Posts tagged Marceline and the Scream Queens

Death of (a good bit of) my sanity

I’m just going to come right out and say it. It’s Death of the Family week. If that doesn’t interest you, sorry. See you next week, hopefully. Oh! Wait! I’ve got two non-DotF books here! Come back, come back!

It’s the last issue of Marceline and the Scream Queens! And, sorry, Bubbline shippers. No kisses in this mini, just lots and lots of juicy subtext. The monster that is Marceline’s insecurities is the villain this issue, don’t miss the awesome boss battle! Also, beginning next month, a new six-issue mini set in the world of Fionna and Cake!

Hahaha, Ame-Comi Girls. What do I even say about this book. I mean, it’s bad. It’s really, really bad. I’ve come to expect so much more from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, because I was spoiled by their work on Power Girl. But when I read a comic and see Selina’s name misspelled, Jesse Quick’s name misspelled and her formula stated wrong, not to mention the bucket of farts that is Duela Dent’s Ame-Comi origin? And that’s not before getting to the part where she-Brainiac created the Earth. Ha. No. Sorry. Done.

If someone were to ask me, on a scale of one to ten, how upset I was over Gail Simone being fired off of Batgirl, I’d basically have to forfeit my vote. Because after issue…four? Until just now with Death of the Family, I haven’t been reading Batgirl. Of course, it became a hit series without me, one of the top sellers in the New 52. Barbara Gordon, the iconic Batgirl, was back in the suit! And she was being written by the best female talent DC has to offer. But apparently, even making the company a lot of money wasn’t enough to save Ms. Simone from getting the axe, as she has also been off Firestorm since the sixth issue. I wish her the best in all she does, and pray that this means she’s going to be on Suicide Squad from now on.

Speaking of…oh, did I conveniently forget to review Batgirl? Whoops. I’m just a little more upset at DC than I am interested in that particular DotF storyline, which seems to involve the Joker’s desire to marry Batgirl, while also setting up a plot with her brother, James, that we’ll never get to see through. But yes, speaking of Suicide Squad, let’s have a round of applause for Adam Glass. He was a little slow out of the starting gate, but he finally got Harley Quinn to about the same place she was before the end of Gotham City Sirens pre-reboot. Bravo. Honestly, this was the best issue this series has had in…yeah, ever. It’s Harley versus Joker and you know what? Harley won. She made it out alive, and maybe showed Waller that she wasn’t as useless as everyone thought she was. Oh! Quick Rogues update! Digger seems to be leaving both the Squad and Belle Reve…wonder what he did to deserve that?

I have a confession to make. I haven’t picked up an issue of Batman and Robin since the Night of the Owls crossover. I have no idea what’s been going on in this book other than what panels I see on Tumblr. Maybe this won’t be so confusing? Well, we’re off to a decent start. I don’t think Bruce is going to be appearing in this issue at all. And really, wasn’t that what I disliked about the book in the first place? Bruce’s constant dismissal and underestimation of his own son was just…frustrating as hell. Okay. So, this is a Damian-centric arc. I can dig that. And Joker gives the same speech he did in the last issue of Batman about all the sidekicks dragging him down…hello! Okay! No spoilers, but get this issue. It was actually very interesting.

DC, please. Sinestro and Hal had a kind of a kinky dom/sub relationship during their stint as co-Green Lanterns, Joker is canonly in love with Batman…can you stop with all the subtext and just make with the anagram already? I can wait for the three of you who’ve never seen that joke on the internet to figure it out. In any case, it’s a nice little family reunion at the Batcave, where Bruce shares a not-so-heartwarming, kind of really fucking important story about one of his earliest tussles with the Joker. Seriously, dude. If a madman even has the chance of busting into your super secret hidey hole, you let someone know. Anyone. Tell the dog, for Christ’s sake. When people ask why I don’t like Bruce Wayne, I usually respond with something like, “He’s got more trust issues than a victim of a lifetime of emotional abuse.” or “He’s about as open as Santa’s Enchanted Forest in July.” Call him stoic, call him thoughtful, call him whatever. Best case scenario, he’s just a big manchild with shiny toys and an unlimited budget. Worst case scenario, he’s a sociopath waiting to happen. Scott Snyder is some kind of word wizard, though, because as good as the main story was, the back-up just blew me away. Finally, someone giving the Riddler credit! Hey, remember Hush, when Eddie totally figured out Batman’s identity, but didn’t tell anyone? Sigh. That was great.

I feel like I’ve spent less time reviewing and more time reacting this week, at least with the Death of the Family books. Why? Because, for the most part, I just can’t stand them. I dropped Batgirl because it wasn’t interesting to me. I dropped Catwoman because I found it insulting. I dropped Batman and Robin because Bruce is a douchebag. I was never reading Detective Comics. I dropped Nightwing because it was boring. I dropped Red Hood and the Outlaws, at long last, because I just couldn’t take it anymore. With the exception of the main Batman title, and the two Bat-titles that have nothing to do with DotF, Batwoman and Batman Inc, my pull list is relatively Bat-free. I have non-Bat interests. But all the events, all the crossovers, the pain, the suffering, the mental anguish…it all comes back to Batman in the end, doesn’t it? I hopped on the Batman bus in month four, before Night of the Owls. And I loved it. Still do, to an extent. But I’m getting a little tired of all the crossovers. Here’s an idea, DC. Let’s have a few months go by without some massive, Bat-related crossover event. Stop putting all your eggs in one Bat-shaped basket and let us rest.
I’m Touch of Grey. It’s two in the morning. I think you all know where I’m going with this.


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You know what goes well with Nightosphere? Joker toxin.

This is a very Bat-heavy week. Death of the Family is in full swing, running through Batman, Batgirl, and Suicide Squad today. May god have mercy on my soul.

One Bat-book that has nothing to do with DotF, however, is the Ame-Comi comic featuring Batgirl and Robin! Wow, this is completely different from the Wonder Woman issue, despite having the same writing team. For one thing, Robin? Completely annoying. I think they were trying for the quirky snark that Robins are known for, but fell short into the valley of irritation. Still, the villains! …no, they were pretty irritating as well. Harley talks to her hat, Ivy gets her kicks harassing kids on dates, and Catwoman just wants to start fights with everyone. The saving grace is Duela, who seems to have planned for everything, up to and including Batgirl’s escape from the death trap she set up. Hm, maybe she does take after her “father” after all…

Before all that nonsense, however, Marceline and the Scream Queens! Gosh, this comic is just so good. Marceline and the gang head off to her hometown, the Nightosphere, to play a special acoustic show! It goes well, but Marcy is still having her problems dealing with the self-doubt that gossip magazines have been instilling in her. She and Bubblegum get in a fight, and the princess decides to go back home. Now, I don’t know about you, but if those two don’t kiss it out in the final issue next month, I’m going to rip my face off.

You ask for a hamburger, I give you several paragraphs worth of Death of the Family spoilers

Starting with Batgirl, what do we know about the Joker? Well, aside from the obvious fixation he has on her father, the sanest man in Gotham, Jim Gordon, not much. Because it isn’t her he was fixated on…until he figured out she was Batgirl. Oh yes, it may have been her brother who lured her into Joker’s, ahem, disco of death (eternal apologies to Sam Scudder), but I have no doubt that Joker knows who is under the mask. Jim’s wife, Babs’ mother, was out of their lives for years. They moved on. Only when she began to reconcile with her daughter did the elder Barbara Gordon become a target. And she paid for it. The Joker cut off her ring finger, wedding ring and all, to present to his “dearest dominoed daredoll”. And I vomited in my mouth a little.

I don’t think you understand. I’m not even sure if I understand. But what I do know, is that Scott Snyder has officially become the best Batman writer in recent years. If you have read the latest issue of Batman, and your hatred of the Joker isn’t palpable at this point, then I’m worried about you. The man kidnaps Alfred and blinds him with ammonia. He somehow gets Jim Gordon with blood thinner and almost has him bleed out. He’s blown up the aqueduct while Nightwing stands on it, most likely injuring him greatly. Finally, instead of poisoning the reservoir, he just rounded up the people who would have gotten the poisoned water first and just killed them. Poisoned them? Drowned them? Who knows. But at least 30 visible people are dead, en mass, and it’s his fault. 

All because he loves Batman and wants him to be focused on him completely, instead of his ‘family’.

I’m not even looking at this with slash goggles on, he pretty much says it. The kids and Gordon and Alfred? They were dragging Bruce down, making him weak. Once he trimmed the fruit off the tree, then Bruce would have more time for him. Oh, and he knows all of their secret identities, so, uh. Called it.

I want to know, first off, where Harley is getting her clothes. Does she make them herself? Order them offline in her spare time? Because, seriously. Where is this girl getting a purple mourning dress, trimmed with fishnet and complete with hat at like a moment’s notice? Where?! This is the true mystery, here. I remember saying, the last time I really did an in-depth analysis of Joker and Harley’s relationship, that he was, essentially, just an abuser. That’s it. That’s their relationship. He doesn’t love her, but wants someone that he can control. So he baits her, keeps her coming back, and…well, I prefer the approach Batman: The Animated Series used to that side of their relationship. In the here and now, however, we get to watch tooth-to-knuckle as he belts her across the face, then slices her mouth, before going to threaten the other people who were in the Squad with her at the funeral. And while I’m quite upset that Deadshot is dead, I really didn’t need Joker wondering out loud about his circumcision status. Yeow.

That was this week in comics, folks. If your LCS hasn’t run out of them by the time you get there, I also highly recommend picking up the latest issue of Punk Rock Jesus. That series is always a delight. Hope to see you back next week.

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Disemboweler? I hardly know her!

I’ve decided to drop Superboy entirely. It’s mind-numbing drivel with a bad case of crossover syndrome, and I just can’t take it anymore. That being said, we’ve only got three books to cover today, but boy oh boy.

Let’s start off with the Wonder Woman Ame-Comi one-shot. If you’re like me, then you’ve noticed the DC Ame-Comi figures that your LCS is bound to stock. There are dozens of different ladies in skimpier than usual outfits, with a ridiculous price tag attached. I’ve only ever been tempted by the Jesse Quick figure, to be honest, but the line seems to be popular enough to have spawned its own comic series, with the first victim, er, feature being based on our own Wonder Woman. It’s the standard story of Diana coming to Man’s World, but she seems to be a bit more, hm. Bloodthirsty? I guess that’s a good word for her. But forget the throwaway plot and check out that art! Amanda Connor hasn’t been getting enough work lately. She’s currently the artist on the Silk Spectre mini, and she did the cover to the first issue of Phantom Lady, but that is just not enough. The Queen of Cheesecake needs more exposure, and hopefully the sweaty fanboys that make up 80% of the Ame-Comi fandom (who also happen to be DC’s main pandering demographic), will give it to her.

Oh my glob, Marceline and the Scream Queens is so great! This issue, the Scream Queens take on the underwater kingdom of Sound City, and Princess Bubblegum helps Marceline out of her reporter-induced funk. Also, the shipping is strong with this issue, if Marce’s jealousy over Peebles hanging out with Guy is any indication. I’ve got to say, Kaboom Studios really hit it out of the park when they decided to do a Marceline spinoff, it’s one of my favorite comics running.

Oh what a SPOILER this review of Batman #13 will be!

Unholy son of the six hundred and sixty-fifth son.
I’m practically outspoken when it comes to my dislike of the Joker. He’s never been a particularly compelling character to me, and I find the devotion of some of his fans to be incredibly disturbing. It’s like being a fan of a serial killer which, hey, actually. That’s exactly what being a Joker fan is, at least for the last 25 years or so. He’s a murderer. Silver Age Joker at least tried to be funny, but Bronze-to-Modern Age Joker? All about the number of bodies. I know Joker is supposed to be the mirror opposite to Batman, the madness to Batman’s unshakable sanity, but bullshit. No one puts on a Bat suit and fights crime without being slightly unhinged themselves.

The issue’s focus is mostly on Batman, James Gordon, and the Joker himself, with a minor focus on Harley Quinn.
Commissioner Gordon and Batman are Joker’s two favorite ‘playmates’, the people he longs to unhinge the most. If we’re going by old DCU canon, the Joker not only crippled Barbara Gordon, but killed James’ second wife, Sarah. There’s a reason that Jim Gordon is the second most revered man in the world of Batman, next to Alfred. He’s unwilling to break, but therein lies his weakness. Joker hopes to destroy Jim by killing or damaging the people around him. He has no wish to kill Jim, or at least he didn’t. Now, however, he came incredibly close to snapping Jim’s neck, the same as he did every other officer in the room.
He also made multiple threats against Barbara, which indicates that he knows she’s out of her wheelchair. The chair he’d hoped to stick her in for life. Some people, myself included, believe that the crippling of Barbara Gordon, and the way she proved to herself and the world that being in a chair didn’t mean she wasn’t just as useful as she’d been before, was the best thing to ever happen to the character. Oracle is, more than any other hero in the DCU, the one who would make the most difference in our world. We live in an internet age, and DC will be kicking themselves once they realize that they’re completely devoid of a character whose entire schtick is information-gathering, what with the Calculator and Proxy also lost in the reboot wave.
Batman. Batman Batman Batman. No, Joker knows who Batman is. I said in my review of the Red Hood and the Outlaws review that DCnU Batman knows who Batman is, but now it’s basically been proven. Why go after Alfred Pennyworth, otherwise? Joker knows that he can weaken the Dark Knight by stripping him of his most valuable resources, his family. That’s what this entire arc is about, why he came back in the first place. Joker plans to completely dismantle the Batfamily until Batman is the only one left standing…and he’s starting with the man who has been there for Bruce Wayne the longest. According to the list on the back of the issue, Joker is going to be targeting Dick Grayson, Selina Kyle, Barbara Gordon, Damian Wayne, Tim Drake, and Jason Todd. We’ve already seen that he plans to take out Alfred and Jim, two men that Bruce and Batman respectively depend on. The others on his hit list are the so-called “children of the Bat”, and the woman who, once upon a time, he loved. But…who is missing? Lucius Fox, for one, the driving force behind Wayne Enterprises. Talia al Ghul, the mother of Bruce’s only biological child. Zatanna Zatara, a former longtime friend and ally. Kate Kane, she who took up the mantle of Batwoman. David Zavimbe, the hand-picked-by-Bruce Batman of Africa, to name a few. But no, this crossover seems to be spanning only nine books, including two non-Bat books, so Tim and Harley can join in on the fun. Speaking of which.
You know what? I know exactly what it is I hate about the Joker. Underneath all the madness and facepaint, he’s just another white-trash wifebeater you find on Cops. He specifically targets women and children. Babs, Sarah Gordon, Jason Todd, not to mention that his entire relationship with Harley Quinn reads like a bad Lifetime movie. Because of Harley in particular, I side-eye any woman who proclaims to be crazy about the Joker. I side-eye the men even harder. Despite in the fairly recent Hunt for Harley Quinn arc in Suicide Squad, where Harley goes looking for her honey’s detached face, our girl just doesn’t seem to be that into him anymore. Maybe it’s the constant threats of physical harm, maybe it’s the fact that he has literally strapped his face back onto his head, but Miss Quinn seems to be waking up a bit. I really do hope so, for her sake.

That was this week in comics. I…need an Asprin or a stiff drink, because I just realized that I’m going to have to read and review five titles I’ve dropped and one title I was never reading in the first place several times between now and February. I’m Touch of Grey, and I hope to see you again next week.

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How to complicate your timeline, the Batman way!

I’d like to preface this entry with a disclaimer: Last night, I went to bed with a sore throat. This morning, I woke up with a swollen uvula, unable to talk. I’ve been in and out of consciousness all day, in varying states of medication. So…there may be more than a few slips of feelings in here. What I’m trying to say is, shit be cray. Shit be extremely cray.

It’s the second week of Zero Month! I feel compelled to inform y’all that the “first” issue of a new book, Team 7, is out today, but I won’t be reading it, personally. Y’all feel free to make your own decisions. That being said, we’ve got four books to cover, woo! A moment of silence for the final issue of The Shade. Right. Let’s go!

Are you reading Marceline and the Scream Queens yet? No? Man, what’s wrong with you? I cannot say enough good things about this book. If you are a temperamental musician or have ever had to deal with one, this third issue is right up your alley. Bad reviews suck, but they’re also a good way of figuring out exactly what went wrong, and how you can change to be awesome! Though…I’m fairly sure that magazine is owned by the guy whose lips Marceline tried to eat, so it may not be a completely fair judgement. The backup story featuring the Earl of Lemongrab was cute, though it doesn’t make me like the character. Watch for a cameo from Marcie’s ex!

Nope. Nope nope nope. All aboard the nope train to fuckthatville. I don’t know why reboot Superboy is being treated like this. I really don’t. I mean, what’s the point? It’s like, Kryptonians are no longer allowed to just be heroes, they have to be sympathetic creatures, abused by us evil Earthlings. At least, that’s what I’ve been getting from the Superboy and Supergirl books. Okay, so. This origin issue of Superboy features Harvest, of course, and it details the history of the Kryptonian clone wars, more than it talks about Superboy himself. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Harvest is actually Superboy from a thousand years into the future, physically warped and ka-pinged back through time. Y’know, like Time Trapper was Superboy-Prime in Legion of Three Worlds. DeFalco, I have no idea what you’re going for with this book. Do you want to make Superboy a villain? Are you trying to get people to associate the name Kon with negative shit? What are you trying to do here, man? Look. Superboy hasn’t really been Kon since Young Justice ended. Post-Graduation Day, he was Conner Kent. And it was like, with the name change, his entire personality shifted. There was a time where I legitimately thought Kon and Conner were different people. Kon-El was this fun kid. He’d lived in Hawaii, he’d managed an apartment building in Metropolis, he delivered witty one-liners and ogled bikini babes and watched Wendy the Werewolf Stalker. Conner Kent…liked Wonder Girl. He was distressed that he was half Luthor. He died for our sins, at one point. I don’t know where I’m going with this. Preboot Kon? Fun dude. New 52 Kon? One step away from actually being Match. Next book.

How many times can one company do the origin of fuckin’ Batman? Dead parents, swears vengeance, I am the night, boy sidekick, yatata yatata yatata. I highly doubt that even Scott Snyder could…pull off…
That’s…new. Instead of starting at the beginning, the cause and effect process that turned Bruce Wayne into Batman, Scott Snyder instead chose to show the man before he became the Bat, but not before he became a vigilante. We also get our first look at the Joker before he was the Joker, in a unique spin on his Killing Joke Red Hood origin. The madman was always scum, it would seem. But the most interesting thing, to me, was the second story, written by James Tynion and featuring the sidekicks. It’s set five years in the past, which…well. Five years ago, Batman was only just starting out. Dick Grayson’s parents were still alive, Jason was helping to rob convenience stores so he could eat, and Tim was in middle school. Babs hadn’t put on the Batgirl suit yet. Where to begin.
Okay, first off? Five years is not enough time to go through three sidekicks. That’s just bullshit. Dick stopped being Robin because he felt he’d outgrown the role. He disagreed with Batman on many points, and was tired of living in the shadow of the Bat, so he became Nightwing. Jason died. That’s how he lost his Robin panties, he died. In a universe where Steph existed, Tim first gave up the suit to appease his dad, but later came back. The second time he lost the title, it was because Dick needed to keep an eye on Damian, and making him Robin was the best way to do it. All of this happened over the course of more than a decade and a half. Dick first became Robin when he was 8; here, he’s clearly in his late teens. Jason is probably about 15. Tim is 11 or 12. Uh. No? That makes Dick, at best, 24 right now. Not to mention Damian. If this story takes place 5 years before the current New 52 timeline, and Bruce had been gone from Gotham for four years training, and he was already established as Batman when he and Talia did the horizontal hoedown, how is Damian ten?!
And then there’s Babs. In order for this timeline to work, Babs would have to have put on her Batgirl costume the night after she saw the Batsignal for the first time. That’s the only way I can imagine how she could have a legitimate career as Batgirl, a time as Oracle, and the operation that gave her her legs back in the allotted time.
Ha. Did I say most interesting? I meant most infinitely frustrating.

God bless the Shade and all who sail in him. It’s fitting that the final issue of The Shade is his origin issue. I read earlier this week that James Robinson intended this issue to be set before the first issue of the Shade miniseries from years ago (which is a fantastic read, if you should ever happen upon it), but I didn’t realize it would be so…sad. Richard Swift is an enigmatic character, under Robinson’s pen. He has his faults, his failures, his victories. He is good, evil, neutral. He has friends, loves, family. He is something that most writers can only dream of creating, a fully-faceted, rounded, interesting character. It’s funny. This series isn’t connected to the New 52 at all, and yet, aside from Animal Man, it’s my favorite thing about the reboot. Could we have had a Shade book in the old universe? Probably, but as there were quite a few quality books running at the time, it might have been overlooked. Now, however, these twelve issues have been like gold dust in a windstorm. Will we see more in the future? Well, I suppose that all depends on whether or not DC feels that an ongoing book like this could make money. Now, this is just me, but I feel like it would.

It’s entirely too late for me to still be wearing pants. I’m sorry about wordvomiting all over your screens, but…yeah. Punk Rock Jesus also came out today, by the by. It’s a good book, I like it. In other news, one of my eyes keeps falling shut. I think this might be nature’s way of telling me to go to bed. Goodnight, everybody.

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Short, late…I’m two for two on this one.

Before we begin, I’d like to offer an official apology. My best friend is off to Puerto Rico with her boyfriend for two weeks, and neither of them can pack a suitcase to save their lives, so I was away from the internet all day. My secondary apology concerns the subject matter of this review. There are two books. Two. Neither of which I’m feeling very enthusiastic towards. Your mileage may vary this week, and for that, I am very sorry.

Well, the writing is slightly better. That’s all I can think to say, regarding Superboy this month. Scott Lobdell has been replaced on the title by Tom DeFalco, which is sort of like replacing horse crap with dog crap. It’s still crap, but there’s less of it. They’ve also switched artists, taking away the stomachable R. B. Silva and putting on the nostril-obsessed Robson Rocha and Eduardo Pansica. I think this issue is supposed to be setting up the next storyline, by introducing the mindwarping villain, Kiva, but it also would work well as a standalone issue. Also, and I feel like I’m going to be saying this a lot, what the hell is up with mysterious future detective Jocelyn Lure? She’s the same lady that clued us in to Bart’s villainous nature in Teen Titans a few issues back, and now she’s over in Superboy. Who are you, detective? Can I call you Josie? These are my two top questions, DC. Please try and answer them before the new year.

I lied! Marceline and the Scream Queens is amazing, and everyone should read it! Okay, I know this isn’t the kind of book I usually cover, but darn it. Marceline’s comic is so entertaining for all the right reasons. In this issue, the vampire queen herself discusses where she wants her band to go…with a Mick Jagger lookalike record producer! In the backup, we see how the power of song can change the hearts and minds of even those programmed for one function. How sweet! Yeah, if you want a comic that doesn’t want anything from you except for you to be entertained, pick up Marceline and the Scream Queens. You won’t regret it.

I’m in love. I am. Harper Row needs to be a reoccurring character, Becky Cloonan needs to be a regular artist, and the main Batman book needs to be less Batman and more people he saves. This is a revolutionary idea, and I personally support it. But seriously. The idea of showing the daily lives of people in Gotham other than those belonging to the Batfamily isn’t new. In fact, that was the premise of the series Gotham Central. But Gotham Central was an amazing book with a diverse, interesting cast of characters, and the main Batman book is proving that it can be, too. I mentioned earlier this week to someone that my enthusiasm for this book was waning, but this issue perked it right back up again. DC, you’re doing right by me for once. Give Ms. Cloonan some more work. I’ve been a fan of hers for years, ever since I saw her work in Jen Van Meter’s Hopeless Savages. When it comes to female creators…let me put it this way. In recent years, DC has thrown over some excellent ladies in order to employ some sub-par men. Don’t give this treatment to Becky Cloonan. Her style pops, and is quite unlike anything else on the page today. I sincerely hope that DC has more work for her in the near future.

And, well, that was this week in comics. For those who were unaware, the amazing mini from Vertigo, Punk Rock Jesus, had it’s second issue come out this week. It’s a great book, and I highly suggest it. Oh, and for observant Rogue fans who don’t really feel like wading through Suicide Squad, yes, Digger Harkness is alive. Will he stay that way? Well, judging from the name of the book…I’m Touch of Grey, and  holy god am I tired. It’s 3 am. I’m going to bed.

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