GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — The Flash, Astro City, Lumberjanes, Red Sonja, and Futures End

Cover to Astro City: Victory courtesy Vertigo Comics
Cover to Astro City: Victory courtesy Vertigo 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 we explore The Flash: Season Zero, Futures End, Red Sonja, the Lumberjanes, and Astro City.

Dakster Sullivan — The Flash: Season Zero #2 by Brooke Eikmeier, Andrew Kreisberg, and Katherine Walczak with art by Phil Hester

The Flash: Season Zero #2   Image: Comixology
The Flash: Season Zero #2 Image: DC Comics

The Flash: Season Zero, I thought, was supposed to clue us in on the TV series before it aired. This issue proves how wrong I was about that assumption.

The story itself is okay as we see Barry starting to have issues with keeping his new abilities to himself and not being able to openly be The Flash at crime scenes. He struggles with his self-esteem and realizes that even though he has started a new and exciting chapter of his life, he can only share it with a few people. I imagine he feels the same as Peter Parker when he has to let Flash Thompson beat the crap out of him in order to hide his alter identity.

I have a major problem with this issue and that’s the fact that it feels like the authors are filling us in on what is going on in The Flash TV series, even though the pilot hasn’t even aired yet. Anyone who has seen the trailers knows that Barry will have a small team from Star Labs that will know who he is, but according to this issue, it seems that even Iris’ father knows about his abilities (but to my knowledge so far, Iris has no clue).

I would love to see an infographic or something that shows us who knows what in this series. All this secret keeping on who knows what feels like Thanksgiving with my family.

I’ll continue to read the series as long as it doesn’t hurt my head, but if this issue is any indication of what the future holds, I have a feeling I won’t be reading for very long.

Age recommendation: 10 years old and up.

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

Corrina — Astro City: Victory by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson

If you haven’t visited Astro City yet, you’re missing out. Wholly the creation of Busiek and Anderson, it’s a superhero world filled with wonder. There are some analogues to familiar heroes but there are also many serious differences, enough to immerse me into this story, particularly, as the heroine Winged Victory’s reputation and good-standing are attacked as well as her shelters for battered women. It’s a good mystery but it’s a better character study, raising many questions about feminism, female solidarity, and the nature of good and evil. And one final note: Even in this book, where Winged Victory is involved with Samaritan (Wonder Woman/Superman analogues), Victory has more chemistry with the Confessor (Batman analogue). This amused me.

You can read this book without having read any of the past collections, so no fears on that front.

After finishing the main story, I got geeky and read all the character bios and maps and newspaper articles about the fictional Astro City in the back.

Age Recommendation: Suitable for children, but probably ages 8 and up.

Futures End: Harley Quinn #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and Chad Hardin, Futures End: Booster Gold #1 by Dan Jurgens and numerous artists, Futures End: The Flash by Van Jensen, Robert Venditti, and Brett Booth.

The Futures End event issues has some some interesting debuts this week. One, Booster Gold shows up in his own special comic. Booster’s a character who has been MIA in the new 52. It’s nice to see him back and his issue is a fun romp through the various DC universes (Kamandi, Legion of SuperHeroes). It will thrill fans of the character and confuse those new to him.

Two, Kid Flash. Wally West was a character who headline the Flash comics for years until the DC Universe rebooted and put his predecessor, Barry Allen, back into his place. He’s been recently re-introduced as a surly African-American teen but this issue is basically his origin, as he obtains speed force powers as a result of combat between the current Flash and his future, more ruthless, self. It’s enjoyable and yet also confusing but it’s nice to see Wally step into being a hero again.

You were expecting Harley Quinn to be anything but silly? Sorry, it’s more insane weirdness (in a good way), as Harley is weirdly marooned on a desert island and delusion about the Joker being there and treated as a god by the natives. I wouldn’t say it’s a glimpse into Harley’s future, more like a glimpse into her warped mind.

The Legends of Red Sonja  Image: Dark Horse
The Legends of Red Sonja Image: Dynamite

Kay Moore — Legends of Red Sonja #1 by  Gail Simone, Nancy A. Collins, and Devin Kalile Grayson; Art by Jack Jadson, Noah Solonga, and Carla Speed McNeil
Although it feels a bit anachronistic, I am a fan of Red Sonja, with her strength and in-your-face attitudes. I am fond of women warriors in my fiction and comics, even more than my daughters are.

The new Legends (digital-only) series brings a stable of women creators, both writers and artists, to mix it up in the Sonja story world. This approach enjoys the bounty of other anthologized issues of favorite comics I’ve enjoyed, the joy of the known, enjoyable story-verse and characters, with new writers and artists introduced for us to sample. A recommendation from a favorite author is one of my time-honored ways to find new favorites, and what is a stronger recommendation than hand-picking someone for your own project?

Legends of Red Sonja #1 tells a single story, but it is still a three-parter: Simone writes the lead-in, with a band of “Grey Riders” on a mission to hunt down Red Sonja, each individually motivated.

In this episode, they are introduced by our narrator and we start to learn their stories in a nod to a bloodier version of the Canterbury Tales. Next, Eles the Stygian priest tells his story—how Red Sonja bested him and his fellow temple priests long ago, and how he has plotted revenge ever since. The third part has the Grey Riders continue to a sea port and question a ship’s captain about his knowledge of Sonja and he tells them a tall tale of monsters and maidens, finishing with a wink.

All three tales are admirably stitched together into one story. Even though the authorship and art change, there are no breaks; it just flows. The framing of a narrator within the Grey Riders who is writing and recording the story works well; he is invested in the actions and emotions but not reporting this all as memories informed with hard-won wisdom.

I liked the roll-call of the Grey Riders at the beginning but it is hard to imagine it will stick with the reader until each character makes his individual play.

I would have like more of Sonja’s patented wisecracking, but she Red Sonja speaks less than in a Simone issue, so there isn’t much opportunity. But each segment had interesting qualities—personalities in just a few panels in the first part, tons of detail and a typical Sonja resolution in the second segment, and great atmosphere and a wonderful narrator in the third. I am eager to take the next steps on this multifaceted journey.

Age Recommendation: Teen and up

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #6 by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis with art by Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes #6  Image: Boom!
Lumberjanes #6 Image: Boom!

The Lumberjanes are back with a sixth issue that perfectly captures the anarchic feel of an episode of Community. The camp is relaxing after last issue’s raptor attack with a nice, friendly game of Capture the Flag but, as you can probably imagine, certain factions are getting far more into the game than anyone ever intended. Prisons are erected, scouting parties sent over the river, and battle plans are drawn out in the mud giving the whole issue a backdrop of jungle warfare.

It’s against this backdrop that the main story continues as more is revealed about the mysterious Diane and the girls question Jo about the Bearwoman’s words. There’s a rather wonderful showdown in the woods that raised a lot of new questions for me and gave me some ideas about what might really be going on out in these woods. However I think I need to quote April when she stands back from the insane action and says simply, “I have so many questions.”

In a week where feminism has been the center of both good and bad news, the release of a kids’ comic that features a woman sporting visible tattoos telling a woman of color that, “Those girls don’t need you to punch a bear. They can do that on their own,” whilst polishing an axe feels like just the sort of medicine we need.

Age Recommendation: All Ages

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

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

Adventures Of Superman #17 (Final Issue)
Aquaman And The Others Futures End #1
Batman ’66 #15
Batman Beyond Universe #14
Batman Eternal #25
Batman Gordon Of Gotham TP
Bodies #3 (Of 8)
Booster Gold Futures End #1
Catwoman Futures End #1
Dead Boy Detectives #9
Ex Machina Vol. 3 TP
Flash Futures End #1
Flash Omnibus Vol. 1 HC
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. TP
Forever Evil Blight TP
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion TP
Harley Quinn Futures End #1
Harley Quinn Vengeance Unlimited TP
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #17
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #12 (Final Issue)
Justice League Dark Futures End #1
New 52 Futures End #21 Weekly Series
Red Lanterns Futures End #1
Sandman Overture Special Edition #3
Sinestro Futures End #1
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie Futures End #1
Superman Doomed #2 New Series
Superman Futures End #1
All-New Ghost Rider #7
All-New Invaders #10
Amazing Spider-Man #1.5
Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection Vol. 1 Great Power TP
Amazing X-Men #11
Cyclops #5
Deadpool #35
Edge Of Spider-Verse #3 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #19
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Angela TP
Inhuman #6
Loki Agent Of Asgard #6
Magneto #10
Marvel Masterworks The Mighty Thor Vol. 5 TP
Marvel Previews #134 (October 2014 For Products On-Sale December 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #30
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 7 Digest TP
Mighty Avengers #14
New Avengers #24
New Warriors #10
Savage Wolverine #23
Secret Avengers #8
Storm #3 New Series
Superior Spider-Man #32
Thunderbolts #31
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Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #4 (Of 6)
Crow Pestilence TP Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE #1
Ghostbusters #20 Final Issue
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #16
IDW Fall 2014 Kids Comics Sampler Kid Friendly
Marvel Covers Artist’s Edition HC
Maxx Maxximized Vol. 2 HC
My Little Pony Annual 2014 Kid Friendly
Samurai Jack #12 Kid Friendly
Star Trek #37
Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge Of Forever The Original Teleplay #4 (Of 5)
Star Trek Vol. 8 TP
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents The Best of Wally Wood HC
Transformers Robots In Disguise #33
Aliens Fire And Stone #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Baltimore The Witch Of Harju #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Captain Midnight #15
Captain Midnight Vol. 3 For A Better Tomorrow TP
Conan The Avenger #6
Deep Gravity #3 (Of 4)
ElfQuest The Final Quest #5 GeekMom Recommended
Ghost #8
Groo Vs Conan #3 (Of 4)
Halo Escalation #10
Lone Wolf And Cub Omnibus Vol. 6 TP
Massive #27
Mind MGMT #26
Nightmare Carnival SC
Pariah #8 (Of 8) Final Issue
POP #2 (Of 4)
Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #9
Sally Heathcote Suffragette HC
Sundowners #2 New Series
Tomb Raider #8
Witcher Vol. 1 TP

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

Disclaimer: GeekMom received review copies of some of the titles included in this post.