This Week: Afterlife with Archie #8, Amazing Spider-Man #18, Ant-Man #5, Arcadia #1, the Big Con Job #3, Cluster #4, Convergence #5, Convergence – Batgirl #2, Convergence – Batman and Robin #2, Convergence – Harley Quinn #2, Kanan – the Last Padawan #2, Convergence – Nightwing / Oracle #2, Convergence – the Question #2, Day Men #7, Dead Drop #1, Guardians Team-Up #5, Jupiter’s Circle #2, the Punisher #18, Rocket Raccoon #11, Secret Wars #1, Spider Gwen #4, Spider-Woman #7, Sword of Sorrows #1, Thief of Thieves #28, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5, the Wicked + the Divine #10
Finally. I’ve been waiting for this comic for months, and it’s well worth the wait. Moody art and deep stories, explaining even the good-natured wholesomeness that has always surrounded Riverdale and adding a greater degree of depth to everyone and everything that’s happened. This comic is brilliant, and has been since issue one. I would like more now, please.
One of my fellow Nerdcouver podcasters was talking about this, so I decided to take a look and found he was right. This is like a checklist of a decent comic, save that the villain feels forced and out of place, and even the writer knows it and uses Peter to comment on it. Art is fine, but the story is just kind of there. It’s a thing that happens. Forgettable.
And our fun little series that was just getting started and was the best sort of Shameless-style comedy gold gets culled because of things that have nothing to do with it. This comic was good, with interesting character arcs and laugh-out-loud moments, and now we get a dreary (though decent) ending for the sake of Secret Wars. Fuck Secret Wars.
This is a whole different take on the whole computer apocalypse scenario, in that humanity is wiped out by a disease and uploads most of itself into a computer system. You get the disconnect and ennui of living in a world based on false scarcity mixed with the horrors the survivors have to deal with on the outside, and it’s telling and brilliant. Get in on this.
So, a bunch of washed-up, washed-out actors are putting together a plan to hit the San Deigo Comic Con and steal as much money as they can. It’s been a good build so far, and here we find out that the people that are organizing it are setting them up, but the actors just learned what’s going on. This is one of the best heist stories I’ve read in a while.
Goddamn Cliffhanger! We learn exactly how badly our poor heroine is willing to go while under the influence of grief and guilt, and how corrupt the system has become and the terrible things that are being done for greed. It’s all kind of great and building to a head, and continues to be a rather strong narrative. I can’t wait for the trade.
Look, everyone! Telos is like the Silver Surfer, only he’s in DC and Brainiac is Galactus for some reason! Everyone fight and now Deimos is in charge of everything, and if you’re scratching your head, wondering who, don’t worry! It’s just because DC doesn’t want your business! Wheeeeeeeeee! The art is actually good this week. The story not so much.
The artwork errs on the bad side of good. You can follow it, and it’s bright, but there’s some weird issues with proportion and I’m not sure if that’s intentional or not. There’s some weird stuff here where not-Steph wins by convincing someone else to give up. It’s kind of dumb, really, but if this was a new series? I’d read these characters.
A nice tale about sibling rivalry and Batman using himself to heal a rift between the second Robin and his natural son, both of him he refers to as his children. This comic actually gets Batman, which is nice. A shame it’s happening in the midst of a crossover and we’re never going to see any of this ever again. The art is also not good.
Manages to be both clever and stupid at the same time, which is an impressive feat. It also manages to be both heartbreaking and funny in equal measure, which is what a good Harley comic does, though I was digging the recent Palimotti run – which skewed towards the funny side of things – right up until Convergence ended it. Decent.
Convergence – Nightwing / Oracle #2 – Top 5 Comics
Oh, look, Gail Simone gets to write a Birds of Prey comic and makes it better than anything we got in the nu52 and almost everything we’re getting in Convergence. This comic and the one directly below it actually justify the whole of the Convergence Big Dumb Event Thing. Basically, Dick goes out to save the day and doesn’t think things through, relying on pluck, skill, and sass to save the day. Barbara, on the other hand, turns the weapons of everything against her enemies because she’s a damn genius. The art is good, but the writing is spot on perfect. Which is good, I need this. Thank you, Gail.
Convergence – the Question #2 – Top 5 Comics
And then there’s this. I need this to not end. I need this comic to keep going, because this is Greg Rucka at his best, writing characters he very clearly loves and knows to a degree that is unmmatched anywhere else. The art is sharp and captures a sense of weight and motion that is unlike anything I’ve seen out of DC Comics in a long while, and the writing… well, it’s Rucka. It’s deep and complex and layered and nuanced, and I’ve bought both of these as single issues and would buy this as a series, and the trades, because it’s that good. If you’re only going to read one title out of the whole Convergence thing, make it this one.
The thing about a double-blind is that you need to know what’s going on to understand it when it hits. This is one of those, and the implications of this issue are horrifying – which is the sort of emotional resonance you get from the writers of this comic. The art is good, the stakes are clear, and even the reasons make sense given the intro. Well done.
Does anyone else remember Global Frequency? There was an issue of that series that dealt with someone doing parkour through a city to get to a bomb, which they deactivated. This is X-O Manowar chasing someone doing parkour to avoid him, and she’s carrying a virus. It’s kind of great. Simple, straight-forward, and you know it’s going to get more complex later.
Rocket teams up with the pets of the Avengers to fight Pets of Evil Masters, led by a vulture that’s been exposed to a bit too much radiation in Latveria and has gained sentience and believes himself ugly, but, hey, he’s a vulture. This is much more fun than it sounds, which is about par for this comic outside of Black Vortex. We’ll see if it holds after Secret Wars.
Mark Millar is a great writer who mostly hates the medium he writes in. It can make reading what he writes frustrating, but when he decides to abandon his self-loathing he inevitably creates incredible stuff. This falls into that spectrum, dealing with the nature of heroism and the importance of it, without “tough choice” bullshit. Recommended.
There were some good things that came out of the prequel trilogy – the narrative was good, though the execution was terrible. Like Secret Wars, or Convergence. Anyway, this deals with what life was like for those poor younglings that escaped the initial purge, and goes a long way towards informing what’s going on in Rebels. Really damn cool.
A year and a half brings us to this, with everything we wanted to pay off being paid off, and the start of something new. We get to see the disconnect between a corrupt news media and the politicians and corporatists that back them, as opposed to the people that have to live with their decisions. And Frank remains Frank as the world changes around him. The art is good and expressive and Nathan Edmondson has nailed this character, his motivations and what makes him so dangerous in his world, to an absolute tee. It’s fantastic.
There’s something beautiful about this comic. There usually is – it’s a multi-time Top 5 Comics winner, and an office favorite – but this issue in particular deals with the idea of the retcon by dismissing it and moving forward. It’s wonderfully drawn and expressive and funny and brilliant. I love this comic quite a lot and urge you to read it.
Secret Wars #1
Have you been paying attention to what Jonathan Hickman has been doing in the Avengers? An admittedly brilliant idea undone by blatant character assassination, nihilism, and inserts that displace pre-existing characters for no good reason? It got to the point where everyone in the core Avengers became unlikeable idiots, a sickness that’s been spreading since Civil War. Well, it all comes to a head here. The faces are hideous in places and the pacing is strange, characters that are dead or otherwise incapacitated find their circumstances hand waved, caricatures of characters you might like are murdered wholesale to give the illusion of gravitas. There is no gravitas here. There’s nothing but the idiot ramblings of a brilliant idea man who needs an editor, lacking an editor and killing a universe. Fuck this comic.
Spider Gwen #4 – Top 5 Comics
Wow, the heartbreak here. Gwen goes to the Parkers place for the first time since Peter’s death, and we get to see how both Ben and May Parker are dealing with the loss of their son in this world. The answer is – well. They recognize Peter as having been a good but flawed person, and it turns out that May doesn’t blame Spider-Gwen for Peter’s death. This changes things for Gwen dramatically, and she’s dealing with a lot of random stuff and she’s very human and very alone and she needs to deal with the very many traumas in her life, so she goes and plays with the Mary-Janes, and it’s perfect. So is this title. And I’m happy it’s not being touched by Secret Wars.
Clever little comic. Okay, so the wives of a bunch of c-list supervillians get together, pretending to be kidnapped and blackmailing their husbands for money so that they can live in peace, away from the world and the media and superheroes, and, you know what? This comic is pure magic. The art is good, the writing tight and witty, and the characters likeable and fun. Recommended.
Another comic I wouldn’t have picked up without my Nerdcouver cohorts. Some of the dialogue in this is terrible, but that’s to be expected when everyone is flitting through time. A maybe deity dude-bro villain trying to take revenge on all women throughout time and space, as written by Gail Simone? I’m in. I’m curious. Let’s see where this goes.
Thief of Thieves #28 – Top 5 Comics
The shadows in this book… the art looks like they started with blacks and carved color out of darkness. Every etched expression, every line, every patient weight feels like it matters. There’s silence without waste, and action with meaning, and a lesson in claiming a name you have no right to and the consequences of thinking yourself better than you are. And, in the end, there’s the lesson that when you devote yourself to a thing and become that thing, you cannot escape it no matter how much you might want to. This is one of the best heist comics being written today, and if you like that sort of thing you really need to be reading this.
OMG this comic. I need it to go on forever. The only reason Squirrel Girl isn’t in Secret Wars is she would have solved the whole thing by herself. A group of people trapped in the Statue of Liberty during a Robot Dinosaur Attack tell Squirrel Girl stories from different eras of comics, and it’s pure comics gold. Not reading this comic is a form of masochism.
The Wicked + the Divine #10 – Top 5 Comics
Look, this isn’t an easy story. It’s a very complex one with a very strange narrative arc, because the antagonist is a concept rather than anything that can be directly attached. The underlying theme here is one of finding meaning in the face of nihilism, and becoming who you are and achieving godhead, sometimes literally. The art and words are just etchings that touch on something much more powerful and meaningful, literally defining divinity as a means by which we find meaning, and through that meaning manifest divinity. If you can wrap your head around that, this very strange journey makes a lot of sense – but that understanding does not make it any simpler. Personally, I’m a myth-head and I love every freaking page of this comic.
Where were you last year when the Vancouver Scene changed? When Northwest Fan Fest brought all the fandoms to one place? Geek flavored events took center stage across our city and we didn’t have to look very hard for them. From the Gentlemen Hecklers to Geeks vs Nerds, from Geekenders to the Fictionals. This increasing appreciation of geekery got all nicely packaged up for us as Northwest Fan Fest. The change was so good even the mainstream noticed.
And why not?
It’s not just Vancouver that’s feeling this change, but the world: the biggest movies are superhero-themed. The biggest television series are based on books or comics. The idea of fandom is shaping the world, as the things we like spread, grow, and inform us about what we could be.
That change deserves a party. Celebrating fandom at Northwest Fan Fest brings a place for those that have found this culture to declare their victory, while welcoming anyone looking to come in from the cold. It didn’t take a genius to recognize the necessity of this, but it did take a genius to put it all together – to bring together Vancouver’s hottest acts, to create a space in which the passions we all feel could be shared, experienced, and exalted.
Enter the West Coast Fan Society, a secretive group of heroes with the dedication, drive, and guts to put together something special. They started last year when they launched Northwest Fan Fest, a for-fans-by-fans gathering designed to bring out the best in this growing community while welcoming anyone looking to get in on the fun.
A wild success, celebrating everything from anime to cosplay, from music to movies, from gaming to comics. They had it all, panels and shows featuring the best and brightest of the local community were put on, a single location that for three days became a temple to the greatest parts of the new culture.
It was awesome – there were dances, rock concerts, contests, events, any and every possible moment offering some new way to celebrate the things we’re all fans of.
So, naturally, this year they’re doing it again.
With a little over four weeks before the launch of Northwest Fan Fest 2015, we’re going to take in depth look at what this community of ours has grown into. We’ll discuss the what was and what is coming, talk to some of the hottest acts and performers, chat with the vendors that will have their wares out for sale, and do everything we can to let you know what’s coming to Vancouver’s greatest Celebration of Fandom.
And, hey, if you’re looking to be an insider and get your tickets sorted early, we can help.
For those of you that need more convincing, well. We’ve got some awesome content coming your way, so keep your eyes peeled and we’ll keep you posted on what’s what – but, trust us, you’re going to want to be there.
This Week: Archie vs Predator #1, Bloodshot – Reborn #1, Convergence – Aquaman #1, Convergence – Catwoman #1, Convergence – Green Arrow #1, Convergence – Shadow of the Bat #1, Convergence – Supergirl / Matrix #1, Convergence – Superman – Man of Steel #1, Ghosted #19, Hexed #9, Legendary Star-Lord #11, Loki – Agent of Asgard #13, Magneto #17, Ms. Marvel #14, Reyn #4, Runlovekill #1, S.H.I.E.L.D. #4, Thor #7, The Tithe #1, Uncanny X-Men #33, Unity #17
Given all the trepidation that preceded Wrestlemania this year, it was tough to muster appropriate excitement for the event. Between the weak booking and the specter of Roman Reigns hanging over the show, things were looking somewhat dire for the tentpole shows of the network era – but the WWE managed to deftly silence these critics by putting on an absolute top-level pay-per-view. So now that the WWE has passed the test of Wrestlemania with flying colors, what direction will they take with their major performers in the first leg of the wrestling year? The baseless speculation starts, now!
This Week: All-New X-Men #39, Batgirl #40, Batgirl: Endgame #1, Batman Eternal #50, Batwoman #40, Black Widow #16, Divinity #2, Guardians Team-Up #2, Ivar, Timewalker #3, Loki – Agent of Asgard #12, Magneto #16, Moon Knight #13, The Punisher #16, Secret Six #3, Silk #2, Solar – Man of the Atom #10, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44
Celebrity appearances in wrestling have historically been a hit-and-miss affair, from Cyndi Lauper ushering in the “Rock ‘n Wrestling” era to Dennis Miller making an asshole of himself in the “Guest GM” era. This week’s Jon Stewart segment was one of the better ones in recent memory (I would argue it was actually one of the best of all time). This week I will take a look at celebrity appearances in the WWE and try and figure out why some work and others don’t.
Since I was a kid I’ve been a fan of speedsters. Sonic was probably my first and longest love, but shortly thereafter came The Flash. Originally I would have said it was the underdog mentality, for while the rest of the Justice League was working with a suite of Superpowers, Flash only had the one (speed). Over the years though, he’s become one of the most powerful – and most important – characters in the DCU (DC Universe).
There is a reason why all three of Charlie Ross’ shows at this year’s “The Fringe Presents” sold out… and that is because Charlie Ross is awesome.
Warning: The following discussion contains spoilers for Season 3 of “Arrow”