Friday, February 28, 2014

Comic reviews for the week of 26/02/2014

Spoilers ahead for Lois Lane One shot 1, Hawkeye 15, Batman/Superman 8, Larfleeze 8, Adventures of Superman 10, My Little Pony: Friends Forever 2.  Big spoilers.  Do not click through until you've read these comics, especially Hawkeye and Adventures of Superman.

Lois Lane One shot 1
This was the first one I read of this week's batch.  At the time I thought it may well have been the best of the week.  Lois is on fine form in this issue,  using all her journalistic prowess to help her sister (Lucy) locate her missing roommate.  Lucy may or may not be in a relationship with her roommate - it's hinted at but not confirmed - I hope she is and I hope we don't have a coming out scene. I hope Lois just knows that her sister is gay or bisexual and gets to meet her partner as she would meet a boyfriend.

Lucy's roommate has been taking a new drug which transforms you into a monster and is very difficult to revert back to humanity from.  Lois finds an army-like cadre capturing these monsters and sets about rescuing the victims, but things are more complex than they appear.

As I said, this was very nearly going to be my comic of the week.  Then the others happened.

Hawkeye 15
Last chance to avoid spoilers.  You do not want to be spoiled for this issue.
I didn't know what to think at the end of this. I was gobsmacked.  This series has, up till now, been mostly about Clint Barton being ineffectual and Kate being independent and superior.  This issue started like that, with Clint being caught by the Bros with his trousers down.  He talks his way out of it.  We get sight of other events happening at about the same time.   Clint and his brother work out what the European bros are after and how they are being set up and then we get to the final 3 pages.  It slowly, slowly gets a bit darker, a bit more serious, you get to the penultimate page, and well, I didn't quite understand what I was reading.  Then the last page... with Clint and Barney lying on the floor... and I have to re-read the final 2 pages over and over to comprehend what just happened.  It's savage.  It's desolate.  The final page where we view Jess mid step as she discovers Clint and Barney on the floor..
there's no closure.. she's as bewildered as us.. she's just experienced it, pretty much like we have.

No wonder this left me feeling all wobbly.

Batman/Superman 8
I LOVE this cover.  I love the symmetry.  It is a perfect design.

The issue itself is also pretty stunning.  The empty backgrounds in the art are really working for me.  I get a real sense of Karen and Helena as young women, teenagers, in this issue, much like I did with the World's Finest Annual.  It was a really touching issue.  I *think* I want to read the rest of the crossover.

Larfleeze 8
Ah, this was a fun antidote to the rest of the comics.   Larfleeze is angrily enjoying being King of the robot world.  The Tuatha are discussing how to stop him.  Larfleeze gets his butler back.  We are told that next issue has the "surprise return of the greatest Green Lantern of them all!*  *Well, maybe not the greatest, but if we told you who it really was, you might not buy the book!"

Please, please let it not be G'norrt.

Adventures of Superman 10
Along with Hawkeye, this is the other comic that took an emotional toll this week.  So much so that when reading it over breakfast I cried twice.  By the end of the book I was in proper body shaking sobs.  I've felt wobbly all day so when I tweeted about it and one of the writers tweeted me back giving me the background in the story (see here) I nearly started crying at work again.  I'm very hormonal at the moment, lets put it down to that OK?

The issue is called 'Letters to Superman' and focuses on two letters.  One from a kid called Theo who wants Superman to come and stop the monster that is threatening his town.  The monster is actually Theo.  He's got a mutation to his immune system which means that he turns into this violent creature.  He begs Superman to kill him.  When he turns back into his human form Superman says he agreed to kill the monster, not the child, so takes him to Emil Hamilton for curing.  Incidentally, I find it very off putting when Hamilton is white in the comics when I mostly know him from Smallville and he's not white in that.  I don't know what ethnicity Alessandro Juliani is but he ain't white.

I digress.  Theo thanks Superman for reading his letter, hearing his voice and coming to find him.  He saved Theo's life and the whole town.  It's what heroes do and I love a good old fashioned heroism story.

Then there's the second story.  Connie is a kid in Metropolis with her parents.  Connie has also written to Superman.  Superman is fighting Metallo and when Metallo looks like he's winningConnie is furious and yelsl out You're Hurting Him!  Everyone thinks Connie's favourite should be Wonder Woman because she's a girl, but Connie likes Supes because he has the best powers.  Then we get to the rest of Connie's letter, where she explains that she's in Metropolis because she's ill, and then we see her at a cancer ward and she's describing the Metallo/Superman fight to the other kids.  Then Superman turns up through the window, makes her a cape, melts some sand into an S shield badge and starts talking to the other kids:

You kids may not know it but you have someone very special in your midst here today.  Now she's not faster than  speeding bullet, and she's not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Yet no matter what burdens the world puts on her shoulders, she still finds the strength to carry on.  She still finds the courage to hope.  Her name is Connie and she's my superhero.
[Connie thanks him and her tears start to come]
Now you course you all know that there are rules to being a superhero.  Rule #1: You need a costume, preferably with a cape. Done.  Rule #2: You need a codename.  Personally I like Connie courageous.  Rule #3: You have to be ready to fly off and have adventures at any time of day and night.
So are you ready to go?"

And this last panel is Superman reaching his hand out to Connie and/or the reader and inviting them to be a hero with him.

This was the point where I lost it and started the full on crying.  Skimming these scenes for this review has made me well up again.

My Little Pony: Friends Forever #2
I bought this on comixology after the trauma of the other books.  It started up in a guided view type of read, something I've only come across once before (for Batman 66).  Initially I was baffled by it and didn't really like the guided view thing - I like being able to see the whole page and make my way through the comic at my pace, you know?

After a couple of pages(and probably 20 panels) something changed and I started grinning.  This issue is utterly delightful.  Completely charming.  It has 3 ponies trying to earn their cutie marks (those cartoony brands on their haunches) and enlisting the help of Discord (who is normally a bad guy) to put them in new situations so they Can find something they are good. New situations means figure skating, lion taming, role playing games, piloting the starship enterprise and hundreds of other things.  It's funny!

It's written by Jeremey Whitley (who did Princeless) with art by Tony Fleecs, colour flats by Lauren Perry and letters by Neil Uyetake.  It's incredibly cute.  The pleasure lies in the cartoony art as much as the writing and plotting.  It's been a while since I've read something that surprised me so positively and melded the art/words/plot aspects of comics together so well.  I've not seen the My Little Pony TV show, but I imagine it to be like this.

What a great read and what a great discovery!

1 comment:

SallyP said...

There really were some amazingly good comics this week. Comics that were actually...Fun!

Quick, don't let anyone know!