Category: Reviews

Book-A-Day 2018 #272: Oddjob by Ian and Tyson Smith

An indy comic with bold, dark-outlined computer art and a cast off oddballs investigating weird things…I smell the ’90s!

I kid, I kid. But Oddjob  does feel very much of a particular era in comics. This book collects the full Slave Labor Graphic series of the same name (which followed a series of minicomics, some in different art styles, under slightly different names) by Ian and Tyson Smith. The book was published in 2002, collecting comics from early 1999 through early 2001 — which is close enough to “the ’90s” for me.

I don’t know the Smith brothers otherwise: I found this book randomly in a store, many years later, and picked it up because it reminded me of a lot of other oddball comics from the ’90s and other decades. From a quick websearch, it looks like this was the way they broke into comics, and they had a couple of projects afterward, moved on into movies for a while, and have been quiet (at least on the places I saw) for about a decade.

On the other hand, there’s both a dead British politician and a live British comedian named “Ian Smuth,” and Tyson is only somewhat less common. So it’s entirely possible that they’re active doing something artsy but not plugged strongly into Google-Fu.

Anyway, this is the mostly-complete adventures of Moe, Investigator of the Odd! He has a mysterious, enigmatic origin, goggles that he never removes, a vault full of strange and quirky artifacts that he must keep from the hands of ordinary men, and an office above “the second freshest-smelling bar in Spiral City.”

His sidekicks are the tough Moose Mulligan, owner and tender of that bar I just mentioned, and the nearly-useless performance-artist Robin the Clown. His investigations include living Gummi creatures from another dimension, exploding echidnas, missing mystical tikis, and the bell that makes it recess forever. There is both a runawayMoe-bot and an Evil Moe within just eight issues.

It has to be said that Oddjob is aggressively wacky. I think it’s all honestly wacky: these are the stories these guys wanted to tell. But it is not unlike other very wacky things in comics and animation, from Flaming Carrot and Freakazoid on down.

Writer Ian has a knack for keeping it all going and making the pacing work — not a small thing in a story where literally anything could happen. And artist Tyson’s fat inky lines are delightful — there’s a note in the backmatter that he moved to computer art because he could finally get the really clean, thick lines he wanted that way, and it shows in his work.

Even in the history of quirky comics, Oddjob is just a footnote. But everything doesn’t need to be important or major: things can just be fun. And this is.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury’s beautiful prose created a chilling dystopian world in Fahrenheit 451 and given the incendiary times we live in, adaptation seems apt. He goes George Orwell one better by erasing history rather than merely rewriting it. HBO was an ideal forum for this, giving the production room to breathe and without the hassle of pacing for commercial breaks.

The 65-year old novel’s bones are well-translated to the screen with Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) a dedicated fireman, burning the few remaining books in the world, televising the event to a cheering audience. We watch him begin to question his work and its effects on a world controlled by malevolent forces.

He begins to rebel, aided by Clarisse (Sofia Boutella), and in direct opposition of his superior Captain Beatty (Michael Shannon).

Director Ramin Bahrani shows us how unhappy the people in this world are, how dark the future can get despite the light cast by the burning words. He replaces those words with new terms, ones that smack of Orwell and his dystopian successors, distancing us from the world Bradburty was trying to warn us about.

Bahrani and co-writer Amir Naderi layer on anxieties about today’s reliance on the Internet and social media, things Bradbury wasn’t worried about. That book would certainly have been interesting, but adding them here is retrofitting that doesn’t quite work. We used to revere the printed word but with every passing year, we lament that fewer and fewer people read with any regularity. My high school students uniformly tell me they hate reading (as hey scroll through dozens of texts and group chats). As a result, the entire story doesn’t gel as it should.

Neither does Shannon’s too angry performance, spoiling some of the acting fun. Jordan is fine and Boutella is proving quite an interesting actress to watch (you’ve seen her in Star Trek Beyond and Atomic Blonde).

Bahrani had the challenge of honoring Bradbury’s brilliance and creating his own version so as not to be overshadowed by the superior François Truffaut 1966 adaptation.

The show aired in May on HBO over several nights and is presented here on Blu-ray and looks just fine.  The miniseries comes with one extra: Behind the Fire, a pretty perfunctory look at the making of the film.

Book-A-Day 2018 #270: Come Again by Nate Powell

The cliche is that the happiest-looking people have the darkest secrets. I don’t know if that’s consistently true in real life — how would you design a study to test that, anyway? — but it’s a surefire winner in fiction, where contrast and irony are the go-to tools.

Nate Powell’s new graphic novel Come Again is about the secrets in a seemingly idyllic group of hippies on an Arkansas Ozark hill. Haven Station is where they live, an “intentional community” eight years into its life in 1979. They farm and garden and live off the land — what the land mostly provides is marijuana, but don’t say that too loudly.

Two couples were among the first to join up back in 1971; four young friends who had known each other since childhood: Haluska and Gus, Whitney and Adrian. Since then, they each had a son — Haluska and Gus’s Jacob, Whitney and Adrian’s Shane. Gus left Haluska, a year or so back, and went “downhill” to the local town, back to straight society and normal life. It looks like it was the usual kind of breakup, and they’re friendly with each other, still, for Jacob’s sake and because this is a small, isolated area and you can’t get too far away from each other.

Gus did not leave Haluska because she’s been having an affair with Adrian. He doesn’t know that. No one knows that.

But they have: they’ve been sneaking away together since at least 1971, since before they joined Haven Station. And Haluska is our central character here, the one who will have to confront those long-held secrets and those years of lying.

(I’m happy that the book focuses on a woman: we need more of that. I’m not as happy about how Come Again settles all of the weight of responsibility for this affair on her shoulders, letting Adrian stay vague and personable. He’s just as responsible, just as complicit, just as central, just as lying. And centering the story on her can look like slut-shaming from a lot of perspectives: that the woman bears the price for infidelity, and is the one who has to make everything right, because she’s the one who controls sexuality and child-rearing. It’s not a fatal flaw, but it’s noticeable. And that conception  — that this all is Haluska’s responsibility — is central to Come Again.)

Powell’s books often have supernatural underpinnings, particularly the magisterial Swallow Me Whole. Come Again follows in that tradition, but, as before, it’s nothing you’ve seen before, nothing with a name. On that Ozark hillside, there’s a door, which leads into some rooms and caverns. In that space — maybe also elsewhere; maybe everywhere — is an entity, a voice in the darkness that is sometimes quiet and half-forgotten and sometimes is demanding, feeding on secrets.

That set of caverns, of course, is where Haluska and Adrian run away to have sex together. We see them do so near the beginning of this book; we think they may have been doing this, off and on, every day or week or month for eight years or more. That’s a lot of secrets.

Most of Come Again take place over a couple of days. It’s Haluska and Adrian’s turn to take the farm’s produce — again, with the pot hidden under the table but the real draw for their customers — down to a farmer’s market in town. Meanwhile, Jacob and Shane, the two boys of these two couples, are out wandering around like boys do.

They find the door. They enter the caves. They go too far.

Meanwhile, Haluska and Adrian come back from town, in the middle of a fight. They break up, for what might be forever. They won’t need that door anymore, and prove it to each other.

But a boy is lost. And when he’s not found, he quickly drops out of memory — as if no one, except one person, can hold on to the secret of his existence.

And who cares most about secrets in this place?

Come Again has gorgeous, brilliant pages, equal parts seeped in the darkness of night secrets and dark caves and shot through with the glow of a late-summer day. Powell has some neat tricks with lettering as well, to show secrets and forgetfulness, to hint at the power of that strange voice underground.

I didn’t love Come Again as much as Swallow Me Whole, in part because of the embedded sexism of Haluska, in part because I don’t quite buy the logic of the supernatural deal at the end. But it’s a strong work, well-written and powerfully imagined and brilliantly drawn. And Powell is one of our very best comics storytellers in the modern world.

Don’t let my minor misgivings keep you away: this is a major book by a major creator, and if you’re not familiar with Powell, you’ve got a lot of great work ahead of you.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

REVIEW: The Gifted The Complete First Season

You have to give Fox credit for attempting to bring the spectacle of the X-Men to the small screen and finding a way to maintain the themes without duplicating the film series. The Gifted arrived in an abbreviated season last year and in its own quiet way, makes its mark. It lack the glossy of DC’s CW shows and special effects budget of a feature film, but maintained a bleak atmosphere with just enough connections to the film universe to be satisfying.

Thanks to the multiple alternative futures created by X-Men Days of Future Past, the producers neatly fit this into one such reality, one where the X-Men have left Earth, but not before an event equivalent to 9/11 leaving mutants remain hated and hunted.

Enter the Struckers, oddly related to Baron Von Strucker, who is more closely associated with Hydra than mutants. Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Caitlin (Amy Acker) are loving parents of Lauren (Natalie Alyn) and Andy (Percy Hynes), teens who have begun manifesting mutant abilities. Rather than surrender their children to Sentinel Services, a government agency formed in the wake of the “event”, the family goes on the run. Their journey brings them into contact with the mutant underground, filled with interesting and familiar mutants.The focus on the core family then expanding this to the mutant family is a clever conceit and keeps the show fresh. The parents are dealing with the children and the others in need while the teens are struggling to master their abilities and figure out where their loyalties lie.

Meantime, the mutant underground has their own issues with Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont); daughter of Magneto (never quite spelled out) arriving to stir things up and here the melodrama feels like a convoluted Chris Claremont story arc. Late in the run, the Stepford Cuckoos (Skyler Samuels) are revealed, complicating things nicely.

We are given glimpses of all sides of the struggle, from the Sentinel Services people who lost loved ones during the struggle to mutants being turned against mutants and fractious splits among pockets of the underground. There may be a little too much running instead of talking or even thinking, but the pacing is even and the stories build slowly.

The second season began this week and the thirteen episodes from season one are now available on a three-disc DVD from 20th Century Home Entertainment. The show transfers just fine, but it’s interesting they don’t get Blu-ray treatment and there’s a curious lack of extras, even deleted scenes.

Book-A-Day 2018 #268: My Boyfriend Is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris

No one’s perfect, y’know? You’re always going to have to deal with some things that aren’t exactly what you’d want when you’re in a relationship with someone. Sometimes it’ll be a dealbreaker — there’s an entertaining double-page spread in this book headed “Douchebags I’ve Dated” with some examples — but some things you might just decide you can live with.

Say that you’re a young modern LA girl, with an unpleasant call-center job, taking abuse from people who didn’t realize they’d signed up for recurring payments for some useless software. Say you have run through those aforementioned douchebags, and even more, without finding anyone nice. And say you meet someone loving and cuddly and tender and only somewhat clumsy and prone to breaking things, and that he clearly loves you.

Would it be a dealbreaker if he happens to be a five-hundred pound American Black Bear?

Well, it wasn’t for Nora. And this is her story: My Boyfriend Is a Bear . You could probably read it as an allegory if you wanted to, but, really, it’s a fun romance comic about one girl and one bear against the world.

This is, as you might imagine, not entirely serious. Nora’s new boyfriend is just “the bear,” and the most articulate thing he ever says is “grah.” (Which can be more articulate than some people, granted.) My Boyfriend Is a Bear is not set in a world of sentient bears or uplifted mammals or anything exotic like that: it’s our world, our LA, only this one bear is in love with this girl. And vice versa.

Boyfriend is sweet and fun and goofy, and is probably playing with more genre-romance cliches than I noticed. Writer Pamela Ribon keeps Nora quirky and fun without making her a total dingbat, and artist Cat Farris makes all of the pages just as cute as a button.

And, if your own relationships bear some odd resemblance to Nora and the bear, well, that’s your own problem….

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

P/Review: High Heaven #1

I think every reviewer has a high-spirited streak inside, where they want something to fail just because there’s a great headline for it.  I remember when the Green Lantern movie was coming out, and there was a negative buzz preceding it, we came up with a list of reviewer headlines like “Oa No! Lights out for Green Lantern!” Looking back, it was pretty mean-spirited.

But thankfully, AHOY Comics’ High Heaven is so good there’s no need for a cheesy headline. If you really want one or need one, just cut and “OMG! High Heaven’s Divine!” or “TGIHH: Thank God its High Heaven” and put it at the top of this review.  This comic, the second venture from Ahoy Comics, is subversively, wicked fun. High Heaven is fresh, witty and couldn’t be more different from the first AHOY title, The Wrong Earth.

Writer Tom Peyer and artist Greg Scott introduce us to a jerk named Weathers who suddenly dies and finds himself in the afterlife. Navigating it isn’t easy, and is especially difficult for a whiner like Weathers.  The concept of Heaven is a well-traveled fictional road, but somehow Peyer creates a new take on it that leaves you eager to learn more.

Greg Scott keeps his foot on the gas with his gritty edged renderings. I liked his style in Archie’s recent Black Hood series, and it works surprisingly well here too.

And just like The Wrong Earth, AHOY has stuffed this issue with a plethora of  diverse extra material. The back-up adventure is called Hashtag: Danger and is a humorous romp in that classic Challengers of the Unknown style.  I’m not sure if the reason it works so well is because of the dinosaurs, the sly digs at social media, the unglamorizing of start-ups, or the wry commentary on reality show celebrities.   A prose story by Grant Morrison, a Shannon Wheeler gag panel, a hilarious letters page and a clever editorial leave the reader with that  “Wow! What a bargain!” feeling.

Heaven Can’t Wait! I’m impatient for issue #2. Ooops- that pun just slipped out. Sorry!

REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow the Complete Third Season

REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow the Complete Third Season

“Insane is what we do best.”

To appreciate fully the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, you just have to lean in with the crazy. An antidote to the overly grim Arrow, the spinoff show embraces its sloppiness. The “legends” wear their inefficiency as a badge of honor and each episode of the third season amplifies this while also tightening the bonds between them.

Legends of Tomorrow the Complete Third Season is a three-disc set out now from Warner Home Video, In addition to all 18 episodes, we get the complete “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover with Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl. Taken as a whole, the season introduces a major threat and deals with it, while also pausing to focus on the various characters while also setting up the fourth season, doing a better job than its peers do.

We open with time having been broken and the Legends racing about repairing the damage they caused while their former leader Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) has ordered his reconstituted Time Bureau to leave them alone. After some solo exploits, they recognize they need one another and sally forth into new escapades.

Bit by bit, though, we get a sense of the greater evil, first through Kausa (Tracy Ifeachor), a hydrokinetic assassin until we learn that a demon named Mallus (John Noble; there’s a brilliant destruction of the fourth wall in one episode) is trying to reach Earth and dominate it. By then, they have partnered or fought against good old Damien Darkh (Neil McDonough) and his daughter Nora (Courtney Ford), who becomes the object of Ray Palmer’s (Brandon Routh) affections.

Speaking of romance, Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has not only settled into her role as their commander with a gravitas befitting her training, she’s allowed herself to fall in love with her rival Ava (Jess Macallan). This is balanced by the bittersweet and necessary breakup between Nate (Nick Zano) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers).

By then, everyone and then some are back for the most satisfying season finale among the CW’s super-series.

It was also fun to see Helen of Troy (Bar Paly), Jonah Hex (Jonathan Schaech) and the real Gideon (Amy Pemberton) in return appearances. What was less enjoyable was seeing Victor Garber’s career mean the end of Firestorm (at least for now). The less said about Beebo the better.

Throughout the season, perhaps the character who got the least screen time and is woefully underdeveloped is Zari (Tala Ashe), something I hope gets fixed in the new season. With Matt Ryan’s John Constantine back in the fold (if played a bit broadly, even for this show), we can see how the dynamic may work.

The high def transfer to Blu-ray is fine for both audio and video. The disc comes with some of the same features from others discs: Inside the Crossover: Crisis on Earth-X and The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017. Unique to this set is an interesting look at The Time Calibrators: Legends Assemble as produce Phil Klemmer walks us through his thinking for the new season. There’s also an interesting Post Production Theater where you see stand-is work with actors as placeholders before the special effects and CGI are added. It’s interesting but would have been more interesting to see the before and after aspects. Finally, there’s a well-edited Gag Reel.

REVIEW: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Those who attended Solo: A Star Wars Story during its theatrical run were treated to an entertaining adventure story, leavened with the patented humor derived from the original trilogy. It was well cast, well produced, and enjoyable. All the behind the scenes contretemps in no way spoiled the final product, which is out tomorrow from Disney Home Entertainment on a variety of discs and packages.

Yes, the version that was shot under directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would have been dramatically different, perhaps too different for the Lucasfilm executives. We have no way of knowing since no footage has been released. The casting didn’t change and incoming Ron Howard was a good choice, able to get things up and running smoothly and delivering a satisfying movie.

So, why didn’t people flock to see the movie despite positive buzz? Hard to say. Yes, coming out so quickly after the previous Star Wars film (which in itself was controversial) and just weeks after the same fans had their moods spoiled by the downbeat Avengers Infinity War no doubt contributed to poor opening weekend box office  Word of mouth should have saved the movie but didn’t.

There little doubt that Alden Ehrenreich stepped up as Han Solo, younger and not quite so jaded as the version Harrison Ford introduced us to in 1977. This film fills in each and every crevice from the past, so much so, that if the rumors are true and no sequel is being planned, then we should be satisfied. In fact, so much continuity service was present, it almost interfered with telling a solid stand-alone story.

We meet him and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) on Corellia, a world ruled by the Fagin-like Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt). They long to escape for a better world but only Han gets free, his first step down the road to bitterness and pain. While he tries to be a loyal member of the Empire so he can fly, her path brought her from one criminal orbit to another, the latter being Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), a powerful player in the criminal Crimson Dawn. Han winds up working with his own criminals, a band led by Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a man with a conscience, whose behavior proves influential.

Events from screenwriters Jonathan and Lawrence Kasdan bring everyone back to together with Han meeting the Wookiee Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). There’s the usual twists and turns, revelations and reversals, and surprises and sadness. There’s also plenty of action, one on one duels and a high-speed train robbery before we even get Han and Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon for the first time.

The performances are certainly engaging, with nice chemistry between Ehrenreich and Clarke as well as Ehrenreich and Glover (who is even better casting for his part). Michael Giacchino’s energetic score nicely complements the John Williams music we are so accustomed to.

The Blu-ray edition comes with two discs and a Digital HD code. One disc is the film, the other an hour or so of special features. The film itself looks fine, not perfect, which is surprising considering the production crew.  Everything is cold and bleak and the color is desaturated throughout (letting Lando shine) and that’s all nicely captured. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is actually superior.

The Special Features are a mixed opening with the soft Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable (21:44) as Howard moderates a so-so conversation with Ehrenreich, Glover, Suotamo, Clarke, Harrelson, Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the voice of L3-37), and Thandie Newton. Kasdan on Kasdan (7:50) offers father chatting with son about the franchise’s impact on the elder’s life.

Remaking the Millennium Falcon (5:36) looks at recreating the vessel and its origins; Escape from Corellia (9:59) touches on the film’s place in the timeline in addition to the opening action sequence. The Train Heist (14:30) breaks down the largest set piece. Team Chewie (6:41) spotlights the formation of the friendship between Han and Chewie while Becoming a Droid: L3-37 (15:06) spotlights the new character and bringing her to life.

Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso (8:02) looks at the creation of the creatures, card game, and characters in this mid-movie moment. We also get Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run (8:28) which explore show this chase sequence was conceived and executed.

There are some interesting Deleted Scenes (15:13): Proxima’s Den, Corellian Foot Chase, Han Solo: Imperial Cadet, The Battle of Mimban: Extended, Han Versus Chewie: Extended, Snowball Fight!, Meet Dryden: Extended, and Coaxium Double-Cross.

Very little is made of the first version of the film, not that it’s ignored but everything here is dedicated the film fans received. While history would be curious to see what might have been, that will have to wait for another day.

Trese Goes Global!

There is a great urban-fantasy comic from the Philippines called Trese. I’ve written about the first three volumes here a few years ago — and there have been three more volumes since then, plus a seventh in progress.

The books are difficult to find on this side of the Pacific, though. (Difficult to find in most of the world, from what I can see — that happens when you publish out of a smaller country.) And that’s a huge shame: this is damn good stuff, as fantasy, as detective stories, as modern reworkings of folktale material, and as comics.

Well, you’re finally in luck.

Trese creators Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldismo have launched an IndieGogo campaign for a global edition of Trese — starting from the beginning for those of you who haven’t seen it before.

A digital edition of the first comic is a measly two bucks. That’s a steal.

I’ve already backed it, and kicked in an extra donation to help out. (The least I can do, since I got the first few books for free as a reviewer.) Go check it out yourself , and I hope you’ll decide to back it as well.

My dream is that Trese will someday be as big as Hellboy — it may be a crazy dream, but I’ll settle for Trese books actually widely available in North America.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Book-A-Day 2018 #265: Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: Earth’s Mightiest Hero by DeConnick, Sebela, Soy, RIos, & Andrade

First up, the consumer note that I wanted but didn’t get: this is indeed Volume 1 of the books reprinting the 2012 Captain Marvel series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. (It contains twelve issues and the second volume has five more.) That was preceded by comics called Captain Marvel (just by Marvel, with various people using that superhero moniker) in 2008, 2002, 2000, 1995, 1994, 1989, and 1968, and followed by further Marvel Captain Marvel series in 2014, 2016, and 2017 (that last one starting with issue number 125, to totally confuse everyone).

So this is nowhere near the beginning of anything. Being a superhero series from one of the Big Two, I shouldn’t have to mention that it’s nowhere near an ending, either.

But, there’s a Captain Marvel movie coming, vaguely sort-of based on this take on the character, so this is the book Marvel is hoping people will buy once they see and like that movie, and this series is also somewhat of a grand-mommy to the recent slew of “diverse” comics from Marvel. (Scare-quotes around “diverse” since a lot of it is just showcasing more women, who the numerically literate among us already know make up more than half of the human race.)

So, anyway: Captain Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Hero, Vol. 1 . (I think that’s the correct order of the title elements. If not, I have another option in the post title.) These are the comics where Carol Danvers, ex-Air Force test pilot and possessor of strange powers granted her by alien beings (somewhat literally) changes her costume and name, casting off “Ms. Marvel” so it can be used by someone else and Marvel can sell more comics and make more money because she is better than that, and deserves to use the slightly misspelled name of an alien dead guy because blah blah legacy yammer yammer mantle yadda yadda please tell me you’re buying this?

The stupid speech I’m referring to above is given by Captain America on pages 8-10 of the first issue here, after they beat up a random bad guy in a museum for I’m sure what wouldn’t be a gratuitous fight scene if anyone bothered to explain it. It contains the kind of logic and rhetoric that exist only in superhero comics, and only there because the real reason Carol Danvers is going to become Captain Marvel is that 1) Marvel owns a trademark in that name, and expects that trademark to return it some cold hard cash on the regular and 2) there are several thousand fanboys consumers who will buy anything that says Captain Marvel on the cover, at least for a few issues. Danvers is just the most obvious person to do so.

So Captain Marvel exists as pure trademark-extension, for both “Carol Danvers™” and “Captain Marvel™.” Let’s stipulate that. And it doesn’t have to be all that good to fulfill that mission: Danvers punches someone new each issue, has some supporting cast with problems, bingo bango, it’ll last long enough to make us to the next crossover event where everything will change.

But DeConnick is actually interested in people and their relationships — well, let’s not go crazy here; she is to the extent anyone can be in the straitjacket of a Marvel Universe comic — and so she (and co-writer Christopher Sebela, on issues 7-8 and 10-12 for no obvious reason) has plots that mostly aren’t about punching the Villain of the Month, and which tie into Danvers’s backstory and history.

Now, again, I don’t want to oversell it: it’s mostly on the level of a decent made-for-TV movie or passable airport paperback, with the tough female test pilot still yearning to prove what she can do after she’s left that world, and her complicated relationship with the older woman who was something of a mentor to her, plus a friendship with another woman who used to be Captain Marvel and the guy who will probably be a boyfriend, eventually. (With added time travel and aliens, obviously.)

The art is also quite distinctive: Dexter Soy does six of the issues, in what I think is a full-painted look and which is brightly surreal in a good way. Emma Rios has a spiky take on more traditional comics pencil-and-ink look (colored by Jordie Bellaire) for two issues in the middle, and Filipe Andrade does the last four issues in a very angular, loose-lined (but with almost chibi faces) style that also goes all the way to color.

This may well have looked like something startlingly different, particularly to pure Marvel readers of 2012. And it is pretty different from most of what Marvel was doing, being actually concerned with women and their emotions. For me, it’s slightly more interesting than a standard Marvel comic, but only the same way sandstone is more interesting than a broken piece of concrete — one is a bit more real than the other.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.