Friday 3 July 2015

Comic Reviews

Barb Wire #1
If there's one thing I've learnt over the years, it's to never judge a comic by a movie adaptation made before 2000. Memories of the Barb Wire movie? The “Don't call me babe!” catchphrase and... well, to be honest, Pamela Anderson in a leather corset, that's about it. My first Barb Wire comic? A pleasant surprise.

Now, as I say, my memories are the movie are hazy and, uh, booby so I was surprised to find Barb's status quo to be running a dive bar in a bad part of town and doing bail bond enforcement on the side to pay the bills. She even dresses sensibly on the job in a stab vest and jeans. All in all, the issue did pretty well in introducing me to the city of Steel Harbour, its gang factions, Barb and her supporting cast of employees, gangsters, her brother and a sleazy TV producer who films her for a Dog The Bounty Hunter-esque reality show.

It was also nice to see the work of Patrick Olliffe, definitive artist of the much-missed Spider-Girl, again. Once you get past the cheesecake cover, Olliffe's interiors are as sharp, angular and anatomically sensible as ever. Barb clearly has a sexual side, present in suggestive dialogue and her choice of wardrobe round the club, but the book isn't wall-to-wall “look at the sexy woman with a gun”. Sexuality is situational, as it should be.

I really only got this to see what the series was actually about. A surprising addition to the pull list.

A-Force #2
Turns out this series is continuing after Secret Wars and I'm really looking forward to it. Jen Walters as a team leader interests me and I love her power struggles here with Medusa. The series is just damn gorgeous, too, with Jorge Molina drawing the hell out of both the characters and the architecture of Arcadia, which seems to be the closest thing to a classical paradise Battleworld has.

Though I doubt she'll continue into the ongoing its also nice to see a maternal take on Loki's female incarnation and on Nico Minoru as a daughter with an affectionate parental relationship. Not a surprise that Loki might have soft spot for orphans, really. Also, the way Nico reacts to Loki finding her in her room combing another girl's hair I wonder if we'll have to wait long before Bennet and Wilson pull the trigger on Nico's long-delayed bisexuality (oh, like that wasn't where things were going with her and Carolina in the last series of Runaways).

Sonic Boom #9
Sonic comics are my guilty pleasure: pure comfort food in comic form. Sonic Boom, however, is not usually my cup of tea, the humour skews way too young for me and I'm really just here for the crossover. Not much to say: its mainly a long battle scene, Sticks is as annoying as I remember from the few previous issues I read before giving up on the series and the best bits are Robotnik and Doctor Wily rekindling their bromance from Worlds Collide.

Not a keeper. Definitely just here for the crossover.

Secret Wars #4
I have to admit that if nothing else the whole set-up of Battleworld fascinates me. Not just in the different “realm” series like A-Force but in the central narrative of the all-powerful god Doctor Doom. This issue is where it all collides: Doom himself, the heroes from the Life Raft and the villains of the Cabal. It interests me that in all the realms of Battleworld there apparently isn't a single Reed Richards, which knowing Hickman's hugely elaborate structuring of this event probably relates to Doom's psychology in the creation of Battleworld.

I am genuinely looking forward to where this is all going.

Groot #2
At long last: the story of how Rocket and Groot met and became friends (spoilers: it involves prison), which is sweet enough but the promise of next issue's guest stars (the other sweetest pairing in Marvel's cosmic comics these days) is one I'm heartily looking forward to.

Green Lantern #42
Now this is how you do a second issue. The first draws you in with the shocks (Hal is a bounty hunter.!Hal has long hair.!Hal has a sarcastic spaceship!) and now this one presents us with more details and some larger questions. For a start we discover that there are some problems that come with Hal's new power gauntlet and that his current bounty hunting gig isn't going to go as smoothly as he might hope. We get a nice little mystery that ties into one of the more central theme of Venditti's run pre-Convergence and we see that some of the characters introduced last issue are going to be series regulars for the foreseeable future.

Personally, I really like this new direction and I'm surprised how strange it is to see Hal with long hair. It's a wonderful signifier that he really has let go of military discipline, that he's actually living his life outside of his old structures rather than just going through the motions to convince the galaxy he's a renegade. 

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