Thursday, May 29, 2014

Serenity: Leaves On The Wind #5 - A Review

In previous reviews of this series, I called it a good story hampered by bad artwork. I will not be doing that this month. Oh, not because the artwork has gotten better. It hasn't. If anything, Georges Jeanty's atwork is getting sloppier and more inconsistent by the month. No, this month I can't say it because I'm no longer sure if I'm reading a good story.

I was fully prepared to deliver a rant about how poorly served the female cast of this series are served by Zack Whedon's script.  How Zoe is completely absent from this issue and has been reduced to the princess to be rescued.  How Inara doesn't have a single line in this issue and has been marginalized into Mal's girlfriend/Zoe's nanny.  How Kaylee does get to do one awesome thing but it involves recycling one of Wash's old plans and that he gets more lines in one flashback than Kaylee does in the whole issue.  And how River gets her ass kicked by a male reader until Mal gives her a hypodermic needle full of sedative to use as a make-shift weapon.

I was ready to rant about all of that... until I realized how badly served the male cast was by the same script.

Simon has been just as useless as Inara for the better part of this series and also goes without a line in this month's issue.  Jayne has been recast in the role of total comic relief.  And Mal... well, Mal is the big damn hero who finally gets a plan to run smooth at the cost of making Bea - the rabblerouser trying to recruit him to lead a new Browncoat movement - look even more incompetent at the revelation that The Alliance has been funding her movement from the beginning as part of an effort to organize the agitators so it would be easier to get them all in one place and kill them.

I'll give this one more issue to see if something can be salvaged from this wreckage.  That's it.

Batman #31 - A Review

I don't think I need to say anything about the excellent artwork of Greg Capullo and Danny Miki after sharing this image.

I want this image as a poster. Hell, I want a Souped-Up BMX Batman action figure based on this scene.

What?  It wouldn't be the stupidest variant action figure ever associated with the Batman brand.  Ever see any of the Knight Force Ninjas?  *shudders*

In all seriousness, this is one of the best Batman books in years and you're doing yourself a disservice if you aren't reading it.  Scott Snyder has restored The Riddler to his status as a major player after years of being a bad joke worthy of The Joker.  More, Batman is honestly having to struggle against an opponent after years of being depicted as the perfect strategist who sees everything coming.  That is a far more interesting character to read about for what my money is worth.  And as you can see, the artwork is damn good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

King Conan: The Conqueror #4 - A Review

This tenth chapter of Dark Horse Comics' adaptation of Robert E. Howard's The Hour of The Dragon proves just as enjoyable as previous issues.  This month we find Conan in the darkest depths of Stygia.  There he expects to encounter the murderous priests of Set but does not count on the subtler dangers found in an attractive woman who shuns the sunlight...

Writer Tim Truman has stuck faithfully to Howard's original text in this adaptation.  His only embellishment comes in the form of a frame story, in which an aged King Conan relates the events of The Hour Of The Dragon to an eager scribe.  It is here that Truman adds a little definition to Conan's character, revealing the Romantic nature of the barbarian conqueror as he waxes philosophical on the power of love.  Conan is not the sort to be sentimental but his passions are as great as his rages and Truman captures that expertly.

The artwork by Tomas Giorello and Jose Villarrubia is as grand as the story.  I find myself fast running out of ways to describe their brilliance as the conclusion of this miniseries approaches.  So let me say this - many art teams have handled Conan The Barbarian over the past few years but for my money no team has done so good a job in depicting him as Giorello and Villarrubia.

The Dresden Files: Skin Game - A Spoiler-Free Review!

Harry Dresden has had a bad year.  And he's about to have a series of very bad days.  Through the usual crazed alchemy that involves the trading of favors and obligations in the supernatural world, Harry has found his services traded away to one of his deadliest enemies - Nicodemus Archleone - in order to cover a debt owed by Queen Mab of the Winter Court.

Soon Harry is standing among a veritable Legion of Doom of monsters, fallen angels, shape-shifters and warlocks united for one purpose - stealing from the vault of the Greek God Hades.  Naturally, Dresden is sure there is more to this game than meets the eye.  And while Nicodemus may need his help to pull off this heist, there's little chance that "old Nick" will let Harry or the rest of the crew walk away with their lives once the job is pulled.

It will take all of Harry's cunning and power to get out of this one with mind, body and soul intact.  For Hades is not known for his hospitality or mercy.  And any who die in his realm may find themselves condemned to an ironic punishment for all eternity!

At this point, there is little that can be said about Skin Game that would not be a colossal spoiler.  Suffice it to say those who are new to the world of Harry Dresden should pick up Storm Front and begin working their way through the stories in order.  While it was once possible to read the Dresden Files books out of order without worrying overly much, the series has progressed to a point where its rich history requires some basic knowledge of the world's progression as a whole.  

I can say this much.  Long time fans of the series will find this entry satisfying.  Jim Butcher does a fine job of adapting his characters into a heist story.  And those who were disappointed at the number of cliff-hangers left open at the end of Cold Days will be glad to know that a large number of the series long-running subplots are resolved in Skin Game.  That said, readers should expect to be surprised at least once as the novel progresses.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Batman Eternal #7 - A Review

Sadly, the scene on the cover of Batman Eternal #7 doesn't actually occur in the book.  A shame, as the image of The Penguin using his cigarette holder as a snorkel as he swims for his life is an amusing one.  It is also an apt metaphor for the action of this book, which does see The Iceberg Lounge destroyed and good old Ozzie forced to "sink or swim".

The interior art isn't quite so nice.  Emanuel Simeoni is a good artist and one can see fragments of fine detail throughout the book.  Sadly, most of this detail is lost under heavy inking that obscures the artwork rather than enhancing it.

Thankfully the writing is as strong as ever.  This issue shifts focus back to the main story involving Batman coping with the return of crime-boss Carmine Falcone and his new-found allies in the GCPD and the Mayor's Office.  I shan't say more but those who were worried that this series would spend too much time on the side-stories after the past two weeks should rest assured this book has not forgotten its purpose.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dallas Comic Con 2014 - ALL THE PICTURES! - Part Ten

Black Cat, Aquaman and Rogue

Red Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing

Flame Princess

Banshee and Booster Gold

Ant Man

Deadpool and Death

Edward Nygma and Poison Ivy from the Joel Schumacher Batman movies.

Dr. Zoidberg: So all of your friends treat you badly too?
Aquaman: You have NO idea...

The Riddler

Two Green Lanterns Power Up

Dallas Comic Con 2014 - ALL THE PICTURES! - Part Nine

Artist Jessica Cathryn Feinberg 

Skull E. Laye as Han Solo.


Daenerys Targaryen and Belle.


Green Arrow


Daenerys Targaryen and an Arkham Asylum doctor.

Cyclops and Jean Grey

Rogue and Jubilee.

Batwoman and a pair of Stephs - Robin and Batgirl, Stephanie Browns.

Casual Dress Stormtrooper

Battle-Scared Terminator

All this fun at the convention and she's reading!  For shame, Belle!

Dallas Comic Con 2014 - ALL THE PICTURES! - Part Eight

Discord and Twilight Sparkle

Clark Kent changing into Superman.

My friend Terry Parr drew this when I asked for a picture of myself as a super librarian.
Not a bad likeness, though I think I look like Patton Oswalt playing The Doctor.

The Doctor and Marty McFly - another crossover that needs to happen.

Prince Charming, in search of a princess.

My new and improved Jack Knight (Starman) costume.

Boba of the House of El.  Combination Superman/Mandalorian armor.

Zombie Hunter  S. Thompson!
This gentleman does a good zombie comic called Stillborn.

Robin Sparkles and Poison Ivy.

Taffeta Darling as Thanos.

Move over, Hawkeye Imitative!  The hot new meme of 2014 is girls dressed as Rocket Raccoon trying to match impossible superheroine poses! (Thanks for this one, Diane!)

I didn't get a chance to ask of she was a certain character, but she rocked the chainmail.

Dallas Comic Con 2014 - ALL THE PICTURES! - Part Seven

Poison Ivy, Black Canary & Harley Quinn

Bombshell Wonder Woman seems to be enjoying this far more than M. Bison.

Black Canary & Zatanna

The Doctor attempting to hotwire Luke Skywalker's land-speeder.
This isn't exactly out of character for The Third Doctor...

Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and John Constantine.
Questionable British Deviants must be her type.

Another group of X-Men.

The Joker shilling for his own action figure.
Hey, laughing gas doesn't pay for itself!


AT-ST Walker

Hope and Cable, defending the GeekLurv booth.