action heroine


The second book in the wonderful fantasy series Divine Cities.

Publication year: 2016
Format: print
Page count: 442
Publisher: Jo Fletcher books

The story starts about five years after the ending of the previous book, City of Stairs. Colonel Turyin Mulaghesh who was the polis governor of Bulikov has been promoted to general and joined the Saypuri Military Council. But recently she has retired to chase her dream of living beside the sea and enjoying life. Sadly, that dream hasn’t come true. She lives by the sea but in a hovel and has to chase local bandits off her property. She also has flashbacks to the Battle of Bulikov. When an old associate comes to her bearing a letter from the current Saypuri Prime Minister, Mulaghesh is at first annoyed. However, she agrees reluctantly to become the Prime Minister’s spy.

The PM’s previous investigator Choudhry has disappeared and it’s Mulaghesh’s job to go to the city where she vanished and find out what happens to her. Also, the Saypuri have discovered a metal in that same city that not only conducts electricity 100% but it also seems to augment the electricity. This shouldn’t be possible and the PM is concerned that something Divine is behind it. What really irritates Mulaghesh is where she’s going: Voortyashtan which is the “ass-end of the universe, armpit of the world” as she calls it. Voortyashtan was built by the sea but the port is currently extremely dangerous to use because of debris from the time when the Continent’s gods vanished (in the event called the Blink). The city was also the capital of Voortya, goddess of war, death, and destruction. She was the first divinity killed and none of her miracles work. But her followers, her sentinels, were hated by the Saypuri and they don’t treat the remaining people at all nicely. In fact, beside Voortyashtan is the Fort Thinadeshi which has guns trained on the city all the time. And the weather is miserable.

Mulaghesh is tortured by her past and she can’t escape it here because the fort’s commander is also her old commander. Mulaghesh finds out that the disappeared woman had started to act strangely and was considered insane by some. She comes into the middle of a politically hot situation: the invading Saypuris are constantly harassed by the locals whom the Saypuri’s hate. Also, northern Draylings have been hired to clear and rebuild the harbor. Both Saypuris and the locals cautiously trust them, as long as they don’t do anything weird.

City of Blades continues in the wonderful footsteps of the previous book: an investigation in a new city. Many of the elements which made the previous book great are here, too. I through enjoyed Mulaghesh as the main character and her journey in this book is more personal than Shara’s in the previous book. Mulaghesh is a career soldier and over fifty. She smokes cigarillos, drinks, and curses a lot. She has a tortured past and yet she has uncompromising principles.

However, this is a grimmer book than the first one; there’s little hope of complete victory, just keeping to your ideals while the world goes to hell. The theme of the book centers on war and soldiers. It also contains some gruesome violence. I’m also not sure if I agree with the ending for even though it was rather impressive.

We also get to know some more about the history of Saypur, how it rose after the gods were killed and about the horrible way the Continentals kept the Saypuri slaves before the gods were killed.

Great, wonderful continuation of the series!

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 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.