This Month In Comics – February 2016

Yet another month in comics.

Happy Leap Day, all!!!

I am so excited to be at the end of February – and at the end of my 100% fulfilled posting schedule – back with a full lineup of comics from my pull list to review. This month treated me to two new ongoing series, as well as a newish series from a publisher I had never bothered with before. I must say that I was very much satisfied with just about all of the new stories.

Usually, I like to post each review with the particular comic book cover that I have at home, but most of my issues from DC were Neal Adams variants, and those were particularly hard to find. So most of the DC series will be posted with the main cover, however I’ve somehow managed to obtain my first ever non-variant Archie Comics cover since the New Riverdale ‘verse began.

In any case, thank you all for once again joining me in my review of my pull list. Let us begin.

We Are Robin #9

Main Cover by Lee Bermejo (Photo Credit: DC)

Smiley is still on the loose, but this Rise of the Jokers arc has yet to come to really get underway. Duke is dealing with the hopeless state of his parents, Izzy is dealing with the hopeless state of her life, and Riko is dealing with the hopeless state of her romance with Duke. What is that about, anyway? Dax is off trying out new gadgets, Dre is being a hero that Gotham needs, and I am just now realizing that all of the boys in the main Robin crew have D names. That’s probably why they killed off Troy.

Too soon?

In any case, I like the addition of Smiley because I like villains who are crazy for the sake of crazy. He’s not here for your cash or your valuables; he just wants to mess stuff up. And if that includes your face and current status as a living person? Well, such is life. I love that his neighbor is quick to point out his smile as an indication of how he would turn out, as if Smiley really had any control over his face.

I would happily ship Riko/Duke if they would just let Duke acknowledge Riko. I don’t understand what’s going on there, but it’s making me really not like Duke in that regard. If their kiss was just a heat of the moment thing, then fine, but at least have them talk it out. I don’t think that that’s too much to ask.

Other than that, I’m ready for the team to come back together and take on the Jokers. Or even just Smiley managing to find the Joker. I just want things to happen. I don’t know if I’m cool with more issues of walking around Gotham and being sad about life. We’re in a new arc guys; it’s time to do stuff.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #4

Cover by Amy Reeder (Photo Credit: Marvel)

So Amadeus Cho’s Hulk dropped by because he’s in the business of collecting creatures. Lunella can’t catch a break if it hit her in the face, and Devil Dinosaur is just trying to protect it’s friend. Me? I’m just here questioning myself and the way I feel about Inhumans.

I have never felt so prejudiced against a group of fictional people in my life, but I hate the very idea of the Inhumans. Thanks, Marvel. You’ve made me a bigot.

I have to wonder how fluid the Marvel universe is because Amadeus Cho, in his own comic, is nowhere near New York. So to have him come in and try to collect Devil Dinosaur from Lunella has me wondering if there is a time frame issue or a multiverse issue. Either way, there is an issue.

I do not like that Amadeus is out here not giving Lunella the time to explain the situation, or giving credence to the validity of her complaints. I think that it’s a testament to Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder’s abilities as writers that I can relate so well to Lunella’s frustrations because they have just been steadily building since the series’ beginning.

I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it: Lunella’s biggest problem is that her needs are not being met, and no one is taking her concerns seriously. Every issue has me more and more sympathetic to the plight of this poor child. Inhuman or not, she deserves to be heard and understood.

Archie #6

Variant Cover by Derek Charm (Photo Credit: Archie Comics)

I don’t think that I’ll ever fully be able to express how much I truly love the New Riverdale lineup over at Archie Comics. I mean, Mark Waid and Chip Zdarsky are doing some really good stuff over there, and I hope that some of these storylines show up on the new show.

In this month’s issue of Archie, Betty hits a home run that puts Archie in the hospital. We are introduced to Toni Topaz and Betty’s possible new romance, Sayid. Reggie Mantle is still a jerk, but we are now privy to what might have caused it. And this month’s classic Archie comic showed us that Fred Andrews is just as much of a hopeless case as his son.

I liked this issue because it seemed to bring a ton of new elements to the story. I think I’ve said before how much I appreciated Mark Waid’s decision to not employ the Betty/Archie/Veronica triangle in this new version, and I really like how he’s deciding to deal with that. It’s nice to see that Veronica actually cares about Archie, in her own way, but it’s even nicer to see Betty begin to move on.

I like the introduction to the seemingly androgynous Toni Topaz. I don’t know if this character will come to play a bigger roll in the comic, but I love that this theme of diverse background characters is still being held up.

I liked the glimpse that we got into Reggie’s home life because it did make me feel sympathetic toward him. I also like that we did not dwell on it for too long. Reggie has always, and will always, be Archie’s rival. And, while it’s nice to see Reggie be given some character development, this is not a redemption arc.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the next issue.

Starfire #9

Main Cover by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts (Photo Credit: DC)

In this month’s issue, the girls take a roadtrip to Atlee’s home town. Starfire’s alien pet, Syl’Khee, makes his first appearance, and I finally learn how to spell his name. And the story begins to enter a new, and slightly more sensible, arc.

In any case, I like that we are going forward with Starfire’s relationship with Sol. I like that he is not trying to take advantage of her, and is letting Koriand’r move at her own pace. I like that he’s so willing to accept her, even to the point of helping to take care of her alien pet. I am beyond here for this relationship.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to expect out of this trip to Strata, but I like that Atlee, Kori, and Stella are becoming better friends. Starfire will never be a traditionally feminist comic, but I like that it gives us three strong women being supportive of each other.

I don’t really have much else to say about this issue. I’ve accepted that Starfire will be one of the less exciting comics in my pull list, but I still manage to find every issue interesting even if I don’t feel the need to write about it. Starfire, in all of her naivety and carefreeness, will always appeal to me. She will always be the heavy hitter in my heart.

Jughead #4

Main Cover by Erica Henderson (Photo Credit: Archie Comics)

For the first time ever, since the New Riverdale lineup began, I actually have an issue with the main cover. I’m so serious, my comic book store usually carries all of the covers, but they only ever put the variant covers in my box. This is the first time that I haven’t had to click the link for Single Variant Issues on the Archie Comics website.

In this month’s issue, Jughead’s suspension is finally over, and he sets out to prove that Principal Stanger is running a covert operation at Riverdale High. Kevin Keller and Dilton Doiley make an appearance, and Jughead’s hat speaks. In the classic comic, we meet Jughead’s doppelgänger cousin, Souphead.

Before I go forward, I have to give a shoutout to Kevin Keller for making it into Jughead’s inner circle. Maybe he’s always been there, but I wasn’t reading Archie comics when Kevin was introduced. I would also like to give a shoutout to Jughead’s hat, Crownie, for finally getting a voice. Is that healthy? Not at all, but Jughead was not meant to be normal. And despite the almost completely white cast, and return of the infamous love triangle, Jughead is just as good of a read as the new Archie series.

This issue will go down in history as being the one to finally address Jughead’s sexuality. I’m not saying that Jughead was always intended to come off as asexual, but you can’t help if the shoe fits perfectly. In his 75 years of being a part of Archie Comics history, Jughead has shown almost no interest in the opposite sex, or any sex for that matter. Even the one girlfriend they gave Jughead seemed to be more interested in him that he was in her.

It has always been understood that Jughead’s true love was food. Or rather, Jughead has always been comfortable with himself, his family, and his friends, that he has never seen the need to get involved in any romantic entanglements. And while it does seem that the food is more of a coping mechanism than anything, Juggie is perfectly fine just being himself.

Cole Sprouse wishes he could be so chill.

The Totally Awesome Hulk #3

Main Cover by Frank Cho and Sonia Obak (Photo Credit: Marvel)

Every time I think of The Totally Awesome Hulk, I want to sing “Rock Me, Amadeus”. I almost died of laughter when I saw that there was a letters section in this issue called, “Write Me, Amadeus”. Jokes all around.

In this issue, Amadeus runs off with Lady Hellbender to fight Fin Fang Foom. She-Hulk considers calling in the Avengers. The Hulk finally gets out of Amadeus’s trunk, and we see a little bit more of what happened to Bruce. And, in the end, Lady Hellbender just wants to catch the biggest monster.

I don’t know how I feel about Lady Hellbender; she’s not good, but she’s not evil either. She’s the dangerous grey area that you always have to watch out for. She-Hulk knows that no good can come of it, but I, too, am not a fan of calling in the Avengers to come deal with the Hulk. That never turns out well.

I see that She-Hulk and Spider-Man are comic relief at the moment, so I’m okay with their non-acting so far. Hopefully they begin to show some type of purpose later on, because I’d love to see Miles and Amadeus become friends. I adore the way She-Hulk is drawn in this issue. She looks strong.

I’ve said before that I appreciate that Amadeus accepts his Hulk, but I worry that trying to contain the rage is not a good idea. And I’ve been under the assumption that each Hulk is particular to the human it inhabits, but it seems as though the Hulk that Amadeus has locked in a trunk in his mind is Bruce Banner’s. I am not a big fan of that idea. Amadeus should have his own anger issues, and his own Hulk.

All that being said, I can’t wait to read next month’s issue if only to see how Amadeus gets out of his newest problem.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #6

Cover by Romulo Fajardo (Photo Credit: Marvel)

So like, last week, when I went to pick up my comics for the month, I got to talking with my comic book guy. We are both not fans of Sam Wilson being replaced as the Falcon, nor are we happy with him having to share the title of Captain America with Steve Rogers, again. However, he also brought up his real gripe with the current FalconCap run: this series has more to do with real world politics than Marvel in-universe politics.

In this month’s issue, Sam is still stuck as CapWolf for most of the book. Joaquin gets his first big brawl as the new Falcon. Misty Knight, Diamondback and D-Man join our heroes if only to level the playing field. And Serpent Solutions sees their stock rise and fall with the tides of battle. All in all, it’s just another day in New York.

I have no issue with comics commenting on real life issues, and I like that Sam is getting political, but I’d be much more okay if Sam got involved with the Inhumans issue than what Serpent Solutions is doing on Wall Street. I don’t knock the storyline, but if Sam Wilson is a Captain America that wants to fight directly for the people, then why isn’t he fighting for the mutants being directly targeted by the Terrigen Mists? Why isn’t he making a point in looking out for kids like Lunella Lafayette who are afraid of how the Terrigen Mists will affect their Inhuman DNA? Why is he not combatting the discrimination that mutants and Inhumans alike are facing from other humans because of the Terrigen Mists?

The Marvel universe in and of itself has it’s own civil rights issues just among it’s superhero population alone. It’s humans against mutants against Inhumans also against mutants, whilst still being discriminated against by other humans. These issues have been going on since well before Civil War, but nobody ever seems to want to make a lasting peace. They are a direct metaphor for racism and injustices in the real world, but somehow Marvel only wants to deal with real world issues instead of fixing the fractures within it’s own.

Oy, that went places.

In any case, I’m still here for Sam Wilson, even if that means he might be a hero without a name pretty soon. Thankfully, he will spend the whole of the next issue wearing his own face. And maybe, just maybe, Marvel will eventually let Sam be great.

Cyborg #8

Cover by Brian Cunningham (Photo Credit: DC)

First of all, I don’t know who decided that Cyborg and Shazam should team up, but they deserve an award. That honestly made my day.

In this issue, Cyborg teams up with Shazam, and the government begins recruiting a previously introduced character. The villain of the week is the Zookeeper, and Victor refuses to take anything seriously. This arc begins to feel a little goofy, but continuously more ominous.

You ever watch old action movies? Like the ones from the 80s and 90s when Stallone, Segal, and Van Damme were popping out a new one every six months and the line delivery just got cheesier and cheesier. That’s how this month’s issue of Cyborg made me feel.

Don’t get me wrong, I adored the team up with Shazam because I don’t know how old Billy Batson is supposed to be at the moment, but I’m pretty sure he’s closer in age to Victor Stone than the rest of the Justice League. The jokes that they cracked while battling the Zookeeper were appropriate, if a bit corny. However, Victor couldn’t seem to take anything seriously this issue, so that just made his last few lines extra cheesy.

I don’t quite think that Vic understands the magnitude of the situation. His father tries, his not-girlfriend tries, but it does not seem to be processing through him that the government laying claim on him is a serious issue that needs to be worried about.

I don’t know, maybe Cyborg has an ace up his sleeve. Whatever it is, I’ll probably be here complaining about it next month.

Spider-Man (2016) #1

Cover by Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor (Photo Credit: Marvel)

When I was first made aware of Miles Morales’ existence, I told myself that I would support it. And I did, sort of. Well after the fact. I’ve collected all but one of the trades from his original Ultimate Comics run, and I’m missing the last of his most recent trade-only release. Then this new ongoing series was announced, and I was in a much better place to support the cause. So here I am.

In this inaugural issue of Spider-Man, we are introduced to a Miles Morales who is juggling life as a high schooler and a superhero. He has lucked out on a date, his grades are slipping, and his mother is not happy. And it does not help that he just so happened to stumble upon a villain that took out the whole Avengers crew. So what’s a younger spider to do?

I am terribly intrigued by this Miles Morales kid. He looks a little older than he was in his first introduction, but is still very much a youngling. I like that he has a very supportive bestfriend, and I love that his parents are alive. For some reason, I was given the impression that Miles was an orphan, but that turned out to not be true.

I appreciate Miles for the simple fact that, after two separate Spider-Man franchises in a decade, and a third on the way, I am beyond tired of Peter Parker. He never resonated with me. I liked Mary Jane, Harry Osbourne, Norman Osbourne, and even Aunt May, but Peter Parker just never worked for me. Miles, on the hand, is surprisingly much more relatable.

Limbo #3

Cover by Caspar Wijngaard (Photo Credit: Image)

So, for some reason, I didn’t pick this up last month, and my comic book store didn’t have #4 this month. So I’m only just now getting back to the story. Limbo is turning into one of those comics that I just read just because. Technically, it’s my third try at an Image ongoing series, but I’m pretty sure that this is the one that will take.

In this issue, Clay has survived his encounter with the teleshaman, thanks to his roommate, but that doesn’t mean that the Thumb is done with him. We are then introduced to the creepiest voodoo second line ever to be thought. And later, we learn a little bit more about Clay.

So here’s the thing, I forgot the roommate’s name. That’s pretty horrible, especially when one considers that she is the whole reason that Clay is still alive at this point. However, the still won’t force me to actually get up and look for the girl’s name, so we’re just going to keep moving forward.

I get the feeling that Dedande City is basically New Orleans. I say this because of the dependence on music and the overabundance of voodoo. It didn’t help that the only time I ever hear anyone talking about “second line” is in reference to a New Orleans parade. So yea, I’m going to stick to that theory until I am shown otherwise.

It looks like this arc took a bit of a twist, since Clay and his roommate seemed to have been set up. However, I also get the feeling that Clay must have done a bit of murdering in his former life. Why his roommate decided that a possible murderer would be great to live with is beyond me, but here we are.

Hopefully next issue will find Clay capable of being rescued. I’m not too optimistic though; I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some necromancy going on there.

Power Man and Iron Fist #1

Cover by Sanford Greene (Photo Credit: Marvel)

I blame Netflix and Jeremy Whitley for making me think that this would be a good idea. Marvel Netflix has been a blast, and the Misty Knight/Danny Rand story in Secret Wars: Secret Love still warms my heart over six months later. So when Marvel announced that they would do Power Man and Iron Fist, I was all about it.

In this inaugural issue, Luke Cage and Danny Rand get back together to welcome their old secretary home from prison. Out of guilt, Danny offers to help her out with anything, anything she needs. Problem is, the one thing she needs isn’t nearly as innocent as Danny wants to believe.

I’ve always been slightly interested in hearing about why it is that Luke Cage and Danny Rand no longer do the superhero thing together. I always thought that they’d had a falling out, but every time I’ve ever seen them, they’re still particularly good friends. To the point where Luke’s daughter is named after Danny (Danny’s daughter is also named after Luke, but Lucy Rand currently only exists in a one shot).

So imagine my shock when I find out that the break up had to do with their secretary being possessed and committing a murder? That’s definitely something to break up the gang.

I thought it was cute that Jessica kept asking Luke if he and Danny were going to get back together, and Luke keeps saying no, but Danny wants him to say yes. I mean, Danny could definitely bank roll them. What’s the point of having a millionaire best friend if he can’t fund your superhero operation? Still, I’m game to see Luke resist it for another issue or four. At least through the first arc.

And if Danny could get back with Misty at some point in this run? That would be great. too. I don’t think I’m asking for too much, but let’s see where this goes first.

Insexts #1-3

Cover by Brian Valenza and Ariela Kristantina (Photo Credit: Comic Book Resources)

So I follow Jeremy Whitley on Tumblr because I was supposed to get into Princeless awhile ago, but no one can judge me if I want to start from the beginning. In any case, somebody asked Jeremy about the series with the lesbian, Victorian serial killers. And Jeremy goes, “Insexts? Well there’s more to it then that”.  I then look down at my pile of comics that I had just brought home from Bedrock City Comics, and, sure enough, at the very bottom of the pile was the first three issues of Insexts.

In the first three issues of Insexts, we are introduced to Lady Sylvia Bertram and her maid, Mariah. Both of them being at the mercy of Lady Sylvia’s husband, Mariah comes up with a plan to get rid of the Viscount whilst still producing a child from their union. The Viscount’s elder brother becomes suspicious and sends his wife snooping. Meanwhile, Mariah and Lady Sylvia are cleaning up the worst of London’s rabble.

So I like it. They’re definitely lesbians, but it seems to be mostly a gothic horror. Sylvia is either half-Indian, or half West Indian, and her sister-in-law loves to hold it against her, despite Sylvia’s dowry being the only thing that kept the family out of poverty.

I like that Mariah is so willing to do for Sylvia and their son. And while Sylvia is the one taking the most risks, Mariah is perfectly fine with cleaning up any messes that might be made.

Ultimately I can see myself continuing on with this series. It’s definitely interesting.

Well folks, that raps up yet another month in comics. Hopefully, I’ve inspire you to go out and buy some of your own. If not, I hope you’ve enjoyed my commentary. See you guys next month.

If you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in appreciating the many different types of literature, please be sure to subscribe to this blog. If you just want to chat with me about these particular comics, make sure to hit me up in the comment section.

All photos courtesy of Aftershock Comics, Archie Comics, DC, Image Comics and Marvel Comics.

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