Thursday, April 20, 2017

Comics I've Read Recently: Spring 2017

It seems like every couple months I go through a cycle where I read a ton of comics, and in the past few months I have done just that. I tend to go through entire periods where I read no comics and then suddenly I will read four in the span of a month. I don't know why, maybe I have to be in the mood or maybe I just read other things. So I thought I would share some of my thoughts on them for you all.

Batgirl, Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside by Hope Larson and Raphael Albuquerque 
(Amazon / Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis: A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

 Barbara Gordon looks to add a new bullet point to her already impressive Batgirl resume: travel agent. Having just (barely!) survived the Battle of Burnside and verging on an Arkham-worthy breakdown, the star pulls a Kerouac and gets on the road to find herself.

Follow Babs on her worldwide quest in Batgirl, Volume 1: Beyond Burnside, with New York Times best-selling author Hope Larson and award-winning artist Raphael Albuquerque leading the way! 

Collecting: Batgirl 1-6

My Thoughts:

I have to say, I was a little nervous about reading this comic. Now not because I don't like Batgirl, because I do. Hell, my phone lock screen is Batgirl reading a Wonder Woman comic. No, I was nervous because I do love Batgirl. And I really loved The New 52 Batgirl. I didn't want a new iteration of the character, I wanted the Babs I had just grown to love. But this was a great extension of that story.

I think they did do a good job of connecting the classic character with that of her modern incarnation. It wasn't a total departure or retcon which was but if I am being entirely honest I didn't enjoy it as much. Story wise it was interesting enough with a good plot that took over most of the book and interesting smaller storylines for each issue. And the art was fantastic and colorful which I really enjoyed.

What I think I didn't like as much was the character. I do appreciate that they didn't completely throw out the previous run which, let's be real, happens a lot with comics but I still didn't like it as much. Barbara didn't feel as much like the fun and modern twenty-something like she did in the New 52 run. She was still kickass and snarky but I was still missing something.

Only the whole, this was a good comic that I think fans of the character will enjoy but it get very much like a bridge book. I'm curious for what is next for the DC Rebirth version of the character and I'm glad to hear she's back in Burnside. If you like Batgirl or you are a fan of any of DC's superheroines, check this out, but if you are new to the character, start with The New 52.

Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: The Lies by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharpe

Synopsis: A part of DC Universe: Rebirth! 

New York Times best-selling writer Greg Rucka returns to Wonder Woman! After suffering an unimaginable loss, Diana must rebuild her mission as Earth's ultimate protector and champion. However, in the midst of her grief, her Lasso of Truth stopped working! Start down the rabbit hole as dark secrets from Wonder Woman's past unravel her present!

 From the ashes of DC Universe: Rebirth, critically acclaimed writer Greg Rucka along with illustrator Liam Sharpunveil a tale that will forever alter the DC icon in Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies!

Collecting: Wonder Woman 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, Rebirth

My Thoughts:

Okay so remember how I said I loved The New 52 version of Batgirl? Well I never read The New 52 Wonder Woman. At least not as extensively as I read Batgirl. I read a few volumes but I wasn't as connected with that version of the character. So that being said I was interested to see the direction they would take the character in with the movie coming up.

And while I enjoyed it a great deal, I wasn't totally blown away. This is a really good example of what I think that DC Comics is trying to do with Rebirth, the characters have been retconed and had their stories changed so many times that it's hard to know what is canon. And honestly, Wonder Woman is just as confused as we are. And while I appreciate that levity, it doesn't make for a great story.

And yes, there were some good elements and some classic Wonder Woman playing peacemaker and kicking ass when necessary, but on it's own it wasn't a great comics volume. I think when the series continues and we are able to move past this volume it will be much better.

If you are a Wonder Woman fan maybe check this one out, but if you are reading the character for the first time, do not start here. I would also maybe suggest waiting until you have volume 2 and reading them together. I have that one now so we shall see how I feel.

Rat Queens, Vol 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Weibe and Tess Fowler
(Amazon / Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis: Having survived the end of the world, the Queens follow Hannah back to where it all began: Mage University. A long perilous journey awaits the Rat Queens as they attempt to find out what happened to Hannah’s father while battling their own demons.

 Collects RAT QUEENS #11-15, RAT QUEENS SPECIAL: BRAGA #1, plus extras!

My Thoughts:

Oh I totally love this comic. Rat Queens is absolutely one of my favorites and one of the main reasons that I got into comics a few years ago. I've been dragging my feet in reading the next volume but when I saw it was on sale on Comixology I picked it up and read it almost right away.

And while I don't think this is my favorite in the series, it was a really amazing next installment. This volume is absolutely, without a doubt, about Hannah. Hannah has to come to terms with her past and face literal and figurative demons in this book. I think maybe the reason I didn't love it as much is because I didn't love Hannah's development. Yes, I am all about her becoming who she is deep down but it lost some of it's heart. I don't want to give too much away but I didn't like the way it ended.

But I seriously love these characters. After three volumes I have become so attached to them and their stories. Violet is probably my favorite and she wasn't a very big part of this one so that could have added to my thoughts of it. I also really love the fantasy or sword and sorcery vibe to it. It's a comic I think fantasy fans will appreciate even if you aren't a fan of comics.

Ms. Marvel Volume 4, Last Days by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
 (Amazon / Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis:From the moment Kamala put on her costume, she's been challenged. But nothing has prepared her for this: the last days of the Marvel Universe. Lucky she's got the help of Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers! Between teaming up with her personal hero to rescue her brother and trying to keep her city from falling into an all-out frenzy, Kamala has barely had time to come to terms with the fact that the world is literally collapsing around her. But the truth will catch up to her, and soon. When the world is about to end, do you still keep fighting? Kamala knows the answer. Let's do this, Jersey City.

Collecting: Ms. Marvel (2014) #16-19, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, plus material from Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #7-8

My Thoughts:

Ms. Marvel is another one of those comics that got me excited about comics a few years ago. Actually, she might have been the first one I read. And similar to Rat Queens, I have been dragging my feet in finishing the series because I don't want it to end. But again I saw that it was on sale on Comixology and I couldn't pass it up.

And this next installment was just as good as the previous ones. Kamala Khan is a fangirl and a superhero rolled into one and as a nerdy female comics fan I can't help but relate. I feel like Kamala is all of us and seeing her popularity rise in and out of the comic is hugely satisfying. But she also still maintains the heart of the character. She's far from perfect and I liked seeing her succeed and mess up at the same time.

The best part of this comic however is the art. In other comics and graphic novels I find myself thinking that they are kind of boring or simple designs and I think it's because I was spoiled by the likes of Ms. Marvel. Seriously, the art is so intricate and if you look closely you will notice some really fun and interesting things,

My one criticism, and this is the case I think for a few other Marvel comics that came out around the same time (see Squirrel Girl just below), but it was really short. I mean it had it's own storyline but it felt like it was just a means to an end, that end being Civil War and Ms, Marvel becoming an Avenger. Which I'm cool with but I just want more Kamala.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
(Amazon /Goodreads / Comixology)

Synopsis: The breakout character of 2015 continues her one-woman crusade against injustice and jerks! These TAILS of the Squirrel Girl will show you the Marvel Universe's most powerful super hero from a bunch of brand-new perspectives, several of them Quite Astonishing.

Collecting: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 5-8, material from GLX-Mas Special, The Thing 8, Age of Heroes 3

My Thoughts:
I read the first volume of Squirrel Girl in my last comics binge and I loved it so much that I wanted to read more. So Comixology again was having a sale and I got the next two volumes for just under $10, which was very exciting because I needed some Squirrel Girl in my life.

And yes, like Ms. Marvel, this was a very short volume of the character. I mean it was even shorter because it only had a few actual volumes of this version of the character and then it had a few other versions at the end. It was just not enough for me.

That's because I really like Squirrel Girl. She doesn't take herself too seriously and she is the kind of superhero who really honestly loves what she does in fighting crime and helping people. It's great to see such an upbeat and inspiring hero. I also love that she tries to solve problems without fighting, and often succeeds, but isn't afraid to use her fists. Like I said, inspiring.

Things have been really stressful lately and it was really nice to take a break and have a lighthearted and fun comic and character like Squirrel Girl. I really enjoyed this volume and I can't wait to read the next one.

And those are all the comics I have read in the past few months. Have you read any of these comics? What did you think? Do you have any comics or graphic novels that you would recommend to me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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