The art is gorgeous in this one-shot. That's about the nicest thing I can say about it, because the rest left me pretty indifferent.
Sure, it takes plaThe art is gorgeous in this one-shot. That's about the nicest thing I can say about it, because the rest left me pretty indifferent.
Sure, it takes place in China, where I've lived for three years. But this Beijing never rises about mere exoticism. The Chinese characters speak, think and act like Westerners, and although Buddhism is supposed to play a part in the plot, there was nothing here that felt authentic.
Oh, Daniel of the Endless shows up, but it's not like he contributes much of anything to the plot. If anything, the implication of dreams felt shoehorned.
Nah, this one's entirely skippable, except for one thing: Lucifer. The art makes him look so incredibly good here, at once wise and malevolent. I don't think the character has looked this good sinceSeasons of Mists. Too bad the story was nowhere near that level....more
An fascinating if somewhat anticlimactic entry in the Lucifer saga.
I had no idea where things would go after the events of Volume 2, but here they feeAn fascinating if somewhat anticlimactic entry in the Lucifer saga.
I had no idea where things would go after the events of Volume 2, but here they feel strangely in-between two major plot points. Lucifer has made his move, so we have time now to return to side-characters and spend a lot of time getting to know characters that Lucifer himself barely notices.
What I did love about this volume is the world building. Not only were the Lilim very interesting and a nice addition to the mythos, but the Victorian England version of Hell that the second, eponymous part of the volume describes was mesmerising. It reminded me of a more twisted version of Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time, which I mean as no faint praise. When Lucifer does show up here, he is suitably above it all yet an undeniable force of destruction.
I'm not sure where the overall story is going from here, but I'm definitely invested. I've never read a character quite like Lucifer....more
Starting with this volume, Lucifer's universe has truly come into its own, and the result is thrilling and engaging. It still feels consistent with the Sandman universe, but the tone is different enough to stand as its own thing. There's a lot going on in this volume: politics, treachery, and even an all-out assault by celestial forces. The whole thing is exciting and cerebral at the same time, and the character of Lucifer really comes through in the multiple ways in which he out-thinks his opponents.
Definitely a solid series. Can't wait to read more....more
Promising stuff, if perhaps not top-shelf just yet. It's impossible not to compare Lucifer to The Sandman, especially since it's trying to emulate thePromising stuff, if perhaps not top-shelf just yet. It's impossible not to compare Lucifer to The Sandman, especially since it's trying to emulate the style.
I can't decide if the problem's with the writing or with me getting older and tired of the format, but I found the parts where non-related mortal characters are introduced to be tedious and drawn out. These kinds of segments worked in The Sandman because we understood Dream was more canvas than protagonist to the stories Gaiman was telling us; whereas here the spotlight is firmly on Lucifer and everything else feels like padding. Another problem may have been that I just didn't feel these characters had much depth; for instance, why am I wasting so much time reading about how a neo-Nazi homophobe is secretly aroused by a gay man's advance? What's the insight here?
Ah, but I'm being harsher than I should with this graphic novel. It does capture Lucifer perfectly, and Lucifer's scheme is interesting and more than enough to keep me reading. I'm sure the series will come into its own and escape unfortunate Sandman comparisons....more
The first volume showed promise, but by now it's pretty clear this series is nothing special. It read to me lOK, I guess I'm done with Captain Marvel.
The first volume showed promise, but by now it's pretty clear this series is nothing special. It read to me like Hawkeye without the wit and charm. Sure, there are moments here and there, but for the most part I just couldn't make myself care.
This volume even goes so far as to take away one of Captain Marvel's coolest aspects, her love of flying, and replaces it with cheap Marvel angst. I'm guessing the pay-off to this one comes later in some Avengers comics, and here we're just left with the tedium of seeing Carol Danvers bemoan her condition while she fights off some sort of insipid bird woman.
So that's it for Captain Marvel for me. I really like the character, but I can't say the writing here is letting her shine....more
It's been ages since I've laughed out loud at a Marvel comic, but Unbeatable Squirrel Girl made me do it over and over again. There's just something iIt's been ages since I've laughed out loud at a Marvel comic, but Unbeatable Squirrel Girl made me do it over and over again. There's just something irresistible about the title character ("She has the powers of a squirrel and a girl!") who is buddy-buddy with Tony Stark on Twitter and has defeated the likes of Deadpool and Wolverine in single combat. The writing is tone-perfect and hilarious, and the art is charming.
Plus, there's something to be said about Squirrel Girl as a role model, too! SG's funny and resourceful without beating the reader over the head with it, and the way she hides her squirrel tail in her pants gives her a big butt and that's OK. It's a nice change of pace from the usual "feminism f*ck yeah" of contemporary comic books, which generally come across as a positive but clumsily self-aware step in the right direction. Guess there's no need to be on the nose about being a strong woman when you've got the proportional strength of a squirrel!
Definitely hooked on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Check it out, it's nuts!...more
I've been hearing about Captain Marvel for a while, and as someone who cares immensely about gender inclusiveness, I had to give it a shot on accountI've been hearing about Captain Marvel for a while, and as someone who cares immensely about gender inclusiveness, I had to give it a shot on account of how much good I keep hearing about Carol Danvers.
This might be damning it with faint praise, but the best thing I can say about In Pursuit of Flight is that it's a pretty normal comic book. I liked Captain Marvel's test pilot, derring-do attitude, and the way she can't, for the life of her, turn down a dare. Otherwise, I didn't really connect with the storyline, partly because I never felt Carol Danvers was ever in any real danger. The rest is typical comic action panels with buckets of in-fight wit, so it mostly felt like déjà vu with a fresh face to me.
But hey! Women have comic book heroes too now, and they're mighty indeed! Go Captain Marvel! Glad you made it in the old boys' club, Ms. Danvers; it's good to have you here....more
That being said, I found the story more compelling this time around. I'm finally starting to get a handle on the seven main characters, who they are as people, and what their powers are. The plot, which concerns time agents and the death of JFK, was interesting and suitably crazy.
I just... I wish I cared about the characters more. I feel the script is too preoccupied with being clever, and misses repeated opportunities to be genuine and human. It's a pity, because there's plenty of potential. This could have been a steampunk Wes Anderson comicbook. The visuals are there, and there's plenty of quirk, that's for sure....more
In a Victorian, steampunk world, seven gifted individuals with an inexplicable birth are brought back together by the death of their adoptive, mad sciIn a Victorian, steampunk world, seven gifted individuals with an inexplicable birth are brought back together by the death of their adoptive, mad scientist father. The Umbrella Academy reads like something of a cross between The Royal Tenenbaums and a superhero comicbook, and has plenty of quirky, visually-arresting material to present.
What saddens me is that, ultimately, the story itself is a bit unsatisfying. As much as I wanted to care for the seven grown-up children of the Umbrella Academy, there's too much wit and creativity to really let the human interactions shine through. The world seems too preoccupied with being clever to be authentic, and the story suffers from a constant barrage of random encounters.
Perhaps things settle in place in later volumes, but for the time being, The Umbrella Academy comes across as a mere collection of disjointed events with really cool visual design. Some of the character conflicts show promise, but they neither resonate with real pain nor get a proper sense of resolution.
I'll keep reading, though... Because the characters and overall designs are really unique and fresh. Let's just hope they all reveal a bit more depth....more
"Wizard P.I." Sounds pretty good, right? Well... yeah. Let's just say the execution doesn't do the concept justice.
The idea sure is great: Harry Dresd"Wizard P.I." Sounds pretty good, right? Well... yeah. Let's just say the execution doesn't do the concept justice.
The idea sure is great: Harry Dresden is a full-on wizard in modern-day Chicago, working with the police to solve magic-related murders. The novel goes for a Noir style early on that sets a great tone but fails to elevate the writing above pastiche in the long run. What comes next is a sequence of Noir clichés: the femmes fatales, the protagonist's self-loathing, the dark and stormy nights. The addition of magic to all this never makes the writing rise above its derivative roots.
Despite all this, The Dresden Files still sounded to me like the ideal guilty pleasure. That's until it became painfully obvious Dresden has issues with women. I don't think Butcher set out to write him this way, but every scene involving a woman had some sort of cringe-inducing factor to it. There isn't a woman in the book—not even though-as-nails Karrin Murphy—who doesn't get judged for her looks. Murphy, being the strongest female character in the book, hurt the most to read; she might be tough and no-nonsense, but Dresden is never gonna let you forget she's a petite cheerleader type.
It got to the point where my mental image of Harry Dresden turned into something like this:
I started reading the book as if Dresden was an unreliable narrator with a deluded view of himself: it certainly explains the social awkwardness, the fact he goes around wearing a duster over sweatpants and a T-shirt(!), his propensity for getting out of breath, and his insistence on being "chivalrous" to Murphy even though she clearly told him it pisses her off. And surprisingly, there's quite a number of women in this book, all gorgeous and some quite willing to throw their willing bodies at Harry. Again, I'll chalk it up to wishful thinking and a propensity to lie. Dresden claims he can eat what he wants and stay thin, which only convinced me even more he was anything but and seriously deluded about it.
That aside, the plot meandered for quite a while, but it did pick up in the end. Nothing spectacular, and it certainly didn't hold a reveal worthy of a proper Chandler, but it was fun and enjoyable. I'd be quite willing to give the Dresden series another try if I knew its women turn out to be more than hapless window dressing, but I doubt it happens....more