GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 20th, 2013

Gail Simone, Jim Calafiore, Kickstarter
Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone & Jim Calafiore. Copyright Simone & Calafiore.

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 we have a wide variety of books including Leaving Megalopolis by the team of writer Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore, Molly Danger, DC: The New FrontierDivas, Dames, & Daredevils, and Mouse Guard! 

Corrina–Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore; Batwoman #25 by Mark Andreyko and Trevor McCarthy

Re: Leaving Megalopolis

Omigod, the feels in this book.

Leaving Megalopolis is a hardcover, full-length graphic novel that was published via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $100,000. I had very little idea of what the book would be about as I backed the project on the strength of the creative team.

I was blown away by the intensity, sadness, sacrifice, love, and honor in this story. It may be the best thing Simone has ever written and the art by Calafiore is beautiful, terrifying, and awe-inspiring, ranging from facial close-ups to massive craters to monsters to a city crumbling into pieces.

The story is exactly what the title says it is: A small group of survivors band together reluctantly to try and get out of the city which has been overrun and destroyed by the heroes who used to protect it. Why the heroes turned evil, why the police officer leading them is so reluctant to help, and how others react to their city being destroyed is all part of the story. There’s also a quiet back-up tale with a former human sidekick (no powers) helping out a girl who’s stumbled into his former lair.

At times, this book broke my heart. But somehow, even with the tragedy and sense of loss that’s interspersed through the book, there are still flashes of heroism that were just enough to give me hope.

Simone’s been tweeting the graphic novel will be available at some point via regular publishing channels. I hope so. This story deserves to be read by as many people as possible.

Batwoman #25 is the first story by the new creative team, after J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman left the title over the refusal of DC Comics to allow Kate (Batwoman) Kane to marry the love of her life, Det. Maggie Sawyer. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this issue, particularly as it’s a flashback to the “Zero Year” when Batman first appeared in Gotham.

And it sure brought some surprises. Kate’s background has been somewhat revised. Once a supposed distant cousin of Bruce Wayne, she’s now his first cousin, via his mother, Martha Kane. Kate’s home from West Point for the funeral of their mutual uncle, Philip, and attends a wake at Wayne Manor, where it’s clear she, her sister Bette, and Bruce are fairly close, if not exactly buddies. Kate even talks of a family curse, pointing to Bruce’s dead parents, and her own (presumed) dead sister and mother.

But all that is prologue as Kate, wanting to do something to help during the blackout, borrows one of Bruce’s motorcycles to try and keep the peace. In doing so, she briefly encounters one Maggie Sawyer, then a volunteer from the Metropolis Police Force.

It’s a good story, though I can’t decide whether tying Kate to Bruce more closely is a good thing or not. Kate’s always been very much her own person, though she wears the Bat-symbol, and I’m worried this will make her more of an adjunct to Bruce rather than a hero in her own right. We’ll see. It certainly adds another element to the Batwoman/Batman fight that ended in a cliffhanger with issue #24.

 

DC: The New Frontier (issue 6 cover) Image: DC Comics
DC: The New Frontier (issue 6 cover) Image: DC Comics

Dakster Sullivan — DC: The New Frontier Vol. 2 by Darwyn Cooke and Dave Stewart

After being slightly disappointed in DC: The New Frontier, Volume 1, I picked up Volume 2 in the hope that it would involve less politics and more heroic action. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed and Volume 2 brought all the heat that I felt was missing from Volume 1.

For the most part, the story centers around Hal Jordan, Martian Manhunter, and Superman, with Wonder Woman and the Flash getting honorable mentions.

Batman has a very small role in this story and I can’t say I missed him that much. His lack of involvement allows the writers to bring other characters, like Flash and Wonder Woman, into the spotlight in his place.

I grew to hate a few of the characters but the writers had a way of pulling at the heartstrings at the very last minute—which left me mourning instead of celebrating their deaths. One scene in particular, with Martian Manhunter, proved that a male losing a male friend could force a hero into action just as much as the loss of a female friend could.

The art style had the same beauty as Volume One and the writing, especially Superman’s, made the characters feel real in the World War II era.

I almost wish the stories wouldn’t end so I could watch Hal Jordan grow as a Green Lantern and watch as Martin Manhunter grows more into his new role as a hero on Earth.

There wasn’t a ton of violence in DC: The New Frontier Volume 2, so I feel comfortable recommending it for anyone ages 10 and up.

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

Divas, Dames, and Daredevils
© Exterminating Angel Press

Kelly Knox — Divas, Dames, & Daredevils by Mike Madrid

After chatting briefly with author Mike Madrid at this year’s GeekGirlCon, I decided to check out his new book Divas, Dames, & Daredevils: Lost Heroines of Golden Age Comics, an exploration of the forgotten heroines that hit the funny pages even before Wonder Woman did. I wish now I’d caught his panel at the convention — the book is a compelling discussion of comic heroines of the 1940s that are no longer lost to time thanks to this fascinating read.

Not only does Madrid include commentary about the Golden Age time period itself, he introduces us to a cast of characters that run from adventuresome career girls inspired by Lois Lane, to vigilantes with no qualms about catching the bad guy, to superheroines with almost limitless powers. And then, I discovered to my delight, each heroine is featured in a reprinted full comic strip showcasing her daring exploits.

Chapters divvy up the Golden Age heroes into categories, like “Women at War” and “Daring Dames.” (I personally enjoyed reading about the exploits of “Penny Wright, Feature Writer” because just for one second I imagined that it read “Kelly Knox, Feature Writer” and I could be in the pages of a comic book with some adventures of my own.) Madrid reacquaints us to over 25 characters of the Golden Age, and each comic adventure is an engaging, and occasionally strange, experience to read.

Lisa Tate — Molly Danger, Book One (Action Lab) by Jamal Igle

Molly Danger is eternally young, superhumanly strong, and a filled with personality and spirit.

Molly Danger  Image: Action Lab Entertainment
Molly Danger Image: Action Lab Entertainment

Her story seems vaguely familiar (an orphaned alien child stranded on Earth, but is blessed with superhuman strength and other powers), yet she is also cursed with being perpetually trapped in the body and emotional needs of a 10-year-old. Treated as a fragile weapon by the D.A.R.T. organization through which she is protector of the city Coopersville, she is loved my many in her community, but kept isolated, unable to have friends or even make contact with the general public. When a recent “hot dog” ex-police pilot and his family befriend her, she discovers how much she yearns for a little normalcy in her life.

Funded through a Kickstarter campaign, this creator-owned hardback comic is the brainchild of Inkpot Award winning writer and illustrator Jamal Igle (Supergirl), with inks by Juan Castro and colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. This comic is great, not only for young girls looking for a strong, confident female hero, but for any kid (or adult) who has often felt they are on the outside-looking-in or isolated. If the first book is any indication, Molly’s fight against loneliness will be as intriguing as any fight against the forces of evil.

Kay Moore — Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, Vol. 2 by David Petersen (Author, Artist), Stan Sakai, Bill Willingham, Rick Geary, Ben Caldwell, Nick Tapalansky, Paul Morrissey, Rebecca Taylor, Cory Godbey, Eric Canete, and Alex Eckman-Lawn.

Mouse Guard  Image: MouseGuard.net
Mouse Guard Image: MouseGuard.net

This is the second outing in the Mouse Guard “Legends” series, which collects stories told by characters in Petersen’s Mouse Guard tales, but written and illustrated by guest creators. The framing story is set in the June Alley Inn, where the inn owner offers to dismiss the bar tab for the winner of a contest for the best tale. Then we get 12 stories and an illustrated song from different artists and creators, plus the framing pages of the inn story, an introduction and character bios from David Petersen. I’m a fan of Mouse Guard so I enjoy the Petersen art, including the nods to medieval mood and design on the maps and reference pages.

From story to story there is a lot of variation. I’ve enjoyed other anthologies similar to this because it’s a potluck of dishes recommended by an author I like. I am wandering around in the midst of all this goodness.

In this book, I loved a few of the stories, enjoyed most of the stories, and there were a couple I wouldn’t have missed. The stories are so short, I am amazed that authors can establish the characters and tell a complete story in just a handful of pages. My favorites included a black and white densely inked story with no words, featuring a mer-mouse, and a watercolor-y tale of a princess and four adventuring brothers that reminded me of the stories in the “Color” Fairytale books of my childhood. That art was beautiful with a distinctive, colorful, and illuminated palette and unusual panel layouts.

The tales don’t focus on the main characters from the Mouse Guard books; they are meant to be tall tales or stories the mice tell themselves. As such, the tales are not connected to the forward movement of the story lines in the major collections and I missed seeing my favorite characters. I also wish fewer pages were spent in the “framing” moments at the inn. I like the comfort of Petersen’s art and writing for those segments but nothing much develops during those linking pages to justify the expense of all that page real estate. Still, Volume 2 of Legends is a bouquet of fun and interesting styles, with clever stories by authors you have not yet discovered. The book is recommended for ages 8 and above.

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

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100 Bullets Brother Lono #6 (Of 8)
Animal Man #25
Batman ’66 #5
Batman And Two-Face #25
Batman Beyond Universe #4
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 2 Scare Tactics TP
Batman Detective Comics Vol. 3 Emperor Penguin HC
Batwoman #25
Birds Of Prey #25
Fables #135
Fairest In All The Land HC
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #2 (Of 6)
Green Lantern New Guardians #25 GM
Harley Quinn #0
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #8 GM
MAD Presents Spy Vs Spy Fight To The Finish TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws #25
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #1 KF10
Supergirl #25
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #5
Vertigo Essentials Fables #1
Wake #5 (Of 10)
Wonder Woman #25
Worlds’ Finest Vol. 2 Hunt And Be Hunted TP GM
A+X #14
A+X Vol. 2 = Amazing TP
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Cosmic Adventures TP
Avengers #23
Avengers A.I. #6
Cable And X-Force #16
Captain America Living Legend By Mike Allred Poster
Cataclysm The Ultimates #1 (Of 3)
Daredevil #33
Dexter #5 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four #14
Indestructible Hulk #15
Inhumanity By Olivier Coipel Poster
Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe #2 (Of 4)
Secret Avengers #11
Secret Avengers By Rick Remender Vol. 3 TP
Spider-Man Vs Venom By J. Scott Campbell Poster
Superior Spider-Man Annual #1
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #6
Takio 2 HC
Thunderbolts #18
Uncanny X-Force Vol. 2 Torn And Frayed TP
Uncanny X-Men #14
Wolverine MAX #13
X-Men #7 KF10
X-Men A Skinning Of Souls TP
X-Men Legacy #20
X-Men Vol. 1 Primer TP
Young Avengers #12
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Ben 10 #1 KF10
Ben 10 Classics Vol. 1 Ben Here Before TP KF10
Doctor Who Classics Vol. 9 TP
Doctor Who Prisoners Of Time #12 (Of 12)
Jinnrise #8
Mars Attacks The Human Condition TP
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #13 KF10
Samurai Jack #2 KF10
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #5 KF10
Transformers Dark Cybertron #1 (Deluxe Edition)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #23 (Dark Cybertron Part 2 Of 12)
True Blood Vol. 2 Tainted Love TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #113
Baltimore Vol. 3 A Passing Stranger And Other Stories HC
Berserk Vol. 37 TP
Brain Boy #3
Buzzkill #3 (Of 4)
Conan The Barbarian #22
Dark Horse Presents #30
Fifth Beatle The Brian Epstein Story HC
Kiss Me Satan #3
Last Man Standing Killbook Of A Bounty Hunter HC
Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. Archives Vol. 2 TP
Oh My Goddess! Vol. 45 TP
So I Survived The Zombie Apocalypse And All I Got Was This Podcast TP
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Ninth Assassin HC
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force War #1 (Of 5)
Star Wars Legacy II Prisoner Of The Floating World TP
Strain The Fall #5
Violent Cases HC

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.