This Week’s Reads: April 26

Another really good week. I gave up on Justice League of America because it just wasn’t holding my interest, but everything else that I picked up was good. Batman and Flash are exploring the implications of The Button, while Superman is getting closer to determining what has happened to alter his past.

Action Comics #978

The New World part 2 By Jurgens and Barberi  With the aid of Kelex and his Fortress’s archival crystals, Superman continues to review what has happened over the course of his life to determine what has been changed in the merging of the two timelines.

Teen Titans #7

The Rise of Aqualad part 2 By Percy and Pham. The Titans battle King Shark in San Francisco Bay. Will the arrival of Jackson Hyde– Aqualad– be enough to turn the tide?

Wonder Woman #21

The Truth part 4 By Rucka and Sharp. An injured Wonder Woman must survive the assault of Black Poison as Veronica Cale draws ever closer to discovering Themyscira!

Detective Comics # 955

League of Shadows part 5 By Tynion IV and Takara. Cassandra Cain against the League of Shadows.  She may be one of the greatest fighters in the DCU, but can she save the Bat-Family by herself?

The Flash #21

The Button part 2 By Williamson and Porter.  Flash and Batman join forces to unravel the mystery of the Comedian’s button and learn who or what is responsible for killing the Reverse-Flash.

Supergirl: Being Super

Book three By Tamaki and Jones. Supergirl’s memories of her life before coming to Earth continue to surface and she comes face-to-face to the one responsible for the fluctuation of her powers.

 

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Spoilers Follow

So, as I mentioned, I gave up on JLA. It just doesn’t interest me, to be honest. While I like Batman, Black Canary and the Atom, I don’t really care enough about the other characters to continue following the book. That, combined with their strange mission statement (show normal humans that they don’t need godlike powers to be heroes, by using their godlike powers to inspire them…) just left me feeling “meh” about the title, so I figure my money can be better spent elsewhere.

Teen Titans was probably my least favourite title this week, which is not to say that it wasn’t good. As usual, I kept hoping that someone would slap the hell out of Robin. I still have difficulty accepting that the other characters would follow him as their leader, but that’s just the way it is. I’ll have to learn to live with it.

Wonder Woman continues to focus on the hunt for Themyscira and brings us one step closer to uncovering the truth about Diana’s origin. I love this book right now and while I sometimes find Liam Sharp’s artwork to be uneven, I am overall quite taken with it.

I’m also rather enjoying both the art and story of Supergirl: Being Super. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the concept, as it seems odd to have Supergirl as the lone hero on this version of Earth. Having references to Lex Luthor only makes it seem stranger, but I am enjoying this version of Kara and wouldn’t mind seeing this version of the character continue indefinitely.

Detective Comics has managed to make me care for characters that I previously had fairly little interest in. While I never had anything against Batwoman or Orphan, I didn’t really make any effort to follow them either. Having become more familiar with both of them over the past year or so, I am now fond of both of them. It seems to me that if Batman really wanted to show what normal humans are capable of, he could have simply done more to promote the Bat-family characters, rather than go off and form a new League (I’m having a hard time letting go of the illogic of that).

Of course, the “main” books for me this week were both Flash and Action Comics, as they are the one tackling the greater Rebirth storyline. In the case of the Flash, he and Batman join forces to probe deeper into the mystery of the button that was found last year in the Batcave. As an older fan, I absolutely love seeing references to the older continuities as Batman and Flash break out the old Cosmic Treadmill and run through time and space. While I prefer Batman in his darker colours, I have to admit it’s kind of cool seeing Batman in his blue and grey costume again, however briefly. There’s also a glimpse of Martian Manhunter’s old costume (along with lots of other neat stuff) in the “Hall of Lost and Found” in the Justice League Watchtower.

By far, though, the best bit of reminiscing comes courtesy of Action Comics, in which Superman, dealing with a nagging sense that “something is wrong”, continues to review the events of his life. This serves basically to inform the reader of his new/ old history that has come about as a result of merging with his New 52 counterpart.

We are treated to a recap of some of Superman’s defining moments, from his first appearance where he saves Lois to his death at the hands of Doomsday, and on to the birth of Jon and his present circumstances. His new history is a mix of everything, with Superman seeing his younger self in his iconic red briefs, his Superman Red/ Blue outfits and even the New 52 armour and the black suit and beard from Lois and Clark.

While everything he sees resonates with him as being true and accurate, he feels that something is missing. The general consensus seems to be that this is probably Conner Kent as we knew him before New 52, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s entirely possible– even probable– but I’m not making assumptions.

All in all, it was a good week. It looks like Marvel will be taking a page from DC’s book with their Legacy event. I certainly hope so. I grew up loving both Marvel nd DC, but especially Marvel. Much of what they have done over the last several years has left me with no desire to read their books, but if they can right the ship in the same fashion that DC has, I might have to find a way to increase my comic budget.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and views on anything going on in comics right now. Theories, observations or reviews are all welcome.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Craig

 

I Need Elite Dangerous on PS4!

Ok, seriously now. Ever since they announced Elite Dangerous on PS4 I have been waiting for more information, but there has been precious little. I am really looking forward to this game, though. It has been too long since I’ve had a really good space game. I had been hoping that No Man’s Sky would be an awesome game, but sadly, it just wasn’t. I know it’s popular to hate on the game, but I won’t do that. I actually didn’t hate it at all. It just wasn’t what I expected or wanted. Elite Dangerous, however, seems to be much more in line with those expectations.

One of the first games to really make me feel the scope and size of space was Klingon Academy. I love the way I could warp into the Sol system, aim my ship at Earth, go to maximum Impulse speed and then walk away for an hour only to come back and find I’d made less than 10% progress in my journey. That might sound boring (and it really isn’t something that I recommend doing) but the point is it let me see just how big space is. At sub-light speed, I just wasn’t going to get anywhere because space is huge.

You might be thinking “well, duh,” but up until that point, I hadn’t really played any games that let you feel that size. Everyone knows space is big, but to actually feel it in the game was pretty impressive to me at the time.  Elite Dangerous, which is modelled on our actual galaxy, seems to have that scope. Tales abound of the lengthy trip to one of the game’s destinations, Hutton Orbital. Like in my Klingon Academy example, it seems that players must simply aim at the station and then sit back and wait. One can’t walk away from the game however, because being even slightly off-course could take you far from your destination.

Elite Dangerous has been adding on quite a bit of content, though there are still the complaints of “nothing to do” in the game, other than transporting goods or exploring. It would be great to see more of a narrative side added to the game, but I don’t know what is planned for the future. I’m hoping, however, that with the addition of actual character models, players will be able to eventually leave their ship and explore on foot or interact with others. If Elite could develop along the lines of what we are seeing in store for Star Citizen, I would be ecstatic. You might as why I don’t just wait for Star Citizen. That’s a fair question, to which I would say that I can’t afford a top-of-the-line computer to play one game. Elite will run on the PS4 that I already own.

So far, the release date has not been narrowed down beyond Quarter 2. That’s fine though, as it will allow me to finish some other stuff before it arrives. I’m sure that once I get ahold of it, Elite will be taking up most of my free time.

What is your favourite space game? If it is an older one, are you still playing it? Would you like to see it updated? I’d love to see a new version of Klingon Academy, with the same gameplay, but updated graphics.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Craig

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This Week’s Reads: April 19

Now, this was a good week. Not only were there a number of things I picked up (more than usual, anyway), but there was virtually nothing that I was reading just out of habit. Every issue was one I was looking forward to and none of them disappointed. We are finally moving forward with the overall Rebirth storyline, beyond just little hints and throwaway panels.

Superwoman #9

Steel Resolve  Lana Lang’s life may have been saved by Superman, but is it at the cost of being Superwoman?     By Perkins and Segovia

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Nightwing #19

Nightwing Must Die!  Nightwing comes face to face with Deathwing again as he races to save Robin from Dr. Hurt     By Seeley , Fernandez and Jung

Justice League #19

Timeless part 5  Caught between Molly and Tempus, the Justice League fight to save the Earth and themselves. By Hitch and Pasarin

Super Sons #3

When I Grow Up part 3  Superboy and Robin together against Kid Amazo, but first they must learn how to stop fighting one another…    By Tomasi and Jiminez

Trinity #8

The Truth About Superman  Superman shares the tale of what happened to him during Superman Reborn with Wonder Woman and Batman, but can even this trio find a way to oppose the forces that have been manipulating time and reality? By Bunn and Lupacchino

Aquaman #21

H2.O  part 3  Aquaman and Mera venture into the source of H2.O, but can they discover the truth in time to save the Aquamarines from Dead Water? By Abnett and Eaton

Batwoman #2

The Many Arms of Death part 2  On the trail of the Monster Venom, Batwoman returns to the criminal haven of Coryana, facing both her past and her future… By Bennet and Epting

Superman #21

Black Dawn part 2  With Batman missing, Superman teams with Robin and Superboy in a search for him, but instead encounter the deepening mystery of Hamilton County. By Tomasi, Gleason and Godlewski

Batman #21

The Button part 1  Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash has returned, and he wants revenge on Batman for the actions of Thomas Wayne. Meanwhile, the mystery of the button grows deeper. By King and Fabok

 

Spoilers Follow

Ok, so this is what I have been waiting for. Things are finally about to start revealing themselves. After months of either subtle hints or worse, no information whatsoever, the storyline of Rebirth is moving forward. Justice League, Superman, Batman, and Trinity all drop some info on the event that is now in at the start of year two. Continued references to Jon Kent being “more than you know” are dropped, while the Kent’s neighbours in Hamilton county are revealed to not only have knowledge of Jon and his abilities but also have as-yet-unspecified plans for him. They are also shown to be responsible for him not being able to fully manifest his abilities as yet.

As I have previously mentioned, I am not personally thrilled with the idea that 10-year-old Jon is (seemingly) one of the most important figures in this storyline, or that he is, according to Batman, more powerful than Superman. To me, it is just not terribly logical and I find also that after the effort that was made to bring Superman back to his former glory, Jon being so special and so powerful kind of pushes Superman into a secondary role. Even when I went through my phase of being less enamored of Superman, I still maintained that he is and should be DC’s preeminent character.

The Button part one is what I was probably looking forward to the most this week and I was pleasantly surprised. I have been commenting repeatedly lately that Tom King’s interpretation of Batman is definitely not my favourite, but in this issue, I find that he was was handled quite well. As a bonus, he didn’t come across as either crazy or suicidal, which was a welcome change. I have to admit that, while some people absolutely hate it, seeing the Comedian’s iconic blood-stained button in Batman’s hands did manage to elicit an excited response from me.

Super Sons continues to be a fun read and if it continues in this manner, it might just be responsible for me beginning to (gasp) like Damian Wayne. I never thought I would write something like that, but here we are… I think that his interactions with Jon are helping him learn how to be a child, which is something that he truly needs.

As I read Trinity, I found myself wondering about the ongoing retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin in her own book. Here, in Trinity, she is able to sympathise with Clark’s recent experiences as she has herself come face-to-face with the knowledge that someone has been manipulating her past and her memories. I am not sure if that will be tied into the greater Rebirth storyline, or if those manipulations have happened apart from this major crossover. I’m not sure if it is easier or harder to retell her story during Rebirth and the changes it is causing/ will cause.

Batwoman has been more enjoyable than I expected. I truthfully didn’t know too much about her before she joined the cast of Detective, but I liked her there and I find I am also liking her quite a bit in her own book, even though it is probably a bit early to form an opinion, given that it is only two issues in so far.

There are still so many questions waiting to be resolved. I want to know more about Saturn Girl, who is presently stuck in Arkham Asylum. I want to learn more about how Superman’s history has re-written itself. I want to know if the Joker has been split into 3 in the same way that Superman was split, or are there actually 3 different Jokers? And if so, is one the original?

I know I have said this before, but I am truly hoping that Rebirth will see the return of the real Captain Marvel, though I haven’t heard anything about that yet. Given recent comments by Jon Bogdanove regarding the potential return of Superman’s red briefs, however, I am choosing to believe that anything is possible and that DC is genuinely interested in recapturing the feel of days gone by.

Do you have any thoughts on where this story is going? What will be the result of it all once the dust settles? Why is Dr. Manhattan (presumably) doing all of this?

Please share your thoughts below!

Craig

Becoming a Superhero!

The Pulse-Pounding Origin!

From my earliest memories, I had two life goals: become a writer and become a superhero. I had everything all planned out; I was going to train in martial arts for several years, then I would make a costume for myself (in the classic red and blue). Finally, I would introduce myself to the local police and let them know that I was going to be helping them to apprehend all the villains of the city.

This was my honest goal. I was fully convinced that this would be how I lived my life, writing novels by day and fighting crime by night. In my childhood understanding of the universe, wanting something was enough to know that you would eventually have it. I didn’t consider any alternatives because I didn’t need to.

As the years went by, life interfered with those plans. I never did learn martial arts beyond a few week’s worth of judo, but I did design my costume. It was pretty snazzy, too, so it is a shame that I was never able to make use of it. It also should have been evident that I wouldn’t really become a crime-fighter given that I always needed to toss a dog biscuit down the stairs into the basement before going down, so that my dog would lead the way and distract any monsters living there while I ran and grabbed whatever I needed.

By the time I was a teenager, a secret identity may have been useful. I was rather shy and so having a mask to hide behind may have been liberating in some ways, but it never really happened. The closest I came to heroics in those days was to take up archery and swordplay in an attempt to emulate Robin Hood.

Throughout those years, I was reading a lot of comics. I still had the dreams of being a hero, but had now resigned myself to living vicariously through Spider-Man, Batman and others. It was also around that time that I started to play various role-playing games. I loved the Marvel Super Heroes game, but even when I played Dungeons & Dragons, I would often play a Paladin, the epitome of the “good guy” in that game. When I joined a group that played other, darker games like Shadowrun, I still played my character as someone with a strong moral code, often with outfits that bordered on superhero costumes.

As an adult, I never lost my love of superheroes and still wanted to do something in life that would let me help people. I ran through a number of career options, ranging from doctor to police officer, but for various reasons never pursued any of them (that other dream of being a writer was still on my mind through it all). When the late, great MMO City of Heroes appeared on the scene, I fell in love. I was able to design my character, design his uniform, choose his powers, and then go fight all manner of super villains. I figured that this was as close as I would ever get to being a hero (aside from maybe virtual reality at some point).

Then the magic happened.

A Hero This Way Comes!

When my first son was born, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (the other highest point being the birth of my second). I was thrilled with this new addition to my family and looked forward to all the amazing things we would be doing in the future. One of those things, of course, would be sharing a love of comics and superheroes. I didn’t expect that my son would allow me to become more of a hero than I ever imagined.

Heroes
Family heroics

My boys have friends who have, sadly, grown up without their dads. In some cases, the dad left when they were young. In other cases, they left before the kids had the chance to know them. In far too many other cases, the dads are at home, but almost completely uninvolved in the lives of their kids.

My family is everything to me. They are the reason that I wake up each morning. They are the reason I want to better myself, so that I can provide more for them. I am far from a perfect dad; I have a temper at times, I can sometimes be too lenient and other times be too harsh, and then there are times where work keeps me away from them more than I want, but when I am with them, I try to be with them.

I like to think that I have a pretty good relationship with my boys. Again, it’s not perfect, but I don’t know if that  is even possible. Maybe it’s not even desirable. After all, having flaws and difficulties that we can strive to overcome lets us teach our kids how to do the same. My boys know that life is messy. It’s hard. It’s not always fun. They also know that the most important thing is to love and support one another.

At a point in my life when I had stopped thinking it was possible to be a hero, I became one, simply by doing my best to be a good father. This is something that any parent can do as well. If you want to be a hero, then be there for your kids. Your TV shows can wait. Your cell phone can be put down for a while. Things can wait. Your kids need you. Being a parent is hard work, but it is also the only way most of us will ever get to experience being a hero.

Growing up, I thought that being a hero was about saving lives. That certainly does qualify, but we often underestimate the effect we can have by simply being present in a life. We can guide our kids, make them better than we are. We can build an amazing future simply by raising amazing kids. Any one of us could raise a child to be a president or prime minister. Maybe a scientist or a doctor. Maybe an astronaut. Maybe just someone who is in the right place at the right time to help someone who needs them.

If we all do that, we can all be heroes, and the world can be the kind of place we have only dreamed about.

Craig

From virtually no tech skills to my own site! Learn how you can do it too!

This Week’s Reads: April 12

Posting this a bit late (again). It has been a bit of a busy week, involving job hunting and changing my son’s daycare. I picked up a few things to read on Wednesday, but only got around to actually reading them yesterday. I’ve been reading a couple of books lately and they kind of distracted me from my comics, and I have also been focusing on trying to do some of my own writing again, but it’s taking a little while to get into the swing of things.

What I picked up:

Justice League of America #4

The Extremist Agenda: finale  Batman and co. against the Extremists led by Lord Havok      By Orlando and Reis

The Flash #20

Agent of Black Hole Iris West goes undercover after the bodies of dead speedsters are stolen, and a traitorous former ally of the Flash is revealed. By Williamson and Googe.

Supergirl #8

Family of Tomorrow  Superman comes to visit Kara again for the first time and together they must face the threat of the Emerald Empress. By Orlando and Bergara

Titans #10

Made in Manhattan: finale  Nightwing and Flash have been captured. Can the other Titans manage to save them and thwart the Fearsome Five? By Abnett and Booth

Detective Comics #954

League of Shadows part 4. Batman must decide whether he trusts Ra’s al Ghul enough to accept his aid in defeating the League of Shadows, but will Ra’s end up using the League to destroy him? By Tynion IV and Takara.

Wonder Woman #20

Godwatch part 3. Cale calls upon the aid of Circe in an attempt to strike back against Phobos and Deimos. By Rucka and Evely.

Action Comics #977 

The New World part 1. On the heels of his recent encounter with Mr Mxyzptlk and his merger with his New 52 self, Superman examines his entire history from his escape from Krypton to the present day in search of answers about what has changed in his life and the universe around him. By Jurgens and Churchill.

 

Spoilers Follow

By far, my favourite weeks are those where Action, Detective and Wonder Woman come out and this week was no exception. The weakest of my reads this week was JLA and I must say that now that I have made it through the first story arc, I expect I will be dropping it. I love Batman as a character, but when he isn’t well-written, then I tend to find him annoying and that is the case here. JLA just doesn’t do much for me. The concept of the title is pretty illogical to me and I am not really digging the team that was put together, though I have nothing against any of the characters individually. Titans continues to be a fun book, though it’s pretty light fare. I keep hoping for more, given Wally’s involvement in the meta plot of Rebirth, but hopefully now that we are in year 2 of Rebirth, they will kick it up a notch. The book is pretty good, however, even if I am torn as to which lineup of Titans I like best. I like this group, but I also really liked the group as presented in the cartoon series (though I greatly dislike Teen Titans Go, ugh).

Flash was pretty good this week, but as always, I find that the actual super heroics lack a bit of excitement given how powerful Flash can be. There have been a few instances of the villain or threat of a particular issue being defeated or subdued on a single page. Then again, there are other times that he gets caught off guard, which should be all but impossible. I think Flash’s powers vary according to plot more that almost any other hero’s.

Wonder Woman is now having the Truth and Godwatch storylines come together in a great manner. If you are not reading Wonder Woman, you should correct that error at your earliest opportunity. That’s not to say that the story is without flaws, but overall, I am enjoying it quite a bit.  I’m hoping that the upcoming movie will portray her as well as Rucka’s storylines do.

Action Comics and Supergirl both deal with the after-effects of the Superman Reborn storyline.I am not sure that I like everything they are doing right now, but I will hold off on judging.  The implication was that Superman (as seen in Lois and Clark) was the Superman of the post-Crisis Universe and was separate from the New 52 version. This seemed to work well given the fact that Wally West was another survivor from the old universe., as it allowed for precedence in explaining things. Now that we know that he was split into two entities which have been reunited, it raises the question of whether this has happened to all of the characters or not. As I mentined in a previous post, Batman and Catwoman have conflicting memories of their first encounter, with one of them remembering Frank Miller’s Year One and the other remembering their meeting back in the 40’s.

I don’t mind too much that Superman is now an amalgam of the two character histories, but I really hope that they explain what is now “real”. In Supergirl, he and Kara note that they have no memory of the last time they saw each other, but they have an extensive history. Likewise, Jon Kent and Kara seem to have a pretty solid relationship and knowledge of each other, despite never having met.

My two biggest hopes for Rebirth remain a review and cleaning up of Batman’s history, and the restoration of Captain Marvel. I think the former is possible, perhaps even likely, but I am afraid that the second will not come to pass and that makes me very, very sad. I am keeping some hope, however, that DC will do the right thing.

As always, I would love to hear thoughts and comments on what you are reading and your theories regarding what lies ahead.

 

Craig