Mash-Up Annual 2019

It’s my birthday so I thought I’d do something a little different – a summer annual featuring multiple stories, all hosted by the ever watchful eye of . . . the Manhattan Monitor!

Enjoy, people, and normal service will resume after my holidays.

Sunday Reviews

AQUAMAN #49

Arthur finally gets his memories of Mera back, but they come with a twist – not only did she reveal her pregnancy to him, but his reaction (of wanting to slink off and think about things for a while) pissed her off so much that it looks like she flipped and accidentally killed him. That was the incident that meant him waking up without memories on the island of the old sea gods.

I’m in two minds about this series since DeConnick took over; it’s well written and the art’s usually good, but the whole amnesia/my wife’s pregnant story line just feels too familiar. How many times have we seen/read a scene where – DUN DUN DUUUUHHHH – the woman says “I’m pregnant!” in order to provide a plot point for the man? This, combined with the amnesia, just seems lazy.

BARBARELLA / DEJAH THORIS #4

The two heroines from different times work together to save the inhabitants of a water-filled Mars, sending them back through time to become their own ancestors and, along the way, ensuring the rise of the Red, Green and all the other Martians, of which Dejah is one.

This has a been a fun series; I’ve not encountered Leah Williams’s work before but this makes me want to track some more down. It’ll probably be collected at some point, and you could do worse than picking this up.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #26

As Martian Manhunter scans the Earth for Lex Luthor, many of the other Leaguers head to the House of Heroes where heroes from the multiverse have gathered to hear Superman and the World Forger ask for help in finding the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. Meanwhile, Hawkgirl and Mera set about training new heroes while Starman is trying to find the other pieces of the Totality.

This was slower paced than recent episodes, perhaps because James Tynion IV is writing rather than Scott Snyder, but there’s still the whole “the multiverse is dying!” thing which has been going on since forever. As much as I liked seeing the other heroes from the multiverse, this has been dragging on for such a long time now.

A WALK THROUGH HELL #11

We get glimpses of Shaw’s past, while in the present McGregor acts as Shaw’s guide in hell (or wherever they are) showing her what has happened to the agents who went before them, as well as Driscoll who reveals her own, mostly unwilling, part in this whole thing.

Man . . . one issue to go and I have no idea where or how this is going to end, but I’m suspecting something dark and nihilistic.

WARLORD OF MARS ATTACKS #1

The Martians from Mars Attacks – Moonheads as they’re called here – are in full-on attack mode, invading Helium and the other Barsoomian cities. Despite John Carter’s best attempts, the Moonheads are winning, forcing Dejah Thoris to sacrifice herself and Helium, destroying the entire city and most of the Moonheads in one huge explosion. Years later, on Earth, NASA celebrates the successful landing of a craft on Mars but no sooner do the pictures reach Earth than we see Moonheads destroying the landing craft. At the same time, somehow, they attack Earth in their flying saucers. The issue ends with one of the NASA scientists taking a handful of hostages toward Arizona.

I mentioned this when it was solicited back in March and, sure enough, it’s a 100mph ride that doesn’t let up. It’s fun and probably not going to be too serious for the rest of the mini-series so I’m glad I picked it up.

Sunday Reviews

It’s a DC heavy week this week.

AQUAMAN #44

Apart from a three page glimpse of Mera being set up to marry someone from a “worthy group of suitors” in Atlantis, we’re back with the amnesiac Arthur on an island that turns out to be populated by lesser gods of the seas from various mythologies. By issue’s end, it looks like Arthur either has his memories back or at least is on the way to it.

I know a new writer traditionally throws away most of the supporting cast created by the previous team but this is such a radical shift that it’s a little disconcerting for me right now.

FREEDOM FIGHTERS #2

On Earth-X, the new Freedom Fighters have their first big success against the Nazis; they clearly work well together as a team and it’s refreshing to see heroes being heroic. We get a glimpse of Adolf Hitler II as well, and I wonder if he’ll be revealed to be a super-villain as opposed to just the son of the original dictator? Maybe this world’s Kryptonian?

This is shaping up to be a good maxi-series.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #16

Secrets are revealed as Martian Manhunter is linked to some experimental splicing of human and Martian DNA; Thanagar’s wealth and opulence are revealed as being a lie perpetuated by the imprisoned Martian Keep using the Absorbascon; and Starman shows up at the end and takes something from Hawkwoman and gives it to Hawkgirl, completing her missing memories  and tells her it’s time to fix the Source Wall.

As entertaining as this is, there’s just so much crammed into every issue that I’m often left wondering what they’re referring to. Maybe the pacing could do with being slowed a little?

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: TEMPEST #4

Where to start? There’s an assassination attempt against M which doesn’t work out; the heroes from the far future are still running around; Mina Murray’s in the Blazing World and realises that Prospero is actually the bad guy who wants to destroy England and return the faerie creatures to the “real” world.

Can’t help thinking this is Alan Moore enjoying himself even more than normal, to the point where the story becomes secondary to the style of storytelling.

SHAZAM! #2

Billy and the other kids head to the first of the magical lands they’ve discovered and while everything looks like fun on the face of it, you can pretty much guarantee things are going to go wrong quickly. Part of that will likely be the reveal of King Kid who describes himself as “the missing seventh champion of the family!” But “Shazam” only has six letters, I hear you say. In a nice twist, it’s shown during the history of Mr Mind (who also gets a first name, by the way) that it “took the combined might of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury and ! to stop and contain” him.

Yep, the exclamation mark in SHAZAM! counts as one of the family, and King Kid is going to want in.

Two issues in, and I’m enjoying this.

 

Perusing Previews December 2017

Back on my old blog I used to take a look at Previews magazine and pick out things that caught my eye. So, because I’ve been busy as all feck this last week in work and haven’t had time to put any great thought into posting something, here’s some Previews perusings:

The Terrifics by Jeff Lemire will be on my pull list next year, partly because it’s Lemire and I like most of his stuff, but also because it’ll be featuring Tom Strong. Not only are the Watchmen joining the DCU, but now Tom Strong is, too!

Mera: Queen of Atlantis is also going on my list; I like Dan Abnett’s work on Aquaman so this mini-series is a definite.

Farewell to Blue Beetle as #18 will be the final issue; a shame as Chris Sebela never got to find his feet, really.

Okay, did anyone else see the trade paperback of Justice League Task Force turning up? What next – the Absolute Extreme Justice?

Talking of Chris Sebela, I’ll be giving him another go in Cold War, a new series from Aftershock who, with Animosity, Jimmy’s BastardsBabyteeth and others have yet to disappoint me.

And here’s the problem with the lead-in time to do comics – the whole Donal Trump/Covfefe thing happened back in May and we’re only now getting a comic on it?!

Dejah Thoris gets another stab at a title, this time as a prequel to A Princess of Mars. As I like a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs, I’ll be giving this a go.

And we’re heading back to the Legenderry world again with a Red Sonja mini-series. I enjoyed the original Legenderry story and the follow up mini series (with the exception of the absolutely god-awful The Precinct) so am willing to give this a go.

I know this is a “Living Dead Doll” but am I right to be creeped out by it?

Click on the above image – I know that translucent pole is meant to aid in the suggestion that young Potter is flying on his broom stick but surely they could have placed it in a better, more comfortable place? I’m surprised he can concentrate on the game with that thing up his arse.

And in the “If You’re A Grown Man Buying This, You Need To Have A Word With Yourself” category comes this delightful statue with the following description:

“The girl trembling in deep red is stained with the joy of pleasure of the bodily sensations from the rope that digs into her.”

Seriously, Japan – have a word.

And finally, to cleanse you from the previous image: hey look! There’s an evil BB-8 droid! Screw the Porgs, I want a BB-9E cookie jar!