Collects Trinity Annual 1 and Trinity issues 12-16.

37489662

Writers: Rob Williams
Artists: V. Ken Marion, Guillem March

The collection starts with the Annual where Lex Luthor abandons his place in the Dark Trinity alongside Circe and Ra’s Al Ghul. Circe and Ra’s continue to plot while Jason Blood investigates the Pandora Pits. Inside Blood is the demon Etrigan, as he has been for a thousand years. But when Ra’s draws Etrigan’s blood and it drips to the Pandora Pits, Etrigan is freed. The demon is free to rampage in a nearby Greek City. He draws a horde of lesser demons to him and wants to kill every human.

Bruce has invited Diana and Clark to a meal in a posh restaurant in Gotham City. However, they’re interrupted almost immediately when Blood sends a disturbing picture to Bruce. They head to Blood location and when the demon horde descends on the city, they’re close enough to defend it.

Jason Blood is also free of the demon which he has kept caged inside him for a millennia and he’s not eager to resume the bond, even if it were possible.

This was a very action packed story of Trinity fighting the demons. I felt that the ending was a bit of a cop-out even though I knew it was coming.

The next four issues are the Dark Trinity storyline. John Constantine, Zatanna, and Deadman come to a remote mansion in Gotham. Batman asked them here because Red Hood, Batman’s former Robin, has been possessed by a demon. He asks Deadman to go inside Red Hood to break the possession. Deadmand tries to do that. Instead, Red Hood swallows both Deadman and Zatanna. Literally. Constantine hesitates but in the end he makes a gateway to Red Hood’s mouth so that he can follow Deadman and Zatanna and hopefully rescue them.

Then Artemis and Bizarro attack. They, too, have been possessed. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman fight them.

This is a very fight-heavy storyline. We find out Circe’s motivation and plans.

The final issue is a one-shot during New Year’s Eve. A devious criminal gang Kobra has kidnapped Deadshot’s daughter. The Trinity helps him. Again, the ending was rather open.

While this was an entertaining collection, I felt that it wasn’t as good as the previous Trinity stories. There aren’t many bonding moments between our heroes. Circe and Ra’s interact a bit but the other two trinities don’t. Mostly it’s just fighting.

Collects X-Men Gold issues 13-15 and X-Men Blue issues 13-15.

35888059

Writers: Marc Guggenheim, Cullen Bunn
Artists: Jorge Molina, Mike Mayhew, Marc Laming, Diego Bernard

The X-Men teams unite against a invading monoliths which turn to be Mojo’s trick!

I think this is a storyline readers will either love or hate. It’s Mojo rehashing all the X-Men’s greatest hits to boost his ratings. It’s a love letter to X-Men history, spinning it for us old fans one more time. But it’s not new readers friendly, which I find very interesting. Despite Dark Phoniex on the cover, she only appears in a few background pictures.

I enjoyed it. Mojo was used in equally silly way as the Secret Empire in X-Men Blue vol. 2. Mojo takes over Manhattan and every TV set and smartphone in it… and in the end he and his tech just disappear.

On the bad side, Longshot makes an appearance… and he’s more concerned with his ratings than battling Mojo’s robots. That’s not the hero I remember from 1990s X-Men comics.

The story starts with the teams playing baseball. Kitty already mentions that someone will attack when they play… and mysterious monoliths drop down from the sky to Manhattan. The X-Men dive in and find themselves in different battle scenarios. Their surroundings and enemies, even the costumes they wear, change when the scenario changes. Team one is Kitty, Prestige (Rachel Summers), Bloodstorm, and Cyclops who are fighting against future Sentinels from the Days of the Future Past comic. Kitty’s X-Men costume changes to prisoner’s fatigues and Rachel’s costume to the Hound. Team two is Storm, Old Man Logan, Iceman, and Angel fighting Ice Giants in Asgard. Storm is the only one who gets to wear her cool Asgard costume. Team three is Marvel Girl leading Nightcrawler, Colossus, Beast, and Jimmy Hudson fighting demons in Inferno. Jean is in Goblin Queen’s costume and Hank changes to a demon. Of course, the scenes change for each team at least a couple of times.

The cast of characters is pretty large and most of them, such as Ororo and Kurt don’t get to do more than look cool. Rachel, at least, must face her trauma about the future where she came from and Jean fights her scenario’s Goblin Queen.

This was lots of cheesy fun for me.

Collects X-Men Blue issues 7-12.

34671322._sy475_

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artists: Cory Smith, Joey Vazquez, Thony Silas, Giovanni Valetta, Douglas Franchin

This collection is divided to two stories. The first three issues are a Secret Empire crossover which left me quite puzzled because I haven’t read it. Apparently Cap is now Nazi (just no, Marvel) and he helped Hydra get control of US (again, just no) and California is controlled by a cabal of evil mutants: Emma Frost (I’m so pleased to see Emma where she belongs, as a hardcore villain), Sebastian Shaw, the Beast (??), and… Xorn?? I thought Xorn was Magneto or his clone or something?? Anyway, these morons have created a paradise on Earth for mutants… except that they have concentration camps for any dissenters. And the original, teenaged X-Men are the only ones fighting this??? Really, after Genosha??

While the actual setting is pretty interesting as an alternate history or timetravel plot or something, I can’t accept that many of our heroes are just going along with this regime. And Magneto making a deal of no interferance with Nazis who have concentration camps?? Just. No.

Our intrepid heroes are also in a very different place. A new side character has popped up and their HQ is now a bunker in a forest. The X-Men attack one of the concentration camps and break out the prisoners. They return to their bunker but (of course) the villains track them. Emma’s foot soldiers attack. They’re a mix of villans and heroes. I just can’t ever swallow that heroes like Wolfsbane and Firestar are voluntarily working for this regime. Some of them also have some pretty strange ”secondary mutations”.

Jean and Jimmy Hudson are left for dead and the rest of the team are captured. Of course, Jean and Jimmy must rescue the others. We also get to know Blackbird’s secret.

After the Secret Empire is over, everything returns to normal like it never happened. (Maybe it didn’t? Was it an alternate universe? I guess I should read it anyway) Jean and Scott share now a permanent rapport. They’re teenagers and can hear each others’ thoughts. Super awkward. They’re trying to cope with it. Meanwhile, Hank’s dabbling with magic comes with a cost (as it always does). The person who is teaching Hank magic,convinces him to help them with a summoning. Of course, Hank and the person summon X-Men from various other dimensions and they attack our current X-Men.

I rather enjoyed the Hex-Men. We even got to know them a little. Poor Colossus has lost his Illyana. Poor Kurt has been changed to a nightmarish demon. Poor Pixie was turned to a demon in a second Inferno. And Bloodstorm. Ororo Munroe as a vampire, from the Mutant X comic (which I throughly enjoyed so I’m thrilled to see her). The final issue was from Bloodstorm’s point-of-view which I enjoyed a lot.

Overall, this was pretty uneven collection. I enjoyed a few things but not everything. I think you should read the Secret Empire storyline before tackling this one. And the second story really requires the reader to enjoy alternate versions of the X-Men.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud.

Many of the authors I love have at least some humor in their books. However, many have an understated humor, such as Lois McMaster Bujold. Their humor isn’t laugh out loud variety, at least to me. However, I read quite a few very funny books, too.

1, Terry Pratchett

Pretty much all of his books are laugh out loud variety to me so it’s hard to single out any of them. If anyone is trying to figure out a book to start with, I’d recommend Guards! Guards! for the City Guards and Wyrd Sisters for the witches.

2, Wodehouse

Another favorite, especially the Jeeves books.

3, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford

The Thursday Next series has a lot of funny things, starting with the wacky alternate reality where Thursday lives and including the books where she can visit, as a literary detective.

4, Steven Brust: Jhereg

Brust’s Vlad Taltos series is full of sardonic banter between the main character and, well, pretty much everyone else, including his familiar, Loiosh.

5, Martha Wells: All Systems Red

Another series which specializes in sardonic humor, the Murderbot often makes me laugh.

6, Andy Weir: the Martian

If Mark Watney didn’t have a great sense of humor, I don’t think he would have survived alone on Mars.

7, A. Lee Martinez: Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain

This is a silly and funny stand-alone book about Emperor Mollusk, the former Warlord of Terra.

8, John Scalzi: The Android’s Dream/ Redshirt

Scalzi also writers funny books. Redshirts is a parody about Star Trek. In the Android’s Dream, farting starts an interstellar war because an alien race has incredibly sensitive noses.

9, Nikki Haverstock: Of Mages and Murders

The Casino Witch Mysteries is another first in a funny series. After Ella Ramono’s father died, she realized that she’s a witch. Her problems are just starting.

10, Lisa Shearin: Magic Lost, Trouble Found

Raine Benares comes from a family of crooks and criminals but she’s trying to be an honest Seeker. Of course, things go wrong.

Currently the first book in the Sabel Security thriller series.

Publication year: 2015
Publisher: Machined Media
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 365

Jacob Sterne is an Army veteran. Now, he’s employed by Sabel Security, an international security organization. He has some problems, though. He hears the voice of Mercury, the Roman god of messages in his head. Mercury usually warns him about danger but sometimes he just makes snarky comments about how soft Jacob is, unlike tough old Romans in the good old days. Jacob knows that Mercury is most likely a reaction to trauma but they still banter. He also has problems with women: he wants to sleep with all of them.

Pia Sabel is a former Olympic level soccer player. Now she’s a multimillionaire and runs the security company. She has her own problems because she saw her parents murdered when she was very young. Her adoptive father owned the security company, among other firms, and gave it to her. She’s headstrong and used to getting her own way. But she also wants to do what’s right, no matter if that’s cutting off body parts from rapists or tracking down corporation which are trying to poison millions of people. Jacob is in love with her but considers her way out of his league.

The story begins in Borneo where Pia Sabel is building a school. But she and her team manages to get on the nerves of the local tough guys and they must leave quickly. On the road, Pia meets a young girl who is carrying her sick younger brother. Pia insists that they stop to help, even though Jacob is against it. The team finds a place they think is a hurriedly built hospital full of local sick people. But the place has guards with guns and the medics are too nervous. Jacob steals three vials. Jacob, Pia, and the team are forced out and to leave the girl and her brother behind. Later, they hear that everyone in that camp are dead. Worse, someone tipped off the media that Pia and her company were there.

Pia is determined to find out who killed the people and why. Also, killers are determined to get back the vials Jacob took.

This is a fast-paced story with lots of violence but the plot is surprisingly complex. Sabel Security seems to employ almost exclusively former soldiers so they also swear like soldiers. The hunt for the bad guys takes Jacob all over the world. However, it does have a couple of gruesome torture scenes. And a lot of people are shot. Sabel Security actually uses dart guns with tranquilizers but their enemies don’t and Jacob and the others change to regular weapons when needed and when Pia isn’t around.

Jacob is a first person narrator for most of the book, but there are two other POV characters in third person. One of them is one of the bad guys so we get a pretty good picture of how they operate and bit about why. Still the full explanation for the reasons of all this came as a surprise to me in the end.

Surprisingly many of the secondary characters are women, in addition to Pia. Two of them are actually Jacob’s ex-girlfriends and he isn’t very comfortable working with them, at first.  Many of the women are former soldiers who are just as good in a fight as Jacob and the other men.

This was like a summer action flick with lots of action and some humor. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters but it was entertaining.

While the book is labeled as the first in the series, there are references to past events. In fact, near the end one plot point is dependent on them.  Apparently, this is the third book about these characters. The first two books are now called Sabel Origins series. But that’s a pretty minor point.

My next Robin Hood story is on Amazon!

When I started writing this story, I though that it would be a story for the Derelict themed anthology for Zombies Need Brains. But it wasn’t. Then I thought it would be a ghost story. Instead it became Robin Hood and the Fairy Knight.

I’ve been wanting to write a story from Marian’s point-of-view for a while now. When I was in the middle of the third chapter I realized that this was that story. So, I wrote the rest of it and wrote a new beginning from Marian’s POV. I hope you enjoy it!

Marian and her husband Robin Hood are trying to save a young girl from a horrible marriage. But a mysterious man kidnaps her righ in front of their eyes. Can Marian and Robin rescue her before she’s lost forever?

Fairies in Sherwood follows the adventures of Robin Hood, his wife Marian, his best friend Little John, Will Scarlet, and the other Merry Men. The series has also fairies who can be wicked or merely mischevious. But when mortals meet fairies, often the mortals lose.

Robin Hood and the Fairy Knight is a fun, lighthearted historical fantasy adventure novella. It has about 12,500 words.

Collects X-Men Blue issues 1-6.

Writer: Cullen Bunn

Artists: Jorge Molina, Ray-Anthony Height, Julian Lopez, Cory Smith, Ramon Bachs

The original teenaged X-Men Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel and still adventuring in the current time. They’ve adapted to our modern times, at least for the most part. Hank is learning to use magic and Warren’s wings are now ”cosmic fire”. Jean has taken the role of the team leader. Scott adventured for a while in space with his dad, the Corsair, but is now back.

In the first issue, our heroes are rescuing people from a cruise ship because the Juggernaut and Black Tom are there. At the end of the issue, we’re revealed that the team’s new mentor is… Magneto.

In the second issue, the team tries to get grips with Magneto. The team, especially Scott, has lots of reservations about working with him. But Jean reads his mind and assures the others that he honestly wants to help humans and mutants live peacefully. At least for now. Then they head to Barcelona to battle Sentinels.

In the third issue, the X-Men hear that surprisingly, the Sentinels want to help mutants. Also, this group of Sentinels consider themselves… mutants. The X-Men agree to meet their leader who turns out to be a long time X-Men enemy who has their own reasons to reprogram Sentinels.

In the fourth issue, the teams heads to Colorado when Jean get very strange readings from the Cerebro. They confront Wendigo and Jimmy Hudson, Wolverine’s son from another timeline. And he’s not alone.

Next, our heroes and Jimmy fight alternate world Marauders, lead by Miss Sinister. She wants to take Jimmy back for some more experimenting but the X-Men disagree.

In the final issue, our heroes have returned to their secret base in Madripoor. Jean, Hank, and Jimmy head out for a night of fun during a big festival. After a few pages of relaxation, Jimmy notices something he recognizes. The shift to another dimension has wiped most of his memories so he’s determined to find out what the small vial is. Our three heroes bump in the middle of men peddling mutant growth hormones. But another group of heroes wants to stop the deals. And they’ll go through the X-Men to do it.

This collection brings the X-Men firmly back to the world of superheroing. Yes, there’s some angst about what they going to do with Magneto and Bobby can’t reach his girlfriend (boyfriend?) the whole time. Hank has started to learn magic and it seems to be corrupting him. But mostly there are fights. Entertaining enough, even though Bunn mostly rehashes old X-Men enemies.

I enjoy alternate worlds so the most interesting enemy for me were the Maraudes from another world.

Still, I don’t see how this team can be sent back to the past. All of them have grown and learned. Angel’s wings are different and Iceman knows more about his powers. Still, I think at some point they will just be mind-wiped and shoved back in time.

The second book in the Seeders SF series. However, each book seems to be a stand-alone.

Publication year: 2014
Publisher: WMG Publishing
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 206

Much to my surprise, this book turned out to be a romance. It’s also a rather sweet romance without the usual (toxic) tropes, such as jealousy or misunderstandings that could be solved with sitting down and talking for five minutes.

Callie Sheridan is a paleontologist. She and her two students have spent a couple of days deep in the caves of Oregon. However, when they’re returning, they’re confronted with a horrible sight: dead people in the upper caves. Everyone is dead but there’s no sign of violece on them. Callie’s guide stays with the corpses because his wife is among the dead. Callie and her students return to the surface and the tourist cabin. Everyone is dead there, too.

Callie doesn’t have family but her two students have so they take their car and hurry home. Everyone on the road and at home is dead, too. Meanwhile, Callie realizes that she will most likely need to stay in the lodge for many days, most likely through the winter. She starts the terrible task of removing the bodies and making the lodge livable.

Vardis Fisher is a brilliant man. He has several PhDs and together with his friend Doc, he has invented and built a spaceship. Nobody on his planet believed it possible. He and Doc travel the galaxy. To their astonishement, they find out that the planets that can support human life are inhabited – by humans whose tech level is about the same as Fisher and Doc’s Earth, about our modern level. But when they came to the next planet, to their horror they see that most of the planet’s population is dead. They can’t find a reason for it. Suddenly, hundreds of other ships appear around the planet’s orbit.

This was a fun and light read. For once, it doesn’t have violence and has a sweet romance. Callie and Fisher are both intelligent people. Callie forces her grief and shock to the side and forces herself to work. She’s a very practical person. Callie and Fisher are immediatly attracted to each other which can annoy some readers.

This is an exploration and investigation story, not a violent confrontation which was a refreshing change.

Collects Batwoman issues 1-6 and Batwoman: Rebirth 1.

Writers: Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV
Artists: Steve Epting, Stephanie Hans, Renato Arlem

This Kate Kane is from the TV show Batwoman. I’ve only seen the first season.

This collection starts with an issue that recaps most of the TV series’ Batwoman’s origins. The death of her twin and mom (except that they’re different from what we saw on TV), her kicked out of Military Academy for being a lesbian, and her descend to a drunk socialite. She falls overboard, hits her head badly, and ends up on a paradise island. Except that the island is a haven for warlords and other bandits. She falls for the leader of the island, Safiyah, who keeps the peace between the four warlords.

A year later, she meets Batman and decides to pull her life together and become Batwoman.

In the main storyline, Kate is in Istanbul, following a lead about Monster Venom biodrug. It leads her back to the island Coryana. But the island has changed. Outsiders have bought most of it and Safiyah is gone. One of Safiyah’s closest allies is after Kate, blaming her for bringing corruption to the island. Kate finds out that the corporation which created Monster Venom now own most of the island. She must try to save the island and the inhabitants. We also get to see some of her year on Coryana.

The art for this storyline is crisp and clear. It fits the story well. The colors are especially nice.

The fifth issue tells the story of Kate’s year on the island from Safiyah’s point-of-view. Hans’ art style is softer and blurred, dreamlike. It also fits a flash-back issue well, even though it’s very different from Epting’s style.

The final issue takes us several years into the future. A Batman (not Bruce) has taken over Gotham and uses Batdrones and Bat troops to spy on the people and the criminals and to keep them in line. Renee Montoya is the Commissioner. Kate leads some military outfit called the Colony and leads an attack against Gotham. This isn’t a current storyline so I’ve no idea if this will be continued or even given a proper ending. But I love alternate realities and this is a very intriguing one.

This was a good beginning to Batwoman comic even though Kate isn’t in Gotham and her supporting cast is quite small. The storyline introduces three new villains, which I strongly suspect we’ll see gain. I liked Knife and her personal connection to Kate but I didn’t really care for the main villains.

Kate is working with Julia Pennyworth who is apparently Alfred’s daughter and a Special Forces operative. She and Kate have nice banter and she’s Kate’s “Overwatch” with the codename of Tuxedo One.
I enjoyed this collection a lot even though it was surprisingly dark. It has only a couple of humorous moments. But I intend to continue with it. Luckily the Finnish library system has the next two volumes, too.

I’ve just finished Covers 101 course by WMG Publishing. It was excellent!

I’m redesigning all my covers and the first one was the alternate reality short story A Long Way to Morning.

The cover image is by Galyna_P through Shutterstock.

I think the cover has Modesty Blaise -type vibe which is appropriate because MB comics inspired me to write it.