Nightmares and dreaming are the big themes this week in #1 issues, as are old memories. We’ve got a nightmarish version of Edgar Allen Poe, a reboot of a golden sci-fi classic, two different tales of dangerous dreams invading real life, and a little bit of the Avengers, to boot!
First up this week is Dream Merchant #1 from Nathan Edmondson (Olympus, Who is Jake Ellis?) and new artist Konstantin Novosadov. When Winslow was young, he had a vivid recurring dream that he was flying across a fantastical barren landscape. As he grew into a young man, he had a harder and harder time telling when he was dreaming this amazing dream and when he was awake. Now living in a mental hospital, Winslow’s life is suddenly shattered when nightmarish figures from his dreams emerge in real life and try to destroy him. Forced to go on the run, he’s joined by a young hospital worker, Anne, a rather naive young woman who describes herself as a former “juvenile delinquent.” She and Winslow have been having a bit of a jailhouse flirtation, and when he comes under attack she is all too eager to help him, just for “the adventure.” The main flaw with Anne seems to stem not from the way the character is written, but how she’s drawn. Winslow is tall, gaunt, and rarely smiling, and has a haunted appearance, as well he should. Anne is rather mousy, drawn with bobbed short hair and a fashion sense like a woman much older than her. Her look doesn’t seem to fit a wild child, free spirit she claims to be, ready to take an escaped patient on an adventure through a lucid dream. Overall, it is difficult to understand her motivations. The two are joined by The Dream Merchant, they mysterious old man who promises to explain all and teach Winslow to “hide in his dreams.” The Dream Merchant is a Jungian figure, managing to be both mysterious and frightening, and his unusual presence helps shape the books climactic ending. This double sized issue was gripping, if a little off center, and will be one worth following. Continue reading
I wrote fan fiction before I even knew it had a name, and before I had the Internet. In notebooks or on a hand-me-down laptop with Word Perfect and Paint, I wrote terrible self-insertion Charmed fic. Later, when I did get online, I found the official message board for the short-lived show Birds of Prey. It was amazing: I could share fanfic, play RPGs, rehash its thirteen episodes again and again. Shortly after, came Mutant X and I started posting to a few more message boards, even moderating and creating my own ones. To say I was a fangirl would have been an understatement. I spent hours and hours editing clips of season 3 of Mutant X to my favorite songs, even before YouTube. I had to send these videos to a friend who could afford to pay for a domain. Looking back, I am really impressed with my young self. These days, I don’t have the patience to make videos, or even wallpapers.
Birds of Prey, image via Wikipedia
I’m not sure when my attention to these shows started to dwindle. I visited fewer and fewer message boards, abandoned my fanfics, and my friend let her domain expire, losing all my carefully crafted vids. At that point, even though I was still a fan, my tastes had changed. I became obsessed with The West Wing and, for some odd reason, films from the 1940s. I made videos about George Lucas and Aaron Sorkin for school projects, and made Studio 60 t-shirts with my best friend. So much of how we express our fandom experience is about connecting with other people. Perhaps, as I found friends offline with whom I could talk about my favorite TV shows and movies, that was why I wasn’t drawn to FF.net anymore.
But in the last few years, I started getting sucked back into the online fandom experience, just as it was starting to get huge. Instead of instant messages and discussion boards, fans now have Twitter and Tumblr to process various obsessions. Twitter makes watching TV shows live more fun with specialty hashtags, some so popular that even the show runners and writers of some shows use the hashtags in their tweets. Continue reading
Zenescope are at it again with Robyn Hood: Wanted #1, kicking off the second arc of Robyn Locksley’s tale. Robyn is a woman from our world, who’s been transported to the magical realm of Myst and becomes the female version of the famous archer. What’s so disappointing about this book, though, isn’t the storytelling or the way the female lead is treated. The narrative here is well crafted, written exactly the way the beginning of a sequel should be. Robyn has returned to Earth after defeating the evil King John, but here she’s a hunted woman, wanted for murder by people who don’t understand her true heroic nature. Writer Patrick Shand (Angel, Godstorm) has created a warrior with a lot of pent up anger, which she directs at her long abusive father. Artist Larry Watts draws Robyn as a gritty young woman with little flash, more a compact blond ball of anger than a bombshell in the traditional sense. Zenescope’s standard, sexualized treatment of its characters is present, largely on the cover of the book, but it’s all made worse by the incentive covers gallery, featuring a limited edition cover picturing Robyn completely nude except for her bow and arrow. This kind of marketing makes it hard to take an otherwise OK book seriously. Continue reading
What’s the best day of the year? FREE Comic Book Day! Over 50 different, free comics were available this past Saturday, but which ones really stood out? That’s what we’re here for, my fellow geeks!
Arcana Comics had one of the best female characters of the day in The Steam Engines of Oz. Victoria lives deep in the bowels of The Emerald City of the Future, where she helps keep the cogs clean and the gears running smoothly for the great city, now ruled by The Tin Man. But is he the kind and loving fellow we remember? Victoria is also something of a jailer, bringing food and comforts to several unique characters living in cells far beneath the city. But when the (maybe good, maybe not) Witch of the North shows Victoria the ever-expanding Emerald City metropolis destroying the Land of Oz, she persuades Victoria to try and get the Tin Man to see reason. Victoria is an intelligent and resourceful young woman, who is rapidly losing the naivete of youth as her adventure shows her that the darkness below the streets of the Emerald City extends to the land above. Continue reading
It’s an exciting week for lovers of comics, with our favorite holiday happening tomorrow, Free Comic Book Day! In the run up, there are loads of new #1 issues on the shelves. Which ones will you shell out cash for, alongside your ample pile of freebies this weekend? Let’s take a look at what’s worth your money, and what isn’t.
The indie producers are hitting solid home-runs this week, with Dark Horse leading the pack. Their first is the best offering this week, Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #1, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve reviewed this once before! Or have I? After the previous success of the miniseries and the Victories’ appearances in Dark Horse Presents, Oeming (co-creator of Powers) is bringing his dark cast of super heroes to their own ongoing monthly series. Here, the darkness just gets darker, in a very literal sense: the lights have gone out across most of the world, as power shortages leave humanity in the darkest of new ages. The Victories have taken to the streets to protect the innocent, and old enemies are waiting for them. This new story is focused on a different member of The Victories than the original mini-series, which delved into the troubled past of the young hero known as Faustus. Here, we get a very personal insight into the young heroine D.D. Mau. Like Faustus, she is dealing with deep personal insecurities that affect her heroic exploits. D.D.’s super human abilities make her strong and incredibly fast, but if she rests – even to sleep- she undergoes enormous weight gain. Every morning, she must get back to super heroic activity as quickly as possible to restore herself to what she thinks she should look like. Oeming’s single portrayal of D.D. at her heaviest is shown only in a mirrored reflection, fully illustrating the sadness she feels over her physical condition. The visual brings home the term “body image” in a solemn way, but D.D. is in something of a state of denial. She’s content to run off her excess weight day after day, knowing that pushing her super abilities is likely to get her killed. D.D. just doesn’t have herself or the world figured out yet, a young woman who’s brash, foulmouthed, and even a touch homophobic. Her previously depicted sexual trysts with Faustus are as much an escape from herself and reality for her as we saw them to be for Faustus, in the previous series. Ultimately, she’s a flawed and very human super hero, and just the type of character we’d expect from Oeming’s gritty exploration of the genre. Continue reading
It’s a slower than usual week for new stories, but a plentiful one if you’re seeking out great female characters. Almost every #1 issue I looked at this week features a woman as the main character, from plucky assassins to spoiled young adult children of super-heroes. Although, I’m afraid, the word pants pops again quite a bit this week: a lack of pants, more specifically. But does this mean these aren’t all positive portrayals? Let’s find out.
First up this week is Amala’s Blade #1. I made brief mention of the prequel issue #0 a few weeks back, and upon reread for this week I’ve found its charm growing on me. In her first full issue here, Amala has matured a great deal. The most sought after and skilled assassin in her realm, Alama’s skills are in as much demand as her head. Sadly, she feels her head isn’t on quite straight, tormented as she is by the ghosts of those she’d killed. Now, the masters who feel she’s grown to boisterous for their liking are sending her on a suicide mission. Being boisterous, though, is exactly what makes Amala such an appealing character, here and in her previous adventures in Dark Horse Presents. More than capable of holding her own in a fight, Amala is also teaching her friend Ren swordplay. (Although why she also falls into his arms and kisses him is beyond me, however.) It’s not so much surrendering her power over to her emotional engagement, but that it’s so ham-handed that it just seems out of place in the narrative. This book has considerably less charm than its #0 prequel, and we’ll have to wait and see if the ongoing series recovers. Continue reading