Category Archives: Reviews

And Then I Read: WONDER WOMAN #7

Image © DC Comics.

I’m way behind on this and other DCU titles I’m reading, but will try to catch up some. This issue of WW is in the present day and presents the climax of the Cheetah story that’s been running in odd-numbered issues. Cheetah (Barbara Ann Minerva) has agreed to help Diana rescue Steve Trevor from the African warlord Cadulo, who is planning to sacrifice Trevor to revive an ancient evil god, Urzkartaga. There are also women imprisoned by Cadulo and his minions that Diana wants to rescue. It all takes place in an action-filled story written by Greg Rucka, with great art by Liam Sharp. With some writers, this kind of story becomes simply a slugfest, but Rucka goes for the deeper feelings and meanings that make for a much more satisfying read, in my opinion. His take on Wonder Woman is great, too.

Recommended.

Rereading: NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman

Cover illustration by Robert McGinnis.

When “Neverwhere” was first published by BBC Books in 1996, Neil was kind enough to send me a signed copy.

Interesting to see his inscription included “Mind the Gap!” which almost made it onto the cover of the new paperback that I helped design. I read it at the time, and enjoyed it. I also got the DVD of the TV series and enjoyed that, though it was clearly a low-budget production, but well done.

In 2005 I lettered a comics adaptation written by Mike Carey with Neil’s approval. So, I’ve had lots of contact with this story, and didn’t plan to read it again until I opened my copy of the new paperback and saw Neil describe it as his preferred text, and a version not seen before. Good selling point, that, I now wanted to read it again!

Richard Mayhew is bumbling through a London life he doesn’t seem much good at or very interested in: a job in a cubicle, a girlfriend who abuses him emotionally, work friends who hardly know him. When an injured girl, Door, falls at his feet out of nowhere, Richard’s good heart tells him he must help her, and he does, even though it lands him in a world of trouble below London, one that most of us know nothing about. Door’s family has been murdered, and she’s likely to be next. Richard Mayhew is, at first, merely an obigation to her: she lets him tag along when it becomes clear to him he can never return to his old life. Richard, and we, are introduced to a rich and dangerous world where all the London Underground (subway) stations are real things of some sort rather than merely brick and mortar. Door gathers friends and allies around her, but danger is always nearby, and eventually Mayhew finds himself taking an important part in Door’s protection and survival, to the surprise of everyone.

I’ve just scratched the surface (no pun intended) of this highly imaginative dark fantasy. I had a great time rereading this version. I couldn’t say how it differs from the first one, but it certainly comes across here as a mature work in every way.

Highly recommended.

And Then I Read: FUTURE QUEST #6

Image © DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera.

Okay, this title is going off my reading list. It was fun for a while, but as I don’t have any vested interest in these characters, and the comic is now mainly fighting and plot development, I no longer find that it entertains me. The only thing that caught my interest here was a clever connection between the main story with too many characters and the backup story featuring The Impossibles. Otherwise it’s all A teaming with B to rescue C before villain X gets them. Not my cup of tea. Your mileage may vary, and if you watched the HB cartoon shows the characters are from, it’s much more likely to appeal to you, I’m sure.

Not recommended.

And Then I Read: SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL 2

Image © DC Comics, Inc.

While I’m not the target audience for this book, I did letter the previous series it’s somewhat based on, and therefore interested to see where it goes. This Shade has the Madness Vest from the last series, but is otherwise mostly new territory, and the birdlike creature who has come to Earth with the vest has taken over the body and life of a schoolgirl, Megan. Megan, as it turns out, was rather a mean girl, and Shade, as she’d rather be called, isn’t much better, just confused by her new life and environment. Megan’s thoughts and memories are also intruding on Shade’s reality, adding to her confusion. Despite that, Shade manages to find at least one ally at school even though most of her former “friends” are anything but. Meanwhile, back on Shade’s home world (home dimension?) an investigation is going on into how and why she stole the vest and where she might be. Trouble is bound to follow.

Interesting story and characters, even if Shade herself is not very likeable. I’ll stick with it for a while.

Mildly recommended.

And Then I Read: THE FLASH #5

Image © DC Comics.

This series has many shared elements with the CW TV show of the same name, which I watch, but many differences, too. Here, Barry Allen is one of many new speedsters, and he’s partnered with a female speedster named Meena (costume name Fast Track) both in fighting crime and in his personal life. He’s also friends with Iris West (they have a breakfast meeting) and partners at his crime lab job with another speedster, Detective August Heart (they are all helping train new speedsters at S.T.A.R. Labs). Wally West is also a speedster, but one who hasn’t “come out” yet. Meena offers to train him on her own time, and Meena and Wally do an accident rescue together. There are moments and even bits of dialogue that echo the TV version, many other things that are quite different, including the physical appearance of the main characters, but I can see fans of each version enjoying the other. I do. The writing here by Joshua Williamson is fine, the art this issue by Felipe Watanabe and two inkers is also fine. Used to be TV versions of super-heroes could never match the special effects in the comics, but that gap has narrowed greatly. What the comic still has is great art and the chance to study it at your own pace. Also stories you can think about at your own pace, and go back to any time with the flip of a page, either real or digital. And reading lets you fill in elements from your own imagination in a way that watching TV doesn’t, though there are factors there such as good acting that enhance that experience. Both worthy mediums, and Flash is fun either way for me.

Recommended.