2017 comics reading challenge


Collects Silk issues 1-6 and Amazing Spider-Man 1.

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Stacey Lee, Tana Ford, Veronica Fish

Cindy Moon’s life has changed quite a bit after the events in Secret Wars. For one thing, she’s now a criminal and working with the Black Cat! The Cat’s goon squad is fighting the Goblin King’s army (Goblin Nation) and stealing high-tech gear. Of course, it’s a front: Silk is actually undercover working for Mockingbird and S.H.I.E.L.D. But in order to infiltrate the Cat’s organization, Silk has to smear her own reputation – and during the day, she has to work at her day job, where people are wondering what is up with New York’s newest heroine. Also, Peter Parker shows up! Cameos by Mockingbird and Spider-Woman.

Killer Shrike is Cat’s right hand and he doesn’t trust or like Silk which causes her some problems. Also, Cindy is seeing a therapist to work out her issues and trying to help her brother recover. Her brother is apparently a former member of the Goblin Nation and he’s recovering from a brain injury. She’s still looking for her parents.

This was a good continuation to volume 0. Silk’s starting to be her own kind of hero instead of just a female Spider-Man. On the other hand, a weird guy with electricity powers has to safe her a couple of times. But Silk is new and she’s still learning. Black Cat’s return to villainhood is still a very strange idea to me, but it seems that Silk and the Cat are in danger of bonding, so that will no doubt lead to more interesting (in the Chinese sense) times for her.

I’m not a fan of the changing artists.

Collects Silk issues 1-7 (2015).

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Stacey Lee

Cindy Moon was bitten by the same radioactive spider as Peter Parker but instead of becoming a superhero then, she had to go in isolation to protect her family and everyone else from the Inheritors. But now she’s out of the bunker and a superhero Silk. Only, after ten years of isolation, it’s not easy to try to blend into the modern world. Also, her family seems to have disappeared. She has almost the same powers as Peter except that she generates webbing from her fingertips.

Cindy is interning with the legendary J. Jonah Jameson at Fact Channel and looking for her family. At night, she’s Silk and fighting Black Cat’s gang of goons. Clearly, Cindy starts as a female Spider-Man. Her miniseries is fun and fast-paced but she also deals with some heavier issues and she thinks about her family a lot. Spider-Man (Peter) and Fantastic Four guest-star. The final issue ends when the Secret Wars begin.

I think the series is aimed at a younger crowd, but I liked it. I used to read the Finnish edition of Spider-Man for many years, including Spider-Man 2099 and Ultimate, until Marvel’s decision to just do away with Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage finally alienated me from Spidey. I think that Silk is a fine addition to the Spidey-family. But if you’re looking for a unique hero, Silk is probably not for you.
The art is more simplified than usual for superhero comics but it fit the story well.

Collects Mockingbird: S.H.I.E.L.D 50th anniversary 1, Mockingbird issues 1-5

Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artist: Joëlle Jones, Kate Niemczyk

I was somewhat familiar with Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse) from her days as a member of the Avengers, when she was married to Hawkeye. When she joined the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was happy because Marvel can’t have too many awesome action heroines.

However, I didn’t really know what to expect from her own comic. Happily, it turned out to be good, with a mix of humor and action.

Bobbi is a scientist, a biochemist. She’s also a spy and a superhero because of super-soldier formula. So, she doesn’t have She-Hulk or Captain Marvel type powers. Instead, she’s faster, stronger, and more durable than usual humans. Which is good, because we need all types of heroines. Now, it’s easy to compare her to the Black Widow who is also a spy and superheroine but Bobbi is more a scientist and has a better sense of humor. Also, her super-power formula makes her paranoid and insomniac. That’s why the S.H.I.E.L.D. is monitoring her health constantly and she has to go to checkups every week.

In the 50th anniversary issue Bobbi finds out that her mentor has been killed and solves her murder. In her own series, she saves a teenaged girl who has weird new powers from police snipers, rescues her current boyfriend Lance Hunter from the Hellfire Club, her former husband Hawkeye from T.I.M. (former A.I.M.) ‘s underwater lab, and she also finds out what lurks in the S.H.I.E.L.D. medical facility. And she does it with style and sarcasm.

I enjoyed this collection a lot and I’m definitely continuing with the series. Please don’t cancel it, Marvel!

Collects comic miniseries 1-3.


Writers: Mark Altman, Chris Dows, Colin Clayton, R. A. Jones
Artists: Rob Davis, Terry Pallot, Brian Michael Bendis, Bruce McGorkindale, Leonard Kirk, Jack Snider
Publisher: Malibu

The majority of this collection is taken up by three-part story the Maquis. It’s pretty solid although not in the same league as the best DS9 episodes. It starts with the rescue of a missing commander from the starship Grissom. However, when he meets Gul Dukat, the commander tries to kill him. But the main story centers on Doctor Bashir. He’s taking a vacation on Risa but on the way there he meets a beautiful woman who promptly kidnaps him. It turns out that she’s a Maquis and a group of them are going to storm a stronghold where the crew of Voyager and Chakotay’s Maquis group are held prisoner. Unfortunately, it’s a Cardassian trap. The plot here is pretty elaborate and I’m not sure it was worth the cost. But I’m not a Cardassian. 😉

This was a pretty fun story and involves Garak which is always a good thing. Some of the secondary characters even had more depth than was obvious at first glance, which is another positive thing. Of course, it’s a minor story which is never referred to again. Each part has also a box to remind the reader to start watching the new show, Voyager.

The collection has two shorter stories as well. They’re pretty good but unfortunately, they’re put in the middle of the Maquis story, cutting it senselessly. The first one is “The Memoir of an Invisible Ferengi” which is a fun short strip about Quark. A Romulan vessel has docked and some threatening looking Romulans pay Quark a visit: they want holosuits and for him to keep an item safe for them. Of course, Quark has took into the box and try on the belt he finds there. It makes him invisible. However, things turn up different than he expected. The second one, “A Tree Grows on Bajor” is a Sisko and Jake story. Sisko and his son have been invited to a ceremony on Bajor which reminds Jake about his mother.

These are also good little stories but unfortunately they interrupt the main story strangely. The Quark story is especially jarring. Otherwise this is a good collection.

Collects the first Xena comics from issues 1, 2, 0.

Writers: Roy Thomas, Robert Trebor, Aaron Lopresti
Artists: Joyce Chin, Andy Lanning, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Aaron Lopresti, Hilary Barta, Jordi Ensign, Gary Martin, Tom Simmons,

This collection has three fun comics. Apparently, they’re some of the first Xena comics ever.

Revenge of the Gorgons is a two-part story where Xena has to go on a quest to save Gabrielle’s life.
This one guest-stars Hercules, Iolaus, and Joxer. The story starts at the festival held by the aging King Perseus. However, Medusa’s sisters have come for revenge and Gabrielle is caught in the cross-fire. A mysterious stranger offers Xena a way to cure Gabrielle. They, and Joxer, go on an epic quest.

This story has a bit of mystery thrown in and I liked it a lot.

In Temple of the Dragon God, Xena fights the Dragon God for Gabrielle’s soul. The Dragon God has killed all other heroes who have dared to challenge him, and keeps the souls of many people to himself. This one was a bit strange because it skipped the final battle.

Theft of the Young Lovelies is also a three-part story but this time Xena and Gabrielle go undercover at Salmoneus’ School of Poise, Polish, and Pleasing your future husband. Some of the young ladies at the school have started to disappear so our intrepid duo has to endure a short stay at said school. It’s similar to the more light-hearted episodes where a modern concept is transported to Xena’s world and made fun of.

Over all, a fun collection for Xena fans, but has a lot of cheese cake pictures (but I guess it could have been a lot worse; no bathing scenes are included, for example). The characters are in character and in the first story we get to see some mythical figures through the Xena lens.

The 10th annual graphic novel and manga reading challenge has started and I’m joining it.

Please write a sign-up post on your blog and then sign-up below with a link to your specific sign-up post (NOT to your home page).

What counts: graphic novels, collected trade editions, manga, comic strip collections, comic books or combinations of text and bubbles all in the same book. In print or digital. Anything else you feel is suitable. My personal criteria is if it has either frames OR speech bubbles it counts. I’m not going to be the comic police but if you are unsure, ask me in the comments any given month.

You must write a review and link to it for it to count towards the challenge. Reviews may be posted on your blog or goodreads or similar places. Several reviews may be gathered and posted in one link on your blog, but each book must be linked back here in the monthly linkies to count. Come back every month to record your progress.

Here is how the Challenge plays out:

runs from Jan.1 – Dec. 31, 2017
Levels

Modern Age: read and review 12 books during the year (that’s only 1 book a month)
Bronze Age: read and review 24 books during the year (Can you handle 2 books a month.)
Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year (Are you up to a book a week!)

Golden Age: read and review 104 books during the year (Are you addicted? 2 books a week!)

I’m joining at the Modern age level. Last year I managed to reach Bronze Age and I’m hoping to do the same this year. I’m going to start with Xena, Star Trek, and Star Wars collections.

Comics read:
1, Xena: Warrior Princess
2, Star Wars: Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand
3, Star Trek: Deep Space 9: The Maquis
4, Mockingbird vol. 1: I can explain
5, Silk vol. 0: The Life and Times of Cindy Moon
6, Silk vol. 1: Sinister
7,