Review – Hawkeye: L.A. Woman

Cover of Hawkeye: LA Woman by Matt FractionHawkeye: L.A. Woman, Matt Fraction, Annie Wu, Javier Pulido

This volume of Hawkeye collects a bunch of issues about the younger, cuter Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. What I kinda don’t get is how much like Clint she acts — she’s not the serious, dedicated leader of the Young Avengers here at all (and she doesn’t once that I can think of contact any of her team). The volume is mostly made up of new characters, aside from Kate and the antagonist, Madame Masque.

It’s fun, and the art is okay — I don’t like it as much as Aja’s — but I like Kate Bishop self-assured and telling Noh-Varr he’s a jerk, or helping Billy and Teddy save the world with love. We don’t get to see the Young Avengers off-duty like this much, which I guess is the format of these Hawkeye comics, but… I don’t know. And I half-expected her to come out with lines from Fraction’s Sex Criminals series: “This fucking guy”, etc.

She does still kick ass, but she also gets her ass kicked a lot, and often due to naivety and inexperience. Which is great, but, uh, the Young Avengers have taken down some pretty big threats, actually. Girl knows what she’s doing — and she has a support network other than Clint and her dad. A phone call to Billy or Teddy would’ve gone down well, Tommy could have been at her side in literally seconds, and America Chavez would gleefully have stomped Madame Masque’s faces. David could probably have set her up with a database, never mind files, if she’s gonna be a PI. Like, with Clint you can get him not asking for backup, because he’s a dummy. Kate isn’t. I’d at least have liked to see her think about calling her team, especially when she believes people are dying.

I don’t know, I guess one superhero being a dummy is kind of funny. Two is apparently overkill for me. Did like the gay couple who help her, though.

Rating: 2/5

Review – Hawkeye: Little Hits

Cover of Hawkeye vol 2 by Fraction and AjaHawkeye: Little Hits, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth, Chris Eliopoulous

Clint Barton continues to be a trainwreck in everyday life. And Kate Bishop continues to care about him even though he’s really kind of a loser in many ways. And Clint has a really great dog. That pretty much sums up book two. And the whole run could probably summed up with, “Clint Barton makes poor life choices.”

I’m not 100% into this comic, but I do enjoy it, and Fraction and Aja are certainly very creative, funny, and willing to take risks. Sometimes I find that their style of storytelling doesn’t work for me — I’m not a visual person, so the 95% visuals issue “Pizza Is My Business” was difficult for me, and that’s not the only time they rely on very visual storytelling. So I think my reaction is a pretty idiosyncratic one; it’s a bit weird that I’m even into comics, since visual storytelling is hard for me, and the best comics really make use of that in combination with the words, instead of illustrating the words.

Still, reading it again helped somewhat with comprehension, and I’ll keep that in mind as I get onto LA Woman and Rio Bravo.

Rating: 3/5

Review – Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propriis

Captain Marvel vol 3Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propriis, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Warren Ellis, David Lopez

There’s still some great banter in this book, and it’s a lot less silly than the previous volume felt. Unfortunately, the Black Vortex issue is pretty disconnected and random — I would’ve been interested to see more of Carol’s involvement in that storyline, and it is interesting to see her choosing not to go cosmic — but as it is, it feels clumsy, especially with all the exposition explaining what the Black Vortex even is.

The final issue is the most important, probably the most emotionally hard-hitting of this run. I love the people who support Carol in it — even if it took me a minute to realise that Steve was Steve — and the story is sweet (though I still don’t actually know much about Carol even knows Tracy). It’s a fitting return to Earth for Carol, in many ways.

I do wish Marvel wouldn’t run so many events, though. I’m not actually interested in the majority, definitely not as single issues, and it really disrupts ongoing stories with individual characters. The crossover events are going to stop being special if they keep happening all the time, and we’ve had so many lately, it seems.

Rating: 4/5

Review – Thor: Who Holds the Hammer?

Thor vol 2Thor: Who Holds the Hammer?, Jason Aaron et al

Normally I would list all the creators working on a particular comic, but there’s seven listed on the front and nine on the back.

This is a bit of a bitty comic, which annoyed me. There’s a couple of issues dealing with the ongoing story, but there’s also a lot of extra stuff — a short one about Thor sometime way in the future, a side story with Thor’s friends, one about Thor having a drinking contest, and then a “what if” about Jane Foster finding Mjolnir originally. That last one is especially difficult if you’re not familiar with Thor’s canon, because it really requires comparison with the original/referenced issues of Thor. (And it ends kind of weirdly, with Odin marrying Jane after Thor goes off with Sif.)

There are some awesome bits, like when the All-Mother gathers a whole army of women (plus the original Thor) to back the new Thor up in a fight. The fight between the All-Father and the All-Mother continues, and Frigga continues to hold her own and demand respect. And of course, there’s Thor going up against the Destroyer.

But, with all the extras, it didn’t feel like a satisfying progression. The main question it answers is a simple one: “Who is Thor?” Which… wasn’t a surprise to me, at all. And then it just leads into Secret Wars, which I’m not all that interested in, although most of the comics I follow are having tie-in issues. Ah, well.

Also, will someone please give the male Thor a shirt?

Rating: 3/5

Stacking the Shelves

Sooo, it’s been a nice week for books for me. I did buy a few more that aren’t here just to have physical copies, but I’ve featured them here before.

Bookshop haul

Cover of Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine Cover of Half the World by Joe Abercrombie Cover of Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

Cover of The Godless by Ben Peek Cover of The Child Eater by Rachel Pollack Cover of Dark Run by Mike Brooks

Dark Run basically sounds like Firefly. Colour me hopeful. The Godless, I, uh, had to review. Long ago. The Child Eater just caught my attention.

My copy of Half a War is actually signed, too! It’s not as special to me when I don’t actually meet the author/get a personal inscription, but it’s still kind of cool. And hurrah, I can take Half the World back to the library for whatever poor person wanted it after me… Speaking of!

Library

Cover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling Cover of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling Cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Cover of Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin Cover of The Dark Arts of Blood by Freda Warrington Cover of Hollow Crown by Dan Jones

 Cover of The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale Cover of The Thinking Woman's Guide to Magic by Emily Croy Barker Cover of Lockstep by Karl Schroeder

I don’t think I ever owned these Harry Potter books, though I might’ve had Order of the Phoenix. So, raided the community library for them. Order of the Phoenix, though, the size of the thing! Did Rowling’s editor quit? Heh. I haven’t got the third of Freda Warrington’s books — The Dark Blood of Poppies — so I’m really hoping the library gets it in before I go away… Other than that, a round up of stuff I’ve been recommended.

Comics

Spider-woman

Just one comic this week; most of the comics on my pull list seem to be on hiatus or something? Probably a good thing, I’m spending enough money… Thinking I’ll pick up Bitch Planet soon, though.

What’s everyone else been getting? C’mon, show off your hauls.

Review – Captain Marvel: Stay Fly

Captain Marvel: Stay FlyCaptain Marvel: Stay Fly, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Marcio Takara, David Lopez

If you’re not a fan of Captain Marvel, this issue probably isn’t going to make you into one. The three storylines are relatively light, though there is some sweet stuff — parts where Spider-woman, Rhodey, Kit, Tic and Chewie all appear. One of the storylines focuses on Chewie, in fact, with Rocket Raccoon along for the ride. There’s also a nice bit with Tracy, continuing the theme of her relationship with Carol.

A lot of this is funny/silly, and I love Takara’s art style. But it’s not any kind of gamechanger for Captain Marvel or Kelly Sue’s writing. It’s just fun.

I still think Carol/Rhodey is genius.

Rating: 3/5

Review – Ms Marvel: Crushed

Cover of Ms Marvel: Crushed by G. Willow WilsonMs Marvel: Crushed, G. Willow Wilson, Mark Waid, Takeshi Miyazawa, Elmo Bondoc, Humberto Ramos

Ms Marvel continues to be fun and cute, though I have to say this volume felt pretty fragmented. First there’s the Loki stuff, then a brief dodge back to the Inhumans plot, and then to an unrelated incident in Kamala’s school. Kamala’s geekiness and enthusiasm is still awesome, and the glimpses into her interactions with her family, but with the first bit dealing with Agent of Asgard stuff and the last dealing with SHIELD stuff (Coulson! <3)… I felt that the Inhumans plot was the only thing of substance, and it was over so fast.

I like most of the art in this volume, but the Loki section definitely isn’t my favourite style. And despite not being that fond of Wolverine/X-Men in general, I kind of miss that weird mentor relationship he had with Kamala in book two — there’s no sign of him!

It feels weird to me the way comic and movie-verse are collapsing together. This seems to fit in with what I know of Agents of SHIELD canon; does that mean it fits into the MCU too? Does that mean young!Loki is going to be a thing? Sometimes I long for the simplicity of a book series you can just read in order.

Rating: 3/5

Review – Thor: The Goddess of Thunder

Cover of Thor: Goddess of Thunder by Jason AaronThor: The Goddess of Thunder, Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Jorge Molina

This version of Thor is really fun. I’m not really Thor’s biggest fan, either in the MCU or in the comics; give me half a chance and I can give you a whole list of examples why Steve Rogers should wield the hammer instead of Thor, or at least be able to. (I would also be happy with Sif or Freyja, two possibilities that Thor considers in this volume.) But this version got my attention because of the decision to give another character the powers of Thor. Now, I’ve read the spoilers, so the hints here at the reveal aren’t for me to judge, but there are some hints.

I think if there was a female author at the helm of this comic, the angry reactions would have been even more prevalent. It explicitly takes on “damn feminists are ruining everything” and makes a joke of it; it challenges the assumption that Asgard needs the All-Father by having Freyja stand up to him, declaring herself the All-Mother; Thor absolutely wallows in self-pity; Hel, Mjolnir takes on whole new life in the Goddess of Thunder’s hands. How much must male rights activists hate this?

I think it’s pretty well done, though. The art is gorgeous, and it captures a lightness of heart and goofiness that always improves Thor’s reception with me. I love that the new Thor revels in her powers, that she enjoys learning to wield them. For all that it’s taking a bunch of traditionally masculine things and putting them in the hands of women, and it hangs a lampshade on that every so often, the fun is certainly not lost.

Rating: 4/5