Category Archives: comics

Iron Fist Finds Himself

Iron Fist – The Trial of the Seven Masters

This is the first Iron Fist comic that I have ever read. It’s not the first time I’ve come across the character, however. I have read stories that featured him in several different titles, but I never really got into the character. I enjoyed the Netflix series though, so when I saw this book at the library, I figured it was worth the read.

It starts out with Danny Rand being in a rather low point in his life. He hasn’t been able to access his chi for a while but still feels the need to fight, so he goes into several underground fight clubs. He wins but still feels empty.

After one of these fights, he is approached by a fighter with skills that appear to equal his own. He gets invited to a tournament on an island he has never heard. Urgent to find himself again, and with very little options, Rand agrees and follows him to the island.

Will Rand find himself once more, or is this secret island society using him for some purpose?

This was a good read. It hasn’t sold me on the character though. I am not left eager to read more of the title. But I would like to see a second season of the Netflix show.

My List of 2018 Reads – coming soon

Canada Under Siege

We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce, Matt Hollingsworth, and Fonografiks

In the year 2112, a war erupts between the United States of America and Canada. This graphic novels tells the story of a small band of freedom fighters doing their best to stop the invasion and “stand on guard for their home and native land,” a reference to the Canadian National Anthem.

The book is uniquely Canadian too, despite it being created by a mostly American cast. The artist, Steve Skroce, is Canadian, but the rest of the creators are not.

Several characters in the book speak French and the creators fail to provide a translation for the reader. Many times, the reaction  of the other characters let us know what was said, but sometimes, we are left to wonder. The art helps us figure it out for non-French speakers.

We are also reminded that Superman was a Canadian creation but was warped by American publishers.

Another interesting thing in this book was how the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) went underground and continued to provide pirate transmissions to help both freedom fighters and citizens now living under American rule. It was nice to see national public radio still having an impact one hundred years into the future.

The horrors of this war are graphically displayed in this book. It is definitely not a title for children. One scene in particular disturbed me for a few days.

The story is well told and fast-paced. It captured me from the very first page. Brian K. Vaughan always tells engaging stories and the rest of the creators did a great job with the book too.

My List of 2018 Reads (coming soon)

Doctor Who Comes to Life on the Page

Doctor Who - Weapons of Past Destruction

Doctor Who – Weapons of Past Destruction

I miss the 9th Doctor. This book reminded me of why I used to love seeing Chris Eccleston in the role of the title character. The artwork is amazing and Cavan Scott has penned a tale that feels like a Series One episode. I could hear Chris’s voice coming off of the page. I laughed out loud at few times and reveled in the total experience.

I like that the book tells a story that we wouldn’t have seen in the television show. The special effects are larger than life and would have been quite expensive to produce on film. This is where graphic novels have immense power. The universe is wide-open, as it were. It’s a huge canvas that the creative team of Scott, Blair Shedd, Rachael Stott, and Anang Setyawan utilize brilliantly. I highly recommend reading this. I want to find more of this series and keep experiencing more adventures with the Ninth Doctor.

Doctor Who - Four Doctors

Doctor Who – Four Doctors

Four Doctors, and one of them isn’t the 9th Doctor. We don’t actually find out who this surprise Doctor actually is until late in the book, so I won’t spoil it for you here.

It was nice that the 50th Anniversary television special featured the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi in the final scenes (even if only for a moment). Here, we get to see him interact with the 10th Doctor, David Tennant, and the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith.

This book doesn’t evoke the same feelings I had when watching that television event, however. The story seems a little bit forced and it doesn’t come to life in the same way the book above does.

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Free Comic Book Day – Four Doctors 

Many of the free comics you are able to get on Free Comic Book Day are simply teasers for books yet to be released. Either that, or they give you a snippet of a story so you will have to buy an additional book to continue reading it. This book has a complete story and it features four incarnations of the Doctor. It’s an even better story than the one above. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The only problem with it is that the Doctors don’t interact with each other. It’s one story that takes place over four lifetimes, as it were.

Doctor Who - The Eye of Ashaya

Doctor Who – The Eye of Ashaya

This was a fun book that brings back a few characters from the 10th Doctor’s era. It was really nice to see Christina De Souza again.

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And this book reminded me how much I miss Amy and Rory too.

It was also cool to see a character who was introduced during David Tennant’s run as the Doctor getting the chance to meet Matt Smith’s incarnation.

All in all, it was a nice trip through Space and Time this week as I read brand new Doctor Who adventures.

My List of 2017 Reads – my detailed reading log for the year

Graphic Audio Adventures

Batman – Dead White

This was a dark story, certainly not meant for children. There are several racial slurs heard throughout the book but that is because the evil forces in this story are a band of white supremacists who are determined to reshape the world. Batman has to track down the leader, known as White Eyes but he doesn’t do it alone this time. He gets help from a police officer / bounty hunter.

This story takes place in the first year of Batman’s crime fighting career. He struggles a bit with his role as protector of Gotham. He is haunted by images of the very first costume he wore when he became the Batman. An old lover tries to help him but he keeps his secret from her.

There are times when these audio adventures are a bit over the top. But the full cast narration, sound effects, and general comic book aesthetic are a fun ride.

Earlier this year, I listened to the Flash adventure Stop Motion and the Wonder Woman story Mythos which prepared me for the whole team to come other in the Justice League.

Justice League of America – Exterminators

Several new meta-humans start to appear in one region of the world. Then these super-powered people start to disappear. Could it be related to a threat that the Justice League fought and defeated ten years earlier?  Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter have a nagging suspicion that it is. Batman confirms it and the Justice League goes into action, this time with a new meta-human who might just hold the key to exactly what is going on.

Like the book above, this one has it’s problems. Mostly it is due to exposition. Certain things don’t need to be explained to a comic book audience. However, these stories are meant to stand alone and be accessible to anyone. They are a lot of fun and the audio format make them perfect listening for long drives in the car.

Alternatively, there are print editions of these novels available if you would rather read them with your eyes as opposed to your ears.

My List of 2017 Reads – a detailed reading log with links to dozens of titles

The Punisher – Judge, Jury, and Executioner

Marvel Unlimited offered a free month subscription to its app to celebrate the release of The Punisher TV series on Netflix. I am still working my way through the series but thought that I would use this opportunity to read as much of the comics as I possibly could in a month.

Punisher vs Bullseye

A bad guy who managed to flee from the Punisher has been hiding out for years and has had enough. He wants to feel safe again and shed his ridiculous disguise. So, he hires Bullseye to take him out. Little does he know that these two killers will form a temporary, yet uneasy, partnership that will spell doom for all who cross their path.

The Punisher: Volume 1 – Welcome Back Frank

This is the fifth solo series for the Punisher. It collects the entire 12 issue run that started in 2000 and ended in 2001. I really enjoyed the story. The Netflix television series that introduced the Punisher even took inspiration from it. He captures Daredevil, ties him up, and duct tapes a gun to his hand. The outcome is different here than in the TV series though. The story wraps up perfectly too. It is a great read.

The Punisher: Volume 2 – Army of One

This book kicks off the sixth series of the title. It continues the story started in the last volume and features a special appearance from Spider-man. At one point, the Punisher uses the unconscious webbed hero as shield to absorb some pretty rough blows from a tough opponent.

This volume also features a story where the vigilante goes to a remote island to rescue a prisoner.  While not as good as the previous issue, it does kick off an impressive 37 single issue comics (that are collected in five additional trade paperbacks).

The Punisher: Volume 3 – Business As Usual

Wolverine guest stars in this one and boy do things get brutal. The Punisher is well aware of his self-healing power and dishes up some pretty harsh punishment in order to stop him and complete his mission.

The Punisher: Volume 4 – Full Auto

Punisher stories can be a bit disturbing. This one definitely falls in that category. It deals with a villain who is murdering homeless people. He figures that he will never be caught because no one cares about them. But a social worker finds herself in the middle of the situation and Frank Castle is there to bail her out and set things right.

The Punisher: Volume 5 – Streets of Laredo

This one has a western theme to it. Operating just outside of a small town, a gang trades in military grade weapons but they won’t for long when Frank Castle comes to town. This story also deals with homophobia in some interesting ways. The sheriff is a queer man and is in a relationship with the son of the gang boss. A preacher thinks it is immoral as well. But how will everyone cope when the Punisher gets added to the mix.

The Punisher: Volume 6 – Confederacy of Dunces

Daredevil enlists the help of Spider-man and Wolverine to help take the Punisher out of the picture. He wants to see him brought to justice. Wolverine knows that they only way to do that is to kill him, but Spider-man and Daredevil won’t let him take such extreme measures. And the Hulk to the mix and things are bound to get messy.

The Punisher – Circle of Blood

This was the first solo title for the Punisher and was released in 1986. Frank Castle is in prison for his vigilante crimes, but a secret organization wants to break him out. He is leery to work with them but figures that it is better than being incarcerated. In his first job, he discovers that Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin is dead. In fact, Fisk had merely faked his own death. Castle makes the world believe that he murdered him to help bring other criminals out of the woodwork. This was a limited series that started the nation’s love affair with the violent vigilante.

My List of 2017 Reads – my annual reading log

The March Trilogy is Complete

March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This is the final book of a trilogy series that focuses on the challenges and horrors faced by those in the Civil Rights Movement as they fought to be recognized as human beings and awarded the rights that go along with that. It is told by one of the movement’s most pivotal figures, John Lewis.

In March: Book One we get to see him finally see the day when a black man could become president. It’s a touching moment to see him interacting with Barack Obama and reflecting on the long journey it took to get there.

The story is horrific and I have a hard time believing that these atrocities were happening only fifty years ago. It’s amazing to see the strides that were made with the non-violent protests that were staged. The men and women who fought the injustice and poor treatment of their race didn’t take up arms. They didn’t retaliate any of the violence that they were shown. They simply stood up and demanded to be taken notice of. It truly is inspiring and I am glad this story has been told.

March (Trilogy Slipcase Set)

The entire trilogy is now available in a slipcase set that includes all three books in a beautifully illustrated case.

My List of 2017 Reads – with links to detailed posts on every title I read this year

Invincible or Infamous Iron Man?

Invincible Iron Man – Vol 1: Reboot

Tony Stark has new armor and it is truly remarkable. There is a stealth mode, it can change colour, and it is incredible easy to get in and out of. Unfortunately Pepper Potts is not at Stark Industries anymore and Tony doesn’t have anyone to rely on to run the business.

Invincible Iron Man – Vol 2: The War Machines

Mary Jane tried to get away from super-heroes. She moved to a city where she thought she’d just could open up a night club and live a normal live. But fate had different plans for her.  A demon invaded her venue and it took Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Victor Von Doom to stop it. That’s right, Doctor Doom. He seems to want to help, but Tony doesn’t trust him at all.

With Mary Jane’s club destroyed, she reluctantly starts to work for Tony, and he is very lucky to have her on the team.

Invincible Iron Man – Vol 3: Civil War II

The second super-hero Civil War is a major crossover event that spans almost all of the Marvel monthly titles. The main story was quite well done, but there are pieces of the story missing if you only read that and then jump into this series.

I wish the book editor had put a few notes in this story to fill in some of the knowledge gaps I had. This volume pretty much assumes you know what is happening in the MCU (Marvel Comics Universe) and I didn’t.

That being said, having read the Civil War trade paperback and the Miles Morales Spider-man arc, I pretty much knew what was happening (for the most part).

I was really surprised to see this series come to an end as well. It will be continued in the next volume of the title and start again with Issue #1. I don’t see why either. This could have continued in an on-going series instead of a limited run volume.

Infamous Iron Man – Vol 1: Infamous

When Tony Stark went undercover and let the world believe he was dead, Victor Von Doom decided to step up and become the new Iron Man. In the three graphic novels above, we can see that he had been trying to turn over a new leaf. But it is hard to trust that he is not up to his old Dr. Doom ways.

Ben Grim aka The Thing of the now defunct Fantastic Four certainly doesn’t trust him and will do whatever it takes to bring him to justice.

I was hoping this title might have been as good as Superior Spider-man when Peter Parker’s arch enemy, Doc Ock took the mantle and was determined to be the best Spider-man yet. It’s not quite as good, but it does have some potential. I am curious to see where this title goes next.

It’s nice to see Bendis and Maleev working together again. Their iconic run on Daredevil is still one of my favourites.

My List of 2017 Reads – my annual reading log (continually updated)

Panels in Space

I borrowed both of these graphic novels from the public library. It’s nice to be able to explore space for free (from the safety of my living room).

Captain Marvel: Volume 1 – Rise of Alpha Flight

I’m not too  familiar with the character of Captain Marvel. I know of her from Civil War II and from her brief appearance in the new series of Ms. Marvel. I also didn’t have any experience reading Alpha Flight comics so this was a new experience for me, as it probably will be for many readers.

It starts out with Captain Marvel taking command of the Alpha Flight Space Station. And it seems like she has moved from active hero to a desk job. But of course, all sorts of problems happen when an alien vessel approaches. Not only does she lose her powers but it seems like everything is connected to how she got them in the first place.

It was nice that we didn’t get a straight-up origin story, but one that helps to establish some of the backstory of the character, throw her into a new role and situation, and anchor a brand new series.

And when the universe has been saved by the end of the story, Captain Marvel’s powers have been restored, and everything looks like it will be business as usual, she sits down at her desk on the space station to relax. Just then, an alarm goes  and she springs back into action. No desk is going to keep her down.

Star Trek – Starfleet Academy

I don’t like the timeline of the cinematic reboot of Star Trek. It doesn’t feel natural for the crew to be all chummy at Starfleet Academy as presented in this graphic novel. As such, it was difficult getting into this story. It felt like the characters were in the wrong place and time. It was hard to get my head around.

The story is centered around a female Vulcan and her days at the academy. These scenes take place right after the destruction of her homeworld (as seen in the first movie).

Interspersed with that story, Uhuru uncovers a message that leads her to believe something is wrong in a quarantined area of space. Of course, these two stories are related and though the two characters don’t actually meet, they help uncover the mystery together. Kirk and Spock are also in there for good measure.

It took me a minute to get into this one because of the time difference, but overall, it was a good read.

My List of 2017 Reads – 27 titles and counting

The Beatles – All Our Yesterdays (Graphic Novel)

The Beatles – All Our Yesterdays by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma

I love The Beatles. What they did for music cannot be understated. They changed the game with their style, sound, and look. Their music still permeates today fifty years after their groundbreaking album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. To help celebrate that milestone, Campfire Comics has released a graphic novel that tells the story of the early days of the band.

The creators of this book recreated images from videos and photos to tell the origin story of the band we all know and love. For people who are not Beatles scholars, this book is illuminating. I did not know that they had a few names before their iconic music pun. I also didn’t know that there were five of them. Both John and Paul played guitar. There was a bass player in their ranks for quite some time before Paul McCartney decided to fill that part of the band himself.  These boys also got up to some shenanigans and trouble in their early days.

The story starts very early on with each of the main members of the band falling in love with rock music as children. It then goes on to show how the band went through different configurations, styles, and outfits before they figured out who they really were as a band.

The art is very well done and captures the youth, imagination, and recklessness that teenage musicians go through. Not much is different today. The graphic novels ends with the release of their first single that was released on Friday October 5, 1962. As as the narration box indicates

“And the hits soon kept coming. The Beatles had arrived., Beatlemania was about to sweep the world and music would never be the same again.”

It would be interesting to read their continuing adventure. I know there are more stories that could be told. Comics are a great medium for this kind of storytelling. It’s the first music origin story I have read in this format, but something tells me it won’t be the last.

This book also comes with a great bookmark in the shape of a guitar. It makes me wish I hadn’t borrowed this one from the library so I could keep it.

My List of 2017 Reads – my continually updated reading log.

My Fan Expo 2017 Haul

Here is my haul from Fan Expo 2017.

This is a special edition 12 inch Daredevil figure that was exclusively available at the Hasbro store.

It comes with various accessories and ways to customize the figure.

The back side of the packaging even includes a braille description. That’s a very nice touch for a blind superhero character.

The front cover art is inspired by the 1998 relaunch of the comic book series.

I also picked up this standard-sized legends figure.

Alex Maleev did the art for the packaging and it is amazing.

I was given this figure for free near the end of the convention. I love how Wonder Woman is standing on her invisible jet.

This pull-back TARDIS model was in a clearance bin. I had to pick it up.

I also got another Pop figure. This one is inspired by the Netflix version of Daredevil and includes attached numb-chucks.

My cousin picked up this deck of cards for me. Thanks, cous!

Finally, I picked up a single issue of the first series of the comic. I prefer the collected editions and hardcovers but this one was old, looked cool, and was a good deal.

Want to see more from Fan Expo 2017?

Want to see more of my Daredevil collection?