This is the first issue of the new We Are Robin series, and it certainly leaves an impression. Instead of Batman choosinRead my review on my blog HERE
This is the first issue of the new We Are Robin series, and it certainly leaves an impression. Instead of Batman choosing a Robin, it's people with courage and a thirst for justice that choose to take on a mantle, and that, I find, is far nobler. The story follows Duke Thomas, whose parents were caught in one of Joker's schemes, and are now lost to him. He's now stuck in the flawed foster system, and is intent on finding his parents since Batman won't.
It has hints of a cultural revolution happening, one that the newer generation are cultivating.
It builds a solid foundation for forthcoming issues, and briefly introduces the other Robins, who are of varied genders and races. I loved that, how inclusive it is. Even Duke is an African-American teen who gets in trouble too often, going from foster home to foster home.
My biggest gripe was the art. It was decent enough, except for the faces. Everyone's faces looks slouchy and almost Neanderthaloid.
Ex-mob boss Carmine Falcone (of The Long Halloween fame--which makes me so happy to know that it's now considered canon, sOriginally posted on my blog
Ex-mob boss Carmine Falcone (of The Long Halloween fame--which makes me so happy to know that it's now considered canon, since it's one of the best Batman comics to date) has returned to Gotham after being silent for the last five years. With him comes a wave of chaos that the whole Batfamily has to deal with. Family is important in any Bat-story. There are some who believe that Bruce works better alone, but he has flaws--flaws that the others make up for. In this instalment, Bruce has to deal with the internal workings within the Batfamily, as they introduce several new characters into the mix.
With Carmine in charge, he buys out the mayor, who in turn, buys out the police force. This sneaky plot wages a war against the cops and Batman, a tale of good versus the corrupt.
While Batman is occupied with the mob war, a new sinister figure arises. Something is happening deep in the bowels of Arkham Asylum, something ethereal. Batwing is sent in to investigate, and when he finds Joker's Daughter in the middle of it, shit hits the fan. To be honest, I wasn't a fan of the supernatural aspects of this book. Because it's so disconnected from the rest of the story, it feels like needless padding. And for a book that planned to be 52 issues, it really depended on the padding.
In another desperate grab for padding, Barbara Gordon--Batgirl--is filled with rage. An all-consuming rage that leaves her defenceless and at risk. Jason Todd--ex Robin, now known as the Red Hood--knows a thing or two about rage, and comes to be her mentor in finding ways to channel that rage. It's disappointed me that people have started to ship them together, but it is what it is. They have a little mission in South America where they run into Batwoman. From there, it's just more padding.
It's a huge disappointment that Dick/Nightwing isn't here (instead, he's apparently dead, but really just starring in the woefully awful Grayson series.) What does his absence mean for the batfamily? It's already frail from the events of Damian's death, and Death of the Family, and I would have liked it to be discussed more, and perhaps shown his rocky relationship with Babs (I won't let DC sink my ship).
A long-missed character, Stephanie Brown--former Robin and Batgirl--has finally been introduced into the New 52, completely by accident. She walks in on her father in costume, only to find out that he's a super-villain. Now, she's on the run, and using the moniker The Spoiler (because she spoils her dad's plans, duh). I can't wait to see where she fits in within the Batfamily, and whether her relationship with Tim pre-52 will be rekindled (another ship I refuse to part with). Her role in the story is, as expected, disjointed from the rest of the narrative, but it's one that I'm fond of, if only for the happy memories she brings back. I accept Stephanie Brown as my queen and saviour, as my Spoiler.
A new hero pops up in the pages, a girl with blue and purple hair, piercings, and a ring of tasers around her belt. She doesn't take shit from anyone, especially Red Robin. Her name is Harper Row, aka, Blue Bird. She's a character I'm very interested in, and would love to see her have her own series, because she's just so badass. She's computer and technologically savvy, and could easily be the next Oracle, which I'm hoping for in the future. Her relationship with Tim is fun, and it's clear that he's become her accidental mentor. It's hilarious to see her call him the "Winged Weinie" and make fun of him for being such a dork.
All in all, it was a decent story, bogged down with too many plot threads, some that seemed totally unrelated in the slightest. I enjoyed myself, and I had a lot of "WHAT?!" moments, and times where I'd squee. But I just found it wasn't strong enough to sustain all that weight. While it felt too heavy underneath all that plot, the characterisations were flawless. The building of new relationships--as well as sustaining old relationships--was a large focal point, and made each character unique and flawed and relatable.
A word on the art: on the most part, it was impeccable. I adored Dustin Nguyen's pencils, as well as his covers. His design of Steph and Harper are beyond perfect, and they make me so so happy. The other artists were very talented, too, but they didn't quite stand out. (And it doesn't help that Dustin had my heart from the very moment he started Li'l Gotham.) ...more
Before I begin this review, I must add that I haven't read volume 5 of this series, mainly because I had a time limit oRead the review on my blog here
Before I begin this review, I must add that I haven't read volume 5 of this series, mainly because I had a time limit on this copy of the comic. As such, I felt confused at the beginning, but I know the gist of it, being a continuation of vol 4, searching of Damian's body.
Here, it feels like R'as ahl Ghul is hinting at the fact that Talia didn't kill Damian, that someone else put the half a billion dollar bounty on his head. I hope this prediction is true, because I adore Talia, and refuse to acknowledge the versions where she rapes Bruce (in fact, in this volume alone, Bruce consents to sex with her, though doesn't exactly consent to his sperm being used to make a baby clone)
Bruce hunts R'as all across the globe, until they finally reach the Himalayas, and finds in his possession are the deformed bodies of unsuccessful Damian clones. The fatherly love he has for Damian makes it difficult for him to injure these malformed versions of his sons.
I'm not a fan that they recognise Clark and Diana as a couple--but that's a rant for another day. But once again, on their travels to Themyscira, they are attacked by Amazons who hate men with a bleeding passion, and paints them as murderous women who fuck and kill for procreation.I hated it when I read it in one of the early volumes of the N52 Wonder Woman, and I hate it now.
My biggest complaint came from the opening of the portal to Apokolips. I cannot begin to tell you how sick to death I am of Darkseid and Apokolips. And here, it made it feel cheap and convenient. I pretty much give up on any comic that mentions Darkseid/Apokolips, so I'm not sure I'll be reading the rest of this series, just keeping up with the story.
I found this to be the weakest of the Batman and Robin series, and I think it's because it's trying too hard to connect strings between all the JLA members and this narrative, when it's unnecessary. And the way he turns back everyone who offers to help him, while I understand it, it makes for a long and arduous journey to slog through. ...more
It is believed that only one thing will stop the centuries-old war between the bird-like Avicen and the dragon folk, the Read my review on my blog HERE
It is believed that only one thing will stop the centuries-old war between the bird-like Avicen and the dragon folk, the Drakharin, and it's up to Echo to find it.
After being found in a library after dark, Echo is adopted by the Ala, one of the Avicen, and brought to live in their magical world, hidden amongst the folds of humanity. When given the opportunity to end the war that ravages her people, Echo jumps at the chance, even if it means following a fairytale.
I liked this book a lot. It reminds me of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, in that it features a world that lives on the fringes of human society, beneath the subways, and in the in-between. The world-building is frankly gorgeous, and I can't wait to emerge myself into it again in the next book.
Echo is a nuanced character with a love for books and words. I loved how she would think of delicate and appropriate words for her situations, such as tsundoku, which translates as letting books pile up without reading them all, and psiturism: the sound of wind through the trees. It adds to the poetic and delicate prose, which is also gorgeous.
I think my biggest grievance is the romance. It develops too quickly, and turns into a bitter love-triangle. I think I would have tolerated it more if not for the fact that Echo already has a boyfriend while she pursues something with Caius, the Dragon Prince of the Drakharin.
The supporting cast is fun and varied, from the flamboyant peacock-Avicen, Jasper, to the quiet, brooding Dorian, who is in love with his best friend, Caius. I applaud the use of queer characters who have actual agency, and aren't just used as scenery. Here, they are given pivotal roles, and are as important as Echo herself.
After Nick Fury whispered the words that made Thor an unworthy wielder of Mjolnir, a new face has picked up the hammer, and all Read my review here.
After Nick Fury whispered the words that made Thor an unworthy wielder of Mjolnir, a new face has picked up the hammer, and all its responsibilities. Not everyone is pleased with this notion--Odin will fight to the death to find the thief--but it can't be helped for the hammer itself says
"Whoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of... Thor."
Here, Thor becomes a title, in the same way Spider-Man is an identity consisting of Peter Parker and Miles Morales. A lot of (mainly male) people have expressed their distaste towards a female Thor, but they're the same people who cried out against a Hispanic/African American Spider-Man and were vocal about Gwyneth Paltrow wearing the Iron Man suit in Iron Man 3. It's a fear of change that makes these nay-sayers uncomfortable. Not only that, but everything must reflect their lives personally, and they continually ignore the mere idea that there are people who don't fit the norm who want to see a character reflect their lives.
I think a female Thor is a revolutionary concept, one that will mark Marvel as well above and beyond anything DC could possibly do (I mean, they already had a gay marriage in 2008....). It was a risky decision, but Hel, it was good.
Lady Thor is an interesting character. At first, I found it grating that her thoughts and dialogue were so vastly different, but in retrospect, it makes me eager to see who she really is. Man-Thor, with his manly ego and pride, can't let go of his past identity. It is only after he is beaten with his own weapon that he realises he needs to stand aside and let this new face take his place.
But of course, not everyone is happy with this change, and Odin ironically plays the part of all the naysayers. In the last issue, he conspires with his brother Cul to bring down this imposter and thief.
This comic deserves 5 stars. It's fun, yet serious, and is a graphic novel that is a reflection on modern life and the cultural views that are imposed on them. Here, all the female characters are accepting of this woman taking over Thor's mantle, yet the males--or rather, Thor himself--have to fight before they can accept a female wielding such power. I eagerly await the next volume, excited to find out Thor's new identity....more
This is a book I wish I'd read when I was a pre-teen. It seems to be everyone's childhood favourite story. So, here it is: adulCross-posted on my blog
This is a book I wish I'd read when I was a pre-teen. It seems to be everyone's childhood favourite story. So, here it is: adult-Jess's review of the first of the Old Kingdom Chronicles.
Sabriel is an interesting character. At first I thought she was going to be a Mary Sue because she's got almost perfect grades, but I loved her realisation that good grades don't mean anything when applied to the real world, and that's when I got really interested. Sabriel is so sure that her father is in Balisaere--with no evidence, merely a hunch--so when she does find him there, it feels like an act of deus ex machina. She simply knows what to do, without any apparent training. So, it's hard to know exactly how I feel about her, because she changes so often.
I'm not a fan of the romance. It came out of nowhere and only had a small amount of pages to really develop. I'm sure pre-teen Jess would have lapped what little romance there was, but as an adult, I feel cheated and disappointed.
Despite that, the world is a truly magical place. The Wall separates Ancelstierre from The Old Kingdom, where the Old Magic thrives, but at a price. Here, zombie-like creatures of the dead walk about, controlled by a Dead Adept called Kerrigor. It's a wonderful blend of fantasy and horror, giving the book a chilling tone. It's a world I look forward to submerging myself into, over and over again.
The magic system is very original, based on music. It has a very intricate and other feeling to it, but the way the bells are described left me slightly confused. Despite this, I loved the Old Magic that pulsed through the book, giving life to a magical being in a cat's body called Mogget, and a bastard prince stuck as a figurehead on a lost and dilapidated ship. I'm always a fan of animal companions in books, and wish there were more. Taggle from Plain Kate comes to mind, as another magical novel with a cat as an ally.
Despite my grievances, I enjoyed the book. It was fun. It was magical. It was exactly what pre-teen Jess would have adored, and I'm truly downhearted that I didn't read this sooner. Thankfully, though, I have three more books in this series to bury myself in, and I can't wait.
Once again, we have DC trying to push something that is so far out of canon that it barely resembles what it should look like. In a desperate attemptOnce again, we have DC trying to push something that is so far out of canon that it barely resembles what it should look like. In a desperate attempt to make Clarke and Diana to work together, there is this imbalance in power in their relationship. That's why they would never have worked in the first place: they're both fighting each other for the role to be the dominant. It instead makes Diana seem like a giggling teenage girl in order to make Clarke be the big strong manly man that DC want him to be. Whenever Diana talks to her friend, the topic is always about Clarke. The real Diana wouldn't worry herself over high school dramas like that. Apart from that, the writing is just sloppy, and the art sexualises Diana way too much. But that's a given, since Diana is a female and DC's law that all females must have their asses and crotches and breasts drawn as detailed as possible (hello camel toes! Butt muffins! Breasts that defy the laws of physics!).
I've long given up on DC. Everything in the New52 is just a mess, and this joins the steaming pile of crap, which is unfortunate, because Wonder Woman is a character with so much potential, and I absolutely adore her....more
I've given this two stars not because I don't like it--on the contrary, I liked each individual story quite a lot--but because I just don't "get" it.I've given this two stars not because I don't like it--on the contrary, I liked each individual story quite a lot--but because I just don't "get" it. I don't understand how the stories are all connected to each other apart from this vague yet ever present spiral. If anyone wants to weigh in on this and explain it to me, I'd be more than happy to listen....more