Comic Review: Gambit #2 by James Asmus

gambit1Title:  Gambit # 2
Series:  Gambit Series
Writer: James Asmus
Illustrator: Clay Mann
Genre: Superheroes
Source: Friend
Published:  Aug 2012
Format: Paperback
Buy Links: Marvel/ AMZ & BN*

Marvel Blurb: The Ragin’ Cajun Gambit has his set size on a major prize. But is this thief’s eye bigger than his stomach?

—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=
Case File: Great Opening Scenes/ Flirting Fights/ Story moves forward
Rating: 5 out 5 Hearts

Gambit # 2 is a much more exciting than the previous book. There is a museum robbery, a couple of fights, and new information. The star protects itself from any attempts to force it to leave Gambit’s body but they do find information on it that lead him to a museum. It turns out, he is not the only one breaking into the museum because Rockabilly Woman is there as well. Cue a flirtation fight between Gambit and her before she has the upper hand in the fight and tries to knife the relic out of him. No luck though. Gambit ends up stealing a map from her which she bargains a trade for it because the map is in a dead language that only she can read and he wants the relic out of him so they agree to work together. They need to head down to Guatemala to obtain another piece of the puzzle.

The opening scenes are fantastic because it is not what you expect; reading the surface only makes seem dramatic but upon re-reading them, they are hilarious. Asmus and Mann play with your emotions so well because the scene goes from being frighten for Gambit to laughing at or with Gambit. Gambit # 2  is loaded with some comedic elements and romantic tension between Rockabilly Woman and Gambit.  New information about the relic reveals it is part of a two-piece artifact, not much else but it is clear Rockabilly Woman knows more (she won’t say what though).

Overall, it was a fast-paced comic that had great actions scene and it moved the plot forward cause Gambit is leaving New York City for Guatemala.

—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—

5 hearts

Amazon/Barnes & Nobles are Volume 1 editions so they contain Gambit # 1-7.

Advertisements

Review: Magnificent Things by Michael McNichols

magnificenthingsTitle: Magnificent Things
Series: None
Author: Michael McNichols
Genre: Superheroes
Source: Zharmae Publishing
Published: 2014
Buy Links: AMZ/ Zharmae
I receive a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Amz Blurb: Will Nihgate has run into several scrapes during his short career as the masked vigilante Dusk, but none have been so potentially fatal…returning to consciousness at the splashing of cold water against his face, totally encased and seemingly powerless to free himself from the trappings of John Skeleton, Dusk is in deep trouble.

Outside of his prison box, dark forces are threatening New Danko, and if Dusk and his companions can’t defeat Skeleton in time, all will be lost.

—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—
Case File: Superheroes/Women in Refrigerators/John Skeleton
Rating: 4 out of 5

Magnificent Things is an interesting novel, full of plot twists and fast-paced action scenes. In a world where superheroes are a daily occurrence, it is interesting to see how they interact with each other and the massive amount of villains running around. Seriously, there is an over-abundance of villains. The novel tries to deal with the question of what does it mean to be a superhero in a world that is shades of grey and people are not whom they seem to be.

Dusk or Will Nihgate is the main character who operates in New Danko and is apparently, the villains favorite target to target. He is in love with Dani Clovenson, his roommate that he keeps at a distance because of his superhero lifestyle. We have the Odyssey which is McNichols version of the Avengers or Justice League and they have diversity because there is a a Puerto Rican woman (Zombie) and an Asian-African man  (Savior) included as superheroes. There is an ensemble of villains like John Skeleton, Black Wind, Danny Plague (I just keep thinking of Danny Phantom when I read his name), Red Rabbit, and Jack of Terrors . The most interesting is John Skeleton because we find out he has a family and he doesn’t have an underground lair but has something so much better. He creates the problematic dehumanizer gun which strips people of their emotions and those guns are crucial to how the story plays out. The first and third part of the novel are fast paced story lines about the heroes saving the city and dealing with villains. The second part, the bridge, slows down the story to deal with  Dusk’s trauma and on John Skeleton’s world (I want an origin story for him and his lair). It is slower and different from the other parts because it is less focus on action and more on revealing the past and how everything is not black and white. Even villains like John Skeleton have a sense of honor.

The world building of the novel is interesting because this is a world where superheroes, The Odyssey, patrol New Danko alongside the police. It reminded me of Watchmen. I hope McNichols writes a prequel and gives an origin story for the acceptance of superheroes as licensed and legally working with law officials, it’s a rare sight seeing superheroes working alongside the law. It does suffer from having too much of a cast so most of the cast are minor characters who are rapidly given explanations as to why they are heroes or villains and the main cast like Dani who is just there as a romantic interest to Dusk (I didn’t really connect to her) is just there. Even though the majority of the characters are minor characters, they do grow as characters and become more than their original roles because they become corrupted or resist corruption when faced with it. The main relationship in the novel is between Dusk and John Skeleton and how they transgress the roles of hero and villain (a central them to the novel that plays out as well with Savior and Phantom). They have a mentor-mentee relationship but John Skeleton also plays the Creepy Uncle who knows too much about Dusk’s family, and acts like a caregiver but is still creepy. John Skeleton is a fascinating character.

One of the problematic aspects of Magnificent is that it suffers from the women in refrigerator syndrome. Basically, women die to further a man’s pain in life; to make men miserable in life is the purpose of the women’s death and it drives men to better themselves or to insanity. Three women are killed to cause men pain (and the fourth woman dies in the line of duty, I’m okay with her death). I don’t like this trope because it devalues women and make it seem like women only have value when they can cause men pain. The first woman is a woman in refrigerator because her death is a plot point that drives Dusk from Point A to Point B. It ends the first half of the book. The second dead female did not even know Dusk yet she die to cause him pain. The third female death distracts the villain but she did have more autonomy in her death; she was aware of it. On the flipside, there are the men’s death that are not “on-screen” meaning they are not happening in the present, they are mentioned in passing by Dusk. As readers, we do not read the death of men as they are dying but we are witnesses to the majority of the women’s death and it has to do with the men’s death not being as emotionally damaging to the main characters as the women’s death are. Overall, how people die in the novel is problematic because it is reinforcing comic book tropes that negatively affect women because it gives the impression that women are only in novels to die (and the men are not even worthy of an “on-screen” death because they are useless to the main characters emotional development).  Furthering complicating the matter, is that diverse characters, at least the ones whose race was mentioned, tended to die or be villains (I don’t think Dusk’s race was mentioned). It is good to see a diverse cast of a Hispanic woman, an Asian-African man, a Saudi Arabian man but not if they are going to die or be villains because again it reinforces the idea that only white people survived in the end and non-whites like females are written to die in novels. 

In the end, Magnificent Things is well written. It has the word fetch in it which is awesome. It is fast paced story. John Skeleton and his lair make the slow part of the novel interesting because he is the most complex character, more so than Dusk who is the good guy. The second part, while slow, was my favorite part of the novel because it didn’t allow the villains to just be villains bur rather humanize them and it was interesting to see how Dusk dealt with different levels of villainy. Danny Plague as a villain is  just a villain who wanted to destroy Dusk, he is a villain because he is a villain while John Skeleton and his people are villain for reasons.  It is not magnificent that the death of women are used as events to show emotions in men nor that in the end, the book is not as diverse as it started. Overall, Magnificent Things is slightly problematic with how it deals with gender and race but the relationship that develops between John Skeleton and Dusk is intriguing plus John Skeleton’s lair is fascinating. The characters do grow into themselves so they do change as the story progresses and adjust to the situations around them. They are quite realistic in that manner. It is an exciting action novel that just needed to not kill off the majority of the women in order to be a fantastic novel.

—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—

4 Hearts-Pretty Good

4 Hearts-Pretty Good

Comic Review: Forever Evil-Rogues Rebellion # 2 by Brian Buccellato

roguesrebellion2Title:  Forever Evil: Rogue’s Rebellion # 2
Series: Forever Evil: Rogue’s Rebellion
Writer: Brian Bucellato
Artists: Scott Hepburn
Genre: Superhero
Source: Borrow From Friend
Publisher: DC Comics
Buy Links: AMZ/BN/DC

DC Blurb: Separated from their leader Captain Cold and trapped in Metropolis, the Rogues must fight for their lives against the Secret Society’s secret weapon: the horrifying Parasite!

–=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=
Case File: Fused Weapons/Mirror travel/ Deathstorm/Cliffhangers
Rating: 4 out of 5

The second part of Rogues Rebellion is far more exciting than the previous one. We finally see how the Rogues’ storyline connects to main storyline in Forever Evil  because we get glimpses into Metropolis and Gotham City.

Trickster manages to make a bad situation worse by talking bad about Power Ring calling him a”meth-head Green Lantern” which makes sense because he is paranoid, impulsive, and he stutters. Trickster does not know how to keep quiet, he is the kid of the group so he has impulse issues and wears out the patience of the group in dealing with him (he receives quite a beating in this issue). The fight between the Rogues and Deathstorm/Power Ring reveals interesting information on both sides. The Rogues had their DNA fused with their weapons which is fascinating because their weapons are not a part of their costumes, they are their weapons. Deathstorm can apparently separate the Rogues from their weapons (which still doesn’t clue me in if he is a dark version of a superhero or an original villain),  so not only is he a fire creature but he can rearrange molecules.  Fascinating.

The Rogues barely escape with their lives and end up in Metropolis but Mirror Master’s power fizz out and Captain Cold ends up in a different part of Metropolis. Captain  Cold decides to follow Luthor and Creature while the rest of the Rogues fight against the Parasite and Archer but to end the fight, they use the mirror roads to travel to Gotham where they are introduced to Poison Ivy.

Rogues Rebellion # 2  has begun the journey to join with the main storyline in Forever Evil, we have Captain Cold following Luther and seeing what is happening in Metropolis. It also branches off into Gotham City and we can see the effects of Crime Syndicate in other main cities of the DC Universe. Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion # 2 ends with good cliffhangers because I’m excited for the third comic, I  can’t wait  to see Poison Ivy.

–=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=

4 Hearts-Pretty Good

4 Hearts-Pretty Good

Comic Review: Gambit # 1 by James Asmus

gambit1Title:  Gambit # 1
Series: Gambit Series
Writer: James Asmus
Illustrator: Clay Mann
Genre: Superheroes
Source: Friend
Published: Aug 2012
Format: Paperback
Buy Links: Marvel/ AMZ & BN *

Marvel Blurb: When Marvel’s premiere thief sets his sights on his biggest score yet, he may just end up over his head. It’s going to take more than just playing cards and southern charm to get out of this one!

—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—
Case File: Cliffhanger/Rockabilly Woman/ Naked Gambit
Rating: 3 out 5

Gambit is back and he wants to score from  Borya Cich, arms dealer, who makes deals with anyone and failing him means  repaying him with “powers or magical goodies”so it’s better to not fail him. At Cuch’s party, Gambit meets a lovely rockabilly woman before he is carted away to meet Mr. Cich who warns him to not steal anything. Gambit takes it to heart and proceeds to set up a distraction that will allow him to steal from him. He manages to steal a stone /jewel that later turns on him.

Story-wise, it’s setting up events for future books like who is the mysterious Rockabilly Woman, what will Mr. Cich do, what is the mysterious stone, and how will it affect Gambit? It is a really simple but somewhat intriguing plot.

Stealing from people has become more high-tech than I remember (there goes that career down the drain, lol). Gambit has neat gadgets that copy voices, handprints, and scans eyes, it is complex. Even the vault was out of this world because it has a force field that looks like a regular wall but it is not. He relied very little on his abilities in order to steal.

The art style is all right. I love the first page because there is a panel of a naked Gambit with a well-placed photograph that covers his groin area. It’s hilarious. The comic starts and ends with a half-naked Gambit, nice symmetry.

Gambit # 1 is an all right comic.

—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—

3 Hearts-Decent

3 Hearts-Decent

Amazon/Barnes & Nobles are Volume 1 editions so they contain Gambit # 1-7.

Comic Review: Forever Evil-Rogues Rebellion # 1 by Brian Buccellato

fe-roguesrebellionTitle:  Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion # 1
Series: Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artists: Patrick Zircher/ Scott Hepburn
Genre:  Superheroes
Source: Borrow From Friend
Publisher: DC Comics, Oct 2013
Buy Links: DC/AMZ/B&N

Blurb from DC: The Rogues call no man boss, but a new evil threat might not leave them much choice! Will they fall in line, or refuse and risk certain death? The answer will tear the Rogues apart!

–=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=
Case File: Villains with some morals/ Possibly racist/It’s visible two artists drew the comic
Rating: 3 out of 5

The Rogues consists of Captain Cold (guess his abilities), Weather Wizard, Heatwave, Mirror Master, and Trickster.

Rogues Rebellion picks up with the Rogues coming back from the mass villain meeting hosted by the Crime Syndicate to find out the Central City is running rampant with chaos; burning cars, dead bodies, destroyed buildings, and tied up cops. The cops  (Captain Fyre) reveal that Grodd (the Gorilla) tied them up and destroyed the city; he assumes the Rogues are with the Crime Syndicate but instead the Rogues free them. In return, the Captain protects the Rogues from one of his men’s idiocy who can’t tell that the Rogues are not the enemy in this new world order.

After the Cops, the Rogues head to the hospital to find a (comatose) Lisa (Captain Cold’s sister), who sacrificed herself to rescue Mirror Master from the Mirror World.  Problems ensue when another set of villains arrive to finish the destruction of Central City and the Rogues decide they are not going to take orders from the Crime Syndicate. The Rogues seem to be handling everything decently until Power Ring and Deathstorm arrive with execution notices for the Rogues for defying the Crime Syndicate.

The Rogues are a different type of villains; they are about getting even ( or possibly obtaining large quantities of money) rather than being villains like Lex Luthor. The comic makes a great distinction between the Crime Syndicate’s villainous and the Rogue’s type. The Rogue didn’t want the destruction of the Justice League, maybe stir up a little chaos in the city but not decimate it like Grodd  did. They are like good guys who do bad stuff compare to the Crime Syndicate. It’s interesting and I like it.

I’m conflicted but I feel the comic was slightly racist towards Black Bison who is a Native American supervillain. Captain Cold calls him “Buffalo Bob” which whitewashes his name and erases his identity as Native American. At the same time, villains occasionally antagonize people  by not using their proper names so it could be a part of that system. I’m not really sure what to think about it. Another thing that confused me was the use of their real names like it took me a few seconds to realize that Lenny was the real name of Captain Cold. It was odd but it probably won’t confuse fans of the Rogues who know more about them.

It was also visible that two artists drew the comic, especially in the face of Captain Cold. In the beginning, he has a harsh face, it’s more define in general like the cheekbones could be seen, there is shading on his face. He looks intense. Towards the end, his face is more one dimensional and just droopy, it is less define; it makes him look older. It was just a bad transition  between artists.

Forever Evil: Rogue’s Rebellion # 1  was a good launching point. I didn’t particularly care about the Rogues as individuals. As a group, they are interesting because they care about “the score” more than world domination. Plus, they have in-fighting about what to do with the Crime Syndicate so it affects the team dynamic. The first half of the art, I really liked but the second half, was not my taste. The racist remarks are also a point of conflict in the comic. It has some issues but it was decent. It could only go up from here.

–=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=—=

3 Hearts-Decent

3 Hearts-Decent