Moved!

So everything is out of Trevor and my old place and into the new one.  Now comes the challenge of unpacking it all.  Normally this is not to much of an issue as everything kinda has a pre-designated area that it goes to.  It is quick, pretty painless, and efficient.  This time, however, the apartment is such a different layout we are really having to get creative with where things how and how it gets laid out.  This is not a bad thing by any means because it is making us really thinking of of what we actually need versus which can go into storage(aka my parent’s basement) or even to Goodwill.

I’m hoping that after this week thing will be more settled and I can start deck exploration for World Quals in D.C. on April 20th.  I have to start early so I can fit in between paper writing for school since I’ve hit the one big core class for my Master’s that will be taking up a lot of time.  But I think I can do it.  This week I want to play with Naya Blitz a bit and see how I do with that.  It is still very Aggro, which I’m accustomed to, but it has a lot less control aspects.

As far as Article writing goes, well, it has been through its first set of edits and I’m mulling over recommendations from people.  I like to let thing percolate   Also I’ll do work on that and then feel guilty for ‘ignoring’ school work.  Yeah I’m a nerd.

I also have some comics that I want to start commenting on again here in the next few weeks! I’ve bought some stuff as my LCS/LGS has had a sale, so while some it maybe a few years old, I still think talking about it will encourage you all to go out and support the industry a bit, whether it is through digital pick-ups or local stores.  I always push for local stores though!  However, I understand fully how difficult it is to get to a local store occasionally.  I’m also waiting on a few new things to come in from not so large publishers that I think many people will find interesting!

 

Comic Review: Hawkeye #1-5

Hey!  Finally getting around to this!  I think I just haven’t wanted to share it with you all.  I wanted to keep the goodness all to myself.  That must have been it.

I’m sorry, I am an absolutely horrid person.

Please forgive me.

*Ahem* Moving on, I think the best way to split this is going to be 1-3 and then 4 & 5, considering that is where the artists cycle out.  So, on our journey we go!

Volume 1 was quite the adventure to get.  It was sold out by the time I asked for it, so my comic shop went and ordered it again, but I still didn’t get it until after 2 had come out.  Either way, it is a great introduction to Clint Barton.  Not Hawkeye, but Clint Barton.  For ultimately, this isn’t a comic about Hawkeye, but instead the man who is Hawkeye.  It is a great look at how a hero with no powers just tries to live.

Volume 1 opens up with Clint falling, and then in a hospital, and then out of a hospital and leaving and kicking away a wheelchair.  If there was any doubt that Clint was badass before, it is gone by now.

Then wham!  We are thrown to present time!  Apparently what we saw in the first three pages was a flashback.  Well…that was neat!  Normally these things are jarring, whose mind made this flow?  Matt Fraction’s I can assume.  And he has no issue with throwing us beautifully right back into that flashback one page later.  David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth get a lot of credit here for making the art distinct enough that you can easily catch on as to what happens without using the normal ways of communicating this too you.

Lot's of motion in these panels.

Lot’s of motion in these panels.

From then on, the first volume continues through what happened the day Clint got out of the hospital and took this poor dog to the vet, introduces you to this person who seemingly doesn’t care for authority, but cares about his neighbors.  Very Robin Hood-esque.

This volume gets a 5/5 from me…it is that good…I’m constantly going back to look at the art, reading the story, or showing it to friends.  My mother rather enjoyed it and she doesn’t read comics…she only knew of Hawkeye from the Avengers Movie.

Volumen 2 wound up getting another variant cover, sadly.  That is cool though, I guess I can live without the pretty arrows.  This is another book where we wind up in a weird place, but at the same time I feel that it is a bigger adventure and exploration of Aja’s style overall.  From the first volume, this one starts off with a very noir feeling, only with purple tones.

Then we get Kate! *SQUEAL* I love that Kate is so, well, human and female here, without being annoying.  She realizes that she still has training to do, but that doesn’t take away her abilities or independence.  Where as Clint is very much so a Man’s Man type of fellow…Kate is more flexible, being able to adapt her reactions to the situation at hand.

It is really awesome how it really spells out what Kate is saying.

It is really awesome how it really spells out what Kate is saying.

The go to the circus to fight their enemy here, which is done in shades of black and purple, still keeping with the art in the beginning.  What else is interesting is while this volume has a lot to do with Kate and how she is learning from Clint while still being great in her own right, the whole circus feel is a throwback to Clint’s past.  Yay tidbits like that!

Still 5/5 for me.  Still loved it…wanted more…was sad there wasn’t yet.

Volume 3(titled Cherry) went completely different yet again!  Rather than the noir type art style Aja did in 2, this one had almost a Duke’s of Hazard feel, which was totally cool too.  It is another flash back type thing where we start at one point and then wind up at a point in the past where Clint and Kate going through all the types of arrows he has to try and organize them because….Boomerangs.

Then we go back and forth a lot.  It is a little more jarring in this volume then it has been in others. It is still good, but it took me a few times to really figure out where we were.  Really, the best way to figure it out was to see how much damage had been done to the car.

There are some great moments in this volume though.  And this interesting character that reminds me a lot of Black Widow, but we aren’t told her name.  However we know that her and Clint did it in some dingy hotel.  And that panels were redrawn in order to reduce the risque-ness  while we get an awesomely Hawkblocked Clint.  And then the classic brawl in a hotel room which is awesome.  It eventually ties up in the end with Kate saving the day, in my opinion, and we  still don’t know who this women is.  I hope she shows up again and that Cherry is not her name.

I give this one a 4.5 just because of the difficulty I had reading it.  It is still great and lends a lot to the story all over, just not my fav.

Volume 4 we move away from Aja doing the art and move over to Javier Pulido. Hollingsworth still does the coloring, which give it a great continuos feel, despite the art style being completely different. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I even liked it at first.  It was much more static when I compared it to Aja.  Where previous issues had small panels that read like a motion real almost, these are much larger panels that have to convey much more in one drawing.

This volume is also a much more dramatic type of arc.  There is a serious issue at hand, and Clint needs to fix it.  He tells Kate not to get involved, but that doesn’t happen, in a way she becomes the saving grace of this issue.  I enjoyed the story line overall.  It was tense and had you on the edge of your seat.  I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next.  The writing was superb and really made me a part of the comic, wanting to know what was about to happen.

Also, quizzical looks from people about a VHS tape, how awesome?

This one gets a 4.5/5 just because I’m not a big fan of Pulido’s art style…but I adore the writing and story line, so I love it anyway.

Issue 5 is the conclusion to Issue 4 and is quite simply called ‘The Tape: Part 2’.  The art is still done by Pulido, but I feel like this issue had a much better flow.  Perhaps it is because there is more action?  Not sure.  The panels are still incredibly large for the most part which makes me feel like I’m occasionally missing a frame, but Fractions and Pulido are able to pace the story and art well together.  Something else I started to notice here is that Hollingsworth’s color are much bolder in these issues.

There are some great gems here, much like issue 3, that are just hysterical and remind you how non-serious of a superhero Hawkeye actually is.  These moments, I feel, are key to the series success.  We have all read superhero stories, so for right now it is nice to read a non-superhero superhero story.  Things are all resolved awesomely in the end and you know that the good guys are still the good guys while having a better idea of who some of the bad guys may be.

Just falling through the sky...nothing to see here.

Just falling through the sky…nothing to see here.

This one goes back to a 5/5 as it did really show me that they are interested in providing the same experience all around for the reader, no matter which artist is at the helm.

So that is it, the first 5 issues of Hawkeye…finally…

I think next up is 6 through 12 of Winter Solider…I was a bit late on that one, my bad.  I don’t have the first 5.

Review: Captain Marvel 3-6

So in reading the rest of this arc I have solidified my enjoyment of the series.  There seem to be a few growing pains, but I think that comes with any new comic trying to get everything on the same page and pace.  At the same time, I feel that Carol Danvers is one of the strongest characters we have seen in comics in a while and it is only further backed by the strong secondary characters.

That is not to say she doesn’t have flaws.  She has lots of them.  She is proud, a bit of a show off, and a bit of a worry wort about others.  That is what makes her strong, I feel.  The fact that they acknowledge these and use them to the best of her abilities without it feeling contrived and forced.

In issue three I grew quite attached to the members of Banshee Squad.  They each had a story that we got to explore a bit of their character.   I enjoyed the idea of this all female band of World War II Misfits that got together and were fighting for survival while still keeping their honor and idea of their country.  It was also a great way for us to get more back story on Carol.

Action scene like this one in Issue 3 really make the story very dynamic for me.

What I did not like was that they pretty much vanished.  Slowly they started to get phased out until they pretty much just vanish.  Carol goes to meet Helen Cobb, her hero, but the Banshee’s just are no longer a part of the story.  It was my biggest complaint. I wanted to know what happened to them further, but all I can hope for now it some mention of their outcome at a later issue.

Issue 5 I found fascinating to see the ideas that were wrapped up into females opposing the male status quo and how they wanted to be pilots.  I also found it great to see the interaction between Carol and Helen develop.  Other than that, the writing was great and the art was fantastic, but the book was that obligatory slow book.

The dialogue is sharp and witty, not exactly something that I would expect from this time frame, but at the same time, it is something very much fits the characters.

Issue 6 is where everything happens.  We see how Carol first become Ms. Marvel and then later Captain Marvel.  The action is intense and has you very much on the end of your seat.  The other nice thing is that there were no awkward poses during these high action scenes.  Nothing that is deliberately trying to break spines or shift how people are looking.  The challenge of Carol versus Helen is great, and I feel it gives a great amount of satisfaction to the reader after you hear about the rivalry and mentorship the   I love the crisp colors and the slight change from the art style in the past to the present.

This panel is part of a race type sequence, that I found really well done and very tense.

The ending is perhaps my favorite part of this, despite it leaving out the Banshees.  I don’t want to ruin it, but it is a very heartfelt way to tie it up.

This is certainly a comic that I want to read more of and I am enjoying the team that is working on it.  The art and story all come together very nicely and fit together.  I think it is great to have a comic book that I enjoy reading on so many levels, and seeing these times shifts through a women’s eyes and as a women’s writer.  I certainly give this a 5/5.

 

Captain Marvel #1-2 Review

Extra days off!

I’m collecting up the comics and such I want to review since I have a few days off.  I may write a bunch of them up and just release the posts slowly.  I’ve got Captain Marvel and Hawkeye as definites, and then the game Shadowrift, plus probably my first opinion on Persona 4 Golden.

I only have a two page paper due this week, so it should not take me to long at all.  I hope I can get some feed back regarding a deck I’m working on too before I head to Baltimore.

Speaking of Magic.  Trevor and I will be covering events for Unsummoned Games, so please to check them out.  They are working hard to get this blog off the ground and really get things rolling for their group 😀

Review: Transmetropolitan Trades #1&2

So I finally picked up a comic that I have been meaning to read by the name of ‘Transmetropolitan’ after having some friends on Google+ suggest it.  Got the first two trade paperback and have been reading on the train, and I must say that have been awesome.

First off, I love cyberpunk.  Worlds that have crazy technology things affecting everyday choices really bring me in and get me to think.  I’m also, surprisingly, one of those people who likes things that makes them think.

The world that has been created for Transmetropolitan is incredibly vivid and detailed, with Warren Ellis’s brutal language and Darick Robertson’s and the rest of the art team’s no detail unnoticed approach sucking you in, chewing you up the whole time, and then spitting you out by the end.   It is only made more so by the fact of the eerie parallels you can draw to today’s political and business atmosphere.  When this was originally run from 1997 to 2002.  Yeah, I occasionally get shivers.

The cover of Trade #1…and yes on my desk with the rest of my nerd stuff. I wanted to be a bit more…organic? yeah sure, with the pictures I use for these things.

You start out learning about Spider Jerusalem  the main character, and his hatred of the city.  Yet, at the same time, he has a very symbiotic relationship with it where he needs it to be able to write.  He has been in the mountains for years, trying to get away from it, but when his editors start threatening lawsuits since they have not gotten a book from him, well he is forced to return to the so called mother’s teat and write again.

His re-entry to writing is absolutely amazing and the way secondary characters are introduced is even more so.  An unnamed character put there for background compassion suddenly comes forward as something much more and starts to give Spider a run for his money, but even so, he takes her, Channon, under his wing and begins to train her as a sort of protege.

And the pair make a very interesting duo.  Channon is willing to actually put Spider in his place and does not revere him, much like rest of the journalist world, as the next coming of a word messiah.  Sure, he is great and there are things she can learn from him, but that doesn’t really matter.  While it makes the self important female character a little obnoxious at times, it also is a great way to frame Spider and tone down his all important feelings also.

The first two trades have done a lot of back story and world building.  While I don’t feel we have gotten to the meat of the story, I do feel as though we have gotten a very close view of the characters.  You see Channon’s love get ‘downloaded’ and learn how they cryogenically freeze people and bring them back every once in a while, throwing them into a world where they don’t know a thing and are unsure of what is going on.  You learn of Spider’s past and how some how his ex-wife has set up some big hit on him from 5+ years in the past.  There are talking dogs that act as police, half aliens that want to ascend, and religions that try to convert you at every corner.

For me, it is a great romp in a world that while exaggerated, is not to far from our own.  While occasionally grotesque, more than most likely has a reason for it.  And while more often then not a bit corrupted and ashamed, I look out my window and don’t see it much better around me.

Spider Jeruselum…Full time Badass writer.

Transmetropolitan so far for me has a 5/5.  The art is fantastic and the story is very apt and good.  The characters are strong yet individual which is always nice to have.  It is so far a must read and something that I suggest going and hunting down or downloading from DC digital comic section.  I’ll keep you guys updated as I pick them up, please tell me if you have something you want to see reviewed or another comic along these lines!  Always looking for good stuff to read!

Barrier to Entry: Where it is and Where it isn’t for Young Girls

I was talking with my co-worker yesterday who has an elementary school aged daughter, so around like, 8 years old.  Recently she has really started to enjoy things like superheroes and Pokemon and other small ‘idgety.  She asked me, knowing my affinity for such things, if there was anyway to make it a more social experience for her.  I suggested the Pokemon card league at the local game shop, creating these ‘superhero’ parties where her and her friends could watch movies, read comics, ect.

 

That is where we ran into a stumbling blocks.  Besides these little kids shows, are there really and female superheroes out there that you can both watch the movie for and then go and pick up the comic book and feel safe having kids read.  I racked my mind for a while and realized that if you are a clueless parent(no offense) there is no way you can feel comfortable picking up a comic book for your child without having to spend the time to read it yourself.  Now, this co-worker would be willing to do that for recommendations that I gave her and if I brought in some samples.  I don’t know of many parents who would.  But even my collection at home…I can’t really think of anything tame enough without going to Manga.

 

Which is sad, cause what the girl really loves is the vibrant colors and bold lines that things like Superman  provide.  Yet I wanted to give her a strong and independent female character to read as well.  So I went and perused my selection.  All the female characters don’t wear enough clothing, have some very heavy language, or to much gore.  Am I really just going to have to give her comic book versions of the shows she already watches, like the Winx club?  Maybe find some of the comics based on the Teen Titans cartoon?

I mean, we have gone from the images on the left when I was getting into comics to the ones on the right…and nothing has been there to take its spot…So how are these newer generation supposed to really get into this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure what I missed…Why is there nothing that is ‘entry’ level for cimcs any longer?  Particularly for young girls?  Please share if you know something!

 

On to what does have entry levels: video and card games.  Pokemon has made that possible.  It has been universally cool for like…the past 15 years at least.  It is the thing that transcends generations almost.  It leads people from one game to another, both in video and card.  It creates a greater social experience with trading and talking.  It introduces people to a whole other culture for pete’s sake!  What is the comic book industry missing here that is going to stop the great momentum they had with younger people being re-interested in their products?  Not just young girls, but young men as well.  Are they relying on people like me, in their early 20s, to really start pumping out the kids that fast and get them hooked?  I think they need to re-evaluate their plan.

Captain Marvel #1 & 2

I picked up these two on a whim because I always really liked the Carol Danvers character and I thought the art style was really neat.

 

What I didn’t expect to pick up was this crazy contested battleground of nerdom.  Oh my dear goodness.  And it is mostly men complaining about her outfit!  What?  I understand that Mar-Vell was a very strong character and a lot of people were wanting him to come back, but rather than allow this evolution to happen we are going to be upset over her outfit?  Rather than want this strong character to follow in the steps of another we want her ass to show a bit more?

 

Get over yourselves. And go find something else to wank too.  The rest of us have moved on from the days of over accented breasts, butts hanging out, and hair that would just constantly get in the way.

 

Now, only two issues in I’m enjoying the story.  You learn about Carol’s demons with switching from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel and how many of her friends are encouraging it.  You see this friendly rivalry between her at Captain America that you would expect to see with Air Force vs. Army.  You learn about her dreams, aspirations, and regrets. You see a more human side *le gasp* as she makes coffee for a cancer ridden friend.  She seems like a viable person rather than this plastic model super hero.

Copyright Marvel

Honestly she reminds me of those ads during WWII to encourage women to take the helm of work! Which is just bad ass!

Now to me, jumping right into a time travel story arc is a risky move, but that is exactly what happens.  Issue two we are swept back and Captain Marvel meets up with an all female band of what seems to be resistance fighters.  To what, we are not entirely sure, but It certainly seems to be big.

 

Now I will say this might not be for everyone.  In fact, I think I might give it a few more issues before I whole heartedly recommend it for everyone.  But if you enjoy seeing Captain America being put down and some really creative uses for a cape, at least head over to your local distributor and take a read at the first one.