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review 2017-05-20 12:49
Freebie this week
Spider-Man (2016-) #12 - Brian Bendis,Sara Pichelli

Each week, Marvel gives away a free digital copy with your purchase, if you redeem the digital comics.   (It's the same across the board, so if you buy everything, you only get one additional comic.   Still, bonus in addition to the free digital copies, so I can't really find a reason to complain!)

 

I'd read the Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen crossover, and still found myself confused when this exactly happened: so much of the time switches from before to after made me feel like it was placed before, then I realized they were talking about it, so it had to happen after.  I'm not sure why this didn't work for me, but I suspect that it's because I felt like the time switches didn't really serve a purpose: there were some funny lines, but I knew Miles was close enough to Ganke to tell him about this, and the other kid in there I guess?   They didn't add anything the comic though, so what was the big deal?

 

That being said, I think I'm over Bendis.  I still find him hilarious and he tells a good story, a story that makes me feel, but they all feel the same.   I'm bored.   He's writing more and more Marvel, and that's making it feel like the same.   Action, some quips, bada bing, bada boom.  Others - Soule comes to mind, and quite frankly less so Ahmed if only because he's only writing one Marvel comic and only ever has - seem to be doing something different.   (Black Bolt is amazing, but it's hard to tell how Ahmed would write other characters and if his tack would be different without him having written them.  Soule?  I've read a lot of his work and it seems to feel different depending on which character he's writing.)  

 

And I obviously still enjoy Bendis.   I got this for free, read it, and enjoyed it, but I don't subscribe to Bendis' series, and I've stopped looking forward to him writing new series.   Anyway, this is basically a recap of Miles and Gwen finding Miles' father, but not really the whole story.   Just up to a certain point.   It was fun, but I knocked off one star for the ennui I've got going with Bendis.

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review 2017-05-20 01:03
This just gets more brutal
The Punisher (2016-) #12 - Becky Cloonan,Matt Horak,Declan Shalvey

And I'm loving it.   It seems like the first story arc is complete, which makes sense: twelve issues would make two graphic novels.   Everything has been wrapped up nicely, although almost everything ended up differently than I expected, starting early on.  This started out brutal, and while it might not necessarily outdo itself each issue in physical violence, it just absolutely savages the characters mentally when it's not doing it physically.   Then again, this is Punisher, and it's not a series I read for sunshine or puppies.   This is supposed to be a bloody path to punishing criminals when the police, or other law enforcement, can't.   (Or won't in some cases.)   When the legal system works too slowly or is inadequate to the situation, Frank Castle steps in with his guns, knives, or if necessary fists.   He doesn't flinch, he doesn't hesitate, and he doesn't let anything like getting stabbed or shot get in his way. 

 

I just can't seem to say much about this.   The art is perfect: clean style, efficient, and a little grittier than some comic book art, but it fits the series. 

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review 2017-05-20 00:40
Batman and Swamp Thing team up
Batman (2016-) #23 - Tom King,Mitch Gerads

When Batman and Commissioner Gordon find a body on the 84th floor - with no way in except for the window - they think that will be the most odd thing about the murder.   Y'know, until Swamp Thing shows up suddenly behind them, causes Gordon to make a WTF face.  

 

Even odder, at least to me, was not only Swamp Thing's revelation about his connection to the dead man, but his whole philosophy.   Does all of Swamp Thing get that weird?   Oh, man, I might just have to read the older series now, because I was laughing out loud at some parts.   (Gordon's reaction to seeing Swamp Thing, and Alfred's reaction to having to clean up after Swamp Thing come to mind.)

 

Most of what I've read of Swamp Thing has been, embarrassingly, in the new Hellblazer series, and only a couple issues of that.   I say embarrassingly because this is clearly a hole in my comic book reading, a hole that's due to me being a Marvel fanatic.   (Read as I only read Marvel when I started getting into comics.   While I've expanded since then, my teenage-fueled fanaticism along with a slight hiatus, mostly during college, means that I'm still sadly behind.)    I loved King's take on Swamp Thing.   It felt different than Hellblazer's take, although not conflicting with that take.   Different circumstances, different writers, and different aspects of the same character.   Hellblazer didn't feel quite as philosophical and quite frankly bizarre to me, although there was an aspect of oddness that was just taken for granted: it was weird, the characters had lived with that fact for a while, and just accepted it.   But then again, Constantine would.   Batman, who deals with science and detective work, questions this a little more, pokes at it, and I think this is where the completely and utter weirdness comes from.   When put up against a character who thinks purely logically, instead of metaphysically, it seems even more odd due to the contrast.   While people in Hellblazer questioned Swamp Thing on his history with Abby, and why he couldn't trust her, they simply accepted rather than trying to force his, or her, story into a little box.   (Batman doesn't really poke as much as he could, but even his inability to completely understand or accept some of the things Swamp Thing says creates a contrast.)   Or maybe I'm reading this wrong, because, y'know, I don't really read much Swamp Thing - or I haven't in the past.  I plan on doing so in the future. 

 

Something about the hint of humor, and the whole bizarreness of Swamp Thing wandering around Gotham just struck me.   Not as anything in particular, it just made this an incredible read for me.   The balance of those two elements, the ending in which Batman futilely tries to hold Swamp Thing accountable, the need he has to believe in what Swamp Thing says without truly having the faith that others in this universe do?   It all made an impression. This has a lot more than I expected, not because I haven't enjoyed this run of Batman.   And certainly not because I didn't know King could handle this.   (I do.   I reread the run of Vision all the time, and I keep finding new things.   Vision is what sold me on King, and made me want to read Batman: I was in it for the writer.)   It's more that while Batman has been saying a lot of things, it hasn't quite hit the balance this issue has.   While I've loved King's Batman so far, I'm finding this issue just is a high point for me as a reader.)

 

A slight aside then back to this issue: I don't always mention the art, by the way, and I'm trying to rectify that.   While I think it's important that the art and writing work together, I follow writers more than artists.   (That is, I will start buying a series for a writer, and it's rarer for me to do that for an artist.)   I think this tendency has caused me to not mention the art, or not saying much about it, but I've recently read a tweet by a comic book writer asking us reviewers not to  completely bypass the artist.   Fair enough!   If he was doing it on his own behalf, I'd side eye it.   But I actually think he has a good point: I, in particular, don't really give enough shout out to the artists.   (And it's not King, and I'm not saying who it is just in case he gets harassed for this.)   It wasn't punitive, it wasn't angry, it was just asking us to remember the artists since I'm apparently not the only reviewer who does this.   And I'm only taking the advice because I feel like I'm shorting the artists, and I don't want to do this.  

 

I've also, quite frankly, been afraid that by saying that some art is more typical of the comic book style, I'll offend someone.   While there is a general style - penciled, inked, then colored - there are some artists who paint their work or who used multi-media, and there is some purely digital art out there.   None of which is a better style than any other, it's merely different.   The real test is the artist's ability.   And Gerard does an excellent job, the more so the more I think about it.   Much of the humor is not merely in the writing, but in the way that Gerard presents the faces.   This issue would be sorely lacking without those small touches.  Not only that, the intro scene is grittier than the rest of the issue, which matches the scene perfectly.  (Which is helped by the coloring; as the issue gets relatively lighter, so do the actual colors.)

 

Just lovely all together.

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review 2017-05-18 15:30
Shapeshifters Rule the Shadowcat Nation in Tieryn’s Fury, Book 3 by Abigail Owen @AOwenBooks
Tieryn's Fury - Abigail Owen

I love the Shadowcat Nation Series and am very happy to be learning about Tieryn in Tieryn’s Fury by Abigail Owen.

 

Check out this gorgeous cover!

 

Cover: Debbie Taylor

 

Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

 

Tieryn's Fury (Shadowcat Nation #3)

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

Tieryn’s Fury smacks of realism in the shapeshifter world of The Shadowcat Nation. This series can stand alone, but I love them so much I would recommend beginning at the beginning. ‘grinning’

 

Politics and power hungry Alphas of 10 Dares will face off.

 

Tieryn is a Healer, a princess that is unprepared for the battle ahead, but she has a secret, one she has never told a soul.

 

Shane is her bodyguard. He’s hot, sexy and irritating.

 

Gods and Goddesses, shapeshifters…cougars, lions and mountain lions, polar bears, pumas, deer, grizzlies…healers, seers, seducers…so many wonderful glimpses into the world of the supernatural.

 

The descriptive writing makes it easy to relate to the story. A couple examples:

She is a ‘cheerful waker’. Don’t ya just hate those people who wake up ready to face the day?

 

‘Cub shifter in cat form….swatting a ball’. Such a cute visual

 

Tieryn’s Fury spotlights Tieryn’s time to shine in the Shadowcat Nation Series and Abigail Owen does a fabulous job letting her.

 

The on again, off again, romance can be frustrating at times, but not surprising. Isn’t that like real life? I love how they sexually torture themselves, especially in the swamp.

 

The verbal, snarky foreplay makes me smile. Their playful tumble in the snow had me grinning like a fool. Abigail describes the ‘wonderful’ smell of New Orleans, and anyone who has ever been there knows I say that with sarcasm. I love that she mentioned a helicopter-parent. I heard that for the first time on the Christley’s TV show.

 

Based on Shane’s experience, ‘fate just loved to kick you down and then kick you in the balls.’   He sounds like a realist to me.

 

I have loved this series from the very beginning, with Andromeda’s Fall. The characters are complex, loving, giving, sacrificing, some greedy, some selfish and out to get what they feel is theirs for the taking. Gage is the most surprising character to me and that proves why he would be a great leader. I didn’t see that outcome.

 

Their world is believable, at times making me forget they are magical. I can hardly wait to read Seneca’s story.

 

Could these novels stand alone? Sure, but why would you want to miss anything. so I recommend starting at the beginning.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

Read more HERE.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/shapeshifters-rule-the-shadowcat-nation-in-tieryns-fury-book-3-by-abigail-owen-aowenbooks
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review 2017-05-15 00:32
So, yay!
Avengers (2016-) #7 - Mark Waid,Phil Noto,Alex Ross

When the Infamous Iron Man - and by this I mean Victor Von Doom, who dons Iron Man armor all the while doing things like taking out brilliant scientist who are amoral, or just flat out evil - tells the Avengers he needs them to work for them, well, they're all skeptical.   Except, oddly enough, Nadia Pym, who has taken up the mantle of The Wasp, and and who has a messed up childhood in which her scientific acumen saved her from having to kill anyone in the red room.   She might not like Von Doom personally - although she does get chummy with him - although I believe this is partly her not fully understanding what he'd done and partly her optimism, which is, at times naive.   (Even Von Doom concedes that she's naive, and I imagine it would hard to be anything but given how sheltered she was in Russia; coerced into her actions, yes, but she didn't see much of the world.  I also believe this is what allows her to not fully comprehend who Dr. Doom is: she hasn't witnessed, or been affected, by his past actions in a concrete way.   Her childhood could leave her cynical and wary of everyone, or her optimism could remain intact, partly by a willful ignorance of things like what Doom's done.   And on one hand, I love her childlike belief that people will be good, or at least that the good people will prevail, but on the other hand... I think willful ignorance has to play into this in some part, due to what she's been through.   I end up landing at 'but this allows her to deal with her own trauma and to be a hero,' so I'm okay with that.   The girl's been through enough that I'm not going to lash out at her for dealing with things the way she needs to.)

 

Anyway, Doom explains he needs them to explore something somewhere he can't go.   But where would that be?   A girl's camp, of course.   It would cause panic.  I also feel like Doom might be scared of your more typical teenage girls, so also in the future?   If Doom turns evil again, just hide the people he's targeting amongst teen girls.   Him being afraid of them, though, is hilarious.   Although I suspect that he could have done this on his own, despite his reasonable objections.   He could have, and would have, told himself that it was for the greater good and gone in despite his list of reasons this was a bad idea.     And the brilliant thing about this is I bought them all, hook, line and sinker.   I got so engrossed I didn't second guess things, and playing this off with humor helped me let down my shields.    

 

Dr. Doom has an ulterior motive and one that I didn't come close to guessing.   It's also something that makes me think the the might truly be good - or at the very least not villainous.   (His tactics put him strictly as an anti-hero, at least, and while I might root for The Punisher, I don't think of him as a good man.   He's more a fleshed out revenge fantasy, really.   And hey, I love it enough to be following the current series and I followed others, but he's not purely a hero, nor in my list of good characters.)

 

I'm really enjoying this run of Waid's.   And while the art on the first six issues was excellent from a technical standpoint, I wasn't digging it as much as I had other artists takes on this team.   I'm preferring Noto, particularly his take on Vision.   I started reading Avengers for my eye candy - Vision - so not enjoying him as much visually in the first six issue did impact some of my readings and reviews.  (And I think my friends know I have no problem calling out subpar work; this was not that.   It was simply a personality clash, mostly because I'm super picky about Vision.)

 

I'm eager to pick up more of this series.   I also did some research: it looks like Phil Noto is filling in for two issues, and then Del Mundo takes up the art duties again.   I know artists can get to the point where they need breaks, and I know this bothers some people.   I actually understand, and even can enjoy these breaks.   While I'd been hoping Noto would stay on just because I objectively enjoy his art more, I can't emphasize enough how good Del Mundo is, and I can't say I'm upset that he'll be coming back.   (I did more research: the majority of reviews seem to enjoy the art much more than I do.   Which goes right back to this being a 'me' thing.)

 

Love, love, love.   This issue in particular balanced the humor and suspense, and I feel like it revealed a lot about The Wasp.   Even though I knew how good hearted she was, this showed me she was even more optimistic and idealistic than I suspected.   And even if there's that element of naivety to make her that way, I quickly ended up deciding that this made me love her all the more.   I'd enjoy seeing more of Nadia taking a larger role in the Avengers, especially after this issue. 

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