GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Justice League Beyond, Vampire Diaries, and X-Files

Justice League Beyond  Image: DC Comics
Justice League Beyond Image: 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 Sophie takes us back into the world of The X-Files, while Dakster discovers a new universe in Justice League Beyond and Corrina takes a look at Vampire Diaries

Dakster Sullivan — Justice League Beyond #1 by, Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen

As part of my #ComicBook365 goal this year, I picked up Justice League Beyond #1 and I was pleasantly surprised at how addicting it was. I remember Batman Beyond as a kid and loved the idea of a new Batman taking the reigns from Bruce. Justice League Beyond carries that same line of thinking and expands it to the entire Justice League team.

The first issue of Justice League Beyond wasn’t much more than a smash and grab job in terms of story. We barely get introduced to the team when the issue ends, but since it’s a weekly digital series, shorter issues are to be expected. Don’t be distraught though, because with each new character they introduce, the writers gave a list of specs for you so you know who is who.

Since DC Comics canceled Ame-Comi Girls (something I still haven’t fully forgiven them for), I’ve been in need of a new comic book series that’s released weekly and Justice League Beyond is slowing starting to fill that slot. Corrina also had praise for the Beyond-based comics. 

Justice League Beyond was recently renamed under the heading Justice League Beyond 2.0 and is released every Saturday on Comixology.

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

Corrina — Vampire Diaries by Colleen Doran and Tony Shasteen

Vampire Diaries #1
Vampire Diaries #1

I have never watched an episode of Vampire Diaries and I have no familiarity with the characters. The drawn for this comic to me was Colleen Doran’s name in the credits. I wondered if I could enjoy the story or even make sense given all this.

I did and it does.

I’m not sure what fans of the show will make of the story but it’s a nice, snarky tale of two vampire brothers (they act like brothers) who make a deal with a witch (a very scummy guy) to get rid of all the vervain in the town where the vampires live. (Vervain being a substance deadly to vampire in this universe.) In exchange, the witch gets immortality.

Times change, vervain shows up everywhere anyway, and the vampires want to break the deal with the witch. Since this means the witch will die, he’s pretty opposed to the deal and, well, since the vampires appear to the the stars of the show, it’s no surprise that they win. But the journey is surprisingly fun and snarky. If the tone of the show is anything like this comic, I should check it out.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Conspiracy #1 and The X-Files Season 10 #10 Directors Cut

X-Files Directors Cut  Image: IDW Publishing
X-Files Directors Cut Image: IDW Publishing

When I first read the outline for X-Files: Conspiracy I thought someone was pranking me. A short-run comic series that brings together the X-Files universe with the Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and The Crow – honestly it sounds like someone’s 4am LSD-fueled fan fiction. That being said I was excited to see what the writers had come up with and read the first issue as soon as it was released. It wasn’t nearly what I expected.

Firstly, the plot is actually pretty serious. OK, so you’ve got The Lone Gunmen – X-Files’ comedy relief trio – taking point, so the ratio of humorous banter to dramatic plot twists is considerably higher than we’re used to from Chris Carter’s universe, but what they’re facing is pretty damn terrifying. The series kicks off with the Gunmen receiving encrypted documents from an address at CERN, documents dated in the future that hint at a devastating plague about to be unleashed.

Enter Mulder and Scully who are doing what they do best although it’s unclear whether or not they’re actually with the Bureau in this alt-universe – they’re certainly not wearing any ID to that end. Both agents are skeptical about the Gunmen’s discoveries (pretty rich from a guy who back in season five decided that some semi-invisible humanoid creatures in a forest were in fact the highly evolved descendants of Ponce de Leon based on pretty much naff all) but Mulder is swayed soon enough. Then the action really begins. There’s death, huge fireballs, Scully talking science-stuff, and a cliffhanger, everything you’d expect from the show.

Issue #1 is purely set-up and the next issues are when we’ll see the introduction of characters from outside this universe, beginning with the Ghostbusters, so I’m still curious to see how those will be handled. For now this has the feel of a fairly typical science-experiment-gone-bad episode.

The artwork and coloring, it has to be said, is rather dubious at times. Mulder and Scully show up to a crime scene in what appear to be matching leather jackets, Mulder’s forehead is often large enough to require clearance from the FAA, and as a fellow X-Files blogger pointed out to me, Scully’s eyes are the wrong color. Even her hair looks strange as it’s clearly brown rather than red in most scenes. 30 seconds playing around in Photoshop and I was looking at a character who was distinctly more Scully than the one in print. Is it a deal breaker? No, but for die-hard fans it’s off-putting and makes you wonder what else has been overlooked.

X-Files Season 10 #1 Director’s Cut
It’s been seven months since The X-Files Season 10 debuted in comics and the series has already been making significant waves, including nominations for two Diamond Gem Awards (2013 Licensed Comic of The Year and Best New Comic Book Series). This expanded release of the series’ first issue includes extra details on the development of the series.

The first half of the book is simply a complete copy of issue one with no extra details (excluding the correction made in the issues reprints) but it’s later on that the really interesting stuff begins. First up, there’s an art gallery from Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire that shows off some concept sketches for characters.

Next we get a letter from series author Joe Harris talking about growing up with the show and coming aboard as the writer for Season 10. He goes on to analyse the comic page by page from the viewpoint of someone who has already read the complete five-issue arc. There are interesting tidbits about scenes that were omitted and why certain characters and situations were included.

I found Harris’ reasoning on Scully’s new identity particularly interesting and the discussion about the appearance of a child named “Emily” suitably obtuse from an X-Files writer. It did, however, prove the point that Harris is listening to fans and thinking about their reactions to every little detail, something I found immensely reassuring. The occasional bits of redacted text that hint at future stories is more than a little frustrating. What’s under those black lines?!

The final part of the issue is a complete copy of the final script. For me this was a big highlight of the issue as it really proves the extent of research that was undertaken for this series. Harris fills his script with notes for the artists and other readers. There are even photos included, such as the style of font he wants used for the time location stamps or specific shots of Scully from the show to point out something he considers iconic about her mouth. He also explains to those reading the script why certain seemingly irrelevant pieces of dialogue are important and will be appreciated by fans (note to Mr Harris – they were).

If you haven’t been reading Season 10 or are only casually reading it, then this expanded edition will be of no interest to you. If, however, you are one of the many fans like me who pore over each panel looking for clues about what’s really going on, who engage in heated discussions about whether characters are really who they seem, and who can tear a storyline to shreds because of a single incorrect pronoun (*ahem* issue one, page 10, panel two) then you will devour this. I only hope we might get similar insights about future issues, because with The X-Files there’s always more than meets the eye.

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

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Astro City #8
Batgirl #27 GM
Batman Li’l Gotham #10 Kid Friendly
Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 3 Mad HC
Coffin Hill #4
Constantine #10
Creature Commandos TP
DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe #4 (Of 6) GM
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #4 (Of 6)
Green Lantern Corps #27
Injustice Year Two #1
Justice League 3000 #2
Justice League Of America #11
Nightwing #27
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #41 Kid Friendly
Suicide Squad #27
Superboy #27
Superman Wonder Woman #4
Worlds’ Finest #19 GM
All-New X-Men #21 GM
Amazing X-Men #3 GM
Avengers Arena Vol. 3 Boss Level TP
Avengers Vol. 4 Infinity HC
Cataclysm The Ultimates #3 (Of 3)
Daredevil #35 GM
Deadpool The Gauntlet #1
Dexter HC (Premiere Edition)
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird #1 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four #16 (Final Issue)
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 17 All In The Family TP
Inhumanity Superior Spider-Man #1
Marvel Knights Hulk #2 (Of 4)
Marvel Masterworks The Sub-Mariner Vol. 5 HC
Miracleman #1
Night Of The Living Deadpool #1 (Of 4)
Nova #12 GM
Revolutionary War Dark Angel #1
Secret Avengers #14
Superior Carnage #1 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man #25
Superior Spider-Man Vol. 4 Necessary Evil TP
Thor God Of Thunder #17
Thor God Of Thunder Vol. 1 The God Butcher TP
Thunderbolts #20.NOW
Uncanny Avengers #14
Uncanny X-Force #16
Uncanny X-Men #16
Wolverine MAX #15 (Final Issue)
X-Men Legacy #22
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Ben 10 #3
Black Dynamite #1 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #198
G.I. JOE Special Missions #11
G.I. JOE Special Missions Vol. 2 TP
Gate-Way #1 (Of 5)
Illegitimates #2 (Of 6)
Indestructible #2 (Of 4)
KISS Kids TP
Magic The Gathering Theros #3 (Of 4)
Maxx Maxximized #3
Mr Peabody And Sherman #3 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #15 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #18 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls #5 Kid Friendly
Rio The Complete Collection TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual Deluxe HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #7 Kid Friendly
Tim Bradstreet The Sketchbook Series Vol. 1 TP
Torpedo Vol. 5 TP
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #25 (Dark Cybertron Part 6 Of 12)
Triple Helix #4 (Of 4)
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #3 (Of 7)
X-Files Conspiracy #1 (Of 2)
X-Files Season 10 #1 (Director’s Cut Edition) GM
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #115
Clown Fatale #3 (Of 4)
Kiss Me Satan #5 (Of 5)
Monsters And Other Stories TP
S.H.O.O.T. First #4 (Of 4)
Skyman #1 (Of 4)
Star Wars Darth Vader And The Cry Of Shadows #2 (Of 5)
Star Wars Dawn Of The Jedi Force War #3 (Of 5)
Strain The Fall #7
X #9
X Vol. 1 Big Bad TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading 

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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.