Sunday, July 03, 2011

Comic book round-up

Brian Truitt, of USA Today, can't stop raving about Fly. That's a new comic book series by Raven Gregory. Raven's a man. Yes, that is strange. In the comic book, Truitt wants you to know, super powers and other things are allegories for drugs and . . .

Did your eyes glaze over yet?

Ours too.

Here's the good news, you don't need any of that review (which the first issue of Fly reprints) to follow or enjoy the story. The issue revoves around Eddie and his wife or ex-wife. She swoops in and grabs him on a bad day, takes him up to the sky where she dangles him and then the two begin fighting. Flashbacks show their wedding and then how they met and things get more interesting again when Francis bumps into Eddie -- in a flashback -- and Eddie saves him from bullies leading Francis to invite him over and show off his father's study which also includes . . . a syringe of something that, when Francis injects it, allows flight.

It's an interesting premise but whether or not it will be carried out successfuly is anyone's guest. Terry Moore's Echo just released issue 30 "Final Issue." Ivy's back to her normal height, Julie's either lost the alloy or been able to take it off. That's all we'll tell you except to note that reading Echo's been a pleasure and it really lived up to its promise.


Jennifer Blood is a new series by Garth Ennis and Adriano Batista, published by Dynamite. Jennifer is a bored suburban dweller who's also an avenger when the mood or the need strikes her. So, in issue three, she's fending off the advances of a mouth breather at a neighborhood BBQ one moment and chasing down a mobster, gutting him and tying his intestine to her SUV to . . .

You get the idea.

As the series unfolds, it'll be interesting to find out what's driving her pursuit of the mob. It'll also be interesting to see whether this is a comic with an end point or something capable of becoming a long running series.

On the 'what's driving her' point, Kevin Smith's Green Hornet's Kato. Yes, it sounds as pompous as Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels (and at least Sheldon wrote the trashy paperback) and we're not seeing Kevin as writer or artist in the credits to issue ten of Kato. What happened? A year ago, a script the studios passed on was turned into a Green Hornet comic. Now everything has to be stamped "Kevin Smith" apparently. Maybe it will make some forget that his directing career is currently in the toilet?

Who knows but Ande Parks, Diego Bernard and Rainer Petter's Kato does drive home what's driving Kato. This is Kato II. The first was her father. She, Mulan, now carries on the tradition. Mulan? Yeah, that's a Kevin Smith touch and it is rather obvious and some might say insulting. Mulan has as many issues as she does powers and we're a little thrown by this grown woman's desire for a mother figure. We're not complaining, we're not saying lose it, we're just noting it's unexpected. Which is why it might be the signature touch of the series.

Especially since the mother figure is, as we find out in issue ten, is actually a hired killer.

We wondered whether or not Jennifer Blood could become a long running series and we wonder the same of Kato. Comic book history demonstrates it's not easy for women, in super hero comics, to become long running leads in comics. Leaving aside group comics like Fantasitc Four (Sue Storm), the women either fade quickly (sometimes resurfacing) like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider Woman, etc; or they're picked up and dropped, picked up and dropped over and over like Batgirl and Supergirl. (Note: DC started their reboot this month and for those who have missed her -- and many have -- Barbara Gordon is again Batgirl.) Betty and Veronica can hold their own in the humor comics, but women have a really hard time in the super hero world.

Which is why it's so amazning that Wonder Woman continues. All these years later. A character who can stand alongside Superman and Batman and (by comparison) 'newbies' like Spiderman and Iron Man as well. This hero who emerged at the start of WWII (1941, to be exact) is still going all these years later.

Not only still going but possibly the most significant comic of the year. Issue 612, "The Odyssey Part Twelve: Ghosts of the Gods" takes many of the recent threads and ties them together firmly and tightly with Diana's golden lasso. J. Michael Straczynski and Phil Hester didn't just have a big plot idea, they had a master plan. Wonder Woman, as you should know, has been fighting evil and darkness in the form of Nemesis and seeing one friend after another go down. This issue opens with Artemis giving up her life to save Diana. It would appear the only one left is the talking cat Galenthias.

However, as the battle between Princess Diana and Nemesis gets closer, the gods appear, Athena, Aprodite, Zeus, etc. They left the earth and went to Olympus because they could not combat Nemesis. Nemesis, it's explained, feeds off the heartache caused by, Hera explains, "the unjustly slain, the murdered. The war dead. Their pain, their sorrow, and that of their loved ones fills her veins. Their vengeance quickens her blade." She cannot be defeated by a god, only by, Aprodite says, by "a human heart given to love and turned away from hate". The issue ends with Diana face to face with Nemesis and it's a shocker.
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