GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Forever Evil Ends, Bee and PuppyCat, Justice League, and Afterlife With Archie!

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Astro City #12, the latest one-shot in Kurk Busiek’s popular series, with cover art by Alex Ross. Image copyright Vertigo Comics.

Welcome to this week’s GeekMom Comic Book Corner. Rachel talks about an an all-ages Kickstarter comic, Corrina reviews how DC ended Forever Evil on a whimper, Lisa looks at the latest Astro City offering, and Melody takes a peek at Afterlife With Archie.

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Cover by Natasha Allegri, Zac Gorman, Coleman Engle, and Becky Dreistadt.

Rachel Cericola — Bee and PuppyCat #1 written by Natasha Allegri and Garrett Jackson and art by Natasha Allegri

Natasha Allegri’s Bee and PuppyCat started out as an animated short on Cartoon Hangover. Then late last year, Allegri ran a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to make her creation into a series. If you love the cartoon, you’ll love Bee and PuppyCat #1.

The story focuses on Bee, a young girl who is always unemployed, but manages to pay the rent doing intergalactic temp jobs. She’s shadowed by PuppyCat, who may be a dog or a cat. It doesn’t really matter because it’s so darn cute!

Part Sailor Moon and part Adventure Time, Bee and PuppyCat #1 is a bit like an acid trip; a nice one though, with space themes, lots of bright colors, and puppy/kitty hybrids. Allegri’s art is certainly cute, colorful, and perky enough to keep you entertained. However, I highly recommending watching the animated adventures first or this issue could leave you a little confused. These shorts are short, and sort of leave the reader hanging. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you like your comic books. Frankly, if you love the wonderful weirdness of Adventure Time, I think that you’ll love Bee and PuppyCat—and that would make perfect sense, since Allegri currently works on the hit Cartoon Network series.

Despite the bizarre flow, Bee and PuppyCat #1 does have a few of my favorite things: snacks, PJs, and general weirdness. I’d be interested to see if future issues deliver the same tone or delve more into the jobs, the backstory, and the enigma that is PuppyCat.

Corrina — Forever Evil #7, Justice League #30 (Forever Evil tie-in), Justice League of America #14 (Forever Evil Aftermath) 

The big DC event Forever Evil, in which the Earth is invaded by the Crime Syndicate, evil alternate versions of the Justice League, is over. I wish I could say it’s been fun, but it’s been one relentlessly depressing plot point after another. Does Forever Evil #7 break the streak and end with the heroes triumphant?

No, of course not.

In the new DC, heroic victories never happen, only slight victories tempered by yet another evil on the horizon. Oh, and the heroes are in a worse place than ever before. It’s sort of like watching the DC version of Game of Thrones, only Joffrey wins all the time and there’s no Tyrion to provide snarky commentary.

What happens in #7? SPOILER WARNING!

The man who’s been a prisoner through the whole event is an alternate universe Alexander Luthor with the power of Shazam. Sort of. By saying “Shazam” backwards, Alex becomes uber-powerful and starts beating up the Syndicate. I thought this might be a good thing, because it seems like the Syndicate deserves a beat-down after wrecking the Earth. Apparently not, because this Luthor is just another version of evil. Eventually, our Earth’s Lex Luthor and Alex Luthor fight and our version wins by killing Alex via an energy rod that really shouldn’t work if Alex is so powered up. But it does. Then, Lex also saves Superman by removing the Kryptonite in his brain.

Somehow, this all adds up to our Luthor being a hero and Earth hating the Justice League, even though the JL has been acting to help as much as Luthor. Um, okay? And Luthor figures out Bruce Wayne is Batman by tracking his relationship to Dick Grayson (Nightwing), whose identity was revealed a bunch of issues ago—to which I can only say, “duh.” The entire Earth should be able to figure it out by this point. Oh, also, the person who wrecked the Syndicate’s world and thus caused them to invade our Earth is revealed to be the Anti-Monitor, the villain of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. What goes around comes around, I guess.

How are the tie-ins? Justice League #30  takes place during the event in which the new Cyborg frees up the trapped Leaguers. If you like the event, you’ll want to read it. Otherwise, skip. JLA #14 takes a different approach, by focusing on the fallout from the Syndicate’s mess through the eyes of Stargirl, who’s still optimistic about the future. (She’s the only one.) This is a prequel to the new Justice League United series. If you haven’t started that book, I’d recommend buying JLA #14, and JLU #0 and #1. United is worth reading, though the first couple of issues are a little disjointed.

Meanwhile, if you want more heroes being unpleasant to each other and everyone else, pick up the weekly Future’s End event in which everything is still awful. Better yet, go with Batman: Eternal. That weekly book, while set in the grimness of Gotham, still maintains a shred of humanity and heroism.

Lisa — Astro City #12 written by Kurk Busiek and art by Graham Nolan

What makes a man a predatory criminal? Is he born this way or are circumstances such that he soon becomes the animal he has been treated like his whole life? Either way, can he eventually overcome this wolfish urge to prey upon others out of greed and envy?

Busiek’s latest Astro City story attempts to answer these questions through the point of view of well-dressed recidivant, Edward James Carroway. Told primarily in flashbacks, Carroway traces his early life growing up poor, his discovery of (and eventual obsession with) how clothes make the man, and his rise and eventual downfall in the criminal world.

As much as I enjoy Astro City‘s multi-issue stories, I look forward to Busiek’s one-shots. These are often well-crafted tales about fringe or new characters in the Astro City universe. Alex Ross’ stylish cover art set the tone for this story perfectly, but I was disappointed that the characters on the cover, the Menagerie Gang, were only eluded to in the story. I would love to see them play a bigger part in a future story. Although I was also disappointed in the choices made by Carroway throughout the story, Busiek’s story did not let me down. He created yet another very real, very fresh character. Whether or not the characters’ rise in fall in glory, Busiek always remains a consistently clever writer.

That, as Carroway might agree, is the nature of the beast.

AfterlifewithArchie
Cover art by Francesco Francavilla.

Melody Mooney — Afterlife With Archie: “Escape from Riverdale” Part 5 of 5 written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and art by Francesco Francavilla and Jack Morelli

The first time I learned of Afterlife With Archie was at my local comic book store. We were there for Free Comic Book Day and I saw it on a display shelf. At first glance, it looked like a darker Scooby Doo issue. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a zombie Archie story. I thought it would be a fun tale to follow. Why not give myself over to the squeaky clean Riverdale gang as they earn their place in the zombie renaissance?

Jumping in with issue number five midstream, I decided to catch up by downloading the free Afterlife with Archie App available on iTunes and Google Play. This gave me access to digital back issues, exclusive content, and lots of cool news and information.

In this latest issue, “Escape from Riverdale” Part 5 of 5, we catch up with what is left of the gang at Lodge Mansion. Unsure what their next step should be, they stand at a crossroads between leaving Riverdale and undead friends behind or staying to take their chances with the growing zombie horde. The beautiful and creepy look is created by artists Francesco Francavilla and Jack Morelli. It reminded me of those popular Tales from the Crypt comics that used to scare me as a teen. The cover by Francavilla and variant cover by Andrew Pipoy and Jason Millet will no doubt become collectable. The twisted story is penned by the Harvey Award-winning mind of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. He has taken the once best friend and comic foil Jughead and made him into the leader of the Riverdale Zombie Army. The ground zero origin story playfully includes a freak pet cemetery-like accident involving Jughead’s beloved Hot Dog and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. If you are like me, that was enough to get me hooked and excited to see just how Archie will survive this dark turn of events.

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

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American Vampire Second Cycle #3 New Series
Batgirl Vol. 3 Death Of The Family TP
Batgirl Vol. 4 Wanted HC
Batman ’66 #11
Batman And Frankenstein #31
Batman Beyond Universe #10
Batman Deathblow After The Fire TP
Batman Eternal #7 Weekly Series
Batman Superman #11
Batwoman #31
Birds Of Prey #31
Black Canary And Zatanna Bloodspell HC
Ex Machina Vol. 2 TP
Forever Evil #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Green Lantern New Guardians #31
Harley Quinn #6 GM
Justice League #30
Justice League Of America #14 Final Issue
Movement Vol. 1 Class Warfare TP
New 52 Futures End #3 New Weekly Series
Red Hood And The Outlaws #31
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #5 New Series
Showcase Presents Super Friends Vol. 1 TP Kid Friendly
Sinestro #2  New Series
Supergirl #31
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #11
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #5
Wonder Woman #31
A+X Vol. 3 = Outstanding TP
All-New Doop #2 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
All-New X-Factor #8
All-New X-Men Vol. 3 Out Of Their Depth TP
Amazing Spider-Man #2 New Series
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Vol. 15 Ghosts Of The Past TP
Amazing X-Men #7
Avengers World #6
Daredevil #3 New Series
Deadpool Annual #2
Deadpool Vol. 4 Deadpool Vs S.H.I.E.L.D. TP
Elektra #2 New Series
Hulk #3 New Series
Immortal Iron Fist The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe TP
Magneto #4 New Series
Marvel Knights Hulk Transforme TP
Miracleman #6
Nova #17
Nova Vol. 3 Nova Corpse TP
Original Sin #2 (Of 8) New Mini-Series
Powers Bureau #10
Savage Wolverine #19
Thor God Of Thunder #22
Ultimate FF #2 New Series
Uncanny X-Men #21
Wolverine And The X-Men #4 New Series
X-Factor By Peter David The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
X-Men #14
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7th Sword #2 New Series
Danger Girl May Day #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Dexter’s Laboratory #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series, Kid Friendly
Genius Animated The Cartoon Art Of Alex Toth Vol. 3 HC
Indestructible #6
Littlest Pet Shop #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series, Kid Friendly
Monster And Madman #3 (Of 3)
My Little Pony Friends Forever #5 New Series, Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #22 Kid Friendly
Rogue Trooper #4 New Series
Star Mage #2 (Of 6) New Mini-Series, Kid Friendly
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #3 New Series
Star Trek Khan TP
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30th Anniversary Special
Transformers Windblade #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
V-Wars #2 New Series
Axe Cop American Choppers #1 (Of 3) New Mini-Series
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #119
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #1 (of 4) New Mini-Series
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #3
Dark Horse Presents #36
Dragon Age The Silent Grove (#1 For $1 Edition)
Mind MGMT Vol. 3 The Home Maker HC
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 16 TP
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Star Wars Legacy II Vol. 2 Outcasts Of The Broken Ring TP
Witcher #3 (Of 5)

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.