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Courtney’s Pullbox: September 2016

[Warning: This article will contain spoilers for current comics that are out right now in stores.]

Thank you guys for being so wonderfully patient! With school, internship, and work, I’ve been barely able to read a comic a day (if that!) AND I caught up on Afterlife with Archie so I could get #10 for review before the new Josie and the Pussycats comic comes out (which will be in this month’s box). Here’s what was in September’s box:

  • Wonder Woman #5
  • Titans #2
  • Batgirl #2
  • Archie #11
  • Justice League #4
  • Batman #6
  • Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog #1 (New to the box!)
  • Afterlife with Archie #10 (New to the box!)
  • Cyborg Rebirth #1 (New to the box!)
  • Nightwing #4
  • Powerpuff Girls #3
  • Sherlock: A Study in Pink #4
  • Archie #12
  • Jughead #9
  • Cyborg #1
  • Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2
  • Wonder Woman #6
  • Batman #7
  • Justice League #5
  • Nightwing #5
  • Raven #1 (New to the box!)

Wonder Woman #5

ww5Title: Wonder Woman
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Liam Sharp
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “”The Lies” part three! Steve Trevor finds himself trapped in the heart of Urzkartaga’s darkness, with Wonder Woman and Cheetah the only hope of rescue for him and his men. But how far can Cheetah be trusted?”

I’m back to not really liking this plot line.

Now it’s more confusing because of the fact that Wonder Woman, the main character that we are supposed to follow, is just as confused as we are. Readers have been given no hints as to what the truth is, and now the comic wants to feed us information we already know.

On the bright side, the art is kind of growing on me. There is one really good panel where Steve was being held down by snakes as tortue. It was a pretty cool visual, but not not cool enough to add any sense to this comic.

Titans #2

titans011Title: Titans
Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Remember the Titans” part two! As the Titans prepare to do the unthinkable in order to defeat the intergalactic demon that stole time itself from the DC Universe, enter the Fearsome Five! But are the sinister quintet acting of their own accord…or are greater forces at work?”
I really love this comic and the way it’s going right now.
This issue is about Kadabra taking the Titans’ younger essences and having them fight their younger selves. It’s a fun concept that does make for awesome fight scenes.
The only downside is that I know this is going to be a “we all have to fight someone else’s self since we know all our own moves”, but then again, I could be wrong. Even if that is the turn around plot point, I think it can still be fun and interesting because we haven’t seen everyone’s current moves.
As usual, the art looks awesome. The fight scenes show this really well and I really like the cover of this issue, too. It reminds me a lot of the early 2000’s show Teen Titans where the boys had their souls trapped in puppets and the girls had theirs switched.

Batgirl #2

5205825-bg_cv2Title: Batgirl
Written by: Hope Larson
Art by: Rafael Alberquerque
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Beyond Burnside” part two. Batgirl is off to Singapore! Following the mysterious advice of the ancient superhero known as Fruit Bat, Babs dives into the dangerous world of MMA fighting. But her first opponent may be more than just an adversary in the ring. Could she be connected to Babs’ new travel-companion-slash-maybe-crush?”

Though I’m still liking this comic, the previous comic’s cliffhanger was pointless since Babs can’t train at the gym Fruit Bat suggested. She does get trained at another gym by May, but it bothered me that the cliffhanger ended so abruptly and it probably won’t matter as we continue through the comic.

I really love Batgirl as a character. Her facial expressions really crack me up and she’s really well written. It’s obvious that she is an actual human being underneath the mask and the training, which can be rare to see in super hero comics. I also love how smart she is – she noticed a few people with different Chinese tats when they were both Japanese, whichI thought that was pretty awesome.

I’m liking all the characters in this comic, really. I like May, who’s real tough and honest, but is clearly working with Babs because she has talent. I like Kai, even though the kiss between him and Babs clearly wasn’t something Babs was ready for.

The art is amazing… as usual. The fight scenes look amazing and the blood doesn’t look too jarring to the point where I wouldn’t want to read the comic.

Archie #11

386150-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_

Title: Archie
Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Veronica Fish, Jack Morelli, Andre Szymanowicz, and Jen Vaughn
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “Archie and Jughead have been playing their instruments in Archie’s garage for a while, but now it’s finally time for them to take their talents elsewhere. Veronica suggests that the two form a band — assuming, of course, that she gets to be their lead singer. This bothers Betty, since music was a deep connection that she had always shared with Archie — so she’ll just have to form her own rival band. Now it’s #TeamArchie vs. #TeamBetty in a battle of the bands that has the whole school picking sides!”

The writing in this comic is so rushed and weird.

At the beginning of the comic, Archie is literally spoon feeding us the exposition and then adding some nonsense about Veronica being a reality TV star? What? When has this been a thing at all?

The writing only gets worse when you now add in the fact that Veronica can only sing well in the band if she’s looking at Archie. That doesn’t even make a lick of sense!

Listen, I use to watch The Naked Brothers Band as a kid. It was terrible and they even had one plot where their babysitter could only sing well in the shower. Though that could have easily been chalked up to acoustics, that’s not how they played it. This still makes more sense that Veronica only being able to sing well when looking at Archie. Is she a Disney Princess or something? It makes no sense.

The shitty writing of this comic continued with its rushed ending, which saw Archie and Betty apologizing and hugging (causing issues for the next comic with their significant others).

I can’t even applaud the art style. They got a new artist for this and it’s definitely off. At some parts, Jughead looks like Flynn Rider from Tangled. Which perhaps make sense considering the faux Disney aspect of the writing.

Maybe #12 will be better. Maybe.

Justice League #4

justice-league-4Title: Justice League
Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Jesus Merino
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 7, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““THE EXTINCTION MACHINE” part 4! In the center of the Earth, Superman faces three doomsday machines set to tear the world apart, while Earth’s two Green Lanterns discover just what a purged planet is truly like. The Kindred are awake and hold the truth about the beginnings of humanity.”

This issue continues the plot of the Justice League attempting to stop all these natural disasters and the people/god things creating them, and I’m so over it. I want this to be over and moved on.

Throughout this, any idea I had of defeating these characters was brought up, which begged the question, why didn’t they do this earlier?

It’s frustrating to have to deal with Superman in this comic. He’s still trying to stop the power in the center of the Earth, and I’m hoping the whole time that the power is too strong and will kill him, as he mentions near the end that he if he fails, Lois and his son will die. Really? That’s all that matters? Not the fact that your team and THE ENTIRE PLANET will die. I understand he’s an alien, but if he doesn’t care about this planet, why even bother saving it?

The art is nice, but not nice enough to make up for this tiring plot point and Superman’s poor characterization.

Batman #6

bm_cv6_575f448af13504-46600219Title: Batman
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Joe Prado and Ivan Reis
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 7, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““I AM GOTHAM” epilogue. In this stand-alone tale, Batman seeks redemption as he tries to keep Gotham Girl from going down a dangerous path. But can the Dark Knight save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?”

This one is a bit of an annoying comic, too.

It wasn’t implied previously that Gotham died, so seeing Claire’s reaction (which came out of nowhere) and talking to herself is too sudden and confusing. The writer really never explored her powers until now,  where she is slowly killing herself. It is not okay to bring this up out of nowhere and just accept it. Claire talking to herself gets super annoying, as well (even though she’s supposed to be talking to her brother).

The only part I really liked was Batman trying to help her grieve. He goes to Alfred and asks how he helped him with grieving his parents. I think it’s really nice that he reveals his secret identity to her and wants to help her. Nice, but sadly it’s out of nowhere.

The art style is okay. There’s no big changes or anything that I really think is amazing, but I did like it.

Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog #1

boo2016-01-cov-c-fleecs-f6a3eTitle: Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog
Written by: Kristen Deacon, Audrey Elizabeth, Fernando Ruiz, and Joelle Sellner
Art by: Tony Fleecs, Robbie Robbins, and Fernando Ruiz
Published by: Dynamite Comics
Release Date: September 7, 2016
Price: $1.99

Summary: “The World’s Cutest Dog comes to comics! He’s Boo, the Pomeranian pup that’s become an internet sensation, and he’s ready for four-color adventures in his first-ever comic book! In this debut issue, Boo and his canine companions Buddy and Blueberry Pie create kitchen chaos when they can’t control their tummy rumblings; our favorite doggie becomes a “Boo-vie star” when he lucks into a Hollywood audition; and finally, Boo celebrates the birthday of adorable eight-year-old Audrey… but the party gets out of hand! Comic readers of all ages will love the whimsical, fun-filled escapades of Boo, the World’s Cutest Dog!”

This comic is all around adorable.

I really like these stories and I particularly enjoyed this one. Plus, all of the advertisements were at the end of the comic, as to not clog up the story. It was kind of cool.

There were three stories in this issue, but I’m only going to mention two of them.

The first story is “Boo and the Birthday Bash”,  and I have never felt as bad for a character than I did for the little girl in the story. She gets Boo for her birthday and all her friends are so distracted by the cute dog at her birthday party that they ignore her. It was so sad – I felt bad since she’s just a little girl.

The second story – and my personal favorite – is titled “One Boo Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. This story is about Boo and his doggy friends trying to feed themselves since their Human is sick. It’s super cute because they are genuinely worried that Human won’t be able to take care of them. Though in the end, she of course does get up to take care of them. It was a super cute read!

Afterlife with Archie #10

alwarchie10Title: Afterlife with Archie
Written by: Robert Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by: Francesco Francavilla
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: August 31, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “Interlude with the Pussycats BETTY: RIP Part 5, “Interlude with the Pussycats” Before the end of the world began, a female pop trio was setting charts on fire. But in a world of TMZ and paparazzi-driven media, somehow these women kept their private lives a secret from everyone — until now. A full-access interview promises to show the tragic and terrifying origin story of Josie and the Pussycats. For TEEN+ Readers.”

This is the second story from Afterlife where they pull away from the group (who are trying to survive the zombies). The first one told the story of Sabrina getting her punishment, while this one starts a new story line all together.

I really like this comic series, and this issue in particular. This comic is a really good example of how to tell stories about existing characters in a new and interesting way without randomly shoving characters together and having them shovel all this story out via exposition.

I really love the story of thes orphan girls growing up in the early 1920s and becoming singers. It shows them being naive and paying the price for it. The set up is amazing, the explanation for how they can go unnoticed is wonderful, and how they lead up to being in Riverdale is fantastic.

One part in particular that I would recommend based on this alone is the fact that Valerie is almost kicked out multiple times because she is black, and how does she get vengeance for all this racist hate? She and the girls literally attack and kill multiple groups of the KKK. It’s absolutely beautiful to read and I’m glad that they brought up this issue at all.

This could easily be one of the best comics I have read all year.

Cyborg Rebirth

cyborg_reb_1cover_575eeb38bf00c2-46954474Title: Cyborg
Written by: John Semper, Jr.
Art by: Tony Kordos, Sandra Hope, and Paul Pelletier
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 7, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “Victor Stone was once a star athlete and brilliant student with a bright future. But after a tragic accident destroyed over half of his body, Victor was kept alive by merging flesh with advanced technology. Today he is the Justice League co-founder called Cyborg. But is the young hero a man…or a machine that merely believes it’s a man?”

Though I haven’t read the new Titans Rebirth yet, I would have to say that this right now is probably my favorite first story (though I really liked Batgirl too). This comic was amazing and I really loved it!

The art style was absolutely great and paired perfectly with the story. I think it was beautiful and I would recommend this comic on art style alone.

When it comes to the actual story, the writer goes back far enough to do background on Cyborg’s parents. I really like the characterization of his parents, especially with his father, who has an internal conflict of saving his son with alien technology and possibly losing his son personality wise. It was something that really pulled at my heartstrings when I read it.

Nightwing #4

ntw_cv4_575f47ffba7c85-66541202 TitleNightwing
Written by: Tim Seely
Art by: Javier Fernandez
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 7, 2016

Price: $2.99

Summary: ““BETTER THAN BATMAN” part 4! At last, Nightwing and Raptor enact their endgame to shut down the Parliament of Owls permanently! But the Parliament has one last card up its sleeves: The Moloch, a giant owl monster whose mission is simple: eviscerate Nightwing and Raptor.”

This comic was very much a character building relationship story between Raptor and Nightwing. The two are fighting side by side a lot of the time in this comic, saving innocent people, and even reveal that Raptor was part of the circus like Dick was. I really liked it, but I feel like the writer was not doing any real plot structure.

The one part I really enjoyed about this comic is the building relationship between Dick and Bruce. It’s something that they still work on because Dick has left for so long. It’s really nice and it was nice to see it outside a fighting setting.

The art is starting to grow on me, but it’s still very weird that Bruce looks more like Dick than Dick is suppose to.

Powerpuff Girls #3 

ppg2016_03-cover-330x500Title: Powerpuff Girls
Written by: Jake Goldman and Haley Mancini
Art by: Derek Charm
Published by: IDW Comics
Release Date: September 14, 2016

Price: $3.99

Summary: “Donny the Unicorn may have magical unicorn powers but you know what he doesn’t have? Money. Lucky for him, Princess Morbucks is hiring a personal assistant and is more than willing to have a superpowered magical unicorn in her employ. But when she wants him to help her destroy his BFF’s Powerpuff Girls, Donny must decide what’s more important to him!”

I really have been enjoying this comic series so far, but sadly, this comic is my least favorite so far.

I hate the character Donny. I know he’s new and from the show, but he’ so annoying. At one point, he even references The Legend of Zelda TV series from 1989 doing the signature phrase “Well, excuuuuuuuuuse me!” Really? What child is going to get that reference? I barely know the reference and I was born in 1994. He also mentions waffles constantly. What is with Cartoon Network shows referencing waffles so much?

Another thing I really didn’t like about the comic is the fact that there’s loose references to the old show. Princess is in the comic, but then at the beginning of the comic, the girls have after school jobs. How old are they? Aren’t they suppose to be 5?

The art is really the only good thing, but again, it looks better as a comic, not as a show.

Sherlock: A Study in Pink #4

sherlock_manga_asip_04_cover_a-1

Title: Sherlock: A Study in Pink

Written by: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat

Art by: Jay

Published by: Titan Comics

Release Date: September 14, 2016

Price: $3.99

Summary: “Sherlock and John take to the streets of London on a breathless foot chase – but is their quarry any closer to being caught? What kind of mind does it take to baffle – and challenge – the peerless Sherlock Holmes?! The mystery deepens in the latest thrilling issue of the Sherlock manga!”

This comic really almost ignited my shipping heart again. I use to heavily ship Johnlock and the scene of them at the restaurant is probably what started it. The dialogue is very funny and it’s shown a lot better through the show.

One of the benefits of having this medium is the fact that you get a panel seeing John leaving his cane behind. You could argue that this would ruin the surprise, but I found it very cute. I also really like showing the maps and streets of London so you could see where they would be going.

The art style is still really nice, but I’m glad they’re using the medium to their advantage.

Archie #12

arch12Title: Archie

Written by: Mark Waid

Art by: Thomas Pittilli

Published by: Archie Comics

Release Date: September 21, 2016

Price: $3.99

Summary: “The end of an era for Riverdale’s power couple! The romantic rivalries and not-so-friendly competitions in Riverdale will finally come to an end as newly-crowned queen of Riverdale Veronica Lodge is sent packing once and for all! What does this mean for Archie? You won’t want to miss this one!”

This comic felt so rushed and short. Every single bit. The fighting, the blowing over the election, Veronica leaving. I think this is so that way we can forget about all those little pesky story lines when the next issue is going to be about the arrival of Cheryl Blossom.

I understand wanting to only have one bitchy rich girl, but I don’t feel bad about her leaving. Throughout this entire comic series, Veronica has ruined relationships, made Archie look like a jerk with not caring about his family or friends, technically ruined a teaching and political career, and have her uproot Archie’s family so that way she can have what she want. Oh yeah, I’m suppose to be sympathetic and miss her. Not gonna happen.

Minor nit pick, but someone please teach Archie Comics how cellphone batteries work. While trying to get in contact with Veronica, Archie’s battery starts at 20%. When she finally contacts and all he did was get dressed, it’s dropped to 3. Either Archie has the literal worst battery ever or the Archie comics needed to add more unnecessary tension.

The art style is not even something to really enjoy because it looks like something from an anime made not in Japan. It’s a shame because I do like this comic series, though it frustrates the hell out of me.

Basically, this whole issue and Veronica leaving left me like this:

Jughead #9

jughead9charmTitle: Jughead

Written by: Ryan North

Art by: Derek Charm

Published by: Archie Comics

Release Date: September 7, 2016

Price: $3.99

Summary: “(It’s kind of like a) BRAND NEW #1… except it’s issue #9! SABRINA makes her debut in the NEW RIVERDALE and things are about to get INSANE! New story! New arc! New creative team! Pop Tate’s has a new mascot: it’s a lady in a burger costume with a giant burger for a head! And she never takes off that giant burger head! And she and Jughead really hit it off, probably for that very reason! But is it possible Burger Lady is MORE than she appears? Find out what happens when Jughead meets a burger he REALLY likes—and a POWERFUL and unexpected new force in Riverdale is revealed!! P.S.: that powerful and unexpected new force is SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH! SHE’S the Burger Lady!”

I really like this comic series still. Even with the new writer, I’ve really enjoyed it.

From beginning to end, this comic is fun, and it kind of worried me a bit. The whole comic is about Jughead slowly becoming friends with a Burger Lady that advertises outside of Pop’s. He does eventually get asked out by her, and he’s going through the “I have no idea what to do with dates because asexual”.

The only thing I didn’t like is the fact that we don’t really know it’s Sabrina until the end and we don’t get to know her at all. Hopefully, it will be made up for next comic.

Cyborg #1

cyb_cv1_575eefd05a2c38-70731788Title: Cyborg

Written by: John Semper Jr

Art by: Will Conrad

Published by: DC Comics

Release Date: September 21, 2016

Price: $2.99

Summary:“THE IMITATION OF LIFE” part one! Cyborg is thrown into conflict with every robotic threat to the DC Universe as a brand new era begins for Victor Stone, courtesy of writer John Semper Jr. (Spider-Man: The Animated Series) and artist Will Conrad (Angel & Faith)!”

I really like this comic as well. The internal struggle of “Am I still who am I with these robotic parts or am I just a shell of it?” is a really good and it’s better than most of the Rebirth issues where this issue is dropped.

One of the things I really liked is the fact that almost all the characters are black. They could have easily just made Victor and his folks black with everyone being white, but instead, they really take advantage of the Detroit setting. From seeing Blue, the blind veteran that sings the blues, and his friend Sarah, it’s great to see the diverse characters. Even little fans that come up to him while he was trying to be incognito to get ice cream are black and it’s cute.

The only thing I really didn’t like was the reference to Superman in the Justice League (this is the third one this month I noticed) and they were shitting out exposition when Cyborg Rebirth is a thing. If this was fixed, it probably would have been my favorite comic this month.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2

5271496-bg_bop_2Title: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey

Written by: Julie and Shawna Benson

Art by: Claire Roe

Published by: DC Comics

Release Date: September 14, 2016

Price: $2.99

Summary: ““WHO IS ORACLE?” part 3! Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress must team up with the GCPD to protect a mafia capo from an attack by his one-time friends! He’s the only man with a lead on the nefarious new Oracle…but dead men tell no tales! Of course, it’s hard to make a team-up work when the team’s ready to tear itself apart on its first mission!”

This comic is very action packed at the beginning, but as we get into more it, it’s a heavy dialogue comic. I did love the commentary except for when Batgirl’s thoughts were interrupting someone while they were talking since it was clunky.

I really didn’t like the fact that Gordon, Barbra’s dad, literally called Batman to help out with this. Sure, he doesn’t know that Batgirl is Babs, but really? Batman? She couldn’t handle this at all herself?

I would have to say that this is my least favorite of the series so far, but it’s not terrible like Powerpuff Girls #3 was.

Wonder Woman #6

ww_cv6_57605bf60db6c5-77380902Title: Wonder Woman

Written by: Greg Rucka

Art by: Nicola Scott

Published by: DC Comics

Release Date: September 14, 2016

Price: $2.99

Summary: ““WONDER WOMAN YEAR ONE” part 3! Diana brings Steve back home, but the reception is not what either of them expected. Amid suspicion and a looming threat, the Patrons pay a visit, and new friendships are forged.”

I didn’t think I was going to like this issue. It started off with a bunch of “They’re going to be love interests” cliches between Diana and Steve as well as “foreigner in a new land” cliches. I wasn’t holding out for much on this one, and sadly, this is the story line I like of the two going on so it would be disappointing.

What instead happen was I ended up feeling bad for Diana. She’s trapped in jail in a world where she doesn’t know the language and little to no one is really trying to help figure out what she’s saying or why she’s here. It’s not even until the end of the comic that someone can attempt to figure it out.

I also really love the cover for this issue. The animals are the Gods visiting her and they really captured how happy she is to have things that understand her.

Batman #7

batman-7-08367Title: Batman

Written by: Tom King

Art by: Riley Rossmo

Published by: DC Comics

Release Date: September 21, 2016

Price: $2.99

Summary: ““NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN” part 1! The first crossover of the “Rebirth” era is here! As a huge storm approaches, Batman, Batwoman, and Nightwing try and prepare Gotham City for the worst, but nothing can prepare them for enormous tall monsters rampaging through the streets! Batman will need all of his allies to unite in order to stop these mad science monsters from tearing their city apart!”

This was a very heavy plan story. Batwoman is introduced and she’s there to help with not only the flooding but helping the grotesque monster men that show up near the end of the story. I don’t know much about her, but between this issue and Nightwing, I’m excited to figure out who she is.

One of the little things I liked was the fact that Luke wanted to go out there and be a part of the action. It’s very much a Robin trait and even though he’s not one, it’s cute to see. I also like that Batman told him to “check the syllabus” for when he could go and help out and be ready. Especially since I’m in college now and am always checking my syllabuses (syllabi?), it cracked me up that even Robins get one.

I did like the art for this. Though it was a little nasty to look at the monster men, that means the art style is doing its job!

Justice League #5

justl_cv5_dsTitle: Justice League
Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Sandu Florea and Tony S. Daniel
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 21, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““THE EXTINCTION MACHINE” part 5! In this concluding chapter, the race to the corners of the Earth is on for Aquaman as he holds the key to saving our planet from destruction—if he can make it in time before the last doomsday machine powers up! Can Superman survive his trip to the Earth’s core? Is this the final battle between the Justice League and The Kindred—or just the start of something far worse?

We’re finally finishing this fucking plot and I can’t wait for it to be done. This issue really showed all of them working as a team to defeat these creatures, even when they were taking some of their powers. Even Superman actually helped out.

One of the things that I really liked about this was the art. The art looked amazing for this issue. The backgrounds and the textures for the monsters were really awesome. I can’t wait for next issue and see what happens.

Nightwing #5

ntw_cv5_575f4a55bb3568-32152773Title: Nightwing
Written by: Steve Orlando and Tom Seely
Art by: Roge Antonio
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 21, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Night of the Monster Men” part 2! The Monster Men are stomping their way through Gotham City. How can the Bat-team face the monsters and the storm of the century? And when Nightwing goes behind the scenes to discover where the monsters came from, what lurks in the shadows may be worse than the monsters themselves!”

I honestly can’t understand why this plot was continued here and not in the next issue of Batman. I kept sitting there reading this going “Great story. Why is it in Nightwing though?”. I did like this story and it looks like it’s continuing in another comic I don’t get.

It’s sad this isn’t continuing in a comic I’m reading because I want to see what happens to Claire. They threw in this “she dies if she uses more of her power” story and she’s disobeying Batman to just that. I do want to see it.

I really liked the fact that there was a Bat Beacon, which was a recorded message for Gotham to get them to safety. I think it was really sweet and thoughtful of Batman to do that.

Raven #1

raven_cv1Title: Raven
Written by: Marv Wolfman
Art by: Alisson Borges
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: September 21, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““The White Carnival” part 1! In a tale set between TEEN TITANS #24 and TEEN TITANS: REBIRTH #1, Raven takes a break from the team and moves to San Francisco to stay with her estranged aunt and face her most perilous challenge yet: high school! As Raven discovers more about her human side, one of her classmates goes missing under mysterious circumstances, and she must face an evil like none she’s known before!”

This comic is not in the Rebirth series, but I loved it none the less. From the summary alone, I knew I was going to like it, and I was absolutely right.

I loved the fact that Raven sees her cousin praying to God while eating dinner at her aunt’s house. It’s so different from Raven’s world and it’s going to be interesting to see if she will connect with this family.

I love the actual art style (which the comic is not it) and I love her outfit (pictured below) that she’s in. It looks goth like and like her uniform without it screaming “I used to be a hero with the Teen Titans!” I also love the fact that her speech bubbles are different from everyone’s, too. It adds to the style.

raven-1-2-3

Tune in next month to read my October pull box reviews!

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Courtney’s Pullbox: August 2016

[Spoiler alert for new comics that are currently out]

DC has been releasing comics twice a month thanks to Rebirth, so August should have had a lot of titles for you guys to enjoy!

The list for last month is long (hence why it’s out in September), but these comics were well worth it:

  • Betty and Veronica #1 (new to the box!)
  • Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth (new to the box)
  • A-Force #7
  • Batman #3
  • Justice League #1
  • Archie #10
  • Wonder Woman #3
  • Jughead #8
  • Titans #1
  • Nightwing #1
  • Batgirl Rebirth
  • Sherlock: A Study in Pink #3
  • Justice League #2
  • Nightwing #2
  • A-Force #8
  • Batman #4
  • Disney Princess #5
  • Wonder Woman #4
  • Powerpuff Girls #2
  • Nightwing #3
  • Batman #5
  • Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1
  • Justice League #3

Betty and Veronica #1

B-V-1-1f745 Title: Betty and Veronica
Written by: Adam Hughes
Art by: Adam Hughes
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “It’s Betty vs. Veronica! The most highly-anticipated debut in comics history is here! Betty and Veronica are America’s sweethearts – until they turn on each other! Pops’ Chocklit Shoppe is being taken over by a huge coffee company. When Betty and Veronica go head-to-head over the issue, all bets are off! Friendships will shatter. Cities will burn. Nails will be broken. Betty and Veronica are back in this all-new #1 from comics legend Adam Hughes (Wonder Woman, Catwoman,Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan)!”

I was really excited for this comic! I’ve enjoyed pretty much every new Archie comic, and although I did like this one, I really can’t say much about it besides “ehh.”

The art style of this particular comic is different from the other comics, but it’s okay at best. When the art is bad, it’s really bad. Some of the facial expressions are really weird and though the artist tries to make them appear a bit realistic, it doesn’t work for everyone every time. Luckily, Archie Comics usually changes their artist after a few comic issues, so this likely won’t be a permanent problem.

As far as the story is concerned, the plot involves a small town store (Pop’s) vs a big corporation store (owned by Veronica’s father). The story is average but it will be interesting to see which side the characters ultimately choose – the small town store or the big name store.

The writer should have named this comic Betty vs Veronica, as I have a feeling this whole comic series will end up pitting the two against each other.

Strangely enough, the story is told through the perspective of Jughead’s dog, Hot Dog. It’s really weird.

I’m hoping this comic does not end up being very cliche.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth

batbopTitle: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
Written by: Julie and Shawna Benson
Art by: Claire Roe
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““WHO IS ORACLE” Chapter One: Batgirl and Black Canary are together again, working a case that strikes right at the heart of their partnership! Someone’s uncovered the greatest secret Barbara Gordon ever kept: her time as Oracle, the most powerful hacker on the planet. And not only do they know her secret, they’re using her name to sell dangerous information to criminals! Now one of those deals has brought some major heat to Gotham City…Helena Bertinelli is out of Spyral, wearing the hood of the Huntress, and making mafia blood run in the streets! Everything you thought was hidden will be revealed if the Oracle has their way…”

I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like this comic, but I ended up really liking this story.

I don’t really know much about Batgirl, Oracle, Black Canary, or Huntress, but I have a good friend that everyone calls Babs, so I really wanted to learn about the character.

The comic delves into character background information that a newcomer still might not fully understand, but is not dumbed-down.

So far I really like both Huntress and Black Canary. I’m a sucker for female led comics, so I have a feeling that I will be really liking this series.

A-Force #7

374911._SX360_QL80_TTD_Title: A-Force
Written by: Kelly Thompson
Art by: Ben Caldwell
Published by: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “After narrowly escaping a grisly death at the hands of one of their own, a weary but determined A-FORCE make bold moves to free NICO and the town from Countess’s control. However, saving the day is going to take more than just super-powered punches. A-FORCE is going to have to go deeper than that – changing Countess’s very mind – which is not exactly something super villains readily embrace. Meanwhile, developments with the team’s sparkly THOR rock A-FORCE to the core.”

The art is a little inconsistent in this issue.

Some of the panels have Medusa looking a bit thicker than usual. Though it’s no skin off my bones since I’m always looking for comics with bigger characters, this could be an issue for people who like consistency. But in general, the art style is still very enjoyable.

This was a Dazzler and Thor focused comic, and I ended up enjoying it a lot. This incarnation of Thor slightly looks like Dazzler, so it’s interesting to see the interactions between the two. Dazzler was even allowed to pick up Thor’s hammer, which was awesome to see!

Thor ultimately ends up leaving the comic (bummer), but it was still good!

Batman #3

Batman01Title: Batman #3
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Matt Banning and David Finch
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““I AM GOTHAM” Chapter Three: Batman and Gotham strike out together to get to the bottom of the mysterious attacks against the city. Could this novel and headstrong new hero be everything Gotham City needs…at the cost of the Dark Knight?”

This comic focused mainly on Gotham and Gotham Girl’s backstory, which is supposed to be a bit of a secret, but is very obvious.

We learn that Gotham (also known as Hank) was out with his parents when they were tragically killed. Batman obviously lost his parents in the same way, and this common tragedy ultimately unites them as partners. Strangely enough, Gotham Girl (also known as Claire) gets vivid nightmares about Hank’s partners dying, even though she wasn’t there. It simply doesn’t make sense.

I really didn’t like how quickly Gotham and Batman teamed up. I was hoping for a friendly rivalry, but since both of them want to protect the city for the same reason, I understand why teaming up is a good idea. Even so, a rivalry would have made for a much more interesting story line.

Justice League #1

JUSTLREB-Cv1-ds-3dcc9Title: Justice League
Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Tony S. Daniel and Sandu Florea
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Price: 
$2.99

Summary: ” “THE EXTINCTION MACHINE” Chapter One The oceans rise. The earth quakes. And an ancient power rises to reclaim not just the world, but the universe itself—and not even the combined might of the Justice League can stop it. An all-new era begins with this epic by comic book legend Bryan Hitch (JLA, The Ultimates) and master storyteller Tony S. Daniel (BATMAN: R.I.P., DEATHSTROKE). ”

I’ve been very bored with Justice League, with this issue in particular being a struggle to finish.

I found it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that a whole team of super-powered people are up against what seems to be naturally occurring phenomenons. How is the entire Justice League supposed to stop an earthquake? That makes no sense to me.

Though I was infuriated and confused by this issue, it was still visually nice to look at. Very boring, but still eye candy.

Archie #10

Archie10-666x1024Title: Archie
Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Veronica Fish
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “It’s Team Archie vs. Team Betty! A civil war has broken out in Riverdale — friends against friends, parents against parents, with the entire town torn down the middle by an event that forces everyone to take sides! No joke — the events of this issue will impact Archie and his pals for some time to come!”

I cried reading this comic. Not a good cry, but a sad, hurtful cry. That’s how furious I was at Archie after reading this issue.

Allow me to explain.

Betty approaches Archie and finally has the nerve to ask him why he likes Veronica more than her. His reason? Veronica is more confident in who she is than Betty is.

Archie made this conclusion from the #LipstickIncident (I still hate typing this!), but he doesn’t know Betty’s side of the story. Even though the pair had been together for a long time, Betty apparently doesn’t know what Archie wants in a girl. He says that she’s kind of flip floppy (please hold for irony), which makes Betty cry, which made me cry.

Betty didn’t deserve that comment and they both know it. Based on Archie‘s past pandering, we’re either going to get a lot of “Wow. What’s her problem? #GirlProbs, am I right, teen market?” or the situation is going to get ignored completely. I haven’t figured out which is worse yet.

This is literally the third modern Archie comic where Archie is a jerk with little-to-no comeuppance.

To make matters worse, Archie Comics is desperately trying to scrape plot points together by bringing up the fact that Mr. Lodge (Veronica’s father) is running for mayor. Mr. Collier, a mean teacher who quits after Archie posts a video of him getting mad at a student, is also running for mayor, and by the way, he’s Betty’s uncle! The whole thing smells of a Democrat vs Republican debate, with Mr. Collier being a democrat and Mr. Lodge being a republican. The plot was extremely boring for a comic book.

If I wanted to watch politics, I’d watch the news, thanks.

Wonder Woman #3

ww3cover1Title: Wonder Woman
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Liam Sharp
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““THE LIES” Chapter Two: Wonder Woman must team up with one of her greatest enemies to solve a growing mystery about Themyscira as “The Lies” continues!”

As I get further into the Wonder Woman comics, I’ve come to the realize that I don’t really like the plot of this comic. It’s slow, boring, and it can be summed up with this video:

The plot of this comic is literally my least favorite way to get background out to new readers. I understand when it comes casually or if a whole comic is dedicated to it in a not-so-subtle way, but this comic was in your face with character background, and get it out of here before the reader gets sleepy.

The only saving grace of this comic, besides the art itself, is the characterization of Wonder Woman. She’s very levelheaded and understanding. She is confused by her past and not sure what the truth is, and therefore could have very easily been written as a very overreacting woman. It’s a very nice change of pace to see an overemotional stereotypical woman not leading a role in a comic.

Jughead #8

380390._SX1280_QL80_TTD_Title: Jughead
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Derek Charm
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “It’s Jughead vs. Archie and Mr. Weatherbee vs…a bear?!! Even the quiet of the wilderness can’t escape the madness that’s raging through all of Riverdale!”

This is the last Jughead comic written by Chip Zdarsky. I really liked his version of Jughead and it’s sad to see him leave, but from the interviews that I was reading, eight Jughead comics were his intention all along.

Either way, I can’t complain.

Jughead time and time again ends up being one of the best comics I read all month, and this issue is definitely no exception. this issue has a cute ending to a short story line, a good character arc for someone who is not usually considered a main character (spoiler alert: it’s Mr. Weatherbee), and finally, FINALLY, someone calls out Archie.

So Archie finally gets called out, and by Jughead no less. Archie flat-out calls Jughead “not normal” for being asexual, which Jughead doesn’t allow him to get away with. I don’t understand how comic writers can make their main character so unlikable without any actions for their consequences, but I’m glad that Archie has finally been told to knock it off.

Hopefully this will last.

Titans #1

Titans-1-DC-Comics-Rebirth-Spoilers-Preview-1-300x461Title: Titans
Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “After an old ally returns to the team, the Titans set their sights on a dangerous enemy with the power to change reality itself! But the Titans have never faced a threat this massive before, and with so much on the line, will they be able to stand united as a team? Or will their past mistakes be their undoing?”

This comic is the perfect example of how to do an exposition well.

The Titans are trying to find out more about Wally, and although this mission isn’t a huge part of the storyline, it wasn’t skipped over quickly like it was in Batman. Linda still knows who Wally is and is trying to exploit him, which is a really…terrible. We also get to see the reveal of Abra Kadabra.

The art style still looks pretty good, minus Linda, who’s proportions I found to be very questionable. The weird thing is if you compare the art style of this comic to Nightwing, Grayson looks better in this one. I could actually tell that he was suppose to look human, unlike in his comic where he looks like someone tried to draw Nightwing as Superman and couldn’t draw either of them very well.

Nightwing #1

ntw_cv1_dsTitle: Nightwing
Written by: Tim Seely
Art by: Javier Fernandez
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““BETTER THAN BATMAN” Chapter One: Batman taught Nightwing everything he knows—but what if everything he taught him is wrong? When Dick is stuck with a new mentor who challenges everything Batman taught him, Nightwing has to shatter his concept of justice in order to fight for what he knows is right. Writer Tim Seeley (GRAYSON, BATMAN & ROBIN ETERNAL) launches Nightwing onto a new quest alongside rising talent Javier Fernandez (RED HOOD/ARSENAL).”

The art style is a bit wonky here, especially in regards to Dick and Bruce. Bruce looks more like Dick than Dick does, and that’s how you know the artists have failed. Batgirl (Barbara) looks good and Damien looks good, but Dick doesn’t look human.

To be honest, the story was a bit hard to follow. The issue opens up with Dick talking over a circus acrobat routine and it looks like it’s going to get into his backstory but no, he’s just…there? It then turns out he’s working for this secret organization and gets paired up with Raptor, making him a sidekick again? Barbara was there too for some reason?

Let’s see how this plays out in my next review (which is in this article)!

Batgirl Rebirth

Batgirl-CoverTitle: Batgirl
Written by: Hope Larsen
Art by: Rafael Albuquerque
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: July 27, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Beyond Burnside” Chapter One: The Batgirl you know and love is going global with Eisner Award-winning and New York Times best-selling writer Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time, Goldie Vance) and all-star artist Rafael Albuquerque (AMERICAN VAMPIRE). In order to up her game, Babs travels to Japan on a quest to train with the most elite modern combat masters of the East. But when a chance meeting with an old friend puts a target on her back, Batgirl may need to use her new skills to solve a deadly mystery.”

I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Batgirl since I don’t know much about her, but I’m liking her more and more as I see her throughout these comics.

This was a really amazing first comic because she was backpacking to Japan and readers get to see her be a little normal. She even gets to meet her idol, Fruit Bat, and fight along side her. The story made her more human and it made her seem more real as a character.

This is only the beginning of this series, so I hopefully will have more to say when I review the next issue!

Sherlock: A Study in Pink #3

385599._SX1280_QL80_TTD_Title: Sherlock: A Study in Pink
Written by: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss
Art by: Jay
Published by: Titan Comics
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “The three-patch problem of A Study In Pink continues to unravel, in this thrilling manga adaptation of the smash-hit SHERLOCK TV series! John is pulled into a web of deceit, as he comes face-to-face with the man who describes himself as Sherlock’s “arch-enemy” – and Sherlock sets a trap for a serial murderer!”

This is a filler comic (at least when compared to the television series), but it does introduce a new character: Mycroft. If I didn’t know the episode this issue was based on like the back of my hand, or if the comic was the only way I’d learn about the story, I imagine it would be pretty boring.

Once again, the medium is wrong for the jokes that are being made. I noticed this with Anthea and John in the car where it’s more apparent that John is a bit of lady’s man and is trying to flirt with her in the show than in the comic. The other scene where this is apparent is when John and Mycroft are in the parking garage fixture meeting for the first time and John says, “Well thank God you’re above all that”. In the scene, you can clearly see how annoyed Mycroft was at being compared to Sherlock.

Speaking of Mycroft, he looks nothing like the actor who portrays him in the BBC series, Mark Gatiss. I finally have figured out the reason why, and it’s the same reason why John doesn’t always look like Martin Freeman: wrinkles would look terrible in a drawing! Gatiss and Freeman have face wrinkles that make their faces look like them and when you bring those features into a comic medium, the end result isn’t pretty.

Justice League #2

Justice-League-2-DC-Comics-Rebirth-spoilers-1Title: Justice League
Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Tony S. Daniel and Sandu Florea
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““The Extinction Machine” part two! Massive earthquakes shake cities to the ground as the ancient intelligence known as the Awakened takes control of the people of Earth, forcing them to turn against anyone with superpowers—including the Justice League! Unable to fight a war on two fronts, Batman asks for help from the one man he trusts less than anyone.”

This comic will never cease to confuse me. Now all the places in the world are dealing with natural disasters and the entire Justice League has to take care of it. At one point, and this is the point where I lose my mind, they decided they can’t solve this whole thing without Superman, who apparently needs to go to the center of the Earth to stop all of this.

That’s not how anything works, but alright!

On top of this, the new Green Lanterns don’t know their powers yet. I’m not reading the Green Lantern comic series, so please, can someone can inform me why are they there if they don’t know their powers yet? Shouldn’t there be a grace period for them to figure out what they can do before trying to save the entire world? I don’t know.

That’s just my thinking.

Nightwing #2

Nightwing2Cover

Title: Nightwing
Written by: Tim Seely
Art by: Javier Fernandez
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Better than Batman” part two! Nightwing and his new mentor Raptor embark on their first assignment for the Parliament of Owls. Will Raptor prove himself a superior mentor for Nightwing? Or will they both fall prey to the fangs of Kobra?”

I do like that this comic and Batgirl‘s are kind of coming together (plot-wise) and I hope that that will make both comics really interesting. It was interesting when Barbara invited Dick out for a date, only to be stood up so Dick could help Raptor. We’ll have to see how this turns out later!

The plot line with Raptor and Nightwing already has the makings for a huge cliche that I know will be coming into fruition: two polar opposite characters that have nothing in common will soon realize that they are one-in-the-same and will soon become best friends.

It’s going to happen, it’s not clever in hiding it, and I’m waiting for it.

A-Force #8

aforce 8

Title: A-Force
Written by: Kelly Thompson
Art by: Paulo Siquera
Published by: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “CIVIL WAR II TIE-IN! Civil War has come to A-FORCE! As the team is wrecked by a personal tragedy things only get worse when a predictive vision proclaims one of A-FORCE is a murderer. CAPTAIN MARVEL attempts an arrest, creating a rift that may very well mean the end of the team, and setting in motion a chain of devastating events that affect far more than just A-FORCE. Meanwhile foul-mouthed, gun-toting ELSA BLOODSTONE just unofficially joined A-Force. Looks like we’re gonna need a bigger boat…and a verrrrry big black censor bar.”

I haven’t read Civil War II so this comic was a little bit confusing. I’m not sure what the whole issue is that they are fighting over (even though it was kind of explained), and I wish they didn’t bring the drama into A-Force.

Much like with the other comics in this pullbox, I really enjoyed the female characters. There were a few new ones introduced, such as Elsa and Misty Knight, who both have prosthetic arms like Nico. I think it’s really awesome that they have such diversity.

When it comes to the story in general, it’s okay, but if you haven’t read Civil War II, you will be as confused as I am. The story is basically that She-Hulk is in the hospital and they don’t know if she’s going to make it. Dazzler and Captain Marvel are arguing and Nico runs away and messes up shit with the Runaways.

I’m hoping that I’ll be getting more into this as the comic goes on.

Batman #4

5357451-04Title: Batman
Written By: Tom King
Art by: Matt Banning and David Finch
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““I Am Gotham” part four. When Gotham City falls prey to true evil, will Batman be abandoned by the new heroes Gotham and Gotham Girl? The Dark Knight must decide who to entrust with the safety of his beloved city if he hopes for any of its citizens to survive.”

I am not shocked at all that Gotham is evil and ends up killing twenty eight people (as well as ruining the Batmobile). This is the beginning of  an evil plot between the two (something I mentioned earlier in the pullbox that I wanted), but this was suppose to be a shock. How? You can clearly see from the beginning the distrust between Batman and Gotham, you can see Gotham being distant, and now Batman is going to pay the consequence for it.

The only positive is the art style, which still looks really nice and has everyone looking like who they are suppose to. Though the background stories are really nice, the art style was the only redeeming feature of this comic.

Disney Princess #5

STL006241Title: Disney Princess
Written by: Georgia Ball and Geoffrey Golden
Art by: Amy Mebberson
Published by: Joe Books
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “The hit series continues! Disney’s beloved heroines have returned in this hilarious collection of Disney Princess comic strips! Featuring laugh-out-loud stories from the worlds of Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, Aurora, and more, this charming ongoing series will make all your royal dreams come true.”

There is a large variety of stories in this comic, so in favor of time, I’ll only be reviewing my favorites.

Mushu’s Review was really cute! The story is about Mulan’s ancestors giving Mushu a performance review in regards to his guardian job. If he does really poorly, he will no longer be a guardian and will be forced to work for the ancestors again (like in the beginning of Mulan). The art is really cute in this story and I really liked it. I have put Mulan down during every single issue review of this comic, but her stories are usually the best and are definitely cute.

Travel Cat is a Jasmine comic. Jasmine is trying to pack for a vacation, but Rajah keeps climbing into her suitcases to stop her from leaving. I really like the more realistic comics where it makes the princesses seem more like actual humans with real lives. I’m not shocked that Rajah is acting like a typical house cat, but I did love the fact that it took Aladdin and Jasmine pretending to be lovey-dovey to get the chaos to stop.

Belle and Maurice is a Belle comic (obvious). Belle’s father’s invention doesn’t work in the way he wants it, so she finds a unique way to use it. It’s very cute, albeit short, but I really liked it.

Beauty and the Books is yet another Belle comic, and this time Belle decides to have everyone help her organize the library. I really love this comic – all the different ways they try to organize the library is really cute and I could relate to it. It’s so hard to decide what’s the best way to organize bookshelves!

For the record, mine are all by height.

Wonder Woman #4

WW-Cv4-ds-d277fTitle: Wonder Woman
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Nicola Scott
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Wonder Woman Year One” part two! Paradise has been breached, Ares stirs, and the Amazons must answer with a champion of their own…one who is willing to sacrifice her home amongst her sisters to save a world she has never seen.”

I prefer this story line over the one in the forest – the art style is more unique and the story is much easier to follow.

The art has that Greek art feel to it, and even when it’s clear that the characters aren’t part of the human world, they somehow look human.

I really liked that the writer highlighted that Diana, aka Wonder Woman, is a very strong warrior. She beats the other women to be the one to bring Steve back into the regular world.

Diana’s mom gives her the Lasso of Truth in this issue, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Powerpuff Girls #2

PPG-02-pr-1-dcf67Title: Powerpuff Girls
Written by: Haley Mancini and Jake Goldman
Art by: Derek Charm
Published by: IDW
Release Date: August 17, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “A hotshot movie director claims that his new movie is so scary, even THE POWERPUFF GIRLS will be too chicken to watch it! Never ones to back down from a challenge, fall into his trap! Using his “movie magic,” he’ll turn the girls into actual chickens so he’ll be free to enact his evil plans! Can the ChickenPuff Girls save the day?!”

Story-wise, this comic was pretty weird. I was worried that this issue was going to be television-focused again, but as it turns out, the story was more or less just an excuse to use a bunch of chicken and egg related puns.

The art is still really cute – even when the girls are chickens. The new art style still is better in a comic medium, so maybe if the new show doesn’t do well, the story could go there.

Basically, the girls get scared while seeing a trailer for a scary movie on TV. The guy who directed the movie calls them out and says that they’re too chicken to see it and turns them into chickens so he can make an omelette restaurant. It’s a weird plot, but it’s also more aimed at children so not everything has to make sense.

I still kind of liked it and can’t wait for the next issue.

Nightwing #3

NTW_Cv3_ds_57acf86178dd59.03493995Title: Nightwing
Written by: Tim Seely
Art by: Javier Fernandez
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 17, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““Better than Batman” part three! Nightwing and Raptor have become the pride of the Parliament of Owls, successfully completing missions for them across the globe—but Batgirl is not happy. Can she convince Nightwing he’s gone too far, or has he fallen too far under Raptor’s influence?”

The story in this one really tries to immediately pull at the heartstrings, but this tactic wouldn’t work unless you were reading Batgirl as well.

The only person I feel bad for in this issue is Barbara, and whether that’s the intention or not, people might not feel this way if they haven’t read her comic and gotten to know her.

Babs immediately wants to beat Raptor up and is actually worried about Dick since she wasn’t sure if he was alive or not. I really like characters that seem human (as I’ve said before) and Barbara honestly is the most human character I’ve ever read out of the Batman series (well, besides Alfred). It’s really heartwarming to see her fears play out.

In the end though, Bab’s feelings don’t really mean that much to Dick since he’s still going to be working with Raptor – something she didn’t want – and he ignored her wishes to stop it and go back to Batman. That’s what irritates me about Nightwing: sometimes he’s too stubborn for his own good, but it’s part of what makes him a multilayered character.

Batman #5

76194134182800511_1Title: Batman
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Matt Banning and David Finch
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 17, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““I Am Gotham” part five. In the final chapter of this epic, is Batman truly the hero Gotham City deserves—or does it deserve better? In this ultimate showdown, where the line between allies and enemies blurs, the question will finally be answered…and the fate of Gotham will be decided.”

Oh Batman, please don’t start disappointing me.

This issue started off interesting. Alfred dressed up as Batman to distract Gotham and I kind of wanted him to fight Gotham himself. He was only a distraction, but I can have dreams.

The story is okay up until the point where Batman has to call the Justice League to help him out to defeat Gotham and Task Force X. I do not understand why he had to resort to back up…is Batman that incapable of doing things on his own? Does he always need Superman’s help now? Was that in an issue and I just missed it or something?

The art is great as usual, but the story is…all over the place. I’m going to keep reading, but I’ll be confused and bewildered.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

bgatbop1Title: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
Written by: Shawna and Julie Benson
Art by: Claire Roe
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 17, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “Who Is Oracle?” part one! Someone has stolen the name Oracle right out of Barbara Gordon’s past! Hot on this false Oracle’s trail, Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress are all tracking the same mafia capo…so it makes sense to team up, right? Problem is, Barbara and Dinah need the secrets locked up in Oracle’s brain…and Helena Bertinelli would rather put a crossbow bolt right through it!”

If A-Force becomes too confusing for me, I might stick only to this comic for my girl team needs.

I like all three women (even though one of them is suppose to be the “bad guy”), and I really like the current plot and the art style.

The art makes all the girls look beautiful, and the colors and outfits highlights the differences between the characters. Though the art is a bit similar to most of the Rebirth styles, it still works really well with these characters. I think Huntress is really gorgeous, especially with all that purple.

I particularly enjoyed that they are all after the same goal: trying to find out who Oracle is.

I’m really excited to see where this story goes.

Justice League #3

JUSTL-Cv3-ds-e515dTitle: Justice League
Written by: Bryan Hitch
Art by: Sandu Florea and Tony S. Daniel
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: August 17, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““The Extinction Machine” part three! The hive-mind entities known as the Awakened take their vendetta against the Justice League to the next level by changing ordinary people into grotesque monsters bent on hunting down super-humans all over the world. Meanwhile, Superman journeys to the center of the earth to stop the catastrophic quakes that are taking lives all over the world.”

At this point, the plot is no longer just about an impending natural disaster. Superpowered enemies who embody different disasters appear, and once again, the Justice League has to save everything.

Superman is still going to the center of the Earth to stop the chaos, but the best part about that is he doesn’t even know what to do. They send Superman of all people and he doesn’t know what to do.

I have no words.

Be sure to tune in for my upcoming September Pullbox!

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Demographic Pandering: Why this Annoying Practice Simply Doesn’t Work

The media has failed the current generation of teenagers.

Rather than trying to draw in teens and tweens with engaging and compelling stories, big media outlets (such as comics, television, and movies) often choose to pander to the teenage demographic with memes and pop culture references instead.

Although it’s a sentiment that not everyone will agree with, I wholeheartedly believe that teenagers deserve better from their media.

I often mention during my Archie reviews that Archie Comics tries to pander to the younger demographic, not only through the comics themselves, but through social media. Pandering, is, in simple terms, when a media company attempts to target and draw in a specific demographic (usually teenagers) in hopes that they will utilize or purchase their product.

I usually only call out the pandering I see with Archie because I see it happening all the time on their social media (especially on Tumblr and Facebook), but obviously this is a problem with companies and properties across the spectrum.

The reason why the practice of pandering frustrates me so much? Because companies can reach their target demographic without the pandering nonsense. In fact, if the pandering is too excessive, companies may even scare their target demographic away.

A perfect example of pandering gone wrong is the truth.org commercials, which use outdated Internet memes to scare teenagers away from smoking. The sad truth is that these kinds of PSAs will do very little to lower smoking rates among teenagers and young adults. The real way to get kids and teens to stop smoking? Be honest about the facts and don’t try to become friends with the audience.

The buddy-buddy tactic makes companies kind of look like this:

To use Archie comics as a further example, the only current incarnations of the comics that I haven’t seen pandering in is Jughead.

Jughead’s dream sequences are normally the only time the comic uses pop culture references, which I really like because it seems realistic. After all, who wouldn’t want to dream about a high tech future or a Game of Thrones like adventure? Unlike Jughead, Archie overuses hashtags and heavily promotes their social media accounts.

I understand that Archie Comics wants the young demographic to be a part of the comic, but it’s a little weird to see Archie turn towards me and say “Hey! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr @archiecomics! And don’t forget to send ideas for the #LipstickIncident!”

If you ask me, it’s all a little unnecessary.

It’s possible to sell teenagers compelling stories and dramas without pandering, the best example of this likely being Degrassi.

For those who have never been a teenage girl, or never got into it, Degrassi is an almost thirty-year-old (you’re reading that right – next year is Degrassi‘s thirtieth anniversary) teen drama that tends to focus on hot button issues that teenagers might deal with such as STDs, teen pregnancy, and gun violence. Not only did the show feature the issues that would effect teenagers, but all the kids on the show were actual teenagers that usually never had any other acting experience prior to the show, making the viewer experience that more real.

Now I usually don’t have much to complain about since I’ve seen and enjoyed almost every episode of the series, but the original incarnation of the series did not feature any pop culture references, and sadly, with the show’s latest incarnation, Degrassi: Next Class, it’s clear to see from the intro that the show threw the unofficial no-pop references rule out the window.

Now you may be thinking “Okay Courtney, but this is for teenagers! How else are you supposed to be able to relate to them?” How about with compelling stories and only having minor references to anything of today? I understand that the use of technology is pretty huge and discussing it is a great way to keep teens safe, but the intro for the new show really screams “we don’t know what the original intent of the show is anymore!”

One of my favorite stories (and what got me into the show itself) were the episodes “What a Girl Wants (1)” and “What a Girl Wants (2)” from Season 10 of Degrassi: The Next Generation. These episodes told the story of rich girl Fiona Coyne, who was being abused by her boyfriend, Bobby. It pained me watching Fiona suffer with alcohol addiction, eventually even hurting Adam Torres (the first transgender character on the show) by ignoring the fact that he was a boy. The story deep with many levels, and it was relatable for anyone who has experienced a similar situation (like me).

No pop culture was involved in these episodes, sans the use of a cellphone, which Fiona used to circulate photos of herself that made her appear more hurt than she really was (for sympathy, of course). Fiona is a really good example of a multilayered character, and I was happy to watch her story arc as time went on.

Degrassi did a very good job of using technology, but not pop culture, to create good stories.

Another good Degrassi example?

Degrassi High‘s season 2, episode 10 “Showtime (1)”. For a long time, this was the only Degrassi episode that featured a character suicide (Claude Tanner). It was a very serious episode, and it even opened with the actors discussing suicide and how the show dealt with the tragic story line. It was a really good episode, and one I would recommend anyone to watch.

Series like Degrassi prove that compelling storytelling and teen dramas can come hand in hand, so it upsets me when I see obvious pandering in not only the newest incarnation of the show, but in all media targeted at teens.

The next generation seems doomed to deal with corporate pandering and a lack of storytelling for the long haul.

Just in case you’re doubting how bad the issue has become, I leave you all today with a video that perfectly exemplifies how horrifying pandering has become:

And yes, this is a real ad posted by Nickelodeon.

What are your thoughts on demographic pandering? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Courtney’s Pull Box: June 2016

[Warning: This post contains spoilers.]

This month’s pullbox included several DC Rebirth series:

  • Batman Rebirth #1
  • Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #3
  • A-Force #6
  • Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
  • Batman #1
  • Titans Rebirth #1
  • Jughead #7

Batman Rebirth #1

batman-rebirth-1Title: Batman Rebirth #1
Written by: Scott Snyder and Tom King
Art by: Mikel Janin
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: Longtime Batman and Eisner Award-winning writer Scott Snyder co-writes with rising-star writer Tom King! EVIL 365: Gotham City faces the threat of the Calendar Man!”

I was trying to figure out what was going on a lot of the time while reading this comic. I found myself trying to figure out who Calendar Man is, and  Duke joining with Batman made the story a little confusing.

Though I did enjoy the comic, it took me a minute to reflect and go “Oh! that’s what happened!” I did like Luke and I’m glad that he’s going to be Batman’s sidekick… at least sort of. He’s definitely not going to be a Robin (something that is a little upsetting), and I wonder what made Batman make that decision.

The art style is very nice and well done – as was evident in the scene where Batman was doing pull ups in 137 degree weather on a helicopter pad without a shirt. Everyone looks really good and the backgrounds/scenes look really good.

I can’t wait to see what is coming up in the series.

Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #3

suatcg3Title: Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #3
Written by: Josceline Fenton
Art by: Chrystin Garland
Published by: Kaboom! Comics
Release Date: May 25, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: When Amethyst and Steven show proof of the glass ghost to Pearl, she recalls that Rose was the one who first told her the story.”

This story is really interesting, but I feel like this should have been a shorter series. There’s a lot of fighting filler and moving around filler, but that’s my only gripe with this series.

I really like that Amethyst believed Steven. Though I know it’s stated throughout the comic that she’s afraid of the ghost herself, it could have been very easy for the comic to go “Well I’m an adult and now that a child is afraid, it shows that I was childish in believing in the story.” This is a very sweet sentiment for kids (the comic’s target audience).

Though it’s very minor, I’m glad they went back for Ronaldo, and that Steven went to protect his dad. For Ronaldo, it’s nice that they remember little details like that because sometimes, stories (especially comics) can just forget things like that. When it comes to Steven and Greg, I’ve always loved the dynamic on the show between the two, showing a genuine parent child relationship, and the fact that Steven ran to go protect him is so nice. It also makes it when Steven’s bubble work even more real.

I feel like everyone in the show could be a real person and that’s something that is really good when it comes to writing characters. The only bad thing about this is the fact that this is the second to last issue and soon we will have to say good bye to these characters.

A-Force #6

aforce 6Title: A-Force #6
Written by:  Kelly Thompson
Art by: Ben Caldwell
Published by: Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 18, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: The mysterious (and formerly looking like a Dragon!) Countess has taken over the town A-Force came to save, rebuilding it in her own image and with a mind-controlled NICO MINORU at her side. It’s A-FORCE vs NICO and the team (and one innocent town!) is learning the hard way just how powerful Nico can be. Will this be the end of A-Force at the hands of one of their own? Or will SHE-HULK’S risky (okay, sure, some say insane) plan, allow them to live long enough to fight another day?!”

Nico’s betrayal really hurts if you’ve been reading the comic and felt a connection with all these ladies. You can tell that they all opened up and you can see the betrayal, even with newcomer Thor, when she strips them of their powers. The blow is even harder when you hear her say that she’s found peace with the Goddess and it makes the mind control seem a little more real.

I noticed this after the ladies got their powers back, but when they didn’t have their powers, all their hair looked terrible. Once it was restored, it looked great and beautiful again. It made me laugh at the realization, but I guess that makes sense since powers could be what makes their hair so lovely.

One thing I really couldn’t get over is the fact that when Nico said “Hulk Smash!”, the She-Hulk came out. I feel like powers shouldn’t work like that. I never put much thought into how powerful Thor’s hammer is, but when she threw the hammer at She Hulk and it knocked it out, it proved how incredibly powerful Thor’s weapon is. They also had a bit where the A-Force was literally steering She Hulk around to avoid buildings. I found the whole thing very weird, and though it wasn’t intended that way, to me it was like they were all riding on a bull.

The ending was weird because it ended with all of them basically being tossed into the ocean. Are we suppose to assume that this is a cliffhanger ending? It’s obvious that if they were going to drown and die, this would occur at the end of the series.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

20.-Wonder-Woman-Rebirth-1Title: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Liam Sharp and Paulo Siquera
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: June 8, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “After suffering an unimaginable loss, Wonder Woman must rebuild her mission as Earth’s ultimate protector and champion. DON’T MISS: New York Times best-selling writer Greg Rucka returns to Wonder Woman with a tale that will forever alter the DC icon.” 

This story is a little confusing at first to be honest. The writer is trying to establish two possible stories concerning Wonder Woman’s past. I found myself getting frustrated and yelling “Which story is it?!”, but when I realized this is going to be two alternating stories, I was a little excited.

One thing I did like about this story line is the fact that she decided to use the lasso of truth on herself to figure out who she is and what her story was. You can tell on her face that it pained her to do that and the lasso telling her that she had been deceived was something definitely shocked her.

The art for this comic really brings the story further to life – not only what I mentioned previously with the facial expressions, but with the symbolism of her taking off her new armor and putting on her new one. You can see the beauty of the armor and her realization that her home is full of flaws.

The art truly helps brings the story forward.

Batman #1

batman-1_0

Title: Batman #1
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Matt Banning and David Finch
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: June 15, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: ““I AM GOTHAM” Chapter One No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight? CAN’T MISS: Superstar artist David Finch returns to the Dark Knight alongside writer Tom King for this five-part storyline.”

The summary for this comic is a little misleading. The new hero that confronts him doesn’t even show up until the end of the comic, which I felt was super late in the game.

The actual story was okay at best. I have a feeling that the story will get better, but for a debut issue, this was a lot of action. There wasn’t much dialogue, but I was a little riled up when a man was complaining that Gotham didn’t have a hero, and they needed a Superman or Green Lantern figure in the city. Do people really not know of Batman? Or do they just not have that much faith in him?”

All in all, the story was okay for a debut comic issue, but it was all action with no story. If the story doesn’t get any better, I won’t continue reading it.

Titans Rebirth #1

Title: Titans-Rebirth-1-456x700Titans Rebirth #1
Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
Published by: DC Comics
Release Date: June 15, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: “Friends. Teammates. Titans. Donna Troy, Arsenal, Garth, Lilith and Nightwing were all that and more until a mysterious force erased their memories, forcing them to forget what they could accomplish together. Reunited with their memories returned, the Titans must destroy the interdimensional demon that broke them apart and threatens reality itself. THEY SAID IT: “Grayson and Donna were a couple of the characters I first worked on at DC, so it feels like a homecoming for me,” explains penciller Brett Booth. “I’m beyond happy!” WARNING: Do NOT read this issue until after you read DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1!” 

This is my favorite of the DC Rebirth series that have been released. I’ll admit that I haven’t read that much with this version of the Titans, but I immediately loved this comic and the team. Because of DC Universe: Rebirth #1, we got more of the Flashpoint paradox, meaning that none of the Titans remember him. This immediately pulled at my heartstrings. They set it up really well about how close they all are and how much they loved each other.

The characters all get shocked and remember the point where they became close to Wally, and for me, the part that made me smile most was Wally and Dick taking a spin in the Batmobile. It was so lighthearted and innocent, and it definitely was something the two of them would do together.

If I was to recommend any of the DC Universe Rebirths, this would be the one.

Jughead #7

JUGHEAD-7-Cover-by-Derek-CharmTitle: Jughead #7
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Derek Charm
Published by: Archie Comics Publications
Release Date: June 15, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: SUMMERTIME IS HERE! Jughead convinces Archie to join him at a cottage, away from all the madness of Riverdale, but the madness of Riverdale cannot be escaped. The madness of Riverdale is everywhere.”

The art style was slightly changed in this issue, and it’s really nice. I enjoyed how Jughead looked, and Archie finally looks like himself. Kevin is probably the worst looking of all the characters in this art style, but he’s obviously just a side character.

I’m tired of Archie being an asshole to Jughead.

This is the second comic that has been released (the previous being Archie #8) but now it’s clear that Archie is being super selfish. Basically, Jughead wanted to go camping with his best friend, but Archie was trying to guide them on a hiking path to sneak into an all girls’ camp. Archie is fully aware that Jughead is asexual and I hate this recent writing of him being a huge jerk to his best friend. This occurs towards the end so Jug doesn’t call him out, but I hope Archie’s attitude is dropped because I’m tired of it.

Tune in next month when I review my July pull box!

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Courtney’s Pullbox: May 2016

[Warning: this post contains spoilers]

This month’s pullbox had quite a few good comics, including a new one that I saw while waiting in line at Free Comic Book Day. Here’s the list:

  • Faith #1 (New to the box!)
  • Disney Princess #2 and #3
  • Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #2
  • A-Force #5
  • Jughead #6
  • Archie #8
  • Starfire #12

Faith

FAITH-001-COVER-A-DJURDJEVIC

Title: Faith
Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage
Published by: Valiant Entertainment Comics
Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 27, 2016

Summary: Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would… When she’s not typing up listicals about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!

But flying solo is going to be tougher than Zephyr ever thought when she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off a full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head…or ready for her biggest challenge yet?”

I saw this comic when I was waiting in line at Free Comic Book Day at Maximum Comics. I am always keeping my eyes peeled for comics starring plus size girls and seeing Faith on the cover made my heart soar. I immediately got it and I can’t wait to keep reading more about her. She’s a plus size journalist and superhero so it’s pretty much everything I could ever want. Her outfit is practical for fighting, something I’m always trying to commend. It’s also super cute and it’s not revealing at all. I love the art style in general for this comic and it makes me feel like Faith could be my friend and a real person.

When it comes down to the story, it’s pretty basic at it’s core and I can’t wait to see what challenges Faith/Zephyr will face. I hope that they do play up into the fact that she is a plus size superhero, something that people on the Internet will argue can’t happen in any stretch of reality. I also might cosplay her one day because she’s just so awesome.

Disney Princess #2 

3347477Title: Disney Princess
Written by: Amy Mebberson, Patrick Storck, Georgia Ball and Pat Shand.
Art by: Amy Mebberson
Published by: Joe Books
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: The hit series continues! Disney’s beloved heroines have returned in this hilarious collection of Disney Princess comic strips! Featuring laugh-out-loud stories from the worlds of Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, Aurora, and more, this charming ongoing series will make all your royal dreams come true.” 

I really like this comic series, it’s full of quick and easy reads. The stories aren’t hard to follow and they are fun to read. I love Disney Princesses, my favorite of which probably being Snow White. Sadly, Snow White is just on the cover and is not in the actual stories, but I can easily get over that.

I have to say my favorites of the short stories were Cinderella’s, Tiana’s, and Mulan’s, but this plays into my pet peeve, because Mulan is technically not a princess. Shang is not a prince, he’s just an army general. He’s not a son to the emperor where I could at least could see it in a technicality, but she’s not. Moving on from that though, I’ll go briefly into those stories.

In Cinderella’s story, she was super sick. Prince Charming and Cinderella are supposed to host someone important, but Cinderella still wants to be a good hostess though she is super sick. This comic really plays up the time period that her movie was released in. It was very common of women of that time period to want to be a good hostess and keep the house well. Cinderella also has a kind and loving heart, so being sick hinders her ability to make others happy. In general, sick Cinderella was adorable!

In Tiana’s story, she’s listening to Charlotte talk on and on about what she is wearing to a parade and about a man she met, while Tiana is trying to find the perfect hot sauce for her grits. Eventually she finds the hottest one in the whole restaurant and desperately searches to find water after not listening to warnings about how hot the sauce was. It’s hilarious to see this go on and I’m glad that she did try different things to try and calm the burning in her mouth (milk ultimately does the trick).

In Mulan’s story, she’s arm wrestling with Chien-Po, Ling, and Yao, and she doesn’t do a good job. Mushu teaches her a way to win: distraction. I think it’s funny that that’s the option Mushu goes for. This is something that Mulan can easily do since she knows the three men really well. I really liked this story and found it very cute… even though Mulan is not a princess.

Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #2

344655._SX360_QL80_TTD_Title: Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems
Written by: Josceline Fenton
Art by: Gale Galligan
Published by: Kaboom! Comics
Release Date: May 4, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: After Pearl’s story of the glass monster, Steven has started having nightmares that it is real. What will he do when the people of Beach City start turning to glass?”

The Gems tell Steven a creepy story, and it’s clear that Steven is genuinely scared. Amethyst is also terrified by the story, even though she is more of an adult compared to Steven. I liked that she didn’t brush off Steven’s fear as something that is childish.

I also did enjoy the fact that he did go to Ronaldo about it. It’s very much something a child would do: avoid going to parents/caretakers about something scary. It’s very cute and it’s very sweet that Amethyst does come and help him out to stop the monster.

The art in this comic is worthy of high praise. It looks so much like the show and the colors are so beautiful. I love comic art that looks similar to the original television series, and this is the perfect example of one done right.

Overall, this comic is a light read, but it’s really good.

A-Force #5

a-force #5Title: A-Force
Written by: Kelly Thompson
Art by: Ben Caldwell
Published by: Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 4, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary: “Rage, Rage Against The Dying Of The Light” STARTS NOW! When a massive dragon attacks a small coastal town, SHE-HULK, CAPTAIN MARVEL, MEDUSA, DAZZLER, NICO MINORU, and SINGULARITY spring into action. But this dragon is more than she seems and has her sights set on more than just one small town. In fact, she’s got her sights set on one of A-FORCE. Meanwhile, Dazzler’s got a big secret and the strangest ally ever is going to help them in this fight… or maybe try to arrest them.”

I continue to love this comic!

The all girl team is amazing and adding a new character, Thor, to the group makes the dynamic all that more powerful and impressive. The women are designed beautifully, even though Thor and Dazzler do look alike. The girls getting along and drinking together is nice, and it was really sweet Captain Marvel promised to help Thor get back to Asgard after they were all done.

These girls have a strong connection, so it was heart breaking to find out that Dazzler is dying and, save Thor, she hasn’t told anyone. Nico’s betrayal was also really hard on the heartstrings. The women seem to be growing to care about each other, and it saddens me to know that these next few issues will be filled with betrayal and hurt.

The art is very beautiful, like always. All of the women look amazing and I like that they do look sort of human (but in a supernatural sense) with normal proportions.

Simply put, this comic is just amazing.

Jughead #6

Jughead2015-06-0-b1cc1 Title: Jughead
Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Erica Henderson
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: May 18. 2016

Summary: The time has come. It’s JUGHEAD VS. PRINCIPAL STANGER: THE FINAL SHOWDOWN! With the whole gang at his side, Jughead puts it all on the line: Either Stanger goes, or Jughead does! You won’t want to miss this!”

I was upset that Jughead appeared to just give up at the sight of defeat, but I was glad about what actually happened. I really loved that he noticed that Veronica didn’t have to follow the strict new rules that were in place and went to Moose’s father and Veronica’s father, Mr. Lodge.

The way the author has been writing the characters is hit or miss. Moose was one of the ones that was brainwashed by the principal, which makes perfect sense because Moose is dimwitted, and with Veronica, her brainwashing makes sense due to the fact that she is very privileged. Principal Stanger is characterized as a discharged spy, which is a really good touch to his character. But things get weird in this comic with Dilton. The comic says that it is “canon” (meaning that it’s in line in the story and it is something that is fact) that he is a great dancer. It was so random and unnecessary to mention this.

I lost it when Jughead began singing Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” when his plan was coming together. I was listening to music and talking to someone, but I turned off everything, and just sat there to absorb it. It was so abrupt, but so funny – I had to figure out how to react. I have to say it is my favorite little panel from the comic.

This plot line in this issue is really good. The brainwashing-thing through music was a really good concept, though it was done before in Josie and the Pussycats (the movie). I’m glad that they finally got there so that way the story can move forward. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Disney Princess #3

3398228Title: Disney Princess
Written by: Amy Mebberson, Patrick Storck, Georgia Ball and Pat Shand.
Art by: Amy Mebberson
Published by: Joe Books
Release Date: May 18, 2016

Summary: The hit series continues! Disney’s beloved heroines have returned in this hilarious collection of Disney Princess comic strips! Featuring laugh-out-loud stories from the worlds of Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, Aurora, and more, this charming ongoing series will make all your royal dreams come true.”

My favorite stories from this adorable, quick read were Snow White’s, Sleeping Beauty/Aurora’s, Mulan’s, and Belle’s. There are a lot of smaller stories, some not even being more than three panels, but the ones mentioned are varied in size.

In Snow White’s, she is walking in the forest and trying to harmonize all the birds she runs into while she’s singing. She ends up getting them all together in a concert like set up and gets them to sing together with the dwarves catching her. I love how in spirit this comic is to the movie. I love Snow White so much and this was so cute! Between the art and the way she’s written, this Snow White comic was adorable.

In Aurora’s story, she’s exploring the castle with her fairies, leading her to find the king’s last secluded room away from everything. This comic is very adorable as well, but to be honest, Aurora is my least favorite princess. This comic reminded me of my relationship with my own father, as my dad tries to be alone when he gets home.

In Mulan’s story, she’s trying to enhance everyone’s fighting skills through meditation with Mushu ruining it with his talking. This ends with him having to have his mouth tied shut. I really like this comic for the main fact of how it explores the differences between Chien-Po’s, Ling’s, and Yao’s different preferences over where their meditation place is. Again, Mulan still isn’t a princess, but this comic was very good none-the-less!

In Belle’s story (which is near the end), Belle is getting frustrated with the enchanted items always doing things for her. She wants to be able to do some things for herself so she goes to Beast, who ends up being like a middle man with the enchanted items. I really like the expressions in this comic. Beast’s expression of sadness and worry when he knocks over her books on the shelf is shown really well. It’s also very sweet and considerate since it shows Beast does care for her.

Archie #8

fcead623-65de-421f-91a3-bffa7228e220-8a361

Title: Archie
Written by: Mark Waid
Art by: Veronica Fish, Andre Szymanowicz, Jen Vaughn, and Jack Morelli
Published by: Archie Comics
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Price: $3.99

Summary “Veronica’s father (and Archie’s arch-nemesis!), Hiram Lodge, is running for Mayor of Riverdale! But will he save, and even improve the town-or will he destroy it? Find out in this next installment of the hottest comic of the year!”

Though the summary implies that this comic is heavily about the campaign, the story is more about the fact that Mr. Lodge hates Archie and is trying to send him and his family away to Singapore for a year.

Archie looks like a huge jerk to everyone in this comic, putting Veronica first because he’s supposedly in love. He ignores the fact that this new job in Singapore could give his father the opportunity to provide Archie with a college fund and a wonderful life. He ignores that he will be far away from his best friend, Jughead. He ignores the fact that he will be away from Betty and her new boyfriend, Sayid. None of this crosses his mind really because he’s worried about never seeing Veronica again.

The icing on the “Archie is acting like a jerk” cake is when he goes off on Mr. Lodge. It’s disrespectful and it’s so selfish…I couldn’t stand it. Because of this outburst, Archie can be with Veronica so long as they aren’t near him.

This is my least favorite issue. It doesn’t match what they say it’s about and Archie is an asshole. No thank you.

Starfire #12

STARF_Cv12-copy_56b54a3b1eea14.90944900 Title: Starfire
Written by: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner
Art by: Elsa Charretier
Release Date: May 11, 2016
Price: $2.99

Summary: Starfire is finally figuring out the world around her as she surrounds herself with her new friends and extended family for a romantic and wild end to her Key West adventure.”

It is so hard to say goodbye to this series. I do love Starfire so much and though she will be back for Titans Rebirth, I love seeing her as a main character. She’s so strong and dynamic that it is hard to move on.

Seeing her say goodbye to everyone and making promises to come back makes it hard to read, as I know it’s the end. I can understand why she would need to leave. I understand that Stella’s aunt has to move in and she has MS so there won’t be enough room for everyone. I understand that she lost her job at the aquarium, but seeing her bring Beth back to the ocean, and swim with the porpoises made my heart soar.

Starfire is such a sweet and loving character. Seeing her accept her faith, but it opening up for new adventures, gives fans hope for a wonderful Koriand’r in Titans Rebirth. I’ll miss her until we see her once again!

Tune in next month when I review my June pullbox!

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Courtney’s Pull Box: April 2016

[Warning:  this post contains comic book spoilers]

My April Pull Box included some great new comic issues, and this month I’ve added some new comics! Here is this months list:

  • Jughead #5
  • A-Force #1-4 (New!)
  • Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #1 (New!)
  • Archie #7
  • Starfire #11

Jughead #5

Written by: Chip Zdarsky

Art by: Erica Henderson and Jack Morelli

Publisher: Archie Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: March 23, 2016

To figure out more about Principal Stanger and his plans, Jughead and his friends enlist the help of Wade, a side character who has been held back because he has bounced from high school to high school. One of those years, he was a principal in another near by city.

Reggie helps the gang get to that city to further investigate, and there they meet people who are basically their gender opposites. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the comic because I like the idea of alternate universes and gender reversals. The characters did have little nods to the originals, like girl Jughead who had a little crown barrette in her hair. This plot line was interesting and I hope that they continue with it.

This month’s comic is basically what I’ve been asking for from this series: to move with the plot and show me a story. Before, it seemed much more focused on the references of the dream sequences, which is great and all, but stories are really helpful when it comes to comics. The dream sequence looks like it might reoccur in the next comic, so it will be interesting to see how that will further the plot.

As far as the art is concerned, the art style in this comic issue is good…as always!

A-Force #1-#4

a force #2Written by: G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Thompson

Artist: Jorge Molina

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: #1 on January 6, 2016, #2 on February 3, 2016, #3 on March 2, 2016, and #4 on April 13, 2016

There’s a place called Battleworld and a part of it, there was a paradise called Arcadia, and it was protected by the A-Force. Now that Battleworld is gone, so is the A-Force, and it is up to Singularity to bring them back together to stop Antimatter.

The team is comprised of Medusa, She-Hulk, Singularity, Captain Marvel, Nico Minoru, and Dazzler. I’m torn as to who my favorite character is. I love everyone because they each are an important part of the team, even if they don’t originally remember already being a part of a team. I particularly really love Singularity – she reminds me a lot of Starfire in that she is an innocent, naive, fish out of water type character. I also really love space and galaxies, and her whole body is just a galaxy.

I love the art in this comic. I wanted to say that Medusa was my favorite just based on looks alone, but everyone looks unique and beautiful, which makes my heart smile more than this amazing girl team. Dazzler reminded me of one of my friends, which is wonderful since superheroes are often scrutinized for not looking realistic. It’s nice to see that some of them do look sort of human (or as human as you can get).

When it comes to the story, the fight with Antimatter seemed really long. I know they prolonged it in order to properly introduce the whole team, but I feel like it could have been done in fewer comics. That aside, I did really enjoy this comic.

Steven Universe #1

Su_and_the_cgsWritten by: Josephine Fenton

Art by: Chrystin Garland

Publisher: Kaboom! Studios

Price: $3.99

Release Date: March 16, 2016

Steven and the Gems decide to go on a camping trip, much like how  Steven and his dad use to. While on the trip, Steven teaches the Gems typical camp traditions like setting up the tent and making smores. They even tell ghost stories and Pearl tells the story that they (Pearl and Garnet) told Amethyst to keep her from running off.

I haven’t watched much of the show, but from what I’ve seen, I loved it. Amethyst is my favorite character and I do see my own locked-away rebellious nature in her. The only character whose personality is really shown in this comic is Amethyst, but we do learn a little bit about Pearl, who is very levelheaded and can be strict. I hope the other stories will expand on Garnet’s reserved and quiet personality.

I thought the story was super short. I know that this is a comic for children, but half of the book is a preview for Over the Garden Wall. Really? There’s no need for it. Children don’t have that short of an attention span – they are more than able to read a fuller sized comic, especially when it’s a comic created for them.

Archie #7

Archie7-FishMainCover-666x1024Written by: Mark Waid

Art by: Veronica Fish

Publisher: Archie Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: April 6, 2016

Now that Veronica’s father, Mr. Lodge, has found out that Archie was the one who destroyed their mansion (thanks to Reggie), Mr. Lodge forbids Veronica from dating Archie. Archie desperately is trying to fix the relationship with both Mr. Lodge and Veronica with very little luck. Archie decides to go to Jughead at Pop’s to try and see what he could do about fixing the problem. Pop apparently is very trustworthy and holds secrets about everyone in Riverdale so without revealing anyone’s secret, Archie realizes what he must do. Sadly, when he tries it, he runs into mishaps, and this leads to a question that is probably on a few fans’ minds: #WhatDidReggieDo

I really like how this story is progressing and I can’t wait to see what happens with Reggie. I really have been enjoying the story that Archie has created. I really like the fact that even though Archie is vying for Veronica, the writer doesn’t try to make Betty look like the bad guy when it seems like she has found someone new. They could have easily had Archie be mad about it or be judging her, but instead, it does seem like he is at least wanting to find out about the guy she’s with on a carrying about without being an intrusive ex boyfriend.

Sadly, I do have to end on a sour note again, because much like in the first comic of Archie, they have another hashtag that they want the hip young millennials to interact with, much like the #LipstickIncident. Although this instance was not as blatant as Archie facing the reader and asking for them to do it, it’s still trying way too hard to get that younger audience. I find it a little lazy to try to connect with their audience in this way, and the pandering is annoying to those of us who like Archie but are not in their target demographic. I would like to think that teenagers aren’t also into this pandering, either. This reeks of the same thing that is suppose to be done with ads for Truth.Org’s campaign to end smoking. You don’t need memes or hashtags to get your audience.

Starfire #11

STARF-Cv11-ds-f044cWritten by: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti

Art by: Elsa Charretier

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: $2.99

Release Date: April 13, 2016

Starfire, Atlee, and Stella are still on Atlee’s home planet, and they’re celebrating their victory with a girl’s weekend. While out on the girl’s weekend, Stella becomes overwhelmingly honest with Starfire at a spring that has water that will make you honest. She tells Starfire a few truthful things that make Starfire question what she’s doing and her current situation on Earth in Key West.

I’m not enjoying the work of the current artist who is working on this comic, but that’s a minor thought. I like the old style, which is shown on the covers, better. I believe that the comic art should match the cover art, but this doesn’t affect the story or anything.

Stella is a character that I’m liking less and less as the comic goes on. I understand being a cop character, but she’s just so unnecessarily overprotective, bossy, and nosy. She is such an overpowering main character, which is one of the reasons why I don’t enjoy this series as much. I still love this issue, don’t get me wrong, but it left a sour feeling in me knowing that Starfire has to requisition everything because Stella reflects her own insecurities on Starfire.

 

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Unboxing: Archie Mystery Package!

I just received the Archie Mystery Package in my mailbox. The package is currently $14.99 without shipping. This is not a monthly box or anything like that and it shows when it comes to the packaging. It’s a one time deal, but they have quite a few selections for mystery packages with just of their Digests and Double Digests. I thought this one would be fun for a first time unboxing. They have a similar one like this for Sonic and Megaman, but since I’m not really into that, I went with a familiar face of Archie. You also have some bundles that are like the mystery packages, but you kind of have an idea of what you’re getting. If you’re interested in seeing those, the link for that is right here!

According to the Archie Comics site, you’re suppose to be getting forty dollars worth of magazines, digests, graphic novels, or comics. I was hoping to see if I got digests since those are my favorites of the Archie comics. I’m not sure if this is just a sale deal, since it does say that the regular price is forty dollars, but at around fifteen dollars, is it not worth to at least try and see what you got? You’ll have to watch the video to find out what my opinion of it was after opening the box. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel for more unboxings!

You can find the Mystery Package here and you can see all items similar to this on the front page of Archie Comics!

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Courtney’s Pull Box: ‘Archie’, ‘Jughead’, ‘Starfire’ & More!

I have a pull box at the comic book shop I frequent, which ensures that I will get all of my current favorite comics immediately when they come out. In addition to this I can get discounts on graphic novels and a free comic on my birthday! Pull poxes are great, so I highly recommend talking to your comic shop to see what they offer.

My current pull box list includes the following comics:

  • Archie  – current incarnation with no digests (older comics)
  • Jughead – current incarnation with older comics at the end of issue
  • Starfire
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  • Disney Princess
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman

Even though I love getting these comics, some of them do have their problems. Occasionally these comics will frustrate me or include something I don’t like, so I’ve decided to summarize each comic and explain the pros and cons of each one.

Check them out below!

Archie

Summary: Archie is now set in modern day Riverdale High. Archie and Betty have been together since kindergarten and are absolutely enamored with one another…that is, until the #LipstickIncident. The whole school is abuzz trying to find out what happened, but things get further complicated when Archie lays eyes on new girl Veronica Lodge, whose famous millionaire family just built their mansion in town. Will Betty be able to convince Archie that Veronica is not all she seems to be?

Pros: This series proves that Archie characters will always translate well in nearly every situation. Bringing these characters into modern times may encourage younger readers to be more interested in reading comics,  and older fans will be happy to see that Archie can still be interesting and new.

Archie has been redone in a new art style that works amazingly well, much like how Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina did –  each have their own distinct styles, but still work very well.

The Archie characters are still who they always have been, regardless of the era: Archie is still the clumsy, slightly clueless lead that makes him the perfect every man, and Veronica is still the spoiled, rich girl who always gets her way thanks to her father and his money.

Cons: Some of the references to modern day things are a little difficult to deal with. I felt really ridiculous typing out #LipstickIncident, and it felt as if the writers were trying too hard to get teens into this series.  At the end of the first comic Archie even directly asks the readers for their suggestions on how he could get out of his predicament by using @archiecomics on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

There’s no need for the writers to pander to the audience by relying on hashtags and self promoting – people will send in their suggestions if they find it good enough.

Jughead

Summary: When the principal is replaced with a military-type tyrant who changes everything about their school (including stricter policies and the food), it’s up to Jughead and the gang to find out what happened to Mr. Weatherbee and stop the new principal’s rule.

Pros: Jughead is done in the same art style as Archie, and like Archie it ended up translating really well. I thought Jughead looked cute in this art style when I read the first issue of Archie, and after reading Archie I wanted to see more of him. The story is perfect for Jughead since it puts him in a new situation where he looks like a bad kid. To be honest, I mainly bought this comic because Jughead is Archie Comics first openly asexual character, which is awesome because I always did imagine him that way. Jughead is seemingly more in love with food than people, and he’s only ever been seen with a few girls throughout his run,  so I was happy when it was announced that he was indeed asexual.

Cons: The story really doesn’t seem to be going anywhere yet. There’s been a few things Jughead has done to further the plot, but as of right now the story seems to be slightly more focused on his dream sequences having references than plot development. These dream sequences are all very similar and each seem to cement the fact that Jughead is asexual. I would still recommend this series, but I hope that the story goes further.

Starfire

Summary: Starfire has escaped from being a prisoner and has come to Earth. She tries her best to blend in with normal people and gets a job at the aquarium, but ultimately she ends up being a hero for the planet. Starfire tries to learn about the Earth, which you can see through her very cute thought process of idioms.

Pros: I am in love with the art style of this comic, and this is the cutest interpretation of Starfire that I’ve ever seen. Some of her outfits match her very sweet thoughts and personality, while other outfits are bold and reinforce the fact that she is still very strong. I really love this story because Starfire is the perfect fish out of water character, and the way she interacts with people and discovers things is really sweet and cute.

I really loved this comic all the way around, and I’m sad that it’s ending soon.

Cons: The New 52 story line has a huge plot hole. Half way through the comics Starfire meets Grayson, who, according to the New 52 line, she hasn’t met. She was never in the Teen Titans so she doesn’t him, but in this story, she apparently mourned over him and knew him. I didn’t miss any of the Starfire comics either, so I was very confused by this –  it didn’t make any sense.

The New 52 plotline also altered the fact that Starfire’s sister was the one who sold her to where she was imprisoned, instead having Blackfire and Starfire being very close.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Summary: Sabrina Spellman is just your average teenager growing up in the 1960s… except she is half mortal, half witch. She lives with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, and her cousin, Ambrose. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Sabrina must decide if she wants to be a mortal or a witch.

Pros: This story is definitely darker than the Sabrina the Teenage Witch series that aired in the 1990s. It has a similar art style as Afterlife with Archie, but it has a Rosemary’s Baby feel to it, especially in the first comic. Sabrina looks more like her older comic incarnation, which looks wonderful with this art style. The art is very creepy and perfect for Sabrina’s story. If you like creepy stories then I definitely recommend this series, but if you don’t, then I would incline you towards Archie and Jughead.

Cons: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is amazing, but release dates for this series are very long and sparse. It’s hard to keep up with when this series will be released unless you are constantly checking Facebook for the next release date.

Issue number 5 is set to be released on May 18th.

Disney Princess

Summary: These are short little comics that feature a large range of Disney princesses, each of whom has her own story, making it difficult to accurately summarize these comics. These comics are unique in that they are held vertically, rather than horizontally.

Pros: This is definitely the cutest comic that I’m currently reading. There’s no fighting or action, and it’s a perfect comic for those who want to get into comics but don’t know where to begin. I had low hopes of seeing Snow White (one of my favorites) since she is an older princess, but I was so excited when I saw her in this comic! There’s good mix of the older princesses and the newer princesses, so Disney fans old and new will feel right at home.

Cons: There are no cons since only one issue of this comic is out, and as such there isn’t much to judge on.

The Legend of Wonder Woman

Summary: This is Wonder Woman’s origin story as told as far back as the beginning of the Amazons. Readers are treated to a young, mortal Diana who is destined to be queen. However, Diana shows the strength of her mother, and she wants to be trained.

Pros: There’s only two issues of this comic out right now, but I already love it. Diana as a child is the absolute cutest thing I’ve ever seen, but at the same time she’s very strong. I love the art style, which is a lovely mixture of Greek-style art and comic book art. It makes a beautiful collaboration and it’s something I could stare at forever.

Cons: There are only two issues of this comic currently out, so as of right now there are no cons.

Which comic are you most likely to pick up? Let us know in the comments!

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