ATOMIC
EMPIRE

Comics: A Whole New World

by Dee. 4/20/2016
Salaam and good evening to you:
Please, come closer... and learn about some new and recent comics.

Xena: Warrior Princess (Dynamite) - Both covers for the #1 issue are excellent in composition and as stand alone works of art. You might recognize Genevieve Valentine's name from her recent work on Catwoman, and Ariel Medel (pencilling and inking) has also pencilled for John Carter, Warlord of Mars (2014). It's been long enough ago since I've seen an episode of Xena that I can't accurately remember if the comic was stylistically similar to the show. The art is not photorealistic when it comes to Xena herself, which helps me not descend into Uncanny Valley (where I get distracted from the story because the characters look too much like their TV/ movie counterparts). Xena rights some wrongs, has a dust-up with the Romans and there's representation of the gods. That sounds like what I remember about the series. Less sexual tension, but this *is* only the first issue.

Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys (DC Comics) - This is a cute mini-series following Harley Quinn and her ragtag band of misfits, which includes an ethnic variety not often represented in comics. This issue goes up against the hipster mafia, with baseball-bat-related antics and lots of violent glee. The slight skips in time in the narrative just ends up feeling very appropriate to Harley. It's not complete gibberish, but one of the plot twists seems uncharacteristically strange in an HQ story. The issue ends on a cliffhanger that introduces a new character to the Harleyverse. It remains to be seen if this mini-series will be incorporated into the main Harley Quinn series.

Star Wars Special: C-3PO (Marvel Comics) - After seeing the Force Awakens, I was pleased to see that there would be a canon explanation of C3PO's red arm in the future. The dialogue and mannerisms in this book are very believable for C3PO. Some of the other robots in the story (because this is a story about humanity and technology) have limited or no ability to articulate, but they are still made sympathetic through their shared adventure. The story feels a bit rushed, but the pacing needs to stay in high gear because of the time-sensitive and perilous mission.

Gwenpool (Marvel Comics) - Like most epic jokes, this started small and escalated quickly. This mash-up series started with a few adventurous vignettes in Howard the Duck and went on to be in the Gwenpool Christmas Special. Naturally, the next place to go was to star in her own series. Gwen Poole (I kid you not) is a Marvel comics fan, dropped into the Marvel Universe as a character.

She quickly comes to the conclusion that a) this is awesome, b) that armed with her knowledge (and guns), she can do anything she wants and most importantly, c) nothing could possibly go wrong with this logic.

This first issue is streamlined in its storytelling and pacing, and it was a quick, fun read. If you are not familiar with the Marvel Universe, there might be a few references that would go over your head. There was only one reference that puzzled me, and if you have watched any of the Marvel movies from the past 5 to 10-ish years you'll be fine.

Goodbye from Agrabah,
Dee

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