A new week means new comics! Here are a few titles I’m looking forward to checking out this week.
I didn’t get a chance to review either Grayson #7 or Grayson #8 thanks to Life Stuff™. Sadness. I’d really wanted to cover Grayson #8, since it’s the last issue we’ll be getting for two months (until DC Comics’ Convergence event gets out of the way). But I ended up having to make a super last minute overseas trip, on emergency family business, alas, and computer time has been low on the ground here. Once I get home later this week, I hope to do a Grayson retrospective summing up all eight issues so far, but suffice to say that issue #8 was a fantastic “season 1 finale” to this fledgling series and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
For now, I’m all over this amazing commentary that my friend Zina has agreed to share here. One of my favourite things about Grayson is how it goes “against the grain” to typical comic books, and the spy genre especially, and Zina has de-constructed the exact nuances of that with way more skill than I could ever manage. So enough talk from me, onward to the post!
Ody-C #3 launches with a birthing scene. Thanks to the cold open, we are not given the names of the three characters we see (parents and midwife), but the midwife does seem overly interested in the paternity of the child that is about to be born. “Ask, my child,” she says. “Ask after your man’s divinity.”
“Ivar Anni-Padda, the eldest of an ancient clan of legendary adventurers, has spent his life tracking time arcs – portals that allow him to travel to different periods in Earth’s history. He is brilliant, cunning, charming, and more than a little devious. He is… Ivar, Timewalker.”
Thanks to an article/review by Chris Sims at ComicsAlliance, I have become acquainted with a cool new indie comic series called Ivar, Timewalker. Published by Valiant Comics, written by Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Clayton Henry (pencils) and Brian Reber (colours), Ivar, Timewalker is like Doctor Who, except–in my opinion–less boring and pretentious. It’s a sort of self-aware pastiche, where the comic’s creators seem to have put their own spin on the concept of a lone, dashing time-traveler in a three-piece suit and his educated-but-new-to-time-travel-shenanigans human companion. Unconstrained by TV budgets, however, they’re free to tell an adventurous story that feels exciting, unpredictable, mysterious, and just plain fun.
Plus, my initially favourable impression that they based their “companion” character on Martha Jones only ballooned once I realised the character was actually a physicist (PhD and all) of South Asian descent. Brown girls represent!
Issue #1 sees Ivar rescue/hijack Dr. Neela Sethi, and take her across time and space to flee from the Promeathans, “a group of artificial cyborg drones from the Fifth Dimension (as someone who has often been kept awake pondering beings who’ve figured out how to manipulate the fifth dimension, this is hitting all my metaphysics buttons). It ends with a shocking revelation–that an older, cybernetically-enhanced is the leader of these Promethans, from the vantage of an orbiting city no less, and she’s out for revenge against Ivar. Is Ivar really a good guy, or is he the bad guy of the piece, having betrayed Neela in some terrible way? The shades of grey here are super intriguing, not to mention older cyborg Neela looks totally badass.
DC Comics has had a long tradition of its properties being adapted into fairly successful television shows — from Batman in the ’60s, Wonder Woman in the ’70s, all the way up to The Adventures of Lois & Clark in the ’90s and Smalliville in the early 2000s.
Fast forward to the modern day, where Arrow has ushered in a new era of DC TV for this new decade–reflecting the grim-dark paradigm that Christopher Nolan made so famous with his Dark Knight film trilogy.
Objectively, Arrow isn’t a bad show. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s not amazing, either. The acting is often painful, the mood dour, and frankly, it feels like “Batman-lite”. As I understand it, the producers wanted to do a Batman show, weren’t allowed to, and so set about trying to turn another hero into Batman. What even is the point? And I ask that as someone who very much likes Batman & his allies–I would rather just have batman, not a wannabe.
The Flash, happily, is a different story. It’s light-hearted, doesn’t take itself as seriously, and rides completely on the appeal of its titular character. Being on the CW network, it has all the trappings of a teen soap opera, but it’s still an enjoyable watch. So I’m very happy to feature this guest post by my friend Oz, discussing one of the many cool tropes used in The Flash, specifically the pilot episode! Check it out below!
I was very pleased to see promotional trailers for Marvel’s Agent Carter on one of my local cable channels (Fox – Channel 505 on Starhub, for any Singaporeans/Southeast Asians in the midst), and even more pleased to see that they would be broadcasting this new show just 12 short hours after the US premiere. Hayley Atwell was a refreshing presence as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was (am!) excited to see Marvel taking a chance on a female lead character.
Some thoughts on the first two episodes:
Secret Origins launched back in April 2014 with three origin stories: Superman, Supergirl, and the first Robin, Dick Grayson. This last was penned by Kyle Higgins, who had already given us his take on the New 52 origin of Robin in Nightwing #0. His Secret Origin story — which I found to be poignant and lovely — turned out to be an expansion of that, in a way; continuing the #0 issue, while also correcting some of the problems readers had with it.
So I was surprised to see that Dick Grayson would getting a second go-around in Secret Origins, this time in issue #8. Ostensibly, this story is meant to be the origin of Dick as a secret agent for Spyral. In actuality, it’s more of a “stock-take” for Dick Grayson in the New 52. Written by Tim Seeley (who has yet to write a comic I have disliked – I hope he takes the lead on more Grayson stories in the coming months) and illustrated by Stephen Mooney, the conceit of this particular “secret origin” is that it’s a history of the character re-told by Helena Bertinelli to her boss at the secret spy agency Spyral.
Given that the Batfamily timelines are a bit of a mess in the reboot DC universe, getting us up to speed is no bad thing. Read on to see what we learned (and/or confirmed) in Secret Origins #8.