Comic Book Reviews

Detective Comics #934-Bat Signal

Detective Comics #934 Comic Book Review

Detective Comics #934 Comic Book Review   As a part of the new DC Comics Rebirth movement, the new Detective Comics #934 is a powerful re-launch of the original Batman title, with Batman forming a new team of Bat-Heroes, with Batwoman (Kate Kane), in a leading role on the new team.   Coming on the heels of the new Batman: Rebirth #1, this latest Detective Comics, issue (titled “Rise of the Batmen: Chapter One”), sets itself (as a title and series) apart from the “solo” Batman title, in that here we see Batman realize he faces a danger that is targeting not just him, but the other “vigilantes” of Gotham City.  Basically, this issue shows the process whereby Batman assembles a team of Bat-Heroes who are already active in Gotham (plus one surprise addition–we will get to that in a bit), to face this new and mysterious threat. Detective Comics #934-Batwoman Overall, this comic is pretty darned interesting!  The art by Eddy Barrows is perfect for these Bat-Characters, and the writing of James Tynion IV, (see Batman Eternal), is great.  And now, for our usual SPOILER warning…   At this point, we warn you, we write about the plot and details of the story, i.e. BAT-SPOILERS ahead (and not just the character named Spoiler, if you get our drift…) Detective Comics #934-Spoiler   We open the issue seeing Azrael being hunted down by a bad guy, whose silhouette makes  him look a lot like Batman, to the point that when the real Bats shows up and asks “Who did this to you?” Azrael responds with “You…YOU did.”  Additionally, Batman finds a drone that is, as he says, at least ten years more advanced than anything he or the military could put together.  All of this greatly concerns Batman, who, of course, has a plan on how to deal with the situation. Detective Comics #934-Batman and Azrael We then see Batman begin recruiting other heroes to his banner (err, I mean his Bat-Signal), to deal with this issue.  Plus, as he points out, the drones are also following his allies. His first recruiting visit is with Kate Kane, AKA Batwoman, and the dialogue and interactions between them are very well done, as he reveals to Kate why he trusts her…(If you REALLY want to know this big old SPOILER, then scroll down to see the last image on this page.  Longtime Batwoman and Batman fans probably already know the connection between these two characters, but this is a significant development in the relationship between these two). Detective Comics #934-Batman and Kate Kane Batman then basically tells her that she is not to be a subordinate to him, but a co-leader, and that he wants her to train the others on his recruitment list.  He mentions that he has already “taken in…Duke Thomas,” (in Batman: Rebirth #1), and we then see Batman and Batwoman meet up with the others on the list: Red Robin, Spoiler, Orphan (Cassandra Cain) and, the most intriguing of all, the villain Clayface (Basil Karlo). This is a bold move by Tynion to add a classic Batman villain (first appearing in Detective Comics #40, in June of 1940) to the roster of his new team.  Batman and his new team approach a rather pitiful-looking Clayface, who accidentally terrorized the patrons of  a movie theater because he wanted to watch an old movie starring himself before he became Clayface.  In this scene, James Tynion effectively puts a “human face,” as it were, on a character who is usually presented as a stereotyped villain.  Given a chance at redemption, Clayface agrees to join up.  We use the word redemption here very purposefully.  Note the panel where Batman finds Azrael in a church (shown above).  The crucifix and image of Christ (often referred to as “The Redeemer”), is a used as central image.  And now, we find Batman offering a chance at redemption to a long-standing villain.  Again, the partnership and synergy between the writer and artist is compelling, and this Bat-book is filled with religious symbolism. Tynion’s college major was Creative Writing, and anyone who has studied American or English literature is aware, inserting religious symbolism, Christ imagery, and related analogies and metaphors is a common means of showing the struggle between good and evil.  I fully expect future issues to hint at a devilish imagery of the villain, as we get to know more about him.  Overall, this is a great re-launch of the Post-New 52 Detective Comics, and, as a long-time DC fan, I am very pleased to see this title (and also the new Action Comics), revert to the old numbering system that hearkens back and connects these titles to their origins in the late 1930s. Pick up Detective Comics #934.  It is a very good read!   Detective Comics #934-Bruce Wayne and Kate Kane  

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Batman: Rebirth #1 Batman on Cover

Batman: Rebirth #1 Review

  Batman: Rebirth #1 Review Batman: Rebirth #1 is both interesting and confusing at the same time.  More precisely, as a stand-alone Batman story (or, rather, the beginning of a new story arc), this issue is full of clues, dialogue, and mysteries that should satisfy both a new and a veteran Bat-Fan.  But it is confusing if you expect this issue to follow the events of the very good DC Universe Rebirth #1 that came out on May 25.  More on that later. Batman: Rebirth #1-Cover Batarang Looking at this issue just as a Batman title, with no expectation of a “Rebirth” connection, it works.  A newer reader is introduced to our title character as Bruce Wayne the billionaire, as well as to Batman as a savior to Gotham, as well as to Batman the detective and long-term planner. At this point, we are entering the “Spoiler-Cave,” full of details that may, or may not, spoil things for you.  You have been warned… Writers Scott Snyder and Tom King, and artist Mikel Janin, show different aspects of a very multi-faceted character.  We see Batman facing off against one of the less well-known members of his Rogues Gallery, Calendar Man (and he is presented as very, very weird and scary), who has found a way to unleash terror and destruction on Gotham.  Batman does his “savior of Gotham” routine, not once, but twice, in this issue, both times showing that he is willing to risk his life to protect others. Batman: Rebirth #1-Batman vs. Calendar Man We also see him as Bruce Wayne, the rich business man, working with Lucius Fox, the man who really runs the Wayne empire. Here we see a somewhat cavalier Bruce, both in terms of how he looks at his finances, and in how he shows off his physical training, more or less while hanging around where people could see him. This scene strikes me as both necessary and as odd and out of character for Bruce.  First, we see that he delegates pretty much all of his business dealings to Lucius.  Good idea.  But we also see an inkling of the “Wayne tradition” of helping others as Lucius talks about Bruce’s father’s way of seeing responsibility.  This part is all good.  What disturbs this reviewer is the dangerous work-out regimen that Bruce is undertaking at his office tower’s helipad.  He is doing things here that only a trained acrobat or…The Batman…could possibly do and not get killed or put away in the looney bin.  Really, where is the un-serious, semi-alcoholic, skirt-chasing, lay-about version of Bruce that many generations of Batman writers have presented as a part of Bruce’s “I am not Batman” camouflage?  All it would take is one news helicopter to get video of him doing this crazy exercise routine for people to start putting two and two together. Despite that, the story shows off a lot of the usual Batman items: Alfred, stately Wayne Manor, the Bat-Cave, etc.  We also see Duke Thomas, a character who has been a semi-sidekick to Bats before, being made an offer.  This offer, as we see, comes in the form of training and working  with Batman and the introduction of what looks like a new, non-Robin sidekick costume/uniform. Batman: Rebirth #1Duke Thomas Costume Again, this issue is all about laying the groundwork for a continuing Batman title, so we expected a lot of introductory work here, and that is pretty much what we get.  This is a book any Batman fan should pick up and read. Now, onto the Rebirth connection.  Well, as far as we can see, there is none.  After reading the DC Rebirth #1 one-shot, a reader could have expected Batman to try to find out why that one bloody item (not saying it here, since you REALLY should read that comic) was in the Batcave, and the mystery of the three different versions of [insert major Bat-Villain’s name here].  But no, there does not appear to be any connection to that Rebirth comic here.  Maybe in Detective Comics #934, which comes out on June 8.  We shall see… In conclusion, this is a good, solid introductory Batman book, with good dialogue, characterizations, and good, clean, solid art.  And a creepy villain.  That always makes the day go better.  Seriously, though, if you like Batman, read this comic!   Did you like this review of Spider-Man/Deadpool #5?  Then please consider supporting this website by donating through Patreon.  If so, please visit our Patreon donation page.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #5 Comic Book Review

Spider-Man/Deadpool #5 Comic Book Review   Spider-Man and Deadpool team up again!  Actually, since the two of them are probably have the most team-ups in Marvel history, it is not surprising that they are together again.  They share an interesting dynamic: Deadpool adores Spidey, while Spider-Man barely tolerates Wade, though he does usually show pity on poor ‘Pool. If you like Spider-Man and/or Deadpool, then this title is for you! In this team-up mini-series, Deadpool has been hired by a mysterious character to put the hit on an evil billionaire who abuses his power, does bad stuff, and is mean to people.  No, not Donald Trump…the hit is to be on…Peter Parker!  Yes, the Peter who is currently head of Parker Industries and, unbeknownst to Deadpool, is really Spider-Man.  And not evil. Oh, in case you were wondering, this is where we delve underground to get to the heart and soul of the spoilers…. Spider-Man/Deadpoo #5 Credit Page In this issue, Peter is already dead (killed by Deadpool in the last issue), but his soul is not in Hell, where an evil billionaire should be after death. This confuses Wade and his lovely succubus/demon wife, Shiklah (she who is queen of the Monster Metropolis which lies under New York City).  Ever the perfectionist (ha!) Deadpool returns to the scene of the crime, has Shiklah use magic to bring Peter back to life, then Wade shoots Peter again (in the head. With a shotgun.) to make sure he is really dead.  Still no evil Parker soul in the underground.  Which leads Wade to think that maybe, just maybe, he was fooled by the guy putting out the contract on Parker and maybe, just maybe, Peter Parker is not actually evil. So now Wade has to go and find out where Peter’s soul is residing.  Realizing he has to die to go find Parker (which, as all Deadpool fans know, is actually a tough thing for Wade to do), he has Shiklah skewer him with his sword, and goes downtown to find Peter being attacked by a monstrous version of…Mysterio…who is also able to manifest evil and hateful versions of Gwen, Uncle Ben, and Doc Ock (all dead last time we checked), to fight Peter. Spider-Man/Deadpool #5 Wade, using some of his knowledge of magical stuff he got from his wife, tells Parker to create a patronus (spirit protector) to help him fight Mysterio.  Peter, of course, comes up with a Spider-Man patronus (see the faded version of Spidey in the image below), to defeat Mysterio. But then we find out the real villain in this piece, and the very intriguing things he says to Peter… Yes, more spoiler-warning here… Spider-Man/Deadpool #5-Peter’s Patronus We see Mephisto show up to tell Peter a secret!  I think all Spider-Man fans can guess that this secret has to do with the events of the hated One More Day storyline from 2007.  For now, that is only a guess, as we have to see what happens in Spider-Man/Deadpool #8, which is when this story arc picks up again.  Yes, it said that at the end of the book, really! Spider-Man/Deadpool #5-Mephisto This story, by Joe Kelly, hits the mark in getting the characters of Wade, Peter, Shiklah, and yes, even Mephisto down right.  The art by Ed McGuinness is perfect for a Spidey/’Pool book, and the book itself was a pleasure to look at.  Good job all around by this creative team. If you like either Spider-Man or Deadpool, this title should be an automatic pickup.   Did you like this review of Spider-Man/Deadpool #5?  Then please consider supporting this website by donating through Patreon.  If so, please visit our Patreon donation page.

Deadpool #1 Cover

Deadpool #1 Video Review

Check out this video review the new Deadpool #1 comic on YouTube at This comic is the first for our Merc with a Mouth, since the end  of the Secret Wars event and the (still mysterious) return of our heroes to the “real” world. It should also be noted that Deadpool has a movie coming out in February, 2016 starring Ryan Reynolds as our regenerating degenerate.

Secret Wars #1 Cover

Marvel’s Secret Wars Review: Reviews, Tracking Lists, and Analysis

Marvel’s Secret Wars Review Reviews, Tracking Lists, and Analysis   Marvel launched perhaps the biggest crossover event in company history in 2014 with the advent of the new Secret Wars event.  The lead-up to this huge occurrence was, frankly, also huge, and spanned literally years of Marvel continuity. The lead in to Secret Wars began with New Avengers #1 (March, 2013), the Black Panther discovers an “incursion,” which is basically an alternate universe Earth proceeding to collide with another version of Earth (in this case, Earth-616, the one that our Black Panther is from).  An alien calling herself the Black Swan  destroyed this incursion Earth, and is captured by the Panther.  He calls a meeting of the Illuminati (Reed Richards, Iron Man, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Namor, Captain America, a group that first appeared in canon in New Avengers Volume 1 #7) and explains to them what he saw. Black Panther Sees the 1st Incursion in New Avengers #1 (2013) After further investigations, Reed Richards declares: Everything dies. You, me. Everyone on this planet. Our sun. Our galaxy. And, eventually, the universe itself. This is simply how things are. It’s inevitable. And I accept it. What is happening, is that all the uncountable universes in the Marvel Multiverse were colliding at the point where the Earth is located.  If one Earth is destroyed first, before they collide, both universes are saved, though, obviously, that one Earth is now gone, but the other is saved.  If both Earths actually collide, both universes are destroyed. The Illuminati decide they have to work on a plan to protect their Earth from colliding and being destroyed by these other Earths.  This brings up the moral quandary of what to do if they have to destroy an populated alternate Earth to save their own.  The Illuminati (by this point also including Hank McCoy of the X-Men), all vote to do whatever they have to do to save their world.  Except for Captain America, who sees this as an evil choice.  They kick him out of the group and Dr. Strange wipes out that part of Cap’s memory that relates to their plans to destroy other planets and his opposition to that concept. Fast forward now to Secret Wars #1, published in May, 2015,  (yes, we are leaving a lot out here, but bear with us for a bit), and we are now down to only two Earth left: Earth-616, and Earth-1610, which is the Marvel Ultimate Universe (the one where Nick Fury is a black man who looks like Samuel L. Jackson, and Reed Richards is a villain called the Maker).  In this issue, the two worlds literally fight, with the heroes of each world (plus SHIELD of Earth 1610 fighting it out as the worlds collide.  The worlds do end (as we clearly see in Deadpool #250), and when Secret Wars #2 (May, 2015) opens, we find that a new world has been created out of the remnants of many of the destroyed multiversal Earths.  Also, this new world is ruled by Victor Von Doom, who styles himself as God Doom. God Doom, From Secret Wars #2 Weirder yet, his “consort” is Susan Richards, and his children are Franklin and Valeria Richards.  God Doom’s chancellor or prime minister, as it were, is Stephen Strange, who is called the Sheriff of Agamotto.  Doom’s authority is enforced by an army of Thors (basically every version of Thor from any multiverse or alternate Thor story).  This world is divided into separate sections, called kingdoms or baronies, ruled by Barons who rule at Doom’s whim.  For example, the kingdom of Bar Sinister is ruled by Mr. Sinister (an old and powerful X-Men villain), while the kingdom of Higher Avalon is ruled by Captain Britain and his family.  Disputes between the kingdoms are settled by Doom, and his word is law. For an interactive map of Battleworld, visit Battleworld Map We could go on and on, but this article is just an introduction to what plans on doing.  Marvel published nine Secret Wars books, plus dozens of other titles based around the concept of showing us, the readers, what each of the many weird little areas of Battleworld (which is what the peons of Doom’s world call their home), are like. Marvel created some truly good stories here, (along with a few duds, we are sorry to say), and our goal is to track them all, write tight little summaries and analysis of each one, and try to connect them all together.  So, you may wonder, why are we doing this NOW, when all these books started coming out last spring?  Simple, to actually purchase all of those Secret Wars titles would have cost a small fortune, but, using the magic of Marvel Unlimited, (sort of like Netflix for comics), we can read them all for an easy $9.95 per month. Working as a Comic Book Reviewer is not a path to riches, shall we say. So sit back and enjoy the ride.  As we post new or updated articles on these various Secret Wars titles, we will update the bottom of this page with links and info. By the way, if you are interested in writing for, let us know here.   Old Man Logan–Based on the classic “Old Man Logan” alt storyline that takes place on Earth-807128 (as seen in Wolverine Vol 3 #66-72 and Giant-Size Wolverine #1 (2008-2009) X-Men ’92–Based on the great X-Men Animated TV show that began in 1992. This reality is derived from Marvel’s Earth-92131. Squadron Sinister–An evil version of the Squadron Supreme (of Earth-712, AKA Earth-S), this group is an evil Marvelized version of the Justice League of DC Comics. This Secret Wars version of the Squadron is from an unknown, or unnamed version of Earth. X-Men: Inferno–Based on the X-Men storyline that introduced a baby Cable, the Goblin Queen, and much more.  The original Inferno storyline crossed over many X-Men titles (and Spider-Man!) in 1988 and 1989.

Uncanny X-Men #600 Cover

Uncanny X-Men #600 Video Review

Uncanny X-Men #600 Cyclops Uncanny X-Men #600 Video Review The end of the Bendis Era with the X-Men Uncanny X-Men #600 is the capstone to the Brian Michael Bendis era with the X-Men.  Check out our video review of this, the “last” X-Men story before the final incursion that set off Marvel’s Secret Wars event. In this issue, we see some drama involving many of the relationships among our merry band of Mutants, including an “Iceman Cometh” moment where young Bobby and older Bobby deal with the fact that young Bobby has come out of the closet.  We also see a sibling reunion, and a romantic triangle that bodes ill for the team.  Oh, and we see what old Cyclops is up to with his “Mutant Revolution.”   This issue brings together many different strings and sub-plots that the writer, Brian Michael Bendis, has beeen developing for some time now.  Bendis, in his run, has killed off Professor X, made Cyclops and his followers into Mutant terrists, ala the old Magneto, and he has made Beast (who plays a central part of this storyline), into a less-than responsible hero when he brought back the young X-Men from the past. Oh, and he made the Iceman (Bobby Drake), gay.  Which brings to mind many prior storylines that involved conversations between Bobby and Warren (The Angel), as well as brings into question Bobby’s romantic interests of the past, who include Polaris and Kitty Pryde.  Controverys seems to have surrounded the Bendis era, which, considering the long history of the X-Men, is not necessarily anything new. Overall, this is an interesting issue to read, particularly if the reader is a fan of the our band of  dysfunctional Mutants, and/or has followed the trials and tribulations inherent in the Bendis era. The artwork in this issue is by several different artists, which creates some discordance, but overall, this book works.  Buy it and read it.  Note, the video review contains different content than this textual review.

Squadron Sinister #1 Secret Wars Cover

Squadron Sinister #1 Secret Wars Review

Many comic fans are somewhat familiar with the alternate universe version of the Justice League..umm… we mean the “Avengers,” yeah, the alternate universe version of the Avengers that Marvel created way back in Avengers #69-70 (1969).  This group of super-powered villains were called the Squadron Sinister.  Back in the good old Silver Age, you had to put an evil sounding word in your villain team name, just in case someone wasn’t paying attention to your bad guy act. Squadron Sinister #1 Secret Wars Cover Anyway, long story short, the Squadron Sinister (Hyperion, Dr. Spectrum, Nighthawk, and the Whizzer), really were Marvel’s attempt to poke fun at their competitor at DC Comics.  These DC analogues (Hyperion/Superman, Dr. Spectrum/Green Lantern, Nighthawk/Batman, and Whizzer/Flash), were actually fun evil versions of classic old heroes to pit against the Avengers.  Over time, Marvel developed a good-guy version of the Squadron, and called it Squadron Supreme.  The good-guy version of Nighthawk joined the Defenders, while the good (but very alien) Hyperion joined the Avengers. But what about the bad, Sinister Squadies?  Well, they kept popping up also, and now that Marvel is the throes of the huge Secret Wars event, we have a Battleworlds book, Squadron Sinister #1. As with other characters we see in the various Secret Wars books, the Squadron Sinister, which has added some members from the old days, rule their own barony under the overall authority of the God of Battlworld, Dr. Doom.  Doom is a somewhat hands-off ruler.  He lets his subject barons do their own thing, as long as they do not cross him.  The Squadron Sinister is all about conquering new territories, and when this book opens up, we see them destroying (literally), another version of themselves called Supreme Power.  This issue is aptly titled “No Honor Among Thieves,” as we see that the sinister teammates are up to their eyeballs in plotting against each other and against Doom’s rule. Without going into great detail, we can say that if you like stories  that feature villains that explore what is behind their thinking and their motivations, this Secret Wars series is for you. Plus,  writer Marc Guggenheim, and artist Carlos Pacheco throw in fun easter eggs for old-time JLA fans and highlighting the Squadron’s DC -inspired flavor.  Notice the cover with the two sidebars featuring headshots of the Squadron Sinister and their opponent team?  Straight out of the type of covers that graced Justice League books in the  1970s!  Very cool! Compare this old JLA cover (below) with the Squadron cover (above). Justice League of America #101 Cover In addition, the wide-angle view of the Squadron’s meeting room/trophy room features relics they have collected in their battles.  We see almost exact replicas of Hawkman’s helmet, Green Arrow’s bow and quiver, Green Lantern’s lantern, Batman’s utility belt, Dr. Fate’s cloak, Aquaman’s trident, Wonder Woman’s lasso and bracelets, and what must be Superman’s Kryptonian crystals from his Fortress of Solitude.  This was all pretty high on the cool factor for an old JLA fan! Squadron Sinister #1 Trophies This Secret Wars book is a fun (if bloody) read.  Check it out!  

Deadpool and Cable in New Mutants #98

Back Issue Review: First Appearance of Deadpool in New Mutants #98

Back Issue Review: First Appearance of Deadpool in New Mutants #98 Since he first burst into the Marvel Universe in 1991, Deadpool has grown in popularity and sales potential.  As of the summer of 2014, Deadpool had three ongoing titles to his name (his regular title, his Deadpool vs. X-Force books, and Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet).  He has also appeared in one Marvel movie (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in 2009), and has a significant following on Twitter and Facebook that yearned so hard for a true Deadpool movie that they got one (starring Ryan Reynolds and set to hit theaters February 12, 2016).  But what kind of an entrance did our Merc with a Mouth first make in the Marvel Comics Universe? Thanks to the San Diego Comic-Con special put on by Marvel Unlimited (promo code SDCC14), this reviewer managed to track down all of the early Deadpool appearances and conducting “back-issue-reviews” on these seminal comics. New Mutants #98 Cover-1st Appearance of Deadpool Deadpool first showed up as a villain who has been hired by a Mr. Tolliver to assassinate Cable in New Mutants #98 (February, 1991).  The first part of this book introduces a villain called Gideon, and lets us in on his plot to kill a man in Latin America who we later learn is the father of X-Force member Sunspot.  After the Gideon pages, the comic turns to the mansion of the then-missing-and-presumed-dead X-Men, where we find mutant soldier Cable in the Danger Room helping young mutant Cannonball train for combat.  Cable then goes to the mansion’s library, where he is suddenly attacked by another new character dressed in red and black.  The villain announces himself as Deadpool!  This is the very first appearance of our Merc with a Mouth, and of course, Cable does not know him yet.  While trying to kill Cable, Deadpool talks a lot (imagine that!) and openly reveals that he has been hired by a Mr. Tolliver to murder Cable.  Deadpool, being the efficient merc that he is, came prepared to deal with the plethora of young, new mutants who come to aid Cable.  Deadpool seems to have weapons and tactics to take out all his attackers, (Cannonball, Boom Boom, Rictor, Sunspot).  Things are starting to look bad for our New Mutants (who would become X-Force in a couple of issues), until the fortuitous arrival of the deadly Domino! Domino and Deadpool in New Mutants #98   New Mutants #98 is also Domino’s first appearance, and her first act upon arriving  is to stick several blades into Deadpool’s back.  As it turns out, Cable and Domino know each other, and he had invited her to join him in training up this force of new mutants.  The last we see of Deadpool in this comic book, he is sitting up (hey, how come he didn’t die from all those knives in his back?), talking smack,  and trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey.  He is later referenced when Domino asks Cable what he did with the would-be assassin.  Cable replies that he mailed Deadpool back to Mr. Tolliver. Yup, mailed him back.  Federal Express. Deadpool and Cable in New Mutants #98 Not a very glorious beginning to the Deadpool career.  On the bright side, though, we do see spatters of Deadpool’s famously quick wit and twisted sense of humor. New Mutants #98 introduced the three characters of Gideon, Deadpool, and Domino.  The plot and art were by Rob Liefeld, and the dialogue was by Fabian Nicieza.  Keep in mind, this was in the early 1990s, and the hair styles portrayed in the comics mirrored to a degree the horrible hairdos of the time period.  Even with this in mind, reading this comic today was visually painful.  Liefeld’s style is cluttered, full of lines, and overly pouch-friendly.  Nicieza’s dialogue on this book was heavy-handed and overly melodramatic.  If not for the 1st appearances of Deadpool and Domino (who is a pretty cool character), New Mutants #98 would be a very forgettable book.  Thankfully, Deadpool moved on to better things, and Domino found a home as in X-Force and as an X-Man. And both she and Cable would go on to work with Deadpool in many future issues. Be sure to check out other Deadpool articles in our insane Deadpool section.


Series Review: Lumberjanes

Released in April 2014 by BOOM! Studios, Lumberjanes arrived to the scene at a time when certain voices were unheard in the mainstream comics.  Written by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis (contributing writer of the blog Autostraddle) and Noelle Stevenson (webcomic Nimona/writer of the Thor Annual 2015), the comic is a much needed series where fierce girl-power and fantastical adventures collide.  Aided by the lively and engaging artwork from Brooke Allen (best known for her work with Adventure Time and the Regular Show), Lumberjanes becomes a comic series that I can best describe as addictive.  Or outstanding.  Or maybe exceptional. Regardless – this series is SO GOOD. Spending their summer at the Lumberjane’s scout camp (“for Hardcore Lady Types”), a group of 5 bunk-mates – April, Molly, Jo, Mal, and Ripley – navigate their way through mystical perils while also steering the wheel through adolescence, friendship, and self-identity.  Appropriate for all ages, the story lines touch on topics that are relevant to readers in any stage of life – be it trouble between two best friends, understanding your feelings for a love interest, juggling the enormity of life itself, or how best to fight off a pack of yetis. While I consider the writing of Lumberjanes to be the highlight of the series – as it brings a voice to diverse identities – there’s no denying that the artwork is a feature of the series that deserves much praise.  Being a huge fan of Adventure Time (comics and the television show) for it’s very graphic, colorful, sometimes even purposefully artistic illustrations, I view Lumberjanes as being drawn on that same vein.  Some cells are so magical, colorful, and impressively structured that they are worthy of being framed (if you’re like me, and have an entire wall in your living room with nothing but framed comic/pop culture artwork). Artwork – guest artist, Carolyn Nowak Despite the greatness of the artwork, and the intentional character development and plot points, Lumberjanes doesn’t step into a field of pretentiousness or loaded discourse that some might find as being too political or heavy.  The entire series maintains a goofy and fun focus with moments of sincerity sprinkled in, giving the characters individual personalities & depth with their own off-shoots on the story lines. In a time when certain cultural demographics are struggling to break through into mainstream culture, Lumberjanes serves as a refreshing and necessary comic series for young girls, the LGBTQ community, and women who just really love reading comics with silly adventures.   Paving a path for future “alternative” comics that give representation to those who otherwise may not see themselves relating to other characters or story lines – Watters, Ellis, and Stevenson write with intention on keeping the momentum going in creating female and queer characters in comics.  The most recently released Issue #15, 7-issues beyond the original single 8-issue story arch, proves that Lumberjanes has a much needed and well deserved place in the comic world. So much so, that 20th Century Fox is in the works of turning the series into a live-action film!  ‘Friendship To The Max!’