Retelling timeless fairy tales with an harder edge and some darker themes is nothing new -- either on the printed pages or other popular media outlets...moreRetelling timeless fairy tales with an harder edge and some darker themes is nothing new -- either on the printed pages or other popular media outlets.
What attracts me to a retelling is is those crafting the reboot have a new take on the material or offer a different way of thinking about a familiar story or tale. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
Unfortunately, Grimm Fairy Tales: Oz is one of the cases where it didn't work for me.
A modern, darker re-telling of the popular story of The Wizard of Oz, this six-issue comic book series gives us a new, harder edged Dorothy, who is whisked away to the land of Oz and plopped down into the middle of a power struggle between various characters.
And, of course, this new take includes enhancing (ahem) every female character to the Barbie-doll-like measurements and having them all dress in outfits that emphasize said enhancements. Unfortunately, making the women of Oz "sexier" doesn't necessarily enhance the shortcomings in the plot or the feeling that I got mid-way through this collected edition that the storyline was being stretched out from a couple of issues concept to six.
It all adds up to a disappointing retelling of the familiar Oz story. I walked away feeling like the series had squandered its potential and instead of offering us a new take on Oz, all we got was a "sexier" one full of female characters ready to fall out of their outfits at a moment's notice.
The umpteenth and first re-telling of Spider-Man's origin, with a few tweaks and updates along the way.
This one is truer to the original story told by...moreThe umpteenth and first re-telling of Spider-Man's origin, with a few tweaks and updates along the way.
This one is truer to the original story told by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko all those years ago and I give it a lot of credit for that. Reading it, I found myself wishing they'd adapted this into last year's Amazing Spider-Man instead of what we got.
I can see how comic book storytelling has changed and the younger audience this book is targeted at may not necessarily like or want to read the original Lee/Ditko continuity right out of the gate. As a retelling of Spidey getting his powers and learning that with great power comes great responsibility Season One works fairly well. And it's nice to see that the first supervillain Spidey faces is the Vulture -- again something that calls back to the early days.
The tweak of J. Jonah Jameson hiring a young reporter to start off the anti-Spidey stories is nicely done but a bit too quickly wrapped up. I feel like there was more potential to this that could be explored in future installments, assuming Marvel decides to renew the series for a second season. (less)
When DC decided it was time to retell the origin story of its some of its iconic super heroes, it was decided that while Superman and Wonder Woman's o...moreWhen DC decided it was time to retell the origin story of its some of its iconic super heroes, it was decided that while Superman and Wonder Woman's origin might need some freshening up, the mythology surrounding the origin of Batman worked without any tweaks or revamps. Instead what the origin of Batman needed was a different take on the classic origin. The result is Frank Miller's highly influential, much revered four-issue work Batman: Year One.
Going back to the early days of the Batman saga, the story chronicles the rise of not only Batman but also Jim Gordon. A disgraced officer from another city, Gordon comes into the corrupt world of Gotham politics and starts trying to make a difference. At first, he's willing to hunt down the vigilante who is cleaning up Gotham's streets but over the course of the year he realizes that there could be something more to the Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is taking is first tentative steps toward becoming the savior that Gotham needs and trying to avenge the death of his parents.
If you've seen Batman Begins, you've seen elements of this story realized on-screen. However, while that movie is good, it's always fascinating to go back to the source material and see how its not only similar but also different. Year One works extremely well because of the parallel view points of Gordon and Bruce Wayne. It's easy to see why this four-part series is so influential and so cited as one of the great story arcs in comic book history. It easily earns all its accolades and then some. (less)
How do you review something as iconic and influential as The Dark Knight Rises?
On one level, I suppose you could ask whether or not this four-issues m...moreHow do you review something as iconic and influential as The Dark Knight Rises?
On one level, I suppose you could ask whether or not this four-issues mini-series lives up to the hype and accolades heaped upon it over the years? That answer is, yes. And the fact that it revolutionized not only Batman but all of comics is another major feather in its cap.
It's influence on the Christopher Nolan trilogy of films can't be denied--especially elements used in this summer's The Dark Knight Rises.
All of that said, while I can respect this comic's place in the history of comic books, I didn't really enjoy it. And for me, that's one of the fundamental things a comic book or graphic novel should be in order to be "perfect." It should be something that I enjoyed and that I want to read again.
Unfortunately, neither of those things is the case here.
Don't get me wrong--this is a very good story and it's an influential one. I just wish I'd loved it more than I did.(less)
I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and yet, I've never read the entire run of Sandman.
I've made several runs at over the years, but each time I come up sho...moreI'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and yet, I've never read the entire run of Sandman.
I've made several runs at over the years, but each time I come up short. I'm very good at checking out the first volume from my local library with the best of intentions to read it, but somewhere between the library and home I feel daunted by the fact that there are so many issues I'm behind on.
Thankfully, the series is complete (though Gaiman has said he'll return next year with a prequel) and each volume isn't a behemoth of pages like some of the epic fantasy series I'm behind on but tempted to pick up.
So it is that I finally picked up the first volume and cracked the cover, determined this time to at least read the first two volumes in this highly influential series.
After reading and enjoying the first, I wonder why I waited so long.
The first eight issues aren't perfect--as others have said the story is little more than a quest saga--but they're enjoyable, entertaining and a fascinating look at early Gaiman. Reading the stories, you can see Gaiman become more assured in his writing and storytelling prowess. By the end of the volume, all the pieces are in place for the rest of the run and I find myself no longer daunted by not having read the entire series but worried I'll consume them all too quickly. I plan to read them fairly close together, but I think this is a series that I should savor and enjoy. (less)
After really enjoying the first arc in this series, I was eager to see where the storylines might go next.
And while I liked this second half-dozen iss...moreAfter really enjoying the first arc in this series, I was eager to see where the storylines might go next.
And while I liked this second half-dozen issues collected here, it felt like there was a little less of a focus to this collection than the first.
The six stories here each feature flashbacks that offer a bit more depth to some of the characters in the Morning Glories universe. The main thread running through the rest of the story is the fall-out from the events in volume 1 and the impact it has on the characters.
I have a feeling these are six issues that when we look back over the entire series storyline, we'll see pieces being put into place for later stories and character developments.
This one isn't quite as good as the first collection, but it's still worth the time and investment to read it. It also leaves me curious for the next collection and to see where things continue from here. (less)
Delving into the world of comic books and graphic novels, it's hard to know where to start. Oh sure, there are the big names in the field and the supe...moreDelving into the world of comic books and graphic novels, it's hard to know where to start. Oh sure, there are the big names in the field and the superhero dramas that I read growing up. But at some point, I feel like I want to branch out a bit and try something new or different. The question, as always, is where do I start?
My local library offers a wide variety of graphic novels and collected arcs from various comic books. That's a huge help given the sometimes higher entry price point for such collections. But again, it's still difficult to know where to begin or which author, artist or series might appeal most to me.
Enter Morning Glories. I've heard a lot of positive buzz for it from some trusted on-line sources with similar interests to my own. I also heard comparisons to Lost. So when my library got a copy of the first two collections of story arcs from the series, I decided to take the plunge and reserve them.
So far, so good.
The first arc, taking place over six issues and collected in this volume, introduces us to universe, characters and situation. Six new students are chosen from the Morning Glories Academy, a mysterious institution that seems to harbor some kind of ominous secret. The Lost comparisons come in the form of flashbacks to various characters time before they came to the Academy and why they're there. These helps flesh out the characters a bit as well as creating some intrigue and tension as the story evolves.
A couple of things appeal to me about this series. The first is the solid art work. The second is that there appears to some thought behind the overall story line and I've read in various place that the series isn't planned to run indefinitely but will have a definitive beginning, middle and end. The third is that in just six issues, the story managed to pull in a few surprises and twists that feel earned and open up a larger world of stories for the series going forward.
It's all enough to hook me and keep me interested to see if and where this might all go. (less)
In the introduction to this six-issue collection, one of the writers admits that one of the valid criticisms leveled at the entire debacle that was Th...moreIn the introduction to this six-issue collection, one of the writers admits that one of the valid criticisms leveled at the entire debacle that was The Clone Saga was that it went on too long. So, here we have a six-issue mini-series that condenses events and streamlines a lot of the revelations that were a part of the infamous storyline.
And, for the most part, it actually works. It doesn't redeem the clone saga, but not having to endure the "no, you're the clone," "no, you're REALLY the clone" twist every few months is a nice thing. And seeing the story compressed a bit, you can see there were some interesting ideas in there, they were just really diluted.
The art work in this run is superb and it shows how the Clone Saga might have worked. (less)
One of the problems with the current line of "Doctor Who" fiction is that it can't really take too many chances with stories for fear of being contrad...moreOne of the problems with the current line of "Doctor Who" fiction is that it can't really take too many chances with stories for fear of being contradicted by the television series.
So, what we end up getting are a lot of stories that are enjoyable enough but don't actually do anything new or different with the universe or characters.
"Only Good Dalek" is an example of that. It's got an intriguing idea of what if someone decided to create a Dalek free of the hatred that drives it. Would it then be a "good" Dalek? Or would it even still be a Dalek at all?
Unfortunately, that intriguing idea isn't really all that well developed in this graphic novel. And that's why it's just another standard "Who" release and not the something special it could have been. (less)