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review 2017-03-23 00:46
Loving this again!
Uncanny Avengers (2015-) #21 - Gerry Duggan,Kevin Libranda,Adam Kubert

So the thing is that I keep going 'eh' about this series, then loving it again.   I'm not sure why; I love Duggan's writing in general.   Not only that, this happened in Deadpool, but I understand why.  Deadpool, as a character, can be overwhelming, not only to the audience, but, I suspect, to the writers as well.   It explains why Way's run felt like it was treading water, and why Duggan's run could have been that - if he hadn't found the balance of the outrageousness, the social commentary allowed by breaking the fourth wall constantly, and the emotional aspect of Deadpool's new family. 

 

So I ended up loving this series, a Deadpool-centric Avengers, but.... it felt like it was losing it's way again.   And then it wasn't.  Now it isn't.  

 

It's got a strong emotionally resonant storyline with the Red Skull, and him fighting the X-Men and mutants once again.  But especially the X-Men who were trained by Xavier.   Even Deadpool is trying to save Rogue from killing the Red Skull. 

 

But that ending was so... logical.   Of course Rogue would do that instead.   After all, if Xavier's power is living in his brain, perhaps she think Xavier lives there still?   And even if not, simply having the Skull using Xavier's power itself was an insult to the man, a misuse of his power he would never have allowed if he were capable of fighting back at all. 

 

Even if they can't literally save Xavier, they can save his power from the dreadful corruption it's been put through, and well, Xavier was a father to many of the unwanted and cast out mutant children whom he sheltered, taught, and, yes, even loved as if they were his own children.   He is beloved - and of course the X-Men would never let this stand. 

 

The question is will anyone find them - and if they do, will they help, hinder, or even consider what Rogue is doing immoral or illegal.   Also, there's a question in my mind of if Cap will show up given that recent fuckery which makes me rage all over the place, because why, Marvel?

 

Still, I'm so super excited about this series again right now.

 

 

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review 2017-03-23 00:34
Love!
Zombies vs. Robots (2015-) Vol. 2: War! 'Bots! - Chris Ryall,Lucy Ryall,Paul Davidson,Ashley Wood,Antonio Fuso,James McDonald,Valentin Ramon,James Kochalka,Nico Peña

This is a series that I read mostly for the robots, although people tend to call them 'warbots.'   And they are just that, meant to fight off the zombie invasion.   I forgot that I was reading out of order, and that this was volume two, but the story was cohesive on it's own, although I'm sure I missed specific incidents they referred to: the editor's notes told me which issues I missed them in, after all!

 

Other than being fine as a stand alone, this was a lot of fun.   The series doesn't take itself too seriously, for one thing, although it does focus on telling a fun story with solid characters while poking fun at itself in how ridiculous this whole thing gets. 

 

The art is lush in its painterly scope, although not color wise: muted colors reflect the horror of the world that's been created, adding to the creepy sense of this whole thing, adding a sense of gravitas that was, on occasion, missing in the writing.   Not to say that 'missing in the writing' was a bad thing; I liked how flippant this could get despite the desperate situations.   Not only that, a more serious art style - like the toned down color scheme - and the outrageous elements in the writing ended up matching up perfectly, one keeping the other in check. 

 

It felt neither too serious, nor too silly, but ended up a balance of both that simply appeals to me.   I'm looking forward to catching up on volume one, since I ended up getting both on sale along with the Undercity volume and simply ended up reading out of order...

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review 2017-03-21 21:08
Blood Stain (Volume Two)
Blood Stain Volume 2 - Linda Sejic

Picking straight up from where Volume One ended with a seemingly chilling end, Elly Torres is face-to-face with their new employer not knowing what’s going to happen next.  Linda Sejic’s Blood Stain (Volume Two) continues Elly’s pursuit of a job though she not only has to contend with her employer but also herself in the process.

 

Elly’s first encounter with her new boss and her first day on the job is on in which both she and her new boss get their first impressions of one another.  To say the least it is an adventure of awkward situations and verbal gaffs, for both Elly and her employer, Dr. Vlad Stein.  Attempting to create a viable and productive working relationship between the two is Stein’s chef, Serge, who continually explains the good Doctor’s eccentricities to the very imaginative Elly while urging Stein not to send another assistant running away as fast as they can with his gruff behavior.  Unfortunately for Serge, he doesn’t know what’s going on in Elly’s head.

 

Like my review for Volume One, this short description only gives a hint of what transpires in Blood Stain’s second chapter.  The continued focus is on Elly, but now that the story is in its central location Sejic begins giving some light on both Serge and Stein.  While Elly’s characterization is further along than her two male counterparts, the development on all three is both intriguing and raises questions about how all of them will interact with one another as time goes on and what situations they’ll get into because of their own quirks and misunderstandings.

 

As a longtime fan of Sejic’s webcomic, it was once again a pleasure to get on paper a story I’ve enjoyed online for years.  Blood Stain (Volume Two) is a continuation of a fantastically drawn story with intriguing characters both familiar and that one is just getting to know.  If you haven’t already picked up Volume One then I encourage you to get both it and this volume, you won’t regret it.

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review 2017-03-20 18:30
The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home by Robin Furth, Peter David, & Jae Lee
The Dark Tower, Volume 2: The Long Road Home - Peter David,Stephen King,Richard Ianove,Jae Lee,Robin Furth

The second volume of The Dark Tower graphic novel series is as visually stunning as the first, but I felt the story quality was slightly below that of the first volume.

 

 

                               Our boy Sheemie, after his transformation:

 

It's a real treat to see the artist's renderings of these characters, but it's even better to see the settings and the Crimson King. There is so much detail in the art, that I could gaze at these images for hours and never get bored.

 

Sheemie is a badass now:

 

 

 

 

Based on the two volumes I've read of this series so far? I'm in love with Jae Lee and believe that he's a comic God.

 

That is all.

 

You can buy your copy by clinking the link below, or you can check your local libraries as I have. Either way I highly recommend this series!

 

Dark Tower: The Long Road Home

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review 2017-03-19 21:35
Alternate history Transformers/GI Joes crossover!
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe: Tyrants Rise, Heroes Are Born - John Rieber,Jae Lee

This is set during World War Two and the problem is that Cybertronians have not been out in the open since then.   The thing is this is an AU, and I've known that since far before buying this.   It's not canon, but it's been called the best of this particular crossover - which, yes, has been done multiple times, all in comic book format.  

 

That being said, I've wanted to get this before now - and to this.   It's not in the library system, was out of print for a while, and back then the used copies were going for at least fifty dollars a pop.   So when I saw this on sale for six dollars at Comixology, I grabbed it and ran.   I mean, Jae Lee!   Jae Lee draws the transformers!   And not only that, every single source I'd read said that the story was excellent as well. 

 

It didn't disappoint.  I'd been saving this for a rainy day, but when Char reviewed a Gunslinger graphic illustrated by Jae Lee, I was reminded why he was such a shining star in the graphic novel world.   HIs illustrations are painterly, emotive, and just stunning.   So, yeah, I really wanted to see what he would do with one of my favorite franchises.   Despite reading all about this, I either didn't know, or forgot, that one of my very favorites - Grimlock - was in this.   And he plays a rather significant role, which is saying something: much of the Transformers mythos is, sadly, not about Grimlock.   He starred in a couple episodes of Animated, was in some G1 - but not as much as I'd have liked, and has a starring role in Robots in Disguise, the new TV show.   He also has some clout in the IDW universe, as well as starring in the Transformers Beast Hunters comic tie-in to Transformers Prime.   But really, not much overall.   Even in IDW, he's mostly coming in for an issue or two, then leaves.   Maximum Dinobots, the miniseries about the Dynobots, was one of his larger roles there, so I didn't really expect him in this.   (Some of the G1 comics feature him and the Dinobots heavily, but again, not as many as I'd like and I find them inferior to IDW.)   It was a pleasant surprise.  

 

Grimlock is also in character: 

 

 

He talks like Grimlock and he acts like Grimlock - for the most part.   He's a little more friendly with the meat than I'd like, but my favorite Grimlock is IDW: he's mean, and he only cares about the Dynobots.   (And once they go into actual dinosaur mode, they do call themselves the Dinobots, but I like Dynobots: it makes them feel less... meaty.)   He's dumb, but smart enough that readers question whether or not he's just playing dumb so when people underestimate him, he can crush them.   He's quick to anger and brutally ruthless - which is why the other Dynobots turn on him at one point.   And I never found another Grimlock I found hotter.   (Which worries me on some level, but... there you go!  I also realize I like fictional bots that I would be... wary about in real life, so I'm allowing myself some fantasy wiggle room.)

 

Not only that, but if you look at Robots in Disguise, there are some continuities where Grimlock is more meat-friendly.   G1 Grimlock got fairly close with Spike's son Daniel.   And we're talking about fellow warriors here, so if anything, Grimlock would have respect for them.   When they lead him to some Decepticons to smash, well, how can he not like them?

 

 

Proof that the Joes know what Grim wants. 

 

 

Well, it didn't quite happen that way - but I wouldn't point that out to Grimlock if it keeps him thinking of the Joes as friends!   Not only that, he listens, he learns, and he uses their logic against them at one point. 

 

To which a Joe says this: 

 

 

Predictably, the Joes and Autobots create real friendships, ground in the shared desire for peace and the brotherhood of combined experience in war.   That binds them together.   The Cobras and Decepticons snipe at each other, all while trying to undercut one another's power.   Basically: this is all in character, at least for Transformers.  I know almost nothing about the Joes continuity.  I assume it's all good since such care was taken with the other side, though.   The story basically is that Cobra uncovers the Decepticons and the Joes uncover the Autobots.   From there, it's waging a world war, trying to incorporate those elements. 

 

And it does it beautifully if you don't mind too much WWII aspect.   (Which I don't; I'd prefer it that way.   There are some hints like when a Joe hopes that people have been enslaved in Europe.   When Optimus Prime becomes suspicious, and narrows his optics and asks 'you hope they've been enslaved?' the Joe answers that the other option is their all dead.   There are hints of the horrors, but nothing that's concrete.   The closest is Bruticus, a combination of human and Cybertonian technology, arguably a more concrete knock at Nazi science and 'medicine', but alternately simply there for the narrative.)

 

It's more about wartime and what happens to soldiers, and yes there are limitations in what human technology can do at this time.    That seems less important than the bonds that are created, and the anger that is stoked, and the conflicts of peace versus power.   It all read like a natural progression to me, as well. 

 

 

I was happy to see Cobra Commander and Megatron in this battle for power.   Anything else would have been a slap to Megatron's face, a misuse of his character.   The Commander gains control of the Matrix early on and uses it to browbeat Megatron in submission; when Shockwave defers to Megatron, the Decepticon leader rebukes him, knowing what the Commander could do otherwise.   This, I believe, led to Megatron not only allowing the Commander to use Shockwave so brutally - payback for that insubordination, as well as denying the Cobras further use of Shockwave's might - but in him allowing other abuses to regain his own station.   Again,  an absolute dick move, and just what Megatron would do: he doesn't believe it will hobble him in the fight against the Autobots, and he would absolutely lash out at someone who tried to control him as the Commander did.

 

Basically, yes a perfect crossover.   Jae Lee, I should point out, illustrated this a while ago.   While I find all his artwork lush and gorgeous, I prefer his later work.   I also feel this is fair to say; his early work is better than what I could do on the best day of my life, but as he evolved, I think he strengthened his art.   This is still some of the most lovely Transformers artwork I've seen, and the grittiness fits the period it's set in, too.

 

Two more comments.

 

 

Ravage looks brutally efficient and I love it: 

 

 

Scarlett rides Bee at some point and noticing the awkwardness asks if anyone's driven before.   He's pretty much silent and she's like 'aw, adorable.'   Later on he says this:

 

 

Primus, there has to be porny fanfiction about this.   Please, please, please let there be porny fanfiction about this.   This makes it a new ship: Scarlett/Bee.   Yes, please, yummy!

 

 

 

 

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