Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Return of the Opinionator

🎶Back in the saddle again...🎶


It’s been a few years. Having been gone so long, it’s only fair that I start with letting you know what I’m reading so you know what perspective I’m bringing to reviews and commentary. These are the singles I’ve bought over the last couple months.  No trades or other larger collections bought during that time, though I am reading the Golden Age Wonder Woman trade that I bought some months back.  We can talk about the ridiculous extent of the racism therein at a later time.


Archie Comics

Archie 27-28 - Waid, Mok, Fitzpatrick,Morelli


Boom! Studios

Abbott 1 - Ahmed, Kivela, Wordie


Dark Horse

Jenny Finn 2-4 - Mignola, Nixey, Stewart

Incognegro: Renaissance 1 - Johnson, Pleece



Doom Patrol 9, 10 - Way, Derington, Fowler, Bonvillian



Atomic Robo: The Spectre of Tomorrow 3, 4 - Clevinger, Wegener, Clark, Powell



Black Magik 10 - Rucka, Scott

Copperhead 17, 18 - Faerber, Moss, Riley, Mauer
Invincible 143, 144 - Kirkman, Ottley, Morales, Fairbairn, Wooten
Kill or Be Killed 15, 16 - Brubaker, Phillips, Breitweiser
Kill Or Be Killed #1

Lazarus: X+66 6 - Rucka, Trautman, Jones, Arcas, Wynne
Outcast 32, 33 - Kirkman, Azaceta, Breitweiser
Paper Girls 19, 20 - Vaughan, Chiang, Wilson, Fletcher
Royal City 8, 9 - Lemire
Sex Criminals 21 - Fraction, Zdarsky
Twisted Romance 1, 2 - various
The Walking Dead 175, 176 - Kirkman, Adlard, Gaudiano, Rathburn
The Wicked + The Divine Christmas Annual; 1923 - Gillen and various; Gillen, Koch, Cowles



The Mighty Thor 702, 703 - Aaron, Dauterman, Wilson
Moon Knight 190, 191 - Bemis, Burrows, Ortego, Lopes


Not on here due to hiatus are Saga by Vaughan and Staples and Bitch Planet by DeConnick and De Landro, which are easily two of my favorite books. Also on a hiatus (though returned after I started writing this) is Descender by Lemire and Nguyen, which is both a great story and some of the best water color art you'll find in comics.   Part of that Image dominance in my reading, but the creator owned books tend to be better, and Image has a track record of putting out high quality books.

Descender #28


I wasn’t reading much of the Big Two when we last put out this fantastic production and that hasn’t changed. I will pick up a book by a particular writer, but even writers I like when they own the work can be far less enjoyable when working under corporate restrictions. Moon Knight is the only one I’ve continued because I like where the character is going in spite of creator changes.


Next time, discussion of a specific book. Maybe Invincible, as I’m re-reading the whole thing, now that it’s come to the end.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Lego DC Superheroes: The Flash Movie

Review: Lego DC Superheroes: The Flash Movie

Welcome back to Comics And… I’m posting again (because I’m procrastinating in studying for my class).

Image result for lego the flash movie
Story 4.5/5 stars
Animation: 4/5 stars (I mean, fine for a Lego movie)
Recommended age: All ages!!!

My son loves Legos. Probably because Legos are awesome. He and I share a love of superhero stories. Combined this results in watching a lot of Lego superhero themed stuff. We aren’t much of a Marvel family (although Lego Loki is a lot of fun) so he and I were pretty excited to watch the new(ish) Lego DC movie, The Flash.

In the past a majority of the Lego DC world has focused on Batman and the Bat-family and then slowly expanded into the Justice League. They even had appearances by the Legion in previous movies. Flash has not gotten much attention until now. Basically, they pull a lot of Flash’s personality from the Animated Series (even though Lego uses Barry, not Wally) but considering the kid-friendly focus it makes sense to have more of a happy and beloved Flash.

First, the good.

Pretty much everything. It was a cute story that starts off with a time loop scenario. Often time loops can be tedious and annoying but Lego keeps it short and even humorous.

The movie starts with the Atom being shown around JL headquarters as a prospective member. We get an appearance from both Ace the Bathound and Krypto. The Atom quickly dubs them (sarcastically) “superpets” which makes me enjoy this movie even more. Superpets are one of the most absurd concepts in the comic book realm and I always appreciate a cameo or two. As a bonus my son also loves the superpets (especially Ace).

The overall plot is decent. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece of storytelling here but it’s an easy to follow story despite time travel. The main bad guy is, of course, Reverse Flash, and Barry keeps running faster and faster to try and catch him allowing Reverse Flash to dump him in a time loop.
The part that was really well done with the time loop was how Barry keeps wrapping up all the tasks he had on the first time through the loop to the point where he delivers a bad guy to the JL before any crime was attempted.

Thankfully the writers only use the time loop as a starting point. The second part of the movie is split into 3 main stories – the Atom being stuck in his small mode, the JL trying to figure out what the Reverse Flash is up to, and Barry trying to tap back into the speed force.

Image result for lego the flash movie ace

My absolute favorite moment was Ch’p (or B’dg as I can’t tell them apart and missed the name when they said it – the Squirrel Green Lantern) showing up to help and being lumped in with the other superpets.

Now, the bad

Nothing was actually bad. All the Lego stuff has pretty obvious morals embedded into their stories which can get tiresome for an adult but are important for all the kids watching (this movie was stuff like take the time to slow down and have a plan). All the Lego media my son and I watch tends to have lessons like never give up, and always stand by your friends. This stuff gets pretty hammered in but for the elementary crowd its fairly appropriate.

Of course, Lego is trying to sell their products so they always have fancy new stuff you can buy in some kit being used for their movies. If your kids are bad about that kind of thing you may want to be warned ahead of time that there are absolutely several new DC Lego sets based on this movie (I don’t have this issue, but I know some parents like to know about all the product promotion).

Finally, Zantanna was pretty awful in this movie. Z is such a cool character and she was pretty much a throwaway in this story and written completely out of context. It was a weird call and strangely involved a musical number.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie for those of you with kids or those of you who are young at heart. I know my son and I will end up watching it again.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Review: Trinity by Matt Wagner

Welcome back to Comics And… It been a long time since I wrote anything about comic books and a lot has changed for me since I last reviewed a book. My taste in reading material has changed as I’ve grown older, had a child, and transitioned from a high school teacher to an archaeology graduate student. My first review on this side of my life is not a glowing one and has even inspired me to re-read an old favorite to make sure I hadn’t been forming my expectations of the creator’s work from nostalgia. Let’s dive in!

Image result for wagner trinity

Review: Trinity by Matt Wagner 

Basic breakdown:

Story 1/5 stars
Art 3.5/5 stars
Recommended age: high school and up

This review deserves a little bit of background before I get into too much detail as my impressions have been somewhat colored by circumstance. Jim (my Dad) gave me this book years ago and I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it until now. I had gone to see the recent Justice League movie with my husband and son and was so happy with how much fun my son had watching it that I decided to peruse my bookshelf for a hopefully similar story. I saw the Trinity book, saw that my old favorite (from Mage) had written and illustrated the story, and briefly flipped through to make sure it was 5-year-old appropriate. At a glance it seemed fine so my son and I sat down to begin reading.
The story, for those who haven’t read it, is meant to take place early in Batman and Superman’s careers. It is also the first time Wonder Woman interacts with either Superman or Batman.

First, the good.

Matt Wagner’s art has improved since his Mage days. I still enjoy the sharp contrasts and the simple line work. While Wagner isn’t my favorite artist he gets the job done. His art enhances the story (outside of a few awkward panels) and he has a talent for conveying meaning without words. The other good point was Superman. Superman is written true to character and has a couple of humorous moments.

Now, the bad (and awful)

Okay, I could easily poke holes in the plot (melodramatic, doesn’t make much practical sense, jumps around oddly) but you can easily tear most arch-villain plots to shreds. I believe in relaxing and enjoying my comics and while the plot could have been improved, I can let it slide.
The characters, with the exception of Superman, were terrible.

Batman – yes, Batman is dark and brooding, especially in contrast with Superman. However, Batman is still supposed to be a hero. Not only has this version of Batman been spending too much time in the Frank Miller universe, he also has a scene with Wonder Woman that is disgusting. The best I could do was use it as a teaching moment and explain to my son that Batman deserved to get hit in the face by WW after forcibly kissing her (after running across her bathing in a stream…). I had a lovely time using one of my son’s heroes as an example of what he should never do to someone. Matt Wagner vaguely states Batman was overcome by the “island’s enchantment” and then fails to explain what that is. Furthermore, this in no way contributes to the actual plot or even to character development.
Wonder Woman – She has a few decent moments but spends a majority of the story chained up, helpless, sexually harassed, and fawning over Superman. Punching Batman in the face was one of her better moments.

Ras Al Ghul – What the heck Wagner?!? I had to skip over or modify pretty much every work of Ras’ mouth when he’s around Wonder Woman. At first, I thought I was maybe reading too much into it: “Ubu, incapacitate this… colorful young woman. Have her bound and brought to my chambers. She should provide several hours of amusement…” I mean maybe he’s just a sadistic torturer rather than a rapist? Which isn’t better really, but I have never seen anyone portray Ras as a rapist before. Then later in the story WW herself sums up a later speech of his, “He plans the death of millions alongside my rape, smiling all the while.” I just skipped/altered a lot of these lines while reading to my kid. Ras was always at least a bit redeemable because of his love for his own daughter and deceased wife. Previous versions of Ras have always treated women with respect (at least the stories I grew up reading). Much of Ras’ appeal as a villain (while written by anyone else) was that his message was compelling. He is not compelling as poorly written sexual predator.

After enduring this book, I decided to re-read Mage. I was worried that I had a skewed memory of Mage as an awesome book with a pretty amazing teenage girl as a major character. Had Wagner always written women into the same ways he handled WW? To my great relief the answer was no. Edsel was as cool as I remember her. She was never meant to be a long-lasting character of course (and I’m sure the Alex in the fridge crowd would argue she was used as a plot device – but quite frankly all the characters in Mage are just plot devices – pawns on a chess board). I always loved Edsel and her glowing baseball bat (I always liked her way more than the main character) and I am glad I can still enjoy Mage as a fun comic book.

Image result for mage edsel

Perhaps it would be better if Wagner stuck to his own creations. He seems to do better with them.

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Return of Comics And….

Like bands of old getting back together to go on tour once again Comics And… is making its dramatic return. And like those bands of old the hair maybe grayer and the voices not as rich as they used to be, but the money is just too good to pass up. Wait a minute no one is paying us and it is probably only me who is grayer (more white) then before.

In the back of my mind I have had a bunch of things to say about current comic books and the associated movies and TV shows. At the same time I have become more enamored of art and even gotten into doing commission pieces. Finally the nostalgia bug has hit me and I find I read old comic collections as much as the new stuff. Worse I have gotten into buying some older books because it is not just the story and art but the ads that I actually enjoy.

With all of that as along preamble the point of this brief article is to announce that we are back but on a limited basis. Our goal is to post once a week at least and try and do the post on a Sunday. Gwen, Lee, Matthew, Thomm and myself will post whatever is on our minds. And if the “owner” of that week want to do multiple post he is free to do so. We understood that an old school blog is somewhat passé, but we are doing this for our own amusement and not looking to monetize it. So if you find us please share and spread the word if you enjoy what we have to say. We are placing no restrictions of what someone is posting so be aware this can be an opinionated group.

What I hope to cover from my viewpoint over time is commission artwork, original comic art, golden/silver age artists I have grown to love, new comics, old comics and the vanishing inker. I hope we find our old fans and maybe generate some new, but in the end it is as much about just shooting an arrow into the air and see where it lands. Hopefully not putting out someone’s eye.