Category Archives: Comics

And Then I Read: THE FLASH #12

Image © DC Comics.

In the concluding third part of this storyline, Flash, Kid Flash, The Shade, Iris West and Shade’s girlfriend Hope are all trapped in a Shadow Dimension. The women have been taken over by an evil but unspecified shadow force, and the men (and boy) are being attacked by their army of shadows. Wally West and Barry Allen are still working out their relationship and finding a way to act together, even under these trying circumstances. Wally is still learning to use his powers, and some of them frighten him, like the potential to vibrate right through solid objects. Shade does not seem to be much help in this realm which supplies his own powers, and is soon carried off by the shadows. Hope and Iris are struggling mentally with the dark force inside their minds.

This storyline seemed promising to me initially, but it has developed into a rather predictable hero vs. villain escapade in which the characters are moved like pawns around the plot devices. There are a few character-building conversations, but mostly it’s all about escaping or fighting. The art by Davide Gianfelice is a mixed bag, working well in some places, looking rushed and unfocused in others. Script wise, Wally West has the best lines, but even they don’t do much to elevate the effort.

Mildly recommended.

And Then I Read: CAVE CARSON #5

Image © DC Comics.

Cave and his crew are in the underground kingdom of the Muldroog, the people from which Cave’s wife came many years ago. Cave’s daughter, Chloe, is here too, and both of them are learning new things about the history of the Muldroog, the ancient evil force known as The Whisperer that they imprisoned and guard, and why that force is about to become a threat again. Cave and Chloe are rejoined by their wife and mother, who had returned long ago to her people. Also here are another crew of underground explorers from the EBX company, bent on freeing The Whisperer and destroying the Muldroog, as well as capturing Cave and his team. When the two groups meet up, trouble happens.

I liked this issue better than the last one. The back story and characters have me interested again, even though I’m still not loving the art. It’s full of cool effects, but very abstract at times and sometimes hard to “read.” Perhaps it will grow on me. I don’t yet know why Wild Dog is in this book, but at least he fights well, so that may be it.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 42

Image © Juke Box Productions.

Black Manta was an aquatic super-villain with lots of high-tech gear he invented, a gang of minions, and the intelligence to run a string of successful high-seas robberies. Then, during an encounter with the aquatic heroine Mermaid, he crash-landed on a deserted island far from shipping lanes, where he struggled to survive, gradually building a home for himself, and using the scant tools and materials at hand to rebuild his equipment. That was years ago. He’s the Robinson Crusoe of the series, living alone on his island, plotting and planning for his triumphant return, if he can just get his equipment working right. When a distress call from a cruise liner comes through his radio, it looks like time for action…but Manta has been out of the game, and out of the world for so long. Will he be able to do what he’s been dreaming of?

A great story by Kurt Busiek with excellent art by Matthew Clark and Sean Parsons, all under a fine cover by Alex Ross.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: WONDER WOMAN #13

Image © DC Comics.

Diana and Steve Trevor are stuck on a remote island that shouldn’t even be there. Diana is having hallucinations that she’s back in her home, Themyscira. Trevor knows the truth, but can’t get through to her. He calls his home base for backup, but that’s been compromised, and only serves to tell a mysterious group of mercenaries where they are. All he can do now is prepare for their arrival as best he can.

I like this storyline better than the previous one, even though Wonder Woman is essentially missing from the issue (at least mentally). The stakes are higher, nothing can be assumed, and I can’t see where it might be going, all good things. The art by Renato Guedes is fine. Looking forward to more.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: UNFOLLOW #12

Image © Robert Williams and Michael Dowling.

I haven’t read one of these in a while, and find I’ve lost track of some characters, but the main plot line is clear: a billionaire has given a huge fortune to a collective of 140 people. It’s a tontine, so as members of the group die, there’s more for the survivors. We’re well into the middle game now, where aggressive group members are killing off other less aggressive or less prudent ones. As this issue opens, we are down to 129 survivors, and that number will shrink drastically by issue’s end. Motives for the scheme as a whole are scarce, we don’t know much. A new motivator for the shape of the scheme emerges this time, but does it really matter? Lots of blood and violence. Not really my kind of fun. I find there’s no one in the issue I’m rooting for, and quite a few I don’t feel any connection to at all. I may look at future issues, but I didn’t enjoy this one very much.

Barely recommended.