Posts Tagged ‘Variant Girl’

Title: American Vampire #3
Writers: Scott Snyder (Main Story) and Stephen King (Back-up)
Artist: Rafael Alburquerque
Colours: Dave McCaig
Price: $3.99

I believe the very first issue of American Vampire drew quite a bit of interest because of the fact that Stephen King’s name was attached to the story line as a co-author. As far as marketing another vampire book in this already flooded market of blood thirsty tales it was a smart business move to attach a noted name to the title as it made American Vampire stand out from the crowd. Once I had read the first issue I was extremely impressed by the writing and art, more so with Scott Synder’s story line than Stephen King’s to be honest. After saying all of that this series is certainly shaping up to become something great.

The creative team has added interesting twists to the Vampire mythology that hooked me big time. The two main characters, Pearl and Skinner Sweet both have strong personalities and are quite likable, which gave the story a nice flow. I, as a reader, instantly became invested in both of them, and I imagined that if Kid Rock was a vampire he would be Skinner, Skinner Sweet is the ultimate American Badass…pun intended folks.

Issues 1 & 2 set up the story line and did the introductions and issue number 3 ramps up the action. Pearl is trying to deal with the idea that she has become a vampire. She is also out for vengeance against those who made her. I really don’t like spoilers so I am going to try and not give too much of the plot away. Pearl also meets up with old friends and gets scrappy with a couple old foes. We are left right on the edge of a cliff-hanger and wanting more, which for any writer, is a good thing.

The second story focusing on Skinner Sweet takes us back to the reading of the non-fictional novel “Bad Blood” in which the events and stories surrounding the out-law vampire have been allegedly documented. Sweet has returned from the grave and is also looking for a tall glass of revenge. But Sweet is not the only one who is out for blood, so are the stodgy old European Aristocratic vampires and its Sweet’s blood they are craving. Will Skinner meet his demise at the hands of the European vampires? Can an alliance be made? One thing is for sure, there is more blood in store.

The art in this series is done by Rafael Albuquerque and is well suited for this tale. What I like the most is how he illustrates the transition of the vampires in their more human form to full fledged predator. There is a lot of blood in this comic but it is justified and fitting. This issue is filled with action from beginning to end and has a real pulp fiction type feel to it. The writing as well as the art fit like hand in glove. If you haven’t been reading American Vampire than I would say you’re missing out. This comic is well worth the Canadian cover price, and that’s saying something. So give this one a chance, happy reading y’all!

Title: Deadpool #23
Writer: Daniel Way
Pencils: Carlo Barberi
Inks: Juan Vlasco
Colours: Marte Gracia
Price: $2.99

Deadpool comics are like drinking beer. The experience can be a lot of fun and you find yourself craving it, but too much of a good thing can get you sick. And that was my issue for the longest time when it came to Deadpool. I had a mild addiction to purchasing this comic, but then it got to a point of silly that wasn’t acceptable even for a Deadpool comic

I have ALWAYS had a love affair with Mr. Wilson which is why I feel so passionately about all of this. But ever since the release of the Marvel movie Wolverine: Origins which came out last year… or the year before… (I can’t remember, that’s how much of an epic fail it was to me) I have felt that the comic book shelves have been over run with too much Deadpool and it has swelled to viral proportions. At one point in time you couldn’t buy anything Marvel that didn’t have DP in it. Not to mention the sheer amount of various Deadpool titles that came out. Marvel took one of my favourite characters and turned him into a joke… literally. So I decided that Wade and I needed a trail separation, things were rocky between us for so many months so I just needed some time for myself, you know to see what other fish were in the comic book sea.

After saying all that, Wade and I did manage to finally reconcile our differences and find each other again with the release of Deadpool #23 which hit our LCS yesterday. This issue was reminiscent of the Joe Kelly Deadpool, which made me fall in love with DP in the first place.

In this issue we find our hero channel surfing just chilling, and all of a sudden he comes across a live news feed from a Las Vegas night club and casino. In this news report Deadpool gets “dissed” on public television and then gets pissed. You know Deadpool isn’t having any of that guff, so it’s viva Las Vegas for Wade as he heads down there to clear his good name and maybe disrupt things just a little. After all he is the “Merc with the Mouth.”

I absolutely loved everything about this issue; it was “laugh out loud” stuff. I don’t really want to give away any spoilers so am not going to recant the entire plot. However, I will say that Daniel Way made good use of some past characters that may be considered either friend or a foe, you be the judge. The villain Grizzly was hilarious; it’s a dude in a bear suite, c’mon. There is a really cute Elton John reference written in the book as well so look out for that. Barberi’s art is very slick and I think it suites the comic well. A lot of nice panels, action packed and executed nicely. The colourist Garcia did a super job with this issue and it certainly added to Barberi’s illustrations. To sum up, like the song says, Reunited and it feels so good. I am on board for next months issue. I say pick it up.

-Cami Berardi (Variant Girl)

Title: Birds of Prey #1
Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Ed Benes
Published by: DC Comics
Price Tag: $2.99

People have often asked the question, can you go home again? The short answer to that is yes, especially when it comes to Birds Of Prey. Gail Simone has reunited with her super clad girls, and in doing so has delivered to fans both old and new an action packed helluva first issue.

Simone has demonstrated her ability to write multiple team based superhero comics, by way of Secret Six as well as Birds Of Prey. She is fantastic at giving a separate and individual voice to each character. She combines wickedly interesting dialogue between all the characters while giving the reader just the right amount of action to keep you wanting to turn the page.

No need to sweat if you are a newbie to this title because this is a great jumping on point. Simone provides enough of a back story to get you in the loop, while at the same time not boring the fans from the original series. Reboots can be tricky at best, and if not handled with the right pen, you can have the potential to be get a giant let down, and a drag.

The art work of Ed Benes has always drawn a bit of split crowd amongst fans. But I have to say that he certainly brought his A game to this project. In my humble opinion, Benes has a talent for, how should I say, extenuating the various attributes of the female form. Or to put it simply the man can draw some pretty decent T & A. The art work was capped off with the collaborative effort by Nei Ruffino on colouring, which really brought everything together nicely.

Not only was there the reuniting of the Birds, but there was also an introduction of Hawk and Dove to the story line two characters that I admittedly don’t know very much about but hope to learn more about in future issues. We were also introduced to a brand new villain, The White Canary who seemed pretty cool and interesting. I particularly enjoy it when the comic book leaves you hanging on that last page. The anticipation for the next issue just rev’s you up.

All in all to sum up, this was a solid issue for me. Great start and am on board. Check it out if you are looking for something fun which portrays women heroes in a very strong and positive light. This books gets the big HOORAY FOR COMICS!

-Cami/Variant Girl

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Gail Simone and Ed Benes kick off the relaunch of the Birds of Prey title under the ‘Brightest Day’ event (I know, I am breaking my own rules again). I have to admit up front, I never follow the original series very closely, in my younger days I wasn’t a big fan of ‘Chick’ comics. I always saw female heroes as supporting characters or sidekicks, never as characters that could headline or support a solo book. What can I say, I was an idiot back then, I’d like to think that old age has given me the wisdom to appreciate female heroes as the major players they truly are in the comic universe today.

Previous prejudices aside, I found myself enjoying this book. The plot in the first issue is a pretty standard “putting the band back together’ type story. It looks like Gail Simone is bringing back most of the major players from the old series. Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, Huntress and of course Oracle are all back. Simone is also shaking things up a bit with the addition of two new members to he team, Hawk and Dove. Well, they are not members yet, but they do get the invite from Lady Blackhawk. The addition of Hawk and Dove to the mix could be interesting to say the least. Dove was never one of my favorite characters, too much of a goodie two shoes for my liking, but I like the way Simone wrote her in this issue. Dove is left with the unenviable task of babysitting the newly resurrected Hawk, who appears to have come back to life even more pissed off and unstable than before, if that is possible. I am sure Hawk’s new found ‘solider of god’ complex will make things interesting in future stories.

Gail Simone gets us right into the action, we find previous members of the group, Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk and Huntress off doing their own thing, fighting crime, beating up bad guys, generally doing the hero thing, when they receive an urgent call from Oracle asking for help. Apparently there is a new bad guy in town and he/she has detailed personal information on not only most of the villains in Gotham, but detailed files on the ladies of the ‘Birds of Prey’ as well. This new villain wants to play a game of ‘stop me if you can’, he/she will kill a person on their list every hour until our band of heroes stop him/her, if the ladies refuse to play his game, he/she will release all of the information on the files to the general public. After a brief discussion about the possible identity of our bad guy, they are off to stop them. Oddly enough, Black Canary and Huntress find themselves in the strange position of trying to save the Penguin from being killed by this new threat. I say try because this new villain(who does turn out to be a woman) quickly outmatches Black Canary in hand to hand combat and takes out Huntress with ease. The cliff hanger leaves Penguin bleeding like a stuck pig with Black Canary and Huntress apparently helpless to do anything to help poor Oswald .

So who is this new ninja killing machine? No idea, I am guessing someone related to Lady Shiva by the way she addresses Black Canary, possible choices..

Lady Shiva- Doubt it
Some Bizarro version of Lady Shiva- Not likely
Cassandra Cain- No idea, does she have a beef with the ladies?
Marque- Who?
Sin- You tell me.

I am sure someone with more experience with the ‘Birds of Prey’ comic series can do a better job of speculating on who the ‘White Canary’ is than I.

I normally don’t spend to much time commenting on artwork in comics, I am no expert, but I know what I like and I don’t like. Boy, do I like Ed Benes’ work here on this book, I doubt they could have picked a better artist for this one, the man know how to draw the female form, and I don’t mean in the exaggerated giant boobs and butt kind of way, he is just really good at drawing athletic, beautiful women. Benes is almost too good at what he does. There is a scene early on in the comic were Huntress is kicking a bad guy in the face that makes you realize just how inappropriate her costume is for fighting crime. Lets just say I won’t be getting bored with Benes’ artwork on this book.

Overall this was a very good kickoff for the new series. Gail Simone knows how to write strong female characters and I am looking forward to seeing what she does with Dove, hopefully she can breath some life into a character I have never been very impressed with. What else can you say about Simone? She is a proven writer and has written ‘Birds of Prey’ in the past and there is no reason to think she cannot continue to write quality stories for our group of strong female heroes.

-IM

Just a few quick notes here:

CCW Chew Contest:

If you have not entered our contest for a chance to win a copy of the breakout sensation comic known simply as Chew today is the last day to do so. What the hell are you waiting for!? Check out the details two posts down from here. These comics are signed and personalized to the CCW Nation by John Layman himself. We did you a favor by having him sign these comics so you wouldn’t have to go through the displeasure of actually meeting him in person. You’re welcome.

Our Doomwar #1 Review:

This review of ours made the rounds on the CBR Black Panther boards and for the most part the reception was quite positive. Thanks to those individuals who posted those links. The best part? Johnathan Maberry himself left us a great comment on the video’s board. You can check out that video review here.

Variant Girl:

VG’s comic blog is up and running again. Please do yourselves a favor and check out her new reviews. Wondering what a fangirl’s thoughts are on Marvel’s new Girl Comics #1? Click here to find out.

Gail Simone to Leave Wonder Woman:

And now for the worst comic news I have heard all week: It looks like Simone will be stepping down as writer of Wonder Woman after issue #600. Not very happy about this. I was quite looking forward to her and Nicola Scott having a lengthy Wonder Woman run together but I guess that’s just not going to happen. If DC made this choice in order to make room for Grant Morrison on the book I really don’t know if that will sit well with me. We shall have to wait and see. You can read Gail Simone breaking the news here.

No New CCW*TV Next Week:

Unfortunately we won’t be able to tape any new segments tomorrow. Elliott has a prior engagement to attend so he is the person to blame (doesn’t feel nice to thrown under the bus does it E.?). Because of this I (like I mentioned a couple of days ago) will try to post some more reviews for this week’s books on here. I hope that me posting more reviews will make up for the fact that Elliott clearly just doesn’t care about you guys.

J.

Tired Of The Same Ol’ Sausage? The New Pink Taco Is In Town!

By Cami Berardi

Let me start by stating that this is NOT advertising for a new promotion from Taco Bell or an adult website. Nope, instead it is one lone “fan-girl” calling out all local comic shop owners across the land.

As some of you may or may not have heard Strange Adventures comic shop located in Halifax Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada has decided to make a ground breaking move in the comic book community by holding its very first Ladies Night. “Why? What is that?” you may wonder while scratching your head. The answer my friend is very simple and it is best summed up in the following quote given by Strange Adventures themselves:

“Have you ever felt a little intimidated or awkward going into a comic shop? Are you interested in comics, but not sure where to start? Or are you a super fan-girl who wants to nerd out about comics without boys getting in the way?”

When I first read about this event I was floored, impressed, and a little envious because I absolutely would have loved to have been apart of it. I thought to myself; hmm, this is just what the doctor ordered. For so long there have been many places that have been dubbed a true “sausage-fest” and comic book shops rank high on that list in my humble opinion. The introduction of having a female centric event held even once a month in local comic book shops around the U.S. and Canada would leave a tremendously positive footprint in the comic book community.

Here is fact number one: the portrayal of women characters in the comic book medium has often been lack fucking luster to say the least. Fact number two: there is certainly not nearly enough women who are working in the comic book industry at any level to be able to exact true change from within. Fact number three: there are heaps of women out there that love comic books or are just curious about comics, and really desire to be apart of this scene but are so afraid of all you big bad comic book guys that they shy away.

So what does it all mean? Well, it’s pretty simple. When comic book shops choose to host such an event, women feel free to really get their mitts dirty and explore the wonderful world of visual literature that awaits them just beyond those front doors. I am a die hard Fan-girl who hails from Toronto, Ontario and I have been to many comic book shops in the city and surrounding areas. There are two common threads amongst all of them. The first being an over saturation of Marvel product on their shelves AND secondly, no women to be found anywhere…not even behind the counters! There has been only one shop in Toronto that I have frequented (Silver Snail) where I have actually witnessed female employees. Coincidently this is the same shop where I have noted the most amount of female clientele.

By having a “ladies night” shops are inviting in an army of comic book connoisseurs to spend their money. When the female population begins to spend money it benefits the whole community in two ways as I can see it. There is a rise in profits for all concerned. Also the comic book publishers will be able to track the type of subject matter that actually appeals to women as opposed to a bunch of men cooped up in some stuffy boardroom somewhere scratchin’ their balls trying to figure out what women want, and failing miserably at it I might add. This may come as a surprise to some of you men out there, but not every woman wants to only read Harry Potter or fucking Twilight!

Just like when it comes to everything else in life, we enjoy having a variety. Just like you boys, we too would enjoy getting a group of like minded friends together on a Wednesday night to head out to the local comic shop to fuss and fawn over the latest releases to hit the shelves. It would be refreshing to see a girl behind the counter who we could approach for her take on a particular series or a current event happening in the industry. Maybe, just maybe, it will take the monetary language of the all mighty dollar to persuade comic publishers to employ more female editors, writers, artists, etc. And once this happens we may just be lucky enough to see a change in how women are written and drawn in comics.

There is really nothing to be afraid of here fellas. This is not segregation or a plot to over throw the male kingdom of comics. It is instead a brave new world. A utopia if you will. A comic book community where men and women of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, religious and political views, and sexual orientation can meld together and just get along while enjoying a solid read.

I truly and sincerely hope that this idea ignites like wild fire. I honestly believe it can resuscitate a currently dying industry. Changes must be made if we are to see a revival of sorts within the comic book community. This type of event should be welcomed with open arms not greeted by closed minds. After all boys, I ask you: what is the sausage without the bun?

Hey, everyone. As we have just watched another year pass us by, and prepare to enter a brand spanking new one with youthful optimism of what 2010 could possibly bring in terms of the comic book realm, I felt that it was only fitting that I pay homage to my top three books of 2009.

These are the books that I personally felt represented some of the best efforts in writing and artistic composition. Now, hold up here before you boys and gals get all riled up. I just want to say, this is an opinion piece, and thus we will all have different choices as to what our favourite books were for 2009. Comics, after all, are a very personal thing, I venture to say that what we read in some way is a reflection of the kind of person we are. In the same way that the music we listen to represents apart of who we are so do our literary choices, whether they are novels or graphic novels.

All of us find a kinship with either a character or team of characters for what ever reason, but what makes us fall in love with these super clad bad asses is the creative driving force behind them. In most cases this is what makes or breaks a character for us fanboys and girls. I am sure all of us have experienced the tremendous disappointment of picking up a comic based on one of our favourite characters only to find out the writer has totally fucked it up. Or the writing is simply meh, and the art is what’s actually fucked up. Whatever the combination it only spells bad news bears for us comic book fans that have dished out our hard earned money to watch our beloved character ruined in print. We suffer through bad runs and pray that the comic book gods will come and save us from the injustice of bad storytelling. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of such titans as Marvel and DC; we put our collective faith forward that the right creative team will save the day, as it were. Our patience is tested time after time, but there is usually always a light at the end of the tunnel and eventually the right people take pen to paper and we feel certain jubilation again.

I am not sure if you will find my picks for 2009 to be predictable or surprising at all. So, here they are none the less and not any particular order short and sweet.

The Invincible Iron Man
Written by: Matt Fraction
Art by: Salvador Larroca
Published by: Marvel

I must preface this by saying that I was never a huge Iron Man fan. I have always enjoyed the character, but I truly found affection for the cocky Mr. Stark once Matt Fraction and company took to the helm. The way in which Fraction writes not only Stark’s character but all the supporting characters as well is what got me hooked. There is cohesiveness to the story line that never seemed to be there before, for me, in an Iron Man comic. Fraction gave us, the readers, Tony Stark at his most vulnerable; he gave us strength in characters such as Pepper Potts that we have not seen before. He made us care about Maria Hill, and all this was accomplished by intricate character development on his part and bottom line good story telling. Matt Fraction has turned me into an Iron Man fan, and this is a run that I would recommend to anyone. If you have not been keeping up with the singles, then honestly get the trades when they come out you won’t regret it. Fraction has hit it out of the park on this one.

Invincible
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Pencils by: Corey Walker/Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colors: FCO Plascenia
Published by: Image

What can I say about Invincible except, thank you Jose for introducing it to me one of the best comics ever!!! Yes you read that right…EVER! This comic came as a recommendation from Jose to me one night, and I took his advice and went out and bought the first trade. After reading it, I promptly went out and bought every other trade that I could until it brought me up to current. Robert Kirkman set out to tell the story of a superhero and he did it in spades. Robert Kirkman is a craftsman of relationships; he knows how to write them, he knows how to create them in his work. I have a fangirl crush on Mark Grayson; sooo would love to have him as my boyfriend. This is how fantastically the comic is written, you actually begin to feel emotional about what happens to them. Kirkman gets you invested in the Invincible universe as it were. Corey Walker was the original artist and co-creator of Invincible but soon gave up the reigns to a young artist named Ryan Ottley. Ryan Ottley can be compared to a highly ranked rookie in the sports world who is given a chance to prove himself and turns out to be a phenomenon of sorts. Not only do you have the pleasure of reading the obvious talent of Kirkman’s words but Ottley’s art is just as breath taking and pivotal to the story telling experience. If you have not been reading Invincible then you really should, once again, pick it up in trades.

If you want to start 2010 off with something that is hot, try Invincible, Kirkman and Ottley, how can you go wrong? I think the only way you could go wrong is if Hollywood got involved and tried to make a movie out of it. I hope they never do because that way my Invincible will forever remain pure.

Detective Comics: Batwoman
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: J.H Williams III
Colors: Dave Stewart
Published by: DC

My final fav for 2009 is Detective Comics: Batwoman. I know this book has some of the “heterosexual” fanboys all in a tizzy these days but I fucking love it! Again, I was never a big Detective Comics reader, but when I herd that Greg Rucka and J.H Williams III were going to be working on this title with Batwoman as the head liner, it was a no brainier that I would be buying it. We often hear that male comic book writers are unable to fully grasp the female voice. But Mr. Rucka must be in touch with his feminine side because he speaks for us females beautifully. I love the fact that Batwoman is openly lesbian and it is not portrayed in a raunchy perverted fashion. Batwoman’s sexual preference is simply apart of Kate Kane the character and is integrated maturely into the storyline. Rucka did such an amazing job with Wonder Woman that I am not surprised about the work he is accomplishing in Detective Comics currently. As for the art, well if you are at all familiar with J.H Williams, then I don’t think I can articulate how wonderful it is. If you are not familiar with his work I can only suggest that the next time you’re in your local comic shop pick up a copy of Detective Comics: Batwoman and you’ll see for yourself. This comic is breath taking and superbly written, there is really not much more I can say except it receives high praise all around.

The thing about comics that I love, and have always loved, is the fantasy and the idea of good vs. evil. The inner battle we all fight, the injustices we are exposed to in the real world. These are all themes that play out in the pages of a comic book. As I prepare to move forward in 2010, I do so firmly with comics in hand. I wish all the fanboys and girls out there a very happy new year, keep reading, keep watching CCW, and keep an open mind. It’s the only way to grow.

Cami/Variant Girl

Title: PunisherMAX #1 & #2
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Steve Dillion
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 each

As I was sitting down to write this review I began pondering where to begin, what should be my opening line? I flipped quickly back through the pages of both Punisher comics, and sure enough it came to me. PunisherMAX, simply put is a rip roaring, bloody and brutal good time. Now, I know that there are many comics out there in the market place that tout excessive violence in them, but how can you truly have a great Punisher book without the fore mentioned excessive violence right?

The Plot: Issue #1

We find ourselves in the midst of a secret meeting of all the existing mafia bosses. They are getting together in order to discuss what must be done to get rid of that pesky Punisher, seeing as he has put each and every one of them on his personal hit list. The Punisher at this point posses a huge risk to them, not only in consideration of their lives, but also their business, and something must be done to stop him once and for all. Don Rigoletto has come up with an idea that he feels is the answer: reinvent the urban legend of one boss who rules all others. Don Rigoletto intends to make Frank Castle believe that there really is a Kingpin, in hopes that will distract the Punisher sending him on a wild goose chase. By doing this they can hope to keep Castle out of their hair, at least for a little while. While this meeting is going on the book opens with Frank pretty much torturing some low-level grunt into spilling what information he knows. The grunt tells Frank of the meeting and he is able to take out a couple more mid level goons. At this point the rest of the mafia heads feel that Don Rigoletto’s idea is worth pursuing. We see how Wilson Fisk who is posing as Don Rigoletto’s “right hand” man is being primed to slip into the role of the Kingpin.

The Plot: Issue #2

In issue number two of the first story arc entitled “The Kingpin” we begin to get a deeper look into the mangled and cruel mind of Wilson Fisk. We see just how he serves up a plate of revenge and we also find out more about how the myth of the Kingpin will begin to take shape. As reader’s this is where we watch Wilson Fisk’s rise to power. And in juxtaposition we also observe the path that Frank Castle is traveling on, and you can bet that while the paths may seem parallel at this time, they are surely bound to cross in issues to come. The one commonality that both these gentleman share is the trail of blood they are leaving behind them as they move forward in each of their respective goals.

My thoughts:

I have really enjoyed the work that Jason Aaron has put out in the past. His writing on books like Scalped, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Weapon-X has been outstanding. So, having Aaron on Punisher Max only seems fitting really. This book is full of grit, gratuity and fantastic storytelling. I have always liked the characters of both Wilson Fisk and Frank Castle. Aaron does not just rely solely on big acts of violence to sell his book, he has an actual point behind those moments and they help to propel the story forward, which is what is going to sell this series. Each panel gives you a clearer vision of the characters and who they are, and what drives them to do the despicable acts they do at times. In the past some writers have abused the privilege to write extreme acts of violence hiding under the Max title and use F-bombs willy-nilly. But Aaron does not; in fact his use of this no holds barred form of story telling is a perfect example of what the Max line should be written like. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a good mafia movie will be able to appreciate Aaron’s efforts on this title. This is not your typical Punisher comic though, because Aaron puts his main focus on telling the story from the perspective of Wilson Fisk, which I love! I really like comics that get into the minds and personalities of the villains. Heroes and villains are like Yin and Yang to one another and sometimes the reader is not given the villains side of the story, they are written with no sense of depth. I suppose you could say that this is a Kingpin origin story and Aaron writes Fisk in an almost likable manor. Issue #1 was a great set up issue, but #2 is more of a character piece that focuses on Fisk.

Aaron is finally giving the Punisher a formidable foe within his Punisher U. You can tell that this book is being written with affection for these characters and I really believe that when any writer feels passionate about the characters he’s writing you, the reader, are in for a great story. I feel that up until now Ennis’s Punisher as been deemed as the definitive Punisher, but Aaron is surely putting out a concerted effort to make this Punisher a series to be remembered. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this run with Aaron at the helm and Dillon on art. If you have not picked up these comics so far, I would run out and grab em’ for sure. This is the Punisher I’ve been waiting for since Ennis left the Max book and I can’t recommend it enough.

Cami/Variant Girl

Title: Blackest Night Wonder Woman #1 (of 3)
Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Nicola Scott and Prentis Rollins w/Various
Variant Cover: Ryan Sook
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

Not too many “event” books actually live up to the hype that surrounds them prior to their release, but Geoff Johns and DC have certainly delivered when it comes to the Blackest Night saga. Since the Blackest Night has begun, there have been several minis or “tie-ins” that have sprung up from the main series. We have seen Batman, Superman, and the Titans all get involved in the fight against the darkness. But the newest superhero to get her own tie in is one of my personal favourites, none other than Wonder Woman.

When I first heard this was coming out I became instantly excited to see Wonder Woman given her own take on things, and rightfully so because as part of the DC Trinity, it only makes sense to see how the events of Blackest Night are effecting such a pivotal character in the DCU. The second thing about this tie-in that got me jazzed up was the announcement that Rucka and Scott were going to collaborate on the mini, I was freaking out, because these two stood to make such an awesome creative force to tell this story. Rucka had one of the best runs on Wonder Woman ever in my opinion, he is able to write the strong and confident side of the warrior princess, but yet bring out the sensitivities and feminine side she possess without making her appear to be a weak and bubble headed female as most comics sometimes do with female characters. Greg Rucka, obviously has a love for this character and writes her from the heart. Nicola Scott has proven herself to be an artistic force to be reckoned with in the comics industry, and this book is just another example of her talent. I fell in love with her work from Secret Six, and I think with this first issue in the mini, she is definitely a contender to work with Gail Simone on her run of the main Wonder Woman series. As I flipped through the book at my LCS, I was so taken with the art, just beautiful. Each and every panel was so full of action and detail, just outstanding in my humble opinion.

Now onto the meat and potatoes of any comic, and that’s the writing. While I have not read any other reviews that gave this issue a really stellar rating, I have not read any reviews that have bashed it to bits either. The story in a nutshell is based on Diana going to the Arlington National Cemetery, where Wonder Woman had been summoned to investigate a number of murders. This of course leads her right into a confrontation with a former foe named Maxwell Lord, and an army of the newly un-dead. Wonder Woman speaks of her experience with the Black Lanterns, and about how life is worth living no matter the hardship. Maxwell Lord tries to insight the emotion of anger within Wonder Woman in order to consume her but soon comes to realize that the emotion she is filled with is quite the opposite indeed. As we see Rucka and Scott take us deeper into the battle between dark and light the story unfolds. What Wonder Woman does with her golden lasso in order to defeat the army of Black Lanterns is totally wicked and is one of my favourite scenes from the entire comic. Rucka ends the story with Lord seemingly being beaten, and Diana being called to Coast City by Barry Allan, and we have ourselves a cliff hanger for issue #2 folks.

All in all this was a little more than an average read for me. I am definitely on board for the rest of the series, which is three issues in total. I can’t want to see where it all goes.

- Cami/Variant Girl

20th Century Boys

The new issue of Variant Girl’s E-zine is now up. Lots of comic and movie reviews, some talk about woman’s roller derby and a manga review by moi. You may have caught my review for 20th Century Boys Vol. 1 on this blog a couple of weeks ago but if you missed it you can now read it there.

Go get a fresh perspective on the comics industry through the eyes on a fangirl.

J.

Variant Girl

20th Century Boys

The following review was written for the new issue of Variant Girl’s E-Zine which won’t be up for another few days.  She is letting me post it here first for all of the CCW Blog readers as a “sneak peek” to her new issue. I’ll be letting all you guys and gals know when her new issue is up but until then I hope you enjoy this. Thanks VG.

20th Century Boys Vol. 1 Review

By Jose Melendez

Writer/Artist: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Price: USA $12.99/CAN $15.00

“Are we, today, the kind of adults we dreamed of becoming back then?
Or would our childhood selves just look at us now and laugh?”

As a child my mind was always focused on the “here and now” or maybe I should say the “there and then.” I was too busy playing with my friends, with my G.I. Joes, with my video games to have time to think about the future. But that’s how it should be, right? Living in the moment is what being a child is all about. I would sometimes set unreasonable goals and aspirations for myself when asked “What would you like to be when you grow up?” But I think the answers I gave to that question, like wanting to be an astronaut or a fighter pilot, were really all about what I daydreamed about doing more so than what I daydreamed about being. The future will always catch up to you one way or another and most times it is not at all what you imagined it being.

Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys is a story about the wonderment of being a child and the uncertainties of what the future holds. The narrative is constantly jumping from the past (the late sixties and early seventies) to the present (1997) to the future (sometime in the 21st century) and also to an, as of yet, undisclosed time. As children the main character Kenji along with his friends formed a “gang” complete with a club symbol and hideout. It was a place where they could spend all day reading manga and listening to the radio while building a secret world all for themselves.

Flash to the present where we find Kenji, now in his thirties, has become accustomed to the monotony of daily adult life. He has given up his love of playing the guitar to help run the family business and also cares for his sister’s baby, Kanna, who was unfairly abandoned by her now missing mother. Throughout his day Kenji is seemingly pestered by everyone in his life (his mother, closest friends and even an old school crush) about the need to find a woman and get married before it’s too late. We follow Kenji as he attends an old friend’s wedding, then on to the reception where he leads a toast to the couple and the night finally ends with some unwanted karaoke. Unknown to Kenji is the fact that that day may have been the last monotonous day of his life. The following morning is when everything changes and his life begins to take an unexpected turn when he finds out about the apparent suicide of yet another old friend.

This story is first and foremost a mystery and to go too much more into detail may ruin your experience reading it. Just know that other key plot elements include: a cult whose religious symbol seems somewhat familiar to Kenji and friends, mysterious murders which are occurring around town, the moon landing, a recovered time capsule and an impending world invasion by…I’m not really sure yet. It could be giant robots or it could be aliens or maybe both. To be completely honest I really am dying to find out.

I had no idea what the book was about when I bought it. All I just knew that is by written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa who is the same person responsible for one of my current favorite manga, Monster, and that was enough for me. The story is really quite intriguing in that the past is grounded in actual history whereas elements of science fiction begin to slowly emerge in the present. All of the flashbacks to when the characters were younger do an excellent job of reminding you what being youthful is all about. Having a strong bond with friends, hanging out at their favorite store eating popsicles in the summer and making normal life into an adventure are all things that most of us can find relatable. And because of that we feel a connection to these characters. You know what is more relatable to me though? Thirty-something Kenji‘s story. Even though his life didn’t quite turn out the way he had hoped it would he is trying to make the best of it.

Toward the end of this volume the quote from the beginning of this review appears. I have to be honest with you, after reading those lines I kind of welled up a bit. Life rarely turns out the way you thought it would when you were younger and I really don’t know what my childhood self would think of me if we met. Would he indeed laugh at what I had become? And if so, is there still time to make him somewhat proud?