Comics Review: Week of 3/4

Rat Queens #9:

New artist! 100% less domestic violence! Hooray!

We open with some tragic Hannah backstory where we watch her mother be killed in front of her as a child. We then cut to battle (with a brief interlude for a sex daydream because why not?). Betty, Violet, Dee and Hannah are all in reasonably good health, considering they’ve gone up against a giant tentacled…thing.

Seems like everyone is having crazy dreams. Bluebird Dave dreamed of Redbirds of Wrath, which are even less cute than they sound.

If you’re not reading Rat Queens, you seriously need to start. It’s a swords and sorcery story that manages to evoke emotions and make you care about the characters, all while having lines like “Oh Brad. Brad, Brad, Brad, Brad. You are so fucking dumb.” All the characters are interesting in their own right and even Betty, who is definitely the comic relief of the group, makes you care about her and cheer for her.

We end on arrows raining down around Hannah. Here’s hoping that none of them make contact.

Saga #26:

Lying Cat is on the cover. I’m already hoping I’ll enjoy this issue more than the last.

We start out with Marko taking down a robber in a convenience store and then bickering with Prince Robot IV over the merits of killing the robber. Marko votes for no killing, which Prince Robot IV considers to be “fucking asinine.” As they’re on the lam, I do rather see the Prince’s point.

Let’s see…bickering between Alana and Dengo. Gwendolyn and Brand bickering until they talk to dragons, where (guess what?!) there is more bickering. I was beginning to think that there would be nothing but bickering all fucking issue and then what do I find on the last page? Marko (hopefully just) passed out with drug wrappers all around him. Oh…so very not good. Fine, you’ve got my attention for the next issue.

Hawkeye #1:

Of course Hawkeye #1 is out before the last issue of the Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth/Wu Hawkeye is out. Of course.

Interesting style. Flashbacks to Clint and Barney as kids is a pretty sketch/watercolor combination in various shades of (shocker!) purple. Scenes in the present are a more typical comic style similar to what Aja used, but with a much more varied and saturated color palette.

Hm. Funny how much more entertaining Kate and Clint bickering is than any bickering in Saga.

Oooh…red in flashbacks is bad. Good to know. Papa Barton sure was a dick.

Kate found something that looks an awful lot like kids hooked up to a machine in a Hydra base. Not cool, bro.

Worse, I just had a sad realization that the bro joke in Hawkeye is probably over. Bro, tell me it isn’t so! Bro? Bro?

There’s a mention of the awesome hearing aids that Stark made Clint which is neat in that it acknowledges that Clint is deaf, but it also makes me sad because one of the things I loved about the (not quite yet completed) previous Hawkeye story is that they focused on Clint’s deafness. There was an entire episode devoted to sign and even after that episode, they did a good job showing dialogue according to Clint’s perspective. Most things said to his face were heard, but with a word or two left out and if the speaker faced away from him so he couldn’t read their lips, the dialogue bubble was blank because fuck you–if Clint can’t hear it, you the reader can’t hear it either.

Angel & Faith #12:

Fred! Did I mention that Fred is back? Unfortunately, Illyria is still in there, too. Eldre Koh wants Illyria to come out to play, despite Fred’s protests. We then get a flashback scene as Eldre Koh shares why he is not delighted with Fred’s presence (which is ridiculous, BTW. Fred is the best.)

Giant scary monsters! Joining a bloodthirsty cult! Going on a walkabout! Returning and being accused of murdering an entire town! OK, that last one is maybe a bit too far. What the fuck, Eldre Koh?

He goes off to pout because Fred isn’t giving up the goods. Faith gives Angel a Hi-Bye-See-you-at-the-bar-later. Fred and Angel are left to talk and she reveals that she actually knows who killed Eldre Koh’s family and had him put in jail: her. Dun dun DUN!

Well, Illyria. Of course. Story time: Illyria likes to be worshipped,as gods do. She bribed an overseer with a fancy position if he’d turn over Eldre Koh as a scapegoat and she then took over his entire race.

Fred and Illyria are fighting for the body. This is probably not going to end well for Fred. Again.

Eldre Koh starts a bar fight, which is promptly finished by Angel. Can I have next month’s comic now?

Doctor Who: New Adventures With the Tenth Doctor #5-6, 8:

#5: Gabby and the Doctor separately help save the day–Gabby by the power of being interested in learning and the Doctor through telepathy. Well, everyone has their strengths. I think Gabby really did the most when she spoke with one of the entities and got it to see her as a person and a fellow artist.

Gabby gets a flattering offer from Zhe to come back and be her apprentice, but first the Doctor is going to whisk her away to see more sights. Now they’re going to the past! (I bet I know where, thanks to my idiotic buying practices.)

#6: Why golly gee willikers, it’s World War I! However did I guess?

Soldier 1 is asking Soldier 2 if he thinks he should marry Soldier 2’s sister when they get back to Scotland. I suspect nobody is going to be involved in a marriage anytime soon, seeing as how there’s a weeping angel on the scene.

The Doctor and the TARDIS were hit by an explosion. I sure hope Gabby is as plucky as she seems, because she’s going to have to carry things along for a bit.

There’s some well-done artwork of battle scenes that do a better job of illustrating how fucked up WWI was than any lessons I was taught in school.

The Doctor wakes up to discover that he and Gabby are being held under suspicion of being spies. There’s a German prisoner in the ward with them who has sewn his eyes open and is screaming “Don’t blink!” That was…gross. I’m going to add sewn open eyes to the list of things I’d like to never see again.

#8: We see a montage of one of the soldiers who were sent back in time in issue #7 save a woman who was being accosted on the street, marry her, have kids and then die when he sees a paper about WWI. Those damn angels.

Gabby and then soldier Jamie face off a weeping angel and then Jamie does something I have wanted to see done ever since the first weeping angel episode: he blows the angel up with a grenade. Well, he tries. Points to him for that.

The Doctor then has an existential crisis about taking Gabby with him and really, Doctor? It seems like we get this “why did I drag you around with me, I’m going to get you killed!” speech with every companion. It gets old.

Once again, weeping angels have the TARDIS. Hello, writers of Doctor Who and specifically relating to weeping angels. For fuck’s sake, have them do something new or stop using them.

Comics Review Pt. 4: Everything But Marvel

Doctor Who: New Adventures with the Tenth Doctor #3, 4, and 7:

Awww….cute reaction by Gabby when she saw the TARDIS. I always love seeing people’s reactions to the TARDIS. And she gets to go on a trip! She keeps this up, and Gabby is going to jump the favorite companion rankings above Martha, Clara and possibly Amy.

New TARDIS definition: Threshold And Ridiculous Domain of Insanity and Supercool. Also? It makes a noise like an elephant and a piano bringing sexy back!

Issue #4 is told as a letter/journal entry from Gabby’s perspective and I really like the style. It’s mostly sketches and notes about the Doctor and the TARDIS, with storytelling panels mixed in.

And then apparently I missed a few issues? Next in my stack is #7, which has changed stories. Um. But hey! Weeping Angels! World War 1! This promises to be interesting. I’ll have to go dig through the back issues at the shop to get #5-6.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #12:

Starting out with a heavy-duty Spike + Buffy (Spuffy! I’m a shipper and admit to it) conversation in which she declares her interest and he shuts her down. He then goes to moan to Xander about acting like a wanker (yep!) when a muscle-bound Andrew busts in the window. Um, back the truck up? Brief break for a fight with a meat golem (they are definitely getting the hang of writing for comics!) and Andrew kissing a dude. Go Andrew!

Awww….the empowerment potion that gave Andrew all the muscles and brawn was fulfilled by him finally kissing a guy and he’s back to being tiny Andrew again. So cute. Unfortunately, Xander agrees and supported Andrew so very much that Andrew freaked out and ran out of the building.

Cut to Buffy and Spike picking up their earlier conversation. Buffy says it’s okay to just be friends and then Spike! tells! her! that! he! loves! her!!! Cue the apartment-shattering sex that has Xander worried for his maquettes, Giles pissy because he’s been de-aged to childhood and can’t legally have sex for years, a cute scene between Xander and Dawn and then a scene with a post-coital Spike so happy he’s terrified.

Wytches #1:

Eeeeeh. I like Scott Snyder’s writing, but this just didn’t do too much for me. I prefer a cleaner art style and frankly, I’m a wimp. Scary stuff does nothing but make me stay up way too late and jump at noises. I probably will give this whole series a pass. One could argue I’ve already done that, since I’ve missed three issues.

Velvet #8 and 9:

Normally, I don’t get into spy stuff. Bond, Bourne, bah. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is OK because, the spy stuff is mostly incidental. Black Widow is cool because it’s more about her journey than her spying.

But Velvet? There’s a lot of spy work in here and I love it. Maybe it’s because the reader is privy to her decision-making process. Her spy suit is awesome–in #8 she was able to use it to glide into an open window and discovered it’s bulletproof.

Issue #9 is starting to set up the next step in Velvet’s story. She’s set an ex-spy turned nutcase free and is trying to get him to tell her who is behind her husband’s death. As it turns out, he’s even more slippery than she is and manages to escape. She has a bit more information now, but it’s not entirely correct and there’s a cop pointing a gun at her. I’m ready for the next issue already!

Rat Queens Special: Braga #1:

This issue has a guest artist, which I’m assuming is in preparation for the switch to a new artist due to the previous artist’s arrest for domestic violence.

The issue focuses on Braga’s backstory, where we find that she used to be Broog, the prince of the Orcs. While she enjoyed the fighting and the killing (like you do, when you’re an Orc), she didn’t enjoy the pressures of being the prince or being at war for the sake of being at war.

So yeah, Braga is a transgender character. The artist and writer did a great job framing the story by having Braga talk to her guest and tell him about where she came from (cue the flashback pages!). Geeked Out Nation does a much better job recapping the issue than I ever will.

Bitch Planet #1-3:

I think it’s been documented by now that I love Kelly Sue DeConnick. Pretty Deadly is an amazing series and Captain Marvel pretty much defines kickass.

Issue #1 introduces us to Bitch Planet. Excuse me, the Auxilary Compliance Outpost. In this world, when women step outside of bounds and are non-compliant, they get sent to jail on another planet. If, say, a guy wants to get rid of his first wife so he can marry a younger, hotter woman, he can pay a fee to get his first wife sent to Bitch Planet.

Issue #2 starts the thread of the story. After watching a fellow prisoner be killed and blamed for the death, Kamau Kogo is presented with an offer by the prison: Create a team that will compete on the feed. She declines the offer, saying that she doesn’t want to have her dignity stripped away. The other inmates talk her into taking the offer and tell her that they’ll be in a position where they may be able to strike a blow against the Council.

Issue #3 focuses on a specific prisoner: Penny Rolle. Her crimes? Insubordination, assault, assault, assault, repeated citations for aesthetic offenses, capillary disfigurement and wanton obesity. It starts out with Penny in a creepy room of monitors, filled with a bunch of men staring at her and telling her that there’s something wrong with her, they just want her to be happy, why is she so angry? Emotional abuse 101. We learn about Penny’s background–taken away from her non-compliant grandmother at a young age, told she doesn’t look right in the orphanage, listening to men threatening women for rolling their eyes, and women being excited at the idea of getting an intestinal parasite so they can lose weight. After Penny is arrested for beating the crap out of a guy, she’s forced to hook up to a mirror that will show her what she truly sees as her ideal self. The awesome part: the mirror ends up showing Penny as she already is. She’s fat, she’s black, she’s unapologetic about it and she truly likes who she is and what she looks like. Sadly, in the world of Bitch Planet, this is what gets her sent to jail.

At the end of each issue, they have a two-page article about feminism. On the back cover they have an ads page, like you can find in the back of magazines. Bonus points for the note to Leelah on the back of issue #2.

bitch planet 2 back page

David Tennant

It may have come to your attention that I am a fan of David Tennant. he was a wonderful Doctor and has even replaced Tom Baker as many people’s favorite ever Doctor.

In fact, some people wish that Matt Smith would go away and we’d get David Tennant back.

Truly, I enjoy Matt Smith and find his Doctor to be quite entertaining.

That said, I wouldn’t object if we got David Tennant back as the Doctor someday…but playing a different Doctor. If he comes back, I want his new Doctor to have a different personality altogether.

New attitudes, new clothing, new catchphrases…because that’s what the Doctor is, to me. He’s always a new old man who is compelled to travel around time and space and fix things.