#TimeTravelThursday (it’s a thing ;) Comic Book Review: Back to the Future #1

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Superfiend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines, part 1: BttF creator/screenwriter Bob Gale returns with all-new tales from the twisting and turning timeline that made Back to the Future a, well… TIMELESS pop-culture phenomenon! Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project.”


Rather than pick up after the third film, I like that this film goes back to the past to tell two stories about our two main protagonists. The first story starts in the early 1900’s and features Doc Brown telling his young son, the story of how he and Marty McFly met. While it’s never stated, given the time period this story starts in, I’m assuming the Doc Brown featured here, is the one who experienced the events of all three films. With that premise in play, this issue delivers on the films title and takes us Back to the Future. We then see Marty McFly being bullied by “Needles”, who wants to take Marty’s interoctpr tube and use it for his guitar. When Marty struggles to get it back, it breaks. At this point. “Needles warns Marty that if he doesn’t get one for him, before he and his band need to perform, Marty’s going to get a beating. As Marty tries to track down a interocito tube, he realizes that they’ve all been sold to reclusive scientist Doc Brown. Marty locates his residence, but is turned away at the intercom. He’s even electro shocked for his troubles. Ever persistent, Marty finds a way to sneak in, only to encounter more booby traps, He finally meets Doc Brown, who applauds him for following the clues he laid to his residence and finding a way into his house, despite all the safeguards. When Marty tells Doc Brown why he’s there, Doc gives him a interceptor tube and offers him a job as his assistant, so long as all the work they do in the lab is kept a secret. Marty agrees and the iconic friendship is born. Having co creator and screenwriter Bob Gale co-write this comic is great, because he thrusts the reader right back into a familiar world. It was fun seeing the reclusive/conspiracy theorist reputation of Doc Brown again. This coupled with a Marty who is shy, meek and being threatened by a bully, made me feel like I was watching the iconic first film again. The classic lines of “Think McFly Think” and “Great Scott” appear in this book but, never feel like they’re there just for the hell of it. They’re used in appropriate instances. The second story takes us to 1943 and the California Institute of Technology, where a younger Doc Brown is furious at his boss, for not recommending him to the committee in charge of selecting the Manhattan Project. His boss said he though of him but, ultimately felt that his chaotic unorganized personality, would prevent him from getting a spot on that committee. Doc brown insists on a meeting anyways. To present a more structured, organized version of himself, he sets up the interview at a neighbor’s house. Despite his deceptive efforts, the government official and General conducting the interview, unearth his lie, thanks to a piece of his neighbor’s wayward mail. Figuring he blew the interview, Emmett heads home, only to find J. Robert Oppenheimer in his basement lab, welcoming him to the Manhattan Project. While the first part of the story is more exciting, I like that this part of the story gives us the more unhinged, unorganized, and chaotic Doc Brown we are used to for the bulk of the films, even though he is younger. His deceptive ways to get what he wants, gives him something else in common with Marty, who snuck his way into Emmett’s house in our main story. I liked the connectivity and similar traits of our to main characters. They were destined to team up.


Art for the first story is by Brent Schoonover. His depiction of Doc Brown in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s looked exactly how we left him and his family in the third film. Likewise, the 1985 initial meeting between Doc Brown and Marty McFly was very much like their first encounter in the original film, at least a nod to it. The look of Marty and Doc Brown is spot on to the appearance of actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, as their characters. It’s so good, you’d be forgiven for confusing this issue to be a cut scene on the Blu-Ray extras. I loved that whenever a date and time was given in this book, it was depicted in the style of the date/time dashboard of the DeLorean. Even though the iconic car is absent from the book, it’s presence is still felt. The back story is drawn by Dan Shoening of Ghostbusters fame. Even though we get a younger Doc Brown here, we get the crazy over the top mannerisms, more so in this story, than the first one. It makes for a funny page. Doc Brown looks like a young Christopher Lloyd, but with an Egon esque hair style. I don’t know if Mr. Shoening did this on purpose, or as a force of habit. Either way, it works. I loved the splash page of Doc Brown’s early lab. It is eclectic, chaotic and cramped, very much like its owner.

I loved being back in this world. I can’t believe I’m just discovering this book now. I like that instead of resting on the laurels of making this book a sequel to the film, the first arc is exploring untold prequel cannon. In addition to that, I can’t wait until this book explores altered timelines too! If you’re a fan of this film series, this is a MUST OWN book! If you’re not a fan of this film series, sorry, I can’t help you!

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1

(Submitted by Batman’s Bitch, Mr. Prince Adam… 😉 Thanks, Super Friend. You know I tease ya cuz I loves ya…and also because it’s true. 😉 xoxo)

“After a chance meeting with billionaire Bruce Wayne, Elmer Fudd’s obsession quickly escalates into stalking Batman through the dark alleys and high-class social settings of Gotham City. Welcome to Bat Season! And the bonus Looney Tunes backup story features DC characters written by Tom King and artwork by Byron Vaughns.” (DC Entertainment)

Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1 is one of five one shot specials teaming up the DC Comics cast of characters with the Looney Tunes cast of characters.  I love DC & I love Looney Tunes, so these crossovers should be a slam dunk and this issue absolutely is.  How do the two worlds meet?  Well, in the case of this issue, writer Tom King places Elmer Fudd, a hunter on the hunt for a hitman who killed his girlfriend.  The hitman offers to make a trade, spare his life, in exchange for the name of the person who contracted him.  Elmer agree and the hitman tells him the contract was ordered by Bruce Wayne.  Elmer Fudd heads to a party at Wayne Manor and opens fire on Bruce Wayne.  Of course, Bruce escapes, switches his suit for his Batman costume and tracks down Elmer Fudd.  A fight ensues, Batman subdues Elmer Fudd, as he should be able to and convinces him that Bruce Wayne didn’t order the hit on his girlfriend. The two team up and track down the hitman to a bar filled with hitmen and seedy characters. Naturally a bar fight ensues and as they corner the hitman, he pleads and reiterates that he’s not the killer, pointing behind them.  Batman and Elmer turn around, and see Elmer’s girlfriend.  She says that she enlisted the hitman’s help to fake her own death, so she can get away from Elmer Fudd’s dangerous lifestyle as a hunter.  She walks out of the bar, while the three men enjoy a drink to end the first story.  The story is a traditional Gum Shoe detective story, especially with that swerve at the end, with the girlfriend being the mastermind behind it all. Judging by my commentary, you’d assume that Elmer Fudd was randomly dropped into Gotham City, just for crossover purposes.  However, Tom King cleverly works in some Looney Tunes references.  The bar that the hitman frequents is Porky’s, with the owner/bartender being the human version of Porky Pig.   Furthermore, the hitman accused of killing Elmer’s girlfriend is named Bugs “The Bunny” Woves.  The other hitmen and shady characters are made up of Looney Tunes archetypes.  We see versions of Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, even Sylvester and Tweety. I liked Tom Kings decision to make Bugs and some of the other Looney Tunes characters villains.  Had they been the exact status quo as their cartoon counterparts, the reader would have a hard time rooting for Batman or Elmer Fudd.  Also the reveal of classic Batman character Silver St. Cloud being Elmer Fudd’s girlfriend, is a fun way to further have Batman/Bruce Wayne cross paths with Elmer Fudd, instead of merely setting the story in Gotham City.  The interesting twist, for the purposes of this book, is that Silver St, Cloud dated Elmer Fudd first before Bruce Wayne, but left them both because of their dangerous lifestyles, highlighting a similarity between the two men.. The ending of this story featuring Batman, Bugs and Elmer drinking carrot juice and discussing Albuquerque is a nice nod to Bugs Bunny’s vegetable of choice, as well as a call back to a classic episode.

While the first story is set in the DC Universe, the backup story is set in Looney Tunes continuity.  It actually reads like a typical Bugs Bunny Vs, Elmer Fudd story.  Mr., Fudd is chasing Bugs because it’s Rabbit, or should we say, Wabbit season. To save his own skin, Bugs switches the sign to Bat Season, lights the Bat-Signal and calls Batman. Seeing the sign, Elmer switches gears and starts chasing Batman. After being thoroughly amused, Bugs Bunny ends up in a Batman costume, throwing Elmer Fudd into a little bit of a confused sate, just like the cartoon.  Also, just like the cartoon, he eventually figures out the ruse and continues chasing Batman.  To outsmart Elmer Fudd, Batman changes the sign to Robin Season, before summoning his various sidekicks who use this moniker.  As Elmer Fudd takes up the chase against the Robin’s, Batman & Elmer Fudd walk off into the sunset.  This book felt like I time travelled about 29 years to a Saturday morning long ago, watching The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show. In this story, the writer is focused all on the laughs. It’s really a love letter to vintage Looney Tunes episodes. Both these stories show how malleable the Batman and Looney Tunes stories are, that they can tell two stories, with completely different tones and objective and still be recognizable to their brands and be entertaining on two different levels.

Lee Weeks is the artists for the main story.  It definitely has the feel of a gritty, noir detective story to match the story being told.  The art is definitely nowhere near as clean cut or crisp as your typical Batman or Looney Tunes comic book.  It’s got a scruffy look about it. This scruffy look makes Elmer Fudd look like a total badass.  It adds so much gravitas to Elmer Fudd’s trench coach and hat look.  Yet, Mr. Weeks manages to keep Elmer Fudd’s aloof, simplistic look.  I loved the human rendition of the Looney Tunes.  They all have distinguishing characteristics that give the characters away.  For instance Bugs has those protruding teeth he is famous for.  Although, I think they made the human Bugs more visually unappealing, so that we would gravitate towards Elmer.   Yosemite Sam  has his read mustache and beard, but it’s more of a goatee.  Instead of a cowboy hat, he now wears a bandana.  Bartender Porky looks as much like a literal pig as a human drawing could look.  It’s like the pig animation morphed to a human from screen to page.  Foghorn Leghorn has gone from a giant Rooster, to a sharply dressed African American card shark. I loved that there was diversity with some of the characters.  The card shark angle was great as well given that Foghorn Leghorn, in the cartoon often tricks and swindles the hens and the watchdog into getting what he wants.  With all this Elmer Fudd talk, I should mention that there is an exceptional image of Batman leaping down into an alley.  That is an iconic image in Batman lore but done from an angle we’re not used to seeing.  It’s worth noting that Silver St. Cloud is drop dead gorgeous, so it makes sense she could stop both Elmer Fudd and Batman in their tracks at the bar.  The art for the second story is done by Byron Vaughns. There’s not much to say except that it’s great and looks EXACTLY like the animation of Looney Tunes.  It’s so good, that it’s as if they just transposed film cells from the show.  Batman looks like an over exaggerated version of the character from Batman: Brave and the Bold.  The only complaint I have with this portion of the art is that when Bugs Bunny dons a Batman costume, he looks too much like Bat-Mite for my liking.

I expected to like this book but quite frankly, I straight up loved it!  It satisfies both fandoms with a story set in both the DC Universe and Looney Tunes lore.  If you’re a fan of both, this is your fanboy heaven. I can guarantee I will be reading and reviewing the remaining four one shots in this series.  Whether you go looney or batty over this book, I guarantee you are going to love it! So BUY IT and read it.  Until next time…. That’s All Folks!

Kinky Komic Book Review: Riverdale #2

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Set in the same universe as the hit CW series, Riverdale continues to reveal untold stories of the world’s most famous teenagers. When five students from different social cliques (Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jugghead, and Josie) end up in Saturday detention together — will they kill each other or come together against the forces of evil that brought them there?” (Archie Comics)

If you love the film The Breakfast Club, then you will love this book.  This is the comic book’s homage to that classic 80’s coming of age film.  Heck, the title of the film is the title of this  issue and there are at least three characters in the book who reference the film. Archie even mentions having never seen the film.  That’s the hardest part of this book to believe, that someone hasn’t seen The Breakfast Club.  The fact that the film is spoken by name, as well as social media such as twitter, sets Riverdale as existing in the real world.  I’m glad this is the case because these characters are your average teenagers, meaning there’s no need to create a alternate world for them to inhabit.  Narratively, the issue is bookended by present day and time scenes, but the bulk of the issue is a flashback to the food fight, that landed them in detention.  After Josie, of “Josie and the Pussycats” fame singles out relative new girl Veronica Lodge for starting the food fight, we get a look back at what everyone was doing during the food fight.

Archie tuned up his guitar and stood up on a table, ready to give an impromptu concert.  However, his crippling fear of performing in front of people prevents him from going through with it.  This is technically, the first mention of Archie’s desire to be a musician and sets up his rivalry with Josie. It also sets up the dichotomy of wanting to be a performer, yet being shy about performing in front of others. We see him battle and to a degree, overcome this fear in the back half of season 1 but here, it’s really fresh.  Also, a fear of public speaking/performing is a fear I’ve had back in high school, so I absolutely feel for him.  Veronica Lodge was helping her friend Kevin set up a Gay/Straight school alliance, to try and decipher all the gay students in the school, and get their numbers so Kevin could get a date.  Sure, setting up a school group just to get a date seems a little overboard.  Though I purposely wrote an essay filled with errors, as well as the backup one with suspected corrections I’d need to make, because I had  really hot teacher that I wanted to spend more time with before class. Of course, nothing happened, but she was hot, so the extra time was so worth it!  Anyway, the true take away from this scene, which continues on from issue #1, is that while Veronica has an attitude and a chip on her shoulder, she is intensely giving and fiercely protective of her friends.  She admits that she got involved in the food fight, when a football jock insulted her and Kevin but she didn’t start the fight.  As for Betty and Jugghead, Betty was doing research for an article she is writing for the school paper.  One of the books she is reading is The Story of O, an erotic novel.  When Jugghead discovers this, he playfully chastises Betty.  However, when Cheryl grabs the book and starts referring to Betty and her sister as freaks and outcasts.  The reference to Betty’s sister, is the first mention of Betty’s sister and Cheryl’s brother having dated and that it ending badly.  As Cheryl berates her, we can see darkness and anger building up and erupting in Betty, as she throws a piece of pie at the back of Cheryl.  Betty’s anger and darkness gets heightened in Season 1  but you see it in it’s infancy here.  Without spoiling anything, I hope Betty’s emotional state is explored more in this comic and in Season 2.  I like that the instigator of the food fight was Betty, the goody two shoes you’d lest expect.  The book ends with detention ending and the gang sans Josie, sharing a meal at Pop’s Dinner.

Joe Eisma is back on art but this time is joined by fellow artist Thomas Pitilli.  Their artwork looks so similar, that when one ends and the other begins, it is hardly noticeable.  Each artist has certain characters who they excel at drawing though.  Joe Eisma’s strength is Archie, Josie, and Jugghead, while Thomas Pitilli draws a great Veronica, Cheryl and Betty. The opening image of the gang sitting in detention continues the theme of homage for The Breakfast Club. The position of the characters, and the location being the school library, is an exact replica of the film.  If the cover didn’t say Riverdale, you might think this was a comic book adaptation of the film. The image of Archie about to perform his impromptu cafeteria concert is great.  The detail is so strong, that you can not only see, but almost feel his crippling anxiety.  The scene where Betty snaps at Cheryl before she starts the food fight is very evocative on several levels.  First, you can see Betty’s face scrunching and teeth gritting in anger.  Adding to it, is the temporary black and purple color scheme in this panel almost makes it seem like we’ve gone into Betty’s mind and are seeing her anger actual emerge from the recesses of her mind. Kudos to  colorist Andre Szymanowicz.  Without him, this effect doesn’t happen.  My favourite page is definitely the food fight.  It’s so messy and chaotic.  There are later panels that isolate the food fight, from our main characters perspective but the main splash page is so chaotic. Also, somehow artist Thomas Pitilli has made Cheryl Blossom even more bitchy looking.  In his hands, her natural resting look is “Bitchy Face.”

The second issue doesn’t move the story along, instead being more of a character study of sorts. Last issue, I said it worked as both a prequel and a continuation of the TV series.  This issue is clearly more of a prequel to the story told in season 1.  It’ll be interesting to see if the series tries to juggle telling prequel stories, or if it toggles between prequels and concurrent stories.  If you’re a fan or the show or the characters from the comic books, you’ll like this book.  Even if you don’t love Archie or Riverdale, you’ll still want to read this if you love The Breakfast Club. And who doesn’t!?

Kinky Komic Book Book Review: He-Man/Thundercats

(Submitted with an eXXXtra heaping helping of Awesome Sauce by one Mr. Prince Adam…who is in no way biased in this review, I’m sure. 😉 Thanks, Super Fiend! 🙂 xoxo)

“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe team up with the ThunderCats—the epic crossover event you’ve waited thirty years to see! In his ever-living desire to destroy the mighty ThunderCats, Mumm-Ra quests for a weapon that can rival the legendary Sword of Omens: He-Man’s Sword of Power! But his dimension-spanning scheme kick starts a cataclysmic crisis that will embroil heroes and villains—Masters, Mutants and ThunderCats—in a mind-blowing six-part saga!”

The books description is 100% accurate in that this crossover has been thirty years in the making for me! I loved both shows as a kid, giving the slightest edge to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  Coupled with the fact that I’m loving the latest Masters of the Universe comic book series.  At the end of this six issue mini-series, I was overall very happy with it.  I liked the way the writers brought these two characters together. Before even discussing that, the book clearly establishes the fact that He-Man’s Eternia and Lion-O’s Third Earth occupy separate universes.  This one line allowed my inner child to come to terms with why these characters never interacted in animation.  Thankfully, comic books are not restrained by the rules and regulations of network television.  The book quickly reminds the reader, that Thundera was destroyed long ago, and that the ThunderCats are transplants to Third Earth.  I must admit, it was refreshing to be reminded of that fact, as some ThunderCats factoids had slipped my adult mind. (Growing up sucks)  The benefit of having a relatively current MotU book, is that our He-Man knowledge has been brought to the forefront of readers mind.  That’s one thing I wish DC had done differently. I wish they had given readers a ThunderCats mini-series, re-establishing them in the world of comic books and giving readers a refresher in terms of their status quo.  It’s worth noting that the recent Masters of the Universe comics from DC aren’t referenced or in continuity with this story, unlike the DCU/Masters of the Universe crossover I reviewed here a while back. So, what brings these two worlds together? The Ancient Spirits of Evil, after being fed up with Mumm-Ra’s failure to acquire the Sword of Omens, so they use black magic to create a tear in the multiverse and seek out Skeletor’s help to do their bidding. In exchange they promised him their help and Mumm-Ra as a minion to help defeat He-Man and capture Castle Greyskull.  I have to wonder if the Ancient Spirits of Evil did their due diligence. If they had, they would’ve had to have realized Skeletor was as ineffective against He-Man, as Mumm-Ra was against the ThunderCats.  The two villains join forces in the weirdest way. Skeletor mixes Mumm-Ra’s ashes with a potion and drinks it. Mumm-Ra’s essence became one with Skeletor and the struggle for physical control plays like someone struggling with dissociative identity disorder. It is pretty humorous when they hurl insults at each other though. They’re like two children trapped in one ugly, menacing adult, monstrous looking body.  Despite the push and pull between the two, they make a formidable team.  They turn on the Ancient Spirits of Evil, and end up gaining the upper hand on the Masters of the Universe and ThunderCats, while Lion-O and He-Man are otherwise occupied. They commandeer Castle Greyskull and set their sights on the Orb of Power, with the intention of reshaping the multiverse, to their dastardly liking.

While the rest of the ThunderCats and Masters of the Universe appear in the book, He-Man and Lion-O are the stars of this tale.  Aside from being powerful heroes with big muscles and a cool magic imbued sword, they both share a longing to live up to their father’s legacies and expectations.  Lion-O has already inherited the title of King from his deceased father but with every decision, he seemingly makes, he wonders if his father would approve.  It is only after the events of the book unfold and he gets positive reinforcement from King Randor and He-Man, does he start believing his father would approve. This is an understandable reaction though because despite being physically strong and appearing to be an adult, Lion-O is really 12 years old.  He-Man’s situation is slightly different. His father, King Randor is alive, yet the aloof, constantly tardy persona He-Man puts on as Prince Adam. Leaves his father unimpressed and convinced he is unfit to be king.  The reason I know this book isn’t cannon with the other DC He-Man book, is because King Randor finds out Adam is He-Man for the first time in this book.  In the ongoing title, he’s known for quite a while that his son is He-Man.  Despite both our heroes being built bigger than The Rock and Arnold Schwarzenegger, this story shows them in situations where they are at least temporarily defeated by the Mumm-Ra/Skeletor hybrid Mumm-ator.  I’ve never seen He-Man so defeated. So much so that he was temporarily dead. His death scene was appropriately heroic.  He battled tirelessly against a mix of his rogues and the ThunderCats rogues even without his Sword of Power, which had been stolen.  After being changed from He-Man back to Adam, he succumbs to his wounds. While this death was heroic and shocking, it’s rendered moot almost as its happening.  Did anyone actually expect He-Man to be killed and stay dead in this? Of course not! After hearing of He-Man’s death, Lion – O transports the body back to Third Earth, and uses Mumm-Ra’s own regenerative sarcophagus to return He-Man to life. He-Man’s temporary death does take both our main heroes out of story for a bit, and showcases just how strong and vital to their universes they are.  In their absence, both the Masters of the Universe and Thundercats get decimated by Mumm-ator and his evil horde.  This is more powerful a statement about He-Man and Lion-O then any feat of strength they could perform.  When He-Man is resurrected, the dark magic of Mumm-Ra’s sarcophagus has driven him mad.  If you think about it, the sarcophagus is this universes Lazarus Pit in function and side effects.  He-Man’s altered state, provides motive for the obligatory hero vs hero fight.  This story answers another childhood question of mine, who’s stronger, He-Man or Lion-O? The answer is He-Man, by a little bit…even with both getting a power boost from their swords.  Of course He-Man would win, his name is Adam after all! 😉  This book skews more as a He-Man story though, with the ThunderCats as guest stars.  Even still, it takes the combination of the Sword of Omens and the Power sword, coupled with knowledge discs and some multiverse travel, for He-Man & Lion-O to defeat Mumm-ator. The finale of this book is deserving of the word epic, and defies the scope and budget that animators could have achieved when these two characters first occupied our TV screens.

Freddie Williams II brings this epic team up of animated titans of the 80’s to life artistically.  Much like the artist on the ongoing Masters of the Universe title, he captures the look of both animated series, while giving them a more detailed look.  I didn’t think this was possible but Freddie Williams II has given He-Man and Lion-O larger bi-ceps, triceps and quads, then they had in the cartoon.  Skeletor and Mumm-Ra were bad ass looking villains on their own right, but when they are combined, they’re much scarier.  There are specific pages that I absolutely love.  Seeing He-Man and Lion-O stand side by side for the first time will give you goosebumps.  If it doesn’t, you’re not a fan of these characters.  There is some dark imagery in this book.  You see the Thundercats and Masters of the Universe literally laid out unconscious and bloody in front of Castle Greyskull.  There’s also the page where Lion-O uses sight beyond sight to try and calm He-Man’s rage post resurrection.  What we see is a vision of a future where the world is in ruins and enslaved by Mumm-ator. It’s very Jack Kirby New Gods/Darkseid inspired.  Speaking of inspired, there are pages where He-Man & Lion-O travel through the multiverse. They look like a cross between Thor travelling through space via the rainbow bridge and the psychedelic look of Doctor Strange.  During their travels through the multiverse, they travel to Metropolis where He-Man is Clark Kent/ Superman.  It was so cool to see two of my childhood heroes morph into one for a bit.  Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see that as an Elseworld’s mini-series.

This book had 30 years of anticipation to live up to and you know what? For the most part, it did just that. This book feels like a first go around in the shared adventures of these characters. The door is open for a continuation and I hope it happens. At the very least, I hope this leads to more new issues of the Masters of the Universe comic books and launches a new ongoing Thundercats book.  If you haven’t yet, help that cause by buying and reading this book. If you’re a fan of these characters, you’ll love it!

#SuperheroSaturday Comic Book Review: Batman 66 Meets Wonder Woman 77

(Submitted by Prince Adam on this glorious #WonderWoman Day…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“What mysteries are hidden in the book Ra’s al Ghul hired Catwoman to steal? And why does this caper lead Batman down memory lane—to his childhood fight against actual Nazis? Witness the Caped Crusader’s first encounter with one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known: Wonder Woman!” (DC Entertainment)

I always wanted to get into the Batman 66 comic book but something kept getting in the way.  When I heard DC were planning a comic book miniseries set in the world of classic Batman and classic Wonder Woman, I decide to add this to my special review list, leading up to the Wonder Woman film.  Well that film is here (YAY), so I finally got to read it.  This book puts you right back into the Batman 66 world, as we see Catwoman stealing two antiquated books,  only to be thwarted by Batman and Robin after a silent alarm was triggered.  The banter between the caped crusaders and Catwoman was spot on, right down to her flirting with Batman, and asking him to put in a good word for her at the parole hearing.  Writers Marc Andreyko and Jeff Parker even over accentuate the word purrrfect to the point that I can hear Eartha Kitt’s voice as I read Catwoman’s dialogue. The book does two distinct things differently from the TV show.  For the first time in this continuity, we get a story told partially in flashbacks, highlighting Bruce Wayne as a 10 year old and actually showing his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, who were only mentioned once on the show. Not only was it nice to see the Wayne’s in this continuity, it was even nicer to see them alive for the entire issue.  Usually in any incarnation, they are walking down an alley to their death.  The reason for these flashbacks, is to establish Bruce’s first encounter with the ancient books Catwoman stole and who she stole them for. The first appearance of the books in Bruce Wayne’s life, was 1940’s war time. Thomas Wayne was having an auction for the books at Wayne Manor.  In addition to undercover Nazi’s being in attendance, Ra’s Al Ghul and his then young daughter Talia are there as well. It makes sense why both parties wan the books too. The Nazi’s want the book for Hitler, so he can locate lost civilizations and mythical locales, to pillage their enhanced weaponry and turn the tide of the war in his favor.  Meanwhile, Ra’s al Ghul wants the books to gain access to these lost worlds and weapons to fortify the strength of his criminal organization, the League of Shadows worldwide and to find the location of Lazarus Pit’s around the world. Young Talia accompanies her father to the auction and he immediately unites the two, because he wants his daughter to end up with a man who’s family is of good repute.  This bit of foreshadowing put a smile on this Bat-Fan’s face.  It was great to see that Ra’s matchmaking machinations between Bruce and Talia carry over from the mainstream continuity to here, but start even earlier.  I love that this book can take villains who weren’t created when the series aired and put them through the lens of the show, yet still keep the core of who said characters are in the mainstream universe. 

The book does use a familiar troupe from the show. The villains waltz into Wayne Manor undetected. When fights ensue, priceless artifacts in Wayne Manor start getting destroyed.  This is where Diana Prince, Steve Trevor an Etta Candy make their entrance. The three characters we’re pretty much the status quo from Season 1, as both that season and this miniseries take place in the same time period. What both writers do as soon as Diana Prince makes her first appearance, is have her steal the show so to speak.  Batman’s name may be first in the title but the first two digital installments that comprise this first issue, are very much a Wonder Woman story.  I loved how awestruck young Bruce and Talia are over Wonder Woman and how even during the fight scenes, Steve Trevor for the most part, watches Wonder Woman do all the ass kicking.  The scenes near the end of the issue where Bruce and Talia use whatever they can to ward off Nazi soldiers and League of Shadow’s ninja’s solidify and remind you that these characters are destined to become the World’s Greatest Detective and the future leader of the League of Shadows. Speaking of Ra’s al Ghul, he comes off a silent threat, with over the top ideas.  That coupled with the search and race to get a hold of those ancient books, this issue had a mixed vibe of James Bond meets Indiana Jones with Wonder Woman smack dab in the middle of it!

David Hahn is the artist on this book and while his art looks more like animation rather than current comic book art, he certainly captures the look and characters of these two iconic television series. I love that the Catwoman featured in this book is visually represented in the form of Eartha Kitt.  The casting change was part of the series, so I’m glad that it hasn’t been ignored.  Catwoman slinking out of a window after a heist is an artistic highlight.  Seeing Batman, Alfred and Robin in the Batcave discussing the books, leading up to the transition to flashbacks, felt like film cells from the show had been animated and pasted right onto the comic book page.  I love the artist teasing iconic locations from the series in a pre-Batman setting. Specifically, the retracting library bookshelf.  Before it became an entrance to the Batcave, it was a tunnel exit to the garden. Speaking of the garden, there’s a great overhead shot of it and it’s shaped like a maze. I wonder how Aunt Harriet managed her way around it without ever getting lost. My favourite images are the two pages that comprise the Wonder Woman twirl and costume change.  It looked epic and in terms of color scheme matched the show’s opening credits to perfection.  The look of astonishment on Bruce and Talia as they saw this transformation hiding behind the bookshelf, was wonderfully appropriate!

I’m extremely happy with where DC Entertainment is headed in comic books, on film and on television. Though, it is important to revisit and respect the past from time to time.  There’s no better way to do this, then by reading this issue. I’ll be back with another issue review from this series after the Wonder Woman film. In the meantime, buy this book, it’s great.

 

#ThemysciraThursday Comic Book Review: The Legend of Wonder Woman #1-9

(Rejoice, Kinky Ho-s, as our long awaited Wondy movie is now just around the corner…Prasie Hera! 😉 Here to help us get properly prepped for the Wondrousness is our resident SuperheoSciFi Guru, Mr. Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“On the hidden island of Themyscira, the Amazons, led by Queen Hippolyta, live in a kingdom of peace, protected by the gods. But the balance is upset when Hippolyta is granted what no immortal may have: a child, given life from the clay of the island. She is the princess Diana, who alone can sense the evil that is infesting the Amazon’s home.” (DC Entertainment)

The first nine issues of this digital first comic book retrace Wonder Woman’s origins and time on Themyscira. Many elements from the other Wonder Woman origin story I reviewed for you (Wonder Woman: The True Amazon) overlap in this story, but the perspective is different and makes this story unique. What I notice here is that while man’s world was full of hate and war, Hippolyta, along with her sisters forged her nation of woman who spoke of love and compassion, but were equally as mighty with their sword and axes. However, unlike the men, the Amazon’s were never inherently cruel. Impressed with this balance, Zeus granted Hippolyta and her sister’s immortality so that they would be able to oversee the growth and prosperity of the Amazon’s. As years pass, Hippolyta is filled with sorrow because immortals cannot give birth. Her festering anguish led her astray. During the invasion of Hercules, she had a sexual tryst with Theseus, allowing Hercules’ army to gain the upper hand leading to the defeat and death of one of Hippolyta’s sister, Penthesilea. After seeing the results of her indiscretion, she chose to abandon her longing for children and while her Amazon sisterhood were upset that she betrayed them, they chose her to lead them back to peace and prosperity as their Queen. Meanwhile, in the heavens, the gods were at war with a Titan. While they defeated the Titan, the battle ravaged the Earth, so the gods created an island sequestered away from humanity to prevent further disaster. Zeus invites the Amazon’s to live on a piece of said island known as Themyscira, in exchange for making it a place of peace and provide worship to the gods. To seal the deal, Zeus promises to give souls of daughters to mortal Amazons, once every 10 years. Still left childless, it is the mystical sands and wishing of Hippolyta that bring Diana into this world. I find in this book compared to most others, the Amazon’s are far more harmonious with the ancient gods. Most books don’t showcase the Amazons as being so submissive and worshiping the Gods in such detail. So much so, that Hippolyta’s sisters align themselves with worshiping and being somewhat of an emissary of those gods. However, while men are shown for their propensity for hatred and warfare, this books puts the blame for the suffering and devastation in Man’s world on the gods. This book also clearly identifies the Amazon’s as human beings who are granted immortality and extra ability. I think that past iterations of Wonder Woman stories have made them quasi god-like in their own right, however when doing that, it makes the presence of the gods somewhat moot. I didn’t like Diana’s clay origin this time around. The clay being able to bring Diana to life because Hippolyta essentially thinks/wills her into being, basically makes her a Green Lantern minus the ring, or his duties. Diana being given life by the gods, makes her extra special in my book.

Speaking of Diana, she is much more the traditional one we are used to, as opposed to the bitchy spoiled brat from Wonder Woman: A True Amazon. Here, Diana has a strong unwavering desire to join the military of Paradise Island and commence her training. However, her mother would rather groom her to be future Queen so she can win favor from the gods, ultimately being granted immortality by the gods. While mother and daughter are at odds over this, they share the same reasoning; to protect the other. Hippolyta worries that Diana’s mortality will be tested if she joins the warrior ranks, while Diana wants to use her training and warrior status to protect her mother and home world from a dark mystical threat, only she seems to sense. In this segment of the story, ultimately Diana pretends to abide her mother’s wishes, while secretly training with Alicippe. While Diana feels disheartened for disobeying her mother, it turns out she knew all along and despite her misgivings, allowed Alicippe to continue her training because it makes Diana happen. During her training, Diana learns that her mother was the fiercest warrior the Amazon’s have ever known. Thus, Diana realizes her mother’s concern for her because she’s fought in battle and knows the costs. Still, this only brings Diana closer to her mother, strengthening her resolve to fight alongside her fellow warriors. Honestly, of all the Wonder Woman stories I’ve read, this one makes me feel the most genuine and invested in the mother/daughter bond of Hippolyta and Diana. The arrival of Steve Trevor on Themyscira is more purposeful and serves an added purpose in this story. It seems as though whatever great dark threat Diana sensed was to plague Themyscira, actually pulled Steve Trevor’s plane towards the island. Think of it kind of like the Bermuda Triangle myth. I think I like this idea better, then it just being a happy accident. When Hippolyta’s sisters learn of the plane crash, they plan to use a “wild man” scampering unchecked around the island, to discredit Hippolyta’s leadership, and take her place as Queen. One of the sisters even contemplates murder. However, their plan is thwarted by Diana and Alicippe, with Alicippe ultimately losing her life in the process. I love that there is jealousy and resent among Hippolyta’s sisters. Look, I can suspend disbelieve that most women can live on an island and live in harmony together. But I’ve known too many woman who hold grudges and “hate” each other, for the most ridiculous of reasons. So it makes sense that if one sister was favored by Zeus over others, there would be some anger and jealousy at play. The gladiator games that bring Wonder Woman to man’s world are not a mere commemorative ceremony in this book. Here, the winner gets to decide the fate of the intruder Steve Trever. Diana of course wins the event and decides to escort Steve home. I like that the Amazon gladiatorial tournament had more stakes involved then just being something ritualistic. While we never see Wonder Woman in costume yet, she is given her heroic wardrobe by her mother and it’s confirmed that in this iteration, the gods have embed the elements of her heroic costume with blessings, that when worn, give Diana her extraordinary abilities. In previous iterations, her divine birth has been the cause of her abilities. Truly, I’m fine with both interpretations. The relationship/infatuation is just started/teased here between Diana and Steve. It seems as though they are going to expand that over the course of several issues. I prefer this, rather than having it force fed to us in one shot.

The art drawn by Ray Dillon. The art is much more modern looking than the last Wonder Woman graphic novel I reviewed here. It also has a little bit of an animated feel to it, without ever veering into overly cartoonish. Diana, as she ages from childhood to adulthood, looks like our very own Miss Kinky Horror. That’s perfectly fine by me by the way. My favourite page is the splash page of the gods battling Titan at the top portion of the page, while the Earth is being ravaged by volcanic eruption and flooding as a result of their war. It’s powerful and mythic imagery that highlights the powers of the Gods. I noted that the gladiatorial games as drawn in Wonder Woman: A True Amazon looked like Ben Hur. The gladiatorial tournament in The Legend of Wonder Woman visually reminds me of 300! A huge part of the beauty of this art is the colors. The shot of Pegasus prancing elegantly with sunlight shining in behind is literally the most beautiful shot I’ve seen in a comic book over the last year. Also, the cloud of darkness engulfing Themyscira is perfectly creepy and menacing. If you had any doubt that Themyscira is the most beautiful location in the DC Universe, this book will confirm it.

This is a fantastic read. You may feel as though you know Wonder Woman’s origin, but the twists to familiar scenarios, a deeper connection between mother and daughter, and spectacular looking art makes this a must read for Wonder Woman fans everywhere. Now I don’t know specific details of the Wonder Woman film, but there are scenes from the trailers that seem to be pulled right out of this book. For that reason, I recommend reading this book, as a pre-movie ritual leading up to your viewing of the film. For myself, the week leading up to the release, I plan on doing a Wonder Woman marathon consisting of, the television series, episodes of the Justice League animated series and a stack of comic books. PS: The wait is almost over my friends!

Kinky Komic Review: Riverdale #1

(Submitted by Mr. SuperheroScifi himself, Sir Prince Adam of Locksley…Thanks, Super Fiend! 🙂 xoxo)

“From Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the writers of the new CW series Riverdale comes the first issue of the MUST-READ, brand new, ongoing comic series. Set in the universe of the TV series, the Riverdale comic offers a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, Josie & the Pussycats and their friends, exploring small-town life and the darkness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.” (Archie Comics)

Before you read this book, let it be known that spoilers can be found within this review.  I like the wording in the synopsis. “Set in the universe” of the CW TV series of the same name.  That’s so appropriate for the stories told in this issue. We get two stories one that focuses on Archie and one focusing on Betty.  Each story showcases our protagonist during their first week/weeks in their new roles at Riverdale High. For Archie that means being a quarterback on the football team, while for Betty that means joining the cheerleading squad.  As you read the stories, you can’t really tell 100% where it fits in with the television series.  Some scenes are pulled right from certain episodes, like Archie being given the deceased Jason Blossom’s old jersey number. You also see the moment where Betty is urged by Veronica to join the cheerleading squad.  Brand new scenes come from what is called “Hell Week”, which is the pranking/hazing of our newbies on the football team and the cheerleading squad.  I liked that writer’s Will Ewing and Michael Grassi balanced showcasing the harmless side of pranking, such as the football team streaking, or Betty having to walk the halls in a scantily clad cheerleading outfit.  More serious forms of hazing include making Archie swim across the frozen waters of Sweetwater River or Cheryl Blossom making Betty stand at the edge of the roof of the high school, to expose Betty’s fears.  Hazing has made news in recent years, and is a real issue teen’s face when taken too far and I think not only is important to comment on it in a book about teens, but especially more so in this book, because Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jugghead are America’s most popular fictional teens.  I love that the book highlights that Archie feels uncomfortable being a quarterback and he’s not all together good at it either.  The book also highlights Archie’s kindness as he does an extra lap of shame swimming in Sweetwater Lake, to spare another team-member who can’t swim from added torment or ridicule.  In the second story, we see how close the relatively recent BFF’s Betty and Veronica are. Specifically, how Veronica defends Betty from Chery Blossom’s verbal attacks. She also literally stands beside her and holds her hand as Betty confronts her fear of heights, standing on the ledge of the high school roof.  The book doesn’t show the love triangle we are typically used to from Archie, Betty and Veronica. However, neither has the show to this point, though we have been promised it down the line.  While we are introduced to this new emo version of Jugghead and the bitch that is Cheryl Blossom, I like that the books focus is squarely on our classic trinity of characters.

The art duties fall to Joe Eisma.  The art is far more detailed and sleek in appearance than your typical Archie comic book. It is definitely more adult in appearance, in addition to the dialogue.  However, the artist does a good job of retaining the simplistic look of classic Archie stories as well  I have to say that the characters are pretty much all spot on to their television counterparts. Archie, Jugghead and Cheryl look particularly like perfect matches to the actors that play them. Betty and Veronica both look good, but at times in the book, leave a lot to be desired as they come off looking a little wonky.  My favourite pages are split, one from each story. The one from the Archie story titled Bloodsport, is the splash page where Archie looks at himself in the mirror, all decked out in his football uniform, only to see the reflection of the decomposed Jason Blossom looking back at him.  It was quite creepy and reminded me of some of the crossover horror stories that have featured the Archie cast of characters.  My second favorite page comes from the “Bring It On” story featuring Betty.  It features the typically reserved Betty walk in a sexier version of the cheerleading outfit to complete her “Hell Week” challenge. As she walks proudly and confidently through the halls, her school mates, boys and girls alike, look on amazed at the transformation.  It felt like a classic scene out of every teen movie. Very John Hughes like, as a matter of fact.

I thought this book captures the “Ringer meets Archie” vibe that The CW series Riverdale is going for.  I find it to be very respectful of classic Archie, while taking the story and its characters in an edgier direction. If you haven’t watched the series, this serves as an excellent prequel to the pilot episode.   If you have a familiarity with the show, this can be seen as stories that take place in between the first couple episodes.  I enjoy the book and definitely think it’s worth reading.

#TerrorTuesday Comic Review: The Walking Dead Volume 3

(Submitted by our Superheroic Ho-mie, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Mr. A! 🙂 xoxo)

“This volume follows our band of survivors as they set up a permanent camp inside a prison. Relationships change, characters die, and our team of survivors learn there’s something far more deadly than zombies out there…each other.”


This story picks right up where Volume 2 ended. Our weary group of humans have found an abandoned penitentiary. Well, save for a group of zombies sloshing around the front gate. After dispensing of the zombies, and a little cleanup, Rick and crew believe they have found their new home, the most spacious, and safest yet.  If this sounds at all familiar, it’s reminiscent of last volume when they found the estates.  Much like that story, they found other survivors who gave them food, before also encountering other zombies.  In that story, those people were Tyreese, his daughter and her boyfriend, who are now members of Rick’s zombie hatin’ posse.  In this story, the human survivors found are four inmates, locked safely in the cafeteria.  Sure, they’re convicts, one of which was falsely accused, the other a murderer, another was a drug addict. The final member, was a tax evader.  Still, they seemed very peaceful, reformed and best of all for Rick and company, they have a kitchen full of food, canned and otherwise; enough for a prison full of people. With that in mind, Rick heads to Hershel farm, to get Hershel and the remainder of his children to move into the penitentiary.  Despite the chaos that ensued previously between Hershel’s group and Rick’s survivors, coupled with the fact that Hershel almost shot Rick, I think this gesture is a sign of Rick’s hopefulness and positivity in the face of this hell on Earth.  For the first few issues of this volume, I fell for the false sense of security Rick and Tyreese were feeling.  This is the second volume in a row, where Robert Kirkman played me for a fool. In this case, it’s a mark of great storytelling, so I am not ashamed.

Things start turning sour when Lori begins to worry and express fear about having a murderer and drug addict in their midst.  Rick agrees they should be mindful of potential threats and be cautious, yet remains staunch and optimistic that this new status quo is best for everyone. Tensions are raised higher when Tyreese’s daughter and her boyfriend botch a simultaneous suicide after a night of passionate sex. They planned to shoot each other simultaneously, but Chris accidentally fired too quickly.  When Tyreese discovers what occurs he kills Chris in a fit of anger. I can see both sides of this scenario, On the one hand, the two young lovers know their chances of surviving this zombie apocalypse are slim, so why not go out of this world on their terms, together, and as the Joker says; “If you gotta go, go with a smile.”  It’s very Romeo and Juliet…but with zombies. I understand Tyreese’s actions too, because planned or not, Chris still killed his baby girl. I’d choke the bastard too! I can rationalize both acts from both parties, given the world they inhabit.  These scenes throw an added wrinkle into the story.  What was once human on zombie violence, now has taken on an element of human on human violence.  If that isn’t a twist enough for you, how about the fact that Tyrese’s daughter and her boyfriend turn into zombies after death….without having being bitten!? Holy Plot Twist Batman! I seriously didn’t see that coming.  It’s not explained, as to how it’s possible either. So I wonder, is the zombie gene within every human? Will this ever be answered? It better damn well be because I’m so curious. This plot point leads to a cameo from a character we haven’t seen since the first issue.  If that wasn’t enough proof of the unpredictability of this book, Hershel’s two daughters are murdered and beheaded.  Yes, in the midst of all this, Robert Kirkman had to throw a murder mystery into this story and at no point does this book feel overstuffed or bogged down by it.  Naturally, Team Grimes, specifically Lori, lays blame on either the murder suspect or the former drug addict.  Unsure, the group decides to lock them both in separate cells.  When Andrea is attacked by the criminal who was convicted for tax evasion and her earlobe cut off, Rick loses it, and nearly beats the man to death. Despite protests from his fellow survivors, Rick unilaterally decides that murder will not be tolerated and death will be met with death. So Rick has him thrown outside the gates of the penitentiary, where he is attacked and killed by zombies. The previous suspects are released, but stage a mutiny holding Rick and company at gunpoint, ordering them to leave the penitentiary. Rick finally snapped and the tipping point was Hershel’s daughters being killed. He blames himself for their deaths. However, you can see the events of each volume chipping away at Rick’s calm and sanity.  It continues to affect his relationship with Lori. She’s even getting more snappy with him, though part of that is self admittedly her pregnancy hormones.  One thing I love about this book is that every event counts and affects the next story. Nothing is written as filler. Even if I leave this books for weeks or even months, the preceding storyline stays in the back of my mind, racing to the forefront when I pick up another volume.

Charlie Adlard returns for his second stint on the title.  He definitely seems more comfortable in this world and with these characters. There seems to be more detail in his work.  Last volume, I said the lack of color detracted from the setting of winter.  This time though, it works for the setting.  Inside and outside, the penitentiary looks spacious. There’s a dichotomy with the art on the interior of the Penitentiary.  The kitchen looks plentifully, while the rest of the place looks baron and desolate.  The best two zombie images are the pov shot of Rick and Tyreese peering into the gym seeing a horde of zombies on the other side of the door.  The other standout is when Tyreese is attacked by the zombie horde and they all swarm on top of him.  .  The most gruesome images are the human vs human violence. Tyreese’s dead daughters lying beheaded was disturbing, but the details of Rick dolling out a beating on the murderer is intense.  You can see the welts and bruises on his knuckles, without the aid of coloring.  The best cover of this volume is the one with Rick riding his motorcycle. When in doubt, remember that riding a motorcycle always looks badass!

At this point, I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the TV show.  Too many friends of mine have said it deviates too much from the book and that the storyline has disappointed as the seasons have gone on. One thing is for sure, I’m sticking with the comic book because it keeps getting better and better. I have a long way to go but I’m excited to read more, It’s no wonder this book tops the charts every time a new issue is released each month.

Comic Book Review: Y: The Last Man Volume 1: Unmanned

(Submitted by with love by Mr. Prince Adam…Ho-pe you’re having a very Happy New Comic Book Day, Kinky Ho-mies! xoxo)

“Written by Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, EX MACHINA) and with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown–the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth. Collects issues #1-5.” (Vertigo)

This comic book gets a lot of critical praise and is lauded in the fanboy community as well! The way some of my friends talk about it, you’d think it’s the greatest thing you’ll ever read. Having just read the first volume, I just don’t get the high praise. For me it was okay, but I definitely had problems with it. One of the things I did like, was the idea that a virus/plague was killing every male on Earth. Now I didn’t like it because my male brethren were dying off. However, this was an intriguing plot point that is unique to any comic book I’ve ever read. The male death epidemic, allows the story to give us incredibly strong, prominent and badass female characters. Sure, Yorick Brown is the last man and he’s at the center of this story, along with his pet monkey Ampersand but this story would be pretty boring if it was about a dude and his monkey. By the way, this book gets extra points because a lead character has a pet monkey. The monkey is a pest, and a pain in the ass to Yuri, which drives most of the humor in this post-apocalyptic story. Also it reminds me of Friends and Joey. The president is obviously now a woman, and Yorick’s mother is a state representative in Washington. In an effort to set the scene for these two characters and this book before the male population goes extinct, this book gets quite political. We see Yorick’s mom arguing with a male counterpart over the issue of an abortion amendment. We see the soon to be President in Israel in the midst of Israeli/Palestinian warfare. Both abortion and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are still big issues even a decade plus after this book was published. I’m pleased that these issues are present, as comic books rarely touch on them. I only hope that it wasn’t all for exposition, or that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, when the story shifts its focus to Yorick’s journey. Speaking of Yorick’s journey, to find out the nature of the virus, why he wasn’t affected by it, he’s joined by two other awesome female characters. The first is Agent 355. The character is tasked by the President to guard and escort Yorick from Washington to Boston. The interesting thing about Agent 355 is that she is no simple body guard, she is a member of the clandestine group Culper Ring. She says they are a part of American history but you can sense there’s more going on with this group and I can’t wait to delve into that history and their ultimate machinations in future volumes. The third member of Yorick’s Scooby gang is Doctor Allison Mann. Dr. Mann is a geneticist, with a special aptitude for cloning. She successfully attempted the cloning process before, and cloning Yorick seems like a way of re-establishing the male population to ensure the births of future generations of humanity. If you suspend disbelief, that sounds like a viable option and she sounds like someone who can get it done.

The main antagonist of this first five issues is the Daughters of the Amazon. They view extinction of all men as a blessing and as a chance to rise up and return Earth to its glory days, when it was led by only woman. These women take Amazon mythology to its extreme. To the point where they cut off one breast because it makes it easier to shoot a bow. If one of their ranks or another woman doesn’t fall in line with the exact ways of the group they are killed. Brian K. Vaughan writes the Daughters of the Amazon with the most extreme stereotypes people have of feminists. This group of women are man hating vandals, societal disrupters and killers. I don’t think the writer is doing this to disparage normal, sane and legitimate feminist, he’s just creating a hyper stereotypical version, who do horrible things so that the readers have an antagonist to root against and despise. If he depicted feminists as they really are, this book would have zero action beats at all. It’d just be marching and protesting. While that may be real world appropriate, it translates to one boring comic. With Yorick, Agent 355 and Dr. Mann getting into confrontations and being on the run from the Daughters of the Amazon, this book has a bit of a Mad Max vibe going for it. The book ends with our trifecta in a bind. Not only are they on the run from Amazon wannabe’s, but they reach Dr. Mann’s Boston lab, only to find the building and her research up in flames. However, the perpetrator of this arson, is a lieutenant general of the Israeli Defense Force. She was seen briefly and early in the story and is after Yorick, to ensure the future of her nation. That’s what I liked about this book. What I didn’t like was Yorick. This guy is in his mid-20’s, jobless and is obsessed with maintaining a long distance relationship with a girl who, it is clear that she’s on the verge of breaking up with him, so the guy proposes to her over the phone. What a douchebag. When the plague hits and all the men die, and it becomes clear that he is the only person capable of insuring humanity’s ultimate survival, his only concern is going to Australia to find his girlfriend. Really? I mean the savior of humanity throughout the book, acts like a petulant child when he doesn’t get his way. Yeah, if the future of the human race was really left up to someone like him, I’d rather we all die off. The other thing the book does poorly is deal with the relationship between Yorick and his sister Hero. He tells us how close they are, yet we never see them interact. A flashback to Yorick and Hero’s youth would’ve helped build the bond. Instead, we see Hero at the very beginning and end of the book. At the beginning, we see her banging her figherfighter boyfriend in the back of a fire truck, while at the end we see her with one boob and she is one of the members of Daughters of the Amazon tasked with finding Yorick. Seems to me Brian K Vaughan jumped the gun with her character arc, if you can call it one. Then there’s the issue of the plague killing all the men. The biggest plot point of this book and we don’t get so much of a hint at what it is, or what might have caused it. I understand there’s lots of story left to be told but come on, tease us with something.

Pia Guerra is the artist on this book and it’s the first time I’m seeing her work. To me it has a similar style to the artist of iZombie. While the work is good, given the nature of this story, there aren’t many action scenes to gush on about. I do like the picture of the wives of the dead republican male senators, approaching the White House with weapons, demanding their husband’s places on the senate. The image looked like something akin to zombie’s attacking in a movie or TV show. The page where Yorick gets into a fight with a few Daughters of the Amazon’s resembled the aftermath of an nWo wrestling match. A couple Amazon’s held Yorick down, while the ring leader roughed him up a bit. There was even spray paint involved! The final splash page is an aerial shot showing our characters lost in a literal fork in the road, with the road making the shape of a Y. Now that’s a cool way to end the first arc of a book. Ultimately though, I wish cover artist J.G. Jones was doing the interiors. His art is far more realistic looking and suits the real world story and scenario’s this book deals with.

I’m mostly split on this book. There’s a lot to like about this book but there’s a lot I don’t like about this book. Right now, I’m skewing more negative, due to an unlikable idiot of a main character, under developed backstory and character relationships, and bad pacing in certain places. I’ll probably give this book another go, in the hopes that another volume will build on the parts I did like, and reveal answers to the questions I have about the virus/plague. After Volume 1, I’m left wondering “Y” The hell do so many of my friends and critics think this book is great!?

Kinky Komic Book Review: Spawn #6-7

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Ho-mie O’Brien! 😉 xoxo)

“The Mob is fed up with losing their men to an unknown assailant. Finally deciding that Spawn is the killer, they send hit men to kill him. When Spawn defeats these attackers, the mob calls in Overtkill, a cyborg assassin. This foe is unlike any Spawn has ever faced, so he flees their battle to prepare. Luckily, he knows a secret armory stacked with the latest firepower.” (Image)

Following last issue’s emotionally charged socially relevant drama, where Spawn brought a child rapist to justice by killing him, Todd McFarlane, gets back to the super heroic horror the book featured in its first four issues.  Speaking of the first four issues, Spawn’s heart evisceration killing spree of the mafia has its consequences. The mafia has pooled its resources to higher the aforementioned Overtkill. The book does a great job in telling and showing us how much of a threat he is, however does a piss poor job at giving us any background on who Overtkill is, or how he came to be.  McFarlane tells us that he is a nemesis of the Youngblood’s and expects that to be sufficient.  Here’s the problem, I’ve never heard of Youngblood’s and have no inclination to read that title. I’m sorry but, it’s Rob Liefeld and the only character of his I can stomach is Deadpool. I find the rest of his work derivative, and the comic book equivalent of horse shit. Also, his art sucks. Anyway, if Todd McFarlane felt it necessary to borrow from that area of the Image universe, then it falls on him to give us details on Overtkill, for potential non Youngblood readers like me.  This is especially true for the early 90’s, when this book was written and the internet/Wikipedia wasn’t at our finger tips.  I did love that McFarlane showed Spawn being mindful of not using his power unless absolutely necessary, so as not to expend them, which would expedite his souls return to hell. It would be so easy for a writer to not acknowledge this fact from time to time, in favor of an awesome use of mystical powers.  Hoverer, the fact that this implication constantly affects and impacts Spawn, gives every scenario where he uses his abilities more weight and importance. This forced the character to rely on firearms he knew about from his days in the army.  What that does is bring both his past life and present life into conflict.  McFarlane uses this to give us more info about Spawn’s death. In the first volume, flashbacks inform us that a hit was ordered on him by a high ranking government official.  Here, through flashbacks, we learn that the mystery goes deeper and the person who carried out the kill, was someone he knew. In this flashback/nightmare sequence the face of his killer is seen as a skeleton. So we get a hint of new information, yet we don’t see who it is.  I like that we are getting teased, with the reveal being a slow burn. It puts us in Al Simmons shoes, almost like you’re watching a P.O.V, Telltale video game story play out.

As with the first five issues of this title, Todd McFarlane handles both writing and art duties.  While I thought character wise, Overtkill was disappointing, look wise he was great. He looked like a cross between Deadshot with is laser eye patch and Cyborg with all that armor.  The two fights between Spawn and Overtkill were incredibly short, but certain imagery from each really stood out. When Overtkill grabbed Spawn’s cape and chains, using them against him it showed how much of a hindrance, the superhero aesthetic can sometimes be. Most costumed character books don’t touch this issue, so it made this page stand out.  The page in issue 7 where Overtkill is turned inside out, thanks to a bazooka blast, is pure off the wall insanity that really pops off the page.  The image looks so great, it even counteracts the annoying amount of white background present on the page.  Spawns nightmare sequence was the most haunting of the book, as it featured an American flag riddled with bullet holes, with his killer being a skeleton. There’s blood red colors through the page.  The close up on Spawn’s face really accentuates the pain and anguish, each new memory causes Spawn.    While I love that Todd McFarlane highlights how kind and accepting the homeless community is to Spawn in his writing, he doesn’t glorify homelessness in the art.  The streets are dark, and full of garbage. You can see the toll homelessness causes on those who suffer through it, in the face of the homeless man Spawn interacts with.

These two issues aren’t as good as the first five. This is mainly due to an underdeveloped adversary, who feels like a throw away character we’re only going to see these two times.  However, I enjoyed every aspect that dealt with Spawn, his story movement and character development made this book a decent read and is the reason I want to continue reading the early adventures of this modern independent classic character.

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