Marvel-ous Mondays: X-Men: Civil War

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X-Men: Civil War

author : david hine

illustrator : aaron lopresti

pages : [paperback] 112

summary :

Enough is enough. The tension between the X-Men, the 198 and the O*N*E* has finally reached breaking point. As Civil War rips apart the Marvel Universe, the X-Men also find themselves crumbling from the inside out. Will they admit defeat, or will they finally start to fight back.

review :

This book wasn’t that great for me. I’m new to the Marvel comics, really new to all X-Men who weren’t featured in the movies. I wanted to read this comic because it’s in the Civil War timespan and I’ve slowly been working through all of those comics. Unfortunately this just didn’t work for me.

It was boring, mostly because it made no attempt to explain what was going on. I understand that there weren’t clear sides in this conflict. Everyone is always changing their mind about whether they support the hero registration act, which is good, because it’s kind of a big decision that they shouldn’t be taking lightly. But there were also personal vendettas in here, and divisions among the mutants, and none of them were ever explained. You just kind of have to go with it.

There were also two issues included at the back of this volume on Mutant Town that were included, I think, because they briefly mentioned the registration act. But, taken out of context, they don’t really make much sense. I had no idea who these mutants were, what their abilities were, why they were all angry with each other . . . And after struggling so much through the more closely tied to Civil War I wasn’t really prepared to muddle through these two issues.

I’d recommend this volume only if you’re really familiar with the X-Men universe and everything that’s been going on in it. Otherwise, by itself, it doesn’t stand as a good volume.

3/5 stars

 

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton: should I have DNF’d?

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Baby Doll

author : hollie overton

pages : [hardcover] 281

summary :

For fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, Baby Doll is the most tense thriller you will read this year.

Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

review :

I reeeeeally wanted to love this book. I started it and the concept was really interesting, the characters were gripping, and I was invested in the story. Baby Doll begins with Lily trying to escape from where she’s been held captive for the past eight years, tormented and raising a child with her captor. But this is just the beginning for her.

Baby Doll  . . . tried. I’m not sure at what point I realized that the writing was just terribly not for me. Maybe when it was the pages and pages of whenever Abby, Lily’s twin, would appear and all we would hear about her was that she was “so fat” (though at one point they said she’d put on twenty pounds which, okay, would make a difference, but they harped on it over and over). Abby had real psychological problems that were all hidden behind these vain ramblings. It wasn’t as if the author was trying to keep a little mystery for us to piece together what exactly has been happening to Abby. There is so much telling and not showing, it’s ridiculous.

Things started going downhill pretty quickly. The dialogue was very stilted, the scenarios that came up didn’t seem very realistic. Random things would come out of nowhere–the kind of stuff that could tear families apart or cause real devastation–and be mentioned for only a few pages and then never discussed ever again.

Rick, the captor . . . He was suitably crazy. Because the book rotates between several different POVs, at some points we were able to actually get inside of his head. But during the most important moments of the book, that I won’t spoil in case you want to read it, we get nothing from him. And then it’s over, wrapped up way too neatly in way too few pages.

I was really frustrated with Baby Doll because I started out thinking that I was going to love it. I ended it pretty much rushing through the pages so I could move on to another book instead.

2/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Black Widow Vol 3

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Black Widow Vol. 3: Last Days

author : nathan edmondson

illustrator : phil noto

pages : [paperback] 176

favorite character : nat

summary :

The world has turned against Black Widow. Her web is broken. How will she deal with this? The final path to Chaos is at her feet, but will her own demons keep her from finally taking it? What happened to Isaiah? Can Black Widow still turn to the Avengers, or even to S.H.I.E.L.D.? Natasha wants answers about Chaos and now she has a list of people who have them.

COLLECTING: BLACK WIDOW 13-20

review :

I liked this volume but it wasn’t an entirely satisfying conclusion to this story arc.

The volumes leading up to this have been filled with questions of identity, of loyalty, of how someone can be human if they never allow themselves to get close to others. While Last Days tried to give us a few of Natasha’s answers, she’s too much of an enigma. But there was no happy balance between the mystery and hints at what’s going on inside of her mind. It’s obvious that she’s grown much closer to Isaiah (and her cat) than she’d ever planned to. But her relationships with them, after she’s admitted this to herself, are disappointing. Nothing seems to change.

Nat is innovative as usual. She comes up with great stunts to get herself out of sticky situations and to protect those she (accidentally) cares for. But some of the situations were similar to others in previous issues, which was a little aggravating. Nat of all people wouldn’t fall for the same situation twice, especially when the incidents happen so close together.

I love Nat, and I’m going to keep reading about her, but I wish there was going to be another volume by this team coming out after this. The art is beautiful; I want more of it. But more than that I want a more satisfying conclusion.

4/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Black Widow Vol 2

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Black Widow, Vol 2: The Tightly Tangled Web

author : nathan edmondson

illustrator : phil noto

pages : [paperback] 160

favorite character : nat

summary :

On a snowy night in Prague, Black Widow must fight her way out of disaster alongside the Winter Soldier! And as Isaiah’s London business turns complicated, Natasha finds herself fighting against — or alongside? — the Punisher for access to a deadly criminal network. But trapped on an exploding oil rig with Crossbones and his Skull Squad, will Frank and Natasha complete their missions — or take each other out? Then, Hawkeye is back! But could his fight with the Widow cost Isaiah his life? And in the wake of Wolverine’s death, Black Widow bonds with the despondent X-23 over punching and espionage, and teams up with the Howling Commandos for a dangerous mission in Afghanistan. But what will the Avengers do when they learn how Natasha has been spending her days off?

Collecting BLACK WIDOW (2014) #7-12 and PUNISHER (2014) #9.

review :

I loved this! I picked up this volume right after I finished the first one, so I was able to dive right into the story. Nat is still trying to piece together exactly what foe is out there who’s been thwarting her and she has some unexpected allies on the way, with appearances by Daredevil, Hawkeye, the Winter Soldier . . and plenty of other heroes that I’m sure I’ll recognize eventually, but because I’m not completely schooled in comics yet kind of passed over my head. There was like a lady Wolverine? She was cool. I have no idea where she came from, nor how Nat managed to bring her on board on a mission, but I was entirely accepting of it. Y’know, in the moment.

There’s SO MUCH action in this book, but the art is just beautiful. It’s nothing like what you’d expect with comic art. It’s hard to describe, because I’m not an artist at all. It’s kind of minimalistic, muted, watercolor-y. It’s great.

I love the whole undertone of “is Nat actually a good guy” running underneath this entire volume. She’s kept so much of her life, her choices, even her motivations a secret, so her closest friends can’t figure her out. Even Daredevil needs to listen to her heartbeat to try to determine if she’s lying to him. It seems like she’s never able to stop lying, not even in her personal life. I liked seeing that inner turmoil, even though it was a little heartbreaking.

It was a little weird to have Anderson Cooper do a report on Nat in the middle of the book. I’m wondering if he enjoyed being in a comic like this. But it really pulled me out of the story because, y’know, that’s part of the real world and everything else about this–the espionage, the intrigue–is all more amped up.

If you love Black Widow, you’ll love this volume. If you don’t love her yet, then you just haven’t started reading.

5/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Black Widow, Vol 1

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Black Widow Vol 1: The Finely Woven Thread

author : nathan edmondson

illustrator : phil noto

pages : [paperback] 144

favorite character : natasha

summary :

HOME IS WHERE THE HURT IS!

And the Black Widow has plenty of that. She may be an Avenger and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the Widow has her own mission: to atone for her past as a KGB assassin. Her methods are dirty. Her heart is cold. But her work is flawless. On an undercover assignment in Russia, she finds that the Hand of God is reaching for her–and it’s as merciless as its name. Outmatched by the brute force of this powerful new villain, Natasha discovers a deadly globe-spanning plot. It’s a race against time, and the Widow has nowhere to turn for answers. The trail of blood and destruction will test her strength and cunning–but it may also test her faith.

COLLECTING: Black Widow 1-6, All-New Marvel Now! Point One

review :

I loved this volume! Black Widow is amazing, as per usual, and even though there was a lot going on in this volume, I really enjoyed it.

Natasha has never fully belonged anywhere. Not as a spy, not as an Avenger, and not even as an agent of SHIELD. As she’s struggling to figure out how to be “good”, and not directed by any particular organization, she’s balancing this with an attempt at normal life. Except Natasha’s number one rule is to never let anyone get close to her. Not even that cat that likes to hang out on her windowsill. It was interesting to see the kind of choices and sacrifices Nat made, either because she thinks she deserves worse or to protect the people that have accidentally gotten close to her.

I love how often this book goes into her thoughts. Not because we learn very much about her past, because she refuses to give up all of that, but because it helps to know her thought process. She’s constantly conning others, donning new identities and disguises, lying through her teeth. But when the reader gets inside of her head, she can’t quite keep up the subterfuge, and it’s interesting to see how different her thoughts are from her actions.

I picked up the next volume immediately after this one because I couldn’t wait to read more about Nat and her crazy adventures. They’re literally crazy, because you can never tell if she’s one step ahead or if her enemies are. The fight scenes are awesome. The art is beautiful. You won’t regret reading this.

5/5 stars

 

Children’s Book Chat: The Day the Aunts Disappeared

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The Day the Aunts Disappeared

author : KayeC Jones

pages : [ebook]

summary :

Hungry and tired of bug bites, Greg the Anteater decided to go to town to find an easy meal.

He quickly finds out that there are aunts all around the town! But “aunts” and “ants” are not the same thing, as he quickly finds out.

Find out what happens to Greg and all the aunts in town in this colorful and nonsensical story that will make you laugh and giggle.

review :

This book was adorable! I’ve read one other of Jones’ picture books (Kitty Conquers the Big Bully) and I love the artwork in both. Greg is cute (even when he’s kind of terrifying the town) and the little details really make the story unique. I like the little things that you only notice if you really engage with the picture, like Greg’s tongue forming a heart, because it’s cute, tells so much more about the story, and shows us more about Greg.

I have to admit at first I was a little taken aback that Greg was actually eating people. He didn’t really mean any harm (no one would want to eat bugs ALL their life) but I feel like adults reading this book to or with their children will find it funny on a different level. We can imagine an anteater doing something like this and find it hilarious; kids might find it funnier that Greg thinks people are tasty, or because he’s so confused, or because of the (accidental) chaos he causes.

I’ve never read anything like this, so I think it’s great and unique just in that respect. Pair that with the great artwork and it’s a cute, fun little book. I think that a lot of people would enjoy it, so I highly recommend it!

4/5 stars

 

Marvel-ous Mondays: Thor, Goddess of Thunder

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Thor, Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder

author : jason aaron

illustrator : russell dauterman

pages : [hardcover] 136

favorite character : thor

summary :

WHO IS THE GODDESS OF THUNDER?

The secrets of Original Sin have laid low one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. The God of Thunder is unworthy, and Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted! But when Frost Giants invade Earth, a new hand will grasp the hammer–and a mysterious woman will take up the mantle of the mighty Thor! Her identity is secret to even Odin, but she may be Earth’s only hope against the Frost Giants. Get ready for a Thor like you’ve never seen before as this all-new heroine takes Midgard by storm! Plus: The Odinson clearly doesn’t like that someone else is holding his hammer–it’s Thor vs. Thor! And Odin, desperate to see Mjolnir returned, will call on some very dangerous, very unexpected allies. It’s a bold new chapter in the storied history of Thor!

Collecting Thor (2014) #1-5

review :

This was awesome! I went into this with low expectations because I’d heard some people weren’t pleased with female Thor and somehow got the misconstrued idea that Thor himself was female in this version. But, no, he’s just unworthy, so someone else is wielding Mjolnir now. I don’t get why this annoyed people so much. It isn’t her fault that Thor’s off being unworthy and the universe still needs the God of Thunder out there in some form. Plus apparently Marvel tried this alternative Thor back in the 70s too so it isn’t like it’s an incredibly new idea.

I loved not knowing who exactly was the female Thor because it kept an added mystery and added some humor when you start to narrow down the possibilities and compare the rest of the candidates to female Thor’s reactions to these villains she’s defeating. Though apparently wielding Mjolnir means that you speak like the rest of the Asgardians and only sound like a “normal” person in your thoughts, which makes me wonder what all of the Asgardians’ thoughts sound like.

Thor himself aggravated me in this volume SO MUCH because he just can’t accept that someone else has Mjolnir and is jealous over a hammer. As in he’d prefer for it to sit around doing nothing just because he can’t currently use it. I understand that he’s been through a lot, but he’s still a god. Maybe he still has some growing up to do.

Even though I haven’t read any other specific Thor comics (most of my knowledge of him comes from the movies and his random appearances in other comics) I didn’t  have trouble following this at all. Even if you’ve only seen the films, the characters and villains are so familiar that Thor: Goddess of Thunder won’t confuse you at all.

5/5 stars