DC’s Convergence: So What the Hell Was That About?

“I must not continuity. Continuity is the mind-killer. Continuity is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face continuity. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the continuity has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Legit Inuit proverb

Continuity is kind of like the ill-gotten heroin of your neighborhood junky. It’s the thing comics inject into themselves to bolster the appearance of importance and illusion of real meaning. I realize that for people who have poured their heart and soul into superhero comics, this is an unpopular opinion to have. It’s an opinion I developed, however, out of having poured my heart and soul into anything with an “X” on the cover during the 90’s. In fact, it was harsh realizations following attempted assimilation by the Phalanx, universe destroying by Xavier’s son, universe destroying at the hands of Onslaught, yet another sentinel extinction program at the hands of Bastion, and whatever crap Magneto was always up to that caused me to realize events were totally meaningless. It didn’t matter if it was Nightcrawler or Angel or Psylocke who died this time, the next event found a way to reset the clock every time. In an effort to imbue the stories with meaning, continuity had the opposite effect: by necessity, continuity must undo itself the sad truth of continuity is that it grinds everything to dust. The continuity of our lives – of M.A.S.H., of Mad Men, of Battlestar Galactica – is that true continuity has to have an end in sight, or at least a true end of something. This flies in the face of the ever-recursive nature of comics, however, that, for good or ill (probably more good than ill I’d say) there must be more X-Men comics; there must be more Superman; by god, there must be more of the goddamn Batman or we’ll all die of existential ennui.

That means the nature of comics continuity must be cyclical, like Hindu time. Which is fine, in theory: if we could all jointly agree that continuity serves a purpose (and that purpose is making the game go on for as long as it can), then it’s fine. However, that’s not the way the big two, especially DC, treats continuity. Especially with the ouroboros of Marvel movies and DC TV (I would totally watch a station called DC TV. But it can only be live feeds of Washington DC at all times) continuities. Continuity for DC is like a dangerous drug. Which Hawkman origin is the right one? Do we keep pretending red and blue Superman(s/en) wasn’t totally ridiculous? To what extent do we acknowledge it? What’s Brainiac’s true nature? Inconsistencies are the reason why DC started creating Crises in the first place. Dan Didio talks about it here. And it’s a shame; with their highly structured multiverse, it’s a perfect system for justifying or explaining any incongruences in the narratives. But the problem is which continuity do we care about? Sure there are fitty two of them, but anything beyond one Batman (maybe one Beyond flavor), a couple Robins, a dash of Nightwing and Red Hood for seasoning, and we stop caring.

This joke will never get old.
This joke will never get old.

Anyways – Convergence is DC saying, “We give up. You want your universes and your Blue Beetles and your Charlestons and your Fawcetts? Then go ahead.” It’s DC, in DiDio’s words, saying, “Y’know what guys? Ain’t give no f*cks about continuity,” but the fact that they do it with a continuity altering/establishing event makes it feel like their donking with us. “You know how we’ll prove to you that continuity doesn’t matter? By making it part of the continuity!” It’s either god-level trolling, or the least aware guy in the room talking about how he’d know it if he was oblivious. O rly, sir, do go on.

The rough outline for Convergence is that, like, Brainiac? (Or some guy named Telos? But that’s not his name?) kidnaps ALL OF THE MULTIVERSE and puts them in bubble containing their cities of choice. So there’s a bubble for the pre-Watchmen’d Charleston character’s version of New York; Mike Mignola’s steampunk style Gotham; pre-Crisis Metropolis… and every other iteration I didn’t mention and can’t possibly think of. All our heroes, all our bubbles because of reasons. Telos, er Brainiac, wants the heroes to fight so that he can have all the winners form the basis of a single continuous city. That bit seems almost like an unaware metaphor for this entire event.

And this is where DC events don’t hook me the same way Marvel events do. This is apparently an event piggy-backing on two other events: a continuous trickle of once-a-week comics-52-countdown style. So maybe (and I use italics because it’s doubtful) if you’d been following all of that, you’d care about the alternate JLA featured in Convergence.

The heroes are alternate versions of JLA regulars: we have Flash with some nice headgear, African-American Superman, Green Lantern that seems more like Swamp Thing, and a few others. I found it hard to care about them and understand why they should be the center of this book instead of the New 52 crowd that have been around for a few years. In general, I found parallel reality versions hard to care about unless they have very specific hooks to them, i.e. Morrison’s BuzzBat Lightyear from Multiversity, or the children of Batman and Superman. I never figured out if there was a reason to care about these specific versions of these characters, or why they were necessary. Again, maybe if I’d been reading the previous two or three events it’d all make sense, but I doubt it. In contrast, Final Crisis is fantastic whether or not you’d been loyally reading Superman.

They find Deimos – don’t worry if you don’t recognize that name, he’s had maybe three appearances in comics since his creation in the 70s – who they all instantly care about and, more baffling, whose name they know. I don’t know how. Or why.

convergence superman
Here he is about to make out with Superman.

 

Then, in the least necessary and most difficult to grasp double-cross in comic’s history, he stabs the team in the back and takes over the planet seductively teasing at the true identity of Telos.

Replace "lizard men" with "anything" and you have the slogan for this event. I don't know Thor ripoff, why would the anything now?
Replace “lizard men” with “anything” and you have the slogan for this event. I don’t know Thor ripoff, why would the anything now?

Finally, with two issues left, the New 52 JLA shows up, and then there are events and then the book ends with the two best/worst panels of ever:

convergence first crisis

The first one is Telos telling us, the reader, and the heroes that, quite literally, everything that just happened is meaningless because it’s about to disappear. I understand this is the end of the story and they need a way to resolve it, but this gets right to the core of what I hate about event books: they end and nothing changes. This goes one step further by lining out that none of this mattered. At least with a Marvel event, you have three months of thinking Wolverine’s dead before there are 35 of him running around.

aw yiss
aw yiss

The second picture is a thumbs up granny. I know right now your brain is prolapsing on itself trying to comprehend that sentence in the context of a comic, but save yourself the herniated gray matter and let me just show you:

I hope at least someone stays up at night thinking, "Oh god, why?"
I hope at least someone stays up at night thinking, “Oh god, why?”

There’s at least 3 baffling things about this picture. 1. Who’s she giving this sign too? 2. Why is she looking at us while she’s doing it? 3. Is she having a stroke? Who’s supposed to be watching Grandma??

Overall, the core Convergence story was very disappointing. I know one of the biggest draws of event books are all the peripheral tie-in titles, and most fans (especially DC fans, it seems) prefer the peripheral titles to the central story, but this is probably the most lazily-conceived event book I have ever read. The art wasn’t bad, but at no point did it really stand out, the whole story felt muted, and generally it was hard to care about anything. I think maybe, and I mean *maybe*, if a person had been reading all the Earth 2 and Futures End lead up, this would have been a satisfying conclusion, but I’ve yet to talk to anyone who thought so.

Convergence seems like the absolute worst thing that can happen when continuity is put on such a pedestal. In the attempt to reconcile such irreconcilable difference, the entire universe becomes just a little uninteresting and rushed. The root of the problem, as is the root of almost all problems in the world (including strained relations with China, and whatever the hell it is ISIS is doing), is DC trying to be Marvel. Marvel’s lucky: they can do the unified continuity because they made all the continuity in house in the real world. DC is a patchwork quilt of failed comic companies and licensed characters, most of whom live in cities that aren’t even real. Marvel has purchased very few companies and licenses, and the ones they buy tend to stay relegated to their own universes or eventually get completely dissolved. DC acknowledging that for them to be successful, continuity must be a bit player would be a breath of mountain air, but the fact that the current comics climate mandates you make continuity mean less by making it a part of continuity feels self-defeating.

Oh, and DC? Have a recap page. Jesus. Just do it.

“Respect My Craft” – Jimmy Palmiotti

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ “Respect My Craft” articles will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

dcc font

Click on the link to take you to all of our Denver Comic Con “Respect My Craft” articles

Name: Jimmy Palmiotti

Profession: Comic Book Writer and Inker

Notable Works: Jonah Hex, Power GirlAll-Star Western, Harley QuinnAme-Comi Girls`

“When I write, I treat it like the last time I’ll be writing that. Not having had security before, thinking they’re just going to replace me, that allowed me to appreciate what I’m doing.” – Jimmy Palmiotti (NYCC 2013)


Jimmy Palmiotti grew up in an Italian Catholic household in Brooklyn. Like any rapscallion growing up in the city, Jimmy was drawn to comic books and animation from an early age. His influence didn’t come strictly from comic books. Sure, he enjoyed books like Superman and Fantastic Four, but Jimmy also loved the light-hearted books like ArchieRichie Rich and the “Little Annie Fanny” strips from Playboy. His earliest work came in the form of animated flip book cartoons of his mean teacher getting boned by a horse. It really set precedents for the type of tomfoolery he would show in his work going forward (thankfully, though, not the type of content). Oddly enough, it was the crappy living conditions of comic book artists that made him stray from the business after ghost-inking for Gene Colan Howard the Duck.

jimmy palmiotti and joe quesada

Instead, Jimmy graduated from the New York Technical College with a focus in advertising illustration. He did some work for Pepsi, Maybelline and Bill Gold (poster design for films like Clockwork Orange). He used this professional experience to carry over with him to Marvel, where he began by inking the Men in Black series. Pretty soon, his tendency to output solid work on-time led him to begin inking a variety of books in the Marvel stable, earning him a reputation for catching books up that were behind schedule. He also built connections by inking for other publishers, like Dark Horse’s X series, Valient Press’ Ninjak, and Milestone Media books like Static and Hardware. Jimmy’s career would really take off when he met a young artist named Joe Quesada (a current BFD and Chief Creative Officer at Marvel Entertainment). The duo broke off from Marvel to create their own publishing company, Event Comics, in 1994.

event comics

The mid 90’s was a time for trailblazers in the industry, when many bold creators set out on their own. Event Comics was the birthplace of characters like Ask, Painkiller Jane, 22 Brides, and Kid Death & Fluffy. Event may have closed up shop five years later, but the ride was far from uneventful. Jimmy and Joe had an offer from Dreamworks to create a movie based off Ash, which at the time was pretty much unheard of – which they declined, twice. Their success led them to throw giant industry parties deemed “Marvel Nights.” Their networking led to Event being contracted to create the Marvel Knights imprint. As the industry came into the digital age, Jimmy thought it best to switch it up to writing. Marvel Knights intern Justin Gray became Jimmy’s co-pilot, and the two have co-written books for nearly 20 years, starting with Wildstorm’s The Resistance and 21Down.

jimmy palmiotti power girl

The big acclaim came from the 2005 reboot of the Jonah Hex book. Together, Jimmy and Justin brought back Western comic books and made books fun to read in a one-shot capacity, making it easy to enjoy no matter which issue you picked up. Since his days with Marvel, Palmiotti has played turncoat for DC Comics, and the readers have been the winners. After stints with Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, TerraPower Girl, and the ComiXology-exclusive Ame-Comi Girls, Jimmy came back to Jonah Hex with an original graphic novel, Jonah Hex: No Way Back, in 2010, and led a very successful run of All-Star Western during the early stages of the New52 relaunch. Lately, you can find Jimmy living the dream, writing Harley Quinn stories with his wife, Amanda Connor. Their work relationship isn’t just collaborating on books, though.

jimmy palmiotti and amanda connor

Together, along with Gray and a few others, Jimmy and Amanda created paperfilms.com. Paper Films is a multimedia company that offers “services ranging from world building, screenwriting, intellectual property development, video game development, illustration, editorial experience and much more.” Their resume includes: a Painkiller Jane TV series based off Jimmy’s Event Comics’ creation, Random Acts of Violence, the story for Injustice: Gods Among Us, and several original graphic novels. Thanks to Kickstarter funding, Paper Films has made six original books. Their most recent title is Denver, a science-fiction story about a dystopian future where melting icecaps have flooded the world, leaving the Mile High city as the only city left on Earth. His next Kickstarter project will be called African Odyssey, a series about a time-traveling history professor from Africa’s future.

He is very involved on his own blog and on Twitter, where he often supports Kickstarter campaigns for creator-owned material.


None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties (ComicVine, Stash Bash 1999, TalkingComicBooks).

 

Arrow Review – “The Offer” S3E16

As we spiral deeper into an emotional state of Theadom, Arrow‘s dreary tone is getting more and more grating to the viewers. We’re venturing into the realm of C-Dub overload, as drawn out speeches of inner turmoil are starting to drown out the undeniably incredible story unfolding. It’s a shame because the whole story, as adaptive as it has been from Batman lore, is just as engaging as any of the past material. At the same time, I can’t be too critical of the show that has bred this new generation of superhero TV hype, but there’s an overwhelming feeling that the show has become diluted with the recent explosion of content at CW.

Pros:

Ra’s the roof!: Let’s not pretend that Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins aren’t the best villains on this show thus far. He is shrouded in mystery, and has the force necessary to make life very difficult for Star City. As a villain, he’s less emotional than Slade, but there is a certain amount of maturity that Matt Nable brings to the role that makes him twice as frightening as Deathstroke was. He’s also a villain that has seamlessly transitioned from a Bruce Wayne bad guy to a Oliver Queen bad guy. Nanda Parbat and the League of Assassins have always been held in high regards, so to see them more intimately explored on one of the best TV series out has been gratifying.

The complexity of justice and honor: I’m fascinated by the amount of talk dealing with honor and justice in this show. It’s completely subjective between Captain Lance, Oliver Queen and Ra’s al Ghul. Each character has honor, but the way they go about obtaining justice is unique and conflicting from one another. Nobody disagrees that Malcolm Merlyn is a bad man, but all three would seek to go about serving him justice in different ways. I almost enjoy this better than if it were Batman that Ra’s were dealing with because Oliver’s moral code is a bit different than Bruce Wayne’s, making the decision to take the Demon Head’s mantle a more difficult decision than when it was offered to Batman.

Maybe being Ra’s isn’t all that bad: With all that Oliver has to deal with – defiant and incompetent (*cough cough* Laurel) teammates, the sad truth that there will never be fruits for their labors, the loss of trust from Quentin Lance, and the conflict of being both Oliver Queen and the Arrow – it’s not hard to imagine that sitting atop Nanda Parbat would be too much more difficult. Ollie even falls into a more stern leadership role throughout the episode, tired of getting second-guessed and mocked for decisions that put all the heavy lifting on him anyway. I guess we all have those days at work.

More strong, sexy women: I don’t think I could roll my eyes at the way the women have essentially been reduced to emotional lightning rods in Arrow. While it’s great that Thea can kick ass and that Laurel is a stubbornly independent as her sister, there’s not a whole lot of strength in whining all the time. Felicity is finally done being mad at Oliver, which is relieving, but the show will greatly benefit by the inclusion of Shado and Nyssa round out the incessant gushing.

Arrow The Offer 03

 

Cons:

Is this really a Batman show in disguise?: One of the most alluring elements of the show is how closely Arrow is following classic Batman lore. However, it’s almost gotten to the point where the show isn’t using much creative juice anymore, and just riding on the coattails of the Dark Knight. Whether it’s Oliver’s inner-turmoil between his split personalities, or the thought of leaving a legacy behind as a symbol, there might be too much similarity between the two. If imitation is flattery, then this is the TV equivalent of John Cusack with a boom box.

Lazy writing: There’s too much convenience going on here. How do we get Laurel to deal with her issues with her father? Let’s get the girl with the mother of all daddy issues to have coffee with her, maybe teach her some assassiny things. Poof, now Laurel will be as good as Sara, no training montage necessary. Thea is alone and sad, with nobody to turn to? Poof, let her throw down with Roy in the bedroom. That will solve all her problems. It’s just weak and predictable writing that I would have hoped CW could focus on story-telling over gawking about emotions, but maybe that’s not the main demographic the show is aiming towards anymore.

Not enough Roy in my life: Roy and Diggle, who have been unwavering voices of reason, are completely underserved in this show. They are battle-hardened and also have the best dialogue out of any of Ollie’s other cohorts. I would love to see more action montages, more diving into Roy’s background, more Diggle A.R.G.U.S. exploration. The show needs to lean more on these two characters if they’re going to continue to show the supporting female characters as the emotional wrecks they are.

Arrow The Offer 01
Don’t mind me. Just sitting here reading my sexy book.

 

Lackluster flashbacks: Aside from the gasp-worthy reveal at the end of the last cutscene, but for the most part, the flashback scenes all seemed misplaced in the episode, even feeling unnecessary altogether. I love this show’s flashbacks, but there’s no need to include them just for the sake of including them. The Shado reveal (if it was really her…) could have been better served if it were used to more of a point than just a quick peek behind the figurative curtain. The key to these is being patient and analyzing each segment, but there wasn’t a whole lot to gather from the flashbacks in this episode.

 

Easter Eggs:

The Lazarus Pit. For Real.: We finally get a good, hard look at the Lazarus Pit. I wish I had a Lazarus Pit. Well, we’ve talked about the reviving powers from the pit, but actually seeing them at work is pretty cool stuff.

Murmur: Definitely a D list “villain of the week” here, Michael Christian Amar is also known as Murmur. He was a Flash villain who cut out his tongue and sewed his mouth shut. He was sentenced to die by lethal injection, but his abnormal blood properties prevented the injection from killing him. He’s not really that important, but it was worth mentioning.

It’s called “The League of Assassins”: Oliver mulls over the idea of being Ra’s al Ghul’s successor, but detests killing in his name. The League of Assassins isn’t always known by that name. In other comic book lore, they are referred to as the League of Shadows, which sounds just as cool without any of the nasty murder connotations that go with it.

Arrow The Offer 04

Tidbits and Predictions

Heir to the Demon’s Head: It’s abundantly clear that Ra’s and Oliver will not be friends anytime soon after the end scene for “The Offer,” where Ra’s hopes to destroy The Arrow’s reputation swiftly, but that doesn’t mean that Oliver’s genes won’t suffice… Another Batman parallel could involve Ra’s’ daughter breeding a child with Oliver. We know which team Nyssa bats for, but there has been no mention of Ra’s having other daughters. All I know is that “breeding” doesn’t exactly spell out romance.

Oliver in a suit feels weird: Remind me again what this guy does for a job? For the first time since Ray Palmer snatch up Queen Consolidated, we see Oliver back in a business suit – begging the question, “How does Oliver make money?” It would be nice to see more of his corporate side again.

Will Flashpoint affect Arrow?: After this week’s superb Flash episode, Barry finally learns to use the Speed Force and break the time barrier, resulting in unfortuitous circumstances for the group. As in the Flashpoint books, Barry’s time travel mischief changes everybody’s reality. Could it also alter Oliver Queen’s reality?

Is this a turning point for Merlyn?: Malcolm Merlyn has not been such a good guy thus far. And even further from that are his skills as a parent. After Oliver triumphantly brings Merlyn back to Star City, he is given a crash course in what it’s like to be selfless from Oliver. Has Ra’s finally knocked some sense into Merlyn, and Thea’s heartbreak finally hit home? Or is he still just playing the game to keep himself alive?

Arrow The Offer 05
Should have switched to Geico…

 

 


 

Hush Comics gives “The Offer” a C for tripping  over it’s own feet. With such a grand, expansive story at their feet, the show is more focused on inner-drama among the well oiled Team Arrow than it does finding conflict outside the group. With Ra’s presenting a real threat and bringing the battle to Star City, hopefully the team will have no choice than to confront the bad guy. Plus, we have A.T.O.M. coming up, and nobody can take that away from us.

 

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Diyah Pera.

Comic Book Power Rankings – February 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Saga Image 25
  There is a whole new danger afoot. I like the direction that this already-stellar series is taking our protagonists, even if it is head-first into danger.
2 Batman DC 39 1 -1
  Joker has been playing with his food up to this point. With Batman up against the ropes, the Caped Crusader is getting desperate, and the Clown Prince of Crime is getting brutal.
3 Spider-Gwen Marvel 1
  Who would have thought that one issue of a mini-series would launch such a cult following? Marvel really Hit the Jackpot with this one.
4 The Walking Dead Image 137 4
  I’m as enthralled as I am disgusting with the eyeball-licking love session at the end of the last issue. I’m excited to see Carl grow, no matter the nasty cost.
5 Deadly Class Image 11 6 +1
  Marcus isn’t out of the doghouse just yet. The last thrill-ride of an issue keeps the adrenaline flowing.
6 Suiciders Vertigo 1
  There’s no better way to spend your time in a post-apocalyptic world than to see drugged up gladiators with cybernetic enhancements pummel each other to death.
7 Batman and Robin DC 39 5 -2
  While it wasn’t as emotionally pleasing as the last issue, Robin getting a spot at the table with Batman and Superman is a big deal.
8 Superman DC 38 16 +8
  The end of the last issue was so explosive that I’m surprised I was able to hold onto the page. In just six issues, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr created history.
9 Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 15
  Even though Spider-Verse winded down this month, Spider-Man has left behind a wake of Spider-lore that will continue to effect the Marvel U… until they reboot it all, anyway.
10 Bitch Planet Image 3
  This book is extremely polarizing, but it has resonated with women in ways that no super-powered chick has. It’s very real and very original.
11 Postal Top Cow 1
  I’ve got a fever for creepy mystery books, and this Norman Bates-ish post boy is the cowbell of creepers. After one issue, this is already among my favorites.
12 Detective Comics DC 39 14 +2
  Anarky is afoot in Gotham, bringing an aspect to Bat-books that has been sorely missing. Add in amazing artwork and a Harvey Bullock back-story, and I’m sold.
13 Mortal Kombat X DC 3 10 -3
  MKX is trying to build a cohesive backstory to the upcoming video game, and its doing a commendable job. Due to it being a digital first, the issues are a bit short, though.
14 TMNT: Mutanimals IDW 1
  How can one mutant be on the same level of wicked awesomeness as Mikey? Mondo Gecko, along with Hob and the gang, are just as interesting as the TMNT – if not more.
15 Wonder Woman DC 39
  David and Meredith Finch have done a fine job with Wonder Woman since taking over, but what has me geeked out is an inevitable showdown between Diana and Donna Troy.
16 Nailbiter Image 10 18 +2
  Like this series could get any creepier… Finch is done doing the Hannibal Lecter dance with Nailbiter, and we are going to have quite an interesting arc coming up.
17 EI8HT Dark Horse 1
  Time travel and dinosaurs have never NOT been a winning combination, and this new series is no exception. I haven’t enjoyed a new sci-fi series this much since Black Science.
18 TMNT IDW 43 8 -10
  Everything is coming to a head with Shredder and Krang, but the confrontation between the two factions left more to be desired. A great book, but I wish it would stop teasing us.
19 Shutter Image 10 17 -2
  Kate’s world has practically exploded in the last few episodes, and the epiphanies just keep on coming. I could do with some more Alarm Cat, but I’m still enjoying the ride.
20 Magneto Marvel 15
  The Master of Magnetism got his mojo back, and he has a new scary focus that is all about his business. I bet Sabretooth is wishing he got the memo earlier.

 

Notably absent:

Birthright: Daaad! There’s something weird going on with Mikey! This fantasy book about a long-lost brother is really just now getting juicy, but there’s a dark secret lurking in here somewhere, and I’m not sure I like the path that Birthright is taking just yet.

Nameless: This book almost made the list this month if not just for the fact that two of my favorite creators are working on it (Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham). That being said, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Not even a little bit

Hawkeye: Bittersweet that one of the most underrated books in the whole industry is moving on after this month, but Matt Fraction and David Aja had such great chemistry. I can only hope we will be that lucky again.

Deathstroke: The Expendables of comic books, right here. I mean, maybe not really at all. The explosions and punny retorts are there, but this isn’t your father’s Slade Wilson. Beautiful panels by Tony Daniels don’t hurt, either.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: The first book swallowed me up so wholly that I was feeling let down by the second book. There weren’t nearly as many jokes, and the set-up for the next arc felt kind of boring. I don’t expect that to last.

 

 

Arrow Review – “Nanda Parbat” S3E15

This week was a very emotional one on Arrow, and I don’t mean that in a nice way. Half the episode is spent bawling over Sara’s death in the most annoying way possible: constant blame and poor decision-making. There were some legit action scenes and the portrayal of Ra’s al Ghul’s character was spot on for what DC fans expect. Even the flashbacks leave eyebrows raised as we dive deeper into the history of Shrieve and A.R.G.U.S.

Pros:

Three seasons of sexual frustration let out: Let’s admit it, Felicity and Ray Palmer are a better couple than she and Ollie ever would have been. Unlike Ollie, Ray is just as wrapped up in her as he is his work. And they are both tech geniuses, something Oliver never could get a grasp of. Now that A.T.O.M. is a go, I wonder if he will fall into the same trail of thought that Oliver did. I can do without her stumbling over double entendres, getting flustered every time a billionaire shows off his man boobs, but Palmer has been extremely likable thus far, so the pairing is welcome for now.

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

Pre-bitch ass Meryln: Laurel was pretty dumb to attack Meryln head-on, but it resulted in one of his best scenes in the series. Telling Laurel that she had “delusions of grandeur” was a pretty fancy way of tell her that all this stupid vengeance talk isn’t going to actually amount to a victory. Merlyn continues to whoop her ass with his hands behind his back in the most insulting way possible. In his “training” session in the Quiver/Arrow cave, he also teaches Thea and Oliver about working in unison, scolding Oliver that he brought a bow and arrow to a sword fight. He may be a condescending jerk, but he will actually make them better… if that’s the direction the show is going in anymore.

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

Do NOT piss Nyssa off: Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, Nyssa, is fireworks in a bottle. This girl kicks major ass. I love the “vengeance is justice” angle and hope they continue to have her as a bigger part of the story. It was satisfying to see her kick Merlyn’s butt (chin) all over town, too. She is clearly not the bad guy here, so it’s easy to get attached to Nyssa as she is the most badass female in the show not named Tatsu.

I Dig the Bromance: There isn’t a better tag team on television right now than John Diggle and Oliver Queen. Diggle knows Oliver very well, and can sense when something has gotten under his skin, or when he has an ulterior motive. Diggle is not afraid to call him on his bullshit, either, and can de-escalate a situation before it ever gets out of hand between Oliver and the rest of Team Arrow. More importantly, Oliver never has to worry about carrying him in a fight. Something in my bones tells me he’s almost TOO valuable to keep on Team Arrow forever, though. I mean, the man finally put security locks. Who else could have thought of that?

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

Cons:

Sara is still in the refrigerator: The cliché has been used in comic books forever, but they are reeeally drawing out the affects of Sara’s death in the hope it will make Laurel a stronger character. Instead, it’s getting a bit repetitive. I’m still unsure that they won’t bring her back permanently, but it seems like the only reason Laurel is around is to talk about Sara – same with Quentin Lance. Can Sara be more than a beacon of hope or

And Laurel isn’t doing herself any favors: While she’s been annoyingly tagging along like Oliver’s kid sister, there’s a point when it’s not cute anymore. Laurel isn’t Sara – we’ve visited that point – but she also doesn’t have the same charisma as her sister, either. Her reaction to Thea’s confession was baffling and not believable. Nor was her reaction to Oliver, or her “burn” to them ever being in love. I will be so disappointed if this couple ever gets together. There are talks about Caity Lotz coming back for a spin-off show with ATOM – could this mean that the Lazarus Pit might be used soon? She is sooooo C-Dub.

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

Oliver is such a know-it-all: Not only does Oliver have to make all the important decisions for the group, but he is constantly “doing what’s best” for each person. It gets a little old, frankly. Oliver has been through some tough times, and done some pretty unforgivable things, but he got over it. There is a team – a family – now with his back, so why does he feel the need to pull the strings? If it weren’t for Diggle, I think Oliver would piss everybody away. Roy and Thea seem to accept that he constantly lies and hides things from them, but Felicity and Laurel are ready to walk away. Stop being a dick, Oliver.

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

Traaaaap: John Barrowman, you are better than this. I don’t know hat happened, but Merlyn turned into a gigantic wuss as soon as Ra’s captured him. I know that the Demon Head is formidable, but Malcolm Meryln turns into a total coward, and it’s pretty off-putting. I know Ra’s is scary, and I know that it’s meant to show just how much stronger Oliver’s resolve is than Merlyn’s, but  it just comes off as really lame – especially when they find Merlyn and he is barely able to whisper the word “trap.” Come on, really guys? It reminds me of that episode in Chappelle’s Show when his bodyguard is moments away from revealing one of life’s truths to Dave. So cheesy…

 

Easter Eggs:

Lazarus Pit or just Nanda SPArbat?: Maybe Ra’s just likes his bubble baths, but the way he talked about talking with illusionists in the 1800’s sure makes it seem like this guy is actually old as fuck.

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

More Toys!!: The newest bit of tech we see Oliver blessed with is a collapsible bow. This guy shows up to Nanda Parbat on his George Jetson. With just one spasm of his hands, his suitcase this unfolds into a beautiful compound bow. I don’t know where he’s getting all this tech (Cisco?), but I hope it keeps coming. Comic book Green Arrow has a trick arrow for every occasion.

Can’t Ra’s hell forever: Ra’s is really quite true to his source material; meanwhile, Arrow is staying true to 70’s Batman lore (screw you, Bruce Wayne), with Oliver taking the place of the traditional Bruce Wayne. Ra’s respects Oliver, and wants him to take over his position as the Demon Head. This is a big deal. Obviously, there’s a conflict of interest here, but with the lines of death not as black and white as they are for The Dark Knight, this could prove an interesting opportunity for Ollie.

Daddy issues: Ra’s isn’t just ashamed of Nyssa because she’s a lesbian; it’s deeper than that. WIth the Demon Head looking for a replacement, he’s looking for an heir – somebody to keep the family bloodline strong, and so the responsibility falls to Nyssa (we haven’t met any other of his children) to breed the ultimate warrior, similar to Damian Wayne in the Batman comic books. I don’t see Nyssa and Oliver doing the do anytime soon, but it’s always a possibility.

 

 


 

Hush Comics gives “Nanda Parbat” a B- for centering the entire episode around Thea’s revelation that she killed Sara, and the ripple effect it causes between the team. There were signs of a crazy story to come, both in the flashbacks and in Nanda Parbat, but it was marred by the incessant grieving of the show’s weakest character. When Oliver was gone, the show really started relying on the wrong characters. I want: more Roy Harper, more John Diggle, and a more dynamic Felicity Smoak. If Arrow can learn how to get out of its own way, we can forgive these recent missteps.

 

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Cate Cameron, Diyah Pera, and Dean Buscher.

Arrow Review – “The Return” S3E14

Pros:

Flash(back) Dance: “The Return” is chock-full of the past, to the point where it dictated the flow of the episode. I especially enjoy that the episode explores a time that has been often talked about, but not really ever shown – how things in Starling City went while Oliver was gone. Returning from the dead are: Tommy Merlyn, Robert Queen, Quentin Lance’s hair, and John Diggle’s brother, Andy. I want them to explore more of this time.

arrow s3e14 %22the return%22 4

Sibling love: Thea and Oliver actually make one badass team when they’re not fighting each other. By Oliver learning from Thea, it makes the partnership that much stronger. It’s also pretty alarming what Oliver is willing to do to protect Thea from drug dealers. As a big brother myself, I can’t say I would have approached the situation differently, but you don’t escape the scene by throwing the body off the balcony. C’mon, Ollie!

Sir Lance a lot: One of my favorite characters who has been handed a diminutive role recently is Quentin Lance. Good for us that this episode features him quite a lot, specifically when showing us how he dealt with Sara’s death – both before Oliver’s return and currently. Paul Blackthorne (you’re right, it does sound like a pirate name), who plays Lance, pours a lot of emotion into this role and we all benefit from it.

arrow s3e14 %22the return%22 3

Cons:

Maybe a little too much flashback: Arrow has really excelled at keeping a good balance between their flashbacks and their current happenings, but “The Return” was a slip in the wrong direction, with over half the episode occurring in the past. While it wasn’t an uncalled for amount of time, it really slowed the momentum of the show as Team Arrow inches closer to a showdown with the League of Assassins.

arrow s3e14 %22the return%22 1

Too convenient: I’m sorry, but Slade Wilson almost destroyed the city. He kicked Moira Queen and took over Queen Consolidated from the inside. He’s a bad man, and for Oliver (who had just been impaled by one of his own booby-traps) and Thea (who just had her shoulder dislocated) to whoop his ass in a few minutes seemed really convenient, and a major disservice to Manu Bennett’s return. Also, why did Oliver feel like they had to break Thea’s arm? I know she’s a trooper and all, but couldn’t they have used a boot or something to hit the button? What a crappily-designed prison by A.R.G.U.S.

Merlyn works his magic: We all know at this point that Malcolm Merlyn is a giant dick finger, but he really takes it to a whole new level with this week’s episode. Thea finds out the truth behind Sara’s death, and it stings, but what really killed the moment for me was Merlyn’s incessant pleas that he loves Thea and did it to protect her. It’s laughable, and really, really annoying. I love having John Barrowman on the show, but it’d be so much nicer to see him on Team Arrow than the awful excuse for a father figure he’s been so far.

Easter Eggs:

arrow s3e14 %22the return%22 5

Star City Rockets: Here we have a really interesting reference. The Star City Rockets’ logo can be found on Oliver’s baseball cap as he tries to go around the city incognito. In the comic books, the Rockets are a baseball team owner by Robert Queen. They play at Papp Stadium, named for Green Arrow co-creator George Papp.

White roses: This may be a stretch, but the white roses that Thea leaves at Oliver & Robert’s gravesite may have some subtle significance. White roses are often associated with innocence and purity. By leaving them at the graves, it could be symbolism for Thea losing her innocence – a theory backed up by the drugs she buys while visiting the memorial to her dad family.

Matthew Shrieve: Turns out Amanda Waller actually has a bossman, and it’s General Shrieve, played by the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer. In comic books, he is leader of the Creature Commandos, a group of monsters/soldiers, but look for him to stick around on Arrow as Waller’s superior.

The Blacker the Canary: In a grieving rage, Quentin Lance spits out that he knows the masked vigilante out there is Laurel, and calls her the Black Canary, perhaps a jab that she is a darker and more evil perversion of what her sister did.

The other guy: When Oliver checks on the “other prisoner” in the Lian Yu prison, he’s looking for Captain Boomerang, who he and the Flash took down together.

arrow s3e14 %22the return%22 6


 

Hush Comics gives “The Return” a C- for its poor management of time and overall lack of progression. There were still some decent parts in the episode, but it relied too much on flashbacks to carry the story and sacrificed quality in the battle with Slade to make a point with Thea. It’s still better than Gotham, though.

 

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Dean Buscher and Diyah Pera.

Comic Book Reviews 02-11-15

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

All New Ghost Rider #11

All-New Ghost Rider #11 – A

First things first – shout out to Fiona Staples for rocking the cover of this month’s All-New Ghost Rider. Second things second – shout out to Marvel for switching up pencilers and letting Felipe Smith work the panels. Instantly, from very first square, I saw improvement. Every panel was so much cleaner and easy to follow – something that’s been missing with Damion Scott’s issues (in my opinion).   It goes a long way to be able to SEE what’s happening in a comic book (go figure). Enough on that subject, let’s talk a little bit about the story. S*** is getting real! And dark!! I get that the whole undead, fiery-soul occupying the body of another human angle isn’t meant to make me feel warm and fuzzy, but still… things are getting pretty out of control in a very disconcerting way. The upside to this is that it’s not boring. The All-New Ghost Rider has been hit or miss for me ever since it started up last year. This month was a “hit” issue. And from the looks of things at the end of the issue, next month is likely to be a repeat performance. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios: 

Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift #2 – A

I’ve been on a huge Adventure Time kick recently. I’m finally all caught up on the show, and I’m unreasonably excited that there’s also a whole world of comics for me to dive into. And I hope it’s all as good as the current run. Issue two picks up right after issue one, and surpasses it in every way: better visuals, more story, a longer read time. It starts to peel back the layers of the deceptively complicated emotional pallet of the world. And did I mention the art? I haven’t heard of Carey Pietavg before, but I’m totally sold. Definitely more worth cover price than the first issue. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Secret Six #2 – B

This band of misfits are badasses! The Secret Six are obscure characters who would never be able to hold their own series, but together just manage to manage an enjoyable couple of issues, with potential to get even better. With Gail Simone at the helm, this series could return to the glory it had prior to the New52 launch. The focus of this issue is basically the end of the prologue, ending in the unleashing of the team upon the world. There are some characters I like, and others I’m not so fond of, but I am excited to see where we go from here. – Sherif

Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day SpecialC-

This just simply wasn’t very good. The plot was super long and convoluted and the change in art just felt lazy. In fact, they literally told the readers it was lazy because the main artist didn’t have enough time to draw the comic and meet their deadline, so they brought other artists in to do the dream sequences. This would have been fine if they weren’t so darn weird and convoluted. There were funny moments in it, but overall, this was just … weird — and not in a good way. – Charlotte

IDW Comics:

Edward Scissorhands #4 – B-

This series has been a hidden gem. This week, we see Edward and Megs find difficulty in warning people about Eli, the seemingly violent experiment Edward’s creator never activated. Most of this this opposition is the same as the film, as it comes solely from moronic adults who never listen to the kid who actually knows what is going on. The writing has gotten progressively better as this series has gone on and will hopefully come to a good ending next month in the final issue. My favorite thing of this whole series is the art by Drew Rausch because he makes Edward Scissorhands all his own while also appeasing this Tim Burton junkie pleasantly. – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #137 – A-

Well that got awkward. This book ended in perhaps one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve read in TWD – and believe me, there are enough to choose from. Love is in the air on the Hilltop as Carl continues to be wooed by one of the Whisperers. The issue really dives into the difficulties and paradox of how to rebuild society and the plain fragility of it all. There is trouble a’brewin; nothing this nice can last long. It only takes a few jerk-offs to ruin everything. Luckily for Maggie, Jesus sees everything. I’m also really liking that Carl has grown with the times. He’s the only one I’ve seen both threaten to murder a girl and get her in the same issue. – Sherif

The Empty #1 – B

I’m impressed; this is one of the first comics I’ve seen where the entire book was done by one person. Jimmie Robinson is the creator of The Empty, he also wrote, illustrated, colored and lettered it. Oh if only I could do all of those things. The Empty is an interesting post-apocalyptic story that is set in a part of the world covered in roots that expel a poisonous gas, mutating and poisoning the land. Tanoor is a hunter for her village. She braves the wasteland with her handy, and very cute, foxalope, Fenx. After one hunt Tanoor notices a body floating in the river near her village and it’s a woman named Lila. Lila is from a part of the world that is still lush, green and untainted. Tanoor and Lila set out to return Lila to her home. The art style makes some choices that I could take or leave. The people of Tanoor’s race are fairly normal human looking, except for the fact that their arms go down to their calves. Lila is drawn in a similar style but with different strange proportions, neck length and facial proportions in this case. There is also a backstory to Tanoor that I hope is covered. She only where’s bandages and her entire body is covered in very large scars. It will be a letdown if at some point that’s never touched on. – Scott

Shutter #9 – B-

I’ve understood all the weird shit that’s gone down in Shutter: the ninja ghosts, the steampunk Monopoly man, even the zany half-siblings angle, but the first half of this issue made absolutely no goddamn sense to me. I will say that I loved Owen Gieni’s color work in this issue. The flashback spread is beautifully crafted and, even though I had absolutely no clue what was going on, I was very visually stimulated. All this is forgiven when the book kicks it up about 20 notches at the end there, and the next issue will surely be a trip! – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Darth Vader #1 – A-

(A) With the new Star Wars comics up and running, I’m really excited for this Darth Vader series. You never really saw many of Vader’s interactions with his fellow Empire cohorts. How much trouble did he really get in after the destruction of the first Death Star? Darth Vader #1 shows a little bit into the life and times of the Sith Lord. It’s really interesting seeing how Vader operates on a personal level. He really enjoys taking his anger out on those around him. This book also introduces some new characters, like a bad-ass looking wookie bounty hunter named Black Krrsantan. I also really loved the scroll in the beginning of the issue, it’s from the Empire’s point of view. So far, my only problem with the book is I never know how to read what Vader is saying. The emotionless mask with a speech balloon is hard to interpret, but what are you going to do? – Scott

(B) Marvel’s got a tough assignment with Darth Vader. Take the most notoriously cruel and terrifying villain in sci-fi history and create a unique, engaging and untold story about him. What makes this so challenging is that in all of Star Wars’ totality there isn’t a more iconic nor a more well-explored character than Darth Vader. The success or failure of Marvel’s first swing at the Sith lord’s solo title will only be apparent at the end. Which means getting a fair and solid reading from the first issue is highly unlikely (ask C3PO for the exact odds). That being said, there were a few things that exceeded my expectations in Darth Vader #1. The short list is this: the events of Marvel’s Star Wars title are interwoven, Darth Vader isn’t just a puppet for The Emperor, who’s this guy with half a Rodian for a face, and (this is the best one) Boba Fett has a BAD-ASS looking Wookiee bounty hunter partner (whaaaa?!?!). I’d say that this issue succeeded in capturing my attention and making me want more. Especially if that “more” includes watching this unnamed Wookie rip off a limb or two. – Taylor

Thor #5 – A-

Things have gotten pretty crazy in the world of Thor as of late, with the armless and Mjolnir-less hero no longer taking the name of Thor and giving it to the mystery woman able to pick up the hammer. Odin is not too happy with his son and the loss of his hammer. He is going to make sure he finds out who the new Thor is no matter what old Thor (no new name yet) or Freyja have to say about it. So as it stands now, Odin is likely as much of an adversary to the new Thor as is Malekith and his dealings. This series feels like most of it has been tiny tidbits of what it is placed within this issue. With Jason Aaron at the helm, he creates a very awesome intro to what definitely will be a great whodunit type of story where we will constantly be guessing who Thor is. Jorge Molina does an outstanding job with the art in this issue and really makes me wish he was more than just a guest artist. – Jacob

Guardians of the Galaxy #24 – B+

It’s the second part of the Black Vortex event, and in this issue we pick up right after the Black Vortex Alpha issue ended. Peter and Kitty are finally free of Knife, and in the process got ahold of the Black Vortex. The Guardians and the X-Men are under attack by the Slaughter Lords until Gamora submitted to the Black Vortex and beats the crap out of them all while everyone escapes to safety. Now they must decide what to do with the Black Vortex before any one of the many people after them find them again. The writing for this issue is pretty good; I always love little banter between characters you seemingly think should never work together, but we obviously can expect it to be good with Brian Michael Bendis helming this issue. Valerio Schiti kills it with the art, although the reflection in the Black Vortex at the end had me a bit worried about designs down the road. Definitely pick up this issue if you like either team or generally like to read big events, as it is definitely one of the better ones from Marvel in awhile. – Jacob

Nightcrawler #11 – B+

The Nightcrawler series has become pretty darn introspective.  At times this has driven the series down (Issue #7).  However, the last few issues have done a nice job at jazzing up the path to enlightenment with some good old-fashioned violence.  The latest issue of Nightcrawler focused much less on Nightcrawler.  However, instead of taking the approach of issue 7, an old fashioned battle-royale gave us a glimpse into where the X-Men started as we witnessed the bravery exhibited by two of our newest and bravest mutants, Rico and Ziggy.  Will the new X-Men simply run from a terrifying human/mutant trafficking ring?  Heck no!  As Nightcrawler grapples with the meaning of his second, and now third, life let’s hope he remembers to listen to his pupils as they so eagerly listen to him.  Also, how do I go about getting my own BAMF?  Those things are would be so adorable as well as handy to have around. – Jake

All-New X-Men #36 – B+

As many parallel universes as there are in DC and Marvel, the stories both publishers are putting out seem like parallel versions of each other. Heck, the term “Multiverse” is actually used during this issue. One little girl with zero training has the power to open and close a portal to any dimension. With no Charles Xavier to quell her agitation, this can only end in utter disaster. Saying goodbye to the Ultimate Universe in this issue was also kind of sad; I wish I could carry Miles Morales around with me wherever I go. There is a lot to build off of with this story, and it continues to be one of the most consistent book out. – Sherif

Wolverines #6 – B+

This series and the events leading up to it have left most people with a bad adamintium taste in their mouths, but with this issue it may change a lot. We finally see the X-Men get involved in some aspect with all that is going on with Wolverine after his death. With The X-Men showing up it is now X-Men, Paradise, and The Wolverines together against Mr. Sinister. Although the X-Men mean well, they may have just destroyed all hope of the mission at hand and Wolverine’s body may be at risk. I definitely felt this issue was the best thing from this series so far and will likely mean next week would be a great time to jump into the fold of the never-ending “Death of Wolverine” and its after math. The art by Jason Masters also adds a nice touch.  This issue may be the start to something good. – Jacob

Spider-Woman #4 – B

Here’s our first post Spider-Verse event comic. Having dealt with the Inheritors threat, what is next for Jessica Drew?? Apparently it’s finding a new job. One that comes with substantially less inter-dimensional travel and fewer encounters with giant alien monsters (both of which occur in this issue!). Overall this book felt a bit disjointed. It was half wrap-up of issues surrounding Spider-Verse and half transitioning into a standalone title. This made for only a moderately entertaining read. This is understandable – it’s hard to switch gears so quickly and maintain previous pace. I’m generally excited to keep up with this title. A new Spider-Woman costume is enough enticement alone (I am not a fan of the current getup)! I’ve got a good feeling about where the new Spider-Woman is heading. – Taylor

Captain Marvel #12 – B-

Oh thank the gods. Captain Marvel regained some of its old wit. There were no tropes, and we got to focus on The Cap’ herself. There was some banter between her and the ship, Harrison. But mostly there was a lot of good artwork. I love when space books take the time show you the vastness of the universe, and this issue did that very well. This new arc, in which Lila and Grace Valentine are no longer the focal point, will take an interesting turn now that the Flerken is the most powerful Flerken of all Flerkens. – Adrian

Amazing Spider-Man #14 – C

And so it ends. The Spider-Verse event is over. And while it was a super-fun ride throughout the “epic” conclusion was just a smidge below my expectations. It was exciting, but I found that as I flipped the pages I wasn’t as anxious or as nervous as I’d hoped. On top of that, there was just too much going on. The ritual, the rebirth of Leopardon, Solus’ soul crystal, Doc Ock being an A-hole, the revenge of Karn, Hamboozling. Each component was good, but because there was so much content there wasn’t any room for focus. No one aspect really brought it home and by the time is was over it was just… over. All in all, I got enough closure for comfort. What’s even better is the stage has been set for numerous spin-offs, follow-up events and completely new stories. You’d better believe that I’d pay money to read a dedicated “Spider-Ham” series. The Spider-Verse is calm again, but let’s see how long it lasts. – Taylor


Funniest Panel:

All New X-Men #36
All New X-Men #36

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Spider-Woman #4
Spider-Woman #4

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Power Couples: The Top 10 Couples in Comic Books Today

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we are listing out the Top Ten duos in comic books today. In the spirit of the holiday, this list isn’t exclusive to romantic couples; bromance, womance and other creepy forms of couples-ship are represented here.

 

1.) Alana & Marko (Saga)

Power Couples - Alana and Marko

There couldn’t be any other couple at the top of our list. Alana and Marko are what Romeo and Juliet would have been if they weren’t both giant pussies. Love forged in wartime is especially difficult when the two parties have guns pointed directly at each other. Somehow these two fugitives managed to escape all sorts of danger on their way to having a baby, and temporarily sharing a nice, quiet life. They have problems just like any other couple, and are willing to risk horn and wing to keep their family safe and together. This isn’t just called a fantasy series for the pissing dragons and robot TVs; this is the quintessential relationship, the taboo story between star-crossed lovers with the guts to keep fighting.

2.) Susie & John (Sex Criminals)

Power Couples - John and Susie

While not your traditional super-powered protagonists, Susie and John share quite the special bond. Their ability to freeze time and commit crime after orgasming is a telltale sign that they are in sync as two people can possibly be. This super-weird ability aside, they are two of the most realistic characters in the pages of comic books today. They deal with everyday problems just like the rest of us, but are a model for how two flawed people can come together and find solace in each other’s Quiet.

3.) Superman & Wonder Woman

Power Couples - Superman and WW

If any couple here embodies the phrase “Power Couple,” it’s these two juggernauts – hell, the name of their first graphic novel is Superman/Wonder Woman: Power Couple. One an indestructible alien, the other a Princess of the Amazons and Goddess of War, that’s just about as powerful as you can get; all that’s left is for them to release a cover of “Drunk in Love” and it’s official. These two kick ass because their stories are not dependent on each other. Superman is going strong without even a reference of Diana, while Wonder Woman has the new Goddess of War concerned with much bigger problems. Yet, together they are a solid team, focused on one goal in one solid book.

4.) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl & Tippy Toe

Power Couples - Squirrel Girl and Tippy Toe

Not every close friendship needs to be between two humans. Equipped with her pink bow tie, Tippy Toe is Squirrel Girl’s best friend. As Doreen Green embarks on a journey through college, Tippy keeps her grounded by reminding her of how proud she should be of who she is, what she does and where she comes from. I can’t say enough how great it would have been to have an encouraging friend like Tippy when I went to college. Tippy is down for Doreen, and even jumps in the middle of a fight between her and Kraven to save her. Only two issues in, and I am considering getting myself a pet squirrel.

5.) Spider-Man & Silk

Power Couples - Spidey and Silk

Holy pheromones, Batman! Since joining the Spidey-group right before Spider-Verse, Silk and our Peter Parker have had an animalistic attraction to each other. Watching them in work must have been twice as insulting for the bad guys they took down, who get the crap beaten out of them, then get to watch Spidey and Silk slobber all over each other while they bicker about who looked better doing it. Silk gets her own series next week, but you can’t keep her and Peter away for long. This relationship is one based off ass-kicking and making sweet spider love; what else do you need?

6.) Batman & Joker

Power Couples - Batman and Joker

Ah, crazy love. There is definitely some hate love in this relationship. During the Death of the Family storyline, Batman broke Joker’s heart. The yin and yang that the two had was completely thrown for a loop when Batman put an end to Joker’s game when he threatens to reveal the Joker’s secret identity. Oddly enough, it turns out that Joker knew Batman’s secret identity the whole time, but was only interested in the charade the played. It was theater to him – a loving partnership. Now that we’re in the thick of Endgame, we’re seeing a lover scorn. Joker is not taking any prisoners this time, and in reality, just seems to be really butt-hurt that the Batman doesn’t want to play with him.

7.) Tony Stark & Tony Stark

Power Couples - Tony Stark and Tony Stark

Nobody loves Iron Man quite like Iron Man can. In the relatively fresh Superior Iron Man series, Tony Stark has developed a mobile app based off the Extremis technology, transforming citizens into images of perfection – for an unprecedented fee, of course. This kind of ego stroking is just what makes Tony Stark the Kanye West of the comic book world. Everybody wishes they could find somebody who loves them like Tony Stark loves himself. It’s non-stop hilarity for readers, and hands-down the most self-adoring relationship out there.

8.) Hawkeye & Hawkguy

Power Couples - Hawkeye and Hawkguy

There’s no romance here… I hope. Kate Bishop and Clint Barton are like a big brother and little sister, and are both Hawkeyes. During the 21 issue run of Hawkeye (and the Hawkeye vs. Deadpool mini-series), they have been freelancing their way across the Marvel Universe as a crime-fighting powerhouse. There’s plenty of bickering and fighting, but even more kicking ass to save each other from sticky situations. With Fraction & Aja’s run ending soon, I hope that Kate Bishop doesn’t fall to the wayside. Then again, that’s something that the Clint Barton I know would never allow.

9.) Carl Grimes & Lydia (The Walking Dead)

Power Couples - Carl Grimes and Lydia

If you’ve been following The Walking Dead, then you know it has been a hard knock life for Carl Grimes. Mom? Dead. Sister? Dead. Right eyeball? Dead. Safe to say, he’s been through some shit. This whole time, he hasn’t really ever had a friend who can understand what he’s been through. Sure, there’s Sophia, but aside from losing loved ones, she hasn’t really ever seen the dark side. I mean, Carl’s a guy who talked with Negan for consultation. One day alone in a cell with one of the Whisperers, Lydia, and Carl are smitten. The jury is still out on this one, as there’s a good chance Carl is getting played, but for the moment, Lydia seems to be the best possible thing for Carl right now.

10.) Mark & Maggie (Postal)

Power Couples - Maggie and Mark from Postal

We don’t know too much about Mark and Maggie yet. We know she is his waitress and he is a regular in her section. We also know that she feeds into his OCD by stacking his fries just right. Maggie is nice to Mark. Therefore, Mark wants to have sex with Maggie. Even though Maggie, like the rest of the town, has a record, she seems like the type of gal Mark will want on his side when shit hits the fan. Together, they are better. – Adrian

 

 

 

 

Arrow Review – “Canaries” S3E13

Pros:

Parkour!
Parkour!

The cat’s out of the bag: Finally, some of the biggest secrets kept this season are confessed to. Every episode has become a brutal exchange between Thea & Oliver and Laurel & her dad, both situations where faulty logic keeps them from spilling the beans. By both parties finally learning their respective secrets, a huge weight is lifted off their (and our) shoulders.

Thea is a changed person: Finally, somebody who actually seems happy that Oliver is back from the dead. He’s gotten so much flack for the things he’s done since his return that Thea’s reaction to the big news is one that had us adamantly cheering for her. The midriff is still in full effect, but her decisions as a character are smart and, for the most part, very level-headed. Seems that Merlyn’s training has done more for her than teach her to fight.

Felicity gets back some brownie points: After a few off-putting episodes from Felicity Smoak, she gets very “real talk” in “Canaries.” Some of the comments to Oliver are a bit snippy, but the talk that her and Laurel have about not chasing Sara’s mantle was really nice. As emotional as these episodes can come to be, the honesty and simplicity of the talk was well-placed.

Laurel gets some guts: Laurel has really been a red-headed stepchild in Arrow so far. We’ve accepted the fact that she is the new Canary, but just as Oliver won’t let her join in on any reindeer games, we as an audience still don’t really like seeing her in the costume. After “Canaries,” though, I’m all about a Canary that doesn’t take crap from anybody. She’s not Sara, and she’s not trying to be.

Diggle’s speech: Diggle is by far the most neutral character in the episode, which is great for Oliver, who is essentially gang up on in this episode. These two are the OG Arrow crew – back when he was The Hood and Katie Cassidy (Laurel) had her original face. Diggle has a very grounded approach and can usually break things down to Ollie in a way that doesn’t push him further. The explanation that Oliver created a legacy helps him see that he is not outcast, but that while he created the Arrow, it is now bigger than him.

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Cons:

Count vertigo sucks: This is not your father’s Count Vertigo, although, maybe it is. This guy was so cheesy, like a villain of the week from the 60’s Batman television show. All we were missing was a maniacal “mwahahaha” as he ran away. Then there was the choreographed fight scene with the henchmen as he made his dastardly escape. Puh-lease.

He’s cool, but he’s no Joe West: Where The Flash really kicks this show’s ass is the detective work. Joe West is ten times the detective Quentin Lance is, and he doesn’t get blinded by his feelings. That being said, Star City (especially the Glades) are a whole different type of city than Central City, so there are things that Lance is better at than West, but not being able to tell his daughters apart in Halloween costumes was a bit ridiculous.

Finding a good DJ is harder than it used to be: As far as the League’s planted agent, DJ Dicksplash, goes, I really didn’t like: 1) what his ultimate purpose was in the show and 2) the idiotic way he decided to leave the show. We really could have done without his presence at all, or at the very least skipped the gratuitous sex scene with Thea. Who does it in the living room of an apartment they share with their brother?? Ewwwww!

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Easter Eggs:

Rahs or Reish?: The age-old debate returns! How the hell do you pronounce the name of the Demon’s Head? According to creator Denny O’Neil, it’s “Reish,” so I would be hard-pressed to argue with that. I loved that they still played with the pronunciation, as it’s an age old argument.

More Speedy references: Now that Thea is “in the know,” Oliver can’t help but call her Speedy. It’s referenced again in the Amanda Waller flashback, but in a much different tone. With Thea and Ollie headed to the island (the same island that houses Deathstroke), I hope this training can lead to her eventually donning a costume of her own.

5th and Kingsley: We know The CW loves to hide Easter Eggs in their street names, usually in the form of past writers and artists. However, after some research, it seems like this might he a reference to King Faraday, one of the member’s of Amanda Waller’s Task Force X. I could be super wrong, but I think this might be alluding to a Task Force X appearance soon.

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Hush Comics gives “Canaries” a B. From physically kicking ass to making strong choices, the women of the Arrow-verse really took over this episode. All Team Arrow needed was the lubrication of communication to return to the well-oiled machine they were before Sara died.

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Dean Buscher and Diyah Pera.

Yesterday in the Nerd Verse… Feb 10, 2015

First Colbert, and now his predecessor! Jon Stewart has announced that he will be ending his tenure on The Daily Show. Source: The Daily Show

Scribd, described as the Netflix service for books, has added 10,000 comic books to its subscription list. Sign me up! Source: Scribd

Marvel is searching for a “high-school aged” Spider-Man, but are open to a Miles Morales. I know this probably won’t happen, but “baby I’m your hero, #donaldforspiderman.” Business-wise, the Spider-Man character will be sort of shared between Sony and Marvel, with both production companies being able to use the same character, but not getting any revenue from the other’s movie. Source: Variety

Excited for Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend? No? Well, how about 50 Shades of Buscemi? Check out the trailer, reenacted with scenes from various Steve Buscemi clips. If only it were real. Source: EW

A new New Suicide Squad team has been announced, consisting of Parasite, Black Hand, Poison Ivy, Reverse-Flash, Cheetah and Talon. If you thought the previous team was a mish-mash, this is a giant bowl of what-the-f***. Source: back of DC Comics publications this week.

Based off the toy line of the same name, a straight-to-DVD Batman Unlimited movie will be released in May called Batman Unlimited: Animal Instinct, and it looks a whole lot like it should be called Batman: Beast Wars. Also, details on the Combo-Pack are included. Source: ComicVine

The DVD of Justice League vs. Bizarro League came out yesterday. You can find all the other retail goodness on our Geekly Forecast here.

Straight from the mouth of Rome’s mayor, it looks like Zoolander 2 will begin filming in Italy sometime this Spring. Of all the comedies in the last 10-15 years, this is the one I was most excited for a sequel. Source: Bad Taste (get your Google Translator ready!

According to DC, February is Harley Quinn month. Check out all the variants coming out, and ways you can show her some Mad Love. Source: DC Comics

A Kickstarter campaign has launched or a Ghostbusters board game, created by Cryptozoic (makers of the DC Comics Deck-Building Game) and backed by Sony. The price of the game runs a little steep ($88), but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested. Source: Kickstarter