Tag Archives: TheWalkingDead

Fear the Walking Dead

It’s not always easy accepting newcomers with open arms. There’s an uncertainty, a fear of the unknown.

As an avid fan of The Walking Dead – the comics, the TV show, the TellTale Games – I approached Fear the Walking Dead with a great sense of unease. Perfectly content with my monthly comic purchase and the stress of a new season every October completely satisfies my Kirkman-centred zombie craving. This new show – the spin off, with no roots in the original material – is something I did not want, but felt a duty to the fandom to watch it.

Fear-the-Walking-Dead-poster

The Walking Dead is set in a universe where pop-culture zombies did not exist. The Romero films hadn’t been made; Shaun didn’t go round mums, get Liz back, and sort his life out; and no-one was Left 4 Dead. In the comics, “zombies” is uttered only by accident, as pointed out in the occasional letters page where it’s accidentally slipped from the lips of a character. There were no zombies before the first zombie: the one that started it all. And that’s what makes Fear the Walking Dead so very creepy.

In a world where the dead stay dead, in fiction and reality, it’s hard to understand what exactly is going on when you witness people tearing and clawing one another apart, or defying mortal injury. Surely, if you were to witness these things, you must be crazy – an inventive, and dark imagination, delightfully overactive, particularly if, say, you were a heroin addict.

The premier episode of Fear the Walking Dead focuses on precisely that. Nick, a young adult sleeping rough and battling drug addiction, wakes up to find his friend Gloria snacking on another of their camp-mates. Running, afraid, he’s taken to hospital and questioned by the police. Sure, something bad clearly happened in the church they were hiding in, but people don’t just eat other people. The drugs have rotted his brain, right?

The remainder of the episode works to unsettle this notion of normality. It can’t be anything as crazy as Nick proclaims, but something’s clearly not right. We follow Nick’s family in California: his mother, Madison, his sister, Alicia, and his mother’s new partner, Travis. It’s nice to see a zombie outbreak which focuses on a family unit, rather than randy teenagers or helpless victims. There’s a strong unit at play here, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. These people aren’t looking to save themselves, but each other – on levels much deeper than fleeing flesh-eaters.

Barely any walkers make an appearance in this first episode, which plays to the overall strength of the Walking Dead franchise. It’s about the destruction of an old world and the creation of new community; fight or flight; survival of the fittest – and usually the scariest monsters are the ones who are still breathing.

The cinematography is gorgeous, with some truly stunning shots. The grotesque paradox of the blood-stained drug den within a collapsed church was disturbingly wonderful. Like the Walking Dead, everything is deliberate, with the smallest of details serving significance.

Fear the Walking Dead has kicked off on a high note. The pathway leading to the explosive new season of the Walking Dead, it has big shoes to fill, and a vocal audience to appease, but it looks as if Fear the Walking Dead can measure up. Developed and flawed characters we can care about; seeds of Government deception sown, and a morbid foreshadowing as the audience is only too aware of the future that awaits any characters capable enough to survive, this new installment holds plenty of promise. So, maybe it’s okay to accept these newcomers – to follow new stories down the dark rabbit hole of the apocalypse.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Popcorn Tuesdays

My Week in Comics: Thor Almighty!

“Raise Hel, Goddess of Thunder. And let the rest be damned.”

thor8

The big reveal has happened! Through the twists and turns of Thor #8, we finally learn who now wields Thor’s hammer – and she’s more than worthy!

The opening panel of issue 8 is astonishing: breathtakingly beautiful as Marvel’s army of females strike their battle poses as they attempt to destroy the Destroyer. I’ve really loved the depiction of women in this female-led Thor run. Never are the superheroes posed in an awkwardly sexualised manner or as skinny stick-figures, but as strong warriors. You can really believe that Thor is Thor, because she has the arms to hold Mjolnir. Athletic, not anorexic.

The story has also been consistently strong, and the anticipation building in the panels leading up to Thor’s true identity makes the reveal all the more powerful. The good news: the first trade collection of Thor: Goddess of Thunder is out NOW! The bad news: you won’t get far on the internet without the reveal being spoiled, so catch up soon!

Heroes in the Modern World

One of my favourite things about modern comics is seeing them fit into the modern world. Many of these superhero characters have been around for decades, so it’s always fun to see them adapt to the modern world. One example of this was found in Silk #4, where we see Peter Parker and Johnny Storm playing video games together. However, as Silk goes on to prove, we sometimes you can’t beat a good ol’ fashioned superhero hang-out as she and Johnny get their flame on during their first date by beating up bad guys.

silk4

Perhaps this is what is so appealing about the new Howard the Duck series (with #3 being released this week). Howard the Duck is the modern approach to the idea of the “funny book” – a comedy adventure story which really does not take itself seriously. But its constant tip-of-hat to various pop-culture references both inside and outside the Marvel universe makes it all the more entertaining. The Spiderman joke in #3 had me laughing like a lunatic, whilst I nodded in appreciation at a Scott Pilgrim reference. It’s things like this that keeps comics fresh, and adds that extra connection with the audience.

 howard3

The Walking Dead #141

The twist between leadership styles was cleverly portrayed this issue: but who’s got it right?

“Lad culture is based upon the unscientific premise that women are genetically identical to Kleenex. It’s like creationism.”

giantdays3

The first issue of Giant Days, I was unsure. Issue 2, I was willing to keep going. Issue 3: I am totally on board! This issue confronts lad-culture (and the usual female response) head on, and it is fantastic. It’s a popular trend these days for young men, or “lads”, to shame others they don’t see as being quite up to their standards on the internet. For example, girls are usually “sluts”; homosexuals are usually “fags”; and obese people are, well, usually the butt of all their jokes. And lads are usually the young men who sleep with as many “sluts” as possible, and make amazing jokes about minorities which they call “banter”. I don’t think I need to go much further in explaining how disgusting and derogatory “lad-culture” is. Luckily, Giant Days #3 does this for us!

In this issue, Esther has been on a night out, got a bit hammered, and ended up in a top-ten list on a University ‘lad/banter’ website. Humiliated, she understandably wants to crawl in a hole and die. Who wouldn’t?! And when her reports are ignored by the University as ‘harmless fun’ (which actually happens in real life – really, it’s a thing. Google it!), she loses all hope of ever regaining dignity.

Not only does Giant Days highlight the absolutely disgusting and objectifying nature of lad-behaviour, it also goes on to question that ‘fine line’ between feminism and misandry. Susan, in hope of avenging her friend, goes on a man-hating rampage, canvasing the campus about how terrible all men are because of this lad-culture.

Ultimately, Giant Days is a funny, but eye-openingly aware look at our modern society. All too easily is this newfound ‘lad-culture’ dismissed as ‘banter’, when in the harsh light of day, it’s bullying. It’s a free pass to objectify women and humiliate anyone who doesn’t fit into the ‘lad’ club – one I won’t be applying for membership for anytime soon. The fact that Universities and education systems tend to dismiss this kind of behaviour is awful: why let discriminatory behaviour go unpunished when it can lead to quite devastating effects for its victims? “It’s just a bit of fun” is exactly what Giant Days calls it out as: “Bad explanation!” But similarly, to combat this kind of behaviour, us ladies can’t go around pointing the finger at every male on the planet. It’s everyone’s problem.

The CW Sneak Peeks

The trailers for The CW’s Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow have been released, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about each of them! Admittedly, when Supergirl was originally announced, I had many reservations: they’d need to get it just right since it’s Supergirl – and that’s a big deal. Plus, how will an alien story fit in with all the very human (or meta-human) groundwork Arrow and The Flash have already established? Will it fit?

But the trailer looks promising, rom-com soundtrack aside. The work the CW has done on Arrow and the Flash has been brilliant, so I look forward to seeing how they handle Supergirl. Provided it stays more “I can stop the bad guys, lift aeroplanes over my head, and stop Earth from being destroyed” rather than “Golly, how do I juggle work, clothes, saving the planet, and boys?!”, we’ll be onto a winner. I’m on board for the pilot, at least!

As for Legends of Tomorrow: it may have a ridiculous name, but it looks anything but! A ton of fun bundled up into a TV series! A gigantic team-up on a small team! Because “sometimes the world needs a team” – or as close as it can get to one. And, Hawkgirl has landed– yay! Our heroes (of sorts) are teaming up to take on Savage. I can see a lot of bumps in the road to a smooth team-work approach, but I really can’t wait to see the story unfold, even if miniaturised Atom does look a little like a Lego man…

Leave a comment

Filed under My Week in Comics

My Week in Comics: Easter Catch-Up

Welcome back to Face It, Tiger. After a refreshing Easter break, there’s plenty to catch up on, so let’s dive right in!

#Duckface

You know what, I’m loving Howard the Duck. Okay, so we’re only two issues in. But the first one was a blast, and the second follows suit. We catch up with Howard immediately where issue 1 left off – with Howard, lost, in space! We’re on an all-animal team-up here as Howard joins forces with Rocket Raccoon (not a werewolf!) to steal, then escape, from the collector’s lair.

It makes sense to team Howard up with the Guardians – given his brief appearance in the Guardians movie – and he fits right in! A bonding moment between the duck and the raccoon gives a touching insight into working through the anger, frustration, and isolation of being considered a freak, or an outsider. Howard might be the only walking talking duck waddling around the streets of NYC, but his experiences of feeling out-of-touch and wanting a normal life sure aren’t unique!

Howard the Duck may not be an overly groundbreaking comic book series, but the joy of reading it makes it a worthwhile addition to your pull-list.

Wall Crawlers

There’s not a lot I haven’t said about the spider-women of marvel by now, but I’m still sticking with them – and that says something.

background

We’re three issues in to Spider-Gwen, and it’s going from strength to strength. Sure, she’s still not defeated the Vulture (of all villains…), but it’s a compelling read, and a fantastic portrayal of women being heroes without it being punch-you-in-the-face preachy that “wow! Women can kick-butt too!”

I love the personal drama that we see alongside the Vulture-punching! We have a young girl growing up, in those awkward teenage years where you still need to listen to your parents, but you want to start making your own life choices. Gwen understands that her Dad’s right in worrying about her, but ultimately decides that now is the time to begin making those choices for herself. I believe the saying goes, “with great power, comes great responsibility” – or something like that!

portrait_incredible (1)

Jessica Drew took her new costume out for another round in Spider-Woman #6 as well! We’re following on directly from last issue, where J.Drew’s combining her spider powers with super-sleuth skills, clearly working towards something much bigger. It feels almost like a slick spy comic, rather than a supers book this issue – crazy costumes aside! And it’s clear, from all the encounters in this issue, that we’re building up to a bigger end-game. Let’s hope it’s worth playing along.

Who is Thor?

7b03aefc0f5f51bcd3e1adf84c850c33

We’re getting so close to finding out who our Mjolnir-wielding woman is in Thor!  A few suspects have been struck off the list in Thor #6, and the frustration felt by the original God of Thunder as to who now holds his hammer is paralleled in the reader the whole way through this issue! The urge to flip to the back of the book was overwhelming, and we’re still none the wiser! It’s a tantalising ride, but not one that’s frustrating or boring. If there’s one thing Jason Aaron does well, it’s write Thor stories, so I have total faith the answer will be amazing. I’m in hope that it’s an unknown – someone totally new. The idea that anybody could be worthy of the power of a Norse God is an exciting idea, and keeps that spark of hope that anyone can be a hero alive.

The Walking Dead #140

Gregory is an idiot. The Whisperer camp is amazing, if slightly insane. And Negan is out?!

Wytches

Wytches_05-1

I am loving Scott Snyder’s Wytches (from Image comics). It’s compelling, it’s scary, it’s original, it’s beautifully written, and stunning to look at. It’s ticking all the horror-comic boxes. And horror comics are a difficult thing to get right. Jock’s art style is absolutely wonderful, and, combined with Matt Hollingsworth’s colours, adds so much to the book. The patchy, blotted colours and blurred art mimics the notion of memory – how things are never totally clear or remembered exactly as it was. It also creates that blur between reality and imaginary. We’re not quite sure if what’s going on is real, and that distorted view is mirrored in every page. Portraying a grotesque sense of truth, Wytches has been a great series so far, and one I’d urge you to pick up. It concludes next issue in the grand finale, so catch up while you can!

Ms Marvel: Generation Why

51t-HHTYbyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

G.Willow Wilson’s incredibly popular run on Ms Marvel (aka Kamala Khan) continues in this second trade paperback collection! Having accepted her newfound heroism and crazy powers by the end of the first collection, we see Kamala becoming more involved in the superhero world in Generation Why. Although she’s determined, she’s not afraid to ask for help, or accept it when it’s thrust upon her. We see her being guided by Wolverine and Medusa, and even adopt mutant dog, Lockjaw. She’s brilliantly straddling the line between being a hero for the citizens of NJ and looking up to those she’s idolised for so long. It’s totally how I would be if I gained superpowers and found myself battling mutant crocodiles in a sewer with Wolverine! Pause for a selfie!

What I really really love about Ms Marvel – and why I think it’s so important – is just how much fun it is while portraying the idea that anyone, yes anyone, can be a hero. Sure, it helps if you have super limbs that can shrink and embiggen, and healing powers. But it’s the choice. Not to lay down and let life pass you by, but to take the skills you’ve learned, and grown with, or been given, and use them. Work together towards the greater good instead of laying down and giving up.

If you’ve not been reading Ms Marvel, now’s the perfect time to catch up – with two trades, and the third on the way in a few months time, you can be up to speed and in the know about the most popular new superlady in no time!

Captain Marvel: Stay Fly

STK666102

No one writes women quite like Kelly Sue Deconnick. And the second TPB of her most recent Captain Marvel run proves just that. Carol Danvers is a no-nonsense super lady. She’s amazing and she knows it. Not in an arrogant Tony Stark kind of way, but in that subtle self-confidence that allows her to save the world time and time again!

Space! Cats! Santa! It’s all in this second collection, which continues pulling on the thread that began to unravel in Higher, Further, Faster, More. There’s also tonnes of guest appearances! Captain Marvel will have her very own Wonder Women feature soon – so stay tuned for a more in depth analysis!

Daredevil

It’s finally here! On Thursday night, Netflix and Marvel launched their Daredevil series. 13 episodes, all online at once. Yes, I’ve watched them – a full review will be up in a few weeks (to give those of you who have a life plenty of time to catch up!). Summed up for those of you unsure whether or not to delve into Hell’s Kitchen: slick, stylish, brutal, and gritty – a perfect crime drama.

MCU Spider-Man: Confirmed!

It’s official! Spider-Man’s going to be, well, Spider-Man in his return to the MCU. Kevin Feige has confirmed that the big screen adaptation of the wall-crawler will still be Peter Parker, not Miles Morales as many speculated. Feige believes there’s still a lot of ground that hasn’t yet been covered in Parker’s high school years, so we can expect a 15-16 year old hero to continue the role! I guess that means no more Andrew Garfield, but it’ll be interesting to see who they cast in the role!

Wonder Woman Movie: Tagline – DC finally catches up!

Wonder Woman’s solo movie will reportedly begin shooting this autumn – and she’ll apparently have SIX different costumes! Not one, not two (in case one gets a bit muddy in battle), but SIX! Why? To confront petty female superhero costume complaints? To encourage jokes about women needing more than one outfit to do anything, including fight crime? Let’s hope it’s because she realises a tube top and hot pants aren’t overly practical in saving the universe. DC, we’ll be watching…

Leave a comment

Filed under My Week in Comics

Embrace the Fandom

This post isn’t so much a TV or movie review as it is a commentary on fandom. Last week, the BBC aired a documentary called Tom Felton Meets the Superfans, and last night I watched the season five finale of The Walking Dead – and while I want to revisit The Walking Dead as a show and a comic in more depth later on, watching both so close together got my brain-cogs turning. What is it about film, TV and comic books that really captivates us? Why does fandom impact our lives the way it does?

I love The Walking Dead. Nay, I am borderline obsessive. (Okay, I’m way past the line, running as if a herd of walkers were hot on my tail). I adore both the show and the comics so much that I dedicated a year of my life writing my masters dissertation on the subject, and I continue to read and watch and purchase and consume as much as possible. And I know I’m not the only one out there with this passion for something. It doesn’t necessarily have to be The Walking Dead: it could be Game of Thrones, Batman, Breaking Bad, Saga, Doctor Who, Star Wars, The Hunger Games – the list is honestly endless. So what is it that drives us to love something that we really have no visible connection to?

CAzJAV-UMAAysbz

The BBC’s documentary was insightful to the world of Harry Potter (given that Felton was a Potter child-actor, playing Draco Malfoy.) I give credit to Felton in his whole-hearted attempt to embrace whatever it was that fans feel – that drives them in pursuing actors, collecting memorabilia, cosplaying, wanting a quick selfie with their hero. And he really gave his all when he could be free as a cosplayer – without being recognised, he wasn’t held back and could fully immerse himself in the cosplay community. Thus, this was the only aspect of fandom I felt Felton could truly embrace. He couldn’t connect with the fan who used Potter as a means of escaping from bullying throughout his childhood; nor the fan who found help in the books and movies when suffering from depression; nor the fan who would wait for hours in the cold for an autograph and picture with celebrities, just to be recognised for an instant: for that adrenaline rush to be close to stardom. And ultimately, the documentary felt slightly pointless because of that. It barely scratched the surface of why fandom exists for all the various fandoms that do exist. Of course, that’s because it would take forever. But surely it would be better for the superfans to tell their stories, rather than have their idols try and work it out?

Over the years, I’ve been an unashamed superfan of many things. I tend to like a lot of things, but occasionally something will come along that I fall in love with – and I’ll stick with it, through thick and thin. So, where do these personal attachments to fandoms stem from?

Example One: Fobsession

I’ve always been ridiculed for naming Fall Out Boy as my all-time favourite band. Sure, they’re not the coolest. But being cool isn’t why I like them, or any band for that matter. It’s the experiences I’ve shared with them. Their songs were part of my most formative years, and they held my hand through the difficult stages of being a teenager right into my twenties. A constant factor in turbulent times. The underdog band for the weird, quiet kid. I remember barely being able to function when I won a meet-and-greet, and even more so when they announced their hiatus. And when they returned a couple of years ago? I cried down the phone to my mum so heavily she thought something was wrong. For me, they came back at a perfect time, just as I began floundering again, finishing my undergrad degree, leaving friends behind, facing a future of uncertainty. And I can’t explain the feeling I have for FOB. It’s not like “ermigerd, they’re so hot, I want to marry them all” fangirly (except, Patrick, I wouldn’t say no – call me!). It’s a genuine love and respect from deep down in my gut. Their songs move me, and have impacted me heavily over the years. What exactly it is, I can’t put my finger on. But they’re important to me.

Example Two: Vote Leslie Knope

The same goes for Parks and Recreation. I discovered Parks and Rec when I was going through a particularly unpleasant time in my life. I strongly believe Amy Poehler and Leslie Knope are two of the strongest factors that drive me forward to this day. Through her (their?) enthusiasm, I found something to fight for: reason returned. Not only did I believe in myself, whether I publish comics or build a park over a pit, but I could do it while laughing. And it truly sparked my feminist flame. (Amy Poehler and Leslie Knope will both feature in their very own Wonder Women columns, so stay tuned!) Ron Swanson’s tough outer-shell concealed some fantastic words of wisdom which I had written on post-it notes around my flat and saved on my laptop screen so I would see them every day and be reminded that things would be better. And because of this adoration of the show, I quote it constantly, I buy the quirky merch, and sing the stupid songs (byeeee byeee lil’ Sebastian), force those I care about to watch it, and I cried the whole way through the season finale. Not because it was sad, but because it was perfect. There will never be new Parks and Rec, but the legacy will live on for me, and that’s what matters.

ronswanson

Example Three: We Are The Walking Dead

Perhaps my biggest superfan addiction, however, is The Walking Dead. No TV show should move me like it does. No comic book should make me as upset as it does. No video game should destroy my feelings as much as this does. But The Walking Dead has had a big impact on my life, and I’ve recently asked myself: why?

the_walking_dead_tyreese

I still recall binge-watching the first two seasons in less than a week. It was amazing. Like someone had turned a light on. That Christmas, I got the two comic book compendiums, and read them each in a day. I’ve watched and re-watched all the seasons more times than I should probably admit, and I’ve re-read all issues of the comics multiple times, and not just because I decided to study it. What particularly interests me in The Walking Dead is the human condition and how we cope in times of stress; the relationships that form and deteriorate; the capabilities of people when they’re pushed to the extremes. Sure, I love a good zombie flick, but nothing compares to the deep, heartfelt emotion of The Walking Dead. It’s haunting, and powerful, and terrifying, and disturbing because it’s real – it’s people. Not monsters, or robots, or superhumans. People.

Perhaps the biggest impact the Walking Dead had on me was it fully ignited my love of comics. When I began to read the series, I realised I loved what comics could do. It’s the first comic that ever made me gasp, cry, cringe, laugh – truly connect with the characters. I’d never before realised the true power of comics. And I think that’s why it’s sparked such a deep-rooted admiration for me, and probably set me firmly on the path I’m on today. And the show is a triumph – I truly care about the characters and what they’re going through. I’m saddened whenever there’s a loss. Rewatching the series, and re-reading the comics, and buying the merchandise isn’t because I’m obsessive and need to collect everything associated: it’s a sign of admiration and appreciation – my attempt to be closer to something which has made such an impact on my life.

And that goes for my love of all the actors and creators too. Steven Yeun is fantastic. He’s truly brought (my personal favourite) Glenn to life for me: from comic panel to TV screen. I’d love to meet him, to shake his hand, and to have a picture. Not because I have a weird fascination with Steven Yeun himself, but because I’m so grateful for the work he does. The season five finale really brought this to light for me, as I seriously stressed out that he was going to get the chop. All week, I brewed up conspiracy theories (“Well, he’s been around a lotta baseball bats.”) No television show should cause the amount of stress I’ve felt for the past week.

Similarly, meeting Charlie Adlard at LSCC was amazing – I got to meet the guy who created these characters I’ve followed so closely for years now. That was huge! A brief encounter for 30 seconds as he signed my artbook and said hello made my week, if not my month. If I ever met Kirkman… who knows what would happen!? (I’d probably scold him for issue 100, let’s be real!)

So my point? Not an indulgent rant about the things that I love, but that everyone has their own reasons for superfandom. And that’s not something a 60 minute documentary with a Harry Potter actor can discover. It’s something the fans have to ask of themselves. For me, my biggest fame and fiction loves are closely tied to big moments in my life; experiences that will stay with me forever; people and characters and creators who have helped shape my life. It’s becoming part of a community, in which you share a particular passion, where you’re in on the in-jokes. And celebrating a band or show or comic or series or game or whatever that has helped you or made you happy in some way isn’t weird – it’s an attempt to get closer to this thing that means a lot to you. No-one would scold you for wanting photos with your parents, or meeting your friends, or collecting memorabilia from moments with a loved one. Celebrate the ones that mean the most to you: whether it be your friends, family, or a fantastical world of characters.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I have five seasons of The Walking Dead to rewatch before it all starts again in October!

1 Comment

Filed under Opinion, Popcorn Tuesdays

My Week in Comics: Not Many Comics Were Read…

Admittedly, I’m a little behind on reading this week. Luckily, comics now cross all levels of media, and boy was there a ton of film & TV based news this week!

Jem and the Holograms #1

This week saw the return of 1980’s animated TV show pop-princess, Jerrica Benton, and her friends – better known as Jem and the Holograms. That’s right – ahead of the 2015 live-action movie release, IDW have unleashed the female four-piece on the comics world. As a youngster, Jem and the Holograms missed my radar completely – mainly because the final episode aired three years before I was born. And as far as I’m aware, it was the Hannah Montana of the 80s. But still, cartoons like Transformers and GI Joe have had huge commercial success in their silver-screen reboots, so it’s interesting to see where Jem will go. Plus, 80s teen-movie legend Molly Ringwald has recently joined the live-action cast. You have my attention.

jem

As for the comic, I kinda liked it. Knowing very little about the original story, I entered in relatively blind. What immediately struck me was the wild colour spectrum. But once you looked beyond the overload of cyan and magenta, the art is really something. This is a comic written and drawn by women, about women, primarily for women (although comics are always for everybody). Consequently, the girls actually look like real girls – they’re not super stick thin, but have body shape; they have good fashion; they have a good sense of self. But they also have insecurities – particularly Jerrica. And that’s exactly what this first issue is about. We see the band worry that they might be falling apart because of Jerrica’s stage fright – she knows she’s good in a room by herself, but put her in front of one or two strangers, and she’s helpless – never mind a packed concert hall!

I felt that writer, Kelly Thompson, established the characters very well for a first issue. Although Kimber was probably overly-pushy at the beginning, she recognised her fault and felt guilty. And the inner-conflict Jerrica was experiencing felt genuine. Some aspects of the plot felt a little forced, getting as much background information out there as quickly as possible before Synergy shows up and the main action can get started, but it didn’t detract from the overall story. Jem and the Holograms #1 was fun, and I enjoyed it.

My favourite aspect, however, was Kelly Thompson’s letter to the readers at the end – what she hoped to achieve with this new Jem series – and admittedly, this is what has held my interest and persuaded pick up #2 when it’s released. Thompson writes that she wanted the four protagonists to represent “the epitome of the modern woman. Smart, capable, ambitious, and fascinating fashion-forward career women.” And that’s exactly what these characters thus far appear to be. Thompson stresses that although Jem’s origins are in the 80s, it’s essential that she fits into the modern era: “Nostalgia is wonderful, but can hold us back.” I believe this statement to be very true; particularly in regards to women in comics – as I’m sure you’ve picked up from my previous posts by now! The industry is straddling a fine line between being out-of-date, and old, and boring, and uninclusive (I mean, just look at last week’s Larsengate nonsense.); and pushing forward to being one of the most progressive, diverse and interesting mediums available. Comics can do anything – the pages may be restricted by panels, but that’s it. Anything is possible in comics, so why stick to the same old routine? Let’s hope Thompson can use Jem to help pave the way forward.

The Walking Dead 139

Sun, sea, sand, and pirate Michonne…?

The Walking Dead

Speaking of The Walking Dead, the companion series to the hit TV show was announced this week. Are you ready for this stunningly creative title? FEAR THE WALKING DEAD.

Ummm, slightly anti-climactic. But still, it will be interesting to see what direction the show takes. It’s already been signed for two seasons, the first of which will air this summer before season six of the main series returns. Following different characters in the same universe, I am intrigued, particularly as there are no boundaries placed by existing comic arcs. However, I also feel it’s unnecessary. I love the Walking Dead. I think it’s the greatest show on air right now, so why do we need another? We don’t, and to be honest, I don’t really want it. It’s bad enough stressing about all the characters I love in one show – never mind two! While the tone works so well for TWD, it’s what sets it apart from a lot of other things on TV. I worry it will be a replica of what we already have.

the-walking-dead

It’s also the Finale of Season Five of The Walking Dead tonight – and my blood pressure could not be higher! We know blood will be spilled, and not all of it walker blood (thanks to Gale Anne Hurd’s cryptic clues on The Talking Dead last week). Norman Reedus (aka. Daryl Dixon) has repeatedly said that tissues will be needed for this episode. And little hints and sneak peeks have only revealed the worst. My main concern is the arrival of Negan. The Walking Dead loves some foreshadowing, and Glenn has been around A LOT of baseball bats this season. Those of you who have read the comics will know why that is unsettling, and compared with this photo Reedus shared on Instagram earlier today [], my nerves are close to breaking point! I only know one character in TWD universe who has dark hair and a wears a leather jacket…

Issue 100 still haunts me. I still get so upset whenever I think about it. It’s perhaps the most shocking and devastating moment I’ve ever read in comics. I recall the moment I first turned the page, onto that scene. I had to just sit, staring blankly, for at least half an hour before I could continue reading. Let’s hope these hints have just been used to tease the comic readers and increase season finale anticipation. But it’s okay to take a sick day from work if your favourite character dies, right..?

One Month Countdown

We’re officially one month away from the beginning of the series of Marvel Netflix shows! And things kick off with Daredevil. Yes, that’s right, we can finally wash the Ben Affleck travesty from our minds and sit down with a whole new take on the character. Having only seen the trailer (to try and avoid any potential spoilers as far as possible), I have to say, it looks promising – with a gritty, noir feel. For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer yet, here it is:

The Merc with a Mouth

Ryan Reynolds has shared his first photo as Deadpool. And the internet nearly exploded.

“With great power comes great irresponsibility”, read Reynolds tweet. I honestly can’t think of a better Deadpool. Poor Reynolds has had a few swings-and-misses in his acting past (looking at you, Green Lantern) – but I really like him as an actor. I think Deadpool could be the perfect project for him, and I’m so excited to see what comes next!

11081339_10202662869331650_8859972133904368083_n

Leave a comment

Filed under My Week in Comics

My Week in Comics: Hot-Titles and Head-Desk edition

Spiders, and Squirrels, and Ducks – oh my!

Sorry, readers, I’m still gushing about Spider-women! This week, I picked up Silk #2, and I think I’m going to end up completely in love with this series. For those who missed #1, two is a great hopping on point, with the backstory being quickly recapped before plunging into the action. Silk is shaping up to be a lot of fun, but also an exciting read. Her attempt to find her family is intriguing, and I’m dying to know who’s watching her.

portrait_incredible

Something I particularly liked about this issue was the exploration of that return to ‘home’ after a long time away – where everything’s familiar, but nothing’s the same. That unusual space between teenage years and adulthood, where home’s still home, but it’s not really anymore. The places stay the same, but the people change – even the ones we used to be so close to. Perhaps I’m exactly Marvel’s target audience with this one, or perhaps living so far from my own home currently helped this resonate particularly strongly with me, but I completely connected with Cindy’s sense of feeling like a stranger in her home-town.

Stacey Lee’s art is still absolutely stunning in this issue, and the writing is very clever. We see how smart and strong Silk is as she fights against giant robot monsters in the sewers; but also how shy and awkward and human she is when she bumps into an ex-boyfriend in the street. I feel Cindy Moon is going to grow into a compelling character – and the humanisation is a key element for achieving that.

Similarly, Spider-Gwen #2 is reaching that all-important human:superhero balance. Gwen is really struggling to find where she fits – and to make things worse, Spider-Ham is on her case.

spidergwen2.2

What I particularly enjoy about Spider-Gwen is the character and plot development. It’s not a battle-filled book where Gwen’s kicking and punching her way through NYC, taking down the villains in one fell swoop. Instead, fight scenes are kept to a minimum, and we really get to know Gwen. This is so important and refreshing in a superhero book, where there’s usually a BLAM on every page turn. By getting to know Gwen, and how she’s feeling and what she’s thinking, we genuinely care that she’s upset about the happenings with the Mary-Janes, and disappointed in herself when she’s knocked out of the sky by the Vulture, or sorry when she approaches her father for help. Likewise, the slow-burn lets us get to know her father better as he straddles that fine line between leading the spider-hating NYPD and parenting his spider-hero daughter. Spider-Gwen is a clever book, and I believe it’s one worth sticking with.

My favourite new release of the year so far has been The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. And quite surprisingly so. All things considered it should be unbelievably cheesy. I mean in a world where a guy turns into a huge hulking, well, hulk whenever he’s angry; or where spider-folk are swinging all over NYC; or where a team of shape-shifting, mind-reading mutants routinely save the world – squirrel-powers don’t really seem like something to shout about. But I’ll certainly shout out loud about how much I’m adoring the Squirrel Girl series!

Squirrel Girl is the strongest character in the Marvel Universe, so really, she deserves her own comic for that status alone. (It’s true – it will all be covered in an upcoming Wonder Women, so stay tuned!). But there’s something about Ryan North’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl that just makes this book so truly fantastic that I have to wonder why it’s taken until now for her to have her own solo series.

First of all, the story is genuinely compelling. Squirrel Girl (aka. Doreen Green) is starting college, has recently moved in with her fantastic roommate, Nancy (and her cat, Mew), and is determined to have a lovely time in normal-world education. But, unfortunately, duty calls at the most inappropriate times, and Doreen and her army of Squirrels – led by Tippy-Toe – must save the day! Again, we see a protagonist battling to balance the two halves to their life. Where Squirrel Girl steps out from the shadows of the (many) other super-books like this, is the humour. The world is going to end, and I’ve never had so much fun!

unbeatable-squirrel-girl-1-cover-header

I have full-on belly laughed a couple of times whilst reading Squirrel Girl (now on #3). The book doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither does Doreen. She’s so excited to be a hero and part of the hero universe, it’s great – her enthusiasm is infectious, and I always have a smile on my face after reading an issue. North adds little remarks at the bottom of each page, which breaks the fourth wall to a degree, allowing you to laugh alongside the creators, feeling very ‘in’ on the joke. The Deadpool villain cards are a fantastic touch too. Erica Henderson’s art suits the books’ style perfectly – cartoony, but not cheesy or cringe-worthy; gentle but distinct.

nutsbooty

What I especially like about Squirrel Girl is it plugs that gap in the market for the happy-go-lucky, slightly clutzy, but incredibly brilliant superhero for all ages. Anyone can enjoy this book. It’s a great comic for young readers jumping into the comics pool; enough action and humour are added to keep the interest of teen readers; and enough subtle references added for adult readers to be entertained the whole way through. And Squirrel Girl is a great role-model, sometimes fighting with her smarts instead of her fists, stepping away from the inherent violence occasionally found in supers-books. Oh, and did I mention, she has a squirrel-a-gig?

Squirrel Girl gets a solid 5/5 nuts from me, and I whole-heartedly recommend everyone add it to their pull list.

Another new Marvel release which doesn’t take itself in the slightest bit seriously is Howard the Duck. That’s right – the old quack’s back, and he’s still grumpy. I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Again, it had all the potential to be cheesy and embarrassing, but it was highly entertaining, and I’d be interested to keep reading.

howard-the-duck-1-cover

The tone was very tongue-in-cheek. It’s as if (writer) Chip Zdarsky was very aware that the book would have to be as sarcastic and scathing as its protagonist if it is going to work. Confirmed: Shulky is a Swifty; the montage page was fantastic; and the various harks back to Howard’s history all raised a smile. In fact, I laughed out loud – which I feel takes skill in a comic book, compared to film. Not to give too much away, in case surprisingly positive reviews have sparked an interest in picking it up yourselves, but: Howard’s back in business. He’s returned to the private detective game and, you guessed it, has already got himself in trouble. Hot off his Guardians cameo, the book could prove popular with older readers (I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re aiming for – this duck ain’t no Daffy.) It’s so much fun, and I’d recommend shaking your tail feathers down to your nearest comic store and giving an old bird a new chance.

IMG_20150321_100505

BOOM! Shake the room.

BOOM! are releasing a lot of great stuff right now. It all kicked off with the smash-hit creator owned series Lumberjanes (which, if you haven’t read – get off this blog and read it now! Right now!). So, I was interested to take a look at two of their newest titles this week: Giant Days and Help Us! Great Warrior!

BOOMBOX_GiantDays_01_A_Main

Giant Days is a really fun book about three friends battling their way through the adult world of university. Visually, it’s utterly charming. Lissa Treiman’s art and Whitney Cogar’s colours are a pleasure to look at – incredibly detailed, but not distractingly so. Simple, and subtle. But there’s something about the book that feels very real. Perhaps reading it alongside talking ducks didn’t help, but the themes and tone of the book felt like, well, life. We’ve all got that clumsy friend who can be a bit of a drama queen; or the awkward crush we’ve run into when we’d really rather never see them again. In fact, Giant Days felt like a John Hughes movie – or the beginning of one anyway. Let’s hope it can hold the stamina!

Help Us! Great Warrior! was recommended to me by my lovely friend (and great artist: lettydraws.tumblr.com) Letty. Originally a web-comic by Madeleine Flores, HUGW follows a cute little warrior who maybe doesn’t have all her heroic priorities quite in check…

tumblr_n69ej3RWGf1s3ae1io1_500

I loved the web-comic – I spent a morning at work scrolling through, giggling to myself (ahem, I mean, totally hard at work, doing work things.. It was research, I swear!). The strips were adorable and funny – and also great for young girls in particular. It held the message that: yes – girls – they can be brave, and awesome, and sexy (for a bean-thing…), and heroic, and beautiful, and cute. Everything in one little package. So I had high hopes for the comic release. I love the art – it’s quirky and bright and fun, so I knew that wouldn’t be a problem. However, I’m not sure if it translates as well in full comic-format as it does as a web-comic. The humour and charm of the web-comic is still there, but it felt like there was something missing. For me, in the web-comic, I enjoyed the fact Great Warrior loved being a Great Warrior while being adorable, and slightly lazy. However, in the comic itself, it seemed as if she was actively avoiding her responsibility: she’s switched from ‘I believe in myself and I am awesome!’ to ‘I’m not sure I can do it’. And while this might be an ‘origin’ story of sorts, where she learns to believe in herself, I was hoping she’d at least have a little more gusto in her first two issues. The humour’s still there, and she’s certainly got the determination in there somewhere – it’s just going to take more than dropping a bite of cake to unleash her beast in print form. Perhaps it’s one for the trades.

The Walking Dead #138

Carl – get back in the house!

Space Princess

4444838-stwleia2015002_dc11-0

Continuing the venture through space with Princess Leia #2 proved to still be an entertaining thrill-ride. We’re learning more about Leia, and her character is just awesome. She’s smart and educated, but a determined warrior willing to see any mission worth fighting through to the end (I don’t want to spend my life that way. Humoring people and frowning at problems and “arriving at carefully measured decisions”… Ugh. I want to be in on the action). And the ice princess illusion begins to melt in this issue. Flashbacks reveal Leia’s history with her father. She feels like she has failed him for being unable to protect Alderaan. But it seems like there may be more to Leia’s past that we’re yet to learn. I’m intrigued to see where exactly Marvel are taking Leia and her new-found friends in this series. So far, it has been promising, but primarily setting up for bigger events. I can’t wait to see what exactly the big event could be.

Erik Larsen and the “Vocal Minority”

Sometimes things are going along swimmingly in comics. And then one week, everything goes wrong, and we seem to take about fifty steps backwards. This week was one of those weeks.

Erik Larsen, the writer of Savage Dragon, and co-founder of Image Comics, took to twitter earlier this week to discuss his dislike of new costumes for super-heroines in comics currently being released by the big two. In case you missed it, his greatest hits of ‘foot-in-mouth’ included:

“I’m tired of the big two placating a vocal minority at the expense of the rest of the paying audience by making more practical women outfits.”

“Simply put – these aren’t very good costumes. They’re bulky and clumsy and unattractive.”

He particularly singled out Ms Marvel (16 year old Kamala Khan) and her new outfit, completely disregarding the fact that it’s appropriate wear for a 16 year old Muslim girl. He preferred the blonde in the bathing suit and stripper heels. He also argued that superhero comics aren’t meant to be realistic. True, but they can also appeal to a much wider audience. We’re no longer in the 1990s.

Kamala-Khan1-620x446

Now, I can understand why a portion of the comic-buying audience would want to read books with hot young girls in skimpy little outfits, or tight fitting leather – it’s in every part of pop-culture. But – Larsen’s views are outdated on so many levels.

First of all – the big two really really aren’t selling out to a vocal minority. No way. Take a look at the sales figures for NYT bestselling book Ms Marvel, for Spider-Gwen #1, for Captain Marvel, for Batgirl. If a vocal minority is demanding women dress in practical armour instead of underwear, it’s certainly speaking to a huge audience. I deliberately looked in the letters pages in the back of my female led single-issues throughout the week and I found as I expected – just as many male readers write in praising the works as female readers, if not more for some issues. So, this aspect of Larsen’s argument is invalid.

Secondly, fashion changes, culture changes – Larsen’s argument firmly plants him in the outdated sector of the comics industry. An old man desperate to return to the boys club. Ms Marvel’s awesome costume suits a 16 year-old girl and reflects her cultural identity; Captain Marvel’s full-bodied suit works for her being a fighter-pilot, and is probably preferable for the cold-airs of space; Wonder Woman’s armour is surely safer than hotpants and bare legs; Spider-Woman’s jacket and jeans are better than body paint. These changes reflect the demands of the readership, not a vocal minority. If we followed this so-called vocal minority on the internet, One Direction would be leading the country, joined in parliament with UKIP; funny videos of cats would be projected world-wide every hour on the hour; and we’d all be eating marshmallows and jellybeans for breakfast, with a big ol’ dollop of hatred and bile on the side. The internet lets anyone speak, and yes some speak louder. But sales, fanmail, reviews, and praise speak a heck of a lot louder, and the comics’ fandom is screaming!

If you want to read more about Larsen’s idiocy, there’s a very detailed response from The Outhouse here: http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/news/131014-erik-larsen-returns-to-twitter-speaks-in-interview.html

The Batgirl Cover Controversy

Poor, poor Raphael Alberquerque. I really love his art, and I actually admire him as a person (even more so after this mess…) But he’s had a tough week.

DC commissioned Alberquerque to do a Batgirl cover, celebrating the Joker’s 75th anniversary. They wanted Barbara (Batgirl) and the Joker to be depicted together: a homage to Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke – the Joker menacing, lipstick smeared around her mouth in a Joker smile, with a gun pointed downwards over her shoulder… and for Barbara to look scared. The result looked something like this:

Batgirl #41 joker variant DC Comics withdrawn, art by Rafael Albuquerque

Alberquerque delivered what DC asked for. But the issue lies in that it shouldn’t have been asked for in the first place.

For starters, it’s incredibly unlikely that male superheroes would be presented in this way on the cover of their book. What are the odds of Bane grasping onto Batman’s shoulder, a walking stick in one hand and a smirk on his face while Batman stares helplessly at the reader, tear in eye. I imagine they’d both be in battle positions. Or at the very least, a captured Batman would look determined, angry, and strong; not helpless, distraught and tormented.

For those of you thinking, ‘ah, it’s not that bad’, let me add some context. In Moore’s The Killing Joke, the Joker takes photographs of a naked, paralyzed Barbara and sends them to her father, Jim. Any way you cut it, that’s sexual assault, whether (the heavily implicated) rape happened or not. To then commission a cover for a comic marketed particularly towards a young audience which alludes to this particularly traumatic era is just wrong. It’s inappropriate for the younger readers; it’s distasteful for Bat-fans who understand the reference; and its offensive to the character of Barbara. We’ve watched her overcome so many obstacles following The Killing Joke: becoming Oracle, learning to be Batgirl again. To depict her as helpless and distraught at the hands of the Joker implies that she hasn’t been able to escape from the events of her past. And true, it’s probably something that will stay with her til the end of her days – but it doesn’t define her. She’s not Batgirl because of this. She’s Batgirl in spite of it. She returned to it, and she’s probably a lot stronger. To imply that a traumatic event like this makes the victim weak is insulting, and demeans the trauma and those who have come through it on any level. And can I stress again, this was to be a variant cover for a book marketed towards teenage girls.

I strongly admire Raphael Alberquerque’s response, translated from a Brazilian interview here:

UOL – Do you think your cover was misunderstood?

Rafael Albuquerque – I think the cover has brought up many interpretations. But in the end, the problem is not the cover itself, but the comic where it would be published. A series aimed at the teenage female audience should not have a cover like this. Regardless of the question of who is right or wrong, the cover that I did do not serve its intent.

UOL: The classic comic “Batman: The Killing Joke” showed 25 years ago a much greater violence against Batgirl than your illustration. You think people criticized your cover without knowledge of the original material?

RA: I do not know. I think those who know the “Killing Joke” got the point. But again, young people aged 14 to 17 years does not have the obligation to know, and I think both myself and the publisher, even unintentionally, were wrong in thinking that the image would be appropriate.

UOL: The cover was dropped by your request, but did you ever receive any pressure by a department or person at DC Comics in this sense?

RA: No. I took the initiative. I see many people commenting on freedom of expression and that I gave in to pressure. I have always defended minorities. I think is the right and moral thing to do. I do not think a comic that aims to raise women´s self-esteem should have an image that may suggest otherwise. In another comic, maybe that image made sense. Not for the current Batgirl comic. Freedom of expression also means not saying what you do not want to say, and it was exactly the right that I exercised here.

UOL: Nowadays we see the content of comics being increasingly questioned regarding issues such as excessive violence and sexualisation of women. Do you think these questions are valid? Do you think that even if valid, these questions may be exaggerated and hinder the creative freedom of artists and writers?

RA: I think these questions are completely valid. In a general way, the industry has always been sexist. We are used to it and now we live a moment of opening of this industry. It is important that we review our values and our positions. I think, regardless of individual standings, dialogue and respect is essential for the industry not end up divided. Respect is my main flag here.

UOL: What would you like to be the legacy of this case?

RA: I think, despite one’s position regarding the cover, either prioritizing feminism or freedom of expression, it is important to learn to listen. Empathize with those who have a different opinion from yours. Put yourself in the place of other and consider what is being said. Discussion on the Internet tends to turn into childish tantrums, on one side or the other. That’s what makes people lose interest in things. I think criticism is always welcome. But respect for those who do, for those who publish and for those who disagrees is what validates criticism. Freedom of expression cannot be limited only to what you like or want. Freedom must come with responsibility.

I hugely admire Alberquerque for his honest and thoughtful response. It shows that there is hope for progression in comics, and the media as a whole. Most are sensible, it’s that vocal minority we’re yet to fight past.

Leave a comment

Filed under My Week in Comics

My Week in Comics: International Women’s Day Edition.

Webbed Women

Okay, so I’m backtracking a few weeks here. But I’m a big spidey fan – always have been. It’s no accident I named the blog after MJ’s infamous quote. So to say I’m excited by all the amazing spider-women coverage over the past 3 weeks is a massive understatement.

I may have read Spider-Gwen #1 at least 4 times. Like most, I instantly fell in love with the character when she appeared in Edge of Spider-Verse. A role-reversed version of the Peter/Gwen story, a fantastic female, a drummer in a rock band – there’s so much going for her. And that costume – amazing. Feminine, but comfort over cat-suit, and flats over heels. The colour scheme is fantastic. I can’t wait to see the cosplay response, and am desperately hoping Spider-Gwen hoodies will be a thing.

SpiderGwen

Issue #1 of Spider-Gwen takes everything we loved about her Spider-Verse appearance and builds on it. It’s a visually stunning book, from the cover all the way through. Rico Renzi’s colours are gorgeous – bold and bright shades working together to create subtle tones for different scenes. Each panel is a joy to look at. The art itself (Robbie Rodriguez) fits the book perfectly. It’s obviously a superhero comic, but has a completely different feel from 90% of the supers-books on the market right now.

As for storytelling, I’m very intrigued. I like that Spider-Gwen is a conflicted character. She wants to be in The Mary Janes, but knows she has responsibility, so walks away. I particularly like the attention to female friendships. We’ve all felt guilty because we’ve wanted to be involved in something with our best friends so badly but have had to step aside, and we’ve been annoyed at that friend who has to put other commitments first. But the girls don’t bitch about her. They’re not horrible girls you wouldn’t want to hang out with. They’re normal. They’re trying to find solutions – they want Gwen as a drummer, but she’s a no-show, what do they do? Fall out? Yes. But I have a feeling they’ll all be jamming again after a 10-minute cool-down. It wouldn’t be a supers comic if there wasn’t an ego-check lesson, after all.

Her father knows and is trying to help her clear her name, which is good. No family secrets – a nice twist to have someone in law enforcement on pro-webslinger for once! Finally, there’s the spider-sass. A vital component of every spider-character. She’s got the quick quips that seems to come with a radioactive spider-bite, but she’s also very aware of her limits, even if does come a bit late. The climactic battle with the Vulture particularly shows this: Too Far. Too Fast. Too High.

What I particularly like about Spider-Gwen is that it has a very feminine feel to it. Not in that every page is pink and guys would be embarrassed to like it, but more in: if Gwen Stacey had been bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Peter Parker, this is what it would look like. She’d be a real girl, facing real girl struggles, with all the difficulties of saving the world piled on top.

But Gwen’s not the only female wall-crawler staring in her own solo spider series this month. We also have Silk #1. Again, I have read and re-read this, and can confidently say I love Cindy Moon. For one thing, she took that spider-bite like a champ when Dan Slott first introduced her – barely flinching while Peter Parker made quite the scene rolling around the floor.

The events of Spider-Verse were centred around Silk. Having spent years hiding in a bunker from the Inheritors, Cindy Moon’s now re-joined the world. Here we have the classic ‘out-of-time’ hero trying to fit in: but here’s where Silk is different – she totally represents those awkward teenage/twenteenage years, that space between childhood and adulthood where you’re not quite sure what’s relevant and important anymore. Not, ‘omg, a mobile telephone? What are internet?’, but trying to fit in while still being independent. This is comically poked at when Silk questions the status of Pokemon today. Can she still joke about them? Sure, she’ll call Spider-Man for a chat, but she wants to figure things out on her own. Be on her own.

Again, the art is beautiful. Feminine, but strong.  And I don’t think I have to explain how fantastic it is to have an Asian female superhero. Pushing all the boundaries. Bravo, Marvel.

silk

Finally, we have Spider-Woman #5. We surely all know Jessica Drew by now, so no introductions necessary. The most significant feature of this issue is, of course, the costume change! We’ve all known it’s been coming for a while, but it’s finally official: on the comics page itself!

I am loving the new look. Goodbye body paint, hello practical crime fighting gear. Jessica Drew is looking awesome: riding a motorbike in a spider-jacket, cool sunglasses, compact web-wings, and comfortable trousers, a new day has dawned for super-women and fashion! I think this could open Spider-Woman to a whole new world of readers, previously put off by her previous look (looking at you, Manara!). While the story was mainly setting up Drew’s departure from the Avengers, it’s a great hopping on point for new readers. Something’s clearly a-foot, with this Ben Urich character seeming as trustworthy as a snake. I’m curious to see how this new J-Drew progresses – a promising new debut.

JDrew

Overall, 5 webs out of 5 for Spider-Women in comics!

Non-Compliant

If you’re not reading the amazing Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Bitch Planet, you’re not comicsing right. Deconnick has completely hit the nail on the head with this series, and I’m so happy it’s a thing. In case you’ve been living under a rock: Bitch Planet is a futuristic women’s prison in space, where women deemed troublesome and offensive by the patriarchy are shipped off until they learn to comply. Deconnick openly confronts the issues us ladies have in trying to cope with everyday life in a manner that’s entertaining, accessible, and eye-opening.BITCH PLANET LOGO 1

The latest issue (#3) focuses on Penny Role, and has perhaps been the most accessible portrayal of women in western societies today. Penny’s a big girl. Amongst various crimes (mostly assault), she’s on BP for her “wanton obesity”. She’s separated from her loving family, put in to care, taught to control her hair so it’s “either black or white” – not somewhere in between, and continually ridiculed for her weight. She has to “learn to see yourself through the fathers’ eyes”. It’s no wonder she has those assault charges!

The highlight of the issue, however, was when the patriarchy scanned Penny to discover her ideal identity and compare it to their own ‘goal’ of how everyone should be. But Penny’s ideal self is, well, herself. She is who she wants to be, and she’s embraced it totally: which is the most empowering thing anyone can do.

Every issue of Bitch Planet also contains an essay regarding feminism. And each issue, my eyes are opened a little wider to just how widespread these issues are, and how far we still have to go. These opinions and experiences are just as powerful as the comic itself. I strongly believe Kelly Sue is doing a fantastic thing with Bitch Planet, and would recommend everyone read it and ask: Are You Non-Compliant?

What the… Walking Dead?!

Wait…what?! Is Maggie..?! That eye-socket scene…?! Curse you, Kirkman!

I Love New Thor

Solid story-telling, brilliant art, fun plots. These pages pretty much speak for themselves. If you’re not reading Jason Aaron’s current Thor run, I’d recommend you rush to your nearest comics store now:

Thor1 Thor2

The Force is Strong in this one.

Yup, another #1. Princess Leia has her own comic! And, guess what?! That’s right – I loved it! Leia is perhaps one of the most famous female sci-fi figures, and now we have reason to admire her for more than just that gold bikini (seriously, get over it.)

As with most #1’s, this was very much a set up (again, with absolutely stunning art). The rebels don’t have a whole lot of time to celebrate or mourn following events with the Empire – and being in charge, Leia’s got herself a negative reputation already: the Ice Princess. Luckily, she’s not singing any songs about letting it go or building snowmen. Instead, she’s taking charge of the situation. She refuses to be held in Yavin, knowing she would be best out in the field, helping.

Enter Evaan: the fighter pilot with an attitude. A strong believer in continuing tradition, she has her issues with Leia. However, it’s clear a strong bond is being built and they’ll be besties before long. Both Leia and Evaan are headstrong and driven, they’re smart, cunning, and determined. And, significantly, they stand together despite their differing perspectives. I’m very interested in seeing where Marvel will take Leia and Evaan, aside from Naboo.

leia

Ain’t No Thing Like Me, ‘Cept Me.

I love Skottie Young. His Oz series was amazing, I buy all of his variant covers, and have prints of his art. It’s adorable. So, of course I’d be reading Rocket Raccoon – and TPB #1 is finally here! Rocket Raccoon: A Chasing Tale. This book is so much fun. First of all, a tiny rodent with big guns – hilarious, in any situation. But Rocket really has heart. There’s no thing like him, except maybe there is. This first collection throws our favourite talking raccoon into the deep end when a mysterious doppelganger gets him into, well, more trouble than he’s usually in anyway.

Rocket Raccoon is pretty much everything you’d imagine it to be and then some. It’s funny, it’s colourful, it’s action-packed, and there’s such a strong sense of loyalty, friendship and – saving your own ass. A very welcomed addition to the usual Superhero titles.

rocket-545b8

This leads me nicely to Guardians Team-Up #1. Everyone loves a cross-over event, don’t they?! And what better than two of the biggest movie franchises teaming up – the Guardians and the Avengers. Cool! Again, first issues spend a bit of time setting up. The pacing is good, the idea solid, but the action was a bit of a mess once the Guardians crash-landed on earth. Too many cooks spoil the broth, as they say, and the same can be said for too many heroes throwing punches in one panel.

But, the final reveal has me intrigued. You win again, Marvel. Take all my money.

Age of Ultron

I need this. Now.

The new Age of Ultron trailer has been released and it looks awesome. See for yourself:

Supergirl Outfit.

Jessica Drew’s not the only one changing wardrobes this week. CW have released Supergirl’s new look for the upcoming TV series, and yay! It’s respectable! No low cut crop-top, no teeny tiny skirt and bare legs, no plastic boots. Just all-round practical crime-fighting gear (well, except the cape, but we can let that one slide). It’s still classically Supergirl, but with the modern grimey edge the CW DC adaptations seem to be taking. I’m a fan!

supergirl-first-look-image-full-body

Real Life Heroes

Finally, Chris Evans upheld his side of the deal: after losing a Superbowl bet, the Captain America actor visited a children’s hospital in Seattle with Guardians of the Galaxy front man (and TV’s greatest FBI Agent/Karate legend), Chris Pratt. Real heroes using their powers for good. Way to go, guys!

Leave a comment

Filed under My Week in Comics