GeekMom: Comic Book Corner—October 23rd, 2013

DC Universe versus the Masters of the Universe. copyright DC Comics and
DC Universe versus the Masters of the Universe. Image from DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, I learn a bit more about Spider-Man’s relationship with Gwen Stacy, Lisa journeys into Astro City, Sophie is excited about more X-Files comics coming in January, and Corrina looks at a few of DC’s offerings this week, including a battle between He-Man and Superman.

Dakster Sullivan—Spider-Man Blue by Jeph Loeb and art by Tim Sale

Spider-Man Blue  Image: Marvel ComicsSpider-Man Blue is the story of how Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy became an item. Any fan of Spider-Man pretty much knows how this story is going to end, but if you’re not familiar with the tragedy of Peter and Gwen’s relationship, no spoilers here, Peter spells it out for you early on.

I really enjoyed how writer Jeph Loeb chose to tell this story. Set after the events of Gwen’s death, Peter narrates the story by recording it on Uncle Ben’s old recorder.  In between remembrances of Gwen, however, there’s also plenty of Spidey righting wrongs and fighting villains like the Vulture, Kraven, The Hunter, The Lizard, and Green Goblin in order to offset some of the sadness.

Both the author, Jeph Loeb, and the artist, Tim Sale, did a nice job capturing the emotion of the characters as well as the heart of everything that happens. If I had to pin my favorite part, it would have to be the last scene with Peter and Gwen. Seeing the two of them embrace for the first time was simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. Before reading this story, I had no connection with Gwen and as bad as it sounds, I didn’t truly care that she died because Peter gets Mary Jane in the end. After reading this story, it breaks my heart to know that Peter could have had happiness with Gwen if only the Green Goblin hadn’t interfered.

If you’re looking for a Spider-Man story where you get a nice balance of action and heart, Spider-Man Blue is the story for you. Just remember to pick up a box of tissues for the more tragic moments. 

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Astro City #4  Image: Vertigo
Astro City #4 Image: Vertigo

Lisa Tate—Astro City #4 (Vertigo) by Kurt Busiek and Brent Eric Anderson
Vertigo’s Astro City has been one of the most consistent comics since its debut in 1995, with no small part due to the unbreakable team of writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Eric Anderson, all with nearly frame-worthy covers by Alex Ross.

I was hooked on this series from the very first issue with it’s retro travel design, well-paced stories, and a fresh feel to seemingly-classic heroes. Most of all, however, it was the very human look at superhuman beings and the universe they live in: Samaritan’s only escape from never-ending responsibilities is his dreams; Jack-in-the-Box’s worries about his son’s future; Steeljack’s handling of his aging body and feelings of regret.

Come to think of it, Astro City’s 1998 1/2 special, “The Nearness of You,” is the first comic that actually moved me to tears, it was that beautiful and heartbreaking.

The current run of Astro City’s is no exception, and the latest issue, Astro City #4, certainly emphasizes the “human” in superhuman. Told through the eyes of telekinetic Mattie “Sully” Sullivan, who has used her powers in the motion picture industry for years, we learn of a group of ordinary people with extraordinary skills who have opted to use their powers in occupations that don’t involve being a hero or villain: art, music, legal work, etc. When Mattie and the others get taken hostage by a supervillain wanting to tap into their abilities, Mattie is forced to temporarily step into a hero role.

I really feel drawn into this world with every issue. It is so fantastic and out-of-the-ordinary, yet so real and down-to-earth. I always finish an issue feeling I’ve actually visited a real place, took in the sites and conversed with the “locals.” That, to me, is what makes a reading experience fulfilling.

Sophie Brown—Multiple X-Files Titles Launching in January

New comic book releases are usually publicised so far in advance of their release (see the publicity for January’s Serenity series) that the it’s rare for us to get a surprise.

That’s why it was such a shock for me when I visited IDW’s January products page on Previews World. Instead of seeing the one X-Files issue whose cover I had been heading over to peruse, I was instead looking at four different X-Files comics all due out in the same month: issue #8 of the ongoing The X-Files Season 10, a “Director’s Cut” of #1 (which will contain all the issue’s variant covers and the comic’s script), The X-Files Conspiracy #1, and The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters #1. IDW branded this multi-issue launch as “the event of the year!”

The plot of Conspiracy sounds like the most insane piece of fanfiction I’ve ever read, and believe me when I tell you I have read a LOT of X-Files fanfiction. The Lone Gunmen discover “internet files from the future” which will see them investigating the Ghostbusters, the Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and The Crow.

Yes, there is now an official X-Files/Transformers crossover happening—suddenly that fanfic I’ve been writing where Scully becomes a vampire sounds infinitely plausible. The numbering is a little unclear but The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters, scheduled to be released two weeks later, appears to be the second part of this story and sees the Gunmen investigating the Ghostbusters, their first lead in this crazy ongoing plot.

I have no idea what this crossover event will entail but I’m excited for it. I always loved the sillier episodes of The X-Files and have read some pretty bizarre crossover fiction over the years (X-Files/Doctor Horrible anyone?) so to have some official craziness is fine by me, providing it stays nicely away from my beloved canon.

I suppose I’m going to have to go and watch The Crow now, aren’t I?

Corrina—DC Universe versus Masters of the Universe #2, Justice League #24 (Forever Evil), Justice League Dark #24 (Forever Evil)

Speaking of odd crossovers, first up for me is DC Universe versus Masters of the Universe AKA He-Man and friends versus the Justice League, plotted by Keith Giffen, scripted by Tony Bedard, and drawn by Dexter Soy.

This was my favorite comic issue this week and I’m not even a big He-Man fan. Prince Adam and crew have been banished to our Earth, where he has a reunion with his mother, and John Constantine helps them seek out the Justice League. I know! John Constantine, Batman, Superman, and He-Man all in the same issue. Surprisingly, it works, with Skeletor as the main villain who, in true villain fashion, mind controls the League and sets in motion a fight between Adam and Superman.

This felt like an old-school Multiple Earths crossover from DC days gone by. I must seek out issue #1.

Meanwhile, over in the regular DC Universe, the Crime Syndicate is still in control of Earth. JL #24 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis tells the origin of the evil Superman, Ultraman. It’s pretty much what you’d guess it would be, with warped versions of Kryptonian and Earth parents. The story picks up a bit when Ultraman attacks the Daily Planet and yells at Jimmy for not being evil, and Lois and Jimmy try to defend themselves. They’re saved by someone wearing a cape and flying but not who you’d guess in a nice splash panel by Reis. But, hint, the rescuer is one of Johns’ favorites.

Justice League Dark by J.M. DeMatteis and Mikel Janin checks in with John Constantine, seemingly the lone survivor of the magical version of the League. The wisecracking, cynical Constantine hasn’t ever been a favorite, but it’s an interesting story as he tries to come to grips with heroism and his place in it. The art is very nice and I appreciate the effort to keep the sexualization to a minimum. Zatanna looks gorgeous without being over-the-top. This book kicks off a magical crossover called “Blight” that will last for 18 chapters. Not sure I’m sold on that but DeMatteis, one of my favorite writers from years back, appears to be in fine form with this beginning.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Absolute Joker Luthor HC
Adventures Of Superman #6
All-Star Western #24
Aquaman #24
Arrow #12
Batgirl Vol. 2 Knightfall Descends TP
Batgirl Vol. 3 Death Of The Family HC
Batman The Dark Knight #24
Beware The Batman #1 KF10
Catwoman #24
DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe #2 (Of 6) GM
Fables Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition HC
Flash #24
Fraction TP
Green Team Teen Trillionaires #5 GM
Injustice Gods Among Us #10
Justice League #24 GM
Justice League Dark #24
Larfleeze #4
MAD Magazine #524
Red Lanterns #24
Suicide Squad Vol. 3 Death Is For Suckers TP
Superman #24
Talon #12
Teen Titans #24 GM
Tom Strong And The Planet Of Peril #4 (Of 6)
Unwritten #54
Vertigo Essentials The Sandman #1
Daredevil #32
Deadpool Kills Deadpool #1 (Of 4)
FF #13
Indestructible Hulk #14
Infinity Heist #2 (Of 4)
Infinity The Hunt #3 (Of 4)
Iron Man #17
Journey Into Mystery Featuring Sif Vol. 2 Seeds Of Destruction TP
Kick-Ass 3 #1 (Of 8)
Marvel Masterworks Sgt. Fury Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Now What #1
Nova #9 GM
Savage Wolverine #10
Secret Avengers #10
Spider-Man Life In The Mad Dog Ward TP
Superior Carnage #4 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #5
Thor Epic Collection War Of The Pantheons TP
Thunderbolts #17
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #28
Uncanny Avengers #13
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 The Apocalypse Twins HC
Venom #42
Wolverine And The X-Men #37 GM
X-Men X-Corps TP
Young Avengers #11
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Crow Curare #3 (Of 3)
Doctor Who #14
Doctor Who Omnibus Vol. 2 TP
Fever Ridge A Tale Of MacArthur’s Jungle War #4 (Of 8)
G.I. JOE America’s Elite Disavowed Vol. 1 TP
Haunted Horror #7
Judge Dredd #12
Judge Dredd Year One TP
My Little Pony Pony Tales Vol. 1 TP GM KF10
Other Dead #2 (Of 5)
Powerpuff Girls Classics Vol. 1 Power Party TP KF10
Rocketeer The Spirit Pulp Friction #2 (Of 4)
Samurai Jack #1 (Of 5)
Star Trek #26
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 The Complete Series HC GM
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #4 KF10
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 6 City Fall Part 1 TP
Transformers Last Stand Of The Wreckers HC
Transformers Regeneration One #95
True Blood Vol. 6 Here We Go Again HC
Vitriol The Hunter TP
Zombie War #1 (Of 2)
Answer TP
Conan And The People Of The Black Circle #1 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #29
Hellboy The Midnight Circus HC
Kiss Me Satan #2 (Of 5)
Mass Effect Foundation #4
Massive #16
Mind MGMT #16
Star Wars #3 GM
Star Wars Legacy II #8

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading / KF10 = Kid-Friendly for 10-years old and younger

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Dakster Sullivan is a network administrator by day and a cosplayer by night. She loves discovering new books to read, tech to play with, and ways to express her herself. She has anxiety and depression and strives to educate others about these invisible illnesses.