Showing posts with label G Willow Wilson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label G Willow Wilson. Show all posts

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Ms Marvel Last Days by G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona


Rating: WORTHY!

This volume exemplifies one of the things I complain about with graphic novels. It's a good story, but I got it home from the library only to discover that I'd already read it as part of a different volume. Frustrating? Yes! This is why I refuse to buy these things because you never know when you're going to wind up with one you already read as part of a compendium, or under a different cover. What's with this insane obsession with variant covers? Spend more time on improving the art in the panels, and the hell with the wastefully time-consuming extra covers! The story is also incomplete - in this volume and in the compendium. There is no conclusion. Instead of it diverging into a short story about Spider-Man, I'd rather have had the original story concluded.

The story begins with a planet appearing in the sky above Earth. This has been done in Doctor Who and other stories, and none of it makes sense. A planet that close to Earth, even in another dimension, if it's appearing through some sort of dimensional rupture, will exert a massive gravitational pull on Earth, just as earth will on it, and life on both planets would be destroyed. That this never happens in these stories is testimony only to the poor science education the writers have. It makes the story completely unrealistic.

That gripe aside, I really liked the rest of the story because it pretty much abandoned the lie-destroying planet motif and got down to more personal business, and Ms Marvel entertained, as she typically does in these issues. I've read only one volume in this series which has disappointed me, and although some of Ms Marvel's behavior, particularly towards her would-be boyfriend, is inexcusible, G Willow Wilson tells a good story and Adrian Alphonsa illustrates it perfectly.


Ms Marvel Vol 2 by G Willow Wilson


Rating: WORTHY!

Here is yet another volume in a series where I've been disappointed by only one volume so far. I'm not a fan of series, so that's quite a compliment from me! I thought I'd read the first three, but this volume pops up in between two of the other volumes I read and favorably reviewed. Is it so very hard for the creators of a graphic novel series to actually put a number on the front cover so readers can readily identify in what order they should pursue the series? Seriously? What is the big freaking deal with being so cryptic that it's impossible to know where to start a series without engaging in some real research? Graphic novel series creators are frustrating as hell! It's doubly frustrating to bring home two volumes from the library and discover that they're really the same volume, or that one volume is a compendium which incorporates the other. This is why I refuse to buy these things, because you end up with more than one copy of the same story.

That off my chest, I did enjoy this volume. The art was good, and the story engaging. Also, it filled a few holes in the earlier stories I'd read. Kamala falls for a new guy - one who shares her religion and her interests - only to rather predictably, I have to say, discover that he's working for the dark side which is employing him to recruit her. Naturally, and predictably, she refuses, but rather than return to her buddy who has stood by her side throughout, she rejects him, too, with a weak story about how she can't be involved with a guy while she's wedded to her super powers and her need to fight evil. Tired tropes assemble! That, I felt, was poorly done and made her look callous and irrational. She's already involved with this guy anyway, even if not romantically. This does explain why he's moved on in a later volume and begun dating someone else, but Kamala cannot whine about it, after the way she treated him!

That dislike dealt with, I was pleased with her in other respects, especially as she continues to grow and learn new ways to use her shape-distorting powers. All in all, and despite my distaste for her "romantic" behavior, I did like this volume and I recommend it as part of this excellent series. The story was - apart from the non-romance - as well-written as ever, and the art by Elmo Bondoc, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Adrian Alphona was the usual entertaining, colorful, and amusing standard.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ms Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona


Rating: WORTHY!

Admirably written by the talented G Willow Wilson, and nicely and amusingly illustrated by Adrian Alphona, the Ms. Marvel book is actually the first in the series - finally! I can't believe graphic novel writers make it so hard to figure out which collected volume is the first you should read. Is it such a problem to put a big "#1" of the front cover? LOL! It's a good story though, so I want to read more in this series. I think I've now read the first three (but who can say?!), and really liked one and three; two, not so much. Finally I got to learn how Kamala Khan got her super power - and it was by the oddball method of becoming enveloped in an unexplained fog which wafted through the city!

Working on an idea for a super hero novel (not graphic, just text!) myself, I've started thinking about the existing ones a little bit more closely. Becoming empowered by a fog struck me as decidedly odd, because everyone in the city (this is set in Jersey City; Marvel seems obsessed with the east coast for some reason) was likewise exposed, yet only Kamala seems to have developed any super powers from it. Why? This goes not only unexplained, but unexplored. I found it sad that she wasn't curious about why she alone was blessed or cursed. Thinking about other heroes, only one immediately comes to mind - although I'm sure there are more - who developed his power in a way parallel to Kamala, and The Hulk really goes unexplained too, so this is nothing new.

I mean, how did Bruce Banner change, and no one else exposed to gamma rays did? Maybe it's because no one had the exposure he did, yet we're all exposed to gamma rays from space - fortunately not to a high degree. The fact remained that it was he who survived and developed his...condition. Spider-man is a similar case, but though many are bitten by spiders, none that I know of have been bitten by a radioactive spider! Superman doesn't count because he isn't special - anyone from Krypton would have his powers if they came to Earth, as his story shows. Batman and Iron Man are self-made, so they're responsible for their "power". Thor is just like Superman in many regards, so nothing to be learned there. Wonder Woman is also in that category. Green Lantern got his power because he was chosen and imbued with it, just as was Captain America, although in a different manner. Again, anyone in theory could have had their power. So we're back to Kamala being special in an undefined way which few other heroes are. Unless of course she was chosen somehow, but we're left with these unanswered questions, which make her very intriguing to me.

Moving on from the receipt of the power, we immediately get to the story of how she recognized it and learned to live and work with it, which I thought was really well done in this book. It felt real, and natural and organic, and it made for a fun and engaging story, especially since it's tied, in many ways, to her Muslim upbringing, her distance from her traditional parents - and from her school-friends, and her desire to be "normal" yet be able to use her gift to help others. I loved this story and recommend it as a great start to the series. I was unimpressed by volume two, especially the artwork. Volume three was a much more impressive and very amusing volume. I review both of those separately elsewhere on my blog.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ms Marvel Vol 5 Super Famous by G Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa


Rating: WORTHY!

I reviewed the previous volume to this (I think - Graphic novel creators make it far harder than it ought to be to follow a series!) back in July of 2015 to mark the end of my year of two reviews per day every single day without a miss, which was stressful, but a great discipline. I wasn't impressed with the comic because the artwork was atrocious, but I was impressed - as much as not, by the young Ms Marvel character, Kamala Khan.

I started in on this graphic novel and found it refreshing. The young Ms Marvel is more like Spiderman in that she's young, has real relationship issues, and has to cope with demands on her time which interfere with her super-heroics. It's also set in a Marvel world where the usual Avengers super heroes have been switched around a bit. Thor is now a female (and still evidently named Thor, not Thora!). Spider-Man wears black instead of his usual red and blue. Captain America is black, but having said that, there's a disturbing lack of African American and Asian American presence in this story.

Ms Marvel is a young teen who is a Muslim (yet she never actually practices her religion), but there's also a Captain Marvel - who I assume we'll see in the movie theaters at some point, although the date keeps on being pushed back, from July 2018 to November, and then to March 2019. Seriously? At least we get Wonder Woman next year, although how good that will be depends on how willing DC is to totally screw-up yet another of their properties. They seem to be batting a thousand so far in that department ever since Chris Nolan finished his excellent Batman trilogy.

I read an earlier comic in this series where I really didn't like the artwork and found some of the story condescending, but this one seems much better and the artwork is far better. The comic was also really funny. Kamala's ex-boyfriend creates two clones of Kamala using technology left behind by Loki, and these clones start to multiply and take over the city. One of them is supposed to represent the scholarly Kamala while she's off super hero-ing. This one can say only "Easy-peasey" and marches around hilariously. The other is supposed to represent the good sister Kamala attending on her brother's wedding preparations, and has only one line related to the wedding. No one seems to think there's anything wrong here! Until the clones start flooding the city.

This one was funny, and very entertaining, and unlike the previous one, made me want to read more in this series.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Air Issue 5 by G Willow Wilson and MK Perker


Rating: WARTY!

I found this series in the close-out section of my local comic book store and it looked interesting (especially the imitation of the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World on the cover of issue 5), so I picked up issues 2 through 5. Issue one wasn't available. I figured that despite missing one, I ought to be able to get a good feel for the series from this selection and be able to decide whether it was worth keeping up with. I didn't get a good feel from it, so I quit after this issue, which is as far as my commitment went. Note that I'm using the word 'issue' here to distinguish from the later collections, which are referred to as volumes.

This was my favorite issue, but purely for the cover. The story itself was veering ever further from comprehensibility with each issue. I cannot recommend any of these issues or the series based on what I read.


Air Issue 4 by G Willow Wilson and MK Perker


Rating: WARTY!

I found this series in the close-out section of my local comic book store and it looked interesting (especially the imitation of the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World on the cover of issue 5), so I picked up issues 2 through 5. Issue one wasn't available. I figured that despite missing one, I ought to be able to get a good feel for the series from this selection and be able to decide whether it was worth keeping up with. I didn't get a good feel from it, so I quit after issue five, which is as far as my commitment went. Note that I'm using the word 'issue' here to distinguish from the later collections, which are referred to as volumes.

This issue has a series of birds depicted on the cover à la Audubon. The images include a dragon, and Blythe, sans spirit. The dragon is a character. We get to see Blythe's childhood, a little, and then we're jetting off to Aztec land. Yep, it made that little sense!


Air Issue 3 by G Willow Wilson and MK Perker


Rating: WARTY!

I found this series in the close-out section of my local comic book store and it looked interesting (especially the imitation of the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World on the cover of issue 5), so I picked up issues 2 through 5. Issue one wasn't available. I figured that despite missing one, I ought to be able to get a good feel for the series from this selection and be able to decide whether it was worth keeping up with. I didn't get a good feel from it, so I quit after issue five, which is as far as my commitment went. Note that I'm using the word 'issue' here to distinguish from the later collections, which are referred to as volumes.

I have to say that the cover art work in this series far surpasses the content in quality! That's quite a novelty for me. Usually I am not a fan of covers, so kudos to Mr Perker. In issue three, Blythe and crew are trapped in Miramar, the country which no longer exists on a map and which therefore (apparently) you cannot get to unless you have Blythe's magic power. The blurb for volume 2 has Blythe returning to Sky 1 base, and we're told, ridiculously: "From there, out of desperatation to unravel the truth from the lies..." Desperatation is some serious kind of desperation! Maybe it's her prescription drug addiction which is causing these feelings?

This issue wasn't entertaining either, and merely served to confuse matters more than issue one had already succeeded in doing admirably.


Air Issue 2 by G Willow Wilson and MK Perker


Rating: WARTY!

I found this series in the close-out section of my local comic book store and it looked interesting (especially the imitation of the Andrew Wyeth painting Christina's World on the cover of issue 5), so I picked up issues 2 through 5. Issue one wasn't available. I figured that despite missing one, I ought to be able to get a good feel for the series from this selection and be able to decide whether it was worth keeping up with. I didn't get a good feel from it, so I quit after issue five, which is as far as my commitment went. Note that i am using the word 'issue' here to distinguish from the later collections, which are referred to as volumes.

In issue one, apparently, airline flight attendant (described as "stewardess" in the idiotic blurb for this series) Blythe, who perversely suffers from acrophobia, discovers that she's a "hyperpract" - able to find places which aren't on the map but which nevertheless exist, and fly aircraft to them. Evidently Blythe has a "mysterious rescuer" in that volume. In volume two, Blythe learns some information about hyperprax flight. There is a mysterious device involved, which several interested parties are seeking.

Blythe travels through a country that isn't on the map in search of a dimension of lost things! For the love of Zayn! (which is actually the Hebrew word for penis, so while Zayn mayn't be a terrorist, he is a dick without question!). Later, Blythe becomes trapped in his juvenile body, reliving his life! I'm glad I never read that far.

This issue merely has Zayn escaping from prison (highly improbably, I might add), and Blythe running around like a pinball and hooking up with an aging Indian woman. While I didn't consider this issue a disaster, it was weird and hard to follow, but at least I had only three more to wade through. I can't recommend this. Maybe having read issue one would have helped, but somehow I doubt that.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ms Marvel Generation Why by G Willow Wilson


Rating: WARTY!

Art work: Jacob Wyatt and Adrian Alphona
Colors: Ian Herring

Today is the first of July. It marks the end of my year of living dangerously, wherein I published two reviews per day, 365 consecutive days, didn't miss a day! I am so glad that's over! It was a great discipline, though, which hopefully gave me a better work ethic for creative writing.

The advent of July also marks a change in that I'm through with posting book cover images with my reviews. This blog is about writing, and unless you self-publish, the cover has nothing to do with the author and typically nothing to do with the story either, so why indulge Big Publishing&Trade;? Yeah, kids books and graphic novels are perhaps exceptions, but I don't do that many of those compared with regular chapter books I review. Besides, covers change too, so as soon as you post your image, it's likely obsolete. Enough already! I'm writing about the writing from now on. If you want pretty pictures try Pinterest or DeviantArt.

So for fun, I'm starting out this month with a Smack-Down! Yeah! I was in the library a few days ago and they had a display of literature about women or written by women, and part of the display was a set of graphic novels about female super heroes or other characters, and they happened to have Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel sitting side-by-side, so I immediately thought, let's put 'em in the cage together and see who rings whose bell.

The Ms Marvel graphic novel is very much written - and indeed illustrated - for juvenile readers. The first thing to happen after the appallingly boxy-looking Wolverine (really, he looked like a rectangle with arms and legs tacked on) shows up is that the kid hero gets a pet sidekick. Yawn. This dog is a pit bull variety of the Bulldog kind, which has a weird antenna sticking out of its head which looks like it's some sort of homage to Meowth, and no one remarks upon it - at least not initially. The dog can teleport which is conveniently just what Ms Marvel needs right then.

The kid that Wolverine and Ms Marvel rescue is in a coma. This kid was actually on her way to the Jean Grey institute when she was abducted, yet no one thinks that Prof X ought to see if he can get into her mind and discover what happened....

Lettering had randomly bolded words. Yuk! I have no time for letterers. On the plus side, this was a Muslim super hero: Kamala Khan is originally from Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan. the problem was that she was insultingly stereotyped as was her religion. Her mentor was called Abdullah, because you know that all Muslims are named Abdul or Abdullah, right?

I did like the magazine name: Pedantic Monthly. That was inspired, but it was about the only amusing thing in this book. The weird bird-man hybrid who plays a lackluster villain is concerned about global warming, and so, in a plot ripped straight from The Matrix, abducts children to use their bio-electricity and body heat as batteries for his devices - not one of which seems to be doing anything about global warming.

In short, this story was brain dead and the art work awful. Plus some of the cutesy layout was seriosuly confusing. On one occasion there was a full page spread where Ms and Wolvie were climbing up through a sewer, but it was hard to tell if should read up or down. I ran into problems both ways. I finally decided that up form the bottom was the intended direction, but it still made less than sufficient sense! I can't recommend this at all. it smacked itself down!