Comic Book Corner — Batgirl, Marvel’s Original Sin, and The X-Files

Original Sin #0  Image: Marvel
Original Sin #0. Image: Marvel.

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, Dak looks at the beginning of Marvel’s latest event, Original Sin, while Corrina dives into Batgirl and Batman Eternal, and Sophie shares another look into The X-Files. Also, in comic book news, Dak gives her two cents on the latest blunder by ComiXology.

Dakster Sullivan — Original Sin #0 written by Mark Waid and art by Jim Cheung

Original Sin #0 shows us just how important the silent character, known as the Watcher, really is. Unfortunately, we get to learn all about him just before Marvel kills him off and I can’t say I’m too happy with their decision (downright disappointed is more like it).

The Watcher is a character I know very little about, but appreciate every time he shows up. I’m only familiar with him for his brief and random appearances in Nova, but anytime I get to see him, is a good time. From the few times that Nova has interacted with the Watcher, I can tell he cares about what he sees, even though he is unable to interact with those he watches. He has interacted with Nova to a point by silently giving him insight into certain events and I can see that Nova considers him a friend.

This is the first time in my three years of comic book reading that I’ve been disappointed in a decision that Marvel has made (okay, the second time…if they keep rebooting everything to issue #1, I might have to start reconsidering my loyalties) and I’m not looking forward to seeing a character I’ve come to love get murdered. The only thing I’m curious to see in Original Sin #1—when it debuts in May—is how Nova is going to react to the Watcher’s death.

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

Corrina — Batgirl Annual #4 written by Gail Simone and art by Robert Gill and Javier Garron

This is the kind of story that originally hooked me on superhero comics. It’s not just that there’s a brief Birds of Prey reunion written by Simone, it’s not just that guest-star Poison Ivy is written perfectly, and it’s not just that the dialogue features exchanges like this:

Batgirl Annual #1  Image: DC Comics
Batgirl Annual #1. Image: DC Comics.

Poison Ivy: I never understood your fetish for stealth. It’s a positive obsession with you people. 

Batgirl: Probably better not to talk about fetishes when our actual kiss is lethal, Ivy.

Poison Ivy: Not always. Sometimes. Okay, fair enough.

And it’s not just that the team-up of Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance (Black Canary) in the opening pages felt like old times. (Babs: I just love her, all right?)

It’s that this is also a story of hope and renewal, symbolized by a neighborhood garden planted by Babs and her roommate, Alysia Yeoh. It felt good to close the story with a happy sigh for a change.

Batman Eternal #4 written by Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, James T. Tynion IV, and Scott Snyder, and art by Dustin Nguyen

This weekly series keeps forward momentum by bringing in Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon in defense of her now-disgraced father, former police Commissioner Jim Gordon, who’s been charged with negligence in a subway disaster. Much of the issue goes over what we already know, that the new commissioner is corrupt, that Carmine Falcone is behind Gordon’s frame-up, and that Batgirl and the rest of the Bat-crew are determined to prove his innocence.

And then there’s the not-so-small matter of Stephanie Brown, not yet The Spoiler, trying to escape the clutches of her super-villain father. Calling Mom for help seems a good idea until it’s clear that this version of Stephanie’s mom isn’t nearly as benevolent as the previous version.

Federal Bureau of Physics: Vol 1: The Paradigm Shift written by Simon Oliver and art by Robbi Rodriguez

Suppose, under certain conditions, a physics impossibility becomes a reality? Such as gravity failing or wormholes appearing randomly? Who do you call for help? The FBP aka the Federal Bureau of Physics. That’s the premise of this imaginative and mind-bending series that focuses on Agent Adam Hardy of the FBP, who joined partially to discover more of the legacy of his late father, a scientist who died doing dangerous research that partially led to the creation of the FBP.

And it’s a great adventures, as Adam becomes trapped in a created “bubbleverse” where the regular rules of the universe don’t apply, up against an enemy from within and trying to rescue the people inside before everything collapses. After this mission, there’s a political backlash, leaving Adam, his new partner, and the remaining FBP agents to operate on a nearly non-existent budget. The artwork is as bendy and imaginative as the premise, as gravity goes wild, as people and objects literally crumble, and everything is stretched into impossible positions.

The FBP has been optioned for a film and the concept, characters, and visuals seem perfect for the big screen.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #11 written by Joe Harris and art by Francesco Francavilla

It’s been a few months since we had a long mythology arc on The X-Files Season 10. Much as the show itself used to split these long-winded and complex stories up between shorter tales, and so now the time is right for the next big advancement of the series’ overarching mythology to begin.

The X-Files Season 10 #11  Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 #11. Image: IDW Publishing.

Pilgrims does something new for The X-Files by taking the alien conspiracy outside of the USA and Russia.

Sure we’ve certainly known before now that the conspiracy extended beyond the metaphorical boundaries of the Cold War (who remembers corn crops in Tunisia, spacecraft wreckage in Africa, and meetings held at London’s Royal Albert Hall?), but this is the first time we’ve really laid eyes on it and seen Mulder and Scully out of their homeland and dealing with a foreign culture.

It’s a nice way of bringing the show up to date without ramming “look, Mulder is using modern technology, he has an iPhone now!” down our throats. Back when The X-Files was reaching its peak, the world was still reeling from the end of the Cold War and to many, Russia remained the definitive Big Bad. Of course, current politics have shown us that Russia is still a powerful game-changer (just ask NASA), but these days all eyes are on the Middle East, so moving the story out to Saudi Arabia is a nice touch. Of course, this raises certain cultural issues to be contended with, most of which are handled very well.

Scully spends the entire story wearing a hijab and she finds herself having to deal with local law enforcement who are not exactly happy about cooperating with the FBI, especially with an agent who is female. There are also risks associated with taking an agent like Mulder, known for being something of a loose cannon at the best of times, into a far stricter society like this. “Let’s try not to cause an international incident until after lunch okay?” Scully asks him and you feel it’s a genuine concern on her part.

There was one line I did feel was somewhat inappropriate, a throwaway comment from Mulder as he helps Scully fix her hijab and tells her,”You’d make a lovely child bride.” It’s a rather tasteless “compliment” at the best of times and in the middle of such a lighthearted and fun scene, it feels more than a little jarring.

As for the conspiracy itself, this issue is more about setting up the latest incident than really getting into the details. We know the Black Oil is back, there are mysterious men in suits and dark sunglasses lurking behind every corner, and someone is trying to cover up what really happened. It’s fairly standard X-Files stuff so far, but it’s comforting for that and it’s great to see the Lone Gunmen again.

One minor continuity nitpick is the fact that Scully has apparently forgotten that she speaks German. Admittedly, it was never established how fluent she was, but we do know she took it in college and given her standard in Season Four, she should have had no problem with what she hears here. Even I could translate it easily from remembered high-school German taken over a decade ago.

Finally, the issue’s big finale reveal was given away in previews several months ago, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. I’m looking forward to seeing how this always uneasy relationship pans out in 2014.

Comic Book News — ComiXology is bought by Amazon and soon after releases new app

Did you hear that? It’s the screams of thousands of digital comic book fans up in arms over the new ComiXology app…and I’m one of them. Earlier this week, ComiXolgy made the announcement that they would be releasing a new app to replace their previous version. In that same email announcement, they gave some users a $5 credit to their account. At the time, I thought this was nice of them, but now I see it as a bribe.

Comixology LogoThe new app is great, with the exception of one major change—you can no longer purchase comics through the app on Apple devices! What? One of the biggest reasons I have the app on my iPhone is so I can purchase my books on my device.

According to reports, the change is due to Amazon, the new owners of Comixology, not wanting to pay fees to Apple associated with in-app purchases After some research, I learned that the fee is 30 percent on each order. So if a typical comic costs $3.99, then ComiXoloy was only making $2.79 off of that order. (Amazon also doesn’t allow in-app purchases in their Kindle app for iPads.)

There’s a good thing and a bad thing happening here.

The good is that this opens the door for digital book prices to drop because ComiXology is no longer paying the fees that Apple pushed on them.

The bad is that a lot of fans are up in arms about not being able to purchase their books directly from their device and will most likely spend less as a result.

I’m in the latter camp. I used to spend a lot of money in ComiXology because it was easy. It was hooked to my iTunes account and my iTunes gift cards. Now that I have to use my credit card to purchase my comics and I have to go to my computer to do it, I’m less likely to purchase comics online. I’m already starting to move more towards graphic novels and snail mail subscriptions; maybe this was the final push to get me to make the move entirely.

What do you think about the buy out? Is this a good thing or a bad thing for comic book fans? Let me know in the comments!

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

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

Adventures Of Superman #12
Batgirl Annual #2 Geek Mom Recommended
Batman ’66 #10
Batman Beyond Universe #9
Batman Eternal #4
Batman Superman Vol. 1 Cross World HC
Batwoman Annual #1
Flash Annual #3
Flex Mentallo Man Of Muscle Mystery TP
Forever Evil Aftermath Batman Vs Bane #1 (One Shot)
Green Lantern New Guardians Annual #2
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #4
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #4
Suicide Squad Vol. 4 Discipline And Punish TP
Superman Batman Vol. 1 Public Enemies TP
Vertigo Quarterly Cyan #1 New Series
All-New X-Men #26
All-New X-Men Vol. 4 All-Different HC
Amazing Spider-Man #1 New Series
Avengers #28
Avengers A.I. #12
Avengers Undercover #1 New Series
Avengers World #5
Deadpool By Daniel Way The Complete Collection Vol. 3 TP
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird #4 (Of 5)
Hulk #2 New Series
Iron Man Vol. 2 The Secret Origin Of Tony Stark Book 1 TP
Marvel Masterworks Captain America Vol. 3 TP
Marvel Previews #129 (May 2014 For Products On-Sale July 2014)
Marvel Zombies The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
New Avengers #17
Origin II #5 (Of 5)
Punisher #1 New Series
Silver Surfer #2 New Series
Uncanny Avengers Annual #1
What If Age Of Ultron #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Wolverine #5
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol. 8 TP
X-Force #4
X-Men Vol. 2 Muertas TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Alice In Comicland HC
Dexter’s Laboratory #1 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE #15
G.I. JOE The IDW Collection Vol. 4 HC
Ghostbusters #15
Jericho Season 4 TP
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #4 (Of 5)
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #18 Kid Friendly
Skybreaker TP
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Vol. 3 TP
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #28
V-Wars #1 New Series
X-Files Season 10 #11
Alabaster Grimmer Tales HC
Atomic Legion HC
Blackout #2 (Of 4)
Captain Midnight #10
Furious #4 (Of 5)
King Conan The Conqueror #3 (Of 6)
King Conan Vol. 3 The Hour Of The Dragon TP
Mesmo Delivery HC
Pariah #3 (Of 8)
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #4 (Of 6)
Star Wars Dark Times Vol. 7 A Spark Remains TP
Star Wars Rebel Heist #1 (Of 4)
Vandroid #3 (Of 5)
X Vol. 2 The Dogs Of War TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

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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.