhero Day


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* updated for National Superhero Day 4.28.16

superhero logosEven a casual perusal of the posts on this blog or a quick look around my house or a rapid glance in my office at work would suggest even to the most unobservant person that I have a thing for superheroes.  Not just superheroes, actually, but fictional heroes of many stripes. Comic book characters, Star Trek crews, Indiana Jones and James Bond types – all kinds of heroes.

I can be introspective when I choose to be (which isn’t all that often) but I have often wondered , especially after thinking about the juxtaposition of the often inexplicably terrible events in our world both natural and those caused by humankind, if there isn’t a reason, down deep, why I surround myself with iconography of superheroes and fill my imagination with stories of super-heroism.

Is it possible that we all need examples to show us the way to heroism?  Is there is a reason we turn to fiction?  Superman, the progenitor of all superheroes who pre-dates Bond and Dr. Jones and Star Wars and just about every action hero anyone can name, has been published – continuously – for over 75 years. He’s starred in serials and movies and television shows and radio programs. Someone must love him. A lot of us must love him and love to watch him fight the never ending battle.

He stands for truth and justice and fighting the good fight and defending those who are defenseless and we, dare I say it, learn from his example.

I think this desire – the desire to look up to Superman – explains much of the reaction to the version of him presented in the new Batman v Superman film. In that incarnation, he’s somehow too real, too impacted by the events that shape our world. He’s too down-to-earth. He’s not as heroic as we want him to be.

In their purist forms, our heroes are just that: heroes. Iron Man or Spider-Man, Wonder Woman or Captains Marvel, Kirk or America, we want truth from them. We want justice. We want examples.

In fiction, when we immerse ourselves in superheroic stories, real-world stakes are non-existent. And that’s not a bad way to learn – in a contrived environment where the deaths aren’t real, where the tragedy affects figments, where the impacts don’t impact.

There are examples all around us of those who do heroic things: examples of people running towards the blasts, of digging through rubble, of doing one’s job no matter the danger. These are people who have jobs. They have families. They have responsibilities.

They have heroism.

Even faced with darkness, I believe – strongly – that we all aspire to do good, to be better, to be heroes. We aspire to be more than we are and more than we ever thought we could be.

I need Superman. And Wonder Woman. And Captain Kirk. And the Avengers. And James Bond. I need them just as much as I need the examples of the real heroes who change the world.

By saving it.

I don’t know what I would do if faced with dire consequence. I don’t know if I would be able to act with the heroism we’ve all seen this week. I don’t live in a world where Superman saves or Avengers avenge. But I do live in a world where I can…

… look up in the sky.

We all should do that. More often. Especially now.

JLA Avengers

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Filed under Comic Books, Star Trek, Superheroes, Superman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: February 24 – March 1, 2016


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 9 comics last week: Grayson #17, The Coming of the Supermen #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1.3, Avengers #6, Star Trek #54, Dark Knight: The Master Race #3, Justice League #48, Lois and Clark #5,  and Batman and Robin Eternal #21.

The best comic I read last week was Justice League #48.

Justice League 48

 

I am completely a broken record on this title, I know, but Justice League is the best team book either major company is publishing right now and it’s not even close. The stakes are high, the art (Jason Fabok is just amazing) is terrific and the story is compelling. Though members of the League are now really not themselves having become New Gods themselves, their struggles are fascinating to watch play out.

I’ve written many times how good Geoff Johns is and I’ll underscore it here, again. He handles this large cast very, very well and has developed the personalities of the New Justice League Gods in dynamic ways that spin completely out of who they are as characters. I assume it helps being a Vice President of DC Comics, but Johns’ stories are really unlike other stories. Things seem important when he writes them; things seem to have great consequence. I write this even knowing that this story, along with many others, may be wiped out be DC’s recently announced “Rebirth” initiative. Even with that context, it’s hard to deny that a good story is a good story, no matter what continuity issues it might have.

Long live Owl Man no matter what, however. The anti-Batman of an alternate universe, he is one of the most fun villains around and his presence in this story raises it another notch. I liked, didn’t love, Johns’ Forever Evil but this story, which functions  as something of a sequel to that one, makes me want to go back and read it all over again.

I’ll certainly miss Johns and Fabok when “Rebirth” happens and they are off Justice League. They will be a hard act to follow.

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Filed under Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman and Robin Eternal, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Justice League, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Superheroes, Superman, The Dark Knight Returns, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: December 23 – 29, 2015


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 9 comics last week: Cyborg  #6, Darth Vader #14,  Amazing Spider-Man #5, Dark Knight The Master Race #3, Robin: Son of Batman #7, JLA #6, Superman #47, Titans Hunt #3, and Batman and Robin Eternal #12.

The best comic I read last week was Titans Hunt #3.

Titans Hunt 3

 

I chose the first issue of this title two months back feeling overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia for a DC Comics universe where the Teen Titans had a rich history, stood beside the Justice League as a superheroic institution and were made up of some of the most storied characters in the DC pantheon. The second issue last month was almost as good as the first. This third issue sets the stage for what I hope will be a grand re-introduction of the Robin, Wondergirl, Speedy, Aqualad Teen Titans to the DC Universe.

Things seem to be trending in that direction.

Writer Dan Abnett and artist Pablo Siqueria clearly see this title as a labor of love. Abnett has written some great stories, but he’s at the top of his game here, deftly handling this characters who know and yet don’t know one another. Siqueria’s pencils are terrific and he delineates the characters one from the other in great fashion. Even without the excellent coloring by Hi Fi, Dick, Garth, Roy and Gnark would stand as distinct individuals. Though Siqueria seems to have had an assist this issue, his work really shines.

The story does, too. The mystery of this team in built in such a way that I can begin to guess what’s to come, but I cannot really nail down where the story is going. That’s a lot of fun for a reader like me whose first issue of The Teen Titans was purchased in the late 1970s. I’ve followed most iterations of the group and this is the book I’ve been waiting for since Wolfman and Perez closed up shop (or, at minimum since Johns and McKone did). I want this mini to lead to a new ongoing with this same creative team.

I do have one complaint, however. I want Kid Flash. As grand as this story is, it feels like it’s missing a piece at this point. Will that lightning bolt hole be filled? I don’t know, but a guy can dream!

Great book. Looking forward very much to the next issue.

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Filed under Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Cyborg, Darth Vader, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Robin, Star Wars, Superheroes, Superman, Teen Titans, Titans, Titans Hunt, Uncategorized, Weekly Comic Book Review

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 25 – December 1, 2015


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 11 comics last week: We Are Robin #6, Superman #46, Superman/Wonder Woman #23, Superman: Lois and Clark #2, JLA #5, Darth Vader#13, Grayson #14, Chewbacca #4, Dark Knight: The Master Race #1, Robin Son of Batman #6 and Batman and Robin Eternal #8.

The best comic I read last week was Dark Knight: The Master Race #1.

DK

 

First of all, The Master Race (an unfortunate title) is no Dark Knight Returns. It is, however, far better than The Dark Knight 2 which was a hot mess – I think it was intentionally a hot mess. No, The Master Race is a far more worthy successor to Frank Miller’s original classic and that’s a very good thing. Frankly, in a week that was fairly pedestrian in terms of the other comics I read this week, that, in-and-of-itself, was enough to get my attention.

Let’s start with art. Andy Kubert does a very, very nice job recalling the Frank Miller art style without mimicking it. He creates the environment that Miller did without simply copying it. His layouts are dynamic and his execution of the Frank Miller “TV Heads” is terrific. It doesn’t hurt that inker Klaus Jansen is along for the ride.

Brian Azzarello seems to be more in charge of the story than Miller this time around and he does a fairly good job of setting things up in this first issue. In fact, he does a bit too good a job of set up. There is not a lot that happens here, but the series is rife with potential. There are a number of surprises (a pretty central one, in fact) that hold great promise for the rest of the series and I am looking forward to the next issue.

It seems DC is really embracing the idea of multiple universes and that’s a good thing. Along with Superman: Lois and Clark, DC is tapping into its vast history. I have no problem with this. Tell good stories in any context. They don’t have to be in continuity.

I am happy to see this corner of the DC Universe back.

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Filed under Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman and Robin Eternal, Batman: The Master Race, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Robin, Star Wars, Superheroes, Superman, The Dark Knight Returns, Weekly Comic Book Review, Wonder Woman

The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 11 – 17, 2015


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 12 comics last week: Captain America: White #4, Thors #4, Secret Wars #7, Batman/Superman #26, Superman: American Alien #1, Batman #46, Avengers #1, Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern #1, Justice League: The Darkseid War Shazam #1, Chewbacca #3, Darth Vader #12 and Batman and Robin Eternal #6.

The best comic I read last week was Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern.

 

Green Lantern

Tom King is quickly becoming a writer that must be followed. I don’t have many of these. Normally with writers I like, I am interested in what they are writing, but I don’t necessarily pick up everything they lay down. King is becoming someone who must be read.

Case-in-point is Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern. This book really makes me mad – I mean the existence of it. I get sucked into these ancillary titles all the time. In this case, the Justice League battle with Darkseid from their eponymous title has spawned a series of (so-far) largely forgettable tie-in books. I’ve read them all. I’ve forgotten most of them, but this one, this one works.

King brings an unexpected depth a pathos to the character, not because Hal Jordan doesn’t normally have depth and pathos, but because the writers of these sorts of books generally avoid all that for whiz-bang action. Not King. The Green Lantern he writes here is not only true to the core of the character (something the current Green Lantern title has forgotten to tap into) but also because he makes the character dynamic. Green Lantern changes here, and not just because of the power of a new god with which he’s been charged, but because the character changes throughout the course of the story. Hal realizes something new and different about himself and a reader gets the sense that, handled correctly in subsequent appearances, this could really propel Green Lantern into something worth reading.

That is if King was on the title. I may be getting to the point of wanting King to write all comics…

Doc Shaner’s art is quite good as well, and perfectly suited to the story King is telling. A very pleasant mix between Darwyn Cooke and Dave Gibbons, both artists who’ve left their mark on Green Lantern, the pencils are clear and the action crisp. Shaner’s Hal Jordan looks like Hal Jordan in all phases of the story and in all costumes the character wears in the issue. Shaner doesn’t lose sight of how important that is. He’s destined for bigger things that fill in books.

This story is so good it rivals what Geoff Johns has done in the main Justice League title and that’s very much saying something.

This one tugged at the heartstrings in all the right ways.

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Filed under Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman and Robin Eternal, Batman/Superman, Captain America, Chewbacca, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, Darth Vader, DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Grayson, Justice League, Marvel, Marvel Comics, Robin, Secret Wars, Spider-Man, Superheroes, Superman, Thor, Weekly Comic Book Review