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review 2017-08-24 04:25
Black Panther: World of Wakanda
Black Panther: World of Wakanda Vol. 1: Dawn of the Midnight Angels - Ta-Nehisi Coates,Roxane Gay,Yona Harvey,Alitha Martinez,Afua Richardson

When I first started the Black Panther run by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ayo and Aneka, two members of the Dora Milaje quickly became the best part of the series for me. So to get a book with a large focus on the two of them was a great surprise. The fact that Roxane Gay wrote this made it even better.

 

World of Wakanda put the focus on several members of the Dora Milaje from new recruits to veterans as they trained, warded off attacks on Wakanda, and slowly began to question Black Panther and whether he truly was putting Wakanda's interests first. There was a lot of inner conflict for the characters to deal with, and I loved seeing each of them struggle to figure out how to honor their oaths while still doing what they thought was right.

 

And I just really love Ayo and Aneka. It was nice seeing the start of their relationship and its progression. This book gave me better context for what they're doing and why in the Black Panther series. I now want another book or two (or more) of their adventures.

 

The only part I didn't like of this book was the very last issue which switched to a story about White Tiger. While I'm sure I've read stuff with White Tiger in it, I didn't remember much about him beyond that he existed, so it didn't help that his story kept referencing things in his past that I wasn't familiar with. This issue read more like a generic superhero story that was completely different from the previous issues. It just felt out of place with the rest of the book.

 

Despite the last issue, World of Wakanda was excellent. It gave a closer look at some of the most fascinating characters from the Black Panther series and made me want more of them.

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review 2017-08-14 03:56
New Super-Man, Vol. 1: Made in China
New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth) (Super-Man - New Super-Man (Rebirth)) - Gene Luen Yang,Viktor Bogdanovic

This book had a weak start, but a stronger finish. It started off with Kong Kenan bullying a classmate. When that classmate was attacked by a supervillain, he threw a can at him and managed to save his classmate. This was caught on camera and Kenan pretended to be a hero to impress the cute reporter interviewing him. Based on this action alone, Kenan was chosen by a secret government organization to be turned into the New Super-Man and be part of the newly created Justice League of China along with the Chinese Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man. The two people chosen to be Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were both vetted and trained before given powers, but not Kenan. For some reason it was deemed a good idea to give him the powers without any further research into him.

 

Kenan then had difficulties controlling his new powers, understandably, so was told to research the original Justice League members to learn more. When Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were sent out to save someone, Kenan convinced the leader of the project to let him go to because he knew the passcode to get into the place the woman lived. I didn't understand why they didn't just make him tell them the passcode or even just have Wonder-Woman fly herself and Bat-Man over the gates since she can fly. Kenan's powers were unstable and he'd had no training at this point. And he did indeed proceed to mess things up in a huge way. The secret organization just made a lot of highly questionable decisions in the beginning of the book that had me wondering how they'd managed to get this far.

 

Luckily things improved once the story focused more on Kenan's relationship with his father and his maturing as a person as he began to realize the new responsibility he suddenly had with these powers. Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were a good balance for him as more veteran heroes who have a better handle on their powers and the responsibility that comes with it, while still having room for character growth as they bonded with the New Super-Man. I liked their group dynamics.

 

I do feel like there were too many characters introduced in just one book though. In addition to the 3 superheroes of the Justice League of China, there were 2 opposing teams introduced, resulting in about 20 superheroes and supervillains introduced in just 6 issues. And that's not counting the non-supers also in the book. One of the teams didn't get fleshed out at all, so I'm guessing they'll get more focus later, but it was just hard to keep everyone straight with so many people getting introduced.

 

Despite a weak start due to a lot of questionable decision-making from the government agency giving the powers to the New Super-Man, the 3 members of the Justice League of China made an endearing team that were fun to watch work together. And with Kenan's relationship with his father, this book created a nice foundation for Kenan's journey to being a hero. I look forward to seeing where this series goes next.

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review 2017-07-04 20:57
Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West
Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West (Rebirth) - Dan Abnett,Brett Booth

This didn't really feel like a good point to jump on if you're not familiar with Wally West. Although the name suggests this is a team book, this first volume is really all about Wally with the other Titans as supporting characters. Wally has reappeared after being stuck outside of time and everyone in his life forgetting about his existence. He is able to get his former team to remember him, but is unable to do the same for his former wife, Linda Park. Most of the book has the Titans trying to discover what exactly happened to Wally.

 

Wally's my favorite Flash (thanks in large part to the Justice League show), so I was happy to have him back in action, but I haven't really read much that featured Linda, so all the scenes about how much he missed her fell flat for me because I just didn't have any emotional connection to the two of them as a couple. His scenes with his friends worked much better for me because I'd read plenty of stories of them as a team. I'm not just how everything would work for someone new coming in because a good chunk of the story relied on nostalgia. However, the ending gives me hope that the story will be moving away from looking wistfully back at the past and instead focus on moving everyone forward.

 

It was great seeing the Titans back together, but I need more than nostalgia to keep me interested in the story. I'll definitely be checking out the next volume to see if we'll be getting a true Titans series that spreads the focus across the entire team.

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review 2017-06-05 04:39
Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One
Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth) - Greg Rucka

Despite a disappointing start to Wonder Woman's new run, I had hope the series would improve. And that hope was rewarded with the very next book. As the title of the book suggests, this volume takes us back to Wonder Woman's origins. It starts prior to Steve Trevor's arrival and gives us a glimpse of her life on Themyscira and her curiosity about the world beyond. We also see parallels between her life with the Amazons and Steve's life with his fellow soldiers prior to their first meeting.

 

While I've read Diana's origin story a number of times now, stories like this are why I've yet to grow tired of it. I am so glad the Amazons were back to wonderful, fierce, non-rapist selves in this run. I loved Diana's relationship with her mother and their love for one another. And, although we didn't see much of her, I liked the fact that Diana had a lover on Themyscira, even though Diana's sense of duty and desire to see the world ultimately meant that they couldn't last.

 

Barbara Ann Minerva and Etta Candy played just as big of a role as Steve did in introducing Diana to man's world once she arrived. All three of them were fun to watch as they worked together to try to figure out how to help Diana adapt. They had a nice dynamic. And it looked like Barbara and Etta were flirting with one another by the end of the volume which was very cute.

 

But it was Wonder Woman who was my favorite here. She was sweet, fierce, loving, strong, determined, and brave. Diana had moments of doubt about her choice to come when she was detained shortly after bringing Steve home, but a visit from the gods who bestow gifts upon her convinces her that she did the right thing. Her joy at this was charming to read. Seeing her delight at the world, even with all the misunderstandings, is just so nice. She's fun to watch discover the world.

 

Also, the art in this book is gorgeous. Every page looks amazing.

 

After a few years of reading books where Wonder Woman just didn't feel like Wonder Woman to me, having this book is fantastic. This book captures the heart of the character I love, and I'm so happy for it.

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review 2017-05-22 04:37
Justice League Vol. 2: Outbreak
Justice League Vol. 2: Outbreak (Rebirth) - Bryan Hitch

This volume starts off in the middle of a battle between the Justice League and some kind of being that spreads fear. After the team seemingly defeats it, they all split off only to get hit again with the fear causing everyone to lash out in different ways. Aquaman and Wonder Woman decide to conquer the world together to save everyone. Superman decides he must kill Batman. Cyborg and Baz lash out at those around them during a friendly football game between friends out of fear of being rejected for being different. While on a date together, Flash starts acting like a jerk to everyone and Jessica locks herself in the restaurant freezer to shut out the world. After some painful dialogue from everyone as they fight off the fear, Jessica decides to quit the Justice League because she feels she isn't ready for this. And that's the only consequence we see from this little arc in the rest of the book. Nothing is mentioned about Aquaman and Wonder Woman's declaring of war. No damage control for any of the public breakdowns some of the heroes had. I just have to wonder what the point of it all was.

 

It just feels like the book is going for emotional payoffs that it hasn't put any effort into building toward. Jessica suddenly asking Flash out wasn't the result of a building relationship between the two. Her choice to quit the team due to feelings of inadequacy felt abrupt. This is supposed to be a team book, but there's not any focus on how they are as a team. The fear arc feels like it should come after work has been put into establishing everyone much better as characters and team mates. An arc exposing the cracks in the team doesn't pack much of a punch if I haven't really gotten a good idea of what the team is like together. And it especially doesn't pack a punch if all consequences of the arc are then ignored. The end of the book even lessened the impact of Jessica quitting by having her join in the big battle of the next arc and saying she'll always be there to help. So she'll fight with the team still, but just won't say she's on the team.

 

The second arc in this volume started off with a premise that I found hard to buy. Apparently the giant world-wide crisis of the previous volume that they had such a difficult time with only had a single casualty. I don't understand how only a single person died from all of that. And then we get a computer virus so great it can hack into anything including Cyborg and Baz's ring. I'll admit the Lantern Corps is an area I'm not as familiar with, but I really didn't think their rings could be infected with a computer virus. Is that something I just completely missed? Because it just seems really ridiculous. I don't like it.

And the whole virus ends up being an accident by a girl who just wanted to make a better search engine and ended up with an app that could take on the Justice League without even trying for that. And they needed her help the take care of the problem in the end.

(spoiler show)

There were just too many elements of the story I was questioning for me to enjoy it. And it didn't have any good character moments to make up for things.

 

This Justice League run is not impressing me. The first volume was boring. This one was just painful.

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