And Then I Read: AQUAMAN 32

Aquaman32

Image © DC Comics, Inc.

As a kid I was not a regular reader of AQUAMAN. I saw him mostly in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, or occasional backup stories. That may be one reason why I’ve enjoyed this new version, which restarts the characters and continuity. Mera seems much more interesting in the new series than she ever was to me before, and the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and related fiefdoms, with their cliques and infighting, feels fresh.

What would comics do without scientists out of control? Here, one creates a new threat which is sort of an anti-Aquaman, with many of Arthur Curry’s powers and enough hate to fill an ocean. Meanwhile, Mera is confronting the terrorists who are trying to kill her in their own deep corner of the sea. They think she’s stepped into their trap. She has, but they won’t like it. Nice writing by Jeff Parker, fine art by Pelletier and Parsons.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: DARK HORSE PRESENTS 31

DHP31

Image © Dark Horse Comics and Mike Mignola.

The lead feature and highlight of this issue for me is a new serialized Hellboy story. I don’t quite get Mignola’s fascination with Mexico as a film noir/horror setting, but he makes it entertaining. Taking place in 1956, Hellboy is something of a wastrel, drinking and smoking his way into trouble without seeming to even notice it or care much. Blinded by love until it’s too late…or is it? Nice art by Mick McMahon, another interesting interpretation of the Mignola style.

“Alabaster: Boxcar Tales” by Kiernan and Lieber is up to 12 chapters, and I still don’t know what’s going on, really, but the visuals and dialogue keep me reading.

“Nexus: Into the Past” is on chapter 7, and it’s been a wild ride, which continues here, but the story finally gets more personal for Horatio Hellpop and his family on Ylum. I still feel this story is somewhat out of control, but I liked this chapter.

“Monstrous” by Horton and Cody is an interesting premise: a human soul trapped in a monstrous body, but in this case amid a society of monster overlords that he’s trying to infiltrate.

“Saint George: Dragonslayer” part 2 is trying to turn the heroic legend on its head, and doing an entertaining job of it so far. I like the irreverent art and script by Van Lente and Brown, though some of the faces are too manga for my taste.

Other stories here didn’t catch my interest.

Recommended.

Bedminster School Reunion, 2014

1950sOldSchool

About fifty years ago, in the 1960s, my brothers and I attended the Bedminster Township School in Bedminster, New Jersey, seen above in the 1950s. Recently I wrote a series of articles about the school on my blog, which begin HERE. During the research and writing process, my long-time friend and Bedminster schoolmate Tim and I were able to contact a few members of our grade-school class, and at some point the idea of a reunion was suggested. Among the group of us that were corresponding regularly now by email or on Facebook, many either still lived in the central New Jersey area, or had family who did. A plan was made, and last Saturday, July 12th, some of us got together.

GroupLibrary

We gathered at the Clarence Dillon Library’s Local History Room in Bedminster, where Tim and I had done some of our research. Attending were myself, Brent Franklin, Catherine (Cathy) Downey, Pru (Hobbie) Cuper, Tim W, and Curtis Vreeland. Several others had planned to attend but were unable to because of last-minute situations: Roxie Blazure, Bruce DeBacco and Robert (Bob) Schork. But, with my wife Ellen and Brent’s wife Sharon, we made a group of eight, and we had a fine time. We spent an hour and more in the library first, getting to know each other again, looking at old photos, and reviving old school memories. Tim and I have stayed in touch, and the two of us had dinner with Curtis a few months ago, but the rest of the group had not seen each other in decades. I was happy to learn that we all have some good memories of our grade school days and each other. From the library we continued on through an eventful day that had been planned largely by Curtis and myself, with help from the rest. Continue reading

And Then I Read: JUSTICE LEAGUE 31

JL31

Image © DC Comics, Inc.

I was nine years old when the first issue of the original JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA came out in 1960. For a few years it was my favorite comic. I’d already been reading about Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern, and there they were in one story, with even more heroes (and heroines) and the coolest villains ever. There are moments when the new series by writer Geoff Johns gets close to that for me, as in the extensive scene this issue where we see Lex Luthor having coffee in Bruce Wayne’s living room as Lex confidently explains how he KNOWS Bruce is Batman, and why they should work together. Chilling and thrilling, a merger that could really rock the worlds of both! It’s great comics with nary a punch exchanged. Other elements of the issue involve a very evil Green Lantern ring, and hijinks on the new Justice League satellite. The art by Mahnke and Champagne is excellent.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: SUPERMAN #32

Superman32

Image © DC Comics, Inc.

There’s been lots of publicity for this new creative team of writer Geoff Johns and artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, so I gave it a try. I haven’t read a SUPERMAN issue in years, so I can’t compare it to what came before, but I enjoyed this one. Yes, Romita’s characters don’t look much like other recent versions, but that’s okay with me if the story works, and I think it does. Johns takes the opportunity to introduce a character named Ulysses of equal power and a similar background to Superman. The name and story have resonance: a wanderer returned home to find things much changed. Meanwhile, John’s handling of the Superman supporting cast seems great so far. I liked it, and will read more.

Recommended.