Tag Archives: Hope Larson

Indubitable Issues and Pull List (11/23/16)

LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?  

LOOK NO FURTHER.  

HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.

 
Tyler’s Recommendation …
blackmondaymurders4Black Monday Murders #4
“The end of the first arc from Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker’s tale of finance, corruption, occult practices, and dark magic. I’m a huge Hickman fan, and this series has been a wicked delight. Coker’s gritty and gorgeous art combines so well with Hickman’s elaborate narrative web of conspiracy, murder, greed, and an evil battle for control of the world.”
 

Continue reading Indubitable Issues and Pull List (11/23/16)

Indubitable Issues and Pull List (10/26/16)

LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?  

LOOK NO FURTHER.  

HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.

 
Dean’s Recommendations …
seventoeternitySeven To Eternity #2
“This book is essential reading right now. There will be very few comics on the shelf better than Seven To Eternity.”
 

Continue reading Indubitable Issues and Pull List (10/26/16)

Indubitable Issues and Pull List (09/28/16)

LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?  

LOOK NO FURTHER.  

HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.

 
Josh’s Recommendation …
tarzanontheplanetoftheapes1Tarzan and the Planet of the Apes #1
“I think the strangest crossover this year, and that’s saying something, is this book. I’m a sucker for both Tarzan and PotA stories though, so I have to see what the top-notch talent have in store for such two distinct but classic properties.”
 

Continue reading Indubitable Issues and Pull List (09/28/16)

The Rough Guide To DC Rebirth

Like Marvel comics has had before them, today I’m taking a look at the new DC Comics Rebirth lineup of titles announced last weekend. DC Comics attempted to reboot in the summer of 2011 with their New 52 initiative. Though initially successful, readers quickly tired of the redundant writing & art styles that was often overtly in your face with little substance and dated concepts, while creative talent left the books in droves over accusations of overreaching editorial mandates. In 2015, the publisher began walking away from the concept; first with their Convergence event whose story was used to reestablish the Multiverse and then the DC You initiative,  a sincere attempt to diversify the style and creative talent on their line of books. In spite of some really great comics, DC You failed to reestablish the publisher’s already shrinking market share while the one two punch of Star Wars & Secret Wars allowed chief competitor Marvel Comics to dominate the direct market. During WonderCon 2016, DC Comics announced another new initiative with a relaunch of the publishers comics with new #1’s and creative teams for their series of titles. Some look great, some of the creators brought in during DC You have leveled up, some familiar faces are sticking around, some new writers have been brought into the fold and some comics vet’s are returning after years away from the publisher. Some books look great, some have potential, some look kind of bland and some look like hot garbage. Will divide the contenders from the pretenders with Yay, Mayhaps or Nay. As always, remember that not even all of the creative teams have been announced let alone all the possible series so this lineup is subject to change.

Continue reading The Rough Guide To DC Rebirth

Review of Batgirl #1

373585._SX640_QL80_TTD_by Hope Larson, Rafael Albuquerque & Dave McCaig

After the series much hyped makeover, Batgirl is back in a new number one with a new creative team. The  debut manages to take a lot of what worked about the comics last iteration while shedding much of it’s failures.

When the creative team was announced along with the design of her new costume, Batgirl became a hit before anybody had a chance to read the comic. DC was already three years into the New 52 reboot and readers were long past disappointed with the publishers weak attempts at modernizing it’s line of superhero comics. The implication of the new Batgirl; decked out in a sleek yet practical new costume, living in the gentrified Burnside and working for a technology startup; was that DC Comics had finally started listening to readers and were giving them a superhero, and perhaps more importantly a superhero that was female, they could relate and aspire to. Yet while the new look Batgirl would go on to have some bright spots in it’s fantastic visual storytelling from regular series new comer Babs Tarr and veteran Cameron Stewart along with an amazing annual from Bengal, the actual contents felt as if the books was shamelessly pandering to whatever old people and middle american’s might classify as “hipster” creating a comic that was more a madlib’s of modern cultural signifier’s then an actual story worth reading. While plenty of readers seemed to enjoy the end product, the book eventually faded from the spotlight after it received controversy over perceived transphobia in what was truly a terribly tone deaf single issue comic whose entire premise rested on the punchline “I know Kanye” It was the most embarrassed I’d felt for a comic in quite some time

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In spite of it’s problem, the strength of the rebooted Batgirl concept was undeniable based on the reaction to it’s announcement and had enough there for the changes to stick with the character going forward provided it found the right voice. Enter Batgirl #1 and the DC Comics debut of Hope Larson. Larson is similar to New Superman’s Gene Lueng Yang, a comics creator that’s found great success in the medium by circumventing the traditional publishers and doing beloved all ages series with small press comics and traditional book publishers. Her’s is a voice that is fully realized and it’s to a great benefit in Batgirl #1. This is the same Babs Gordon that readers fell in love with last series but it’s being written with a much needed degree of subtlety. While the character’s modus operandi is still readily apparent from the comics opening page, there’s an easy naturalism in this issue that gives the writing an effortless flow. The moments where Larson does touch on youth culture feel much closer to reality and conscious of it’s inclusion; perhaps best exemplified in Bab’s response to her old friends love of craft beer with “I get it Kal, you’re from the midwest” it’s the type of dialogue that’s authentic while still being entertaining and vibrant. Larson’s writing on Batgirl feels like all the potential for the superhero being fully realized and it makes for an endearing first issue.
While Larson shows that she can hang in the DC superhero verse her first time out, for Rafael Albuquerque, Batgirl #1 is a definitive statement of ability with some of the artists best and most dynamic visual story telling in years. When Albuquerque was illustrating American Vampire, he had some of the most visceral movement in comics that was singular in it’s rough line and sharp angles. Batgirl is his first comic in a long time that really captures the former in a special way. Part of that is precedent; the art team on the series prior iteration had special talent for panel structure and expression that’s carried over into Albuquerque’s work here. With that, he’s able to construct some truly exciting action sequence’s that are specifically active in the books narration in really interesting ways. The page where you see the blade get thrown across each panel is especially impressive for the way it utilizes the page and panel construct’s dimensions while embedding itself directly into the plot. It’s an overall outstanding effort on the whole and quite easily some of Albuquerque’s best work in years. Dave McGaig colors feel strikingly consistent with the previous creative team but his work has always made Albuquerque’s art pop out more like when they’ve collaborated on American Vampire or Animal Man. Together, he and Albuquerque have an innate yet adaptable visual story telling style that brings a unique life to Batgirl #1.

Batgirl #1 is a exceptional example of internalizing the aesthetic of a character or comic and refashioning it into something idiosyncratic to the voices of it’s creators. It’s perhaps one of the best debut’s from DC Rebirth precisely for how it incorporates the past into it’s own vision.

Gotham Academy #14 Review

GothamAcademy14

By Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Katie Cook, Dustin Nguyan, Hope Larson, Kris Nukai

It’s the end of the semester at Gotham Academy, the perfect time for long-time friends to reconnect and reminisce about the past.

This issue could generally be considered as “A Clip Show” type of story, in which a TV sitcom just shows old clips for 20-25 minutes. While it is usually said in a derogatory term, shows like Community put a fun spin on the concept by showing clips of things  that had never been seen or even mentioned before. Here though, the actual execution tries to be the latter and instead is more like the former. New events or “clips” are shown but overall just doesn’t satisfy as previous issues have done.

This is not a knock against the art, which the three artists (Archer, Cook, Nguyan) actually knock out of the park. Archer handles the main part of the story, keeping the Manga aesthetic but feeling decidedly his own with a darker color pallet and somewhat less expressive approach to the characters. Nguyan uses a wonderful watercolor/sketch style for his segment that feels appropriate and makes me beg for more of his art. Cook uses a Chibi style for her segment, continuing the Manga theme that is a staple of the series. The third and final story written by Larson and drawn by Nukai has a Indie Webcomic feel to it and was the strongest plot-wise. All of the three side segments are beautiful in their own way visually speaking, but underpin the main problem with this issue: It is too disjointed.

Cook, Nukai, and Nguyan all wrote their own segments but that’s not the source of the problem. The first 13 issues were straight stories featuring a cast of 4-5 affable preteens solving mysteries. Separating the cast and making two characters the focus doesn’t allow for the interaction that makes the series so enjoyable. That said, the final story about a Academy’s teacher’s own school days was pretty great by just focusing on 3-4 characters that were completely new. Every installment was about friendship in a different way and I give it points for that. The issue isn’t bad, but it’s a big departure from what the book has been about till this point. There isn’t even a mystery for the cast to solve or uncover. Perhaps it would’ve been better just using one of these stories as backmatter in a regular issue or using them in an annual with a longer main story to bookend them. As it stands, Gotham Academy #14 seeks to be a fun diversion and its strongest aspect is its art.

Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent