Comic Book Corner — My Little Pony, Bitch Planet, The Tenth Doctor, and Multiversity

Image via Image Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. It’s better late than never in my coverage of the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Holiday Special and Lisa reads up on what the Tenth Doctor is up to. As for Corrina, she gives us her take on Multiversity and Bitch Planet <excuse my French>.

Dakster Sullivan — My Little: Pony Equestria Girls Holiday Special by Ted Anderson with art by Tony Fleecs

MLP Equestria Girls Holiday Issue  Image: ComiXology
MLP Equestria Girls Holiday Issue Image: ComiXology

Sunset Shimmer finds herself in a depressing situation during the holidays at Canterlot High. Someone has set up a “MyStable” account and is spilling the secrets of every student at the school. It sounded a lot like an episode of the show when the Cutiemark Crusaders were running a gossip column and it got a bit out of hand.

I enjoyed the show version of this scenario, but not so much the comic book. It was more depressing than I would have liked in a kids’ holiday story and was layered with life lessons of being careful what you post on the internet. It felt like the entire issue was more of a PSA about cyber-bullying. The story itself wasn’t bad at all, but the timing for the theme wasn’t the best in my opinion and I think it would have better served the “back to school” season.

My son was really bummed to see that Twilight Sparkle didn’t make an appearance at Canterlot High and was only in a couple of panels in her castle, but since this is an Equestria Girls issue, I’m not that surprised.

If you’re looking for a warm and loving holiday story, skip this one. If you are looking for a story that teaches a valuable lesson about cyber-bullying, this one is for you and must read on the subject.

Age Recommendation: All ages!

Lisa Tate — Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #5 by Nick Abadzis with art by Elena Casagrande

Tenth Doctor  Image: Titan Comics
Tenth Doctor Image: Titan Comics

The first Titan Comics Tenth Doctor story arc with the creative team of Nick Abadzis and Elena Casagrande wraps up promise of more to come from The Doctor and his latest companion, Gabby. After helping The Doctor defeat an alien invasion on Earth, Gabby is on what is supposed to be a one-time “thank you” trip in the TARDIS. As a aspiring artist, The Doctor takes her to see a a favorite other-worldly artist, Zhe Ikiyuyu. Of course, these trips never seem to go smoothly, and they find Zhu missing and her gender-merging and jealous Apprentice on the hunt to kill them. While The Doctor is having his own trouble battling the Apprentice, Gabby finds her friendly, inquisitive nature and diplomacy get her farther to defeating this foe and saving Zhu.

There were a couple of pretty cute elements in this final of the five-part series, including the commentary from Gabby’s subconscious and a visual cameo by the Fourth Doctor (make sure to look for it).

The next series will have a whole new creative team, but the first story has done a great job setting the stage for this Doctor/companion team up.

Age Recommendation: 12+

Corrina — Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

It was appropriate that I finished Jill LePore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman on the same day that I read Bitch Planet #1 because this comic has to be the most unabashedly feminist comic I’ve read since those early Wonder Woman stories.

But it’s so much more than that. I expected a story of a woman working against a patriarchy in a comic about a planetary women’s prison. That concept is there but, far more, this is an classic science fiction tale of how a future society culls its independent (non-compliant) members. The world set up is startling. Even the various human reactions of those entering the prison are already anticipated by those in charge and those reactions are choreographed for maximum effect. It reminded me of the way the Capital manipulates publicity and images from The Hunger Games.

This is great storytelling and a must read for any science fiction fans. Bonus: Read the back cover.

From the back cover of Bitch Planet #1, image via Image Comics

Age Recommendation: 17+

Multiversity by Grant Morrison and various artists

I wanted to love this maxi-series. Morrison taking a journey through the various eras of DC superhero worlds? Sign me up. But, so far, I’ve been underwhelmed. Part of it may be that Morrison’s stories are frequently better read when finished, when all the puzzle pieces fit, but part of it is that Multiversity seems far more interested in meta-commentary on the current start of superhero storytelling than in actual storytelling.

Take Multiversity: Pax Americana, for instance. It’s the story of the Charlton Comic heroes who were used as inspiration for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Watchmen. But instead of Morrison’s take on the heroes, what readers get is not so much a homage to Watchmen as a retelling of the story, complete with Gibbons’ then-groundbreaking panel-by-panel designs. Unfortunately, while the work and effort that went into this retelling is clear, especially by the artist, Frank Quietly, the story buried under there is impenetrable.

So far, the stand-out issues have been Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes, which is an old-fashioned pulp hero story, and Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures, which focused on the Shazam! characters of Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., Mary Marvel, and their whole supporting cast. But even the latter is marred with a lot of meta-commentary on how today’s comics are just grim and sad. I sympathize with Morrison’s ire with the current often-grim state of DC Comics but I’d rather not be reminded of it when I’m reading a story that I hope is different.

Age recommendation: depends on the issues but generally, 10+. though some kids might not understand some of the concepts in various issues.

Looking for something else, readers? This week’s books are pretty slim but include:

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Batman Eternal #39
Earth 2 World’s End #13
New 52 Futures End #35
All-New Miracleman Annual #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Star Trek Planet Of The Apes #1 (Of 5) Massive Vol. 4 Sahara
X Vol. 4 Better Off Dead