Posts tagged Comics
Comics review: Dr. Who Prisoners of Time #4 by Tipton, Tipton, Erskine and Kirchoff & Dr. Who #8 Space Oddity Part 2 by Fialkov, Domingues, Ponce, Gonzalez and Salmon
Review by Prof. Jenn
Part 2 takes up where we left off, with the Vashta Nerada having stolen the TARDIS. This can’t be good. But the Doctor always has a plan. Or at least, he thinks really well off the cuff.
This issue is a tighly-paced, exciting story with a fun Doctor-changes-history-slightly conclusion with all the fun 11th-Doctor quips and action you want out of a comic. And the moral that violence is never the answer.
The art is colorful and comicky, which is perfect for an action-packed plot like this one. The Doctor is rendered close enough to Matt Smith that we recognize him, without having to be a faithful portrait of the actor, but more an illustration of the character.
Bottom line: Recommended, especially for Dr. Who fans.
Prisoners of Time
What a treat, to see “my” Doctor rendered in comic form! I haven’t kept up with any of the comics featuring the classic Who regenerations, and this issue makes me want to start.
This is a classic 4th Doctor tale, with Leela and K-9 helping him solve the mystery of the problems found on a planet they landed on by mistake. And there’s Judoon, which is cool.
I would actually make the same comment about this art as above: the character portrayal, the bright colors, the tight pace matching the writing…
Bottom line: Highly recommended. It’s like watching a good old ep.
Dark Horse is (kinda) proud to present Buddy Cops, the story of a demoted space cop and 1970s android that hate each other. The problem is that Uranus (the demoted space cop) gets drunk and wild while TAZER (the android) is more traditional and follows the law and procedures to the letter. Somehow they manage to work together despite their differences and immense hatred towards each other. Buddy Cops takes you through some of their adventures as they battle nuclear monkeys and equally ridiculous monsters (“ridiculous” used with the greatest sense of love and affection here). If you’re looking for a fun one-shot comic, look no further than Buddy Cops. Go pick up a copy from your local shop today!
“The Massive gives us a different, and essentially unique, take on the story of the end of the world. It doesn’t revel in destruction; when scenes describing the planetary crisis show up, they make clear that this was a true disaster, not a disaster movie. Millions have died, in dirty, tragic, and decidedly noncinematic ways. Instead, The Massive is a story of the necessity of resilience. While it leads us through the catastrophic aftermath of the Crash, we soon see that survival here is not the purpose in and of itself—it’s survival with the hope of making things better, even while recognizing that the old world’s legacies (in materials and ideolo-gies) yet remain.”
This introduction to Volume 1 of “The Massive,” mirrors the thoughts I shared in my review of Issue #1 back in June (although decidedly with a gift for language I can only hope to one day touch). The only thing I added was how fantastic the artwork was. The superb attention to detail in both art and story continue with the rest of this first collection.
One thing I loved about the first issue of “The Massive” was how the action starts immediately and the reader is thrown into a world where it doesn’t know the rules, but quickly learns. Never confusing, always intriguing, “The Massive” does a fantastic job of taking the reader on a journey through a post-apocalyptic world where two sister ships must find their way back together while also discovering the cause of the event known to us as “The Crash”. The story gets richer with each page, making the reader dive into a world that’s falling apart, bit by bit. As we learn about this world and the destruction it has already seen, we also slowly get to know the cast of characters and how they ended up in the situations we see them face from the beginning of our story. The transition back and forth from past to present keeps the story moving in ways much more interesting than if the author had simply said “this is what has happened, now to continue…” It not only helps with the steady flow of the story, it also engages the reader better than a straight timeline would.
“The Massive: Vol 1″ is a brilliant collection of stories that introduces you to a world of chaos and disorder. It gives you plenty to drag you into this world, while still leaving you wanting more. Just a little more…
The Massive: Volume 1 is available now, so go ask about it at your local comic shop. Volume 2 will be available Dec 2013, and Volume 3 June 2014. Keep with it, because from what I’ve seen so far it promises to be a continuously good read.
Comics Review: Modesty Blaise–the Girl in the Iron Mask by O’Donnell and Romero
Review by: Prof. Jenn
This collection is a lot of fun–it has an old-school James Bond or Avengers flavor, complete with sexy, daring, whip-smart heroes and colorful, twisted villains. The art is stylized and lovely in a ‘60s sort of way, black-and-white, very high quality in a large format so a reader can hunker down to longer strings of the storylines without feeling interrupted.
It occurred to me as I read through these, that modern comic heroines can learn a thing or two from Modesty. She’s super-badass (one of my favorite panels is from Fiona, where Modesty is engaged in kicking butt in a staff fight), unabashedly sexy, yet is drawn without all the weird contortion-y stuff to add unwarranted sex appeal (see blog Escher Girls to see the kind of thing I mean). She’s got a knockout figure, and can knock dudes out with it. Her friends are as smart and kick-ass as she is, and their adventures would make Indiana Jones sweat.
Bottom Line: I highly recommend Modesty Blaise in general, this collection in particular is worth it just for the title arc: The Girl in the Iron Mask.
Comic Review: Dr. Who vol. 1: the Hypothetical Gentleman by Diggle, Buckingham, Seifert, Bond, and many more
Review by: Prof. Jenn
The Hypothetical Gentleman consists of two story arcs: the title one, and one called The Doctor and the Nurse. Both are quite different both in writing feel and artistic style, and both are quite enjoyable.
The Hypothetical Gentleman takes place in a few different time periods in London. It concerns seances, artifacts of time, and what is real and what is shenaniganry, and of course there’s a dangerous device having to do with the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and the Doctor must save the day. Or space-time. You get the picture. There’s some wonderful Amy-Rory dialogue, and a delightful bit where the Doctor is exploring a museum, coming across some objects that any Whovian readers will recognize with a chortle (Just checking to see the mummy is deactivated. Yes). The art is elegant and full of emotion–it reminds me a little bit of the style of CrossGen’s old series Ruse, in that we get lots of character and movement, with rich color and a sort of Impressionist realism about it.
The Doctor and the Nurse is a much more whimsical storyline, and the art is more colorful and cartoony as is appropriate. It follows Rory and the Doctor attempting to have a Boys’ Night Out, ending up with a trapped Amy and many many time periods and a flood of beer. And the Silence. But they’re not the scary Silence in this one, they’re just slightly menacing–even though we get a sense of tension and high-speed action, this isn’t one of those terrifying or super-deeply-poignant stories, but rather a fast-paced Whovian romp. The comedic relief of the Doctor’s dynamic with Rory when trapped alone with him is a lot of fun, and Amy is a resourceful hero in her timeline too.
Bottom Line: Volume One is a lot of fun–the stories are beautifully drawn, and they read like good episodes of the show. Highly recommended.
Review: Everybody Loves Tank Girl by Mahfood and Martin
Review by Prof. Jenn
Once again, I’m in the position of not being familiar with these comics characters before plunging right into reviewing the latest in a series of volumes. So what I can’t tell you is how the characters have progressed, how this collection fits in with previous ones, etc. What I can tell you is what I did and didn’t like, of this volume.
Let’s start with the bad news first: being new to Tank Girl and her cronies, I didn’t get what world we’re in, what the back story was, etc. For example, what is Tank Girl an outlaw for? Or of, for that matter? For someone already familiar with the denizens of Tank Girl’s bloody world, this is no doubt not a problem, but for a first-timer I needed a little more. The other downside to this volume is its bloody foul-mouthed-ness. Sometimes the base-ness is strong or dirty-fun or hilarious, but sometimes it’s just jejune and crude. Tank Girl has been called the “most rock ‘n roll comic book character ever” (NME, back cover blurb), and I would agree–but we get both the good and the bad of what that potential is.
And now the positives: I like that they’re rarely in color–we get a lovely, gritty tattoo-art sense from most of them in black and white sketchy style. The art itself is the visual equivalent of Beat poetry: rough, busy, sexy, and interesting. I dig the many little joke commercials peppered throughout. The short one-off punch line-centered stories are a lot of bizarre fun; they remind me of a couple of precocious adolescents making a radio show. The storylines are chaotic enough to be hard to follow sometimes, but that’s not really an issue given the tone and feel of the whole thing. Just hang on and enjoy the ride.
Bottom line: Meh, I don’t know what to think. It’s enjoyable enough, albeit quite trippy, confusing and low-down-and-dirty. So…hm, okay my final judgment is “meh.” ~Prof. Jenn
Yep, that MacGyver. Come to think of it, the series is perfect for comics conversion–it’s action packed, centers around a quirky hero who gets into and out of scrapes and saves the world each episode. Perfect comics fodder, wouldn’t you agree?
I had a lot of fun with this first issue–it’s sort of a reboot origin story, where we get some of MacGyver’s past without having to go back to when he was a teenager or anything. He’s already, well, himself in this adventure and is asked for help in a mysterious venture by an erstwhile professor. The opening issue also has the required prickly heroine who ends up on our side, and of course we’re having to get scrappy against The Man, since we’re really the good guys. It’s not quite a throwback to the ’80s series, but has enough of the tv tropes to make it a good read for those of us who used to enjoy it on tv. Those new to the character will appreciate it too, I have no doubt.
Highlight: the Sherlockian way the use of found items for defense, etc. are shown to us in print. It’s great to see Mac’s thought process as he makes a machine gun out of a Q tip.
The art in this series looks good so far–bright and well framed. It reminds me of a good superhero comic you’d read as a kid. In a good way. It’s peppy and has exciting perspectives like a well shot action movie. Mac looks like the character from the TV show without being a fully realistic portrait of the actor.
Bottom Line: MacGyver is a strong opening issue, and I’m actually excited for more.
Daleks and Cybermen and Borg, oh my!
We already were introduced to this concept of the three scariest cyborg monsters in TV teaming up/fighting each other, and it’s really one of the most terrifying things I can imagine. Still is, in this issue. However, our story has progressed, and we get some excellent morality questioning when Picard has to face his former Locutus situation for the greater good. I’m interested in the ways the Borg have adapted, and can’t wait to see what happens next. The Doctor didn’t have a whole lot to do in this issue but be a moral compass, but ain’t that just the way? He’s always breezing in to different worlds and asking them why not just all get along, ya know?
Bottom Line: still recommended.
Remember when I said in my last Axe Cop review how much I enjoyed the character of Water Queen, and how I wish there was more of her? Well, we get a really cool conclusion to her story in this issue. Can I just say that the fact that Axe Cop met her in karate school is so very cool?
And wow what a slap bang conclusion! The plot twists! The redemption! The goo! The doppelgangers! The giant explosions! The tiger belts!
You all know how I feel about Axe Cop. Well, Axe Cop President of the World is Axe Cop on an epic scale. I can’t wait to see how this series evolves even further. ~Prof. Jenn
Script: Alexander Freed
Art: Chad Hardin
If you’re familiar with the Dragon Age Cannon, you know Isabela. She’s that pirate queen who taught you how to duel, or you may have had a three or even foursome with her, or at the very least she royally screwed over Kirkwall by stealing a sacred Qunari text, thus bringing holy war down on of the major cities of the Free Marches.
So… that was awesome.
However, the blood of Kirkwall is not the price the Qunari saw to be paid. Isabela not only stole their sacred tome but in doing so, initiated a battle which ended in the death of their Arishok (leader). These are not crimes ever to be forgotten… or forgiven.
Dragon Age: Those Who Speak #2 is the second issue of a three-part story, but you could plausibly pick it up without reading the one that came before and not have too much trouble following along as they catch you up to the action rather well.
Isabela, along with Varric Tethras (swoon), was helping King Alistair track down a blood mage he suspects is responsible for the disappearance of his father, King Maric. While the hunt for the blood mage was dangerous task enough, an unexpected threat presented itself when the Qunari finally catch up to the pirate queen.
We begin in a prison.
Quickly we are introduced to Tamassran, a female Qunari and as with all Qunari, we know this is her title rather than her name. She is a kind of priestess and her name translates to “Those who speak”.
Isabela is surprised she speaks ‘The King’s Tongue’ to which Tamassran replies that it is her function to do so. It is likely safe to assume that Tamassrans are versed in all known languages and act as a bridge between the Qunari and those who cannot speak their native tongue. I was particularly excited to read a story that involved a female in the Qun that coincided with the original cannon.
While I loved Mark of the Assassin or Dragon Age: Redemption, the fact that they altered or ignored one of the seemingly core principles of the Qun bothered me. If you played a female Warden in the first game, Sten was utterly baffled by how you could be both a woman and a warrior as in Qunari culture women were priestesses or artisans or farmers and shop keepers. The entire experience with the Blight and the warden (or Leliana and Morrigan if you played a male) was completely shattering for the Sten and I feel that culture shock was sort of key. I also appreciated how this was handled in that his confusion was not spawned from misogyny. Women did not fight in the same way he could not chose not to fight. It made his respect of the Warden that much more important in the end. Something unknown that went completely against what he believed to be the natural order and yet by the end, he held the Warden in the highest of respects.
That’s huge, Bioware. That’s dabbling in issues rarely seen in video games. Please don’t just drop that.
Tamassran begins the interrogation, starting with Isabela’s name–her real name. Dragon Age: Those Who Speak gives us a deeper look into the pirate’s past, from her mother to her first ship. While Freed definitely has a different flavor than Gaider’s typical quick-witted banter back and forth, I enjoyed the dialogue and felt the story definitely belonged in the world it was written for. Hardin’s art is gritty but beautiful and seems to lend very well to the flashback-like nature of the entire issue.
This particular issue centers mostly around Isabela and we see very little of Varric and Alistair but they certainly make it memorable as when we briefly rejoin our King and merchant prince, they encounter an old friend. I may have quietly cheered while reading it… Just a little. For like a second, at least.
If you enjoy the Dragon Age cannon, you will likely love this comic–but be forewarned as it is the 2nd of 3, there is of course a cliffhanger ending.
Is the 3rd issue out yet? Please?
It’s another two-fer review, readers!
Axe Cop: President of the World, Part 2
If you are a regular reader, you’ll know I am already an Axe Cop fan. President of the World delivers all the strange, fresh fun and weirdness that makes Axe Cop so entertaining. It’s interesting, though–remember when I interviewed Ethan Nicholle, and asked him what he predicted would change about Axe Cop once his little brother starts getting older? I noticed two things right away about President of the World that are significantly different than older Axe Cop issues: one is, Axe Cop actually has a female best friend (she’s “one of the only girls he [does] not think of as dumb”). And she’s pretty cool, too–though she appears so briefly in this story, I’d like to see more of what the Water Queen can do.
The other most significant difference in this recent Axe Cop might just be me, but it strikes me that this issue is much more violent than previous stories. It’s, well…kind of dark in some places. The bad guys really are working with complex psychology, and there’s lots of mass devastation, too. This is a good thing–I think the more Axe Cop evolves, the more compelling it will continue to be.
Also, it’s really cool to have Axe Cop in color.
Star Trek TNG/Dr. Who Crossover, Assimilation2 #4
Wil Wheaton is right when he shares memories of the future that Star Trek TNG is quite talk-y. This could make for a very static, text-heavy comic, even with the eccentric action of the Doctor thrown in. However, the almost-Impressionist style of art in this comic makes for much emotion and movement in every frame, even just in discussion scenes. The painterly style with its rich jewel-toned color and broad brush strokes is lovely to look at.
About the premise: does the idea of the Borg and the Cybermen teaming up terrify the bejeezus out of you as much as it does me? Also: duh, of course Guinan and the Doctor are sort of a breed alike. Actually, I’m now convinced Guinan is actually a Time Lady.
This issue is sort of a detective story, in that the crew and company are investigating what happened down on a planet between the inhabitants, the Borg and the Cybermen. So we do the classic away team and go investigate. It’s got the Star Trek and the Doctor Who tropes I want as a reader, along with the novelty of the mashup, and the story rolls along like a good episode of either. I found myself hoping Amy’s red hair didn’t make her a redshirt.
Really, when I first heard that they were going to do a comics mashup with Dr. Who and Star Trek, I thought, “Why hasn’t that happened before?” This is delivering.
I recommend both of these comics, highly. ~Prof. Jenn