GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Watson & Holmes, Owly, The X-Files, and more

Image from New Paradigm Studios
Watson & Holmes #6, image via New Paradigm Studios

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 Corrina takes us through the mysterious world of Watson & Holmes, while Dakster goes on a journey into a little owl’s world in Owly. Sophie continues her exploration of the strange in The X-Files Conspiracy. Lisa gets excited over Legendary and Kay takes some time to enjoy Parker: Slayground.

Dakster Sullivan — Owly Volume 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer, by Andy Runton

Continuing in my #ComicBook365 resolution, I read Owly Volume 1 this past week. I had a migraine when reading this the other night, so I was only able to make it through the first story in the book. This isn’t my first trip into Owly’s world. I recommended him two years ago in my Comic Books for Kids post here on GeekMom. He’s a great character to introduce young children to comic books and since Andy Runton uses Owly’s expressions instead of his words to tell the story, it’s perfect for children who can’t read yet.

Owly is a kind-hearted owl who takes care of those around him. The sad part is that many of the animals he meets are afraid of him, I’m guessing because of his size. The first story in the volume shows us how Owly feels when other animals run away from him and we get to see one little guy overcome him fear after Owly saves his life. Even with no words, the story is very touching and one that I would read again and again.

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

Corrina — Watson & Holmes #6 by Brandon Easton, writer, and N. Steven Harris, artist

This series re-imagines Watson & Holmes as African-American crime solvers in modern Harlem, an excellent idea, and I’m sorry I’ve missed the existence of the comic for the first five issues. Watson is still an Afghanistan war veteran and doctor and Holmes is an unusual private investigator, but the dynamic is slightly shifted, as Watson is definitely the muscle of the series, and, at least in this issue, takes center stage from the detective. As I love a competent Watson, this completely worked for me. In this issue, “The Case of Mr. and Mrs. Gemini,” the pair get involved in the murder of a young woman and soon are plunged into the world of human trafficking and how dangerous it can be for the LGBT community.

The mystery worked well, with no easy answers, and this Watson and Holmes are engaging.  I’m going to have to search out the first five issues now.

Justice League #27 (Forever Evil tie-in): Geoff Johns, writer, Ivan Reis, layouts: This is the worst and best of Geoff Johns’ style of comic writing, all in a single issue. The worst: Some unknown version of the Doom Patrol faces off against two alternate universe villains. The Patrol teenagers are, naturally, killed off and in such a gratuitous way it might as well be a snuff film. The best: After that’s over, the story cuts to Cyborg, rising from the ashes of his defeat in the beginning of this event to take up the hero’s mantle again. Ugh to..um..yay?

Harley Quinn #2: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (writers), Chad Hardin and Stephane Roux, artists. How can a comic starring DC’s most well-known psychopath committing murder be so much fun? But it is. It helps that the hit men after Harley are worse than she is, that Harley really wants to rescue dogs and cats destined to be put to sleep, and that Harley’s BFF (and possibly more) Poison Ivy pays her gal pal a visit. There is a sleepover.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse #1: Mike Carey and Peter Gross, story and art. I had absolutely no idea what this book would be about when I picked it up and it took me a while to sort out the meaning in the lead character’s traveling through some very familiar childhood stories, including Alice in Wonderland. But it was absolutely engrossing and full of commentary about how our stories shape us. My 14-year-old son read it first and handed it to me, saying, “You must READ this.” Good advice.

Kay Moore — Parker: Slayground (vol. 4) by Darwyn Cooke

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Slayground  Image: Dynamite Comics
Slayground Image: Dynamite Comics

The cold, empty, outre, setting of a deserted park and the snowy covering and starklighting work together with Cooke’s limited pale palette of white, black, and pale blue to set a lowering and threatening mood that serves the story well. I find the visuals in the Parker stories striking and iconic. To see them is to think “martini” and “Rat Pack.” I can easily recognize Parker pages even when there are no words or other pointers to clarify the source. Take a look at a sample and I am sure you’ll agree.

This story focuses almost entirely on Parker’s character. Others come and go but they are just bouncing off of Parker, dimmed by his shadow, out on the margins. I haven’t read the source novels, but I believe this must be a more severe adaptation than the earlier volumes. For one thing, the “Slayground” story is 86 pages long and the volume is filled out with “The 7th,” a short story. In all these graphic novels, Parker is ruthless, single minded, analytic, and disciplined. He doesn’t have superpowers but he has that kind of deep experience that makes a person invaluable and enviable. I see shades of MacGyver, John McClane, and James Bond, but mostly Vito Corleone.

Overall, the story is not quite as rich and enjoyable as the earlier ones, but it has moments that stand out, and it is a fine addition to the series. I don’t recommend this as your introduction to the series, but if you are collecting, don’t skip it. Parker novels are filled with violence and jaded world views. Suggested for 17 and over. Available in print and digitally, 96 pages (86 “Slayground,” 10 “The 7th,” fold-out map).

Lisa Tate — Legenderry, by Bill Willingham and Sergio Davila

Legenderry  Image: IDW Publishing
Legenderry Image: IDW Publishing

Legenderry, the new steampunk adventure from Dynamite Comics by writer Bill Willingham (Fables) and illustrator Sergio Davila (Red Sonja), takes you on a graphic, and sometimes gruesome, tour of The Big City, literally at first. The tour’s first stop is the Scarlet Club owned by a very pale, very violent familiar looking femme fatale, the steampunk version of Vampirella.

She’s just the first of the Dynamite characters that will get a steampunk treatment: The series will introduce similar steam-era versions of Green Hornet and Kato, Red Sonja, Six Million Dollar Man, Zorro, Phantom, Captain Victory, and others. Legenderry is part Dynamite multiverse, with an Astro City sense of place and the sensibility of Mark Waid’s short-lived and stylish Ruse, the later of which I thought was ahead of its time in the steampunk world.

Issue One started out with a gory but fun bang, and I hope they are able to sustain that momentum with Green Hornet in the next issue. So far, Legenderry looks like it should be pretty interesting journey, or an least attractive one in the very least.

Chapter One of Legenderry, Ceremonies of Dark Men and Scarlet Women, is now available.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Conspiracy: Ghostbusters

The X-Files Conspiracy continues apace with this second installment which sees our unlikely trio of heroes meeting up with the Ghostbusters. Mulder and Scully have been left behind this time out so the Gunmen take center stage in their own investigations, starting out with a visit to Ghostbusters HQ. It’s a fun twist to have our three conspiracy nutters playing the part of the skeptics. “Well I think it’s clear that these guys are frauds,” Byers announces right off the bat cueing up a conversation about just what the Ghostbusters might really be up to. “Man I HATE creative evil scientists,” Frohike sighs by the end.

I don’t read the Ghostbusters comic series so I was a little unsure of the timeline going into this. Certainly the characters seem to look the same age as they appeared in the original movie but the Ghostbusters wiki places the IDW series around 1994/5 and Conspiracy is set in 2014. I just tried to ignore the discrepancies and focus on the story, assuming that as this event series is decidedly NON-canon our timelines can be pretty much anywhere.

Sadly very little happens in this installment. The Gunmen poke around and cause a little mayhem as is their way, the Ghostbusters arrive and sort things out (as is theirs), and everyone has a nice little chat about theoretical physics in the garage.

Honestly the threads used to tie the Ghostbusters into this plot feel rather tenuous at best. Having Dr. Spengler (I think, I found it hard to work out exactly who was who) create the link to CERN makes sense but really, using ghosts as messengers capable of transferring data through time, it feels clumsy and smacks of crowbarring these characters into a plot that didn’t really need them. Even the Gunmen leave thinking that this was all a waste of their time. Luckily the rest of the plot is quite cute and often funny–especially Frohike’s interactions with Janine–and simply having these two groups of characters interacting and aware of each other’s histories makes up for the dubious plot.

Next up is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue and I really hope we’ll see some better plotting and further development of the overall story arc because this is a franchise I am wholly unfamiliar with. Amaze me guys…

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

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Animal Man #27
Animal Man Vol. 5 The Meaning Of Flesh TP
Batman #27
Batman ’66 #7
Batman And Two-Face #27
Batman Beyond Universe #6
Batwing Vol. 3 Enemy Of The State TP
Batwoman #27
Birds Of Prey #27
Green Lantern New Guardians #27 GM
Harley Quinn #2 GM
Justice League #27 GM
Planetary Omnibus HC
Preacher Vol. 3 TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws #27
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #1
Supergirl #27
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #7
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #1
Wonder Woman #27
All-New Invaders #1
All-New X-Factor #2
All-New X-Men #22.NOW
Avengers #25
Avengers World #2
Black Widow #2 NEW SERIES
Cable And X-Force #19
Captain America #15
Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #3 (Of 3)
FF #16 (Final Issue)
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act One #1 (Of 5)
Hawkeye #16 GM
Indestructible Hulk #18.INH
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 1 Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. TP
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 3 S.M.A.S.H. Time HC
Iron Man #20.INH
Marvel Knights X-Men #3 (Of 5)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #22
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Digest Vol. 5 TP
Mighty Avengers #5.INH
Origin II #2 (Of 5)
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #9
Thunderbolts #20.NOW
Wolverine And The X-Men #40
Wolverine By Larry Hama And Marc Silvestri Vol. 2 TP
X-Factor By Peter David The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
X-Men #9
X-Men The Road To Onslaught Vol. 1 TP
Young Avengers Vol. 2 Alternative Culture TP
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Ben 10 #3 Kid Friendly
Berkeley Breathed’s Outland The Complete Collection HC (Signed & Numbered Edition)
Jacky’s Diary HC
Jinnrise #9
Judge Dredd #15
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #1 (Of 5)
Magic The Gathering Theros #4 (Of 5)
Mr Peabody And Sherman #3 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
My Little Pony Friends Forever #1 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #4 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Utrom Empire #1 (Of 3)
Transformers Robots In Disguise #25 (Dark Cybertron Part 7 Of 12)
X-Files Conspiracy Ghostbusters #1 GM
Amala’s Blade Spirits Of Naamaron TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Vol. 7 A Cold Day In Hell TP
Blade Of The Immortal Vol. 28 Raining Chaos TP
Captain Midnight #7
Conan The Barbarian #24
Conan Vol. 15 The Nightmare Of The Shallows HC
Dark Horse Presents #32
Eerie Archives Vol. 15 HC
Elfquest The Final Quest #1
Mass Effect Foundation #7
Massive #19
Mind MGMT #18
Star Wars Legacy II #11

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

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.