31 Days of comics, day 17

Okey dokey, challange day 17, a comic that reminds you of someone.  This was not really that difficult to pick, there are a couple that remind me of different people but I’m going to go ahead with the one that means the most to me, in a funny sort of way.  There isn’t a huge amount to say on this one though, so this will wind up being a fairly short post.

A comic that reminds you of someone

All Star Western/Jonah Hex from DC Comics

Either one will do in this situation, and while this is the first example that popped into my head, the reality is any western comic would drop into this category perfectly too.  Western comics remind me of my Dad, he was the one that got me into westerns when I was a kid with the “Fist Full of Dollars” series.  I loved them, and I dearly remember the times we’d spend watching western films, it was great and provides me with such nice memories now.  I specifically went for this because, and this is for those of you who don’t know me personally, my Dad died nearly 6 years ago now, so bringing back happy memories like that is something I will hold onto, I love it.

So western themed comics will always be a part of my reading and collection, the way I look at it those memories won’t go anywhere if I keep bringing them back by reading and talking about western comics.

And that’s all I’ve got for you, I am done for the day today, going to go off and play some more Thief before bed.  Then tomorrow I can finally pick up my comics off the pull list from this week, thanks to my damn day job I’ve had to put it off until tomorrow (booo!).

Thank you for checking out my posts, I hope you all have a fun weekend ahead and I will be back tomorrow.  Don’t forget to check out the original 31 days challenge over here, and come follow me over here.  Cheerio!


Top 5 Female Superheroes

Prepare yourselves for a DC-fest here, that’s all I’ve got in this week’s top 5.  It may well stem from the fact that I don’t read much Marvel (pretty much just Spider-Man) but I’ve flipped through plenty of books in the past and I personally, genuinely believe DC has the strongest line up of awesome and iconic female superheroes going.  There’s been a real push in getting some of the focus onto these ccostumed female crime fighters recently, but looking back there’s always been a decent amount of stuff to get through if you’re looking in the right places.  So let us begin our next countdown, you may be a little surprised by one or two.

5. Soranik Natu (Green Lantern 1417)

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Soranik Natu, I mean she’s the daughter of one of the greatest adversaries of the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro.  That’s a hell of a shadow to come out from under.  And yes, I know, this doesn’t come out for a while after she joins the Corps, giving her enough time to show her ability to run a space sector, but when she does find out, she continues on with her duties and if anything I’d say this makes her stronger.  What she does have to deal with from the beginning, though, is taking on the ring that used to belong to Thaal Sinestro and trying to convince those on Korugar that being a Green Lantern does not make you a huge tool.  Sinestro ruled his sector with an iron fist, using the green light of will as a tool to instill fear, seeing this as the most efficient way of running a sector.  Thanks largely to her previous career as a surgeon, Soranik uses her Green Lantern powers to try and instill hope in her people more than anything.

And it slowly but surely starts working.  Her people are untrusting and unforgiving to begin with, they regect her and her power.  Throwing abuse, and objects, they attempt to drive her away, seeing her as the next fascist overlord (overlady?) and she almost let’s them.  Eventually, she stands up to her adversity, using her ring to create surgical equipment around herself and save multiple lives.

Outside of her life on Korugar, Soranik has earned the respect of many of the Corps’ veterans, and started earning a little more than respect from a certain Kyle Raynor.  She is a driven, powerful and strong willed individual, willing to put her life on the line for both her fellow Corps members and those without rings or power that need help.  The sign of a true hero.


4. Batgirl (Stephanie Brown)

I had a really, really hard time deciding which Batgri to use here.  I was initially going to go with Barabara because of the amazing ongoing series we have right now, written by the one and only Gail Simone.  It’s really endeared Barb to me as a character, but even though I’m loving both the series and Barb (and to be fair, have from back when she was Oracle) it comes back the Steph all the time.  I’ll be honest, Cass didn’t come into consideration for favourite, not to say I don’t like her character, but I just simply prefer Barb and Steph over Cass.  And Betty Kane wasn’t going to come into it because I’ve never read anything with her in before, so that’s straight out the window.

But why Stephanie over Barbara?  Well, it comes down to how much crap she has to wade through before becoming Batgirl, and how much I liked her from adventures before she was Batgirl.  During the Robin solo series from several years ago, the one where we had Tim Drake as Robin, Steph was running around as a character called Spoiler.  An unnoficial member of the Bat team, she’d show up more as an aide to Tim than Bruce, also acting as a love interest for Tim.  But even then, she was ballsy, fun, and incredibly skillful.  Kicking ass and taking names was something she had nailed, and it was always with clear enjoyment.

Then there was the period of time she actually became Robin, clearly much to the chagrin of Dan DiDio.  She’s not to the level Batman requires, so after some mistakes and disobedience he fires her.  She steal his plans to remove all of Gotham’s criminal underworld in one move and tries to execute it in one go, fails and ends up brutally tortured and supposedly killed by Black Mask.

She faked her death, and it was awesome when she returned.  Not long after, she took on the mantle of Batgirl after Cass.  So she went through all of that crap before becoming Batgirl, then continued on anyway, even when she had a way out she still came back to Gotham.

If you ask me, when the New 52 reboot kicked in, I’d have preferred to see Barabara still in the wheelchair and setting herself up as Batgirl, with Stephanie continuing on as Batgirl.  But, since we have the return of Spoiler coming soon I don’t mind too much.


3. Wonder Woman

Let’s face it, she was always going to be on the list somewhere.  When I initially started planning this out in my head, I had her up one place, but things changed, an addition was made and she slipped down.  Still, the original (I think, don’t quote me on this) female superhero, Diana of Themyscira is an absolute badass.  No questions asked, she comes in, and kicks ass.  Her older stories are definitely more accessable for younger kids, which by no means makes them bad in any way, but she seems to have evolved into a superhero for more mature audiences.

Her most recent series has her as a demi god, child of Hippolyta and Zeus, and therefore insanely high powered.  She later becomes the god of freaking war!

She’s raised on an island populated exclusively by women, taught that they are the stronger of the two genders and taught to distrust all men.  What she ends up doing is becoming an ambassador not only between her native island and the rest of the world, but as one between men and women too, promoting equality to her peers and those around her.  A founding member of the Justice League, she has earned a tremendous amound of respect from the other members, and later during the Justice League of America recruitment drive of 2006, discovers a great many heroine she has inspired.

Did I mention how much ass she kicks?


2. Black Canary

This is the addition that reduced our previous entry to number 3.  I spent ages trying to figure out who to drop into this final spot, then I suddenly remember Dinah Lance and felt like a complete dope for not putting her straight on.  Martial arts, check.  Awesome costume, check.  Unique super power, check.  Kick ass stories, check.  Marries another awesome superhero, check.

She’s got the lot, this one.  Dinah is such an awesome character, she has a lot of depth and before the New 52, had the genuinely awesome thing going on with Ollie which resulted in them marrying.  Her canary cry is one of THE best super powers in comics, ranging from strong enough to knock someone on their ass all the way up to bringing down buildings and turning brains to mush.

She has an incredible amount of self control, which she needs really with a power that can have insides of head leaking out of ears in a few short seconds.  She becomes a member of the Justice League of America before Flashpoint, leads the Birds of Prey both pre and post reboot and is vital to both operations.  I think part of the reason I’m enjoying the New 52 run of Birds of Prey so much at the moment is because Christy Marx gets Dinah absolutely bang on.


1. Supergirl

The last daughter of Krypton, the girl of steel.  Whatever you want to call her, she is, for me, the ultimate female superhero.  Shown to have the same powers as her younger, but older (it’s complicated) cousin Clark, Kara Zor-El has a damn cool set of powers.  Only thing is, she’s frequently shown to be more powerful than the iconic Superman.  Yes, she has a little less control for a while having grown up for the most part on Krypton and therefore being rather unused to having these crazy powers.

Her planet being destroyed, and then finding this out after crashing on an unfamiliar world surrounded by complete strangers, is obviously devastating to her.  She has clear, vivid memories of Krypton, her friends and her family so she takes it very hard.  And yet she stands up for truth, justice and takes villains down just like her cousin.  She becomes a beacon for youth, innocence and above all, hope.  She strives to show her cousin she is good enough to wear the famous S shield, good enough to stand by his side and fight evil.  She tries so hard to fit in with regular folk on Earth, trying to figure out our cultures and understand us more.

At least, that’s how she is before the Flashpoint induced reboot.  So far, post reboot, we’ve had an angry, understandably, young woman that has little to no self control, and who continually spirals further and further into her dark hole of self pity, resentment and rage.  It’s not really been Supergirl so far, and before this turns into a Red Lantern focussed rant, I’m going to stop.

Ignoring the New 52, if I’d just done a top 5 superheroes without splitting it the way I have, Supergirl would have still topped the list, no question.  No doubt.


31 Days of comics, day 16

Back on track with things now, for the most part anyway, but due to a last minute shift change at work I’m going to be doing this tonight and dropping a triple threat on you tomorrow with day 16, last week’s reviews (finally!) and last week’s top 5.  That’s what has held me up, getting my list of female superheroes down to 5, really not an easy task.  Anyway, back on topic, today’s was a bit of a funny one.  A comic that made me cry.  Here’s the funny thing about it; I knew exactly what comic I would pick for this, even though it didn’t make me cry.  The thing is, none have done that to me, ever, and without delving to deeply into myself (don’t really fancy that to be honest) I don’t think one will.  But if it could have, this would have been the one, without a doubt.

A comic that makes you cry

Action Comics #870 from DC Comics

This is the conclusion issue to this big “Brainiac” story line that ran back in 2008, one where Superman realises (with Supergirl’s help) that he’s never actually faught Brainiac, only his probes.  Kara has witnessed him for real, as she was there on Krypton when Brainiac took Kandor and is petrified of him.  So, long story short, Superman goes and hunts him down through the stars, finds him, gets taken by him, and gets his mind probed by him thus giving him both the location of Earth and the knowledge of the other Kryptonian, Kara.  Good one Clark.

Brainiac arrives on Earth, tears some shit appart and Superman kicks the hell out of him.  Brainiac fires a “solar agressor” at the sun to make it go supernova and just wipe out Earth, cut his losses and get out of dodge.  Supergirl prevents this, and Superman hands him one final defeat.  Only thing is, because Brainiac read Supes’ mind, he knows where his adopted parents live and fires a missile at the Kent farm.  No one is injured by the shot, but the shock of it all causes Jonathan to have a heart attack.  This is what we get.

What follows on from this is an almsot entirely silent end to this issue where we have the funeral, Clark heading back home and going through Jonathan’s things and finding something he had made for his dad but never had the chance to give to him.  Like many a father and son relationship, there were plenty of disagreements, but Clark and Jonathan were incredibly close and you can see the state it leaves Clark in, especially since if Clark hadn’t gone out looking for Brainiac, this may not have happened now and like this, which he is no doubt very aware of.

I think it takes incredible writing to be able to put so much emotion into a part of a comic that features no dialogue, and it takes an incredible artist to be able to fully convey those emotions on people, geting just the right tone and movement on each panel.  Thankfully, we had Geoff Johns and Gary Frank on hand for this story arc, so those two boxes are well and truly checked.  This issue had me genuinely gutted, and is the closest a comic has come to making me cry, closest I think one ever will.

Thanks for checking out tonight’s post, be prepared to be snowed  under by a blizzard of stuff incoming tomorrow.  Take cae, bye bye now.

31 Days of comics, day 15

Hey everyone, sorry for the sudden and unannounced disappearance, I’ve been struck with the plague black death man-flu.  All joking aside, it’s actually really sucked, and while I had to take a couple of days off work I went back before I was fully ok so I’ve been coming home and just going to bed.  Anyway, enough complaining, I am back and want to get cracking on with the 31 day challenge.  And it’s a nice one to come back to today, a comic that makes me smile.

So, unsurprisingly, we come back to another DC title. 

A comic that makes you smile

Green Lantern Rebirth #6 – Black Sheep

Ah Green Lantern Rebirth, such a great return to continuity for Hal Jordan and such a wonderfully written series from Geoff Johns.  While I have loved every moment of the series since I’ve started reading it, up to where I’m at now (Blackest Night) this issue had me grinning from ear to ear.  It’s well known that I’m a fan of Batman, but I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate this whether a Batman fan or not, probably even more so if you’re not a fan.

In the run up to this, we’ve had Hal return from the dead/his time as the Spectre, and obviously it’s made waves amongst the Green Lantern corps and Earth’s greatest heroes.  Batman, being the skeptic he is, is certain something dodgy is going on here.  He confronts Hal about how he came back, giving him a load of shit that Hal really doesn’t want to deal with, he just wants to get back to his corps and try to makes things right after breaking down and single handedly destroying it after being taken over by Parallax.  What happens next is just genius.


While I really enjoyed Batman getting put down by one punch from Hal Jordan, I think the best part of this by far is the reaction it gets from Guy Gardner.  One of the best moments in a comic ever, nothing heart warming or adorable or anything like that, just pure and simple amusement.

Thanks for reading again, now that I’m back to normal (near enough, anyway) I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule.  I’ll have my next top 5 posted up in the next day or two and then that’ll be back to a regular Sunday thing again.  This week’s comics will be picked up on Saturday, so with my top 5 on Sunday I’ll most likely get my impressions on that posted up on Monday, and my aim is to get my quick run down of last weeks done this Friday.  Good night all, see you tomorrow!

31 Days of comics, day 14

Day 14 people!  Two weeks worth of comic goodness already and way more to come, I cannot say enough how much fun this has been so far, difficult at times, but great fun.  Today’s challenge comes in the form of a comic I love but will never read again, which is a really easy one to be honest with you, all I had to do was remind myself of the challenge and it popped straight into my head.  Let’s get this started, shall we?

A comic that you love that you’ll never read again.

Cyber Force volumes 1 & 2
From Top Cow Productions/Image

Cyber Force.  A series that I have a great deal of fondness for, and a team that to this day I still love.  Volumes 1 and 2 were so important for several reasons, especially Volume 1.  It marked to departure of several top Marvel artists, the birth of Image comics and a break away from the norm when it came to what people wanted to read.  Cyber Force was the first piece from Marc Silvestri and his fledgling Top Cow, and it gave you an idea of where things might be headed.

The book itself is pretty fun, but while I enjoyed the first two volumes, it was volume 3 under the writing of Ron Marz where I think it really came into it’s own.  Yes, the first two volumes do suffer with what I’m going to refer to as “90’s syndrome”.  It was from the period where female readers weren’t really ackowledged by the industry, and female creators were extremely scarce.  What resulted was a lot of books relying on using boobs and ass to sell books, with lots of violence and explosions to seal the deal.  Like I said, it’s a fun book to sit down and fairly mindlessly flip through, but it suffers quite badly from this and as a result comes off a little bit too cheesey for my liking, or at least it is now, where my tastes have evolved a fair bit through reading all kinds of stuff.

There is one other fault with it, and while this can be excused to a certain extent, but this is probably the main reason why I can’t really go back to it: it lives in the shadow of the X-Men too much.  Now, you can excuse this because the idea behind Cyber Force was actually a pitch Marc Silvestri made to Marvel while he was working on X-Men, it was meant to be about mutants and fall into the same time frame and continuity that X-Men was running with at the time.  There are notable similarities between quite a few characters at this stage in Cyber Force’s life with many of the X-Men.  My issue here is not that it is close to another comic, this happens frequently but if done right, doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book, it’s specifally the fact that it’s so close to X-Men, who I really don’t like.

Those two things together are what stop me reading it, but on to the positives.  A big part of why I loved this so much was that these characters would go on to become something worlds apart from the X-Men, and this book lays the groundwork for it all.  It’s what inspired Silvestri to avoid the idea of a shared Image Universe and run with his own at Top Cow, which would eventually bring the Witchblade, the Darkness, the Hunter-Killers and so much more, along for the crazy ride.  It was a book that, through Volumes 1 and 2 anyway, I could switch off to a certain degree and just have a blast flipping through.  It wasn’t something that would challenge me to think about what’s going on.  That’s what Ron Marz brought to the table with it, and while I think that was right for it at the time, had that come any earlier it would have maybe put people off a little.  Sometimes that’s what you want from a book, and I do genuinely adore this comic, but for the above reasons, I could never go back to it I don’t think.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the fourteenth day of the 31 day challene, if you haven’t read the inspiration for this, go check that out here.  Also, go here and say hi on twitter!

31 Days of comics, day 13

So here we are once again for the 31 days of comics challenge, all the way up to day 13 now!  Today’s challenge is a great plot twist, which I’m actually having a slightly tough time in deciding on, partly because there’s a few that spring to mind and partly because I’m fairly tired.  I’m pretty sure I know which I want to go for, but it does break my self imposed rule of no duplicate comics.  Since I’ve already broken that one once, I’m thinking “to hell with it” and I’m going to do it again anyway.

A great plot twist

JLA #3 from DC Comics

This is a series I have a lot of time for, I really do.  Grant Morrison is a fantastic writer, so having him kick this series off is a good start!  Right at the beginning of the series we have the JLA coming under pressure from the public due to the appearance of a new super team, the Hyper Clan, who are doing everything the JLA do but better, while also improving the way of life for all of humanity.  The Hyper Clan show themselves to the people of Earth as their saviours, sowing the seeds of doubt and discord when it comes to the JLA with clever speeches after a show of heroics.

Eventually, they cast down the JLA and brand them unworthy to protect mankind from the threats they come under.  Batman, of course, is not buying into this whole show they’re putting on and starts digging, so the Hyper Clan try to put him down and in fact believe they have by this point.  Now what I assumed was going to be a superhuman take over of Earth by villains posing as heroes turned out to be something quite different…

This Hyper Clan is actually a group of White Martians attempting a sly take over of Earth by posing as heroes, wiping out their biggest threat, then subjugating the entire world through their incredible power (and a readied invasion fleet hiding in a hyperspace pocket just out side of Earth’s atmosphere), taking on the guise of humans with super powers to get the general populace on side.

While their hard work is unravelled by Batman, what I enjoyed the most was the revelation that this was a full on White Martian invasion, which is ushered in early by Batman’s largely successful interference, I didn’t see it coming at all when I read it.  It was probably the book that really got me into Grant Morrison’s writing, he has a great ability to throw you off the scent and chuck a revelation like this at you.  It was a really fun book to read, one that stuck with me and one that I think is a really great plot twist.

Tomorrow, if I can find the time to get both posts up, I will be looking at some of this week’s releases, I can say right now that I didn’t hate Supergirl #28 like I thought I would.  It’s not going to go down as a classic, but Tony Bedard has shown that he has knowledge and respect of the character so I guess the only thing is to wait and see.  Lots of other cool stuff out this week too that I’m looking forward to discussing.  Thanks for stopping by once again, I apologise for the brief post today but I’ve been trying to get some reading caught up on and am shattered now.  Time for bed now, good night all!

31 Days of comics, day 12

So, today’s entry for 31 Days of Comics is well and truly the definition of winning by default.  I have one “holiday” themed book in my collection that I can see, and I don’t ever recall reading another one.  I’m really not that big a fan of this kind of thing to be honest, most of the books I read would have to be pulled out of their usual tone to accomodate a holiday special of some sort, and I tend to find special issues like this kind of cheesey and gimmicky.  There are very few specials like this on TV I can sit and enjoy, even a show like Chuck, that I absolutely love by the way, pushed me too far on the Christmas episodes.  I just don’t like it, probably never will, so I tend to actively avoid holiday themed books like the plague itself.

This was altered somewhat by my determination to snap up as many Top Cow books as I could, if possible I wanted them all.  Still do I guess, but now that I’m down to the last few hard to find things I’m not actively looking like I was.  But that brings us around to today’s “choice”.

Great holiday comic

Top Cow Holiday Special 2010

This was a double hitter for all you Christmas lovers out there, especially if you’re a fan of Top Cow, as this was one of those flip book comics.  The front story was the main, surprisingly well intergrated, in universe story set around the Christmas time and on the flip side was a story called Jingle Belle, about the daughter of Santa, written by the legendary Paul Dini.  While a huge fan of his work, I just didn’t enjoy Jingle Belle at all, mostly because I didn’t really care about it.

This was bought purely as a collection filler, but being an avid reader of comics I had to give it a go and see what it was all about, so basically you have a woman who abandons her child at a New York fire station.  The idea is that there are supernatural forces at work, with their machinations centred around the abandoned child, which brings all the characters you know and love from the Top Cow Universe together to aid the child and figure out what’s going on.  And this is no exaggeration, I do mean pretty much all the Top Cow characters.  The Witchblade, The Darkness, The Angelus, The Magdalena, Cyber Force, the Hunter-Killers all out in force, putting aside any differences they may have in the spirit of the season and for the good of the baby.

It’s all a bit soft, and as far as the continuity of the Top Cow Universe goes maybe pushing it a little bit, but there was a clear effort to make this fit into the universe and not be too much of a stretch.  I didn’t love it, I’ll be frank, but it is technically the best holiday comic I’ve read so sadly there’s not much more I can do with this.  And while I say that, I didn’t hate it and I do love seeing the whole Top Cow gang team up every now and then, fun almost always ensues in those situations.  So there’s a positive.

In fact, you know there is another plus to this, and that’s the art.  As always, it is a spectacularly drawn and coloured comic, an area that Top Cow are really beaten in by any of their competition.  They have such a knack for bringing in some phenomenal talent in the art department, and let’s be fair here, if you’re an artist and Marc Silvestri comes a knockin’ you’re not saying no.  It means that even stories that are either a bit weak, or not to my tastes, I can still enjoy flipping through them to gaze at the pretty artwork.

That’s about all I’ve got for this one tonight, bit of a disappointing one I know, but things will be a whole lot easier from tomorrow up until day 22.  I just had a quick glance down the master list (found here remember) and while 22 is going to be a really, really tough one, between now and then seems like it’ll be quite a bit of fun.

Day off from the day job tomorrow so going to be picking up this week’s releases, I can say for certain there will be discussion on at least one of those issues, one that I’m honestly absolutely dreading reading.  Supergirl #28, first issue of the Red Daughter of Krypton story line, so check back tomorrow for my next update and probable reviews.  Thanks for stopping by, take it easy guys!