Comic-book Catch up #4

Featuring Ms Marvel #3, Tomb Raider #3, Lazarus #8

Ms Marvel #3

Kamala Khan is experiencing the backlash from sneaking out. Her parents are upset, she’s still upset with Bruno. Bruno has his own mayhem happening, his brother asks him to steal from his register at the convenience store. Zoe is getting all the attention for getting saved while Kamala tries to get a grip on her powers and ends up in hiding even though she’s the hero in this story. She’s worrying she’s outgrowing her life “like a pair of pants that no longer fit” and in the next moment she’s confronting both teenage drama and an armed robber head on. G Willow Wilson writes teenage well, and she provides insight to the way that Kamala’s culture separates her from others in Jersey City, but also how it bonds her with her friends. She questions authority but is realistically insecure and charming. 

Tomb Raider #3

We’re treated to a bit more backstory on the hard hitting Reyes. In Dublin, her daughter is in imminent danger from the Solarii cult. They want the artifact Lara stole. Only, she still doesn’t remember it. She tries to lie, but the cult members don’t buy it. Suddenly, someone takes aim and shoots the gangsters and Lara breaks a glass over someone’s head. Meanwhile, Sam is in trouble. Lara and Reyes make a break for it, with the men in hot pursuit, Reyes and her daughter split from Lara (I love when characters don’t all orbit the main protagonist, btw. So Reyes calling Lara out on being the cause of this, on being bad luck. Worthwhile). Lara clubs a goon with the a busker’s guitar and grabs his gun. Reyes’ daughter says she was too mean to Lara. Lara finds out that Sam has been taken and throws down, but one goon sneaks up on her- she averts disaster but causing a soccer riot. But the goons just keep coming. Luckily, Reyes shows her daughter what it means to be loyal and double backs for Lara, with a “Don’t thank me, it was Miss Manners here.” And Lara declares they’ll go back to Yamatai to stop this and save Sam.

Sam Nishimura has the best answering machine message of all time. “I’m either off shooting an award winning documentary or passed out drunk. You know what to do.”

Lazarus #8

The first 5 were amazing, a new series with so much promise. One with a female lead (and still more females with their own agendas) that creates a world that is bleak, violent and corporate. One of all out class warfare. How could I not be in love? But the momentum has slowed, flashbacks to Forever’s childhood bog down the series instead of advance it. Currently, Forever is looking for and IED while the Barretts are looking to go get jobs with the Carlyles, they’re headed for Denver. Them and everyone else. Like pioneers travelling to a new frontier, to their last ditch effort: the road is hard. Worse when Forever finds that Denver is the target of this attack. But her father refuses to cancel the lift. Forever is in a race to stop the plot in the final pages. but it won’t be resolved til next month. 

Lazarus #7

Lazarus has consistently been one of my favorite series. I love dystopians. I love female leads. i love the “what ifs” of impossibly stratified classes and corporate wealth that elevates families into royalty… and dumps everyone else into poverty so extreme that there’s no escape. It’s impressive… and yeah, it’s depressing. 

The review for last issue is here.

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So I’m a huge fan and we’re getting into some meat now. The Barrets, an impoverished Midwestern family who recently lost everything in a flood is travelling to Denver for “the Lift” they are hoping to get jobs working for the Carlyles …but so are alot of people, so many that they clog up the highway as they make their way on horseback. They are attacked in the night and their daughter, Leigh, is killed and the father is shot.  

Forever is interrogating the woman who ‘distracted’ the guards so that her friends could steal materials to make a bomb. She doesn’t care about threats of prison or torture. But Johanna offers her something different.. a better life. A make over, higher social status, acting classes, a job. Is it an offer to good to refuse?

We also get another glimpse into Forever’s training with Marisol. I think Forever kills her. It’s so heavy. Greg Rucka is stopping my heart with this one. Next issue Forever will be at “the Lift” and since she’s becoming more aware of the atrocities both inside and outside of her family I expect her to get into a lot of trouble. But her training tells her that if her family needs someone dead… she must abide. Will she sympathize with the “waste” or will she stay true to the Carlyles? 

The faux advertisement for Morray cellular service on the back page is a nice touch. Corporate empires = global take over. It’s terrifying and awesome. 

All-New X-Men #23

In which everyone’s favorite Omega-Level Ginger has an intergalactic existential crisis. 

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Jean Grey is one of the most important X-Men characters. IGN voted her #13 in Top 100 Superheros. She’s brought back from the dead a few times, plotlines of decades worth of books and many of the films have revolved around other character’s relationships with her. She’s been Marvel Girl, the Phoenix and the Dark Phoenix- which of course is when she went “planet eater” and genocidal. She’s was copied. She was cloned. Her child from an alternate timeline came to Earth. And recently she was brought back from the past in her younger form where she faced her future self (who appeared as Xorna) from an alternate timeline.

But even with all this revolving around her… she’s just one being… and in the scheme of the universe… How important is Jean Grey? 

To the Shi’ar she is very important. But they don’t care about her relationships, they don’t care what a special snowflake she is. They only care about one thing: that she murdered a planet. Anything else that she accomplishes is overshadowed by the acts committed by the Dark Phoenix.

The Shi’ar want her to answer for her crimes. 

But it’s complicated: technically she hasn’t committed them. She’s aware of what will happen. If she goes back to her time, Xavier will wipe her mind and it will all re-happen. 

So, I’m wondering what the Shi’ar’s plan is here.

Option 1: 

Kill her.

The Shi’ar would introduce a whole new timeline where she did not become the Dark Phoenix, but no one can really be sure what would happen. That seems unreliable. And, right now the time space continuum is so disrupted that the timeline is permanently altered and Jeannie and co. are still in the future without it having any repercussions. Well… yet, anyway. But they are tampering with things with no guarantee. 

Option 2:

Imprison her? Same deal for the Shi’ar above but with the added heat of X-Men raining fury on them for taking one of their own.

Is there an Option 3? What is the End Game here?

This issue doesn’t provide much info in that aspect. What we get is Scott Summers waking up on the Guardians of the Galaxy’s ship after having a dream where he confessed his love to Jean (even though he’s recently been getting closer to X-23, I wouldn’t mind if Young Cyclops and Wolverine’s genetic clone went the “friends forever” route). Even to a groups of mutants who, collectively, can pass through walls, shoot lasers from their eyes, are made of ice, can fly, pass through walls and heal a bullet wound in a moments notice- a talking Racoon, 2 murder girls, a (sort of) talking tree + more are still really weird. 

Jean Grey is imprisoned in a Bubble by Kallark (Gladiator), her telekinesis and telepathy doesn’t work there. This version of Jean Grey has this out of control Sookie Stackhouse thing happening and she relies heavily on reading the thoughts of others. Not being able to causes her to bug out. And they drop her into… the ocean? still in her containment bubble.

Professor Kitty Pryde blames herself for not seeing this coming. which is a duality. I don’t think she should have seen it coming, but she shouldn’t have been confused about WHY the Shi’ar showed up in Part 1. While they debate X-Men saying repeatedly that Jeannie didn’t actually DO it… and Rocket reminding them, “Yet.” Then the Shi’ar attack their ship. Angela wants to board the ship and take them down, Groot goes along as back-up. 

Jean Grey meets with Oracle who explains what’s happening here. She’s under arrest and getting ready to be brought before tribunal. Oracle sees that she has no first hand knowledge of being the Phoenix (How would she? She hasn’t been the Phoenix?) somehow she’s perplexed by this. Jean lashes out and acts threateningly towards Oracle. And… she goes back in the bubble.

After being struck by the Shi’ar, the Guardians’ ship is on fire. Gamora and X-23 make friends. Rocket says he’s going to propose to Angela. Gamora starts to head out. Suddenly, there’s another ship! They get blasted with purple lasers and it’s revealed that the pilot of THAT ship is… Summers. No, not that Summers, Major Christopher Summers, USAF.  

There are things Immonen does very well, which corresponds heavily with what Bendis does well. Bendis writes great characters, great reactions. Immonen draws great expressions and great body language. On these pages we see an off his game and defeated Scott Summers hunched over, sullen and it correspond to the voice we should hear perfectly.. Jean is questioned by another “minder” (telepath) and we see her demeanor change for outraged to regretful. But for me these fight scenes are disjointed, weird lighting and coloring obscures what’s happening to who. 

Speaking of “What is happening?!” Christopher Summers firstly is Scott’s father, the alias Corsair was supposedly dead (at the hands of his son Vulcan, who was not raised on earth and slaughtered Shi’ar’s after being incubated and sold into slavery). So… what is going on here? He’s also the leader of Starjammers, who pillage and pirate Shi’ar ships.

“I hate space” I’ve had very bad luck in space!” -KP

One of my favorites, Greg Rucka, is writer of the (SOME SPOILERS LIVE HERE–>) upcoming Cyclops series that spins off the events in Trial of Jean Grey. Honestly, the spoilers keep me more confused about what will happen to Jean Grey.

Comicbook Catch-up Extravaganza! Numero Dos!

Featuring Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #5, Lazarus #6, Ms. Marvel #1

Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash #5

I’ve really enjoyed this series. Despite the chronic late release of the issues it really maintained momentum for me because I loved LOVED seeing Ash and Cassie play off of eachother. The 2 badasses breaking heads with their unconventional weapons, enemies and friends from each series. Fun. Good. This one flew in the frigging face of all of that. The end of last issue featured their hook-up. Cassie’s in a committed relationship with Margaret- so one of two things spring to mind for me: 1) she’s trying to confuse Ash or 2) the writer is a shallow idiot who thinks bisexuals are all sluts. Either way she’s deceitful. 

The duo get to Ancient Greece, turns out Britt the cult leader went back in time and met with Akakios who was an alchemist and “created the principals that the cult followed” and icing on the cherry hate cake? He killed Cassie’s old partner Vlad. They throw a wild party in Ancient Greece to attract Akakios and his cult and deadites and they burn ’em to a crisp. Cassie goes berserker and beelines for Akakios himself, “Changing the past is bad” Ash says, Cassie KO’s him and he knows he’s been played. But not only did she play Ash…she played Margaret. To “Bring back the only thing she ever loved. Vlad.” 

WHAT THEE FUCK?

Thankfully, issue 6 is the last. Because fuck all that shit. Ash and Cassie are now enemies at odds for possession of the Necronomicon.

Ms. Marvel #1

Kamala Khan, teenage supe, writer of Avengers fanfic, shapeshifter and Muslim. Her family is varying degrees of assimilating and she just wants to be a “regular teen” like her classmates and go to parties. So she sneaks out to a party with boys and booze on the waterfront. Her BFF Bruno tries to get her out of there, and she’s all “MYOB” and storms off.. then a crazy for starts to permeate the area. Kamala Khan gets KO’d and has a drugged out dream about the Avengers, and her homegirl, Captain Marvel. And she wishes, “I want to be beautiful and awesome and butt kicking and less complicated. I want to be you.” And Carol Danvers says, “All right, kid. As fate would have it, you’re about to get the kind of total reboot most people only dream about.”

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Epic debut. Kudos to G. Willow Wilson for calling out concern trolls and stereotypes. So pumped to find out what’s up with the fog, or what’s up with Captain Marvel being her fairy godmother. I repurposed that photo from Jeremy Roberts’s deviantart. http://jprart.deviantart.com/art/All-New-Ms-Marvel-412376037

Lazarus #6

Flashback again, to mini-Forever doing pushups on her thumbs and conjugating Latin verbs, she’s taking her training with Marisol too far.

In the present she wakes up to an alarm, takes her regimen and then she receives the text again. “He is not your father, this is not your family.” Joanna is still sporting a black eye and playing innocent. Flash to Montana, we see the family whose home was destroyed. The cost to rebuild will have them taxed out for the foreseeable future. Back in LA, a woman propositions the guards in exchange for food and others break in and set up a device to hack the keypad. They steal canisters of acetylene. Forever catches them in the act, but she directs her wrath at the guards taking advantage of a hungry woman. Forever asks her where the others have taken the canisters. And the Barrets leave Montana for Denver in hopes that their children can work for the Carlyles. Will this play an integral role? Will they start an uprising? Will Forever discover what’s really happening outside of her family? So many questions. 

Rucka has built this insane world. It’s bleak, it’s dark… and sadly, it’s very very real. Carlyles have infinite wealth and resources and meanwhile we see families giving up all they’ve got, their time, their dignity, their land, their children, they sell themselves out. It’s very blood and guts, but no major revelations this issue.

Lazarus #5

I said this in my review for #4

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I HATE this cover. Forever is a child with her head so big. Stiff arms + no action + zero background art… OMG WHY?! Forever and her Lazurus crush had blown up, fought their way through armed mercenaries. She just found out that her “family” has been lying to her!

But inside “Lift: Part One” it’s all explained. We are back in time. Forever is a child trying to earn her sword and the title of her family’s protector. Her father visits her and she is forced to fight the adult badass Marisol. Forever loses, she is not fit to wear the sword. 

In the present day: Forever apologizes to a woman whose father she executed… takes a cell phone call while she does it. Forever heads to the Mississippi River. She’s after Jonah. SHe also thinks Jonah beat up Joanna. 

Jonah appears to have crossed the Mississippi River… into Bittner and Hock’s territory. Bitterner and Hock lost land and resources in a real war between the 1% itself. Forever antagonizes the other side and in response gets called, “Sweetheart”, “bitch” and receives a rape threat. The trifecta.

Worse when one of them shoots her in the back. Bittner and Hock’s men execute the offending soldier… the only way to avoid war between families.

A family in Montana begs the regional administrator for protection against the flooding. Their about to lose all they have but their “Government” won’t help them. 

In South Central Los Angeles, the devious Joanna plays nice with Forever while organizing workers to get the water and sewage running. They’ve narrowly averted a Cholera epidemic. Joanna is, presenting herself as doing the right thing. Earning back the trust of their… err… her father. 

That family in Montana… they lose everything.

Forever is no closer to knowing who she is.

Really a sad start… since this is a part one, I will stay excited. Excited to see more of Forever’s past, Joanna’s master plan and if the Carlyle’s who seek to exploit the oppressed will be taken down!

The world created here is monumental… while this issue didn’t thrill me, I’m sure it’s setting up to something rad. The disconnect between Forever and the “waste” population. Between Forever and her own siblings who treat espionage, war and profits as their right. Rival families bitter over not the way humans are treated but how much money and resources they are entitled to.

For those of you not sold on monthly issues, waiting for the trade: there’s always extras, timelines, fan letters, columns by Rucka on weirdly real science.

This month’s was on lab grown brains: which you can read about here:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37262/title/Lab-Grown-Model-Brains/

Next month- LIFT: part two

 

Lazarus #4

For those of you who haven’t been following along: The world now lies divided amongst financial boundaries. Wealth is power (but, well… what else is new? amirite?) and that power rests in the hands of a few families.

Forever Carlyle is the Lazarus of the Carlyle family genetically engineered to be unfailingly loyal to her Family and nearly unkillable. Her father dispatches her to avert war with the Morray family while her traitor brother and his twin plot Forever’s demise.

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That’s how issue 3 ended. With Forever and Joacquim (Lazarus for the Morray family) Attacked by a missile… a unit of soldiers are en route to ensure their deaths.

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The explosion leaves her with a broken neck, dislocation of her left shoulder, fractured left wrist, multiple cracked ribs and a penetrating wound through her left thigh.

Don’t worry, to quote her father, “Forever’s a big girl, she can take care of herself.”

Dr. Bethanny Carlyle and Dr. James Mann are monitoring her from afar. Carlyle soldiers move in to finish off Forever. Forever orders them to stop. “To disobey me is to die. To strike me is to die. You will release me at once.” They don’t but Joacquim gets the drop on them and Forever pulls the piece of goddamn car out of her leg and starts beating and stabbing people with it…

…That’s so fucking bad ass…

Meanwhile Joanna (Jonah’s twin) is ordering Mason to beat her up. She’s going to blame it on Jonah.

Who cares? People are getting SUV parts through the neck (the alternation between the two scenes every other panel is genius Lark and Arcas nailed it. It’s beautiful).

Joanna says Jonah better run before the Lazarus gets him.

Forever and Joacquim overtake the soldiers and Forever heads back home… Where she falls for Joanna’s deception and vows vengeance on Jonah. Her father tells her good job with the Morrays….

And then she gets an email saying that he is not her father and this is not her family.

Weird.

Unsurprising, however, since Forever is a lab experiment more than a sibling, a hammer more than a daughter. But she is a person. Somewhat… other than that “no free will of her own” thing.

The story is great, born out of real life weird science and unstable economies. Suped up with motorcycles, swords and hardcore badassery. I’m still kind of hoping for a love story between Forever and Joacquim.

I have to wait 2 months??!?

“Go well, Forever Carlyle”

(Also, if you are in to that sort of thing… Greg Rucka is a good person to follow on twitter he’s always posting interesting science breakthroughs and downright scary socio-political news… because art imitates life until life imitates art. get freaked out.) 

Lazarus #3

Forever Carlyle is in Magdalena, Mexico after being “taken” by the Morray family.

This happens:

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Yeah, Forever is such a bad ass that it gives me indescribable joy.

She hands over her gun without much ado, but when pressured to give up her blade… uhhh… she teaches them the meaning of “dis-arm.”

The Morray’s Lazarus, Joacquim, and Forever look pretty tight.

Back in California, Jonah is arguing with Forever’s doctor to tell him where Forever is. He won’t. But he is giving hourly updates to her father.

Forever and Joacquim are bonding over being the only Lazarus’ they know and all the weird implants and engineering they’ve had done by their families. They had been ordered to kill each other, and in quite Shakespearian fashion, they are totally sweet on each other.

Jo and Jonah are upset that Forever is talking peace with the Morrays when they want war. Jo decides that they will kill Forever and frame the Morrays and that will be war.

But she’s the Lazarus, she can’t be killed.

Some revelations are made before the Morrays and Forever, representing the Carlyles come to a trade agreement. Joacquim escorts Forever back and they start to get a little close, a tender moment for our tough guys …before the earth beneath them goes KABOOM!

Forever Carlyle… the Lazarus, ultimate weapon with no ability not to obey her family, a tool created… who has a crush. What will become of Joacquim? Will Forever get free-will (in so much as free will can exist)? What’s Jonah’s angle?

The most bad ass opening possible, and some insight into Forever’s character, what life is like for the ultimate weapon.

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http://familycarlyle.tumblr.com/

Greg Rucka continues to be my extra-favorite with his responses to fan letters …”We’ve found the variety of responses to Forever’s design to be… interesting. To those who have a problem with her strength, size and relatively modest bust (in comic art-style terms, at least)… get over yourselves.”