Comic Book Corner — Fairy Tales, Cats, Sonja, Kung Fu, Multiversity & The X-Files

Comic Books GeekMom
Cover to Red Sonja #11, copyright Dynamite Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. We have a full slate today, with reviews of Grimm Fairy Tales, a book with talking cats, Grant Morrison’s latest DC project, Marvel’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, and, last but not least, Gail Simone’s Red Sonja #11.

Dakster Sullivan — Grimm Fairy Tales #101 by Pat Shand and art by Andrea Meloni

Grimm Fairy Tales #101 is the jumping-on point for new readers and takes place after the events of Realm War (currently happening). The dialog can be a bit confusing because Sela talks about the war briefly a few times, and the events that have changed her haven’t actually happened yet from the reader’s standpoint. I kind of wish this new point had been held for when Realm War was completed.

Despite the back-history confusion, this is a pretty good issue that sets up the next story arc nicely. The best way I can describe this issue is X-Men-meets-Grimm characters. Shang is Professor Xavier, Sela is Jean Grey, and everyone else is the student body.

Judging from the ending, I have a pretty good guess as to the next fairy-tale character our heroes and heroes-in-training will have to face. I have a feeling that this version won’t be turning anyone into a prince or singing songs about friendship.

I Was The Cat by Ben Dewey and Paul Tobin

When I first heard this title, I rolled my eyes and dismissed it as a waste of my time. Then, I received a second press emailing telling me how popular the book was. I decided to crack open the spine and see what the fuss was all about. Needless to say, I ended up learning a valuable lesson: Never judge a graphic novel until you’ve read a few pages.

I Was The Cat is an interesting story of history, mystery, and oddities. Our main character, Burma, is a talking cat on the last of his nine lives. His previous eight lives have been filled with amazing history that really gets you sucked into his story. The stories that Burma tells about his interactions with the Egyptians to Napoleon, Audrey Hepburn, and more are fascinating to listen to and make me want to revisit my history books to see if I missed any mention of a tabby cat along the way.

If you’re a cat or a history person, you will enjoy the tales that Burma has to share.

Age Recommendation: Teen + (for violent content at times).

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

Lisa Tate — Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 (Marvel Now!) by Mike Benson and art by Tan Eng Huat

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 (Marvel Now!)  Image: Marvel
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #3 (Marvel Now!). Image: Marvel.

Shortly after my husband and I were married, we were getting all of my stuff moved into his apartment when I came across a sizeable box of silver-aged comics. I couldn’t wait to look through them until I realized they were all The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu issues. I didn’t get it. Why, of all the possible titles to hang onto, was he hoarding what I felt at the time was a secondary rip-off of Bruce Lee, and not as cool as characters like Electra, Iron Fist, or even Psylocke? Even though I tried to keep an open mind, I just couldn’t get into this title.

It took writer Mike Benson just three issues of the new Shang-Chi series to do what several years’ worth of retro comics couldn’t: get me psyched for Master of Kung Fu.

In this series, Shang-Chi has already joined the ranks of the Avengers and is out to avenge the death of his friend and romantic interest, Leiko Wu. In the process, there are battles with the likes of the Chinese Mafia, martial arts expert and crime lord Skull Crusher, and a plot-twisting family secret.

Shang-Chi also gets to fight along kung-fu super-teams Sons of the Tiger and Daughters of the Dragon, the later of which has two awesome female kung-fu characters: Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. The result is a movie thriller-worthy plot, blended with some intense on-page kung-fu fighting. If enough readers pick up this series, Shang-Chi might gain enough attention to at least make an appearance in a big-screen Marvel franchise.

Do I enjoy this series enough to go back and read all of those old Master of Kung Fu issues? No (there are just too many of those old issues). Do I like it enough to call myself a Shang-Chi fan? I’m getting there. Mr. Benson may just have to keep these books coming.

Age Recommendation: Teen + (contains a few pretty graphic images)

Kay Moore — Red Sonja #11, Digital Exclusive Edition. Written by Gail Simone and art by Water Geovanni

Red Sonja  Image: Diamond Publishing
Red Sonja. Image: Diamond Publishing.

Sonja is an uncouth, take-no-prisoners barbarian, and she never apologizes for that fact. In this digital-only series from Gail Simone and Walter Geovanni, she also returns to wearing her chain-mail bikini. After my youth of feasting on a diet of fantasy, fable, Hercules, Xena, and maybe even Conan, I declare that Sonja is not only the Red Devil, but Queen of the Comics.

In this story arc, Sonja’s mission is to gather the top artisans from across many lands and bring them to a dying monarch’s wake. Success earns freedom for a thousand slaves and she is determined as only she can be to succeed. In each issue, she does battle for a new artisan acquisition, while trailing the targets she has already gathered.

Each of her companions has a personality and quirks, and Sonja plays off of them as unique people. She learns something at each encounter and I enjoy that she is not only fierce, but also capable of fear, loneliness, and doubt.

In this issue, a contrast between her upbringing and the conditions of her foes gave me some poignant moments. One question is always whether Sonja will overcome her challenges through her own fortitude, or through example or learning from her foes or companions.

Sonja continues brash and bold, as always, but also insightful and occasionally at a loss. Momentarily. If you want to go on a wild sleigh ride over the edge of a cliff, pick up Red Sonja #11, and then pick up all of the issues before that.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina — Multiversity #1 by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado

A page from Multiversity #1 by DC Comics.

This could as easily been titled, “Grant Morrison Gets Meta.” This long-rumored project from Morrison, the writer of All-Star Superman, Batman Incorporated, and many other classic works, finally comes out today. It’s a romp through the many alternate earths not only of the DC Universe, but with clearly a lot of Marvel and characters from other companies thrown in.

I expected each issue of this series to focus on a different earth and its goings-on. But instead, this is another tale of a universe-eating monster that seemingly can’t be stopped.

It’s all very knowing about comic fandom and I bet someone is going to have an annotated version up by 6:00 p.m. tonight or even earlier. It may even be Morrison’s comment on how fans seemingly hate big, even crossovers, but buy them in droves anyway.

But is it a good story?

Excellent question. As a single comic, it’s confusing, but there’s enough emotion in it to hold me until issue #2, when it may be more coherent. Or it may not. This is Morrison’s playground and we’re all just along for the ride.

The X-Files: Year Zero #2  Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files: Year Zero #2. Image: IDW Publishing.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Year Zero #2 by Karl Kesel and art by Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra

It’s a rare thing indeed for something to have me so excited that I actually jump out of my seat and start crying tears of joy. It’s rarer still for that to be a comic book; yet that is precisely the reaction that The X-Files: Year Zero #2 inspired in me. Not once, but twice.

Last month’s issue established the plot and brought us Agent Bing Ellinson and his partner Millie Ohio… and I fell in love instantly. Issue #2 starts out with us back in 1946 with our new FBI friends, as they are given a cryptic message from Mr. Xero via Mrs. Sears that sends them off toward Montana. Back in the present day, Scully is less inclined to go gallivanting off cross-country until she has some more information on Mulder’s story—and who can blame her given their track record?

This particular scene is set in a diner and it’s here that my first leap-off-my-seat moment occurred, as Mulder dropped in a reference to a certain coffee-loving, cherry-pie-eating FBI agent in such a manner as to leave it ambiguous whether Mulder “knows” him from TV or as a real person. The vaguest innuendo toward an X-Files/Twin Peaks crossover is just too much for me to handle right now. Seriously IDW: If you publish it, we will read!

With clues in hand courtesy of their waitress, Mulder and Scully are off in pursuit of evidence. This whole sequence is a delight, full of the pair’s trademark wit and banter. Scully often goes unrecognized for her own dry humor, becoming lost in her partner’s shadow. However, in these pages, she gets to really shine. We also get our first really good look at Mr Zero/Xero—and honestly, I’m not sure I really wanted to!

Back in 1946, Ellinson and Ohio are in Montana investigating a series of apparent animal attacks, until reports come in of a car being taken for a joyride by a local Indian boy named Ish. The name was familiar, but it wasn’t until I spotted the location card for Glacier National Park and the mention of animals “picking off the Parker herd,” that I finally put it all together and practically screamed out loud. You’ll need to remember back over 20 years to 1994’s season one episode “Shapes,” but it’s that case that Mulder discusses what’s being investigated here: “the very first X-File.”

The issue concludes with Ellinson and Ohio witnessing first-hand the events that the now elderly Ish recounts to Mulder in 1994, and with me on cloud nine. Considering the sheer volume of history on a show as long-running and complex as The X-Files, it’s very easy to make mistakes and to unwittingly alter the show’s canon. In this issue, Year Zero has shown a reverence and respect for the original source material that went above and beyond what I expected from the series. I genuinely cannot wait for issue three and in the meantime, I’m gonna see about drafting a Twin Peaks/X-Files crossover script to pitch to IDW.

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

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Batman And Robin #34
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 3 TP
Batman Arkham Unhinged Vol. 4 HC
Batman Eternal #20
Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 Gotham’s Most Wanted TP
Batwoman #34
Brightest Day Omnibus HC
Fables #143
Green Lantern New Guardians #34
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #2 New Series
Infinity Man And The Forever People #3 New Series
Justice League Dark Vol. 4 The Rebirth Of Evil TP
Justice League United #4 New Series
Katana Vol. 1 Soultaker TP
Lucifer Vol. 4 TP
Multiversity #1 New Series
New 52 Futures End #16 Weekly Series
Red Hood And The Outlaws #34
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #8
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1 New Series
Supergirl #34
Teen Titans #2 New Series
Teen Titans Go #5
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #14 (Final Issue)
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #8
All-New Ghost Rider #6
All-New Ultimates #6
All-New X-Factor #12
Captain America Epic Collection Vol. 12 Society Of Serpents TP
Daredevil #7
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 6 TP
Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #7 (Of 7) Final Issue
Deadpool Vs X-Force #3 (Of 4)
Elektra #5
Iron Man #9
Journey Into Mystery By Kieron Gillen The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
Loki Agent Of Asgard Vol. 1 Trust Me TP
Magneto #8
Mighty Avengers #13
Ms. Marvel #7 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers #23
Nova #20 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sins #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Punisher Vol. 1 Black And White TP
Savage Wolverine #22
Secret Avengers #7
Spider Man 2099 #1 New Series
Storm #2 New Series
Winter Soldier The Bitter March TP
Wolverine Annual #1
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Airboy Archives Vol. 2 TP
Judge Dredd #22
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #1 Kid Friendly
Monster And Madman TP
My Little Pony Friends Forever #8 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #11 Kid Friendly
Sinister Dexter TP
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #6
Super Secret Crisis War The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures Vol. 8 TP Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2014
Transformers Robots In Disguise #32
X-Files Year Zero #2 (Of 5)
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #122
Brain Boy The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #6
Eye Of Newt #3 (Of 4)
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #2 Wolverine
Second Chance At Sarah HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Strain The Night Eternal #1 New Series
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #3 (Of 5)

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

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