Bodies, by Si Spencer

BodiesBodies by Si Spencer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Received from Netgalley for review.)

I admit to not knowing the first thing about this book before I requested it from Netgalley. But I was intrigued by the cover, with its blood-spattered pinup, and the idea of a murder mystery spanning over a century was right up my alley. And it all starts very strongly. The individual detectives are all quite distinctive from each other. And though I didn’t particularly like two of the four (the 40s detective on the make and the futuristic amnesiac) I quite liked reading the other two’s stories. The repressed Victorian detective was a decent piece of period work, and the present day Muslim detective was by far my favorite character.

And then the ending becomes increasingly out there, and it just wasn’t working for me. Maybe it will work for other readers, and maybe I just wasn’t up for the major twist in tone towards the end. But it also felt a little preachy in the last few pages, and I don’t know if I’d ever be entirely up for that. Still, there’s some solid work here, and an ambitious concept, and I think the writer’s heart is in the right place.

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Review: Grayson Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral, by Tim Seeley

Grayson, Vol. 1: Agents of SpyralGrayson, Vol. 1: Agents of Spyral by Tim Seeley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Firstly, thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in return for my honest unbiased opinion. Secondly, thanks to DC publishing, who are usually very stingy when it comes to granting NetGalley requests for Canadian readers…but I’m very glad that I got approved this time.

Grayson, of course, is a book about the original Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson. Without a doubt the best Robin ever, the only Nightwing ever, and the best Batman not named Bruce Wayne (it’s a short list, but when Bruce was MIA in time and thought dead, Dick kept Batman alive and well, and invigorated).

If you recall, Forever Evil, the story event where the Crime Syndicate came to Earth from Earth 3, the Justice League was pretty much wiped out, and Nightwing was captured, unmasked, and appeared to die on TV screens across the planet. However, if you also recall, one of the most emotionally moving moments in the New 52, Batman put everything else aside for once, and saved Dick, his former protege, and arguably, best friend. However, Dick no longer had the secret identity to continue on, and with the majority of the world thinking him dead, (including many superheroes, and even the rest of the Bat Family (even Alfred!)) he joined up with Spyral, a superpowered spy agency.

Spyral feels like the agency from the old UK show the Prisoner, with everyone having a number, the Spiral being a common motif, as well as the unknown nature of who to trust and if this is good or bad. I personally like the idea, but only became familiar with Spyral during Batman Inc., when the original Batwoman, Kathy Kane, appeared in the Batcave and told Batman to end his war against Leviathan and his forces. I think Dick might also have been there…

Anyhow, Dick is partnered with Helena Bertinelli, the former Huntress, also thought dead by the world…(the Huntress who appears in New 52 is actually Helena Wayne, from Earth 2, borrowing Bertinelli’s identity. I really loved seeing the 2 paired together, they work quite well as a team. Her cover is that of “Matron” who runs a girls finishing school for assassins and spies. Dick is later forced to act as a gay gymnastic teacher at the school after his presence is discovered by the girls, who crush on him big time. it’s nice to see the humour returned to Dick, who quips that he loves being chased by college girls.

We get to see a few missions that Dick (Agent 37) goes on with Helena, and it makes perfect sense that his acrobatic training, his work alongside Batman, and his desire to fight evil would be a perfect way to have him recruited by the spy agency. We don’t know at first, but later discover that Dick is in contact with someone named “Mr. Malone” who all good Bat readers will know….wink wink. I liked that touch, because it didn’t spell it out for you, but you pretty well knew if you’ve read enough Batman. A cool moment for sure, and the contact between Mr. Malone and Dick is some of the best stuff in this book, and gave me a case of the feels, and even a laugh.

Spyral itself is confusing, because they know who Batman really is, as well as a couple of other Supes (Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman) and they plan to know more so they can have that power over them. The agency is so secretive that Dick doesn’t even know the identity of his boss, because they use nanobots to obscure his face even in person, in a Spiral pattern no less…the missions are interesting enough, and we see that Dick’s unwillingness to kill ends up costing lives of other people, and I look forward to seeing how the follow that up.

One of the biggest highlights for me was the arrival of another character, who I love, and who actually began as a Batman parody…the Midnighter! Turns out, he’s been keeping an eye on what Spyral is up to, and it has him cross paths with Dick, and they end up in a obvious fight…duh, but that being said, it was very cool that Midnighter is given a secondary role here, trying to stop Spyral, which leads Dick to question the agency’s purposes and motives even more than before. We even see Apollo come and try to get Midnighter to come back to Stormwatch, and leave things alone…

In conclusion, for a new series from DC New 52, I had high hopes, but also know that the track record hasn’t been great. That being said, most of the Bat Family titles have been the successful parts of the experiment, and Grayson follows that trend. Dick is easily the most well known Bat Family member other than the Bats himself, and there’s no way DC would have let us suffer too long without him, and I also feel like if Dick had actually died, so soon after Damian, that Would have been too much. Happily, we get a brand new Dick series, and with it, freedom to expand and explore the core of who the character is, and what changes he will undergo. Add to that a pairing with Helena Bertinelli, who is a very good partner for Dick, and you’ve got the makings of a fun, enjoyable, series with just enough humour to avoid the plague of “gritty” that infects too many DC titles.

I look forward to following this series closely, and will jump on Volume 2 as soon as it shows up. Hopefully the new Convergence event won’t kill this series…

Thanks again to NetGalley for the ARC.


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Review: X-23: Target X by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Michael Choi (Illustrator)

X-23: Target XX-23: Target X by Craig Kyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

 

10 stars!
Read this! Just…read this!

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This is a continuation of Kyle’s X-23:Innocence Lost, and it does not disappoint. If anything, it’s even better than the first one.

Everything is being told in flashbacks from Luara/X-23’s point of view, while she is being detained by Captain America…and represented by Daredevil.

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X-23 goes looking for her mother’s family. In the last volume she and her cousin were both much younger, and her mother sent Laura in to save her niece from a serial killer.
Her cousin was told none of it happened, but she still has nightmares. Also, X-23’s aunt has hooked up with a smarmy boyfriend that isn’t helping the situation out any. The family dynamic was done very well here, and I loved that the aunt immediately took Laura into her home.

Meanwhile, the folks from the place that cloned her are hot on her trail. And they’ve sent in her handler, Kimura, who is a psychotic assassin that Laura is conditioned to be unable to harm.

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*Important Spoilery Stuff Happens*

Since Laura was cloned from Wolverine’s DNA, and she has very limited self-worth at this point, she sets out on a mission to track him down.
And kill him.
Because she thinks if she’s nothing but a weapon that destroys everything, then how much worse must the guy she came from be, right?
Awww, yeah! It’s a
SNIKT!
fight!

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Wha..?!
Yeah, it’s a surprisingly tender Snikt! fight. Which made more sense than if Wolverine had just carved her up, and left her bleeding.

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Now that Matt and Steve have heard her story, it’s up to Cap to decide what to do with this little girl. He wants to prosecute her for all of the crimes she committed while under the control of the Facility that raised her, but Daredevil thinks that even if he turns her over to S.H.I.E.L.D., she’ll just be used as another weapon.
So what do they decide to do with her?

READ IT!

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Review: Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Guess what, Chicken Butt?
I finally like Earth One’s Superman!
Maybe it’s because I’m finding most of the New 52 Superman stuff to be tragically bad by comparison, but this really didn’t suck.

Earth One’s Clark is much more confrontational and outspoken, which is what I prefer. He’s a nice guy, but nobody is going to push him around.

Zod. Zod, Zod, Zod…
Ugh. He’s my least favorite villain in Superman’s rogues gallery, but even his appearance in this one didn’t kill it for me. His origin is a bit different, but he’s the same villain underneath it all.
Kill Superman! Take over Earth!

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This one also solidifies the origin of this Earth’s Lex Luthor, but the less I say about that, the better. Cool twist, though!

Clark and Lois call an uneasy truce in the newsroom, and Lois becomes Superman’s full time adviser for How To Not Freak Out The Puny Humans.
I gotta say, I’m not digging the lame Bat-signal rip-off…
Dear sweet baby Jesbus,
Please let this dumbass signal fade into obscurity.

Lois, you do realize that you can just yell really loud to get his attention, right?
You know, ’cause…super-hearing?

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Then there’s his friend and neighbor, Lisa. She’s a struggling actress and (used to be) part-time hooker. Looks like they might finally be taking things to the next level. But there’s still the ongoing question of whether or not Clark can actually do the deed with Earth women.
I’ll admit it.
I’m more curious about that than anything else going on in this title.
Pathetic, I know.

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Anyway, I had fun reading this volume 3, and (for the first time) I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Review: Harley Quinn Vol. 2 by Amanda Conner

Harley Quinn Vol. 2 (The New 52)Harley Quinn Vol. 2 by Amanda Conner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was like reading a super-long fart joke.
Only not as funny.

Although, no offense to anyone who really liked this. I’m not trying to belittle what you like, or say that you have no taste. I just personally didn’t like this one.
Forgive me.

Volume 2 was a bit of a mixed bag. But most of the bag sucked.
There are moments where greatness poked its head out and smiled, but the vast majority of it just fell reallyreallyreally short of anything that I could find remotely enjoyable.
I think Amanda Conner might actually be a really funny writer if she wasn’t making Harley do the stereotypical bimbo/ditz stuff.
Inconsistently, I might add.
One minute she’s beating the hell out of a guy at a comic convention for flashing her (’cause he’s the Flash…get it!?), even though he’s go a speedo on under his trench coat. And the next minute she’s distracting a mugger by showing him her buttcrack.
Ok. So, are you pissed off about being objectified or not, Harley?
That whole line of thinking was just a Major Fail for me.

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Then there’s the dialogue.
If you think it’s hilarious for a character to say something like
Oopsie-doopsie! I landed on my poopsie!*
, then you’ll want to run out and spend your hard earned cash on this right now.

*Not an actual quote.
However, these are:
“You rascally runaway rat!”
“Holee Rodee-olee!
“Now ta take care a’ some
unfinished beeswax
!”
“Holee Tuck an’ Rollee!”
“So done…with this…ballonerybuffoonery!”
“Holee Cluster-olee!”
I’m going to stop now. You’re welcome.

Harley is still moonlighting with that group of ladies on skates.
The Roller Derby thing? Ugh. Please drop that whole storyline.
Huge cliché, and not in the least bit funny.

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There’s a Future’s End tie-in, where Harley washes up on a deserted island and reunites with Joker. Naturally, she is thrilled. And, naturally, he tries to toss her in a volcano.
Don’t even bitch that that was a spoiler.
He tries to kill her every time they hook up!

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Power Girl falls from the sky, gets amnesia, and Harley convinces her that they are a team.
{insert issue after issue of boob jokes and quasi-lesbian innuendo here}
The end.

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The stuff that really stood out to me (in a good way) was Harley trying to meet artists and writers at the comic convention.

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Every big name at DC seemed to get a cameo, and Harley even managed to get Jim Lee look over a comic book that she had been working on. It was the highlight of the book for me.

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There was even a cameo by The Arrow that was funny.

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At the very end you get Harley’s origin story, but I’d already read that one somewhere else. If you haven’t read it, you might be more impressed to see it than I was.

Aside from that one issue at the convention, I mostly found this to be more of the same old lame shtick that’s turned me off in the past. Like I said, there were some good panels that saved this from being a one star garbage comic, but I really didn’t enjoy most of it.

I received a digital arc from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 4: VS. S.H.I.E.L.D. by Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), Kris Anka (Illustrator)

Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 4: VS. S.H.I.E.L.D.Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 4: VS. S.H.I.E.L.D. by Brian Michael Bendis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pot Luck Buddy Read

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If you haven’t been keeping up with this title, there may be SPOILERS in this review.
{insert spooky voice}
You’ve been warned! Ooga Booga Booga!

As the title suggests, Cyclops and his Uncanny X-men declare war on S.H.I.E.L.D., and hilarity naturally ensues.

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Now, this isn’t a spoiler since you’re also getting things from Maria’s POV, but all the attacks on the Scott’s crew are only being made to seem like they’re coming from S.H.I.E.L.D. I fucking hate typing out that acronym, and she’s scrambling to figure out what the hell is going on.
When they finally do the Big Reveal at the end, I was a bit…
Underwhelmed?

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Yes, I knew who the character was, but it was more WTF? than WOW!, if you know what I mean.
Maybe this was something I would have found cool if I had been following all of the other multiple X-titles out there? Not sure.

Anyway, the war with S.H.I.E.L.D. Goddamn it! All those freakin’ capital letters and periods! was secondary for me. There were plenty of other highlights in this volume.
Such as…
The unmasking of Mystique, who has been posing as Dazzler since volume 1! FINALLY we find out where Dazzler has been kept, and we also get Magneto back for a bit when he pulls off her rescue.
Although, she does go through a bit of an identity crisis after she gets back.

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Do we like Dazzler’s new look, or is it too gimmicky?
Well, I will say that now it’s a helluva lot easier to tell her apart from Illyana and Emma Frost. Before? I sometimes had to squint really hard, because the blondes tend to blend together.
I don’t know, though. Jury is still out on Angry Dazzler for now.

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The really juicy bits of this thing have to do with a buttload of secrets that get spilled when She-Hulk shows up at the Jean Grey school with Xavier’s will!

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Naturally, everyone has to be present in order for her to read it.
Dum, dum, dum…
Which means that the X-men have to invite Scoot & Co. over for tea.

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To me, the secrets the old man had been keeping made the whole volume worth it. I still can’t get believe…

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Review: Superman: For Tomorrow Absolute Edition

Absolute Superman: For TomorrowAbsolute Superman: For Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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Picked up this Absolute Edition on clearance (because size matters) and now I know why it’s on clearance.

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I’m with you Anne . Just didn’t flow. It had elements that could have worked. Superman, Lois vanishing, the phantom zone, a surprise villain (who I will be spoiling by the end of the review by the way), a sneaky secret agent, and guest appearances by the Justice League. But the book never came together for me. All that fluffing with no money shot. And I love Azzarello. His last run on Wonder Woman was the shit and I even liked his Joker and Luthor more than most probably did. But he lost me on this one.
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Review: X-Men: No More Humans by Mike Carey , Salvador Larroca (Illustrations)

X-Men: No More HumansX-Men: No More Humans by Mike Carey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

So this really happened, but everyone agrees to never talk about it again.
Does that mean I can count it as a What If story? Unsure.

This was fast-paced & fun, which is all I really ask out of a comic book. Not to mention, it’s doesn’t exactly leave any loose ends dangling, so it’s outside of the normal soap opera stuff. A stand alone, if you will.
Yes! You have my vote Stand Alone Comic!
Sorry.
I spent all day baking in the sun at a lake with the kids, and I’m a little loopy.

What I’m trying to say, is that I really liked this.

Ok, so I know I’m not an expert on all (or even most) of the mutants in the X-men’s universe, but I honestly had never heard of Raze before this.
Evidently, he’s Mystique and Wolverine’s kid?

Wha..? When did that happen?!

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As far as I can tell…and don’t quote me on this…but I think he’s from the future.
Or a future, at any rate.
And, shockingly, he’s kinda evil.
I can’t imagine why, though…

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Does Wolverine have any kids who aren’t jacked up?
Apparently not.
Anyhoo, Raze has teamed up with all kinds of bad guys (from every dimension) to create a beautiful utopia for mutants.
And, subsequently, the humans gotta go.
Now the X-men and the Uncanny X-men, with the help of Magneto, have to work together to bring them back. Ish.
This leads to some great dialogue between Logan and Scott over who’s the real douchebag killer.

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There’s also an appearance by the not quite as Dark Phoenix from another dimension.

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Have you guessed how everything gets fixed yet?
Yeah, ok. It’s a pretty easy way out, but I gave bonus points for not turning this into a 30 issue crossover event involving the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Four, and a few Hulks.
Plus, an extra star for not trying to stick any Inhumans in this thing.
Thanks, Marvel!

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Review: X-Men Origins: Deadpool by Duane Swiervzynski (writer), Leandro Fernández (art),

X-Men Origins: DeadpoolX-Men Origins: Deadpool by Duane Swiervzynski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, he gets points for originality.
Instead of just telling Deadpool’s origin, Swiervzynski (Did I spell that right? All the letters are jumbling together in my head…) does something a little different.

Wade decides his life would make a kick-ass movie, and starts interviewing directors. After he gets rid of a few that he doesn’t like, he finds a guy who he thinks gets his concept. Riiight.

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I think this is probably the closest thing to a real origin story you’re going to get with an unreliable narrator like Wilson.
I doubt this will be considered the Definitive Deadpool Origin or anything, but it was ok.
And, really, that’s about all you can ask from this character.

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Review: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick , David López (Artist)

Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, MoreCaptain Marvel, Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

I wasn’t a fan of the first volume one of Captain Marvel. I thought it was angsty and full of too much forced Girl Power.
Just my opinion…doesn’t make it true.
The title grew on me, but it never blew me out of the water.
Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much when I cracked this open.
First things first, I’m into comics for the explosions, crazy superpowers, and funny dialogue. And if I happen to learn a moral lesson along the way? Bonus.
But.
You’ve gotta entertain me.
This 
was entertaining.

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Carol seemed like a real person to me this time around, and not just a cliché female superhero for women to rally around.
She’s a Star Wars’ junkie, and she loves her mangy quasi-evil cat, Chewie. In fact, when she can’t find anyone willing to care for the beast while she’s in outer space, she sticks it in a crate and takes him with her.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy show up for a little bit to help out when a mysterious enemy attacks her, which I personally loved!
Rocket and Chewie don’t exactly get off on the right foot, though. I mean, usually when Rocket starts screaming, “Kill it with fire!“, it’s not a good sign.
I think there’s more to this than meets the eye…

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Did I mention Carol’s obsession with Star Wars?
Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it made me giggle…

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The rest of the story is kind of Paint by Numbers, with Carol helping a group of folks who are getting evicted from their planet by Star-Lord’s father J’son. He claims the planet is poisonous…and is only trying to help them out.

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It was pretty good, and there was (naturally) a bit of an evil overlord twist to the reasons Pete’s dad wanted them gone.
It’s not the bestest plot evah, but it was fun to read.
So. Yeah, this was kind of perfect for me.

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